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...]

“Command and Control” Won’t Work Anymore

I  just finished watching Ken Burns’ series on World War II. It was illuminating and exhausting at the same time. It is available as a DVD set from our local Sacramento Library. What was significant, for me, was the need and justification of “command and control” thinking as we fought incredibly complex wars on both sides of the world. And what also was compelling was the massive waste and loss of lives and material....and how so much was obvious after-the-fact that was not obvious in the moment. … [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...]