A free e-newsletter spotlighting systemic thinking
and innovations in leadership, management, and organizational development.
Please forward to your colleagues.
October 28, 2003 Issue 43
things that make good headlines attract our
attention because they are on the surface of
the stream of life, and they distract our attention
from the slower, impalpable, imponderable movements
that work below the surface and penetrate to
the depths. But of course it is really these
deeper, slower movements that, in the end, make
history, and it is they that stand out huge
in retrospect, when the sensational passing
events have dwindled, in perspective, to their
"Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's
the way it is. The way you cope with it is what
makes the difference."
Our Capacity for ChangeWritings by Peter
this selection of articles from The Systems
Thinker Newsletter, Peter Senge, author
of The Fifth Discipline, explores key
ideas and skills for tapping into our innate
capacity for change that can help us foster
innovative learning communities and strengthen
our ability to come togetheras individuals,
organizations, and nationsto address the
growing imbalances that threaten us all. Contains
an overview, article summaries, discussion questions,
next steps, and additional resources to highlight
learnings and provoke conversation.
#ANT03, PDF, illustrated, $15.95
This volumepart of our Essential Readings
for the Innovative Organization seriescan
be used as support material for the following
this powerfully engaging video, Peter Senge
speaks in plain, straight-to-the-point language
about crucial leadership issues facing all organizations
as they work to create the results they really
care about. Approx. 25 minutes, color, $325
#VONE001, VHS cassette
on Change and Learning
In this gripping discussion, Peter Senge illuminates
the crucial role of learning in any successful
organizational change effort and helps us understand
ways to get beyond frustrating barriers to learning.
Approx. 25 minutes, color, $325 (regularly $395)
#VONE002, VHS cassette
$450, regularly $595
Order #VONE0102SET, 2 VHS cassettes
Corporations: Adding Value Through Responsible
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
How can we add value to our organizations through
responsible business practices? This hands-on,
two-day workshop introduces you to Four Profit's
Sustainability Framework, which provides a concrete
vision, practical method, and robust set of
tools to help companies improve your sustainability
performance while improving your four bottom
lines: financial, people, environment, and community.
In small groups, participants will apply the
framework to their own compelling business issues.
Profit Inc., Community
Matters Group, Center for Corporate Citizenship
at Boston College, and Royal
Sonesta Hotel Boston.
more about or register for the workshop,
or call Julie Turner at 1-781-398-9700. Apply
now and take advantage of our
special early-bird workshop ratea
savings of $200! Team discounts are also available.
OrganizedA Personal Mastery Audio Conference
with Marilyn Paul
November 12, 2003, 12 noon1:15 p.m. EST
No matter how hard you try to get organizeddespite
applying tips from countless books and hiring
personal organizerssometimes it's impossible
to make a dent in the clutter that surrounds
you. In this audio conference, learn a process
for changing your mindset about organization
and time management, and understand how your
deep-rooted beliefs pose the most difficult
challenge to your becoming organized. Marilyn
will guide you through a seven-step model that
helps you recognize how seemingly simple, isolated
decisions can lead to vast unintended consequences
#AC200304 Cost: $99 per listening site
more about the audio conference or register.
Fall 2003 CatalogFeaturing Special Learning
Guides for Learning Set
Ever wish you had some of
the greatest tools and concepts of systems thinking
and organizational development at your fingertips?
Sized to fit in most daily planners, these
25 different laminated guides offer
compelling tips and practical examples of tools
in action or serve as handy quick-reference
Some of the guides include:
Conflict Resolution: A Systemic Approach
The Do's and Don't's of Systems Thinking
on the Job
Getting Organized to Make a Difference
A Guide to Accountability Leadership
A Guide to Designing a Systems Thinking
A Guide to Practicing Dialogue
A Guide to Servant Leadership
Guidelines for Daily Systems Thinking
Guidelines for Drawing Causal Loop Diagrams
The Ladder of Inference
Moving from Blame to Accountability
Palette of Systems Thinking Tools
Productive Conversations: Using Advocacy
and Inquiry Effectively
Systems Archetypes at a Glance
The "Thinking" in Systems Thinking: Honing
The World Café: An Innovative
Approach to Dialogue
Order #PGST25, 5-1/2
x 8-1/2-inch laminated, Set
of 25 guides: $85.00 ($125.00 value)
a PDF of the Fall 2003 Catalog
CD (Vols. 1013)! Order now and get a free subscription
to The Systems Thinker Newsletter for 2004. The CD is
an invaluable resource for individuals who want to easily access
all the incisive ideas presented over the last four years. All issues
are fully indexed and searchable in PDF format. Sale price: $335
(regularly $447). The free subscription is an additional value
of $139! Offer good through December 15, 2003simply use
Priority Code CDTST04 when you place your order.
of the 2003 Pegasus Conference
Eye of the Needle: A Communication Tool
Much Distress Can You Take?
of the 2003 Pegasus Conference
want to congratulate you on another winning conference. I really
appreciate your talents in putting together the best conference
in the country."
Paul Breaux, managing partner, FourProfit Inc.
"This conference has been a wonderful experience. I will come back
and recommend to my group that we come as a team."
Steven Larson, VP, senior OD consultant, Wachovia Corporation
What does it mean to transform our organizations to create a better
world? How do we get a critical mass of people doing things differently?
And what are the implications for how we each think and act in the
workplace, at meetings, and in communities? These are some of the
compelling questions that emerged from the theme of this year's
Pegasus Conference, Changing Our Organizations to Change the
World: Systems Thinking in Action®. Through two-and-a-half
days of keynote sessions, skill-building and case study workshops,
and myriad opportunities for exploring these issues with others,
attendees from more than 20 countries came away with a revitalized
sense of their power to create significant change in their organizational
settings and beyond.
In the concluding keynote address, The Fifth Discipline author
Peter Senge summarized a topic that ran throughout the conference
program: how individuals and organizations can fundamentally shift
the ways in which they engage with others in order to reach new
levels of effectiveness in their industries, communities, and the
world. According to Peter, most organizations are trapped in a reactive
modethat is, they respond to crises by making small, incremental
changes that do not address the underlying causes of their difficulties.
But by changing how they interact with one another, groups can move
to a generative mode, in which they regularly articulate a new or
deeper sense of purpose, vision, and values while tapping into what
is emerging in their surroundings. It is through this deeper form
of engagement that organizations can achieve breakthrough results.
The conference provided many powerful examplesboth at the
micro and macro levelsof how individuals and organizations
can successfully make this shift. For instance:
Kahane, founding member of Generon Consulting, shared a framework
for talking and listening that has helped multiple stakeholders
in South Africa and Guatemala come together to create a better future
for all in the wake of the horrific violence that took place in
Leaders from Unilever, one of the world's largest consumer goods
companies, described how their organization attained double-digit
growth in a sluggish industry by implementing transformational leadership
development practices, including reflective conversation.
Staff from Roca Inc., a Massachusetts-based human development and
community-building organization, shared their personal journeys
to "show up differently" with key external partners, such as the
social services and criminal justice systems, to create extraordinary
relationships and in turn effect profound change in their community.
the participants, the conference was an opportunity to challenge
their assumptions about what's possible for their organizations
to accomplish in today's complex global economy. Many look forward
to attending the 2004 Pegasus Conference as our worldwide learning
community gathers once again in Boston to explore the vital role
of building collaborations in creating better futures for ourselves,
our organizations, and the world.
the mind-mapping graphics of the plenary sessions,
in which Michelle Boos-Stone captured the emotional and intellectual
essence of each presentation. Check
our web site in the coming month for additional resources,
including audiotapes and CDs of conference sessions.
of the Needle: A Communication Tool
by Nancy Oelklaus
How often have you left a conversation feeling dissatisfied with
how it went, how you conducted yourself, and what the final outcome
was? Were there things you wish you had said that remained unspoken
or statements you made that you wish you had presented differently?
Did you find your "rational" mind censuring your emotions, or your
emotions overriding your reason?
Our first response to any given situation often comes from emotion.
Why? Because the part of our brain that processes emotions develops
earlier than the parts that deal with logic and reasoning. As we
mature, the rational brain often tries to override the emotional
brain, like a big sister or brother who "knows better." The result
of this inner struggle is stress, which spills over in the way in
which we conduct our dealings with others and undermines our effectiveness
and sense of well-being.
By using a simple technique called the "Eye of the Needle," which
joins together management theorist Chris Argyris's left-hand/right-hand
column tool with the work of neuroscientist Candace Pert on emotional
memory, we can integrate the rational and emotional parts of the
brain, avoid stress, and harness more of our brainpower to focus
on solutions. Eye of the Needle is a seven-step process for identifying
the parts of a conversation that remain unspoken and the feelings
that underlie those responses (read
the complete article containing the process, or see The Systems
Thinker, V14N4 (May 2003)).
By linking our thoughts and feelings, we can learn to communicate
completely so that we speak the whole truth in a state of mutual
respect. As we become more practiced using this tool, we start to
replace the stress response with wisdom, and we feel more confident
to take on the challenging conversations in our lives.
For more ways
to work smarter, not harder, try Nancy Oelklaus's new CD, "8
Bits of Wisdom to Create the Life You Want: Tips I Picked Up Along
the Way" (Entrepreneurial Systems, 2003).
Subscribe to The
QuotientHow Much Distress Can You Take?
Can people's ability to overcome adversity predict their successful
job performance more effectively than intelligence or emotional
maturity? According to Paul Stoltz, author of Adversity Quotient:
Turning Obstacles into Opportunities (John Wiley & Sons, 1997),
many companies today are beginning to think so. The architect of
AQ theory, Stoltz believes that employees who thrive on adversity
can better meet the demands of a rapidly changing marketplace.
Adversity quotient measures how an individual perceives and deals
with challenges, whether they are minor annoyances or major tragedies.
Individuals with high AQ take greater responsibility for fixing
problems, don't blame others for their setbacks, and perceive that
their problems are limited in scope and can be dealt with quickly
and effectively. Those who don't handle adversity well become easily
overwhelmed and quickly give up.
Why is understanding how we deal with adversity so important? Research
shows that the average number of daily crises an individual confronts
has significantly increased in the last decade (from 7 to 23), and
that how people respond to these crises is a strong predictor of
their overall success. Fortunately, people can be trained to improve
their adversity response, by understanding their personal shortcomings
and turning them into opportunities. Organizations applying AQ theory
have reported improvements in hiring and retaining highly motivated
and talented employees, developing employees' full potential, and
creating a culture of leaders. As a result, they have improved performance,
profit margins, and organizational growth.
Unfortunately, the danger of using assessment tools is that managers
often judge people based on their score and miss or ignore critical
assets such as the ability to reflect, listen, and collaborateskills
not addressed in AQ theory. Likewise, an organization needs contributions
from people with all different skill setsincluding some of
those discounted by this framework. As long as people recognize
its limitations, however, AQ can be a powerful tool for organizations
to develop resilience and good health during stressful times.
Source: M. Surekha, "Adversity Quotient," October 3, 2001, The
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