A free e-newsletter spotlighting systemic thinking and innovations
in leadership, management, and organizational development. Please
forward to your colleagues.
2002 Issue 21
you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men
to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders.
Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
live in a moment of history where change is so speeded
up that we begin to see the present only when it
Stubborn Organizational Challenges with Systems
Waltham, MA, February 11, 2002,
Join Ginny Wiley, systems thinking educator, organizational
consultant, and president of Pegasus Communications,
to find out why systems thinking is an essential
tool for organizational success. Systems thinking
helps us understand the causes that underlie persistent
problems, recognize the highest leverage points
for systemic intervention, formulate effective
short- and long-term strategic plans, and make
decisions with greater clarity and foresight.
For more information or to register, please call
1-781-398-9700 or complete and fax this
form to 1-781-894-7175.
$450 for individual registration
$350 per person for teams of 4+
more about the benefits of systems thinking.
Call For Presentations!
Leading in a Complex World:
Systems Thinking in Action®,
30Oct. 2, San Diego, CA
those interested in presenting at the 2002 Conference,
is now available on the Pegasus web site. Please
read the information carefully as the conference
format has changed. Applications are due February
6, 2002. We look forward to your proposal!
for this year's Conference!
$300 by registering for the Conference before
Call 1-800-272-0945 or 1-802-862-0095,
on the Pegasus web site. Special rate of $1095
available only until March 15th. Substantial team
discounts are availableplease contact Julie
Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
the Challenge of Innovation in Government, February
1112, 2002, Ottowa, Canada
conference addresses the enormous challenges and
risks that innovation brings to the public sector.
Sessions focus on how to construct strategic,
innovative change within government; understand
how to build and support an adaptive and innovative
work environment that inspires people's creativity;
and develop a mutual understanding between fellow
professionals of how to support innovation. Speakers
include Daryl Conner, Everett Rogers, and Michael
Kirton. For more information, go to www.innovation.cc.
and Resources by David Hutchens; illustrated by
the Wolves: Surviving and Thriving in a Learning
a flock of sheep builds a culture for learning,
the contributions of each individual are utilized
in strikingly new and productive ways. Includes
a simple and powerful discussion guide to communicate
how organizations can develop the capacity to
Site License for Outlearning the Wolves (E-Wolves)
the fable's powerful introduction to organizational
learning to everyone on your network in a vivid
and convenient PDF format. Clear and detailed
illustrations and redesigned discussion guide
for easy onscreen reading. No special devices
or software required. View the e-book on any computer
with the free Acrobat Reader 4.0+.
Turner for site license information.
titles by David Hutchens
Tip of the Iceberg: Managing the Hidden Forces
That Can Make or Break Your Organization
of the Neanderthal: Illuminating the Beliefs That
Limit Our Organizations
Lemming Dilemma: Living with Purpose, Leading
Each fable is $19.95. Volume and site license
discounts are available.
more about how practitioners in the field
are using the Learning Fables series.
ConferencesThe Next Best Thing to Reality
The Power of Stories to Convey Meaning in the Workplace: An
Interview with David Hutchens
Enhancements of The Systems Thinker
Clearing the Decks: The Practice of Amnesty Day
ConferencesThe Next Best Thing to Reality
Faced with travel
moratoriums, Bob Franco, vice president of HR/Global Talent at American
Express, had to rethink the design of his group's biannual meeting
on innovation and knowledge sharing scheduled for August. When he
and his planning team decided to have an online meeting, Bob wondered
how his group, used to learning about breakthroughs by participating
in firewalks and understanding change management by visiting the
Skip Barber Racing School, would respond.
To ensure that
group members gained the maximum benefit from their remote locations,
Bob and his team carefully tailored the three-day event to the digital
medium. All 65 participants "attended" from their homes, where they
had been shipped Webex software, supporting materials, and an event
t-shirt. Time was used judiciously; for example, Bob spent only
15 minutes on opening remarks. Participants engaged in conversation
and small-group breakout sessions via chat rooms and conference
calls. During "cocktail hour," a web cam even homed in on a participant
drinking wine by his pool.
experiences helped people differentiate between data and information,
and knowledge and innovation. For example, equipped with a bag containing
ingredients, a history of cookie baking, and recipes, participants
baked cookies in their kitchens. After the exercise, they called
their teammates to describe the extent to which they innovated during
Was the conference
successful? Bob thinks so. People gave positive feedback, they grasped
the topic, and they reconnected with each other. So can Internet
conferences supplant the real thing? Bob hopes not as a rule. "Lack
of money should not interfere with building a team," he says, "and
this type of meeting is a viable alternative. But nothing really
replaces face-to-face contact during the year."
on an interview with Bob Franco by Kali Saposnick, Pegasus Communications
wish to discuss this topic are invited to The
New Workplace forum.
Power of Stories to Convey Meaning in the Workplace: An Interview
with David Hutchens
In the following
interview, David Hutchens, author of the Learning Fables series
published by Pegasus Communications, shares why he thinks storytelling
is such a powerful medium to communicate ideas and create collective
meaning. He also illustrates how managers can use his four books
(see a list of titles in "Pegasus Highlights" in the right-hand
column) to create new awareness and initiate a rich discussion of
organizational learning principles with their staff.
Points: Why do stories appeal to such a wide cross-section
Cognitive science explains that most people think relationally,
that is, they grasp information by how it relates to other informationin
the same way that stories are structured. A story's plot illustrates
how theory looks when practiced in real life. For instance, rather
than trying to convey the concept of mental models by abstractly
walking you through the Ladder of Inference tool, Shadows of
the Neanderthal shows how two fictional clans of cave people
developed different assumptions about how the world works.
Often in business
contexts, people converse in ways they would never do in more natural
social environments. For instance, at home, my wife and I tell stories
to each other about our day; it's our default mode of communication.
I'm the same person when I go to work the next morning, yet it's
hard to respond spontaneously to the jargon-filled business communications
that come across my desk. How many of us really think in bullet
reading the interview.
Learn more about
books and resources by David Hutchens by viewing "Pegasus Highlights"
in the right-hand column.
Enhancements of The Systems Thinker
Now in its 13th year of publication, The Systems Thinker®
Newsletter continues to respond to readers' changing needs. Starting
with the February issue, we have redesigned the front cover to feature
substantive article summaries (see
sample PDF, 51k). According to managing editor Janice Molloy,
"You can now quickly scan the key points of each article and
prioritize your in-depth perusal of the issue's content. We hope this
new feature will help readers maximize the return on their limited
reading time and provide added value to their subscriptions."
In addition, we
are now offering site licenses to organizations that want to make
the newsletter available to all their employees electronically. For
information about site licenses, contact Julie
Turner. And next month we will go live with thesystemsthinker.com,
a web site that will include:
a searchable index of all The Systems Thinker article titles
a list of articles (with summaries) available for purchase
in PDF format
fee-based access to a library of current and past volumes
sample articles and issues
an introduction to systems thinking
a link to the systems thinking discussion forum
As we explore
ways to make the newsletter as accessible and content-rich as possible,
we encourage your feedback and ideas. As Janice explains, "Our
goal is to keep The Systems Thinker a leading-edge publication
that helps you build insight and capability to respond to your organization's
most demanding and complex business challenges."
the Decks: The Practice of Amnesty Day
by Janice Molloy
Most of us postpone
getting through that reading pile, sorting e-mail messages, or putting
finishing touches on files from completed projects in order to pursue
more value-creating activities. Yet such tasks, if left to accumulate,
can turn into major productionsand distractionsthat
may undermine overall effectiveness.
To help employees gain an upper hand on hidden drains on productivity,
at Pegasus Communications, we've instituted a semiannual ritual
known as "Amnesty Day." It's a time for staff to clear
several months' accumulated detritus in order to move ahead with
renewed vitality, energy, and lightness. Scheduled well in advance
so everyone can clear their calendars, on Amnesty Day, anything
that impedes work productivity is fair game. One person may choose
to clean his office while another may catch up on paperwork and
make long overdue phone calls to potential vendors.
To avoid diluting the process, we let the answering machine pick
up any phone messages. We send or respond to e-mail only if doing
so fulfills one of our personal goals for the day. And we only talk
to each other in the middle of the day, when we meet for lunch,
and at the end of the day, when we gather to assess our progress
and suggest improvements for future Amnesty Days.
After tidying up, people feel more energized and clear-headed. And
each of us has noticed lasting progress on our personal organizational
challenges. Over the long run, taking the opportunity to get things
in order means more time spent on productive functions that add
value to your company.
the complete article on our web site.
who wish to discuss this topic are invited to The
New Workplace forum.
Copyright 2001 Pegasus Communications. LEVERAGE POINTS can be
freely distributed in its entirety or reproduced or excerpted for
another publication with written permission from Pegasus Communications.