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SPECIAL LEVERAGE POINTS ISSUE
September 4, 2002 Issue 29
Preview of Leading in a Complex World: Systems
Thinking in Action, the 12th Annual Conference,
to be held September 30October 2, 2002,
in San Diego, California
To register, go to our conference
or contact Julie Turner
from interviews with 2002 conference speakers:
found that the easiest way to develop systems
thinkers is to have many different voices
in the room. Especially when people from one
culture realize their problem is similar to
that of another culture, you know the problem
is not particular to you anymore; it's systemic.
That's when real learning begins to happen."
key for all of us is to revisit the fundamental
purpose of education in a democracy. My own
commitment is to pursue this question: How
do we create conditions for learning that
reinvite, reignite, and reconnect? If we can
invite children to engage in their burning
questions and give them the resources to do
so, they can achieve remarkable results."
a negotiator, clarifying the dynamics of a
situation can make you a lot more efficient
in knowing what leverage points to aim for.
You're also less likely to get drawn into
taking sides and reinforcing blame, two factors
that have been major problems throughout the
third-party negotiation process of the Israeli-Palestinian
year's Systems Thinking in Action Conference
community eagerly returns to captivating San
Diego, California. With perfect weather, beautiful
coastlines, world-renowned attractions, and
proximity to Mexico, San Diego provides an invigorating
setting for the conference.
To read more about
Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina
Airlines' flight schedules
makes San Diego unique, and
artistic and cultural offerings,
Sunday, September 29, 2002
8:30 a.m.5:00 p.m.
Art and Architecture of Powerful Questions
ability to frame and engage powerful questions
that evoke curiosity, excitement, and collaborative
learning is a critical skill in the new economy.
In this highly interactive workshop, led by
Eric Vogt of the InterClass Network and David
Isaacs of Whole Systems Associates, learn both
the theory and practical skills involved in
crafting "questions that matter" to support
strategy development, knowledge creation, dialogue,
and new possibilities for action. For more information,
call David Isaacs at 415-383-2671.
from Research on Leadership: "Presencing"
the Fields of Future Potential
This workshop is based on the results and
implications of (1) a six-year research
project in which Otto Scharmer conducted
interviews with 120 eminent thinkers around
the world on creativity and leadership (many
of them jointly with Joseph Jaworski) and
(2) a collaborative research project with
six SoL member companies focused on current
leadership development practices. Otto Scharmer
and Jeff Clanon present and explore an outcome of
this research, a new core leadership process
referred to as "presencing," as well as
the practices you need to apply this framework
to your own organization and life. For more
information, call Jeff Clanon at
Thursday, October 3, 2002,
8:30 a.m.5:00 p.m.
Coaching: Evoking Excellence in Yourself and Others
Coaching is a developmental pathway and sound,
flexible methodology for helping people become
more capable, fulfilled, and successful leaders.
This one-day experiential and practical workshop,
led by Andrea Dyer and Diane Woods of Demeter
Matrix Alliance and Sarita Chawla of Demeter Matrix
Alliance and New Ventures West, introduces Integral
Coaching, which aims to produce clear thinking
and help people remove barriers that limit their
ability to perform at exceptional levels, benefiting
both individuals and their organizations. For
more information, call Andrea Dyer at 415-789-9099.
Thursday, October 3 and Friday,
October 4, 2002,
8:30 a.m.5:00 p.m.
two-day workshop, led by Michael Goodman and David
Peter Stroh, provides a roadmap for leading systemic
change. Learn how to use systems thinking to facilitate
organizational change by establishing the desired
end result, clarifying current reality, examining
the underlying structure, identifying leverage
points, exploring the systemic implications of
making change, and planning actions. Practice
applying a wide array of systems tools and techniques.
Note: Participants should have a working knowledge
of systems language and the archetypes. For more
information, call Michael Goodman at
organization gains enormous leverage for
improvement when it helps key groups of
people sustain inquiry into contentious
issues well beyond where they usually bog
down. This two-day workshop, led by Robert
Putnam of Action Design and Roger Schwarz
of Roger Schwarz and Associates, offers
an unusual opportunity, integrating work
in reflective conversation and skilled facilitation.
Participants discuss case situations, reflect
on demonstrations, and practice intervening
using the concepts and skills offered. For
more information, call Bob Putnam at
about all our pre- and post-conference sessions.
Register by September 14th, mention you saw this
ad in Leverage Points, and we'll take $100 off
your registration fee! To register, call 1-781-398-9700,
or go to the conference
Are Still Available
If you need financial assistance to attend this
conference, please fill out our online
About Substantial Team Discounts and Special Sessions
Go to the
teams page, or contact Julie
Turner for further details.
New Leadership for a New World
The Art of Breaking Through Complexity: An Interview with Mitch Litrofsky
of the Breakthrough Group
Three Learning Paths: Leadership, Systems Thinking, and Organizational
Ron Potts, Cheryl Compton, Kathleen Zurcher
New Leadership for a New World
by Janice Molloy
What a year it has beenfrom the Enron debacle and other corporate
accounting scandals, to September 11 and the bravery shown by many
in the face of the unthinkable, to the nail-biting rescue of the
Quecreek miners this summer. Each of these critical moments casts
light on the need for ethical, visionary, collaborative leadership
in our organizations and in our world. The kind of leadership that
happens when people come together to serve the common good. The
kind of leadership missing when top executives focus more on the
bottom line than on the line worker. The kind of leadership that
brings out the best in every one of us, whatever our position, whatever
In light of today's complex challenges, each of us has a vital contribution
to make to the overall effort. Take the engineer in Pennsylvania
who thought to pump warm compressed air into the mine where nine
men were trapped, which prevented water from rising further and
drowning them. Or the FBI employee who questioned her superiors'
actions both before and after the World Trade Center bombingsand
sparked much-needed reforms in the U.S. intelligence community.
Every perspective or bit of information bears the thread of a new
approach, an innovative solution, a piece of the overall puzzle.
When one voice is lost, because it's squelched or neglected, we
miss an opportunity to improve our outcomes.
What is the role of top leadership in this new paradigm? To passionately
articulate a vision and collaborate with others to achieve it. For
instance, Pennsylvania Governor Mark Schweiker's never-ending optimism
set the tone for the families, rescue workers, and media during
the 77 hours that the Quecreek miners were trapped 240 feet underground.
He consistently insisted that all nine would be saved. The governor
inspired people to believe that a miracle was possibleand
then got out of the way while the rescue team made it happen.
We all have a role to play in solving daunting problems and capitalizing
on emerging opportunities. To be effective, though, we need to finds
ways to overcome the barriers that divide us and to knit all of
our skills and contributions together. Doing so may represent the
biggestand most rewardingleadership challenge of all.
Fortunately, we can tackle this challenge together.
Janice Molloy is content director at Pegasus
The Art of Breaking Through Complexity: An Interview
with Mitch Litrofsky of the Breakthrough Group
One of the biggest
challenges leaders face today is how to guide their employees through
complex change. Despite being aware of the pressing need to remain
innovative and competitive, most of us, no matter what our position
in the organization, feel threatened when asked to shift the status
quo and behave differently. According to Mitch Litrofsky, founder
of the Breakthrough Group, a Chicago- based consulting group, one
way to help people learn new ways to operate is through the arts.
"We use the arts to support organizational learning," says Mitch.
"Through theater and other storytelling formats, we hold up a mirror
for participants to see the obstacles and barriers to effective
communication, collaboration, and change."
Interactive PerformanceA Catalyst for Conversation
According to Litrofsky, for people to work well together, they
need to be able to talk authentically with each other about issues
that matter. Interactive performance can serve as a catalyst for
beginning such conversations; stories and role-playing provide a
shared frame of reference that allows people to find commonalities.
This approach can also help people build consensus. Mitch says,
"If people can see their colleagues in more authentic ways, they
can overcome their superficial impressions and build stronger relationships
with each other."
For example, for one organization, actors from the Breakthrough
Group simulated a conflict between management and labor union leaders
who had reached a stalemate in contract negotiations. In a theater
piece, representatives from the two sides were portrayed as deeply
entrenched in their own set of interests and needs. Through a facilitated
conversation after the performance, members of the organization
were able to better understand each other's point of view, discover
common goals, and reach positive outcomes, including mutual agreement
on how to resolve the contract negotiations. At the end of the event,
a labor leader revealed, "Before I came in here, I was all set to
file grievances against management. Based on what I heard in this
conversation, I'm dropping the claims."
reading this article.
Mitch Litrofsky will be facilitating a "Breakthrough Cafe" during
the Breakthrough Group's dramatic presentation at this year's conference.
To learn more, go to the conference
Three Learning Paths: Leadership, Systems Thinking, and Organizational
are integrated, cohesive sequences of three sessions each that focus
on building specific competencies. They are designed to (a) deliver
value in each individual session and (b) create a synergistic deepening
in your understanding and skill development if you participate in
the entire path.
Focus on Leadership: Through Complexity to Results
facilitated by Glenna Gerard and Mitch Saunders
Whether crafting business strategies or leading people to create
intended results, we face realities that are changing continually,
quickly, and often unpredictably. Discover, embody, and implement
unconventional leadership choices to help you respond to the profound
dilemmas facing today's organizations. Experiment with new approaches
for leading with impact, effectiveness, and grace.
Systems Thinking in Action
facilitated by Kristina Wile, Michael Goodman, David Peter Stroh,
and Andrew Jones
Learn why systems thinkingseeing the underlying structures
that drive our behavioris a key management skill for the 21st
century. Explore the vocabulary and tools of systems thinking and
understand the leverage in computer modeling for exploring potential
future scenarios and experimenting with how to intervene in the
Today's Organizational Learning: For Individuals, Teams,
facilitated by Marilyn Paul, Joel Yanowitz, and Steve Ober
Explore the tools of organizational learning through three lenses:
the individual, the team, and the organization. Discover how this
powerful, integrated set of capabilities can enhance your own and
your organization's overall effectiveness. Gain experience in institutionalizing
a culture of learning by developing well-designed structures and
To read more about the learning paths and the facilitators, go to
What have your colleagues said about their Systems Thinking in
Action Conference experience?
conference is one of the finest opportunities for renewal I experience
each year. I've been able to carry back to our senior leadership
team new insights into how our healthcare systems really work. As
we've challenged old assumptions and tried to think systematically,
definite shifts in our organization's thinking are occurring."
Ron Potts, M.D., Kaiser Permanente of the Northwest
"Each year the conference enriches our repertoire of skills and
directly impacts our work when we return. Thanks to you we used
the World Café format for our professional development activities
last fall; 500 people sat together to talk about and develop plans
to enact our vision of a 'child-centered' district."
Cheryl Compton, Ed.D., St. Charles, Missouri, School District
"The conference has been most effective when we go as a team;
during meals and break times we talk about key concepts, identify
how they might apply to our work, and create plans for implementing
specific ideas. It has also opened up opportunities to partner with
consultants who bring multicultural perspectives from around the
Kathleen Zurcher, W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Copyright© 2001 Pegasus Communications.
LEVERAGE POINTS can be freely distributed in its entirety or
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