A free e-newsletter spotlighting systemic thinking and innovations
in leadership, management, and organizational development. Please
forward to your colleagues.
November 21, 2002 Issue 32
"It does not require a majority to prevail,
but rather an irate, tireless minority keen
to set brush fires in people's minds."
great mistake has a halfway moment, a split
second when it can be recalled and perhaps remedied."
Pearl S. Buck
Audiotapes and CDs of the 2002 Pegasus
Conference, Leading in a Complex
World: Systems Thinking in Action
your daily commute into a lively learning
experience! Listen to this year's Systems
Thinking in Action Conference on tape
or CD! If you didn't get all the tapes you
wanted while at the conference, or if you
weren't able to attend this year, now you
can enjoy the next best thing to being there.
Order the complete set of tapes for $188
or CDs for $236. Tapes are $19.95 each;
CDs are $22.95 each. Review our selection
and order tapes or CDs here.
Ultimate Change Seminar, Cambridge, Massachusetts,
January 8-9, 2003
In this two-day, fast-paced interactive seminar,
executives learn the power of ultimate change
through short lectures on soft- and hard-skill
subjects followed by experiential business simulations.
Executives get first-hand experience with making
effective change that results in business benefits.
Led by Greg Fields of Bridgewright Management
Consultants and Greg Zlevor of Westwood International
Inc. For more information, visit their site.
To register call 1-866-462-2838.
Site License Offer for The Systems Thinker
is the best time to start your organization-wide
site license for The Systems Thinker!
Act now and your subscription can begin
with the first issue of Volume 14. By providing
your entire organization instant access
to leading-edge articles and case studies
on systems thinking concepts and other essential
management tools, a site license can dramatically
improve the quality of collective thinking
and decision-making of your workforce. The
introductory price for a one-year (10-issue),
organization-wide site license subscription
is $1,000.00less than the price of
10 full-rate subscriptions. To take advantage
of this offer or for more information, e-mail
Turner or call 781-398-9700.
Books and Resources
How to Strengthen Productivity Through Sound
Kraines presents a unique approach to helping
companies improve their business effectiveness
by implementing accountable leadership principles.
His creative, commonsense framework is based
on widely recognized principles of clear
communication and commitments. The book
includes a detailed description of the accountability
process, its implications for the future
of business, and case studies. To order,
go to this site.
Essentials of Servant Leadership: Principles
Ann McGee-Cooper and Gary Looper
is a powerful leadership model that has proved
successful in a growing number of organizations.
Companies are experimenting with unprecedented
and accelerated changes in how they define leadershipin
whom employees choose to follow, what it takes
to effectively lead others, and how individuals
can come together to address constant flux.
This volume differentiates servant- leadership
from traditional models, shares case studies,
and offers practical suggestions for putting
servant-leadership principles to work. Order
in a Complex World Video
this year's conference, Pegasus launched
The Leverage Points Video Series,
designed to catalyze intelligent change
by introducing innovative management approaches
in a concise, entertaining, and energizing
presentation. Our first video, Leading
in a Complex World, introduces elements
of self-inquiry, collaboration, shared vision,
and systems thinking to inspire everyone
in your organization to recognize new possibilities
for leadership and achieve uncommon results.
8 minutes, color, $295.00
clips on our web site.
VHS Item #VLPC01
PAL Item #VLPC01P
from Blame to Accountability"
Paul discusses why blame seems to be a natural
reflex when problems arise and how resorting
to finger-pointing limits productivity and innovation.
She explores ways in which organizations can
shift from blame to accountability and offers
guidelines for using systems thinking tools
to surface and break reinforcing cycles of blame
and for developing accountability skills to
maintain long-term organizational health. Order
#PDF080101R, $6.00, PDF article
for the Bold of Heart: An Interview with Gerald Kraines
Societal Learning: Creating Big-Systems Change
Games That People Play
for the Bold of Heart: An Interview with Gerald Kraines
by Kali Saposnick
How much time do managers spend doing what they were hired to do versus
chasing after problems created in other parts of the organization?
"I rarely hear figures greater than 50 percent," says Gerald Kraines,
CEO and president of The Levinson Institute, a Boston-based consulting
firm that offers programs and consultation services to improve the
effectiveness of people and work systems. "In fact, because of lack
of clarity around accountability at almost every level of the organization,
most companies are delivering only a third of their potential."
What is accountability and why is it so important to organizational
success? According to the definition in Gerry's new book, Accountability
Leadership: How to Strengthen Productivity Through Sound Managerial
Leadership, accountability is "the obligation of an employee
to deliver all elements of the value that he or she is being compensated
for delivering, as well as the obligation to deliver on specific output
commitments with no surprises." In other words, as Gerry explains,
all employees at every level are accountable for "keeping their word
and earning their keep." Yet most organizations have not implemented
a system to support them in making that happen.
For the past two decades, Kraines has been developing a principle-based,
scientific approach to building accountability leadership systems.
He has based his framework on the work of Harry Levinson, who created
a sound body of knowledge about how to help managers effectively leverage
their staff's potential, and Elliott Jaques, who has identified methods
for objectively identifying the requisite elements of a managerial
system and an organization's levels of complexity. Why is such an
integrated approach crucial for today's organizations? "First," explains
Gerry, "to get better business results. Business owners have a right
to demand more value, and we have demonstrated that they can double
or triple their results by implementing an accountability-based system.
Second, to advance public health. In a healthy system, people can
realize their individual potential and collectively yield the organization's
potential, which can then be reinvested in our families and communities."
To implement such a system, however, takes a disciplined leader. "This
is not for the faint of heart," Gerry concedes. "Developing a leadership
system where managers deliver on their accountabilities and instill
accountability in their subordinates requires people who are intellectually
curious, who value leadership, and who are not afraid of the hard
work it takes to get the system right."
The Cornerstones of Accountability
In his book, Kraines explains the four cornerstones of building an
accountability leadership system: "LEAD"leverage, engagement,
alignment, and development. In this approach, managers are accountable
for leveraging the potential of their people by engaging commitment,
aligning judgment, and developing capabilities. Effective managers
engage commitment by understanding what goes into a healthy psychological
contract, a term coined by Harry Levinson in the 1950s to describe
how managers understand and create the conditions necessary for people
to feel supported and successful. Aligning judgment means setting
context so that subordinates understand how their work jibes with
the activities and goals of the larger organization and can act on
that understanding. Developing capabilities begins with assessing
people's potential and actual effectiveness and then coaching them
to narrow the gap between the two.
the complete article.
To learn more about resources on leadership, see "Pegasus Highlights."
Learning: Creating Big-Systems Change
by Steve Waddell
approaches to solving large societal problems are producing some
impressive results. For example, banks are teaming up with community
groups to find ways to generate profits and support local
economic development. Construction companies are working with nongovernmental
organizations to produce income and develop sustainable water
and sanitation systems for the developing world.
These new patterns of working together to achieve mutually beneficial
outcomes represent "societal learning." Related to individual, group,
and organizational learning, societal learning almost always involves
the collaboration of three key sectorsgovernment, business,
and civil organizations (including labor, community-based, religious,
and nongovernmental entities)in ways that enhance society's
capacity to innovate. Such collaboration is particularly challenging
to achieve because the organizations involved must embrace diverse
viewpoints, forge new visions, and be willing to operate differently
in the future than they have in the past.
Developing any societal learning initiative requires patience, vision,
and commitment. Participants must: 1) adopt a learning framework
that includes agreement on how to collect and analyze data and opportunities
for skill-building; 2) develop knowledge about and create a strategy
for how to approach an issue; 3) thoroughly consider the current
situation and the intended outcomes; 4) identify all stakeholders
and analyze the relationships among them; and 5) follow the traditional
planning-acting-reflecting learning process.
For more than a decade, through experiments with societal learning
collaborations, we have vastly improved our knowledge about how
to develop and sustain them. In this way, we have increased our
capacity to effectively address complex issues such as environmental
degradation, war, and povertyand to create win-win outcomes
for all segments of society.
Read the complete article, or see The
Vol. 12, No. 10 (Dec. 2001/Jan. 2002).
Games That People Play
In the past,
organizations have relied on extensive training sessions to give
middle managers the financial understanding they need to make effective
business decisions as they rise through the ranks. However, a new
trend in executive education employs online custom-designed business
simulations to achieve the same results. Similar to widely used
computer games such as SimCity, which allows users to build virtual
cities, business simulations replicate various aspects of running
a company. Workers can practice analyzing the business, allocating
resources, negotiating mergers, launching new products, and investing
in quality management. In the process, they reveal their thinking
about business issues and learn new skills quickly.
By 2006, e-learning simulations will probably draw more than $6
million. One reason simulations have become so popular is that they
are a cheaper investment than sending employees to weeks of workshops
or hiring outside consultants. Another is that they provide opportunities
for ongoing training; once installed, the program is always available
so that a manager, for example, can practice giving performance
feedback before an employee evaluation. Finally, employees like
using them. When they engage in simulations together, they're enthusiastic
about learning, and they'll often choose playing the game during
their lunch break over surfing the Internet.
As interest in simulation tools grows, companies have begun to ask
for games that teach more basic financial skills, such as how to
read cash flow, balance sheet, and income statements. Senior executives
have recognized that increasing knowledge capacity is useful not
only for making long-term business decisions, but for helping employees
understand how the "game" is played in the short term.
Source: Louise Story, "Simulations Evolve As Training Tools," The
Boston Globe, August 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.