How We Think about Leadership

Over recent months I have been designing and sharing in a research project to identify what are the perceived gaps in leadership across Thailand as it prepares to join the Asean Economic Community (AEC) in 2015. AEC will be a single regional common market of 10 nations and over 600 million people. The envisaged free flow of goods, services, investment capital and skilled labor will impact on every dimension of the Thai nation. Asking questions about leadership in its most holistic (systemic) sense before the launch of AEC is considered to be very important. … [Read more...]

Why College is So Hot: The Complexity of a Post-Secondary Education

It's becoming a hotter topic by the minute, or so it would seem if you're tracking the media in the way that I've been doing lately: to go or not to go to college--and why. We're preparing for our next community workshop series, which aims to look at complex social issues and address them using Critical and Systemic Thinking methods. For this one, we're rethinking college in our times. I've heard--and known--people who've pretty much done it all, indicating that the answer to this question is not so simple. The expectation of going to college is out there; we live in a society where having … [Read more...]

An Essential Aspect of Leadership: Intellectual Humility

During this last week I have found myself writing about the concept of ‘intellectual humility’ to two different clients facing the failure of ‘a single answer approach’ to working with a complex issue. Further, I expect to draw attention to this issue many times in the weeks ahead as various leaders and managers try to resolve complex issues using techniques based exclusively on ‘scientific enquiry’. … [Read more...]

The Birth of Conversation Mapping

Conversation Mapping

The development of many of the Systemic leadership techniques we work with, with businesses, governments and not-for-profit organisations started their life through efforts to support small rural communities perplexed by the rapid changes disrupting traditional practices. The Conversation Map now used in boardrooms around the world was first conceived in a squatter settlement outside Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea. Leaders of this settlement (known as the Horse Camp) were trying to get a U.N. development agency to install clean reticulated water. At the time a U.N. policy factor and a … [Read more...]

We the People: Civic Engagement as a Systemic Process

One of three conversation maps from the workshop.

We’ve all seen it: photos of young and old people of all colors and sizes holding up incisive and sometimes sassy cardboard signs commenting on or accusing big business, government, the Man of all the things that are true and relevant about our times that need to change. And these days, there is a surge of these photos far and wide from cities all across the world. What are they doing? They are participating in an egalitarian process that is known as the Occupy Movement. There is a strong legacy of civic engagement stemming back to the 1910s and the Suffragette Movement, the 1920s during … [Read more...]