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As I start this newsletter I have a suspicion that it will be rather short as I have been rather busy recently and I don't seem to have collected so many items for the newsletter as usual. I have visited Glasgow Caledonian University to discuss the concepts of complexity and I am hopeful that we may be able to get something started there.

Spiral Dynamics

I have been on a two day workshop on Spiral Dynamics (run by Keith Rice - ) - which is a development of NLP and sets out typical behavioural responses to life conditions. It relates to complexity in that when people are able to accept that the world is a complex and messy and a broadly uncontrollable place they start to develop strategies to deal with complexity, but until then they just don't get it and so dismiss it as a load new age mumbo jumbo. It is a lot more complicated than that of course and more can be found at


In my last newsletter I referred to Emergence as the newsletter of the Plexus Institute when it is in fact called Emerging - - Emergence is the newsletter of the Institute for the Study of Coherence - and Emergence can be read at


Martyn Brown at Ashridge College has written an interesting article on complexity and business which can be read at

The Thriving Organisation

Selling the concept of complexity and other emerging new approaches to businesses is very difficult because it seems to require business leaders to give up control (even though that control is in fact an illusion) Therefore I have been working with Amanda Dale - - of Life Energy - on a business development programme called The Thriving Organisation. Below is an extract from our blurb.

How is your organisation faring in these rapidly changing times? Are you just surviving, are you surviving well, or are you thriving? Obviously surviving is crucial, but there is more to organisational life than that, much more. If we are thriving we are clearly doing well at all the things needed for survival but more importantly we are fulfilling our organisation's true purpose. We are making the real difference that our founders intended for us and we are laying the foundations for our organisations existence for a long time.

Thriving is not a state that is naturally reached by becoming better at surviving. No amount of continuous improvement will turn a surviving organisation into a thriving one. Thriving organisations have learnt to see themselves in a very different way and consequently have learnt to behave in very different ways. They have also had to unlearn some things too.

The thriving organisation:

* Clearly does well those things which are essential for survival
* Sees itself as a community
* Is clear about what it wants to be and so is everyone in it
* Sees its people as whole beings and not as assets or resources
* Values its people for their contribution
* Understands that the relationship between people is as important as the people themselves
* Operates on the basis of trust
* Understands that large change programmes seldom work and that sustainable change is brought about by the individuals choosing to act differently
* Has an indefinable quality of magic about it


I can't remember if I have informed you of this or not

Complexity: a new perspective for the NHS and its partners

A Conversational Conference
17/18/19 September 2002
University of Exeter

Organised by the Complexity in Primary Care Group in conjunction with the NHS Confederation and the RCGP

Complexity: a new perspective for the NHS and its partners
Converging from a number of disciplines, complexity theory offers new insights into the organisation and delivery of health care which are already finding an application in the NHS. This conference of lectures, seminars and workshops explores how insights from complexity theory can facilitate the organisation and delivery of health care.

Keynote speakers
Ralph Stacey, University of Hertfordshire
David Fillingham, Director of the NHS Modernisation Agency

Details from

or David Kernick


For those of you who are interested in this topic why not join the DNA/Leadership Excellence Forum and attend the next
DNA/Leadership Excellence Forum members meeting, to be held on Wednesday 3 rd July 2002, at the Langham Hilton, Regent Street, London W1.
Contact David Norman for details -

And Finally

Don't forget that I love to hear from you and am happy to share anything you want sharing.