john atkinson

The Queen!

what happens when your organisation is so evidently getting it wrong that people are suffering, that their work is becoming meaningless? What do you do then? Can you continue to ask for this loyalty? Should you?

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John Atkinson on Complexity in Systems

Here, in the video and transcript) below, John Atkinson in conversation with Stacey Hale at Design4Emergence, discusses Complexity in Systems. Answering questions such as: Any advice on keeping work in a complex ecosystem within manageable boundaries? True or false: “There are no best practices.” How do you put people at ease in a world obsessed with big data? You’re not saying to abandon strategy? Are you talking about designing an attractor? What do you say to a brand new consultant who wants to apply the Big Five of living systems to an organizational problem to create change? How much does it matter that people know that you’re pulling from the principles of biological systems to design organizational change?

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Size does matter

In the video that we link here, MIT Professor Cesar Hidalgo adds another perspective and some numbers. In his studies of network theory he has explored whether markets are meritocratic or topocratic. Put another way, do you succeed because of your talent or because of who you know?

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What is systems leadership?

The challenges that require you to work together are complex. You don’t ‘deliver’ a change in global quality standards and you don’t ‘deliver’ a healthier or wealthier population. Lots of people will need to change what they do if you are to succeed. Some are already way ahead of you. You will need to connect all this up, nurture some stuff and weed out things that aren’t helping. You will need to help people see how what they’re doing contributes towards something meaningful. You will have to constantly improve people’s experiences. Does that sound like deliver?

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Noticing my noticing

Travelling through northernmost Norway I am caught by the nature of scale. The grand and the delicate. The power and the finesse. In my awareness it becomes alive within me.

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Understanding Identity

Every time we change our business or political structures, we provoke questions about our identity. Who really are we? What matters to us? How must we now connect? Here John Atkinson explores issues of identity and relationships in the light of the U.K. Brexit vote and the US 4th of July celebrations.

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A binary issue

Whenever you try to reduce a complex dilemma to a binary issue you are wrong. The ‘Leave’ or ‘Remain’ question asked of the British people this week was therefore always incomplete. Politics in its most visible and visceral form tries to resolve issues in this way. The Brexit vote in the UK has brought to the fore tough questions of identity, relationships and information. These are Myron Roger’s dynamics of organising. He reminds us that it is by addressing issues at this level that meaning is made, trust is rebuilt and we take appropriate action. Only then will good policy, structures and protocols be formed. (By John Atkinson)