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2002 Issue 25
all comes down to this: If you want one year of
happiness, grow grain. If you want 10 years of
happiness, grow trees. If you want 100 years of
happiness, grow people."
not wait; the time will never be 'just right.'
Start where you stand, and work with whatever
tools you may have at your command, and better
tools will be found as you go along."
2002 Conference Information Now Posted on our
all the latest conference details on our
web site and download an enhanced PDF of the
conference program. See you in beautiful San
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this new e-catalog includes more than 100 links
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The PDF file is only 206k and can be downloaded
in 33 seconds on a 56k connection.
and Resources by Margaret Wheatley
to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore
Hope to the Future (Berrett-Koehler, 2002).
Margaret Wheatley's new book invites us to talk
about what we truly care about and to listen to
others with our hearts and minds. In her earlier
writings, the author deepened her readers' understanding
of how systems behave. In this book, she goes
a step further and exhorts us to collectively
create the future through conversation. Conversation,
Wheatley says, requires that we extend ourselves
to others and be curious about what their stories
might hold. In the telling, the teller and the
listener each become more fully human. In this
way, meaningful conversations have the potential
to change the world.
the book, Order # KN0206.
The book will ship in mid-June.
Systems: Creating the Capacity for Continuous
Change. In order to help organizations develop
the capacity for ongoing change, perhaps we can
learn from the example of complex living systems
that can reorganize as needed in response to environmental
changes. In this talk, Meg Wheatley explores the
rich promise that the application of self-organizing
systems holds for organizations, especially because
it allows us to engage the intelligence and playfulness
of the whole organization to create and sustain
Videotape, Order # V9627, $99.00
Audiotape, Order # T9627, $19.95
to Learn from Complexity.
For many years, Meg Wheatley has been trying to
understand the role of management in a world that
refuses to be managed; and the role of leaders
in this interdependent, self-organizing world.
What do we know about managing in a complex world,
and are we willing to alter our beliefs and practices
to align with those learnings? In this powerful
keynote session at the 2002 Systems Thinking
in Action Conference, Meg shares a few of
her reflections as the means to provoke us to
look at our own experience of the past years.
Audiotape, Order # T0001, $19.95
and Performing in Turbulent Times: The 6th Annual
Meeting of the Society for Organizational Learning
June 24-27, 2002
year's Annual Meeting will provide organizational
learning practitioners, researchers, and consultants
an opportunity to highlight the ways in which
their work contributes to healing, change, and
creating a sustainable future for humankind.
Through interactive keynotes and/or panels,
poster sessions, project clinics, and the World
Café, we aim to involve all members of the global
SoL community and beyond. For more info, visit
or contact Frank Schneider at firstname.lastname@example.org
(617-300-9535) or Vicki Tweiten email@example.com
Work As Practice and Vocation
The Courage to Think Together: An Interview with Margaret Wheatley
Successfully with Courage and Integrity
Fast Can You Grow? A Strategic Systems View of Business Growth
As Practice and Vocation
by Michael Jones
primary work of leaders in the 21st century, rather than performing
to meet externally imposed demands, will be to deepen their ability
to sense and act on emerging opportunities and challenges amid constant
change. Practicethe ongoing process of experimentation, learning,
skill-building, attention, and self-reflectionequips us to
cultivate this ability in several ways.
often pulls us away from the comfortable and familiar, preparing
us to recognize and align ourselves with the change that is already
occurring around and within us. As a pianist, I learn through practice
to have faith that my intuition will lead me where my fingers want
to go next. Like piano players, leaders need to be adept improvisers,
willing to set aside their scripts and listen for signals, follow
their instincts, and imagine a future that has not yet arrived.
cannot be rushed. While acquiring knowledge happens quickly, transforming
it into wisdom takes time. When we try to speed up, we often commit
errors that force us to backtrack and start over again. Finally,
practice teaches us detachment. The "performance" may be exciting,
but we often practice in an inspired solitude that aligns us with
a deeper inner harmony.
As long as we
remain open to noticing our experience and how it is changing, then
we are fulfilling the essential spirit of practice. When we devote
this level of attention to any aspect of our lives, not only do
we improve the outcomethe song we play or the product we createwe
also discover within ourselves a heightened sensitivity and a new
way of being present in the world.
Read the complete
Courage to Think Together: An Interview with Margaret Wheatley
by Kali Saposnick
we watch some of our large global systemseconomic, political,
religiousfall into crisis, many of us feel deeply disturbed,
wondering what we can do to prevent further disasters. To uncover
solutions to ensure our planet's long-term viability, living-systems
theorist Meg Wheatley urges us to call upon our greatest human giftthe
ability to think critically together. Author of the newly released
Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope
to the Future (Berrett Koehler, 2002), Meg has focused her recent
work on how to cultivate change through collaborative reflection.
"How can we possibly survive without using that skill?" she asks.
"We keep running faster, hoping we'll get lucky and become smarter,
but what's really happening is, at all levels, we're just creating
more disasters: change initiatives that don't work, people that
get hurt, environmental consequences that keep showing up."
Wheatley, "Learning from what we're doing is the only way to avert
that level of failure." But how often do we take the time to reflect
on and learn from our actions? She asks, "When do we sit with colleagues
and inquire into why something failed or succeeded, why a customer
got angry with us, or why we keep firing people when they make mistakes?"
Focused on the task at hand that we must get done, few of us pay
attention to how our actions affect other parts of the system. "Instead
of making us more productive, speeding up has only made us more
blind to our actions," says Meg. "But you can't operate at this
level of power and this level of interconnectedness and do it blindly.
It's a suicide course."
will discuss her new book at this year's Pegasus Conference,
Leading in a Complex World: Systems Thinking in Action®.
about the conference. Learn
more about books and resources by Meg Wheatley by reading Pegasus
Highlights in the right column.
the Promise of the Information Age
In an unprecedented
move among global corporations, Hewlett-Packard has undertaken an
initiative to bridge the digital divide worldwide. Seeing vast opportunities
in serving the billions of people around the world who are currently
excluded from the information service economy, the company launched
the e-Inclusion Solutions Initiative. Through this program, HP works
with local and global partners to identify and develop grassroots
projects that support economic development. Over time, the company
expects to create significant new markets that will drive growth
in revenue and profit. The company also seeks to bring tangible
economic and social benefits to the poor and meet their top priorities,
such as healthcare, education, employment, access to markets, and
access to credit, while at the same time respecting different cultures
and preserving and enhancing the environment.
Some of the
initial projects backed by e-Inclusion include:
Costa Rica, HP handheld computers will help farmers streamline the
production and certification of organically grown coffee.
Senegal, the program is bringing affordable Internet connectivity
and training to rural and urban areas.
Brazil, e-commerce opportunities will soon be accessible at over
50 McDonald's restaurants.
In each case,
the goal is to support economically self-sustaining solutions built
on entrepreneurial creativity; success requires grassroots participation,
strong local leadership, and solid partnerships. While HP leaders
frankly acknowledge that financial sustainability is a must for
e-Inclusion, they continue to stay focused on the long-term view
of their investmentextending the promise of the information
age to those currently left in its shadow.
Molloy, "Debating the Digital Divide," The Systems Thinker,
April 2002, and www.hp.com/e-inclusion.
Fast Can You Grow? A Strategic Systems View of Business Growth
by Bill Harris
his latest column, Bill Harris evokes a prominent corporate leader's
rule of thumb for managing growth successfully. Plugging this magic
formulathe maximum rate a company can grow and still live
within its meansinto a computer simulation, Bill invites you
to test the model and create your own rule of thumb to guide your
company's growth. Read
the column and test the model.
Copyright 2002 Pegasus Communications. LEVERAGE POINTS can be
freely distributed in its entirety or reproduced or excerpted for
another publication with written permission from Pegasus Communications.