As we come to the end of another taxing New
England winter amid a wave of flu and related
illnesses that have dampened the usual enthusiasm
of the Pegasus office, we're reminded of Elizabeth
Kubler-Ross's observation that "People are like
stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when
the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their
beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within."
It's a moment that gives us a chance to call your
attention to some of the many people in our circle
whose inner light provides inspiration and leadership
despite challenges far more daunting than a little
snow or a nagging cough.
|Solving Tough Problems Together
Over the last 15 years, Adam Kahane has
focused his work on helping diverse, complex,
multistakeholder groups peacefully solve their
toughest problems. As a keynote speaker at the 2008
Pegasus Conference, Adam will share stories that
illustrate how he has come to recognize that such
solutions--in business and society--require us
to "speak fluently two paradoxically different
languages: the language of power and the language
of love." He'll offer five principles, learned in the context
of both success and failure, for addressing
together the major crises of our time. Among the
building blocks for success underlying these five
principles is a fundamental capacity for talking and
listening differently. We're pleased to excerpt here a
portion of an earlier article from Adam that outlines
more than one way to talk and listen.
The Potential of Talking and the Challenge of
by Adam Kahane
Excerpted from The Systems Thinker
newsletter, Volume 10, No. 10.
Four Ways of Talking and Listening
In 2000 a group of researchers from the Society for
Organizational Learning interviewed members of
Visión Guatemala [a large multistakeholder team
that had had a significant positive impact on post-
civil war restoration efforts], to try to pinpoint exactly
what happened in their group to allow them to do such
extraordinary work in such a highly complex system.
The answer the researchers arrived at has to do with
the way this group, over the course of their
involvement together, progressed in the way they were
talking and listening.
Downloading. In the chart "
Four Ways of Talking and Listening" based on the
work of Otto Scharmer of MIT, there are four
quadrants. According to the researchers'
observations, the Visión Guatemala group started
their conversations in downloading. This is supported
by an interview with Elena Díez Pinto, the leader of the
group. She said, "When I arrived at the hotel for lunch
before the start of the initial meeting, the first thing I
noticed was that the indigenous people were sitting
together, the military guys were sitting together, the
human rights group was sitting together. I
thought, 'They are never going to speak to each other.'
In Guatemala we have learned to be very polite to
each other. We are so polite that we say 'yes' but
think 'no.' I was worried that we would be so polite that
the real issues would never emerge."
This first type of talking and listening is called
downloading, because we merely repeat the story
that's already in our heads, like downloading a file
from the Internet without making any change to it. I say
what I always say or what I think is appropriate, such
as "How are you? I'm fine," because I'm afraid that if I
say what I'm really thinking, something terrible will
happen, for instance, I'll be embarrassed or even
killed. Listening in downloading mode is not listening
at all. I am only hearing the tape in my own head.
Debating. The second kind of
talking and listening is called debating. A wonderful
example of this process occurred in Visión
Guatemala's first workshop. One of the interviewees
said, "The first round in the first session was
extremely negative, because we were all looking back
to the events of recent years, which had left a deep
imprint on us. Thus a first moment full of pessimism
was generated. Suddenly a young man stood up and
questioned our pessimism in a very direct manner.
This moment marked the beginning of a very
important change, and we continually referred to it
afterward. That a young man would suddenly call
us 'old pessimists' was an important contribution."
This was debating in the sense that the young man
was saying what he really thought, which is what
happens when people make the transition from
downloading to debating. A clash of arguments
occurs; ideas are put forward and judged objectively
as in a courtroom.
|2008 Conference Offers Paths to Higher Performance
Synergy at Work:
Gathering Momentum for Meaningful
November 17-19, 2008;
Latest Forum Additions
Sources and Design Principles
of "Impossible" Large-Scale Change
Skip Griffin, Dialogos; David Marsing, Retired
Executive, Intel Corporation
the center of every profound change are a few
people whose shared focus around a set of
core creative principles produces "field effects" that
shift the ground of action for everyone. Join these
veteran leaders of ground breaking social and
organizational change to explore the design principles
and personal requirements for
producing "impossible" large-scale change.
To Understand Performance, Follow the
Anne Murray Allen, Allen and Associates; Dennis
Sandow, Reflexus Company; Nick Zeniuk, Retired
Executive, Ford Motor Company
Research has shown that higher
performance is created in self-organizing social
systems through the cultivation of well-being. In this
session, learn how to map social systems, recognize
how performance and well-being emerge within them,
and better understand the importance of story as it
relates to performance.
Taking Social Innovation to Scale: Working with
the Lifecycle of Emergence
Deborah Frieze, Berkana; Tim Merry, The
doesn't change one person at a time. It
changes as networks of relationships form among
people who share a common vision of what's
possible. In this session, learn from the work of the
Berkana exchange, a "trans-local" learning community
of places around the world where this model of
change has become lived experience.
Accelerating Performance: Leaping Tall
Victoria Castle, Castle Enterprising
As we work
with others, how can we tilt the behavioral scales
toward creativity, care, and collective wisdom as
opposed to turf wars, competing agendas, and self
protection? In this experiential workshop, learn body-
centered practices that help you see what's driving you
and others, and how to shift it for greater
Enhancing Continuous Improvement Through
Jason Schulist, DTE Energy
Continuous improvement initiatives such as Lean Six
Sigma have become standard procedures in most
organizations. Yet, few organizations have explored
how organizational learning applies to these efforts.
Learn from Jason Schulist, Director of Continuous
Improvement, how linking these frameworks has
improved his leadership and his ability to initiate
collective action not only within DTE, but also within
the wider community in which DTE operates.
This is the FINAL WEEK
TO SAVE $700! Individuals register for just $995 through
February 29! Contact us now to secure your seat at
these lowest rates.
Teams of 4 or more pay even
Call for details at 1-800-272- 0945.
|Landmarks for Leaders in Times of Uncertainty and Chaos
by Bob Stilger
All around the world, people are stepping forward
new ways to provide leadership. In many cases, they
are not the people in positions of power in
organizations or communities; they are simply those
who see what must be done and are willing to speak
and then to act. Often, as they begin to step forward,
their hearts are pounding with fear, but they believe
the time has come to offer a new possibility for the
Where do these leaders come from? What gives
them the courage to speak up? What capacities and
practices, if cultivated, support people in developing
their own leadership?
Over the past several years, I've worked with a
number of younger leaders involved in community
initiatives in many parts of the world. They practice a
kind of leadership that comes from mind, heart, and
spirit and provides a foundation for effective action in
the world. I've come to call this approach "enspirited
I have identified six key landmarks for enspirited
- They work from a sense of true calling.
- They journey in the company of others.
- They live with a spiritual center.
- They demand diversity.
- Reflective learning guides their lives.
- Their work is filled with ambiguity and
These pioneering leaders have stepped into their
work because of a strong sense of calling, rather than
through a methodical, strategic decision-making
process. In many ways, life leads them to their work.
And, of course, their work then leads them to their life.
Leadership and Change? A Systems Perspective
This presidential election season is stimulating
particularly vigorous conversation about leadership
and change. These topics are equally as relevant in
the workplace as in the public arena. As we examine
the collective aspirations that drive our avid interest in
the choices we face--both in our society and in our
organizations--who better to turn to for perspective
than one of the most innovative systems thinkers of
the last half-century?
We've lowered the prices on two insightful video
presentations from Pegasus to make it more
affordable for you to bring the wisdom of Peter
Senge into your next team meeting, consulting
engagement, or classroom conversation. The intimate
atmosphere and practical focus of these programs
provide a powerful and memorable learning
Peter offers plain, straight-to-the-point
observations about crucial leadership issues facing
all organizations as they work to create the results
they really care about. From proposing alternative
roles for leaders that go beyond the destructive hero-
CEO myth to underscoring the central importance of
trust and relationship in collective endeavors, he zeros
in on pivotal organizational challenges and points a
way ahead for all who see themselves as leaders.
Order #VONE001D, now
Change and Learning
Peter illuminates the essential role of learning in
any successful organizational change effort and
identifies ways to get beyond frustrating barriers. He
highlights the importance of focusing on the human
dimension in the workplace to activate the remarkable
capacity of inspired people to work together toward a
larger goal. Perhaps most important, he dispels the
illusion that leaders can spearhead organizational
change without being ready to change themselves.
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Senge on Leadership
Senge on Change and Learning
2 DVDs, now just $199.00!
Click here to
"Something hit me very hard once,
thinking about what one little man could do. Think of
the Queen Mary--the whole ship goes by and then
comes the rudder. And there's a tiny thing at the edge
of the rudder called a trim tab. It's a miniature rudder.
Just moving the little trim tab builds a low pressure
that pulls the rudder around. Takes almost no effort at
all. So I said that the little individual can be a trim tab.
Society thinks it's going right by you, that it's left you
altogether. But if you're doing dynamic things mentally,
the fact is that you can just put your foot out like that
and the whole big ship of state is going to go. So I
said, 'Call me Trim Tab.'"