Jungle vs Zoo – Reflections on change and resilience


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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

Of jungles and zoos


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A few days ago I posted a tweet that garnered a bigger response than I thought it would. It read: “It’s hard to survive in the jungle if you were trained in a zoo” I love using metaphors to try to explain the concepts I work with, especially the difference between complex (jungle) and complicated … Continue reading Of jungles and zoos

Connectivity or coupling: keep Goldilocks in mind (Building resilience: Principle 2)


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My mother always said that nothing with a “too” in front of it is good.  That is certainly true about connectivity, too little and too much can be equally detrimental.  High levels of connectivity can facilitate the fast recovery of a system after a disruption, but at the same time some disruptions spread faster in highly … Continue reading Connectivity or coupling: keep Goldilocks in mind (Building resilience: Principle 2)

The soft stuff has become the hard stuff


The Gallup State of the Global Workplace report was released recently, containing employee engagement results per country.  The results are generally pretty dismal,  an indictment on the prevailing cultures in our organisations. For sub-Saharan Africa, the report states: In most sub-Saharan African countries, formal employment for an employer is still relatively rare; many residents work at subsistence … Continue reading The soft stuff has become the hard stuff

One sure-fire way to poison your culture


Sometimes I come across ideas in business that are just so counter-productive that I really cannot understand how they ever became accepted practice.  One such idea that I’ve seen wreak havoc on corporate culture is the so-called Forced Ranking performance assessment process (or as Jack Welch termed it “Rank & Yank“). In virtually every company … Continue reading One sure-fire way to poison your culture

The restorative power of meaning


In an article in the Time magazine (26 June ed), Joe Klein writes poignantly about how regaining a sense of purpose through public service is helping US military veterans and returning troops to find their way again.  Some of these men and women suffer from severe PTSD, others are simply struggling to cope with the … Continue reading The restorative power of meaning

The tyranny of the moment


Warning!  This post doesn’t contain 7 steps or 12 ideas, nor is it the ideal 600-800 word length … “The greatest tragedy in using speed as the answer to complexity and the complexities of a work life, is that very soon we cannot recognize anything that is not travelling at the same velocity as we are. … Continue reading The tyranny of the moment

Leadership is about climate control, not command and control


In a new TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson (embedded below) he focuses on prevailing education systems and how they stifle learning and creativity.  He eloquently makes the case that education is not a mechanistic endeavour that is about conformity and compliance, but an inherently human and organic process that is about valuing diversity and … Continue reading Leadership is about climate control, not command and control

Work and meaning


In The Upside of Irrationality, Dan Ariely reflects on work and meaning.  Can human beings find satisfaction and be engaged in work that pays well, but offers no meaning? He defines two “types” of meaning: “m”eaning – a feeling of being challenged by our work, and completing it to our own satisfaction vs “M”eaning – a hope … Continue reading Work and meaning

Courage


“The original definition of ‘courage’ . . . is from the Latin word ‘cor,’ meaning ‘heart.’ And the original definition was to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart. And so these folks had, very simply, the courage to be imperfect. They had the compassion to be kind to themselves first, and then to others, because, as it turns out, we can’t … Continue reading Courage