Welcome to newsletter No “lucky” 13. There has been some research recently which indicates that luck is really about how we respond to the world and the situations that we face. If we are able to see the new opportunities that are revealing themselves rather than attempting to always return to our comfort zone, then we are lucky. In that vein the following book review is apposite, The quotes are worth a good ponder.
This book review is taken from the Plexus Newsletter http://www.plexusinstitute.org
Complexity and Leadership
I have posed
in previous newsletters the question “what role does leadership
have in complex adaptive systems?” When I posed this question to
an on-line group I had a range of interesting replies and the following
comment was in response to the general debate, which I would like to share
I subscribe to Dave Gurteen’s newsletter on Knowledge Management - http://www.gurteen.com/gurteen/gurteen.nsf/ - and he offers the facility for having quotes delivered via e-mail at regular intervals. Here is one of the quotes
I was watching a program about Nigel Kennedy the other day and he was asked if he had any advice for others and he replied “Its not for me to tell others what they should do, its not for me to enter their space. Everybody’s space is their own and its up to them to fill it for themselves.”
Back to leadership again, a new article has been added to the 'Interesting Articles' section of the WWDN website:
Built to Last - The Tomorrow's Company Lecture by Prof.
David Snowden has released two interactive masterclasses on CD-ROM. The first, ‘Using narrative in organisational change', examines how narrative and storytelling can be used as a means to share knowledge in an articulate and understandable manner, outlining the value of these disciplines in a modern business setting.
In 'Emergent knowledge management', the second of the CD-ROMs, Dave positions the latest thinking on the evolution of knowledge management, describing ecological rather than mechanistic approaches and offering practical guidance on how to diagnose problems, formulate strategy and select projects to undertake.
For more information and a 10 minute demo of the video
Jim Winn - firstname.lastname@example.org - and Jim Smith - email@example.com - have recently contacted me and both are interested in complexity in education. So if any of you have any thing which might help them could you contact them, and could you copy me in as it is an interest of mine too.
Paperless 360º Appraisal Process
I have recently contributed a chapter to a book being written by David Kernick firstname.lastname@example.org about complexity with a health service perspective. My chapter was a case study of Humberside TEC to illustrate complexity in practice. Below is a slightly adjusted excerpt about paperless 360º appraisal.
Most organisations, whatever the type of appraisal, have a tick box rating system which is often only completed by managers. This short paper describes a paperless 360º appraisal process which is owned by the person being appraised.
First, responsibility for appraisal is given to the individual, they decide when, where, how and who should be involved. The basic model is that a group of up to about of ten people should be invited to a meeting, representing people the appraisee accounts to, people who account to them, customers, and suppliers. All of these can be internal or external people as appropriate. In the meeting room there should be a sheet of flip chart paper on each wall, one headed “stop”, and the others “start”, “continue” and “change”.
All the appraisers are given a different colour marker pen and put their thoughts on each of the sheets of newsprint. Then, under the guidance of a facilitator they discuss what is on each of the sheets of flip chart paper to gain greater clarity. Following this exercise the appraisee returns to the room, reads what is on the sheets and questions the appraisers about what they have put and why.
this kind of appraisal we have found that people are more open and honest
in this form of feedback, and because the feedback is coming from a number
of directions it is more balanced and acceptable to the appraisee. But
most importantly, we found that the appraisers are getting just as much
from the process because what is actually being appraised is the relationships
between all the people present in the room. We have also found that as
confidence grows in the process the variations on the above basic model
also grow so that the person being appraised gets the feedback that is
most useful to them.
Following on from my piece in the last newsletter about Ralph Stacey’s contribution at the Complexity society Conference, Marilyn Herasymowych e-mailed the following to me.
“I do have a comment on your comment of "Ralph Stacey saying that human systems are not complex adaptive systems, but that they are a useful metaphor when considering our human systems." Is Stacy a complexity theorist? I think he may have his metaphors mixed. Without question Chaos Theory does not apply directly to human systems, although human systems interact and are affected by chaotic systems. However, by definition by complexity theorist, all living things are complex adaptive systems, and exist within complex adaptive systems interacting with chaotic systems. Defining human systems as complex adaptive systems is not at issue with scientists, whereas using chaos theory concepts are (e.g., strange attractors).
Complexity science is very useful at understanding human
systems. In my opinion, science is but a doorway into thinking about human
systems in a different way. It seems that the prevailing meme of our time
is science, and that we need to use science to understand ourselves. I
believe that science helps us to remain open long enough so that we can
gain access to our internal wisdom that already resides within all of
us. It is as if we have spent the last 500 years learning how not to learn,
and now we need a way back to our innate knowledge. To me science is that
doorway, for good or for bad. That's why, I believe, it seems so important
to get the science
For example, in our work in systems thinking, we have successfully showed that people are naturally systems thinkers, whereas the researchers at MIT have concluded that humans must be taught systems thinking (i.e., humans are not naturally systems thinkers). To open people's minds to systems thinking, we have used complexity theory principles. As a result, within a short period of time (1-3 hours), people have been able to gain access to their systems thinking capability, and to use this capability to select actions that are "leverage points" and create "emergent properties".”
About Mistakes and Failures
I recently read an article on education which made the point that we are obsessed with getting the right answer and therefore ignore the learning present in “wrong answers”. For example when asked what makes the wind one answer was “ The wind is made by leaves flapping”, and what a rich vein that would be to tap.
May we all learn from our mistakes and failures, and from the unexpected that confronts us every day.