A free e-newsletter spotlighting systemic thinking
and innovations in leadership, management, and organizational development.
Please forward to your colleagues.
May 18, 2006 Issue 74
I lack the art
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written,
I am not done with my changes.”
—Stanley Kunitz, from “The Layers”
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helped us develop a common language, and,
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in my growth as a systems thinker.”
—Jo A. Berry-Segna
Florida Education Association
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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 through The
Newsletter, books, audio and videotapes,
its annual Systems
Thinking in Action®
Conference, and other events.
Centuries of the Future: A Whirlwind Journey through Time with Eamonn
• Early Registration Discount Deadline
to May 31
Conference Brochure Now Available
• Teams Program Facilitator Jen Hunter Suggests Tools that
Inspire Teams to Learn, Grow and Deliver!
Action-To-Outcome Mapping: Testing Strategy
With Systems Thinking
Centuries of the Future: A Whirlwind Journey through Time with Eamonn
is the visionary author of Powerful
Times: Rising to the Challenge of Our Uncertain World, and CEO
Business Network (GBN). He is central to GBN’s leadership
role in the evolution and application of scenario thinking and strategic
conversation to help organizations change and innovate in fundamental
In the preface
to his recent book, Powerful Times: Rising to the Challenge
of Our Uncertain World, Eamonn Kelly uses a metaphor from the
world of bees to acknowledge the heartening spirit of experimentation
and discovery that he observes in natural leaders at all levels.
book is for all of the ‘scout bees’ of the human world—those
explorers who find it their calling to seek, on behalf of us all,
a better future. I hope it makes a modest contribution to strengthening
your wings, animating your dance, refreshing your optimism, framing
your insights, and, above all, helping you make a difference in
enthusiasm for addressing the Pegasus Conference this November stems
from his recognition of how aptly that metaphor applies to the systems
thinking community. Seeing the conference—like his book—as
a means for strengthening, animating, refreshing, and framing, he
promises to engage us with his insightful observations about the
outdated mental models we’ve inherited over the last five
centuries of history, and stirring inquiry about where we go from
here. “It is no longer a luxury to think globally, act collaboratively,
and tap into our capacity for collective intelligence. It is an
imperative given the extent to which the bedrock assumptions that
we’ve depended upon for the last 500 years are cracking right
before our eyes.”
To get a sense
the exuberant presence that Eamonn will bring to the conference,
enjoy this video with his “warp speed” survey of the
roots of many of today’s major political, social, and economic
Centuries of the Future
Powerful Times: Rising to the Challenge
of Our Uncertain World
Annual Pegasus Conference
Leading Beyond the Horizon: Strategies for Bringing Tomorrow
into Today's Choices
Waltham, Massachusetts, November 1315,
before May 31 to secure your place and save $500 off
the standard conference rate!
Off the Press!
The conference brochure includes detailed descriptions of each session
along with schedule and registration information. Please
download a copy today, or call us at 1-781-398-9700 to request
a copy by mail or extra copies for distribution.
Program Facilitator Jen Hunter Suggests Tools that Inspire Teams
to Learn, Grow and Deliver!
Teams Program bookends the conference with launching and concluding
sessions to help intact and project teams attending together achieve
shared focus and make it stick. In addition to cross-pollination
with other teams and the support of a dedicated coach throughout
the conference, teams benefit from the wisdom of facilitators experienced
in applying systems thinking and related tools to the knottiest
team performance issues.
the following list, lead facilitator Jen Hunter suggests some of
her favorite Pegasus resources to support team learning and development.
Buy ahead or plan to pick up a copy at the conference bookstore
to reinforce your conference learning:
Thinker. This is simply one of the most valuable
team building tools I've ever found; short provocative articles
that help a team frame or reframe a challenge or opportunity, or
set the foundation for thinking boldly about new futures.
A tie between...The
Systems Thinking Playbook, by Linda Booth Sweeney and Dennis
Meadows. I LOVE THIS!!! It gives me a leg up on the design
of interesting and provocative exercises, often providing context
that allows me to slightly adapt the exercise to meet the specific
needs of the team or community I’m serving.
Learning Fables by David Hutchens, illustrated by Bobby Gombert,
with my favorites being Outlearning
the Wolves, The
Lemming Dilemma, and Listening
to the Volcano. These are great tools to create
common language and explore some challenging team areas. Each fable
has such a lovely way of telling an important and meaningful story.
The images are fun and engaging, and they make the learning process
easy; these are fantastic social lubricants.
audiotapes (and videos). These are excellent ways
to bring the conference home with you! When one of the keynote sessions
moves me, I will often buy a copy of that audio or video and include
a clip or two in my presentation to the team back home. It makes
the experience real for others and exposes them directly to the
power and quality of the keynote itself!
LINE: I think the most valuable learning tool Pegasus Communications
offers is the annual Systems Thinking in Action® Conference.
With its thoughtful focus on innovation, leadership and systems
thinking, it brings together people from all over the world and
a variety of sectors and disciplines to explore issues, ideas and
challenges in a way that’s fun, engaging, and rewarding. For
me, it is the one learning event each year that stimulates new thinking
Hunter of The Learning
Catalyst first served as the lead
facilitator of the Teams Program at the 2005 Pegasus Conference.
In 2006, Jen is returning with an international team of exceptional
coaches and Charles Alday and Michelle Boos-Stone to design and
deliver an extraordinary conference introduction session for individuals
your team of four or more on our web site before May 31 for only
$1050 per person, or call 1-781-398-9700 today to ensure
that you will be part of this important conversation!
Also, take advantage of a special subscription price
for The Systems Thinker® Newsletter—only $89
for a one-year subscription when you register (regularly $109).
Mapping: Testing Strategy With Systems Thinking
by Andrew Jones and Don Seville
In the “classic”
systems thinking approach, a group uses mapping and modeling to
help explain an important behavior over time. While we occasionally
encounter groups that resonate with this classic approach, more
often we find teams that are fixated on immediately improving their
They look to systems
thinking for some specific help in addressing questions such as,
“How can our team test our thinking about the best way to
achieve our goals? How can we strengthen our strategy and achieve
more success with less energy? And how can we avoid unintended consequences
or ‘push-back’ from the system?”
To help a group
respond to those queries, we lead them through a structured process
that we are calling “action-to-outcome” mapping. We
have found this approach particularly useful in situations where
a team has already chosen a set of actions intended to achieve specific
outcomes within an uncertain environment. This process can stand
alone or lead to a more expansive effort to map, understand, and
formally model the system in which the group is operating.
While we have used several
variations, the core of our action-to-outcome mapping process involves
five steps: (1) Exploring the existing causal theory, (2) Adding
feedback, (3) Uncovering critical mindsets, (4) Accounting for external
forces, and (5) Looking for opportunities for learning and action.
groups use action-to-outcome mapping to improve their strategies
on challenges ranging from urban sprawl to sustainable agriculture
to air quality to inner-city poverty gives us hope that systems
thinking can fulfill its promise of helping overcome the complex
challenges of creating a more sustainable world.
the complete article or see The Systems Thinker, V14N2 (March
to The Systems Thinker
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