May 2006


The In2:InThinking Newsletter Team is working to enhance the newsletter to better serve our members. The format is changing and you will continue to notice additional changes in the coming months.

In This Issue
  • Member Highlight
  • Thoughts on Measurement and Management
  • Book Review
  • May Ongoing Discussion
  • Partner Events and Resources
  • Volunteer with the In2:InThinking Network

  • Thoughts on Measurement and Management

    Contributed by Gordon Hall of the The Deming Learning Network in Aberdeen, Scotland

    "If management sets quantitative targets and makes people's jobs depend on them - they will meet the targets - even if they have to destroy the enterprise to do it" (Deming)

    Measurement is important - but it is in how we use measures that are crucial.

    This practice of using targets and measures to ask staff to try harder is still widespread. It comes in many forms:

    • The public sector with its targets
    • The Offshore Safety function with its incentives etc
    • Competitive tendering
    • The dominance of traditional accounting information with its focus on "management by results".
    We can fill pages on the distortions that arise just from these four examples. And of course the knock on effect of leaders working with distorted data.

    The practice also destroys "the web of relationships that determines the character of the enterprise, its capabilities and its capacity to learn and grow" (Johnson & Broms).

    It takes no effort and no understanding to set a target and pressurise people to achieve those targets. What does take thought is using measurement to understand the system in which people are working and then taking action to re-design the system.

    Book Review
    Get Unstuck and Get Going

    Ten Things to do in a Conceptual Emergency

    Author/Publisher: International Futures Forum
    Length: 31 pages

    Steve Byers originally reviewed this book in August of 2005. Due to popular demand, we are taking another look at this powerful little book.

    What exactly is a conceptual emergency? Consider the blind men who, touching only one part of the elephant, could not envision the whole. The International Futures Forum (IFF) suggests we live in the age of the missing elephant. "In today's world the most advanced among us know little more than one small piece of the elephant, and there are now so many different pieces, they change so rapidly and they are all so intimately related one to another, that even if we had the technology to put them all together we would still not be able to make sense of the whole."

    That is, we find ourselves in a new world that raises fundamental questions about our competence in key areas such as governance, the economy, sustainability, and even consciousness. "We are losing our bearings." This is the "Conceptual Emergency" and these are TEN Things to do:

    1. Design for a transition to a new world

    2. Give up on the myth of control

    3. Trust subjective experience

    4. Take the long view

    5. Form and nurture integrities

    6. Practice social acupuncture

    7. Sustain networks of hope

    8. Converge ideas and action

    9. Re-perceive the present

    10. Move beyond an Enlightenment consciousness

    On a daily basis we are inundated with more and more data, information, ideas, tools, issues and demands. Facing this growing complexity of life, we may intuitively struggle for control rather than enjoy the mystery. The IFF suggests that we "give up on the myth of control."
    While the struggle for control may be a natural response, this quest for control leads to a cycle demanding even more control. "An alternative is simply to accept the complexity and participate in it. Relish diversity and the unique quality of all things. This engenders a sense of belonging and hence reinforces the motivation to participate."

    In addition to these ten strategies, the second part of the book includes applications delivered as "Emergency Response: stories from practice" about IFF work in communities, health care, and other circumstances of social learning. The book would also make a fine textbook for any one of a number of disciplines - economics, business, organization development, systems thinking, and even philosophy.

    The International Futures Forum offers additional resources on their website.

    May Ongoing Discussion
    Joel Barker

    The Ongoing Discussion (OD) for May will feature futurist Joel Barker. On Wednesday May 24th and Friday May 26th, Joel will lead a discussion focused on Strategic Exploration.

    This month's OD announcement will be released by May 19th. For those readers not already on the OD mailing list, contact Bill Bellows to be added to this list.

    Partner Events and Resources

    • PBS Special - Good News: How Hospitals Heal Themselves
      This documentary reports the depth of the patient safety problem and how two large hospital systems have saved lives and reduced errors, infections and waste by using Toyota Management Principles. These methods could improve every hospital in America dramatically and reduce health-care costs by 50%. It does not require outside help or additional funding. Check your local PBS station for air times.

    • UK Deming Forum to be held May 23-25 at the Robinsons Centre, Wyboston, Bedfordshire

    • The 50th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences to be held July 9-14 at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California

    • The 16th Annual Pegasus Conference, "Leading Beyond the Horizon - Strategies for Bringing Tomorrow into Today's Choices," to be held November 13-15, Waltham, Massachusetts

    Volunteer with the In2:InThinking Network

    The In2:InThinking Network is run by volunteers. Your help is needed in a variety of areas from Forum 2007 planning, newsletter, website, and beyond. If you are interested in helping out please click on the link to sign up. We will follow up for more details on where you would like to help.

    Forum 2006 DVD Sales
    Forum 2006 DVD
    Order a set of Forum 2006 DVDs - "Daring to Explore - Creating Possibilities Together." The DVDs include all triple track sessions and keynotes; a total of 12 presentations.

    Clicking the "Buy Now" button will take you to PayPal for order processing.
    Today's Price: $150 USD

    Buy Now | Learn More

    About The In2:InThinking Network

    The In2:InThinking Network was formed in 2001 by a group of students of the work of W. Edwards Deming and related theorists.

    The aim of our network is to make thinking about systems, variation, knowledge, and psychology, and their interaction - which comprises Deming's system of profound knowledge - more conscious.

    We believe that such thinking about thinking, which we call "inthinking," will allow people to better perceive relationships and interdependencies in human endeavors, and consequently act to make those endeavors more valuable, more satisfying, and more joyful.

    Learn More about In2:IN

    Member Highlight
    Jon Bergstrom

    Welcome to the first article in our new Member Highlight column. Each month we will interview members of the In2:InThinking Network. This month we asked Jon Bergstrom to provide his insights.

    The Facts:
    I recently retired from Shell Oil Company after 35 years of service. Since my retirement, I have provided a variety of business consulting services through the Bergstrom Learning Center. These services include a variety of leadership and management courses, workshop development and facilitation, and personal coaching. For the last seven years, I have taught team skills at International Space University in Strasbourg, France and ISU summer sessions at locations around the world. My business website provides information about many of these activities and can be accessed here.

    Forum Attendance:
    I have attended every forum except number one in 2002.

    Why do you attend the Forum?
    The In2:InThinking Forum is an exciting place to learn and to meet people who are interested in creating a better world. Each year I have gained new friends who are important in my learning journey.

    Tell us about a recent "a ha" moment.
    I am in a group that practices "Leadership Action Learning". This practice includes asking four types of questions - all in ways that assist others in their thinking without giving advice. My "a ha" is how helpful these questions are because each of us think so differently. It is very revealing to find out that you would not have thought through issues thoroughly without help from others. It is a constant reminder to stop doing all our thinking by ourselves.

    What book are you reading now?
    I am re-reading "Process Consultation - Revisited" by Edgar Schein. I am currently assisting several executives in their learning journey and I find this book to be the essential guide in establishing a helpful and trusting relationship.

    What recent book have you read that you consider to be a "must read"?
    One of my "must read" books is John Kotter's recent book - On What Leaders Really Do. Kotter defines differences he sees in management and leadership processes in this book. Both are essential for effectiveness. However, he notes that the reason we manage is to create consistent results. The reason we lead is to create change - often dramatic change. The concepts are very important to me in determining which process is important to engage in given the circumstances I face.

    Describe a question you have been asked that made you stop and think.
    A question that made me think was "What is most important for you to accomplish in the next year?" It is always important to be mindful of using our precious time wisely.

    Why are you a part of the In2:InThinking Network?
    The network offers me several valuable opportunities:
    - Trusted Friendships: Building friendships with people who I rely on throughout the year for shared learning is very important.
    - Monthly Ongoing Discussions: These discussions provide the opportunity to explore new thinking every month and to share in the conversations. I very much admire those who participate and feel close to them - many whom I have never met in person.
    -Workshops: I am able to attend workshops, plus the Enterprise Thinking seminars, at Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne's Canoga Park facility because of the network. This includes the wonderful workshops given by Russell Ackoff.
    - Forums: The Forums are always the highlight of the year. The combination of all the workshops and the presentation provides a great learning opportunity. It is all in a setting where we can rub shoulders with everyone who is there.

    What advice do you have for people new to In2:IN?
    Any network serves you only as much as you wish to be served. My advice is to seek out at least two new thinking partners through the network. I believe you will surprise yourself at how helpful others can be if you only ask.

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