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


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

Of jungles and zoos

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 Of jungles and zoos

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

A great metaphor for teamwork from Steve Jobs

In the same “lost” Steve Jobs interview I blogged about last week, he shares this anecdote as a metaphor for team work. “When I was a young kid there was a widowed man who lived up the street. He was in his eighties. He’s a little scary looking. And I got to know him a … Continue reading A great metaphor for teamwork from Steve Jobs

One article: 3 powerful metaphor applications

Author and Time senior editor Jeffrey Kluger have certainly mastered the use of metaphor in his writing.  In a recent article published on Time.com he reflects on the reasons why human beings risk their lives to help others and how, in the wake of the horrific Boston bombings, good and evil once again stand in stark contrast … Continue reading One article: 3 powerful metaphor applications