February 2007


Check out our new calendar of events here.

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In This Issue
  • Partners InThinking - Orange County Chapter of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs
  • Member Highlight - Tony Droar
  • Member Highlight - Reta Anderson
  • The Fifth Annual Russell Ackoff Lectures - Postponed
  • Book Review - My Secret Life on the McJob
  • Article - Manage a Living System, Not a Ledger
  • Ongoing Discussion Preview - Sheldon Rovin
  • Thoughts from the Deming Learning Network
  • Making a Difference from Where We Are...
  • Forum 2007 Announcements
  • Forum Scholarship News
  • Partner Events and Resources
  • Ackoff's f-Laws - Management Truths We Wish to Ignore
  • Ideas to Ponder...

  • Member Highlight - Tony Droar
    Tony Droar

    Meet Tony Droar, a member of a small, but growing, group of inthinkers who are employed as "thinking consultants" in public service.

    The Facts:
    I am currently an internal business/management consultant with West Sussex County Council – branch of local government in the South of England. I work in Chichester which is about 7 miles from where I live. I have been at the Council for about 7 years. Prior to this, I worked in both the public and private sectors, including IBM UK, ICL/Fujitsu, and as a Principal Lecturer in the Management School at Chichester College.

    I have a first degree in physics, which is now part of the dim and distant past, though intriguingly I am finding that many ideas from physics are infiltrating the world of organisations and management! And somewhat more recently I have a Masters in Occupational Psychology. For leisure, I am a keen sportsman and play badminton regularly, and I thoroughly enjoy walking especially in the countryside. This sounds very serious! I also enjoy good food, good wine, and good conversations with my friends and family – great fun!

    One of my recent assignments at work has been concerned with improving the "well-being" of older people. This has involved the use of knowledge cafes, which are a tremendous tool for engaging with people, and an "open space" systems event at which both suppliers and users got together to design more "joined-up" services.

    Another assignment has been investigating knowledge and learning among professional advisors to schools. One of the outcomes has been a series of "learning days". We have run two so far with number 3 planned for March 2007.

    And lastly, I also coach in a number of situations both inside and outside work. This is primarily personal development related rather than sports!

    So I have a very full and active life – and it is great!

    Network Participation:
    Unfortunately, I have not had the opportunity to attend the In2:IN forum - so far! I am, however, a regular attendee of the Deming Forum held annually in the UK - and at which I first met Bill Bellows.

    Tell us about a recent "a ha" moment.
    It have become very aware, (again!), of the tremendous impact that our value systems, thinking styles and conceptual processes have on the way that we see the world and interact with it. Also how our predominant way of "communicating" with others is through advocacy rather than enquiry. Being as much part of and influenced by our culture as anyone I know how difficult is can be to explore another's world view rather than try to persuade them of mine. I have also experienced how "walking in another's shoes" can produce a profound shift. This has happened a number of times on a recent short course on partnership working that I have co-facilitated on – both to myself and many of the delegates – and what magic learning!

    What book are you reading now?
    I am currently reading Why Should Anyone Be Led by You?, by Robert Goffee and Gareth Jones and I am finding it interesting to reflect on what I am experiencing compared with the themes of the book.

    What recent book have you read that you consider both beneficial and readable?
    I don’t very often read books right through, however, Presence; Exploring Profound Change in People, Organizations, and Society by Peter Senge, Joseph Jaworski, Otto Scharmer, and Betty Sue Flowers is a recent exception. Very thought provoking and challenging! Has enormous implications about how we “manage” change both individually and organisationally.

    Slightly longer ago I read Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist, a fable about following your dream – beautiful evocative language and a story as old as time – thoroughly enjoyed it!

    What advice do you have for people new to In2:IN?
    The wealth of knowledge that is brought together via the network is awe inspiring – drink a deep as you can from this well!

    Are there any questions that we should add to the member profile? If so, please provide us with the question(s) and your answer(s).
    Continuing the theme around the influence of our values and concepts on our world view, I recently gave a presentation on the conceptual framework bequeathed to us by Isaac Newton and others - another link with the world of physics! This framework could be summarised as reductionism, predictability, objective reality and machine metaphor, and appear to be deeply embedded in the way we view organisations.

    These assumptions are in many cases below the level of consciousness, and largely unchallenged. How can we bring these much more to the surface and facilitate much greater debate about their impact? In2:IN has a major part to play.

    Member Highlight - Reta Anderson
    Reta Anderson

    Meet Reta Anderson, our first featured member from Boeing's Huntington Beach campus and a 2-time Forum attendee.

    The Facts:
    I'll relate my words here to how thinking differently has always served me well. When they told me I could not hope to do certain things because I was a girl, I was determined to prove them wrong. When they said women are not "technically oriented" I had to prove the wrong. When they said that I'd always stand on the outside looking in, I had to show them I'd not only make it to the inside, but once there, I'd rearrange all the furniture, paint the walls and put in a new door. I live in Norwalk, CA with my partner of 11 years. At age 57, I am about to become a mother for the first time. We're adopting two children from right here in the good ol' USA. I enjoy building with Legos, taking things apart and putting them back together, and making up stories for kids. I mentor a couple of college students and occasionally spend time at Disneyland.

    In2:IN Forum Attendance. In which years, if any, did you attend our Forum and what inspired you to attend?
    Gosh, I think it's been about four or five years ago now. A colleague told me about it when I asked about his Six Thinking Hats poster.

    Tell us about a recent "a ha" moment.
    Well, at my age I get a lot of these but mostly when trying to influence a large population's thinking about the LGBT community of which I am a member. Constantly looking for ways to change people's minds about topics like gay marriage is always a fun pasttime and I've recently come up with a few good ideas I plan to put into practice this year.

    What book(s) are you reading now?
    The Truth About Muhammad by Robert Spencer and Messages, the Communications Skills Book by Matthew McKay, Martha Davis, and Patrick Fanning.

    What recent book have you read that you consider both beneficial and readable?
    Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire, by Rafe Esquith. I thought this was an exceptionally good read because it shows how unconventional methods lead to unconventionally great results.

    What advice do you have for people new to In2:IN?
    Learn all you can about training your mind to think differently and be open to new ideas. If nothing else, it has helped me think about thinking in a whole new way and enhance my already strange and wonderful way of looking at the world.

    The Fifth Annual Russell Ackoff Lectures - Postponed

    Previously announce plans for Russell Ackoff's return to both the Huntington Beach campus of The Boeing Company and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne's Canoga Park campus have been postponed until later in the year.

    Book Review - My Secret Life on the McJob

    My Secret Life on the McJob
    Author: Jerry Newman
    Publisher: McGraw-Hill
    Length: 194 pages
    Reviewer: Dale Deardorff

    This fun, quick read offers a super sleuth inside look at Leadership and management practices in the fast food environment and culture drawn from Dr. Newman's own personal experiences. His insights and perspective's as a college instructor working for minimum wage in a variety of fast food establishments brings back my own personal high school memories. For me it was a 2-3 week stint at an A&W restaurant in the summer of 1973. For Newman it was a series of ethnographic case study secrets available today at Arby's, McDonalds, Burger King, Krystal and Wendy's fast food restaurants.

    His research was conducted under a wide range of conditions but he did try to limit his research bias and was completely honest concerning his own limitations and challenges as a 50+ adult male ex-college instructor looking for employment in a typically younger trade. One critical point Newman made was that discrimination was non existent in these situation but jobs were assigned to those they were best suited to for optimizing the production and presentation of food....especially during the "Lunch Rush"!

    The diary type narrative establishes descriptions for (4) four types of managers:

    1. The Toxic Manager – Uses sarcasms and disrespect to indicate when they are unhappy.
    2. The Mechanical Manager – Goes thru the motions but does not really want to be there.
    3. The Relationship Manager – Builds relationships & demonstrates caring about other individuals destiny's.
    4. The Performance Manager – Clarifies expectations and removes ambiguity about individual performance.

    A key point of this book lies in the author's clarification about embracing diversity – "it's about recognizing, accommodating and gaining from individual differences in physical attributes and differences in viewpoint." This insight translates directly into how "One size fits all" learning and training do not take into account the differences in individual styles for hearing, seeing or doing.

    Anyone involved in leading or managing people, especially those working in the capacity of management of teams or groups can gain insights about creating the Social Web. This Web is based upon the creation and maintenance of social relationships whose glue is "Friendship". Basic motivation is also explored, including the classic Red Pen Company style of punishing employees for poor performance.

    This McJob book also clarifies the importance of listening to others. There are many examples of process steps which were altered, changed or modified to optimize the performance desired which were ignored by management suggestions. The clarity that management domination of thinking forcing others ideas to be ignored has been explored in many examples.

    The book focuses on what is critical to all restraint performance – the Lunch Rush – which if never witnessed is a snapshot into what it must be like to work in an ER during a repeatable emergency on a daily basis. Roles are shifted to optimize the team, communication changes to only what is essential at the moment and the controlled chaos is waited out until if disappears as quickly as it started.

    McJob will help anyone in establishing a palette of tasty leadership and teambuilding traits to use as reminders to better understand how to communicate and inspire people at any level. It makes me wonder what secrets my mailman or newspaper delivery boy may know that I don't!

    Article - Manage a Living System, Not a Ledger

    Tom Johnson continues to push inthinkers as well as members of the "lean" community to rethink all lean activities, including "lean accounting."

    Ongoing Discussion Preview - Sheldon Rovin

    The Ongoing Discussion (OD) for February will feature Sheldon Rovin, Emeritus Professor of Healthcare Systems at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business.

    On Thursday and Friday, February 22nd and 23rd, Sheldon will engage us in a dialogue on the topic of "Boundary-less Thinking" (There are boundaries, but most of them come from you!)

    This month's OD announcement will be released on or before Friday, February 16th.

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

    Thoughts from the Deming Learning Network

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

    Quotation from The Human Side of Enterprise by Douglas McGregor...

    "An equally important reason for management's failure to make effective use of current social science knowledge has to do with misconception concerning the nature of control in the field of human behaviour. In engineering, control consists in adjustment to natural law. It does not mean making nature do our bidding. We do not for example dig channels in the expectation that water will run uphill; we do not use kerosene to put out fires ........ In the human field the situation is the same, but we often dig channels to make water flow uphill. Many of our attempts to control behaviour, far from representing selective adaptations, are in direct violation of human nature. They consist in trying to make people behave as we wish without concern for natural law. Yet we can no more expect to achieve desired results through inappropriate action in this field than in Engineering."

    And in the conclusion of his book McGregor hopes: "The purpose of this volume is not to entice management to choose sides over Theory X or Theory Y. It is, rather, to encourage the realisation that theory is important, to urge management to examine its assumptions and make them explicit. In doing so it will open the door to the future. The possible result could be developments during the next decades with respect to the human side of enterprise comparable to those that have occurred in technology during the past half century."

    We did not succeed in meeting McGregor's challenge in the 1960s - can we respond in the early parts of the 21st century?

    Making a Difference from Where We Are...

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

    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.

    Russell Ackoff was recently presented with an honorary doctorate from Hull University. Follow this link to a video clip of a Hull University lecture delivered by Russ.
    Follow this link to a BBC business report on "Ackoff's f-Laws"
    Follow this link to a related interview in the Daily Telegraph
    Follow this link to a related article in Management Today

    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, Rick Searfoss, Sheldon Rovin, and Lyn Wiltse.

    Watch this spot for coming Forum details. Stay tuned for our announcement of the opening of Forum registration.

    Forum Scholarship News

    It is with great appreciation and excitement that the In2:InThinking Network announces the inaugural Russell L. Ackoff In2:InThinking Scholarship, established by Metalex Manufacturing founder and CEO Werner Kummerle. This annual scholarship, in the amount of $1000, is established to honor the immense and diverse contributions of Dr. Ackoff in the areas of systems thinking, creativity, and management – and various combinations thereof – over many years and in many areas, always delivered with grace, humor, and the utmost respect for people who work in organizations. The In2:InThinking Network feels incredibly fortunate to have both Werner Kummerle and Russell Ackoff as friends, supporters, and most importantly, participants. Metalex Manufacturing is a Forum Partner – Werner, his wife, and daughter and son all attended the 2006 Forum. Russ has attended several Forums as a speaker and guest of the Network, and has appeared twice as Thought Leader for Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne's Enterprise Thinking Network's monthly Ongoing Discussion teleconferences.

    This scholarship, in the tradition of In2:InThinking Network Forum scholarships, is meant to enable someone to attend the Forum, for the first time, who might not otherwise be aware of or be exposed to the Network and its resources and goals.

    Stay tuned for scholarship details in our forthcoming registration announcement.

    Partner Events and Resources

    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.

    The Southern California KM Cluster is colonizing the theme of "Collective Intelligence Networks" on February 22 at Pepperdine satellite campus at LAX.

    Join NASA, MIT, Cisco and others investigating Next Practices, methods, tools and techniques of CI Networks.

    All are welcome. Secure, online registration in advance required. There is no onsite registration. Clusters are open, non-commercial, not for-profit.

    For additional information, contact Sarah Jones, Colabria Cluster Registrar by email at sarah@colabria.com, phone at 978-468-0267, or fax at 206-984-2429

    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.

    Ideas to Ponder...

    From Manage a Living System, Not a Ledger, by Tom Johnson...
    "It's hard for Americans to understand the idea that a business organization cannot improve its long-run financial results by working to improve its financial results. But the only way to ensure satisfactory and stable longterm financial results is to work on improving the system from which those results emerge. That is what Toyota has always done, and that is what most discussions of "lean" ignore."

    Video Offer - From Mechanistic to Social Systemic Thinking, by Russell Ackoff
    Members of the In2:InThinking Networks may purchase this classic video—newly available on DVD—for just $59 through February 28 (a 40% savings!). Use priority code THINKACKOFF when you place your order.

    This package includes a digest of the talk in PDF format. Order #V9303D, Length: 73 minutes

    Description: Have we completely shed the Machine Age habits of mind that draw us into reductive problem solving as opposed to creative problem dissolving? In its striking clarity, Russell Ackoff’s seminal message from the 1993 Pegasus Conference endures as a reinforcement of our growing instinct to embrace new patterns of thought and action better suited to the complexities of today and tomorrow. View clip

    Video Offer - Deming Video Library and Better Management for a Changing World, with Russell Ackoff
    In addition to our Russell Ackoff video offer from Pegasus Communications, we have a video offer from our friends at CC-M and ManagementWisdom.com, producers of the Deming Video Library.

    A Theory of a System for Educators and Managers, Volume 21 of The Deming Library. Features Russell Ackoff meeting with W. Edwards Deming. Members of the In2:InThinking Network can purchase this DVD (or VHS tape) for $60 (a $50 discount) until June 1.

    In addition, this offer includes "Better Management for Changing World," featuring Russell Ackoff interviewed by Clare Crawford-Mason. Network members can purchase this 4-volume set for $240 (a $200 discount) until June 1. Volume details follow below:

    Volume 1 - The New World View
    Volume 2 - The Big Picture
    Volume 3 - The New Leadership
    Volume 4 - Doing the Right Thing Right

    Book Offer - Management f-Laws: How Organizations Really Work
    Network members are also invited to order copies of Russell Ackoff's latest book, "Management f-Laws," from Triarchy Press and receive a 10% discount off of the £20 list price for this softcover book.

    Partners InThinking - Orange County Chapter of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs
    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 Orange County Chapter of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA).

    The Facts:
    The National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) was created in 1988 as a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization. Widely known as the "Premier Hispanic Organization," NSHMBA serves 29 chapters and 6,000 members in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. It exists to foster Hispanic leadership through graduate management education and professional development. NSHMBA works to prepare Hispanics for leadership positions throughout the U.S., so that they can provide the cultural awareness and sensitivity vital in the management of the nation’s diverse workforce. Contact NSHMBA by email at membership@nshmba.org or by phone at 877.467.4622, ext. 7507.

    How does your organization compliment the In2:InThinking Network?
    NSHMBA's vision is to foster leadership through graduate management education and professional development. Like In2:IN, NSHMBA assists in the development of business professionals in the public, private and academic sectors, and small business.

    Tell us about your membership. What does it mean to be a member of your organization and how does one become a member?
    In today’s fast paced business environment, we offer members the resources, information and support you will need to reach their career goals. Our members have unlimited access to a wealth of national and local level resources, including communications and networking interaction with peers and business leaders. We have more than 7,600 members in 29 chapters across the United States and Puerto Rico.

    What resources does your organization offer its members?
    We offer a range of professional development opportunities, including our National Conference and Career Expo, networking, local events, leadership development opportunities to serve on our local and national boards, and a range of member discounts.

    What exciting developments are on the horizon for your organization?
    We have a number of efforts underway, including education programs which prepare Hispanics for admittance into graduate management schools, professional development and the establishment of a professional development center of excellence, and leadership development, including a program for our officers and staff enables.

    Visit the OC Chapter of the NSHMBA on the web...
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