Kategoriarkiv: Quotes

Peter Block on freedom

…perhaps the real task of leadership is to confront people with their freedom.
…freedom is what creates accountability. Freedom is not an escape from accountability…
…our willingness to care for the well-being of the whole occurs when we are confronted with our freedom, and when we choose to accept and act on that freedom.
1
—Peter Block

Notes:
1 Peter Block, Community: The Structure of Belonging, (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2009), p. 21.

Det är notoriskt svårt att få folk att följa reglerna

Jan-Erik Sebestyén skriver i ett mail till Agile Swedens maillista 2015-10-07 08:54:51 att:

Men som alla som jobbat med scrum, puls och liknande agil ansatser så kan det se bättre ut än hur det fungerar i verkligheten. Även om grundkonceptet är hur enkelt som helst så är det notoriskt svårt få folk följa reglerna.

Exakt! Folk behöver veta varför dom gör något – och vara övertygade om att det är ”rätt”.

Ett exempel: Alla (i stort sett) kör på höger sida. Många bromsar in inför fartkameran.

Makt är att vara med och dela kunskap och information

Jan-Erik Sebestyén skriver i ett mail till Agile Swedens maillista 2015-10-07 10:25:26 att:

Ett grundproblem är makt hamnar hos individer i dagens system. Det gör att kunskap och information blir makt, något som gör flödet av kunskap och information segt. Det vill vi ha är detsamma som i alla demokratiska system: att makt är att vara med och dela kunskap och information. … Flytta makt från individ till arenor (stå-upp-möten) där information och kunskap delas. Människor skapar tillsammans ”sensemaking” av komplexa problem.

Dee Hock on rules

Countless times over the years I have asked diverse groups of people to reflect very carefully on their work within organizations and to make a simple balance sheet. How much time, energy, and ingenuity did they spend obeying senseless rules and procedures that had little to do with the results they were expected to achieve? How much did they devote to circumventing those rules and procedures in order to do something productive with the remainder? How much was wasted interpreting such rules and enforcing them on others? How much time and talent did they simply withhold due to frustration and futility? It’s a rare person who arrives at a sum less than 50 percent. Eighty is not uncommon.1

… people with power to write and enforce rules rarely spend much time following them.2

Rules and regulations, laws and contracts, can never replace clarity of shared purpose and clear, deeply held principles about conduct in pursuit of that purpose.3

Heaven is purpose, principle, and people. Purgatory is paper and procedure. Hell is rule and regulation.4

Far too much ingenuity, effort, and intelligence go into circumventing the mindless, sticky web of rules and regulations by which people are needlessly bound.5

Notes:
1 Dee Hock, One From Many: VISA and the Rise of Chaordic Organization, (Berrett-Koehler, 2005), p. 34.
2 Ibid., p. 35.
3 Ibid., p. 67.
4 Ibid., p. 115.
5 Ibid., p. 227

Related posts:
Dee Hock in his own words
Dee Hock on control
Agile software development in the 1970s

Homo sapiens is a small-tribe species

Here’s the core of the issue, as I see it. I think of homo sapiens as a small-tribe species. The large social structures we’ve learned to build are not agile, or resilient, or people-friendly. They don’t suit us. And mostly they no longer work well. The evidence that they are not working has been around since at least the mid 1960s.1

Notes:
1 Bob Dick, Sociocracy email discussion list on Yahoo, (2015, Sept 13).

Dee Hock on control

Life is not about control. It’s not about getting. It’s not about having. It’s not about knowing. It’s not even about being. Life is eternal, perpetual becoming, or it is nothing. Becoming is not a thing to be known, commanded, or controlled. It is a magnificent, mysterious odyssey to be experienced.1

… I have long puzzled where mechanistic organizational concepts originated, and why we are so blind to their reality. Their genesis reaches back to Aristotle, Plato, and even beyond. However, it was primarily Newtonian science and Cartesian philosophy that fathered those concepts, giving rise to the machine metaphor. That metaphor has since dominated our thinking, the nature of our organizations, and the structure of industrial society to a degree few fully realize.2

For nearly three centuries we have worked diligently to structure society in accordance with that concept, believing that with ever more reductionist scientific knowledge, ever more specialization, ever more technology, ever more efficiency, ever more linear education, ever more rules and regulations, ever more hierarchal command and control, we could learn to engineer organizations in which we could pull a lever at one place, get a precise result at another, and know with certainty which lever to pull or for which result. Never mind that human beings must be made to behave as cogs and wheels in the process.3

The first and paramount responsibility of anyone who purports to manage is to manage self—one’s own integrity, character, ethics, knowledge, wisdom, temperament, words, and acts. It is a never-ending, difficult, oft-shunned task. The reason is not complicated. It is ignored precisely because it is incredibly more difficult than prescribing and controlling the behavior of others.4

Everyone is a born leader. Who can deny that from the moment of birth they were leading parents, siblings, and companions? Watch a baby cry and the parents jump. We were all leaders until we were sent to school to be commanded, controlled, and taught to do likewise.5

People are not “things” to be manipulated, labeled, boxed, bought and sold. Above all else, they are not “human resources.” We are entire human beings, containing the whole of the evolving universe. We must examine the concept of superior and subordinate with increasing skepticism. We must examine the concept of management and labor with new beliefs. We must examine the concept of leader and follower with new perspectives. Above all else, we must examine the nature of organizations that demand such distinctions with new consciousness.6

Only in a harmonious, oscillating dance of both competition and cooperation can the extremes of control and chaos be avoided and peaceful, constructive societal order be found.7

In organizations of the future, it will be much more important to have a clear sense of purpose and sound principles within which many specific, short-term objectives can be quickly achieved, than a long-range plan with fixed, measurable objectives. Such plans often lead to futile attempts to control events to make them fit the plan, rather than understanding events so as to advance by all means in the desired direction.8

In organizations of the future the centuries-old effort to eliminate judgment and intuition, art if you will, from the conduct of institutions will change. Organizations have too long aped the traditional mechanistic, military model wherein obedience to orders is paramount and individual behavior or independent thinking frowned upon, if not altogether forbidden. In organizations of the future it will be necessary to have people in every position capable of discernment, of making fine judgments and acting sensibly upon them. The industrial age trend toward stultifying, degrading, rote work that gradually reduces people to the compliant, subordinate behavior one expects from a well-trained horse will not continue.9

It extends far beyond a factory worker on an assembly line. Vast white-collar bureaucracies exist everywhere, with mountains of procedures manuals depressing minds, avalanches of directives burying judgment, forests of reports obscuring perception, floods of studies inundating initiative, oceans of committees submerging responsibility and drowning decisions. You know what I mean. You have endlessly suffered through it and, worse yet, may be inflicting it on others. It has created a society of people alienated from their work and from the organizations in which they are enmeshed. Far too much ingenuity, effort, and intelligence go into circumventing the mindless, sticky web of rules and regulations by which people are needlessly bound.10

Notes:
1 Dee Hock, One From Many: VISA and the Rise of Chaordic Organization, (Berrett-Koehler, 2005), p. 7.
2 Ibid., p. 37.
3 Ibid.
4 Ibid., p. 48.
5 Ibid., p. 55.
6 Ibid.
7 Ibid., p. 226.
8 Ibid.
9 Ibid., p. 227.
10 Ibid.

Related posts:
Dee Hock in his own words
Dee Hock on rules
Agile software development in the 1970s

Harrison Owen on control

Here are quotes of Harrison Owen from an email to the World wide Open Space Technology email list August 30, 2015. (My highlights in bold.)

It has taken me a lifetime of living. But. I have learned two things, or maybe better, come to two conclusions. 1) All Systems are open. 2) All systems are self organizing.

All Systems are Open is a complicated way of saying that everything is connected, including all the things that aren’t really a “thing,” which we don’t even know about. The net result is an infinite complexity which is completely unthinkable. And what you can’t think, you surely can’t control. So much for THAT vain hope.

All Systems are self Organizing — I know of no way of actually proving this one, but it does seem a natural concomitant of the first conclusion. If you find yourself in an infinitely complex and interconnected environment, where nobody is, or can be, in control, such systems as are there, must have pretty well gotten themselves together all by themselves. … the systems around us, including those we think we organized, have a source other than our selves.

Life under the conditions described above (Open, Self Organizing Systems) can seem a little peculiar to some people, but it is not so much irrational as different. Certain “strange” things always seem to happen. For example, Whoever comes are the right people, whatever happens is the only thing that could have, wherever it happens is the right place, whenever it happens is the right time, and when it is over it is over. Always works out that way, so I’ve found.

… the truth of the matter is that doing less always seems to accomplish a great deal more. That said, there is one thing that we really have to do. Follow the Law of Two Feet! Strange sort of law which says – If ever you find yourself in a situation in which you are neither learning or contributing, you must move your two feet until you find yourself a new place where you can do the one, the other, or preferably, both. In a few words: Follow your passion and take responsibility for it.

Related posts:
What if control is inappropriate?
Pre-conditions for self-organization
Self-organization is the real operating system
Emergence is simply what life does
Empowerment is a red herring
Pre-conditions for self-organization
What if the organization is a living system?
Facilitating an Open Space
How to enable and sustain self-organization
TEDxTalk on Open Space Technology

Fritz Perls on change

… deliberate change never, never, never functions. As soons as you say, ”I want to change” — make a program — a counter-force is created that prevents you from change. Changes are taking place by themselves. If you go deeper into what you are, if you accept what is here, then a change automatically occurs by itself. This is the paradox of change.1

Any deliberate change does not work. Change takes place by itself if you take back, assimilate, whatever is available.2

You never overcome by resisting it. You only can overcome anything by going deeper into it. … Whatever it is, if you go deeply enough into it, then it will disappear; it will be assimilated.3

Notes:
1 Frederick S. Perls, Gestalt Therapy Verbatim, (Bantam Books, 1969), p. 193.
2 Ibid., p. 203.
3 Ibid., p. 230.

Fritz Perls on control

Every external control, even internalized external control—”you should”—interferes with the healthy working of the organism. There is only one thing that should control: the situation. If you understand the situation you are in and let the situation you are in control your actions, then you learn to cope with life.1

The less confident we are in ourselves, the less we are in touch with ourselves and the world, the more we want to control.2

… most of our role-playing is designed to use up lot of … energy for controlling …3

Please, note that the real opposites are impotence vs. control madness. If you feel you have to control everything immediately you feel impotent.4

Notes:
1 Frederick S. Perls, Gestalt Therapy Verbatim, (Bantam Books, 1969), p. 20.
2 Ibid., p. 21.
3 Ibid., p. 61.
4 Ibid., p. 230.

What if control is inappropriate?

My conclusion after having read Brian Robertson’s new book on Holacracy and Gerard Endenburg’s first book on Sociocracy is that neither Holacracy nor Sociocracy replace Command & Control (C&C). Both use C&C within limits.

This triggered feedback from Holacracy people that the Lead Link Role doesn’t manage day-to-day work and doesn’t manage others, but that there is definitely control in Holacracy. All Roles ”have the authority to control and regulate” their own Domains (Holacracy Constitution v4.1, 1.4 Authority Over Domains). There is definitely control in Sociocracy too.

My follow-up question is: What if control in itself is inappropriate?

Here is an interesting article on The ”Command and Control” Military Gets Agile by Daniel Mezick, which contains references to writers within the military who challenge control themselves. Key points are that complex situations cannot be controlled, and control is in fact an emergent property, not an option to be selected. Here are a few quotes:

The word “control” is inappropriate … because it sends the wrong message. It implies that complex situations can be controlled, with the implication that there is the possibility of an engineering type solution. … But this is a dangerous oversimplification. The best that one can do is to create a set of conditions that improves the probability that a desirable (rather than an undesirable) outcome will occur and to change the conditions when what is expected is not occurring. Control is in fact an emergent property, not an option to be selected. … The argument that … commanders in the military or… management in industry do not have control creates cognitive dissonance. Nevertheless, this is undoubtedly the case. The widespread belief that we have control is merely an illusion, and a dangerous one at that. The literature on complex adaptive systems explains why the notion of control as a verb is misguided.1

…any Complex Adaptive System…cannot be controlled or ruled: a CAS will simply find ways of working around the rules if the context in which it formed remains viable. … The basis of these … systems of working … are based upon very simple trusts — not rules …
Essentially, the tension is … between trusts and rules.
2

Attempts to control complex systems … tend to be pointless at best or destructive at worst.3

And here are quotes from some non-military references:

For life, where freedom of choice in acting exists, control and prediction is impossible, attempts to control are destructive to life and lead to chaos. If we examine the causes of our failing institutions, it is easy to show that attempts to control them, violating normal processes of life, makes them fail.4

We talk and write about leaders and managers being in control of organizations. In the reality of our experience, however, no one can control the interplay of intentions, because they cannot control what everyone else in every other organization is choosing and doing. Consequently, no one can choose or be in control of what happens.5

For nearly three centuries we have worked diligently to structure society in accordance with that concept, believing that with ever more reductionist scientific knowledge, ever more specialization, ever more technology, ever more efficiency, ever more linear education, ever more rules and regulations, ever more hierarchal command and control, we could learn to engineer organizations in which we could pull a lever at one place, get a precise result at another, and know with certainty which lever to pull or for which result. Never mind that human beings must be made to behave as cogs and wheels in the process.6

Notes:
1 David S. Alberts, The International C2 Journal | Vol 1, No 1, 2007, pp. 15—16.
2 Simon Reay Atkinson & James Moffat, The Agile Organization: From Informal Networks to Complex Effects and Agility, pp. 5—6, 7.
3 Stanley McChrystal, Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World, (Penguin, 2015), p. 68.
4 Norm Hirst, Towards a Science of Life as Creative Organisms, (Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, vol. 4, nos. 1-2, 2008), p. 93.
5 Ralph Stacey, Dialogic Organization Development: The Theory and Practice of Transformational Change / Gervase R. Bushe & Robert J. Marshak, editors, (Berett-Koehler, 2015), p. 153.
6 Dee Hock, One From Many: VISA and the Rise of Chaordic Organization, (Berrett-Koehler, 2005), p. 37

Related posts:
The big misconception in sociocracy
Dee Hock on control
Harrison Owen on control
Fritz Perls on control
The phenomenology of sociocracy
Traditional vs. Sociocratic vs. Holacratic Command & Control
Holacracy vs. Sociocracy
Book Review: Holacracy by Brian Robertson
Book Review: Sociocracy by Gerard Endenburg
The phenomenology of sociocracy
Machines are allonomic, living organisms are autonomic
Autognomics: Radical Self-Knowing
Self-organization is the real operating system
Emergence is simply what life does
Empowerment is a red herring
Pre-conditions for self-organization
What if the organization is a living system?
Carl Rogers on person-centered leadership

Principles vs. methods

The man who knows how will always have a job. The man who also know why will always be his boss. As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

What is Dialogue?

The following quotes are from posts by Susan Taylor at What Is Dialogue (emphasis mine).

The process of Dialogue is designed to create opportunities for new understandings — a space where new knowledge can be born. Through active listening, treating people equally, balancing opinions with inquiry and suspending judgement — by speaking honestly, noticing your internal reactions to what others say and examining your own beliefs – and in slowing things down and permitting moments for pause and silence, you are creating an environment where people are in conversation, creating new realities in a way that is meaningful and significant.
— Susan Taylor, The Magic in Dialogue

Holding space comes with profound responsibility and the capacity to be present, operating with neutrality, providing grounding for individuals and the group to simply be where they are – without judgment, criticism and blame. This requires you to be mindful. It necessitates that you open your heart and at the same time make a commitment to the unfoldment of what is occurring, allowing each person to have whatever experience he or she is having.
— Susan Taylor, Be Mindful Be Attentive

When a group is in “true Dialogue”, you are developing your collective knowledge, actively seeking information via empathetic listening and inquiry. In this, you are able to tolerate ambiguity. You are mindful of your basic assumptions and avoid negative judgments. You become creatively flexible through a desire to learn about the worldview of others in a way to fully understand them. You reduce uncertainty by asking questions from a place of authentic curiosity, merging all aspects of the worldviews in the room in an effort to develop shared meaning. In Dialogue, you take your time, slowing the cadence. Uncertainty is expected and you embrace differences, rather than ignoring them, learning as you interact, adjusting your behavior as appropriate.
— Susan Taylor, The Platinum Rule

One of the key principles of Generative Dialogue is that of natural rhythm. This can be quite challenging to achieve as many of us are accustomed to using checklists and agendas in our meetings. With these checklists and agendas comes structure and within that structure, we tend to get attached to specific outcomes. If you are looking for Synchronicity or have interest in attaining Flow, you will need to let go of any connection you may have to any specific result. It is as simple and as difficult as that!
— Susan Taylor, The Natural Rhythm of Synchronicity

Livsfarlig ledning

”Oberoende av siffrorna så mår företag kanske inte så bra av att göra sig av med sin själ”
—Bengt Carlsson & Sophie Nachemson-Ekwall, Livsfarlig ledning, sid 101.

Här är nio lärdomar som kan dras av historien om kraschen:

  1. Låt inte verkligheten jaga kartan
  2. Förvärv blev fördärv
  3. Det går inte att ändra för mycket för snabbt
  4. Granska redovisningen
  5. Aktieåterköpsfällan
  6. För mycket makt kan bädda för maktmissbruk
  7. Styrelsen är ansvarig
  8. Var beredd på otur
  9. Håll ögonen på bollen

Managing without soul

Henry Mintzberg writes about the epidemic of managing without soul

Managing without soul has become an epidemic in society: managers who specialize in killing cultures, at the expense of human engagement.

I’ve been in the business of studying organizations for so long that I can often walk into a place and sense soul, or no soul, in an instant.

… and asks …

Why do we build so many great institutions only to let them wither under the control of people who should never have been allowed to manage anything?

Yes, why?

Pre-conditions for self-organization

The following is a quote from The Power of Spirit: How Organizations Transform by Harrison Owen (p. 42).

”The essential preconditions for self-organization, according to [Stuart] Kauffman, are the following:

  1. A nutrient-rich, relatively protected environment
  2. A high level of diversity and potential complexity in terms of the elements present
  3. A drive for improvement
  4. Sparse pre-existing connections between the various elements
  5. It is all (the whole mess) at the edge of chaos

I should note that nowhere does Kauffman outline the necessary preconditions precisely as I have, but I believe I have caught the essence.”

Relates posts:
Self-organization is the real operating system
Pre-conditions for self-organization (self-organization in human systems)
How to enable and sustain self-organization
Creative forces of self-organization
Self-organization is not anarchy or dictatorship
Let’s take self-organization seriously
Emergence and self-organization
Emergence is simply what life does
Self-management
TEDxTalk on Open Space Technology
How to apply sociocracy as an individual?

Self-organization is the real operating system

Here are quotes of Daniel Mezick from an email to the World wide Open Space Technology email list March 20, 2015. (My emphasis in bold.)

Harrison you once said recently:

The real operating system is self-organization, Daniel. Everything else is an app. Open Space included!”

I’ve just recently integrated this idea more fully into my thinking. I must admit it has taken ”some time.”

That said, my current belief is: most organizations are at a very low level of development and can use/typically need the ”app” of Open Space…and/or the ”app” of Scrum… and/or the ”app” of Sociocracy, what have you.

I think [facilitation] does fit nicely as a kind of component or ”widget” in each ”app” (facilitation being part of OST, Scrum, Kanban) …all of which run on the real OS of self-organization.

So these are all self-org ”apps.” The ”f” word does after all has the connotation of: ”making it easy.”

Daniel Mezick continues writing the following in an email March 22, 2015.

My current belief is that self-organization is what actually scales, not some app. Not some ”framework.” Now, if folks are compelled to ”do it the way I say”, or ”do this framework like I tell you…” …..how does positive self-organization happen again?

Because… truth be told, I do not see how any kind of Agile stuff can scale FOR REAL without creating the fertile conditions for self-organization to go enterprise-wide. Thousands of people. Isn’t self-organization what ACTUALLY scales?

Because…well…. I have simply never seen it done any other way.

I’ve never seen it done by forcing stuff on people without their consent, without invitation. And I’ve never seen it done with inviting the folks affected to express what they think and feel about ”the solution we are using”…

I think Harrison Owen and Daniel Mezick are right. The follow-up question then is: What can we do to enable and sustain company-wide self-organization? My search continues…

Related posts:
Self-organization is the real operating system
Emergence is simply what life does
Empowerment is a red herring
Pre-conditions for self-organization
What if the organization is a living system?
Facilitating an Open Space
How to enable and sustain self-organization
TEDxTalk on Open Space Technology