The year is ending with a bang for us at Pegasus. To help get the 2011 Systems Thinking in Action Conference community off to a running start, we're offering our lowest early-bird registration rate EVER. We're excitedly working with partners in the Pacific Northwest to put on a regional event there in January. Our webinar series continues to grow, with Boston Scientific founder John Abele starting 2011 with a session on collaboration. And to celebrate this year's 20th annual Systems Thinking in Action Conference, we're offering 20% off all Pegasus products through the end of December. You will find details about all of these activities in this month's issue.
Our warmest wishes for a Happy New Year!
The Pegasus Staff
|The Structural Dynamics of Leadership
by Robert Fritz
Robert Fritz spoke at the 2010 Systems Thinking in Action Conference. After the event, he generously made a podcast of his talk available. Below is a condensed version of the beginning of his presentation.
Let me just start with something really pretty basic, which is that great leadership makes all the difference. The converse is also true. Terrible leadership has been detrimental and destructive to a lot of organizations.
Leaders are embedded in structures that have certain tendencies. If you don't change the underlying structures, any change effort will not last. But people do not think structurally. Leaders have to be able to change the underlying structural dynamics if the underlying structural dynamics are not conducive to change, to growth, to good things happening. Structure determines behavior.
Here's a common pattern: Someone is not performing well in a position. Everything is tried to change the situation and make it better, to try to improve their performance. Nothing works. Eventually the person is replaced and, six month later, the new person is performing like the predecessor. It's a very common experience.
In this example, the structure is more causally dominant than people's talents and abilities, their good intentions, their past experience, their creativity and their capacity for innovation, and a whole host of other really great attributes that they would have as individuals in a different structure.
One of the funny bits of The Fifth Discipline is when Peter [Senge] writes, "You take a group of people who have very high IQs--125, 130, 140--and you put them together in an organization, and the collective IQ goes down to 60 or 70." There's something about the way certain things are structured that can bring out either the best or the worst in people.
What's the implication? Everything we say about human motivation is not as influential as the underlying structures people are in.
|Lowest Early-Bird Conference Rate EVER
Thinking in Action Conference
October 31-November 2, 2011
Westin Seattle Hotel
Register now through January 31 and receive the low early-registration rate of $650.
Many people at the recent 2010 Systems Thinking in Action Conference shared with us their desire to invite colleagues or friends to next year's event. We hope this significantly reduced early-bird rate will enable you to bring others to share the conference experience and help build capacity within your organization or community for systemic improvment.
This rate cannot be combined with any other discount.
|To Manage Complexity, Leaders Must Cede Control
By John Abele
Recently, Margaret (Meg) Wheatley (with Deborah Frieze) wrote an insightful article called "Leadership in the Age of Complexity: From Hero to Host," Resurgence Magazine, Winter 2011. In it, she describes the wonderfully classic paradox that in order to gain control, you must cede control.
That concept raises the issue of exactly what "control" is. Suffice it to say that it refers to having a goal and achieving it, with others and without needing to take credit for the result. Although, ironically, if you do master that skill, others will begin to connect the fact that when you are around, they do better.
Meg points out that most cultures make assumptions about leaders that are taken for granted: that they have all the answers, that the followers will follow, and that more control produces better results--particularly for big, risky projects. That's why CEOs, managing directors, etc. "get the big bucks."
But complex problems require integrating many different types of skills and creating an environment where the collective intelligence of a diverse set of minds (age, experience, knowledge, culture, geography) is harnessed to solve these problems. Together, people identify the problems, analyze, speculate, debate, experiment, and build and test ideas for their solutions. And maybe even rethink the goals.
Systems Thinking in ActionŽ Pacific Northwest Regional Event
January 25, 2011,
January 26, 2011,
Renton Technical College
ˇ Share Systems Stories
ˇ Learn from Each Other and Our Work
ˇ Build a Broad Systems Thinking Network
ˇ Engage in Practitioner-Hosted Conversations
ˇ Harvest Our Collective Wisdom
Learn more and register...
The Collaboration Paradox:
Understanding the Magic of Getting Things Done
with John Abele
Thursday, December 9, 2:00-3:30 pm ET
The need for powerful collaborations is greater than ever. And yet we find collaboration vexingly difficult to do. In this webinar, John Abele, renowned co-founder of Boston Scientific, will describe new tactics and approaches that may seem counterintuitive, but that will help unleash the wisdom of a crowd far better than more obvious approaches.
Learn more and register...
Download a free guide on convening effective meetings...
20% Off Pegasus Products Through the End of the Year!
Get 20% off all products published by Pegasus Communications when you place an order by December 31, 2010. Download our catalog.
Call 800-272-0945 or 781-398-9700 or use our secure web shopping cart
to place an order.Restrictions apply. The discounts will not appear on your web cart order but will be reflected in the amount your credit card is charged.
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