A free e-newsletter spotlighting systemic thinking and innovations
in leadership, management, and organizational development. Please
forward to your colleagues.
September 25, 2002 Issue 30
"Some people fear seeing or feeling
anything about which there is no general
agreement. For others, it is thrilling to
be aware of innuendo, shading, complexity.
For those who do not wish to step away from
consensus, the creative is useless at best;
at worst, it is dangerous. But for those
who are intrigued by the multiplicity of
reality and the unique possibilities of
their own vision, the creative is the path
they must pursue."
is change, continuing change, inevitable
change, that is the dominant factor in society
today. No sensible decision can be made
any longer without taking into account not
only the world as it is, but the world as
it will be."
Essentials of Appreciative Inquiry: A Roadmap
for Creating Positive Futures
by Bernard J. Mohr and
Jane Magruder Watkins
new volume in our Innovations in Management
Series introduces Appreciative Inquiry,
a highly adaptable philosophy and process
for engaging people in building the organizations
and world that they want to work and live
in. Bernard J. Mohr and Jane Magruder Watkins
share stories of AI in action and give a
detailed explanation of five processes that
you can use to guide an appreciative inquiry
in your workplace or community.
Order #IMS018, $10.95, volume discounts
World Café: A Resource Guide for
Hosting Conversations That Matter
by Juanita Brown and the World Café
Community; illustrated by Nancy Margulies
World Café is an easy-to-use method
for creating a living network of collaborative
dialogue around questions that matter to
the real-life situations of your organizations
or community. In this beautifully illustrated
booklet, Juanita Brown collaborates with
Nancy Margulies and the World Café
Community to articulate seven guiding principles
for people to use to host their own Café.
Order #WC01, $12.00, volume discounts available
4, 2002, Waltham, Massachusetts
Systems Thinking 101: New Approaches to
Enjoy the last of the New England foliage
and participate in a workshop with Ginny
Wiley, systems thinking educator, organizational
consultant, and president of Pegasus Communications.
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.
Participate in this hands-on session and
familiarize yourself with some of the powerful
tools that systems thinking has to offer.
For more information or to register, please
call 1-781-398-9700, or complete and fax
form to 1-781-894-7175.
and Resources by Daniel H. Kim
Leading Ethically Through Foresight
this article Daniel H. Kim shows how ethical
failures—such as those that brought
down Enron and WorldCom—often result
from the failure to foresee future events
and take the right actions when it is still
possible to do. For this reason, foresight
is both an ethical responsibility and a
business imperative for leaders today. Daniel
describes the importance of values, purpose,
and vision in guiding people's choices and
producing predictable outcomes even in turbulent
times. Order #130701, $6.00, PDF
for Learning: Strategies for Knowledge Creation
and Enduring Change
technologies, global markets, and the growing
importance of knowledge assets are forcing
us to rethink what has long been taken as
fact. The most important challenge for organizations
is to develop the capacity for continuous
learning—that is, to go beyond managing
existing knowledge to creating new knowledge.
Accomplishing this requires that we not
only think differently, but also frame problems
in whole new ways. This collection of lead
articles from The
Systems Thinker® newsletter
opens a new dimension of insight into dilemmas
that confound many organizations. Order
more resources by Daniel H. Kim.
Values-Based Leadership: An Interview with
Daniel H. Kim
Appreciative Inquiry: Igniting Transformative Action
Big-Picture Approach to ER Overcrowding
Values-Based Leadership: An Interview with
Daniel H. Kim
by Kali Saposnick
failure of some of today's large corporations has left many of us
bewildered and angry. Particularly disturbing has been the unfettered
greed displayed by senior executives of these organizations. Daniel
H. Kim, cofounder of Pegasus Communications, Inc. and a leader in
the field of systems thinking and organizational learning, believes
that "rather than focusing on building their organizations
to last for the long haul, many of these leaders seem to have been
seduced by the incredible opportunities for quick wealth."
He continues, "While growing our companies may be a common
impulse, we must do it in a way that leads to sustainable success
and in a manner that doesn't violate the integrity of our organizations
or the public interest."
Why have so
many organizations lost their moral compass? A large part of the
problem, explains Kim, may be our misunderstanding of the nature
of a market economy. "Over the past two decades, the U.S. Federal
Reserve Board and the government have been very successful in dampening
the business cycle—that is, eliminating downturns—through
various fiscal and monetary policies." He points out, however,
that throughout history economies have always experienced ups and
downs. Because these fluctuations are an intrinsic part of a sustainable
market economy, trying to avoid them forever is neither natural
nor healthy. Furthermore, the longer we artificially delay short-term
recessions, the more severe the correction will ultimately be—as
we're currently finding out.
Daniel compares the dynamics of the current economic crisis to the
uncontrollable forest fires that have swept through the southwestern
United States this past summer. For centuries, fires occurred in
natural cycles that cleared dead wood and allowed forests to rejuvenate
themselves. By suppressing these natural blazes in order to develop
the surrounding areas for residential and commercial use, we have
allowed the undergrowth to become so dense that now, when a fire
does strike, it quickly becomes an inferno. “The ‘only
you can prevent forest fires’ campaign featuring Smokey the
Bear was too successful!” Daniel laments. “The great
redwoods that have survived over a thousand years of natural fires
may be destroyed because of humans tampering with a natural process
that we did not fully understand.”
reading this article.
To learn more about books and resources by Daniel H. Kim,
see "Pegasus Highlights."
Inquiry: Igniting Transformative Action
by Bernard J. Mohr
Inquiry (AI) is a powerful new vehicle for setting in motion a wave
of positive organizational change. It's based on a deceptively simple
premise: that organizations grow in the direction of what they repeatedly
ask questions about and focus their attention on. The practice of
AI is grounded in an intense exploration of "unconditional
positive questions" that can uncover an organization's best
practices and innovations, as well as the conditions that allow
it to thrive.
of asking, "What are our problems? What hasn't worked?"
we might say, "Tell me about a time when things were going
really well around here. What conditions were present at those moments?
What organizational changes would allow more of those conditions
to prevail?" This simple shift in perspective constitutes a
powerful intervention in its own right that can begin nudging the
company in the direction of the inquiry—and toward radical
How does AI
work? Instead of focusing on changing people, AI "invites"
people to engage in a collaborative discovery of what makes their
organization effective—in economic, ecological, and human
terms. This dialogue stirs up energy, excitement, and insights.
Organization members then weave that new knowledge into the firm's
formal and informal systems, such as the way they develop and implement
business strategy, measure progress, or organize themselves to accomplish
tasks. In this way, change begins simultaneously with inquiry, allowing
true learning to take place. Problems get replaced with innovation
as conversations increasingly shift toward uncovering the organization's
the complete article online, or see The Systems Thinker,
Vol. 12, No. 1 (February 2001).
To order Pegasus's
new publication on Appreciative Inquiry, see "New from Pegasus."
Big-Picture Approach to ER Overcrowding
have traced the cause of a rash of temporary emergency-room closures
to a surprising source: surgeons' uneven scheduling of elective
procedures. Because one day a surgeon may operate on several patients
who then require extensive care, and the next she may perform only
outpatient procedures, the number of patients staying in the hospital
varies widely. As a result, management theorist Eugene Litvak and
his team have found that emergency rooms become overloaded not when
too many patients come in but when a lack of open beds keeps them
from being admitted to the hospital.
then, is for hospitals to work with surgeons to coordinate when
and what kinds of operations they are performing. But any change
in procedures must take into account other demands on surgeons'
time, including office hours and teaching schedules. In addition,
most physicians aren't hospital employees and their interests don't
necessarily coincide with those of the facilities they operate in.
In an experiment
in Wisconsin, cardiologists and heart surgeons came to realize the
benefits of limiting overcrowding. Administrators authorized nurses
to close the ICU to new patients when space was limited—even
if surgeons had to cancel scheduled operations. The surgeons were
angry until they realized that they were actually earning more from
heart patients because fewer were being turned away. In addition,
nursing attrition fell as nurses felt more of a sense of control
over their work. Other hospitals hope that a more modest overhaul
of scheduling policies will lead to similar results—a win
for everyone involved.
Barnard, "Study Ties Crowded ERs to Surgeons' Scheduling,"
The Boston Globe, September 5, 2002
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.