January 2007


Check out our new calendar of events here.

This newsletter is prepared monthly by volunteers of the In2:InThinking Network. Content comes from volunteers. We invite you to further develop our network by sharing this newsletter with friends and colleagues.

Why settle for the prevailing style of thought?

Be a leader. Improve your thinking about thinking.

In This Issue
  • Partners InThinking - Capital Quality Initiative
  • Member Highlight - Ketan Varia
  • Member Highlight - Adrian Bass
  • Book Review
  • The Way In
  • Ongoing Discussion Preview
  • Making a Difference from Where We Are...
  • Forum 2007 Announcements
  • Partner Events and Resources
  • Ideas to Ponder...
  • Ackoff's F-Laws - Management Truths We Wish to Ignore

  • Member Highlight - Ketan Varia
    Ketan Varia

    Meet Ketan Varia, a first-time attendee of our Forum in 2006, whose efforts to "make a difference" have been featured in previous newsletters and on our Insights page.

    The Facts:
    Born in Mombasa, Kenya with origins from India, and now a living in London, UK By profession I am a Management Consultant, heading up my own business kinetik solutions. My biggest passion is the game of cricket!

    Network Participation:
    The In2:IN conference in 2006 was very inspirational as is Bill Bellows leadership.

    What book are you reading now?
    Books on economics - The Undercover Economist: Exposing Why the Rich Are Rich, the Poor Are Poor--and Why You Can Never Buy a Decent Used Car! by Tim Hartford.

    What recent book have you read that you consider both beneficial and readable?
    The Beermat Entrepreneur: Turn Your Good Idea into a Great Business by Mike Southon & Chris West - good synergy with enterprise thinking!

    What advice do you have for people new to the In2:InThinking Network?
    Join in the calls and make the effort to go to the conference at least once!

    Member Highlight - Adrian Bass
    Adrian Bass

    Meet Adrian Bass, a member of the In2:InThinking Network since 2001, when she joined the inaugural Forum planning team.

    The Facts:
    I have been the Director of the Capital Quality Initiative (CQI) at Lansing Community College, in Lansing, Michigan for six years. Prior to that, I taught computer software to adults, and before that, I was a "Camp Teacher," at an Outdoor Education Center for Battle Creek Public Schools. Three pretty distinct teaching careers!

    In my spare time I serve as President of two boards for small non-profits. I live in Charlotte, Michigan with my husband and four beagles on a 75-acre farm, where we have beehives and sell honey for a hobby.

    Forum Attendance and What Inspired You to Attend:
    I have not had an opportunity to attend the Forum yet, but I am very much looking forward to attending in Spring 2007. The first Forum coincided with a CQI-Deming Institute Conference that we held in Michigan. We only held our conference once, and ever since I have wanted to attend the In2:IN Forum.

    Tell us about a recent "a ha" moment.
    A recent speaker at our CQI breakfast program, was talking about Regional Economic Development. He referred to the "V and three P's" that are necessary for all projects to succeed. "Vision, Plan, Partners and Perseverence." Although none of the "V and three P's" are new, I had never heard of them together, and now think I should always remember them when beginning any new project.

    What book are you reading now?
    I mostly read science fiction, with a little bit of serious stuff mixed in. Science fiction is my escape and relaxation!

    What recent book have you read that you consider both beneficial and readable?
    I just finished "Bless Your Stress, It Means your Still Alive" by Leslie Charles and Mimi Donaldson. Leslie is a local author and friend, and all of her books are inspiring and fun to read. You can find them at www.lesliecharles.com.

    What advice do you have for people new to the In2:InThinking Network?
    Striving for quality and continuous improvement is a life-time journey, so take whatever opportunities you can to learn, share and have fun so you can keep energized on the journey.


    February 19-20, 2007

    The Boeing Company and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne are proud to be jointly hosting Dr. Russell Ackoff for two days of lectures in Huntington Beach (February 19th) and Canoga Park (February 20th). In keeping with the ambitions of these organizations to help their communities think more systemically, limited seating for both sessions has been reserved for participation by "members of the community" at no cost. Please complete our attendee survey if you are interested in attending.

    Contact Bill Bellows by email for current details on both events.

    Book Review

    The Five Temptations of a CEO: A Leadership Fable

    Author: Patrick M. Lencioni
    Publisher: Jossey-Bass
    Length: 134 pages
    Reviewer: Dale Deardorff

    This quick read can make a significant difference in your effectiveness of your leadership characteristics and business interactions with others. The book is one of three in a series which conveys the "Five Temptations" effectively in fable form, followed by a summary and discussion by Patrick Lencioni - it takes no more than an hour to read and is easily one of the best challenges for current leaders!

    The book is based upon a fictional character named Andrew O'Brien, a San Francisco Bay Area tech CEO. His company is underperforming and a critical annual meeting of the board of directors is happening the next day. Andy finds himself working extremely late when he discovers the bridge he must cross to go home is closed due to planed construction. Andrew decides to use the commuter train to get home, which is practically deserted except for an insightful and cheerful janitor called Charlie.

    After some cautious hesitation the two men began to talk, and Andrew soon learns that Charlie is a knowledgeable son of a railroad ex-CEO. It is from this conversation and Charlie's lessons learned from his father that Andy learns how Leaders like himself often fail or succeed. This exploration is centered around the "Five Temptations" that challenge leaders and executives:

    1. Successful Leaders choose trust over invulnerability.
    2. Successful Leaders choose constructive conflicts over harmony.
    3. Successful Leaders seek clarity of efforts over certainty of outcomes.
    4. Successful Leaders choose accountability over popularity.
    5. Successful Leaders choose results over their status.
    Charlie is an unexpected source of wisdom who shares valuable insight and perspectives with Andrew. Stepping through time the way that only a fable can we encounter other passengers on the train who turn out to be CEO's of other companies. This creates a fraternity of Leaders who all describe their unique challenges and how the understanding of the "Five Temptations" has allowed them to move their organizations in a positive direction.

    As with most fables the simplicity of the message is what is truly important not how real the practical situation is or could be described in the story. Keep in mind the key points and how they can be integrated with others and built upon to create a pallet of Leadership competencies useful for anyone.

    Part II in the "Afterworld" starts on page 105. This is the section which can best be used to help with professional development of Leaders by providing a clear model and concise explanation for each temptation. Business still needs to be executed by Leaders but a framework which supplies guidance and suggestions for interpersonal success, acceptance of accountability and questioning to get to the real answers is a formula for success.

    The Way In

    Most of us have long accepted the need to embrace our challenges and opportunities systemically, to address not independent "parts", but to approach change by dealing with the "wholes". Where "wholes" can be seen in terms of a single organization, increasingly leaders everywhere, from the global corporation to our local community systems, are confronted with the need for large system change, where cross-institutional and, often, cross-sector collaboration is required. Systemic change of this complexity presents not only structural and operational issues, but also a host of relational challenges: working across institutional "boundaries" is becoming one of the central challenges of leadership. In her work with the leaders of large systems, consultant and author Tracy Huston has been exploring what enables diverse groups of stakeholders to work across their structural and relational boundaries, so as to adapt and innovate solutions to the shared, systemic challenges of our day, and to forge and sustain their collective capacity for significant, whole system transformation.

    The excerpt from her new book, Inside-Out: Stories and Methods for Generating the Collective Will to Create the Future We Want, provides a preview of Tracy's new work, ending with some central "questions" that we invite you to explore. To exchange ideas with Tracy about these topics, please feel free to contact her at tracyhuston@ca.rr.com.

    You can hear more about Tracy's work during her presentation at the upcoming In2:InThinking Network Forum. Please watch for the book, forthcoming in early 2007!

    Putting the People Back in Purpose

    Somewhere along the way, we got the idea that "work" should be somehow socially different than the rest of "life" that concern for well-being, relationships, dreams had no place in the workplace or in our schools, medical establishments, and government halls, and instead the human side of our being should be subjugated to task, to the execution of the work itself. Work developed its own 'rules' and sets of relationships, quite outside of familial or community ways of being. More, work came to have its own reason for being, its own purpose, outside of us: in business, typically for the generation of profit; in education, for the achievement of rigidly defined academic standards; in government and civil society for power. The people, whether customers, employees, patients, students, or citizens, were left out of the purpose equation - so much so that whole bodies of theory and practice have had to be reinvented so as to remind us of the fact of them! That these so-called "customer-oriented" (or "student-centered" or "patient-centered") movements often fail to change results much is an indicator that more than a reminder is needed; we need to reinsert humanity back into the purpose of work. The sudden increase in the number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), now estimated at over 28,000 worldwide, seems to indicate a growing desire for humanitarian types of work; yet the people-purposes are often obscured in the face of daily challenges - wading through a sea of bureaucratic and economic obstacles causes us to place our attention on the challenge of executing even the most routine tasks, on process, not people. How do we move the 'real work' - that which serves people - back to the center of our attention, and keep it there?

    It has been widely held that over-emphasis on external facets of work - the structures, processes, technologies, tasks we perform - has been the result of long-held, deeply ingrained mental models (world views) that were developed in the sciences by Descartes and Newton, and embedded during the Industrial Revolution, the 'machine age'. Institutions were designed based on machine-like views of how life was thought to function - parts that could be configured to produce certain results; and in the process, humanity was left out. Religious institutions and the dwindling arts were the only surviving mainstream collective domains for humanity to know and grapple with itself. Because neither religion nor the arts have tended to wield global power equal to that which has been produced via capitalism and big business, our attention has shifted even more to work and the results it produces, that which produces wealth. As we struggle to deal with the complexity of results-producing work in an evermore complex global economy, amid the often turbulent interrelationships among nation states and their unpredictable societies, the response has often been to step up the pressure by trying to eek out increasing amounts of productivity (more results) with fewer resources. Whether in business or education, government or non-governmental agencies, there are few who are escaping the extreme cost-cutting and resource constraints now widely deployed. The price we are paying in terms of the health and well-being of people has been enormous, and shows no signs of diminishing. And yet it is hard to find a leader in any of these institutions who believes the current practices are sustainable.

    Ongoing Discussion Preview

    The Ongoing Discussion (OD) for January will feature Russell Ackoff, Anheuser-Busch Professor Emeritus of Management Science at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

    On Thursday and Friday, January 18th and 19th, Russ will engage us in a dialogue on the topic of "Ackoff's F-Laws."

    This month's OD announcement will be released on or before Friday, January 12th.

    For those readers not already on the OD mailing list - click below.

    Making a Difference from Where We Are...

    Many of our "Network Members" pride themselves in making a positive difference in the world.

    John Hunter, curator of the Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog, shares his insights on the "Epidemic of Diagnoses" in this blog post.

    Gordon Hall of the Deming Learning Network shares a News Item:
    I am very excited about an initiative that is looking good just now in context of creating a learning society. I have been talking to Members of the Scottish Parliament, our Universities and other forward thinking groups in context of creating a vision of "A Learning Society" in Scotland. My thinking is that we need link all the forward thinkers in Scotland under a systemic vision of a "Learning Society." Once we get to this critical mass then we will have a platform from which to challenge the status quo.

    Forum 2007 Announcements

    Mark your calendars to join us for our Sixth Annual Forum, to be held in Los Angeles, beginning on April 12th and ending on April 17th. Download the Forum 2007 brochure here.

    Confirmed conference speakers include Micah Fierstein, Tracy Huston, Ann Majchrzak, Paul Morgan, Joseph Parent, John Pourdehnad, Bob Pratt, Sheldon Rovin, and Lyn Wiltse.

    Watch this spot for coming Forum details.

    Partner Events and Resources

    SPACE TO REFLECT Exhibition

    Network member and 2003 Forum Artist Tony Heald invites you to an exhibition of artworks inspired by the Cathedrals of the twin cities, York and Munster, Germany.

    To be opened by The Lord Mayor of York at the Guildhall, St. Helens Square, York on Friday 12 January 2007 at 7:00 pm. The exhibition will run from 12-20 January.

    Quality, Productivity, and Competitive Position
    A Four-Day Deming Video Seminar for Advanced Students

    January 22 - 25, 2007, Orlando, Florida

    Hear and watch Dr. W. Edwards Deming identify faulty management practices. He will describe how, as better practices are introduced, quality of products and services increases, costs decline, and you create a globally competitive advantage for your organization.

    Built on archive videos of Dr. Deming, this seminar blends large screen footage of Dr. Deming presenting his theories with live facilitation to create an interactive learning environment. Facilitated discussion following each film segment will provide opportunity to deepen your understanding of the concepts, and interpret what these ideas might mean for your organization.

    This seminar explores simple and powerful principles for anyone who manages people, or holds an executive responsibility in an organization.

    Fee: $795 per registrant

    For Registration please click here or fax to 301-294-8406 or telephone 301-294-8405.


    Feb 12-13, 2007
    New York City, New York

    The W. Edwards Deming Institute and Fordham University invite your participation in The Thirteenth Annual International Deming Research Seminar, 12-13 February 2007 in New York City. The Annual Research Seminar brings together people from around the world, and from a variety of specialties, to develop an understanding of Dr. Deming's theories in a wide-ranging context. For a list of topics and speakers from the last Research Seminar, click here.

    Fordham University at Lincoln Center
    113 West 60th Street
    New York, NY 10023

    To register, please visit the Deming Cooperative website.

    NEXUS for Change Conference
    An unprecedented conference bringing together practitioners, researchers, leaders, activists, and educators to advance participative change methods.

    $299 Register Today! Click Here
    Details - Hotel, Airline, Transport: Click Here
    PDF of Conference Brochure: Click Here
    Want a Brochure Mailed? Click Here

    Our focus will be on leveraging the power of over 60 approaches being used to transform whole organizations and communities as they tackle 21st Century Challenges. These approaches are broadly referred to as large-group methods/interventions, whole system change, or large-scale change. What make them unique are two foundation assumptions: high involvement and a systemic approach to improvement. At this conference, we will be working side-by-side to:

    • Address critical needs at local and global levels,
    • Expand the reach of the methods around the world,
    • Design significant field research projects,
    • Invent new tools, techniques, and applications,
    • Incorporate technology to leverage existing methods,
    • Connect with others to form joint ventures,
    • Innovate educational programs and courses,
    • Craft a common language, and
    • Articulate a platform for this body of work.
    The NEXUS is an opportunity for us to transcend our individual contributions and achieve something bigger than we ever thought possible. We will not know what "bigger" is until we get together.

    Ideas to Ponder...

    From "On Passing Through 80", by Russell Ackoff...
    For me there has never been an amount of money that makes it worth doing something that is not fun. So I'm going to recall the principal sources of the fun that I have experienced. First, the fun derived from denying the obvious and exploring the consequences of doing so. In most cases, I have found the obvious to be wrong. The obvious, I discovered, is not what needs no proof, but what people do not want to prove. I have been greatly influenced by Ambrose Bierce's definition of self-evident: "Evident to one's self and to nobody else."

    Ackoff's F-Laws - Management Truths We Wish to Ignore

    F-Laws: Management Truths We Wish To Ignore

    Russell Ackoff has written a new book called F-Laws. What is an "f-law?" According to Russell Ackoff: f-LAWS are truths about organizations that we might wish to deny or ignore - simple and more reliable guides to managers' everyday behaviour than the complex truths proposed by scientists, economists, sociologists, politicians and philosophers. A short version of the book can be downloaded here.

    Partners InThinking - Capital Quality Initiative
    Capital Quality Initiative

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

    This month we are featuring the Capital Quality Initiative (CQI).

    The Facts:
    CQI was started in 1991, merged with Lansing Community College in 1995-1996 and has been part of the college since then.

    The mission of Capital Quality Initiative is to provide learning opportunities that lead individuals and organizations into continuous improvement of the systems in which they live and work.

    Our vision is of a community that is continuously improving and a community that is an excellent place to live, work and visit.

    CQI values the dignity of the individual.

    CQI values continuous learning for improving work and life in the community. CQI values the appreciation of a system.

    CQI values the understanding of variation and what it is trying to tell us.

    How does your organization compliment the In2:InThinking Network?
    We promote learning opportunities in quality and continuous improvement. Basic values are aligned with those of W. Edwards Deming.

    Tell us about your membership. What does it mean to be a member of your organization and how does one become a member?
    We have individual members ($25 per year); organizational memberships ($150 per year); non-profit 501(c)3 organizations ($50 per year). You can download a membership form on our web site or contact us via phone 517-483-1363 or email bassa@lcc.edu.

    What resources does your organization offer its members?
    Discounts on monthly speaker programs; discounts on quality related seminars; participation in Special Interest Networks; ability to check out books, videos and audio tapes from the CQI Library.

    What exciting developments are on the horizon for your organization?
    We have been celebrating our 15th anniversary all this year, Jan-Dec 2006. We will be hosting the Deming Institute Seminar in April - How to Create Unethical, Ineffective Organizations That Go Out of Business (Many Organizations Do It, But Do You Know How You Do It?).

    Visit CQI on the web...
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