20, 2000 Issue 6
"We live in a dense and tangled global
in which everyone has a different vantage point....
We can look at that fact in a negative way,
as a description of a new Tower of Babel, where
we can't hear each other because of so much
diversity. Or we can look at it as an invitation
to come together and truly listen to one another--listen
with the expectation that we will hear something
new and different, that we will hear what we
need to hear from others in order to grow and
"It 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.... This, in turn, means that our statesmen,
our businessmen, our everyman must take on a
science fictional way of thinking."
9-16, 2001. Authentic Leadership: Joining Collaborative
Learning and Meditative Insight, Halifax, Nova Scotia,
This program, hosted by the Shambhala Institute,
is designed for organizational practitioners who
want to deepen their experience of collaborative
learning and acquire new perspectives and artful
strategies for dealing with complex, long-term challenges.
Presenters including Peter Senge, Margaret Wheatley,
Francisco Varela, Juanita Brown, Jennifer Kemeny,
and Art Kleiner will participate in the learning
community. The daily schedule will begin with meditation
and a short talk that highlights some aspect of
meditative awareness. Participants will spend three
hours a day in their primary collaborative learning
module and then regroup for reflection circles and
arts-based awareness exercises. The community will
also come together for conversations, presentations,
arts performances, and other events. For more information,
go to the Shambhala
Institute. To request a full program brochure,
call 902-425-0492 or
e-mail the Institute.
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Thinking out of the "Doctor Box"
Are E-Business Companies Really All That Different from Their Predecessors?
and Reader Response to Tools for the Empowered Team
"How Am I Supposed to Work with Her?": The "Accidental Adversaries"
of the "Doctor Box"
One of the challenges of current medical practice--for patients and
doctors alike--is the limit on how long physicians can spend in the
examining room. With pressure to boost profits by squeezing in more
patients, doctors often feel rushed as they diagnose and treat symptoms.
Patients aren't able to develop a relationship with their providers
or to ask questions. The result is frustration on all sides--and perhaps
even a decline in the quality of care.
To address this problem of access, some medical practices are experimenting
with group appointments. Instead of waiting several weeks for an individual
visit, patients can drop in on a group appointment at the last minute.
In the case of a Palo Alto, California group, 10 patients meet with
a doctor for 90 minutes to discuss their symptoms and receive advice
and treatment. The tradeoffs include less confidentiality, a relatively
long time commitment, and limits on the kinds of problems that can
be treated. But for some people, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.
What can organizations outside the medical profession learn from this
"out-of-the-box" experiment? One key lesson is the need to examine
our assumptions. Just because we've always done something one way
doesn't mean that it's the only way. In this case, by shifting how
they thought about a limited resource--doctors' time--caregivers found
a creative way to offer patients greater access to medical care without
compromising the quality of that access.
Source: "Doctors Find Quality Time with Patients in Groups" by Rusty
Dornin, cnn.com, October 6, 2000.
Join the new Healthcare
Community Forum at the Pegasus
I can't pick up a magazine without reading how volatile and different
the current crop of e-business companies are. But are they really
all that different as organizations? Or were the Fords, Shells, and
GEs in their infancy more similar than we admit to the Cisco Systems,
Amazon.coms, and E-bays of today?
--Submitted by Jose Pacheco
Please take a minute to share your thoughts about this issue at the
Leverage Points Discussion forum, part of our new online Pegasus
Forums. Selected comments will be shared in a future issue of
From Issue #5: We often tell people they are empowered, but empowerment
cannot be imposed, and teams who have been told they are empowered
do not always act autonomously. What tools can we use to develop a
shared model of action for the empowered team?
--Submitted by Malcolm Jones
I often find this tool useful with any team that finds itself "stuck."
It is based on something called "The Swamp Model."
1. Ask the team to list its current "projects."
2. Rate each project on two dimensions:
A. Who is able to get the project done?
B. How soon can the appropriate people accomplish the project?
3. Create a two-dimensional grid from the ratings, with "Who" on one
axis and "When" on the other. The scales on each dimension run from
"close to us"/"now" to "far away from us"/"a long time out."
4. Create two regions: The single quadrant that is "close to us" and
"soon" is referred to as "Dry Land." Only those projects that fall
into this quadrant are likely to be accomplished. The other three
quadrants are referred to as the "Swamp." Any projects falling in
the Swamp are unlikely to get done.
How can the team move projects from the Swamp onto Dry Land?
1. If they require people too far from the team, try to recruit those
people or get their authority transferred to the team.
2. Failing that, ask "What part of it can we do with just the people
3. If the project takes too long, figure out the most useful first
steps and do them. By recontextualizing the project as a series of
"next steps," each "next step" comes onto Dry Land.
To judge if our environment supports empowered teams, we need a surprise-o-meter.
If team members are truly empowered, they will surprise us fairly
regularly. This indicates that the individuals are feeling enabled
to take risks, encouraged to think outside of organizational boundaries,
and free to take chances. If you are never surprised, then they are
likely feeling limited by organizational norms (written or not).
We used a model that included:
Using open dialogue to develop a shared picture of success. Building
on each team member's intrinsic needs.
Setting an expectation that we would celebrate each other's successes.
Building a learning community in which we all learned from our mistakes,
learned from each other, and worked with the help of others to create
Always having measurable stretch goals so we had to continue to learn.
We used a formal process to welcome people to the team. After three
months, we noticed a "blossom effect": People became radiant with
an observable glow. They now believed that all their energy could
go into creation and that they didn't have to engage in dysfunctional
Readers who wish to view the complete responses to this question or
to continue this discussion are invited to go to the Pegasus
Forums section of our Web site. Look for the Leverage Points Discussions
"How Am I Supposed to Work with Her?": The "Accidental
by Philip Ramsey and Rachel Wells
Managers are becoming increasingly aware that strong relationships
among team members, departments, and even companies and their vendors
are essential for organizations to thrive. When relationships are
healthy, people can direct their energies toward revenue-generating
activities. When relationships are weak, however, energy is dissipated
as people focus on politicking, self-protection, and game-playing.
In any relationship, some of the things you do contribute to my achieving
my objectives and others get in my way. Often the "getting in the
way" occurs when you inadvertently make my life more difficult while
pursuing your own goals. In response, I might set up safeguards for
future interactions. These safeguards end up making your life more
difficult. You then act to protect your interests, unintentionally
obstructing me in turn. In this case, we have become "Accidental Adversaries."
Although it is tempting to think we can sort out our disagreements
by finding out "who started it," this approach is unlikely to help
us break out of the vicious cycle in which we've become trapped. The
good news is that we can choose to focus on the benefits that we offer
one another, and we can cultivate our capacity to act in selfless
rather than self-interested ways. For this to happen, we need to form
relationships with those whom we trust. Then, if we do encounter conflicts,
we can work together to overcome them.
View the complete article from THE SYSTEMS
THINKER V11N8, October 2000.
Copyright 2000 Pegasus Communications. LEVERAGE POINTS can be freely
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