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Leading in a complex world (a collection)

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Conversation

Doubt, uncertainty and vulnerability in leadership: using fiction to enable reflection and voice

By Rob Warwick

“In other words, to acknowledge the anxiety of strategy and policy formation that manifests itself in overly rigid controls and simplification in communication, yet to recognise the practical skill and wisdom of those on the frontline. This is not a case of either/or, but awareness of the importance of both to each other. Situations in which we find ourselves are rarely clear-cut; there are tensions and competing priorities that require an holistic understanding so as to make the next plausible choice… ”

and

“Each time I have watched the play [The Tempest] I remember feeling a sense of immediacy at this point and slight discomfort; I was no longer a viewer but a player and part of the power relations, albeit in imagination. My sense of immediacy has been arrived at from a developing relationship with the characters; I care for some, dislike others, and am puzzled by several. ”

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Pragmatic Strategy

By Ikujiro Nonaka and Zhichang Zhu

“The Chinese kanji character 知 (know) is composed of an 矢 (arrow) which means to direct and command, and a 口 (mouth) which means to express and communicate. Hence, ‘know’ does not simply mean, as usually translated into English, to discover or comprehend a pre-given reality; it denotes coming to realise, make present, actualise a world. Knowledge is the process of experiencing and changing life conditions. The ‘product’ of this process is less about the nature of things –‘what is it?’ than about appropriate action –‘what is to be done?’”

And

“Pragmatic strategy is the purposeful accomplishment of idealistic, informed, disciplined experimentations.”

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Digital and Face to Face Conversation: The Emerging Skill Set

By Paul Levy

“Conversation doesn’t happen when two people just advocate. Advocating is what we do when we tell, when we assert, when we ‘put out.’ The digital realm is designed for us to mostly advocate. We press enter and our text is advocated. We send a photo and we are pushing that photo at someone. Emails, tweets, smileys and likes are all acts of putting out, of advocating. It’s all push.”

and

“Conversation builds out of the raw material of shared inquiry. Occasionally we may advocate, but even then , we do that in order to serve and enhance the quality of the conversation. Sometimes we put out, we advocate, especially when inquiry helps us reach more or less temporary conclusions about something. In a high quality conversation, that occasional advocacy fuels further inquiry.”

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10 much-needed shifts in the way we think and talk about leadership

By Chris Rodgers

“Leadership would be recognized as an emergent property of people interacting together, not as an elite practice confined to those at the top of organizations (and of society more generally).”

And

“The search for, and expectancy of, certainty and predictability would have been replaced by the valuing and practice of curiosity.”

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Conscious business — impact and implications for HR and OD

By Pete Burden and Rob Warwick

“There are many things we can do. These include:

  • noticing and challenging our habits of speech
  • learning to sense and understand our feelings more accurately
  • learning to inquire not just advocate
  • reaching out to new and different types of people who will have challenging conversations with us
  • modelling different ways to work with power.”

and

“Conscious Business is an invitation to inquire”.

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Why conversations matter

By Eerika Hedman

“We can also learn to re-wire our brains through the mindful changes we make in our relationships = our conversations.”

And

“All the time we leave marks in each other’s stories, and those marks can boost our potential and expand our stories of ourselves. Or in the worst case, they can create limitations for our actions and invite the undesired ways of behaving.

So the next time you think you are ”just” having a chat or a conversation with someone, think again.”

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