In2:InThinking Network
In2:InThinking Network Newsletter February 2008

Good morning from the San Fernando Valley in southern California (home of our P.O. Box) and welcome to the February edition of our monthly newsletter, filled once again with good portions of thought-provoking features, all designed to keep our members thinking and gaining insights on the actions that will follow.

Why settle for the prevailing style of thought?
Be a leader.
Improve your thinking about thinking.

As always, this edition was prepared monthly by volunteers of the In2:InThinking Network. Content comes from volunteers, in service to our fellow members.  We invite you to further develop our network by sharing this newsletter with friends and colleagues.

Click either link below to submit the name(s) and email address(es) of anyone you would like to have added to this mailing list, or let us know if you would like to be removed. 


In2:InThinking Network Newsletter Team

Welcome First Timers
Your names have been added to our mailing list by virtue of your attendance in our series of Thinking Roadmap seminars, workshops, and overviews, or attendance at the annual
In2:InThinking Network Forum, or through a personal request, from you or a friend. Welcome to our thinking network.
Partner InThinking - February 2007
National Society of Hispanic MBAs
In this edition, we highlight another partner organization of the In2:InThinking Network; the National Society of Hispanic MBAs, or NSHMBA. We first featured the NSHMBA in February 2007.  

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 32 chapters and 7,000 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 or by phone at 877.467.4622, ext. 7507. Website:

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 NSHMBA on the web...

Member Profile - John Hunter
John HunterEach month we interview members of the In2:InThinking Network to get their perspectives on a variety of questions. This month we asked John Hunter (left) and Gipsie Ranney (below) to provide their insights.  

The Facts:
I have been interested in systemic management improvement since before my career started.  My father, Bill Hunter, ignited an early interest in continual improvement based on data and systemic thinking.  I document my continuing thoughts on this topic in the Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog.

In2:IN Forum Attendance: I have not yet attended the Forum.

Tell us about a recent "a ha" moment.
I recently read Good Germs, Bad Germs by Jessica Snyder Sachs.  One example in the books discussed a positive special cause and the importance of systems thinking (the whole book was a great example of systems thinking).  While the books does use these terms it shows exactly how Deming's ideas should be used to improve.  You experience positive results.  Explore the data to try and discover why.  Then see if there is a way to adopt the positive special cause across the system.  For more, follow this link to my blog.
What book(s) are you reading now?
I am rereading the The Improvement Guide, by
Gerald Langley, Kevin Nolan, Clifford Norman, and Lloyd Provost.

What recent book have you read that you consider both beneficial and readable?

Workplace Management by Taiichi Ohno, translated by Jon Miller - I found the conversational tone made it very easy to read and reminiscent of Dr. Deming's tone in many places.
He focused a great deal on the faulty perceptions derived from cost accounting thinking. He discussed the importance of not letting your understanding be clouded by thinking with the accounting mindset. And the book also provides a background for understanding one piece flow, just in time thinking, etc.  I've posted more information on Workplace Management on my blog. 

Visit John's website at
Member Profile - Gipsie Ranney
Gipsie Ranney
The Facts: I live in Brentwood, TN, a suburb of Nashville. I spend my time learning and trying to help former students. I do some consulting. But my favorite activity other than learning is travel - not for business. I also like to garden except in years when there is a horrible drought, like this year.
In2:IN Forum Attendance: I will attend for the first time in April.

Tell us about a recent "a ha" moment: Tom Johnson's observation that the design of Toyota's system means that the information is carried in the work, so there is no need for the elaborate information systems seen in U.S. corporations.

What book(s) are you reading now?
Nassim Taleb's Fooled by Randomness and Al Gore's The Assault on Reason.

What recent book have you read that you consider both beneficial and readable?
Tom Johnson, Profit Beyond Measure
Book Review - Crucial Conversations
Crucial Conversations
Title: Crucial Conversations
Authors: Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler
228 pages
Price: $16.95

Dale Deardorff

If you have ever wondered how to have that "tough" conversation, talk, and dialog or purposely create the perfect opportunity to discuss something critical with others, then this is the book for you.  A leadership tool required for everyone is the skill to have productive conversations that are crucial at specific times. All of us have experienced that situation where you walk away knowing something went wrong there because emotions got triggered or the silence was deafening. As the authors remind us, "Nothing Fails like Success."   In other words, when a challenge in life is met by a response that is equal to it, you have success.

But, when the challenge moves to a higher level, the old, once successful response no longer works - it fails; thus, "nothing fails like success." You must take your conversations to a higher level to be successful...they must become a blend of IQ (Intelligence Quotient) and EQ (Emotion Quotient) to become Crucial Conversations.

The book's team of authors have created a handbook for the reader which will allow you and others to engage in purposeful dialogue that constructively moves towards mastering what it calls Crucial Conversations.  These can be any day-to-day conversations that have an impact or can affect your life. Typically we have three choices:

1) We are afraid of them
2) We face them and handle them poorly
3) We face them and handle them well

This book allows you to improve all three areas by establishing a firm understanding of the conversation objectives, but, as stated ,we can still screw up!  "Practice doesn't make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect" - in other words no, matter how skilled we think we are, there is always room for improvement and the repeated searching for Mutual Purpose is the key. Page 81 allows you some practice exercises to formulate a contrasting statement based upon a situational fact pattern. It also lets you document what you "don't want" and what you "do want" in the communication. This diagnostic unveiling of a dialog allows you to move towards creating Mutual Purpose and Shared Meaning.

The authors focus on what they call the "One Thing" at the core of every successful conversation - a free flow of relevant information.
To accomplish this, we must help create the environment where people can;

  • Openly and honestly express opinions
  • Share their feelings
  • Articulate their theories
  • Share their views...even when their views are controversial and unpopular
Everyone enters a conversation with unique and individual opinions, feelings and theories which help contribute to the "pool of shared meaning". As the sharing increases, the diversity of thought and opinion grows to allow stronger dialogue and decision making. The book points out that decision's are made using one of 4 methods:

- means we are turning decisions over to others. We decide either that this is such a low stakes issue that we don't care or we completely trust the ability of the delegate to make the right decision.

- means you invite others to influence them before they make their choice. You can use experts, a representative population or even everyone who wants to offer an opinion.

- means you have several decent options.  It is a time saver but should never be used when team members don't agree to support what ever decision is made.

- means you talk until everyone honestly agrees to one decision.

Chapter 4 contains a participant survey which can allow you to identify and understand your crucial communication style strengths and weaknesses. The 33 question instrument provides a scoring for Silence versus Violence.

is any act to purposely withhold information from the pool of meaning. It restricts the flow of meaning and the three most common forms are:
  • Masking - understating or selectively showing our true opinions
  • Avoiding - involves steering completely away from sensitive subjects
  • Withdrawing -pulling out of a conversation altogether.

Violence is any verbal strategy that attempts to convince, compel or control others to your point of view. The three most common forms are:
  • Controlling - consists of coercing others to your way of thinking.
  • Labeling - putting a label on people or ideas so we can dismiss them under a general stereotype or category.
  • Attacking - you move from winning the argument to making a person sufferthrough belittling or threatening.

[My only criticism against the book is that the term violence comes with cognitive baggage, individual paradigms and mental models which may be distractive.]

Additionally, the book provides an assessment against the communication skill sets explored in chapters 3-9. These process steps are called Start with the Heart, Learn to Look, Make it Safe, Master my Stories, State my Path, Explore other Paths and Move into Action. These provide a great starting point to understand yourself from where your starting...the next series of steps will require you to take action and refine the "Paths to Action" included in the Dialogue Model. If this book's Dialogue Model is used, you can clearly see a path, and a goal in the conversations which will be based upon the seven dialogue principles, measured against the skills required and quantified with what crucial questions must be explored.

Chapter 11 contains the author's advice for tough cases. They have taught the material and used it consistently enough to understand the typical areas that are pushed back against by stating "Yeah, but".  These are broken into what is called the Danger Point and then The Solution.  What you actually have is almost 20 examples of how to use the skills of Crucial Conversations productively in the hard situations that all Leaders would be challenged to conduct. If you determine that you and others are working towards cross-purposes or different agendas, you may need to refocus the mutual purpose. To accomplish this, there are a series of communication exploration tools provided with acronyms such as:

(Agree, Build, Compare) which can be used for when you want to respond to a statement or perceived facts that others have that are incorrect or partially true.

(Ask, Mirror, Paraphrase, Prime) which can be used as power listening tools to make it safe for others to speak safely and frankly.

(Commit, Recognize, Invent, Brainstorm) which can be used to step out of the content of conflict and start to re-establish a mutual purpose.

Ultimately, what we have created upon completion of the book is a handbook for communicating more effectively which will help you develop more constructive dialogue habits to identify crucial situations, diffuse tension and establish action plans that are extremely practical and insightful. The proposed hallmark of Crucial Conversations is disagreement. When different people have different opinions and don't know how to work through their difference, this can spiral or digress into silence or violence, and kill the free flow of ideas or conversations. Disagreement poorly handled leads to poor decisions being made and negative relationships by all team members.

Recommended Reading in the White House
Bill MoyersBill Moyers recently asked viewers what book, other than the Bible, they recommend the next President bring to the White House. Follow this link to his reviews of many of the submissions and reveals his own pick for the future President-elect.
The top 25 books includes Naomi Klein's The Schock Doctrine, Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat, and several from Dr. Suess.   Sadly, The New Economics, by W. Edwards Deming, and Ackoff's Best, from Russ Ackoff, did not make the cut.
Incorporating Organizational Learning into the Program Management Process
John Pourdehnad
According to Johnnie Pourdehnad (left), an increasing number of firms are becoming project-based.  The result is that the overall profitability of the firm is contingent upon successful completion of projects. The success of a project, in turn, is based on the completion of the project scope in a quality manner, within budget, and on time, to a customer's satisfaction. Since not all projects are successful, unsuccessful projects can be used as learning source to find out what went wrong and how it can be fixed. 
Project-based companies have no specific mechanism to allow the managers and company to learn from previous mistakes. This will mean every time the manager encounters a problem, he/she will have to make a decision relying purely on his/her experience. This prevents the managers from making use of dozens, hundreds, or thousands of other managers who have had experiences that could be applicable to the given situation. In order to accommodate experiential learning, the project control process should be modified to give managers the opportunity to learn from others' (and their own) mistakes. In most of the cases the evaluations of past project related information are not incorporated into the project control process.
From the article Building Corporate "Black Boxes": A Different Perspective On Organizational Learning, it is obvious that project-based companies must be cognizant of past failures and successes. According to the article, there is an isomorphism between organizational learning and Aviation Flight Management System (AFMS): The Organizational Learning & Adaptation System has a parallel in the commercial aviation safety system, which by itself is a working testament of the usefulness of adapting such approaches. This is based on the observation that these two systems: flight management system and strategic decision making at large complex organizations are isomorphic. Preliminary studies have already established the isomorphism between these two systems. There is an opportunity to learn from the "fail-safe" organizations (in particular, the aviation system) and to apply this learning to further develop project control systems capable of providing tracking, measurement, and learning across the organization.

Contact Johnnie to learn more about his efforts to incorporate organizational learning into the program management process.
Thoughts on Expanding on Reductionism
Anne Herman
Anne Herman (left), from Puget Sound, submitted these reflections, after "thinking about her thinking"....

I was recently in a conversation where people used the term, "reductionist." It was used, in the context of a talk about systems thinking, as synonymous with "atomistic." It meant thinking of a system as if it were only a collection of parts, and neglecting the relationships between them. The speaker seemed to be thinking in terms of reducing a whole to its parts. My degree is in philosophy, and I know a definition of "reductionism" that's subtly different. I believe words have the power to either limit or expand what we are able to think. If we want to expand our thinking, and our thinking about thinking, this definition may have something to offer.

Reductionism, as I know it from studying philosophy, is not about breaking a bigger whole into smaller parts. It's about reducing one thing, whole and important and valuable in itself, to another thing. It shows up as seeing that second thing only in terms of the first. It appears to acknowledge the existence of the second, but any part of the second thing that doesn't fit inside the first is ignored.

When my brother was in high school, he began learning Spanish. After his first week he came home saying he could now speak Spanish. "It's just like English," he said, "only you say 'el' first and add 'o' at the end. Like, 'el table-o' and 'el-chair-o.'" Spanish is another language, another whole way of seeing the world. It draws distinctions where English doesn't, and connects things English doesn't connect. For instance, the Spanish verb for waiting, esperar, means the same as to hope. Doesn't that give a whole new flavor to it when you say, "I'm waiting for you"? Spanish does not reduce to English with an 'o' on the end.

Another example is anthropomorphism: when we view the world only in terms of human experience and human purposes. We define cows as beef cattle or milk cows, as if cows existed only to provide food for us.

Reductionism is subtle, and so prevalent we rarely notice it. And it often takes the form of, "Yes! I agree, it's just like..." Then the person gives an account of what you said that totally misses the point, because they reduce it to some version of what they think.

My dad was an MD and a scientist. He saw everything in terms of a question: Is it science or is it not? Not-science was called magic or superstition or religion. And by "science," he meant the science of Western medicine and pharmaceuticals. His world-view didn't allow for other systems of science than the one with which he was familiar. Acupuncture and homeopathy, for instance, are systems that have been scientifically tested and used for hundreds or thousands of years. Yet when I explained homeopathy to him, he listened with great respect and kindly replied, "Yes, some of my patients believe in prayer, and who am I to contradict them?" Because he had only the mental boxes of the science he practiced or not-science, he equated another system of pharmaceutical science with prayer. He reduced it to not-science.

Sometimes reductionism implies that one thing is more valuable or real than another. If cows are only for meat or for milk, it means they only matter in terms of what they do for us. Humans are more valuable or real than cows. We do it with trees, too. Oak is a hardwood tree, and pine is soft. It only matters when people cut them down and make them into "el table-o."

What does this definition of reductionism have to offer? Why is it useful to notice reductionist thinking in all its forms? Because in reducing one thought or point of view or whole system of thought to another, we contract our perspective. Because viewing one part from the standpoint of another is, ultimately, not so different from ignoring that part altogether-except that we appear to be acknowledging it. Anthropomorphism misses the nature of cows and trees, and the role they each play on the Earth. If we reduce Spanish to English with an "o" on the end, we discount the richness of a very different language. In lumping together homeopathy and prayer, my dad dismissed an effective form of scientific medicine. He narrowed his thinking.

Conversely, by exploring the meanings of words, we can expand the reach of our thought. This use of "reductionism" also gives us a retort to those pesky people who say, "Oh yes, that's exactly like the point I was making..."

Contact Anne to let her know what you think about her thinking...
Transforming My Space In2 OurSpace Using Thinker's Thoughts
Sheldon Rovin
We continue this month with Shel Rovin's reflections on "What organizations can learn from nature."  To our first-time readers, this column started with an offer to Shel to write a "monthly short, emphasis short, piece as part of the monthly newsletter."  Previous editions, including parts 1 and 2, plus Shel's agreement, can be found online at this link.


Part 3. Nature Abhors Equilibrium, Managers Frantically Seek It.

Life generally abhors equilibrium (energy flows as readily backward and forward) because that's when cells become inactive and die.  If nature were homogeneous we wouldn't be here.

In a desert, when rainfall is variant--the mixture of species increases by orders of magnitude. If rainfall is constant with respect to the annual temperature cycle, the beautiful desert ecology will fall into something simpler.  "It is turbulence and variance that gives the richness to nature." (Tony Burgess cited in "Out of Control.") 

In the recent geologic past the Sahara desert was a tropical forest and has been many ecological types since. We have to learn to live with a variable environment without standardizing it.  But the lesson is that all ecologies are in a state of constant flux and reinvention.

Variance is needed to enrich a system. But too much change can destroy it.  Living organisms make trade-offs in deciding how much mutation and innovation is needed to adapt to a changing environment.  Using quality as an example:  if quality is over-standardized our ability to learn from variance in production, service, and, in healthcare, responses to therapeutic regimens, is diminished.

From an economic/organizational perspective what is desired is an adaptable infrastructure that can bend and work around and with irregular production or variance. (This is the basis for the "just in time" concept) Right now there are no industrial/economic models that are variance driven, except gambling, that I am aware of.  In organizations variances are more often seen as problems rather than opportunities.

Human institutions (ecologies of human effort and aspirations) must also be in a state of constant flux and reinvention.  But generally, humans are surprised and resistant to real change.  It is much harder to change an organism or organization that is stable (in equilibrium) than one in flux.

Change, not deserts, everglades, governments, or nations is eternal.  Disequilibrium drives nature, but not our human social systems. Why?  Among the questions to ask are:
What drives change? 
How can change be directed?
Can the distributed life in loose associations as governments, large organizations, economies and ecologies be controlled in any way? 
Should it be controlled?

How can disequilibrium or variance be valued?

What do you think?
Deming Immersion Program - March 2008
W. Edwards DemingThe W. Edwards Deming Institute has announced plans for its second "Deming Immersion Program," a rigorous and intense five-and-a-half day program to deepen understanding of Dr. W. Edwards Deming's theory of management."  The seminar includes presentations, simulations, informal discussions, exercises, films, readings, inquiries and homework to enhance participants' learning.

Facilitators: Dr. Gipsie Ranney, Dr. Michael Tveite, and Dr. Joyce Orsini, who all learned directly from Dr. Deming and who are referred to in his books.

Limitation: This program will be limited to twelve participants.

Homework: There will be a pre-seminar homework assignment.

Location: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, USA

Schedule: Sunday, 2 March 2008, 5:30pm to 10:15pm
Monday- Friday, 3-7 March 2008, 7:00am to 10:15pm
Saturday, 8 March 2008 - Goodbyes and Departure

Registration fee: $9,900

Register online at this link.

Scholarships: A limited number of scholarships are available.  Each scholarship covers the seminar fee, hotel for six nights, and all meals during the 5 1/2 day seminar.  Follow this link to download the scholarship application.
UK Transformation Forum 
UK Deming Forum
Title: Transformation is the Future ~ Delivering Sustainable Change
Schedule: Tuesday 20th to Thursday 22nd May 2008
Location: The Robinson Executive Centre, Wyboston Lakes, Bedfordshire, UK. MK44 3AL

Many organisations, whether in the public or private sector, say they are trying to 'transform.' For some this means a radical rethink of how they deliver their service whilst for others it means the adoption of the latest management idea that appears to hold some water. But for all of them a key challenge is how to build a momentum for change and deliver benefits for all stakeholders, particularly customers.

Unfortunately it isn't as easy as constructing a business case.  Transformation by its very nature requires sustained learning and the ability to adapt over a period of time.  In contrast, a business case usually relies on choosing a solution before you start - a solution shaped by the very assumptions and knowledge that created the current way of doing things.  The experience of most organisations has shown that transformation is much easier to aspire to than to deliver, so on what grounds can you expect success?  Or rather, by what method?  

Dr Deming and others recognised that the combination of four key disciplines make a profound difference to the impact and sustainability of change, and to the way it is embraced and sustained across the organisation.  Whether you consider the change and sustainability agendas in terms of organisations, communities or the even the planet, you will benefit from exploring a more comprehensive system of management and developing your own approaches and plans.

Over 3 days you will discover the principles behind Systems Thinking and Deming's system of management, hear successful case studies, and meet inspiring speakers from Europe and America.  At the time of going to press our agenda includes:

    Atkins Rail - delivering complex capital programmes for public and private clients across the globe
    Toyota - world leader in the research and development of advanced automobile technology, still continually striving for constant improvement
    Velux - market leader in the manufacture of roof windows
    Virgin Trains - at the forefront of innovation within the UK's Rail Network
    International marine & aerospace paint supplier - This  award winning market leader will share its remarkable     journey.
    Colin Parry from the Tim Parry & Jonathan Ball Foundation for Peace
    David Clift, author of 'Lean World: The DNA of Success and the Path to Prosperity'
    Dennis Sherwood - on Smart Innovation and Creativity
    Emma Langman, Atkins Rail and Alisdair MacDonald, Civil Engineering @ Bristol University
    Geoff Hunt - Soft Systems Methodology
    Glenn Mazur, QFD Institute - Delighting customers. Uncover 'positive' quality that wows the customer and delivers a common goal ~ customer delight
    John Seddon - Systems Thinking in the Public Sector ~ the failure of the reform regime and there is a better way
    Kevan Leach - Ever wondered what's hiding behind your sales figures/reports? Learn how to 'read' your business data and easily improve performance
    Mark Sheasby -"About Success, Health & Happiness'. Applying the System of Profound Knowledge to our mind body system
    Miranda Holmes - Cheshire County Council. How a 1bn Local Authority is transforming the way it delivers a diverse range of services
    Nick Hebborn - Supply chain expert
    Nigel Clements - An Introduction to Systems Thinking
    Patrick Hoverstadt -  on Stafford Beer, acknowledged as the founder of management cybernetics - the science of effective organisation.
    Simon Caulkin, thought provoking writer from The Observer
    Peter Worthington - an in-depth look at data and charts
    Tony Droar - West Sussex County Council. Complexity, Chaos and Innovation
    James Crawford - your Conference Host will open by looking at why many of our attempts to transform fall short and what it takes to deliver positive change in the long term

Put the dates in your diary, invite a colleague, and build an agenda for change together -
Contact us for special US friends rate to attend the conference.

The Transformation Forum, The Court House, Woburn Street, Ampthill, Bedford, MK45 2HX
T: +44 (0)1525 402323      F: +44 (0)1525 406610     Email:

Closing Thot...
In the spirit of Marvin Weisbord's latest book, Don't Just Do Something, Stand There, an improv group in New York City did just that - stood still in Grand Central Station.   Link here to see the experiment in action on YouTube.
2008 Forum Registration is OPEN and growing
With 59 days to go before the opening day of our seventh Forum, we are pleased to announce that we have 53 attendees confirmed to attend.  To join the list, follow this link to our website to access our registration survey.
We are also pleased to announce that webpages have been created for each of our conference speakers; Steve Cook, Ariane David, Bob Dickman, Gordon Hall, Elaine Johnson, Tom Johnson, Scott Lennox, Richard Maxwell, George Roth, Gipsie Ranney, Shel Rovin, and Ralph Wood.

In addition, we have created webpages for all of our 10 pre-conference seminars and workshops and 2 post-conference seminars.

2008 Forum Location and Pricing
Once again, we'll be in Los Angeles.  As for pricing, the registration fee for this 6-day event will be $350.  This price includes all pre- and post-conference seminars and workshops, conference presentations and activities, materials, and meals (dinner on Friday, continental breakfast on Saturday and Sunday, and lunch and dinner on Saturday).  We will also continue a tradition we started this year, offering a discounted registration price of $200 for full-time students in home school, public schools, colleges, or universities.

Ongoing Discussion Preview
As a reminder, the Ongoing Discussion (OD) for Febuary will feature Sheldon Rovin, one of our monthly columnists.
On Thursday and Friday, February 28th and 29th, Shel will return for the second time to engage us as the second Thought Leader of the new year.
Follow this UPDATE link to register now

The formal "OD" announcement for Shel's appearance will be released on or before February 25th.

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

Add me to the OD list
Ideas to Ponder...
"People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.''
Vince Lombardi
Vince Lombardi
American Football Coach

"When it is dark enough,
you can see the stars."
Charles A. Beard
Charles A. Beard


"Everyone would rather [live] and work in an environment where possibilities are more tangible than are limits -- where hope matters more than fear."Dwight Gertz
Dwight Gertz
Management Consultant
Ackoff's Blog...
Check out the Ackoff Center Blog for the latest feedback on Russ Ackoff's last book, Management f-Laws, news on the 2008 Russell Ackoff Doctoral Student Fellowships
Russ Ackoff
In addition, follow this link to download the "Meeting Companion" files from our "OD" sessions with Russ in January.  With the associated freeware, you can revisit all four 1-hour sessions.
Deming Learning Network
Thought Provocation of the Month
Gordon Hall
Courtesy of Gordon Hall of the Deming Learning Network in Aberdeen, Scotland, here is this month's thought provocation;

"Our memory of how to work together in healthy, productive ways has been nearly extinguished by the creeping complexity of group work, facilitation techniques, obscure analytical processes, and our own exhaustion.......
People are more polarised, more overwhelmed, more impatient, more easily disappointed in others and more withdrawn than ever.  We're frustrated by the increasing number of problems that confront us and our impotence to resolve them."
Margaret Wheatley

Are some of the causes of the above our fixation with "control," measurement and the need to "motivate" employees?

"It is wrong to suppose that if you cannot measure it, you can't control it - a costly myth"

W. Edwards Deming

Note: we are proud to announce that Gordon has accepted our offer to appear at our 2008 Forum.   His presentation is titled "Can We Build an Organisation's Culture by Design?"

2007 Forum DVD
In2:InThinking Network 2007 DVD
For the fifth year in a row, we contracted with Kid Flix, the after-school video services team at Placerita Junior High School in nearby Valencia, CA to videotape our entire (weekend) conference.  Once again, a job well done by Paul Kass and his Kid Flix "CREW".  Their footage was converted into our final DVD package by Dave Nave & Associates.  The package of 10 presentations, including the after-dinner entertainment by taiko group On Ensemble, sells for $150.   To order, follow the link from the DVD image above.

If you could not join us, here's your chance to find out what you missed.  If you attended and want to revisit or share the memories, Dave is ready to fill your order for DVDs from 2005, 2006, or 2007.
Donate to the In2:IN
Our network efforts are enabled day-by-day, month-by-month, and year-by-year by  civic-minded volunteers whose contributions include a passion for making a difference, coupled with ideas, time and energy.   Together, we are working, learning, and thinking about how we can foster and inspire "better thinking for a better future" and what this effort enables individuals and  organizations of all shapes and sizes to do differently.

Contributions to our network also include financial support from our members, coupled with the proceeds of our annual Forum.   Towards this end, please consider contributing a tax-deductible donation to the In2:InThinking Network, which is charted as a 501c3 non-profit organization.  Your donation can be towards our general fund (to support the website and newsletter), or towards scholarships and financial assistance of future attendees of our annual Forum.

Contact Bill Bellows for additional information on how to contribute.

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Save 40%
Members of the In2:InThinking Network are invited by Bob Mason and Clare Crawford-Mason (of to purchase their latest DVD and book set, Good News...How Hospitals Heal Themselves at a sale price.   Instead of the standard bundle price of $165, network members can purchase this set for $100, for a 40% discount.  Follow this link to find information on these videos.   Use this link to place your order and reference this limited offer.
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