From Ed Batista: I conducted a workshop with the team at a startup here in the Bay Area on a range of topics related to interpersonal and group dynamics. While the title was simply Startup Communication, a theme woven throughout the day was the idea of startups as human systems, emphasizing both the complexity of the organizational culture and the critical importance of communication, feedback, and relationships in this setting. A condensed version of my deck is above, and I’ve added a number of links to other posts that explore in greater depth the ideas we discussed in the workshop. (Note that you have to download the deck from Slideshare in order to access those links.)
From ICG: They show why a system can be so maddeningly complex, especially when its parts are examined in isolation to others and to their environment.
A project of Waters Foundation; delivers academic and lifetime benefits to students through the effective application of systems thinking concepts, habits and tools in classroom instruction and school improvement
A summer “camp” experience in Winston-Salem that brings together students, parents, educators, and business and community leaders to build everyone’s capacity for learning and leading in the 21st century
From FastCompany: Working to create change inside a company — or being a “systempreneur” working to change an entire system — can be just as valuable to society and the economy as charting your own course.
From Steve Barry at Forum.com: Open any book about leadership transitions and you’re likely to see a model of the various business situations executives may need to navigate when they take on a new company, initiative, or project. We’ve synthesized those many models into one that we find especially useful: we call it the Business Terrains framework.
From John McWade at Before&After: Here is an issue that is, to me, of utmost gravity — the attitude toward clients that we bring to our work, most pointedly the idea that we are better than they, and our work inherently more worthy. It’s a sensitive issue but enough of a learning opportunity for all of us that I wanted to not let it slip away.
We are all unjust judges, which is easy to see once we notice that our judgments always come out in our favor.
My advice: Respect your client. Give him your best work. Hold it lightly. Stay open. Help him get where he wants to go. If he needs to circle back, be there when he arrives.
From Leader to Leader Journal: In the past 5 years, corporate leaders have talked more about learning and development than in the previous 50. But the discussion inspires frustration as well as hope. Senior executives invariably want to know, “How do I build a learning organization?” It is the most frequent question I am asked, but it is the wrong question, for two reasons. First, it implies that the president or CEO can singlehandedly make changes in an organization’s genetic code. Second, it suggests that building a learning organization (and learning itself) involves a definitive formula rather than an ongoing process.
From Peter Senge in Leader to Leader Journal: As individuals and organizations, we have never had to be concerned about how our day-to-day decisions, like the products we make and buy and the energy we use, affect people and larger living systems thousands of miles away, even on the other side of the planet. This is the real message of “globalization,” and it is indeed an alien one for all of us. We’ve never been here before.
From Leader to Leader Journal: The word revolution has many different meanings. We often use the word to represent political revolutions. And then there are techno-economic-cultural revolutions such as the Industrial Revolution, where in many ways virtually everything about society shifted—the nature of the economy, core technologies, how people lived, where people lived, and how they saw the world around them. But while the Industrial Revolution vaulted society dramatically forward in many ways, it also put us on a path that is so fundamentally contradictory to nature — both the nature of living systems in general and human nature — that it can’t possibly continue. It is not sustainable.
From Margaret Wheatley in Leader to Leader Journal: When complex systems fail, prevailing models of leadership offer little help. What we learn now with Y2K can prepare us for a future where more and more failures of complex systems will confront us. It can also help us look beyond the confines of in-house systems and structures, and to see new, more effective ways to lead our business and social institutions.
From On Being: Astronaut Ron Garan did an AMA on reddit. This photo was his reply when asked, “Have you seen anything when looking down on earth or into space that has you completely awed that is captured in your memory for the rest of your life?” It’s the illuminated border between India and Pakistan, as seen from the International Space Station.
From FastCompany: Cities are the future, and innovations to make them better, smarter, and faster are happening every day. Take a beautiful tour of some of the most interesting urban projects and thinking going on today.
From LA Times: When the Los Angeles Philharmonic arrived backstage at Caracas’ Teatro Teresa Carreno for its first rehearsal with chorus and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony Wednesday morning, the first reaction from many Angelenos was a gasp, a wow and a big smile. Then they whipped out their cameras.
A sea of tightly packed children and young singers rose to the roof. The official count was 1,207, but with that many, who’s counting? They were warming up, and it seemed as though the earth itself was singing solfège syllables. The sound was primal. “I’m not sure I knew what I was getting into,” cracked the L.A. Phil’s longtime production director, Paul M. Geller.