July 2006


In This Issue
  • Member Highlight
  • Partners InThinking - Pegasus Communications
  • Thoughts from The Deming Learning Network
  • Book Review
  • July Ongoing Discussion
  • Partner Events and Resources
  • Volunteer with the In2:InThinking Network
  • Ideas to Ponder...

  • Partners InThinking - Pegasus Communications

    Beginning this month, we will highlight a Partner Organization of the In2:InThinking Network. We believe the resources of these organizations will expand your thinking about thinking...

    "Changing the world one system at a time"

    Pegasus Communications helps individuals, teams, and organizations thrive in an increasingly complex world. Since 1989, innovators working to spark and sustain positive change in the systems they care about have looked to Pegasus for resources and networking opportunities. Through a grounding in the rigorous principles and tools of systems thinking and related disciplines, practitioners from business, education, government, and the nonprofit world find the freedom to connect with others in new ways and design sustainable solutions to their most persistent challenges. From tentative first steps to great leaps of faith, we provide tools and ideas for changing the world one system at a time.

    How We Support You
    Events, such as the annual Systems Thinking in Action(R) Conference, where leading theorists and practitioners from around the world meet to explore new concepts, build their skills, and share knowledge about organizational change. A special discount for In2:IN members can be found at the end of this newsletter.

    Two Newsletters, The Systems Thinker(R) and Leverage Points (TM), present a systemic perspective on current issues with illustrative stories from the field, useful tools and practices, and provocative thought pieces to keep you pushing your learning edge.

    Books and Audio/Video Resources run the gamut from quick reference "pocket guides" and introductory workbooks such as "System Thinking Basics: From Concepts to Causal Loops" to advanced system dynamics textbooks. Perennial bestsellers include the engaging Learning Fables series by David Hutchens, the practical Toolbox Reprint and Innovations in Management series, and a variety of videos and audio resources developed expressly for managers, trainers, and educators. View our product gallery...

    Thoughts from The Deming Learning Network

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

    "Thoughts on Organisation"

    A) Briefly, what are our natural attributes?
    We like work and responsibility, we are intrinsically motivated to do our best, we can identify with an aim that we are comfortable with and use our intelligence and creativity to help achieve that aim. We have the ability to work with others in teams and can self organise. We are trustworthy (Requires Integration and Self Control).

    B) How do most organisations see us?
    That we do not like work and have a tendency to be lazy. Supervision, appraisals and incentives are necessary to motivate (extrinsic) and secure alignment. Staff need to be directed and controlled through such means as job specifications, standards, targets, vision statements, auditing and inspection (Requires Direct and Control).

    There are many organisations who structure their enterprise in empathy with how we are - as "A" above - they are highly successful and include such companies as Toyota, Visa, W L Gore, John Lewis Partnership, Semco plus the two examples we had here in Aberdeen last month - The Justice System Case study presented by Grampian Police plus the ethos at Arjo Wiggins, Aberdeen.

    However, most companies structure their concern round the thinking expressed in "B" above - out of sync with what we actually are. There is abundant evidence that they are not so successful.

    Why is it that so many companies persist with the less effective control model despite all the evidence to the contrary?

    And also, do "B" companies survive because our natural attributes circumnavigate the barriers caused by the "Direct and Control" thinking?
    The above thoughts are far from new. The idea that our organisations are out of sync with how we are was identified by Douglas McGregor way back in 1960. He talked about X Theory (Direct and Control) and Y Theory (Integration and Self Control).

    Has it been getting worse since the 1960s?
    "Most people imagine that the present style of management has always existed, and is a fixture. Actually, it is a modern invention - a prison created by the way in which we interact. This interaction affects all aspects of our lives - government, industry, education, healthcare." - W. Edwards Deming

    Book Review
    Joel Barker

    How to Reduce Workplace Conflict and Stress: How Leaders and Their Employees Can Protect Their Sanity and Productivity From Tension and Turf Wars

    Author: Anna Maravelas
    Publisher: Career Press
    Length: 223 pages
    Reviewer: Lori Strom

    One of the most profound discoveries of my life has been the importance of relationships. At some point, I began to understand that the seemingly simple task of getting something done involves others. I have been on a quest for understanding since then...

    This quest for understanding coupled with my current work situation, led me to Anna Maravelas' book on "How to Reduce Workplace Conflict and Stress".

    Given the fact that I spend at least 8 hours a day at work, one of the first points that stood out to me was the author's connection of health and stress; "Our longings for positive workplaces are reliable and ancient, for it is within healthy communities that we realize our best health, creativity, and achievements." (p. 66) The practical solutions and anecdotes offered by the author invited me to continue reading.

    Anna's anecdote about the "baby in the back-seat" rekindled my focus on hidden assumptions and how these assumptions affect the things we do, think and say. I am reminded that each of us has a story and that by changing my perception (assumptions) I can completely change my perception of virtually any situation. I opt to ask questions over speculating about a facial or verbal expression. It is amazing how we tend to gather evidence to support the things that we perceive to be true.

    To build on the importance of assumptions, Anna suggests that "Whenever tension is high or morale is languishing, assume that something - a policy, workflow, anxiety, fear, miscommunication, negative reciprocity - is blocking the person's or group's ability to achieve, become part of a team, and feel valued. It's rare that this assumption is not accurate." (p. 161) What does it cost us to make this assumption? I have found that making assumptions about things is a great deal more effective than making assumptions about people.

    The concepts in this book can be applied immediately upon reading and for this reason; I believe this book to be a must-read. Anna's book has certainly earned a place in my library and is already serving as a resource in my life.

    You can buy the book in print or CD format online.

    July Ongoing Discussion

    The Ongoing Discussion (OD) for July will feature Ron Shultz. On Wednesday, July 26th and Friday, June 28th, Ron will engage us in a dialogue on leveraging Adjacent Opportunities in Service with applications to corporate fellowship service programs.

    This month's OD announcement will be released by Friday, July 21st. For those readers not already on the OD mailing list - click below.

    Partner Events and Resources

    • The In2:InThinking Network is proud to announce plans for a seminar that will offer an unconventional look at program and project management, one that uniquely offers solutions using systems thinking and action in the 21st century. Follow this link for developing details on this offering from Russell Ackoff, William Bellows, and John Pourdehnad.

    • The Center for Social-Profit Leadership - Supporting the Business Needs of Social Entrepreneurs. Find out more here.

    • 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
      Participants in the Pegasus Conference often feel that it is the most extraordinary learning experience of their lives. Each year this gathering of innovative, daring, like-minded people - from all sectors - creates an energetic field of inquiry that results in transformational insights and lifelong connections. Bring your own questions and challenges into this mix, and you and your organization may never be the same.

    • 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.

    • As part of a recent UK visit, Bill Bellows was asked to deliver presentations at University of Hull and a Philips Electronics Conference. These presentations have been posted to the Insights section of the In2:IN website.

    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.

    Ideas to Ponder...

    Member Cindi Manning noted the following idea to ponder from the dialogue in the movie Adaptation... "We're all one thing, Lieutenant. That's what I've come to realize. Like cells in a body. 'Cept we can't see the body. The way fish can't see the ocean. And, so we envy each other. Hurt each other. Hate each other. How silly is that? A heart cell hating a lung cell."

    Forum 2006 DVD Sales
    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

    Member Highlight

    Meet Paul Morgan, a long-time member of our network from Croydon, England.

    The Facts:
    Grew up in Zambia and Zimbabwe where my front door bordered on bush country and miles of open space. Trained as an Electronics Engineer with the Atomic Energy Boards, then into computer design and manufacture and moved to the United Kingdom in 1986.

    Retired last month! After 20 years with Royal Philips Electronics with the last 10 years as Quality Director for the United Kingdom and also for the country organisations in Europe, Middle East and Africa. This period has been the most rewarding of my career. It has been rather like a child let loose in a huge playground. Some basic rules but the freedom to use all the toys! I cannot make any claim to having made a single significant contribution to the way excellence is deployed in Philips but am pleased that a number of people have taken on new ideas and put them to work. With only one month of retirement as recent experience I am happy to report that the balance of some consultancy, more time with my wonderful grandchildren and underwater photography is life changing!

    Forum Attendance:
    I have managed to attend only one of the recent Forum meetings (as a presenter in 2003) but am an active member of the Deming Forum in the UK both as occasional contributor and 'willing worker'.

    Why do you attend the Forum?
    I attend the Forum meetings for two key reasons: To maintain the network of friends and colleagues who have been instrumental in my personal growth and understanding and to take time out to reflect on old and new ideas.

    Tell us about a recent "a ha" moment.
    Seeing how systems thinking is a way of 'knitting together' ideas on community, ethics and the concept of 'natural laws'. Realising that life has its own natural variation which is easy to misinterpret as 'special cause'.

    Realising that being a safe diver is working on the process to understand the natural variation so that I can recognise special cause before it is serious Special Cause!

    What book are you reading now?
    I read a number of books in parallel! The current list includes: Plato's Children by Anthony O'Hear
    Ethics and the Old Testament by John Barton
    Seeing the Forest for the Trees by Dennis Sherwood
    The Underwater Photographer by Martin Edge (third edition - a must have if you are into digital photography!)

    What recent book have you read that you consider both beneficial and readable?
    Plato's Children is getting my attention almost every day. O'Hear brings valuable insights into our modern society based on Plato's Cave parable from his work the Republic. How much our society has become like his cave dwellers - focused on our reflected images on the cave wall. His chapters on celebrities and politics certainly caught my attention. Great insights into corporate life!

    What advice do you have for people new to the In2:InThinking Network?
    I would emphasise the importance of relationships as a major aspect of systems thinking and the approach to life. Especially, if you are a parent and nurturing your own children (I left that a little late so now practising on my grandchildren). Business life, I now realise, has its own rather selfish system. In fact a closed system! Too often work priorities were treated as special cause when I should have been working on improving the process. The 'whole me' and the 'whole family'. Learn to bring your systems approach to include all those around you!

    Quick Links...

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    phone: 818-489-3005
    Pegasus Conference - Special Discount for In2:IN Community Members

    Register for the 16th Annual Pegasus Conference by September 17 for $1050 (That's $200 off the normal rate) Use priority code STA06IN2IN when you register (use the link below) or call 1-781-398-9700 for details

    Additional discounts for teams of four or more!


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