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

7 principles to help organisations resist the siren song of copying recipes


“You can’t replicate the end point of an evolutionary process, which by its success has changed the context anyway.  However we can seek to copy the starting conditions and enable the emergence of new contextually unique successes that learn from it.” – Dave Snowden “… the fact is, if you don’t know what makes things … Continue reading 7 principles to help organisations resist the siren song of copying recipes

Want resilience? Nurture diversity.


One of the learnings from complexity that I find particularly valuable in the workplace, is the need for a “requisite diversity” for a system to be resilient and able to evolve. Too little diversity limits the system’s adaptive capacity and too much diversity leads a loss of coherence. This is valuable insight, especially in countries like … Continue reading Want resilience? Nurture diversity.

If you want to innovate, don’t say so


“Innovation is not so much about having ideas as it is about making connections” Harold Jarche Last week I had the opportunity to facilitate a week-long “innovation sprint” for Agile 42, an international agile coaching company.  After recovering from my time spent facilitating 39 other facilitators (on my own!) I finally had time to reflect on … Continue reading If you want to innovate, don’t say so

On mayonnaise and survival


Mayonnaise

I recently attended the 4th International Conference for Responsible Leadership, hosted at Gibs by the Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership (University of Pretoria).  One of the highlights was getting the chance to facilitate a panel discussion on Complexity Leadership in South Africa with a group of highly respected local and international academics. Another was … Continue reading On mayonnaise and survival

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

It’s hard to survive in the jungle if all you know is the zoo


I recently posted a tweet that created an unexpected enthusiastic response. It read: “It’s hard to survive in the jungle if you were trained in a zoo” I love using metaphors and analogies to explain the concepts I work with, like the difference between complex (jungle) and complicated or obvious (zoo) contexts. This is one … Continue reading It’s hard to survive in the jungle if all you know is the zoo

Reflections on the ‘edginess’ of change


I was part of a “real play” scenario (you play yourself i.e. how would you respond in the scenario, vs playing a role) the other day, to demonstrate a wonderful coaching modality called ORSC.  The scenario we were playing out was one of a large and established insurer who had aquired a small, agile and innovative … Continue reading Reflections on the ‘edginess’ of change

Metaphors shape our language


More and more academic research is being done on metaphors – they are no longer considered a “rhetorical flourish” found literary texts. Rather, linguists have shown that metaphor is a pervasive phenomenon in everyday language, a major force in the development of new word meanings, and the source of at least some grammatical function words. … Continue reading Metaphors shape our language

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