As Election Day approaches here in the U.S.,
many have grown tired of the deepening
schisms that seem to separate us as we go through
the messy process of choosing a new president.
Nevertheless, we know that on November 5 we will
climb out of our separate trenches, dust ourselves off,
and converge on ways to tackle the problems we face
as a people. We'll do so because we must in order to
make a difference.
A similar dynamic occurs in our organizations around
new initiatives or in times of crisis. We diverge,
sometimes nearly to the breaking point. Tempers
flare, factions form. But if we can learn from one
another, open ourselves to perspectives that vary from
our own, and bring together wisdom from the whole
system, a kind of alchemy transpires. Solutions
emerge where none existed before. Paths that were
previously blocked become clear. Ensuing actions
have exponentially greater impact and
This year, our annual conference could not be more
timely. It's a forum for exploring how we can not only
overcome but actually make the most of our
differences--in the sectors we're from, the roles we
play in our organizations, our personal identities, and
the experiences that affect our worldview.
|Pegasus Welcomes a New President
Mark Alpert to Lead Pegasus Team
We are pleased to announce that we have
selected Mark Alpert to be the next president of
Pegasus Communications. Mark will assume the role
from Ginny Wiley, who has been at the helm for the
past decade. Ginny is choosing to leave Pegasus to
explore new opportunities and enjoy more personal
time, but will serve on the board and support the
company in other capacities and continue to
collaborate in the broader Pegasus community.
A talented leader and team builder, Mark will
partner with Pegasus's staff and other key
stakeholders to help grow and sustain the systems
thinking community. He has the energy, vision, and
relational skills to lead Pegasus through the strategic
development of new market opportunities and the
embrace of new technologies.
Mark's passion for learning and for helping
organizations improve their performance has been
evident throughout his distinguished career. Trained
as an engineer, Mark was an early hire of TÜV
America--a global standards test and certification
company. In a series of progressively responsible
positions, he spearheaded exponential growth for the
company, ultimately serving as senior executive vice
president in charge of North American operations.
Most recently, he has served as president of the
National Council for Performance Excellence, an
organization that provides tools for measuring
organizational performance and developing
improvement strategies. Mark is looking forward to
building bridges between the systems thinking
community and other groups of improvement-focused
practitioners, such as the Malcolm Baldridge and ISO
networks, with which he has extensive ties.
In the early 1990s, as a young manager
responsible for a business unit experiencing
turbulence related to rapid growth, Mark read The
Fifth Discipline and immediately recognized the
impact that organizational learning could have on his
team. After attending several presentations and a
workshop on systems thinking, he enlisted Innovation
Associates to help him design a retreat focused on
building shared vision. The exercise had a
remarkable effect on everyone involved, resulting in a
new sense of purpose in the unit that linked personal
and family goals with work goals.
Since then, Mark has continued to apply these
disciplines to his organizational
challenges. "Organizational learning is the key that
unlocks performance," he says. "I have built learning
processes into the operations and cycles of
improvement at every organization I have been
associated with. I am excited about the growth
opportunities at Pegasus. Our focus will be on
expanding the systems thinking and organizational
learning communities by living our mission: to have a
powerful, positive influence on individuals' and
organizations' abilities to manage the complexities of
the workplace and the world."
Mark will become president on December 1.
Please join us in welcoming him!
|Two Corporate Innovators Join Senge Keynote
We are pleased to announce
that two sustainability pioneers--Darcy Winslow of
Nike, and Jeffrey Hollender of Seventh Generation--
will join Peter Senge at the conference to reflect on
their efforts to redefine corporate performance for the
Darcy Winslow is the founder of
Designs for a Sustainable World Consulting. She is
currently on a one-year assignment with Nike, Inc.,
and most recently served as senior advisor to the Nike
Foundation. Darcy worked for over 20 years at Nike,
where she succeeded in shifting corporate priorities
to give equal weight to social and environmental, as
well as economic well-being. In 2001, she led the
creation of the Women's Footwear Division as general
manager, and then in 2004 she led the creation of
Nike's Global Women's Fitness Footwear, Apparel
and Equipment business as general manager.
Jeffrey Hollender is president
and chief inspired protagonist of Seventh Generation,
one of the country's first self-declared "socially
responsible" companies. An entrepreneur at heart, his
first business ventures were rooted in adult education.
After his tenure as president of Warner Audio
Publishing, Jeffrey acquired a small mail-order
catalog of energy conservation products, Renew
America, which eventually blossomed into Seventh
Generation. He is also the author of several books,
including What Matters Most and Naturally
Learn more about this session...
Other featured presenters include Betty Sue Flowers, Atul Gawande, Adam Kahane, Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot.
Sign up for the full conference
by October 24 to SAVE $200!
Teams of 4 or more pay even
Call for details at 1-800-272-0945.
|The Conversational Power of Mapping Our Mental Models
by Van Bowen and Hugh
When representatives of diverse
constituencies gather, each with their own
perspective, the setting is ripe for conflict. Farmers,
real estate agents, and the representatives of the IRS,
for instance, might have strikingly different views of the
impact of the inheritance tax.
A mathematics professor at the University of
Richmond and an adjunct lecturer in public policy at
the Kennedy School of Government used this example
to demonstrates how system mapping can serve as a
tool for conflict resolution. They found that using
systems thinking and system dynamics tools to map
a group's mental models helped the members focus
on the dynamics of the underlying structure rather than
on the emotions that it provoked. This shift in focus
can be a powerful stimulus for conversation and for
The professors enlisted a third party, competent in
modeling, to mediate an inheritance tax dispute by
assisting the protagonists in creating a diagram of the
dynamics that "trapped" them in certain patterns of
behavior. The process demanded cooperation among
the parties, but the end result produced an illustration
of the unintended consequences of the way each party
made sense of the world and the self-fulfilling nature
of the system they were creating as a result.
Bringing Our Shadows to Light
at the Economy from Inside the Cave
In response to the prevailing upheaval in
economic and political conditions, our mental models
are working overtime to exercise their hidden power
over us. In the absence of understanding, we
continually "select" data from the world that reinforces
our most closely held beliefs, until our experience
begins to conform to those beliefs in a self-fulfilling
But, one upside to this level of chaos is that it is
forcing us to re-examine those fundamental
assumptions we hold about the world around us. That
makes it an ideal time to work with our teams on
exploring how our mental models shape our realities
and drive our behaviors.
Shadows of the Neanderthal, by David
Hutchens, illustrated by Bobby Gombert, is an
excellent guide for doing this work. The humor and
metaphor of the fable combined with the clear
principles presented in the accompanying discussion
guide help readers identify their mental models and
bring them out into the light. When a group starts
seeing the light together, that translates into better
understanding and better results.
Through December 31, Get a consultant's license*
Get an organizational site
license** for just
plus fees starting at $25 per user
Full previews available
Call 1-800-272-0945 for
*A consultant's license allows a single
user to utilize the module on one computer for display
in group presentations.
**Site license pricing is based on an initial
licensing fee ($199) and number of users. Per-user
cost starts at $25 and decreases as the number of
users increases, so enterprise-wide deployment is
Shadows of the Neanderthal
"Shadows of the Neanderthal is a wonderful story
about fear, complemented by a superb summary of
principles for working with mental models."
"Finally, a clear and powerful resource that helps both
sides of our brain understand how to expand our
individual and organizational thinking."
Order #FT005, softcover, 82 pages,
When you purchase Shadows of the
Neanderthal in bulk, you receive the following
5-19 copies, $17.96 each
20-49 copies, $15.96 each
50-149 copies, $13.97 each
150-299 copies, $11.97 each
300+ copies, $9.98 each
Have you received your Fall
Catalog from Pegasus? If not, please send us
your name and address and we'll get one right
out to you!
"My greatest challenge has been to
change the mindset of people. Mindsets play strange
tricks on us. We see things the way our minds have
instructed our eyes to see."