24, 2001 Issue 8
the change you want to see in the world."
makes a good follower? The single most important
characteristic may well be a willingness to
tell the truth. In a world of growing complexity
leaders are increasingly dependent on their
subordinates for good information, whether the
leaders want to hear it or not. Followers who
tell the truth and leaders who listen to it
are an unbeatable combination."
--Warren G. Bennis
Systems Thinking in Action® Conference
The "early bird" registration deadline
has been extended until February 15th.
before then to take advantage of the low rate
Call for STA 2001
If you would like to present at the conference,
please complete and submit a proposal by Feb 9th.
Get the form here.
for Learning: Strategies for Knowledge Creation
and Enduring Change
by Daniel H. Kim
important challenge for organizations is to develop
the capacity to organize for continuous learning--to
go beyond managing existing knowledge to creating
new knowledge. Accomplishing this requires that
we not only think differently, but also frame
problems in whole new ways. Complied from articles
from THE SYSTEMS THINKER newsletter, Organizing
for Learning opens a new dimension of insight
into dilemmas that confound many organizations.
Through his insightful and systemic exploration
of these themes, author Daniel Kim offers concrete
ideas and suggestions for building a work culture
where learning can thrive. (Pegasus Communications,
# OL017r, Softcover book, 112 pages, illustrated,
$24.95. Volume discounts available.
25-27, 2001. Project Teams: Collective Genius
for Performance Excellence, Austin, Texas.
This conference is designed for technical specialists
and business professionals working in organizations
and industries where speed, creativity, and innovation
are required for competitive advantage--whether
they are producing products, delivering services,
developing products, or transforming the organization.
Companies that succeed in this fast-paced and
changing business environment prepare people to
work effectively in project teams that are often
cross-functional with members who are electronically
linked. The five conference learning tracks are
sharing knowledge; enhancing creativity and innovation;
organizing structures and business processes;
responding to a changing business environment;
and leading project teams and organizations.
For more information, contact the University of
North Texas Center for the Study of Work Teams
by phone at (940) 565-3096, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org,
or go to http://www.workteams.unt.edu.
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Getting Organized from the Inside Out
What Techniques Have You Used for Teaching Causal Loop and Stock
and Flow Diagrams? and How Can We Collect, Document, and Retrieve
Identifying and Relieving Managers' Workplace Stress
Organized from the Inside Out
by Marilyn Paul
Deciding to change and actually producing change are often two different
things, particularly when you're attempting to become more organized.
Most people try to "just do it," perhaps by undertaking a massive
office clean-up, but they soon fall back into old habits. Systems
thinking offers tools for breaking the cycle and effecting lasting
The image of an iceberg, a classic systems thinking tool, illustrates
the importance of understanding the complex structures beneath the
surface of a problem. What we can seeevents that take place
above the "water line," such as losing important phone numbers, arriving
late for meetings, and living with lots of clutteris just a
small piece of the iceberg. What lies hidden beneath the surfacethe
assumptions that we hold about ourselves and our worldshapes
our perceptions and influences our behavior.
The alternative to "just do it" is to change these hidden structures
by using the "CHI" method: examining choices (C), changing habits
(H), and deepening insight about our mental models (I). The key to
"CHI" (pronounced "chee" and meaning energy in Chinese) is making
the connection between our thinking and our habits. As we familiarize
ourselves with the thoughts and feelings that accompany how we do
things, we can learn to make new choices that can lead to more productive
habits. Don't expect a quick fix, but if you persist in learning more
about the unspoken assumptions that drive your behavior, you will
see real change in your work, home environment, and yourself.
Read the complete article online or see
LEVERAGE Number 24, December 28, 1998. Readers who wish to discuss
this topic are invited to the Leverage
Points Discussions Forum.
What techniques have you used for overcoming the challenges of
teaching people to use visual tools like causal loop and stock and
Please take a minute to share your thoughts about this issue in the
Thinking Forum. Selected comments will be shared in a future issue
of LEVERAGE POINTS.
As a member
of a Learning Team, I am challenged with the task of documenting
the new information we are collecting and putting it into retrievable
form. We are experimenting with outlining, hypertext, multiple views,
and key word or key phrase searching using a Lisp language. Is anyone
else thinking about these things?
Question submitted by Bill Butler
I recently attended
a lecture that covered a world-class process for both capturing
lessons learned, entering them in a huge database, and accessing
them in real time. It is the Army's After Action Review process.
The process is a blend of culture, process, and high technology.
Quite interesting and effective.
is a nice paper that has been produced on it titled From Post-Mortem
to Living Practice: An In-Depth Study of the Evolution of the After
Action Review. It was written by Marilyn J. Darling and Charles
S. Parry. You can buy a copy of the paper by contacting Signet Consulting
Group at (617) 242-7214 or via their Web site at www.signetconsulting.com.
We could not
solve that puzzle until we redefined everything. First, forget the
technical aspect of methods or approaches. Second, there is no information,
there is only information for some purpose.
If you can agree to that, then three steps may help:
1. Work with your group to define the goal.
2. Be aware that different aspects exist in how people
perceive a subject or topic, and try to define the aspect you want
3. Choose your tool or, much better, develop your own. It does not
need to be sophisticated in the beginning.
The basic idea
is that the solution to your challenge is a conceptual one and not
a technical one. The main problem is that most people do not like
this answer at all. "We bought all this expensive software
and now someone comes and tells us to think before acting."
There are any
number of ways to go about what you are doing. I would put search
capability and flexibility above looking for the perfect taxonomy
for your data. It seems that whatever our teams or communities learn
must be captured and used with the context as much intact as possible.
I like the After Action Review approach, but it perhaps would be
more useful if accompanied by quotes or interviews with key participants
to capture some of that context. Also, stories and metaphors are
powerful embodiers of context. For example, what about having the
group brainstorm about an image or metaphor that expresses their
team learning? It has that double-loop effect of also getting them
to work as a team.
wish to view the complete responses to this question or to continue
this discussion are invited to go to the
FROM THE FIELD
Identifying and Relieving Managers' Workplace Stress
A key reason for high levels of stress in the office may surprise
some corporate leaders. Long hours and tight deadlines do account
for some pressure, but many managers report that impossible expectations
place higher on their stress list. Especially in this time of tightening
budgets, they are often given responsibility for solving a problem
without the resources or authority to do so. This kind of no-win situation
is extremely frustrating and demoralizing, particularly for skilled
managers used to moving projects forward in a productive and efficient
Another major cause
of job stress occurs when capable managers are promoted to positions
for which they don't have the appropriate skills or that are too removed
from the work they enjoy. These individuals frequently end up creating
resentment by micromanaging their staff or feeling unfulfilled and
leaving the company.
frustration poses a difficult challenge to many managers who fear
their supervisors will perceive them as incompetent or malcontented.
But managers usually get the relief they need when they speak up.
Identifying and communicating to others the work that does fulfill
them often leads to new opportunities within the organization. Supervisors,
in turn, can help managers execute their responsibilities by making
sure they have the resources and skills they need to achieve success
and by visibly supporting challenging projects.
Expectations and Unfulfilling Work Stress Managers, Too," by
Carol Hymowitz, The Wall Street Journal, January 16, 2001.
Copyright 2001 Pegasus Communications. LEVERAGE POINTS can be freely
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