Presentation on theme: "Leading for improvement within living systems"— Presentation transcript:
1Leading for improvement within living systems Steve Onyett2nd December 2009
2Leading from Within Living Systems- 2nd December 2009 A facilitated exploration of what our emerging understanding of living systems tells us about leadership for sustainable development
3Leading from Within Living Systems: Objectives Clarify the outcomes you seek from effective leadershipExperience being part of living systems and what this means for our work towards more sustainable futuresShare positive experiences of what works in leadership for improvementReflect on leading-edge thinking on leadershipExplore what this means for you at local levelPlan action to take forward this important topic in concrete waysConnect with others on a similar journey at and beyond the event.
4Some thoughts and ideas... How do these connect to your world as experienced?How might they help you in what you need/want to do?
5“Modern leadership theory.. ..is about leading and managing complex adaptive systems that operate as a series of networks with multiple stakeholder interests”.Beinecke & Spenser, 2007
6Law of the Situation Leadership is transient and contextual Where knowledge and experience are needed the person who can is the right person to do it.Not all leadership should be determined by position power yet people with authority should be prepared to exercise it.
7The essence of leadership and management …is the creation of environments in which people can be creative.. Where they can exercise power to achieve outcomes valued by end users, the people that care about them and that they care about, and other key stakeholders.
8The Triple Bottom LineBenefits to the organisation- financial and otherwiseBenefits to people within the organisation- both those that stay and those that leave, but as it’s ambassadors.Benefits to the local community and beyond
9Understanding our context Working well with living systems means working well with “complexity”See for example –Bob Hudson. (2006). Whole systems working- a Guide and Discussion paper. CSIP-ICNJake Chapman. (2004). Systems failure. Why governments must learn to think differently. London: Demos
10Complexity theory..or just “Recognising how the universe works and just getting on with it” .. theory
11“Those who take for their standard anyone but nature- the mistress of all masters- weary themselves in vain”Leonardo da Vinci
12Simple Complicated Complex A Moon Rocket Raising a Child Recipe is essentialRecipes are tested to assure replicability of later effortsNo particular expertise; knowing how to cook increases successRecipes produce standard productsCertainty of same results every timeFollowing a RecipeA Moon RocketFormulae are critical and necessarySending one rocket increases assurance that next will be okHigh level of expertise in many specialized fields & coordinationRockets similar in critical waysHigh degree of certainty of outcomeFormulae have only a limited applicationRaising one child gives no assurance of success with the nextExpertise can help but is not sufficientEvery child is uniqueUncertainty of outcome remainsRaising a ChildFrom - Plsek, P. “Complexity, culture and large systems change” presentationSource: Brenda Zimmerman, PhD
13Questions? (after Chapman, 2004) Are we spending too much time trying to apply complicated solutions to complex problems?What approach would we adopt if we accepted that systems cannot be controlled nor their behaviour predicted?What might we need to do differently?
14Small changes can have big effects Build collective understanding of what working in complex systems really meansSmall changes can have big effects..and big changes very little effectEmergence- the whole is greater than the sum of the partsTolerance of uncertainty and flexibilityRecognising the futility of control
15The pointlessness of control from Jenny Rogers “Influencing Skills” You can’t force people to work effectively on something they disagree with.Organisations are so complex and subject to so many diverse influences that it is pointless trying to control them.Distance from most senior to most junior makes it unlikely that control can be exercised over that stretchMuch control is unnecessary -where there is openness and willingness to give feedbackControl reduces risk taking- a necessary precondition for the innovation on which organisations dependIt’s exhausting and your time can be better spent!
16The problem of Big Planning “Long term planning and the rigid structures, precise task definitions and elaborate rules that often accompany it, may be positively dangerous, ‘fixing’ an organisation in pursuit of a particular vision when an uncertain world requires flexible responses”.Hudson, 2006May need “holding frameworks” for relevant subsystems to keep direction and coherence
17What implications of more ecological thinking? Push and exhortation from leaders and policy makers can be counter-productive.Change is influenced by context. So is the role of leaders in creating change. Leaders need to understand the context.To rely on push and exhortation would be like standing over a plant and shouting “Grow!, Grow!”.
18People’s ability to stay the same will always be greater than our ability to make them different
19Working with your stakeholders- what is their Readiness to change?Confidence to change?Judgement of the importance of change?
20Respectfully consider these cells and provide information to inform AdvantagesDisadvantagesChange+-No change
21What implications of more ecological thinking? Change needs to happen bottom-up but the right conditions need to be created.…like gardening, or throwing a party?Change is influenced by context. So is the role of leaders in creating change. Leaders need to understand the context.To rely on push and exhortation would be like standing over a plant and shouting “Grow!, Grow!”.
22Working with complexity values Allowing solutions to emerge by:encouraging rich interaction, removing barriers and oppressive controlsgiving space and time,not over specifying means
23Working with complexity values Valuing multiple perspectivesUsing multiple approaches that make effective use of experience, experimentation, freedom to innovate and working at the edge of knowledge and experience.
24Panic Zone Discomfort Zone Comfort Zone Working with complexity as “surfing the edge of chaos”, Pascale, et al (2000)“.. In systems as in life, when threatened, [it] move towards the edge of chaos. At this edge experimentation and mutation occur from which creative solutions can emerge. When this occurs living systems self organise and new forms or patterns emerge. The challenge for leaders is to disturb or disrupt the movement at the edge to provoke the desired outcome” – sometimes referred to as “perturbing the edge”. McKimm et al, (2008)Panic ZoneDiscomfortZoneComfortZoneDiscomfort = using other learning styles
25“..Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm”. Winston S Churchill
26“Transformational” leadership- roots James MacGregor Burns defined transformation as that which turns followers into leaders and leaders into moral agents.Transformational leadership occurs when people elevate each other into a higher level of motivation and morality.Thus inextricably linked with the social meaning that people attach to their work.
27Creating a better space ‘ba’ A Japanese term, meaning ‘a shared space for emerging relationships’ or in more general terms a context where meaning may emerge.Originally proposed by philosopher Kitaro Nishida
28Real teams have.. Clear and shared objectives Members who have to work closely together to achieve the objectives of the teamThis interdependency includes users and their supportersMembers who have different and clearly defined roles within the teamThe minimum number of team members required to get the job done
29Thought for the day. Today Programme. Radio 4. 26th February 2009 “Here is the gift of relationship. It lies at the very core of what it is to be human.”Rev David Wilkinson, principal of St John’s College, Durham
30Holons- Whole-partsThe “Transcend and include” principle
31Holons- Whole-partsBoth systems and psychoanalytical thought share the premise that every part of an organisation represents the whole.
32An example in mental health “It is important not to underestimate the human interaction that is at the heart of mental health treatment and care. This interaction is an expression of individual and organisational values”.Irish Mental Health Commission Vision for Change, 2009, p.14
33So what DOES work to build relationship? TrustTransparency and fairness with respect to the exercise of power and influenceGiving away and sharing powerGiving back- feeling like an asset not a liabilityHappinessNoticing and affirming the goodWorking to a shared agendaTaking timeFinding a good space to work and develop together
34Trust and social capital In the absence of trust and mutual obligation staff become mired in mistrust and self preservation, while the organisation declines.Communities and organisations with high levels of social capital work more productively and cooperatively than those with low levels—and are also healthier.”Welsh, T. & Pringle, M. (2001).
35Trusting Relationships Conflicting NeedsShared VisionPressures/StressShared ValuesChange/Uncertainty/DishonestyIntegrityUnclear CommunicationsClearCommunicationsComplex/Poor DataReliable InformationLack of Time /Prior ExperienceFamiliarityDistrusting RelationshipsSource: Richard Lauve, MD (VHA Inc.)
36Four underpinning principles in the new DH approach to change CO-PRODUCTIONTo engage people across “the system” to work together to make change happenSUBSIDIARITYEnsuring that decisions are made at the right level, and as close to the user as possible.CLINICAL OWNERSHIP AND LEADERSHIPBuilding on the Darzi concept of staff as “Practitioners, Partners and Leaders”.SYSTEM ALIGMENTAligning different parts of the system towards the same goals as a way of achieving complex cultural changeTAKEN TOGETHER THEIR WHOLE IS GREATER THAN THE SUM OF THEIR PARTS
37Co-production and working from strengths “… people are defined entirely by their needs and so those needs become the only asset they have. No-one should be surprised when people then behave in ways that perpetuate such needs” (11).“When ..assets are deliberately ignored or sidelined they atrophy”. (11)
38Co-production and working from strengths “Co-production demands that public service staff shift from fixers who focus on problems to enablers who focus on abilities. … This role is not recognised or rewarded within the management structures that are currently in place”.(13)
39“Front-line staff are essential to delivery and empowerment... Their morale is as important as client morale. Yet in practice, the participation that they are asked to extend to clients is often not extended to them”.New Economics Foundation. Co-Production. A manifesto for growing the core economy
40System alignment Envision the future together and ambitiously Communicating that future in an engaging way is the task of leadershipHave end users needs and aspirations at the centre of that vision.Ensure that the voices of end users and those are heard loudest in shaping the vision
41The energy of social movements “Social movement thinking is about connecting with people’s core values and motivations and mobilising their own internal energies and drivers for change……[evidence from change management studies show] people change what they do less because they are given analysis that shifts their thinking than because they are shown a truth that influences their feelings..rather than a single individual, it is a network of leaders at multiple levels who guide and mobilise the successful movement”Helen Bevan of The NHS Institute
42SubsidiarityDecision making should be located as closely as possible to the place where actions are taken.This means addressing the flight from authority.. and helping people love their monkeys!
43“.. Sloterdijk (1987) observes that the whole of postmodern society is living within an internal dialogue or cognitive environment of a universal, diffuse, cynicism.As a predominant mindset of the post-1960s era, Sloterdijk takes the cynic not as an exception but rather as the average social character.It is argued that at both the personal and institutional levels, throughout our society there is a widespread disturbance of vitality, a bleakening of the life feeling, a farewell to defeated idealisms, and a sense of paralyzing resentment”.DAVID COOPERRIDER, 1999
44Cynicism limits imagination: The cultural challenge Problem and deficit-based cultureextending into public communication and the mediaA preference for experts and answersCynicism passing for sophisticationFrom Global AI Conference Keynote by Bliss Browne, President Imagine Chicago- imaginechicago.org. November 2009
45“A cynic, after all is a passionate person who does not want to be disappointed again” Zander and Zander, The Art of Possibility. 2000, p.39
46Involve young people as leaders (e.g. of an appreciative interview process) to disarm cynicism and activate hope.An inspiring way to engage in conversation about the future is by engaging in conversation WITH the futureStrength-based questions asked by young people help expand images of possibility and build affirmative competence.From Global AI Conference Keynote by Bliss Browne, President Imagine Chicago- imaginechicago.org. November 2009
47The magic - “Abrahadabra” From the Aramaic..“I will create as I speak.”From Global AI Conference Keynote by Bliss Browne, President Imagine Chicago- imaginechicago.org. November 2009
48Language is a moral choice. To frame social development in problem talk creates expertise and focus on what communities don’t want and what doesn’t work.To regenerate communities requires focusing on possibilities, focusing on what works instead of what’s wrong.From Global AI Conference Keynote by Bliss Browne, President Imagine Chicago- imaginechicago.org. November 2009
49From “Growing Corporate Cultures of Sustainability and Well Being From “Growing Corporate Cultures of Sustainability and Well Being. Jim Hartzfelt. World AI Conference. Nepal. 2009
50Deficit based approaches Provide opportunities for lamentation and blame that weaken the fabric of relationshipsBring the past into the future- so slow- focuses attention on yesterday’s causes- better to bring a preferred future into the presentOffer a visionless voiceCreate cynicism, alienation and fatigue
51Appreciative InquiryIs about developing the competence to CHOOSE a way of thinking“Appreciative Inquiry is the cooperative search for the best in people, their organizations, and the world around them.”“It involves systematic discovery of what gives a system 'life' when it is most effective and capable in economic, ecological and human terms.”Jack Nicklaus. Golf My Way (1974). Developing competence to use positive affirmation. Negative affirmation = Don’t hit it into the trees. Positive affirmation= I’m going to hit it right down the middle of the fairway.From “An opportunity to learn more about Appreciative Inquiry” Presentation by Anne Radford
52Strength-based change Problem SolvingAppreciative InquiryDeficit-based changeStrength-based changeIdentify problemConduct root cause analysisBrainstorm solutions & analyzeDevelop treatment - action plansAppreciate “Best of what is”Imagine “What might be”Design “What should be”Create “What will be”Mystery Metaphor:Organisations are alive, “appreciative systems” are universes of strengths via relationshipProblem Metaphor:Organisations are “problems to be solved”Linear, machine-like metaphors;From Global AI Conference Keynote by David Cooperrider. November 2009
53Applied Positive Change The AI 4-D Cycle forApplied Positive ChangeDiscovery“What gives life?”The best of what is.AppreciatingDestiny“How to empower, learn, and improvise?”SustainingDream“What might be?”EnvisioningResults/ImpactAffirmativeTopicDesign“What should be – the ideal?”Co-constructingFrom Global AI Conference Keynote by David Cooperrider. November 2009
54or What we talk about gets bigger! Solution focus/appreciative inquiry- exploring what works so that we can do more of itWe manifest what we focus on and “we grow toward what we persistently ask questions about”or What we talk about gets bigger!
55AI works to build the positive core of the organisations involved. Organisations need a lot less fixing and a lot more affirmation.Appreciation builds relationships, collective intelligence, and freedom to innovateBuild positive affect:Increases capacity for creative problem solvingMore effective decision making and judgementOptimism and increased learning capacitySrivastva and Cooperrider, 1999From “An opportunity to learn more about Appreciative Inquiry” Presentation by Anne Radford
56“The Power of Appreciation.. ..rests with its self-reinforcing and self-generative capacity”Srivastva and Cooperrider, 1999This requires inclusion, safety in participation and good communication =Effective team working and leadershipTeams are where this is modelled and enacted
57Sparkling leadershipAs you look back what sparkling moments stand out for you as experiences of being really well lead or managed? What did you learn about worked well?As you look back what sparkling moments stand out for you as examples of where you were really effective as a leader or someone making a positive contribution to change? What did you notice worked well for you at that time?
58Leadership as an ethical endeavour Positive Emotional Climate = “an environment where managers take into account the emotional needs and personal growth of employees and encourage the sharing of positive emotions”Leadership practices that promote “positive emotional climate” associated with company gains in revenue, growth and outcome. Ozcelik et al, 2008
59Leadership as an ethical endeavour PEC associated with less cynicism and more engagement
60Research using the Team Leadership Questionnaire “Showing genuine concern” has the biggest impact on motivation.Being interested in your needs and aspirations and how things feel for you.With acknowledgement to Bev Alimo-Metcalfe of
61“New paradigm” approach to leadership More “soft stuff” emphasis on working through othersLeaders with more faith in other people than they have in themselves (and they have a lot of faith in themselves!)More concerned with connectedness and inclusivenessWith acknowledgement to Bev Alimo-Metcalfe of
62“New paradigm” approach to leadership More concerned with visionMore concerned with improvementLess concerned with “Great man” models of leadershipStriving for excellence through optimism, openness and personal humilityWith acknowledgement to Bev Alimo-Metcalfe of
63Peter Drucker in conversation with David Cooperrider on “Ai” see Cooperrider (2003) Appreciative Inquiry Commons“The task of leadership is to create an alignment of strengths…making a system’s weaknesses irrelevant”.--Peter DruckerFrom Global AI Conference Keynote by David Cooperrider. November 2009
64The importance of authenticity Leaders lead most effectively when they are being themselves and being true to themselves.Authentic leadership is about, “being yourself- more – with skill”Goffee and Jones, 2006
65Highlights from “Host Leadership: Towards a new yet ancient metaphor” by Mark McKergow PhD MBA Director, sfwork - The Centre for Solutions Focus at Work Forthcoming in the International Journal of Leadership in Public Services
66Shortcomings of the hero metaphor The hero leader is seen as all-knowing and the followers all-dependent;The illusion of controlThe homogeneous imagery of the followers - are we subjects or sheep!The willingness of the hero (warrior, king, even shepherd) to die in the act of saving the flock
67Shortcomings of the servant metaphor The richness of the metaphor is not obvious. Your waiter or Jeeves?The image of servant is not a compelling one to those (for example women and ethnic minorities) who are traditionally cast in such a roleThe leader as servant has similar hierarchical issues to the hero, but from the other end
69Warren Bennis on Gladstone and Disraeli If you had dinner with William Gladstone, you were left thinking “That Gladstone is the wittiest, the most intelligent, the most charming person around.”But when you had dinner with Benjamin Disraeli, you were left thinking, “I’m the wittiest, the most intelligent, the most charming person around!”Gladstone shone but Disraeli created an environment where others could shine. The latter is the more powerful form of leadership, an adventure in which the leader is privileged to find treasure within others and put it to good use.From introduction to Parks 2005 p xi-xii).
70Advantages of the host metaphor It’s an everyday imageHost and Guest are co-definingHosting is an activity, rather than a defining characteristic of a personHosting gives a definite feel of some responsibility for the success of the eventThe role of host can involve behaving as total hero or absolute servant
71Elements of host leadership The four balances + 1
72Principle of Response-ability Defining the eventResponding to what happensAnd
73Principle of Co-participation Engage and provideJoin in along with everyone elseAnd
74Principle of Gate-opener Protect boundariesEncourage new connectionsAnd
75Principle of Alpha and Omega Be the lastBe the firstAndThe host is both the first and the last – Arabic proverb
78“Wicked problems”Involve issues with roots that are complex and entangled.Are difficult to get to grips with and change with every attempt to address them.Have no precedentSo .. nothing to indicate the right answerCamillus, J. C Strategy as a wicked problem. Harvard Business Review
79Properties of “Wicked problems” There is no definitive formulationIt is not obvious when you have reached a solution (no “stopping rule”)There is no immediate and no ultimate test of a solution- the solutions have their own consequencesEvery attempt at a solution counts significantlyCamillus, J. C Strategy as a wicked problem. Harvard Business Review
80Properties of “Wicked problems” Each problem can be seen as a symptom of another problemDiscrepancies can be explained in numerous ways- because people have different definitions of the problemYou have no right to be wrong- there is too much at stake!Solutions are not true or false but good or bad- it’s all down to judgement…there is only betterCamillus, J. C Strategy as a wicked problem. Harvard Business Review
81Are your issues “wicked”? Don’t be surprised if they are – the easy problems have been solved!They involve many stakeholders with different values and priorities“When confronting frustrating problems, an enterprise would do well to recognise that they may be wicked. Moving from denial to acceptance is important; otherwise companies will continue to use conventional processes and never effectively address their strategy issues”Camillus, J. C Strategy as a wicked problem. Harvard Business Review