Tag: Improving Performance


Seven Pillars of Governance

Every week I see signs that our social institutions and organizations have lost their ability to accomplish key tasks, even as the urgency to do so rises. In fact, the intensity of feelings among different stakeholder groups seems to be a factor contributing to breakdown. We depend on large organizations, government, and community groups to… Read more »

Dealing with Vulnerability

After my study session wound down earlier tonight, I scanned my bookshelf to find an organizational systems topic that I could write this post on. Organizational culture. Sustainability. Leverage points. They all jumped out, but none of them grabbed me. Then my eyes landed on a thin booklet from the Leadership Institute of Seattle (or… Read more »

Can Exploring the Emotional Side of Complexity Make Us Better Leaders?

What is the emotional side of complexity and how can it help us understand and manage complexity? John Kotter, a Harvard Business School professor and expert on leadership and change, said this year that managing change is about understanding the human condition of fear that is inherent in all change. Change, he added, is managed… Read more »

Got Assumptions?

One of the best tips I ever got came from journalism school. The tip involved assumption-making and it was offered in the form of a question-and-answer. Do you know what happens when you make assumptions? The journalism professor asked my undergraduate, database research class. The first three letters of the word “assumption,” that’s what you… Read more »

One in 30,000

Imagine walking into work every morning wondering if it’ll be your last day there. That’s how thousands of Bank of America employees probably felt this morning after the company publicly announced its plans yesterday to slash 30,000 jobs over the next few years. The massive downsizing is part of a cost-cutting measure crafted by Bank… Read more »

Rethinking Change: Why change is simpler than you think… or is it?

I smiled with delight after having welcomed five new teaching staffers to our University Professional Development Center community. At the same time, I could not help reflecting on the courage required to begin the process of adding these five new people. Was it really that difficult to expand our class offerings? Was it that surprising… Read more »

Why Can’t People on the Front Lines Talk to Each Other?

Recently as I was listening to a critique of the work done in response to the latest natural disaster when the following comment was made: “We need to get the first responders to talk to each other.” On the surface, this may sound like a reasonable request and something that we should expect from a… Read more »

A Legacy of War Endures

The reality of war has had a profound influence on my life. This influence is hard to see. In fact, it’s invisible. I would have kept it hidden if I hadn’t read Clay Sellers’ August 26 post, “Beyond the Clouds of War: A Faint, Silver Lining.” His writing inspired me to explore the complexity that… Read more »

Life Choices and Commitments: A Reinforcing Loop

Our life choices and commitments feed on each other causing them to form a reinforcing loop. This type of loop is the causal relationship of two variables that affect each other in the same direction. If one grows the other does as well. The opposite is also true: the reduction in one variable causes the… Read more »

Looking in all the Right Places

To find inspiration and clarify my latest thinking on embracing complexity, I recently turned to popular, off-the-shelf publications and the latest business books. Not only did I not find inspiration and clarity, I experienced confusion and loss of interest from the dogma I found there.So much of what I read was filled with jargon, buzz… Read more »