How the Organisation Subverts its Subversives

Just as a virus is constantly adapting as the immune system tries to defeat it, the change movement must learn to evolve. Being wedded to the form that lead to early success is a sure route to failure. Unless the change effort mutates to fight the organisational anti-bodies its legacy will be nothing more than a sense of what might have been. You may not be able to plan in advance just when or how you will need to change the way you change, but you need to be very aware that at some point you will have to. What you end up with may not be what you first envisaged, but it will be real and lasting.

The Myth of The Learning Organisation

It would be easy to conclude that The Learning Organisation is a fantasy. Global financing and market pressures will never allow such a concept to really happen. Shareholders will always take the short term return, strangle the business, and then switch their capital elsewhere. In other words, its all the fault of someone else, someone faceless and intangible.
To conclude that would be to miss something that is happening everyday, before your very eyes. Each day people turn up at work, in sub-optimal offices and workplaces, not designed that way, but simply how they have grown to be with each iteration of the company’s progress. They work within a bureaucracy of process and procedure, designed in response to past events to ensure a brighter, safer future yet in reality limiting and constraining every individual’s capacity for creativity and humanity.
This is driven by a deep almost innate sense of organisational identity. More powerful than the agency’s branding or the consultants’ carefully crafted vision and strap-lines, this is our sense of who we really are. It has been created over the life of the organisation through each and every interaction. It has been created in how we have responded as our environment changed and how we made sense of it in all the conversations that explore that. Conversations by water-coolers, notice boards and photo-copiers.

Reconciliation and Forgiveness

Surely the right way forward in Northern Ireland is to move past police enquiries and public enquiries? Instead we need to create the space where the real truth can surface, where peoples’ stories of hurt and anguish from all sides can be heard and acknowledged. Where we can see the players for what they were, and see what they are now?

Are you good enough to lead?

Are you good enough to lead? Is there a problem in your organisation? Are you a senior person in that organisation? Have you been there any length of time? If the answers are yes then there you are part of the problem.

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?

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?