The only thing constant in life is change—Heraclitus. With change being constant in life, change is not avoidable through life.
With this in mind, denying (the need for) change, is denying life. Refusing to deal with it in the present is refusing to be life affirming in the present. This way of being doesn’t stop change from arising—given its constancy—it only ensures having to deal with it in its extreme later. Continue reading →
When most people talk of leadership what they are really speaking to is the highest levels in the management hierarchy. They are talking about the legitimate authority positions in an organization. They speak of leadership as if it was a noun, a name we attribute to a person or position. Continue reading →
With the race to become more productive, more competitive and more profitable having the answer to the question that continues to challenge business managers, how do you motivate people, can be the ticket to winning. Even though Frederick Hertzberg offered a direct and complete answer give them something motivating to do, the question for the majority of business managers remains unanswered. Further, not understanding the depth of Hertzberg’s answer, we’ve even advanced another classification of management—management can’t do it but leadership can—in hopes of meeting the challenge. Yet whether you are labeled a manager or a leader the challenge goes largely unmet.
What could be the root of the problem and the difficulty in dissolving it? Continue reading →
“Thinking systemically also requires several shifts in perception, which lead in turn to different ways to teach and different ways to organize society” –Russell Ackoff
As living beings we each present with a physical body comprised of cells, tissue, organs and organ-systems structurally and functionally organized to support (our) life. The natural order of things is a hierarchy of constituent entities that are themselves living systems. So the issue is not whether everything is reducible to individual entities—the atomistic view—or everything is a whole—the holistic view—but rather that neither view is the absolute view. As Arthur Koestler (The Ghost in The Machine) noted “parts and wholes in a absolute sense do not exist in the domain of life.” What we have are semi-autonomous systems that are each a part of larger higher order systems. Koestler called these ‘whole-parts’ holons—wholes that are parts of other wholes—and the hierarchy they constitute a holarchy. Continue reading →
Getting the most out of people is not a bad thing but in the extreme it translates into squeezing the life out of them. As Deming exclaimed, “beat horses and they will run faster—for a while.” Doing more with less implies squeezing more and more out of people until they drop. Continue reading →
Richard Boyatzis of Case Western Reserve, in HRB Blog Network, spoke to the need for teams to have what he calls resonant leaders. Richard states such leaders “are able to build trusting, engaged and energizing relationships with others around them” and as a result the team is able to “adapt, innovate and sustain performance. “ But what makes one able to do this? Continue reading →
Ah the annual performance appraisal! Let’s deconstruct this. Annual means every year. Performance means accomplishment. Appraisal means offering a judgment on the value of something or someone. So the annual performance appraisal is a yearly judgment of another person’s value to the organization. Continue reading →
Robert Galford’s HBR Blog Network article, “How to keep your cool during a performance review” suggest there is a widespread abhorrence and likely fear of the annual performance review. To make what is often a not-so-good experience better Robert offers four tactics: relax; prepare yourself to hear one or more unexpected ‘somethings’; if you don’t agree with the feedback, don’t launch into a defense right away; and when it is over, say thank you, reflect on the overall message and don’t file it and forget it. While these are no doubt helpful toward making lemonade out of a lemon, they don’t mitigate the overall effect of the annual performance appraisal process. Continue reading →
In a New York Times interview, Kenny Chesney, the country music singer, offers a glimpse of his approach to managing. Although Kenny Chesney Inc. employs about 150 people, 120 of which are on the road with him everyday, the insights we can gain from his way of thinking about managing/leading apply to any size organization. Continue reading →