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April 21, 2005 Issue 61
rewards of living a full life may be measured
in joyous moments rather than days or years.
These are the treasures that return to mind
in the quiet hours. The moments nobly lived,
the challenges met, the truth spoken. Meeting
lifetaking responsibility and leaving
it joyfully once taken."
realized that in the end every summit boils
down to what you're willing to risk to pursue
your passion and make your dreams come true."
THINKING RESOURCES BY BARRY RICHMOND
Until his untimely
death in August of 2002, Barry
Richmond was a leader in the fields
of systems thinking and system dynamics. One
of his strengths was applying systems thinking
to the most gripping and relevant issues of
the day, as well as finding a way forward to
a better future for all. This commitment is
clearly highlighted in the following resources.
Systems Approach to Undermining Terrorism
This presentation was given at the 2001 Pegasus
Conference, just a month after the September
11th terrorist attacks. Like many others, Barry
was deeply concerned about the attacks and
Americans should respond to them. He decided
to apply the framework and skills of systems
thinking to generate insights about how to
#V0101D, DVD, 84 min.,
Successful Change Efforts: Moving System Dynamics
from the Bedroom to the Dining Room and Kitchen
For any change effort to be successful, people
need to know why the change is needed, where
it will lead, and how the transformation will
be accomplished. In this compelling presentation,
Barry Richmond discusses how the tools and methodology
of system dynamics can help managers not only
understand the intellectual and operational
aspects of the transformation process, but communicate
that understanding as widely as possible.
#V9601D, DVD, 68 min., $99.00
#V9601, videotape, 68 min., $99.00
"Thinking" in Systems Thinking: Seven
This volume in Pegasus' bestselling Toolbox
Reprint Series opens with an overview of the
seven skills necessary to becoming a true systems
thinker. Then, each two-page spread takes an
in-depth look at the seven thinking skills--dynamic,
system-as-cause, forest, operational, closed-loop,
quantitative, and scientificand provides
insight into how to best employ each skill.
Includes many examples of the skills in action,
tips for honing the skills, and diagrams to
capture key concepts.
#TRST02, softcover booklet, 26 pages, $16.95
"Thinking" in Systems Thinking
is also available as a pocket guide, a handy
reference tool that summarizes the systems thinking
method and shows you when to use each skill
during the process.
#PG16, 5-1/2 x 8 1/2-inch laminated guide, $5.00
us at Pegasus Communications, One Moody Street,
Waltham, MA 02453-5339. Send an e-mail to email@example.com,
or call 781-398-9700. Web site: http://www.pegasuscom.com.
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Pegasus Communications provides resources that
help people explore, understand, articulate,
and address the challenges they face in the
complexities of a changing world. Since 1989,
Pegasus has worked to build a community of practitioners
Newsletter, books, audio and videotapes, and
its annual Systems
Thinking in Action®
Conference and other events.
Better at Getting BetterHow the After Action Really Review
Works: An Interview with Marilyn Darling
Wheatley to Speak at Author's Night
Register by June 27 to Save $500
Change Happen in Your Organization
Getting Better at Getting BetterHow the After Action
Really Review Works: An Interview with Marilyn Darling
In 1989 Marilyn Darling founded Signet Consulting Group to conduct
research and consulting in strategies for corporate learning. With
her business partner, Charles Parry, she has evolved a practice
called "emergent learning," that is, learning about your own work
in the course of doing your work. About eight years ago, Marilyn
was introduced to the After Action Review (AAR), the U.S. Army's
learning practice that allows soldiers to extract lessons from one
situation and apply them to another. Recognizing the AAR as "emergent
learning on the ground," she has since incorporated the method into
helping individuals and organizations raise the level of learning
in their own work processes.
At the 2005 Pegasus Conference, Marilyn and Lieutenant Colonel Mark
Pires (ret.) will be conducting a one-day pre-conference session,
in which participants will learn and apply the tools of the AAR
process to their work challenges (learn
more about the conference). In the following interview,
conducted by Leverage Points editor Kali Saposnick, Marilyn
describes the challenges and benefits of transferring what we learn
from one project to the next and how AARs empower that process.
Points: What is the After Action Review process, and why would organizations
benefit from using it in their work?
Marilyn Darling: An After Action Review (AAR) is a tool for
continually improving your results by discovering and applying lessons
before, during, and after a project, and for applying those lessons
to similar projects in the future. Many people believe that the
main purpose of AARs is to capture lessons for the benefit of other
teams. But our belief is that the team itself is the first, best
customer for what it is learning, and the best time to apply "lessons
learned" is in the current project itself. What a shame to wait
until the end of a project to hold an AAR and gain an insight that
might have helped improve the results of that project!
LP: What is the first step in using AARs?
MD: You first have to figure out what part of your business
you want to improve. One of the key reasons people misunderstand
the After Action Review is because its name is misleadingit
seems to assume that you do your learning after action is
completed. In fact, you really learn when, at the beginning of a
piece of action, you create a plan for testing out an idea and seeing
if it works.
The real AAR process is a cycle, what we call the arc of learning.
It involves a leader and his or her team asking at various stages
of a project: What is the work that we do that we need to improve
in order to produce the kind of results we want? Each time we begin
that work, can we create a hypothesis about what will make us successful
this time? Can we collectively try out this hypothesis and do an
AAR at the end to ask: What was our intent? Did we actually accomplish
it? What caused our results? What can we sustain? What can we improve?
the complete interview
Learn more about
the 2005 Pegasus Conference
on team learning by Marilyn Darling
15th Annual Pegasus Conference
Embracing Interdependence: Effective and Responsible Action
in Our Organizations and the World
San Francisco, California, November 1416, 2005
Margaret Wheatley to Speak at Author's Night
We are pleased to announce that Margaret Wheatley, author, teacher,
and innovative thinker, will be presenting at Author's Night at
the 2005 Pegasus Conference. Join Wheatley in a talk about her
recent book, Finding Our Way: Leadership for an Uncertain Time
(Berrett-Koehler, 2005). In this work, she richly articulates how
the insights of modern scienceas well as those from primal
wisdom traditions, indigenous tribes, spiritual thought, and poets
old and newcan usher in a new era of human and planetary health.
The event will be held on Tuesday night of the conference, November
15, and is open to the public.
by June 27 to Save $500
Register now through June 27 for only $1095 (a $500 savings!). Also,
get a special subscription price for The Systems Thinker
Newsletteronly $89 for a one-year subscription when you register
(regularly $109). Register
on our web site, or call 1-800-272-0945. For teams, take
advantage of additional discounts by calling Carrie at 1-781-398-9700.
Change Happen in Your Organization
by Barry Dym and Harry Hutson
Why do some change efforts happen easily with little strategy, while
others meet unexpected and crippling resistance despite brilliant
planning? Based on conversations with employees involved in successful
interventions, we conclude that people and organizations will use
whatever resources are available to them to changerapidly,
strongly, and thoroughlyonly when they're "ready."
Good timingknowing what kind of intervention fits the distinctive
needs and climate of an organization at a particular timeis
especially vital when introducing change strategies. We believe
good timing can be learned, and we teach it by dividing readiness
into three distinct and familiar "states," each requiring specific
kinds of interventions.
1) Forays. No matter how bureaucratically organized a system
is, there are always people trying to improve things. Learn to identify
and help grow these efforts, using the momentum of people's own
(2) Responsive States of Readiness. When people feel curious,
receptive, urgency, or determined, they will essentially invite
you to facilitate change. If they do ask you to solve a problem
they've just identified, be decisive in your recommendations and
offer necessary technical assistance.
(3) Unstable States of Readiness. Individuals and groups
whose lives are disrupted by disequilibrium in the system find themselves
confused and helpless. They reach out for almost any way to get
oriented. By timing interventions to unstable states, we substantially
increase their chances of success.
This three-fold categorization gives us options, by allowing us
to design interventions with specific states of readiness in mind.
If an intervention shows signs of failure, we can look to the other
states for guidance. Doing so transforms the development of change
strategies from guesswork into an empirical process.
the complete article on which this summary is based, or see LEVERAGE,
No. 14 (July 27, 1998)
to The Systems Thinker® Newsletter
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