How organisational OCD is stamping out innovation and agility


Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a debiliatating anxiety disorder that can have devastating consequences for the individual that suffers from it. I think there is a similar disorder that organisations suffer from … I call is Obsessive Certainty Disorder.  It too is linked with anxiety and the need for control.   And it too has devastating consequences, … Continue reading How organisational OCD is stamping out innovation and agility

8 guidelines to enable organisational fluidity


While preparing for my recent keynote at Agile Africa, I came across the work of Prof Adrian Bejan, a mechanical engineer who contributed to the field of thermodynamics through his constructal law, which is formulated as follows: “For a finite-size system to persist in time (to live), it must evolve in such a way that … Continue reading 8 guidelines to enable organisational fluidity

3 pieces of advice for leading a system turn around (especially for our new SA President)


“We incline to see history through the lives of great men. That inclination blinds us to the real complexity …”  – John Kay,  Obliquity Ever since his election as South Africa’s new president, my news feed has been filled with posts from people telling Cyril Ramaphosa what his priorities should be.  He faces a seemingly … Continue reading 3 pieces of advice for leading a system turn around (especially for our new SA President)

Dave Snowden at TedX: A succinct overview of his groundbreaking work


Dave at TedX

I first met Dave in 2002 when we were both employed by IBM.  I remember experiencing an immediate resonance with his work, especially the inherent integrity of honoring context and not mindlessly applying best-practice recipes as the big consultancies tend to do. It is now 16 years later, and it has been a privilege to … Continue reading Dave Snowden at TedX: A succinct overview of his groundbreaking work

Levers, blueprints and roadmaps: 3 tips to combat “dark” metaphors


For those who follow me, it’s probably become apparent that I have a love for metaphors and analogies. Because much of what I do involves introducing others to new concepts, I find them to be useful “hooks”, linking the new idea to something familiar, thereby providing a “scaffold of mind” while understanding grows. Because of this, … Continue reading Levers, blueprints and roadmaps: 3 tips to combat “dark” metaphors

Learning opportunities with Dr Glenda Eoyang in March 2018


Dr Glenda Eoyang, founder of the Human Systems Dynamics (HSD) Institute will is joining us in South Africa in March 2018. Many people recognize the complex nature of change today, but few can help you make wise choices in the moments of chaos. Human systems dynamics (HSD) provides practical ideas and tools to help you … Continue reading Learning opportunities with Dr Glenda Eoyang in March 2018

Befriending uncertainty


Having just returned from one journey into the unknown (visiting Sweden for the first time), I am preparing to enter the unknown once again as I pack for a residential Tavistock working conference that starts today.  Having been through this experience before, I am torn between excitement about what I will learn, and a profound sense … Continue reading Befriending uncertainty

Walking with the elephants


Today I want to share one of my favorite analogies.  I use this in almost every presentation as a way to challenge the prevailing paradigm that priveleges expert design and control. There are two ways to lay out a park … … one is to employ an expert landscape architect to design an ideal layout … Continue reading Walking with the elephants

A short chronicle of 2016


I always admire those writers who have the discipline to publish consistently regardless of circumstance. I tend to write in spurts. I find that when I become really busy with projects and speaking engagements, my writing suffers. So in case you were wondering why I’ve been so quiet, I thought I’d write a short update … Continue reading A short chronicle of 2016

Jungle vs Zoo – Reflections on change and resilience


In my previous post I introduced the analogy of a jungle vs a zoo to help us make sense of the complex contexts we face and the often ordered organisational structures and processes we tend to create.  In this post I want to explore this analogy further and look specifically at how change and resilience from the … Continue reading Jungle vs Zoo – Reflections on change and resilience