Tag: Improving Performance


“It’s Not a Show”: How to Become a Better Meeting Participant

Organizational systems consultants, like myself, usually have loads of advice for bosses about how to lead meetings. Meetings fascinate us consultants because that’s where all the action takes place—they are a microcosm of an organization’s culture. You can learn a lot about an organization by paying attention to how the functional groups and work teams… Read more »

Sharing the Responsibility of Leading: Employee Engagement & Shared Leadership

Could a shared leadership framework enable organizations to deal with complexity, improve decision-making, enable adaptability and nimbleness, and increase performance across the board?  Researchers such as Craig L. Pierce and Henry P. Sims Jr. would say yes! What exactly is shared leadership and how could it improve an organization’s performance?  Shared leadership is a multi-faceted… Read more »

Reflections on Dialogue: The Power of Shared Meaning

At Saybrook’s August 2010 residential conference, I participated in the generative and strategic dialogue seminar facilitated by Dr. Nancy Southern, Dr. Kathia C. Laszlo and Dr. Alexander Laszlo of the organizational systems program. Learning about the difference between discussion and dialogue was particularly transformative and deepened my understanding of the concept of “thinking together”—at work,… Read more »

“Getting the Work Done”: Leadership and the Difficulty of Contextualizing Emotions

I led two team projects during the last semester of my MBA program. One project involved the development of a business plan for a new deli. The other involved the development of a consulting plan for a crime-laden, Miami neighborhood seeking to become a tourist destination that could one day rival South Beach. The business… Read more »

Phenomenological Leadership: An Old Philosophy for Modern Leaders

I’ll never forget being a young manager having learned to know-it-all, or defend-it-all, but not having truly “heard-them-all.”  So, who is the them?  And, why should we stop to hear what they say? Them refers to a leader’s followers. Even though I don’t like the word “followers” because it suggests a lower-rung status for organizational… Read more »

Complex Change Calls for Cross-Sector Collaboration

I had the opportunity last week to help facilitate a session for non-profit, business, technology, education, and media leaders who came together for the inaugural summit of ConvergeUS. Co-Chaired by TechNet’s CEO, Rey Ramsey, and Twitter’s Co-Founder, Biz Stone, ConvergeUS drives technology-based breakthroughs for critical social problems and thus accelerates social innovation. ConvergeUS—the non-profit arm… Read more »

Collaboration Isn’t Easy

It is clear that collaboration is a necessity in navigating today’s complex work environments where ambiguity and change are constants. What is not clear is how to make collaboration part of an organization’s culture and the default behavior pattern for leaders. One possible solution comes from Morten T. Hansen’s 2009 book, Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid… Read more »

Kodak’s Final Act: An Ode to Theory Z

On Sunday, The Financial Times reported that the recent drop in Eastman Kodak’s share prices may be the final, overt sign that the photography giant is nearing its end. For a company that spearheaded innovation—in 1885, founder George Eastman invented roll film, which benefited the motion picture industry and inventor Thomas Edison—the only sign that… Read more »

Crisis of Power: Exploring Three Different Leadership Stances

Are you Not Enough, Too Much or Enough? At the 2011 National Training Lab Annual Conference this August, Collins Dobbs, Mary Ann Huckabay, Craig Shchuler, and Yifat Sharabi-Levine asked its participants to answer this question. I was one of them. The question was part of an experimental exercise designed to explore different sides of ourselves… Read more »