Categories
Leadership Retrospectives

Retrospektiv 2019-11

Inledning

Detta är en återblick på vad som hänt under veckan.

Jag hade tänkt skriva ett inlägg om levande grupper, men det blev av olika anledningar inte av. Får återkomma.

Axiom

Under veckan har jag forsatt läsa såväl böcker som artiklar av Stephen Harrod Buhner. Ensouling Language hör till mina favoriter. Bland Buhners artiklar hittade jag dessa axiom som är högst relevanta i arbetslivet (min översättning):

Axiom 1: Alla mänskliga system kan manipuleras.

Axiom 2: Ett verktyg är endast så bra som dess användare.

Mening

Under veckan hittade jag även en artikel av Simon Robinson (@srerobinson) som handlar om erfarenheten av att vara levande. Simon betonar vikten av mening. Vi behöver hitta mening i allt vi gör. Det gör det möjligt för oss att utvecklas och skapa. Simon citerar Joseph Campbell, som säger (min översättning):

Jag tror att det vi söker är erfarenheten av att vara levande, där våra fysiska livserfarenheter har en resonans med vårt innersta väsen och verkligheten, så att vi verkligen känner att vi lever.

Ledarskap

Jag hittade också en artikel i Forbes av Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, som handlar om varför de flesta av våra ledare inte bara är män, utan även har ett negativt inflytande på sina team och efterföljare. Detta resulterar i lågt engagemang, förtroende och produktivitet, och höga nivåer av stress och utbrändhet. Att framhäva sig själv som ledare har inget att göra med att faktiskt ha förmågan att leda andra. De bästa ledarna föredrar att låta prestationerna tala för sig själva.

Detta påminde Leanne Stewart (@LeanneStewart) om följande (min översättning):

Om du måste tala om att du är en ledare så är chansen att du inte är det.

Känna & tänka

Ytterligare en artikel som fångade mitt intresse under veckan handlar om att en person har rätt till sina känslor. Att lyssna istället för att försöka fixa är, skriver Anastasia Pollock, mycket mer stödjande och helande. En person behöver ha möjlighet att göra sin egen röst hörd och ge uttryck för vad han eller hon känner och tänker.

Förändring

Under veckan “snubblade” jag även över en artikel i Expressen. Malte Persson har en förmåga att uttrycka sig som få. Vad sägs om?

…konservatismens förändringsmotstånd förändras i takt med andra förändringar…

Eller, när Malte Persson, som svar till andra debattörer, skriver?

Man kunde annars tänka sig att väljarna röstar på det de faktiskt vill ha och får. Att man åtminstone inte röstar på kaotiska bråkstakar just för att man vill ha lugn och ro.

Ja, det kan man ju tänka sig!

Malte Perssons senaste bok Till dikten finns nu i min lista över böcker att läsa.

Mönster

Under veckan hittade jag en video där Jenny Quillen berättar om historiken bakom Christopher Alexanders A Pattern Language och The Nature of Order, som handlar om hur man skapar levande miljöer — miljöer som har liv — där människor mår bra.

C. Alexander, S. Ishikawa & M. Silverstein, A Pattern Language.
C. Alexander, The Nature of Order, Volume 1-4.

Jenny Quillen betonar att människor har en tendens att glömma bort att mönster (patterns) upptäcks. De skapas inte! När Christopher Alexander såg vad människor gjorde med mönstren blev han besviken över de mediokra resultaten. Han upptäckte att människor kunde förstå enstaka mönster, men att resultatet inte blev djupgående, och började fundera över vad han hade missat.

Christopher Alexander trodde att mönsterspråket (pattern language) var svaret, men det var det inte! Det gjorde att Christopher Alexander började om från början för att hitta svaret. Resultatet blev The Nature of Order. I The Nature of Order studerar Christopher Alexander meta-kvaliteterna i ett bra mönsterspråk och hur mönstren verkligen hänger ihop.

Processer

Till sist vill jag berätta om ett kort samtal som jag hade under veckan. Den person jag talade med berättade att man i produktionen hade upptäckt att det gick fortare och blev bättre om man inte följde processen. En vän av ordning skulle då påpeka att processen i så fall behöver uppdateras, men det är att missa poängen. Poängen (den första) är människor inte är robotar som slaviskt följer processen.

Vännen av ordning skulle då säga att då får man väl se till att människor följer processen. Det kallas processdisciplin och är något jag har personlig erfarenhet av — jag har till och med använt statistisk processkontroll på mig själv — men det är återigen att missa poängen. Poängen (den andra) är att processer är som mönster — de är inte Svaret (med stort S). Vilka är meta-kvaliteterna i bra arbetssätt?

Categories
Books Leadership Retrospectives

Retrospektiv 2019-10

Detta är en återblick på veckan, som handlar om ledarskap i olika former.

Carlsson & Nachemson-Ekwall, Livsfarlig ledning.
Nachemson-Ekwall & Carlsson, Guldregn.

Under veckan läste jag Livsfarlig ledning av Bengt Carlsson och Sophie Nachemson-Ekwall. Det är historien om kraschen i ABB för snart 20 år sedan. Nästa vecka kommer jag att läsa Nachemson-Ekwall och Carlssons bok Guldregn, som är sagan om Skandia för nästan lika många år sedan. I båda företagen betalades miljardersättningar ut till ledningen. Och båda företagen överlevde trots ledningen.

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic skriver i denna artikel i Fast Company att om din strategi för att locka människor till ledarroller är att erbjuda lukrativa kompensationspaket, så kommer du oundvikligen att få många narcissister i ledningen.

Dee Hock skriver här att det är verkligt ledarskap världen behöver, men det är dominerande ‘management’ världen tyvärr får. Inkomst, makt och position har inget att göra med effektivt ledarskap. Faktum är att dessa faktorer ofta stör. Den värdefullaste, billigaste, mest underutnyttjade och ständigt missbrukade resursen i världen är mänsklig uppfinningsrikedom. Orsaken till det är mekanistiska organisationsformer med tillhörande ledarskap.

Under veckan hittade jag också denna artikel av Robin Ritz om kreativt ledarskap, som handlar om hur InCord har skapat en arbetsplats man älskar att gå till. InCord har under åtta år i rad röstats fram som bästa arbetsplatsen i Connecticut, USA.

Förra året lästa jag fyra av Stephen Harrod Buhners böcker. Just nu läser jag om dessa. Min favorit är Ensouling Language. Jag återkommer med en eller flera bokrecensioner längre fram.

Ramquist & Eriksson, Manöverbarhet.

Sist, men inte minst, skrev jag detta inlägg inlägg under veckan. Det handlar om manöverbarhet — eller, om man så vill, lättrörlighet (agile). Jag har arbetat i drygt tio år med den arbetsform som beskrivs. Den bygger på medarbetarengagemang och levande grupper och hör till en av de intressantaste ledningsmodeller jag har sett. Nästa vecka kommer jag att skriva mer om levande grupper.

Categories
Collaboration Communication Leadership Organization Organizing Reflections

Organizing reflection 16

This is a post in my series on organizing ”between and beyond.” Other posts are here. The purpose of this post is to reflect on subjects occupying my mind. I make no claim to fully believe what I write. Neither do I pretend that others have not already thought or written about the same subject. More often than not, I take up, combine, and add to already existing thoughts and ideas.

What is on my mind?
Today’s reflection is based on Harrison Owen’s mail to the World wide Open Space Technology email list (OSList) yesterday.

Harrison Owen is one of my favorite authors. (Here is my review of his book The Spirit of Leadership. I also write about his book Wave Rider in this retrospective.)

The following is an excerpt from Tales from Open Space. The text is written by Loyd Kepferle and Karen Main. They write (my formatting and emphasis in bold):

One might assume that an organization doing business in an open space mode would accomplish little. That does not seem to be the reality, for Open Space frames the total operation, and internally there is an appropriate alternation between open exploration of new opportunities and pre-determined, structured responses to known situations.  …

The main idea … is that “People who care most passionately about a problem or opportunity have the RIGHT and the RESPONSIBILITY to do something about it“. This basic idea supersedes all notions of a hierarchical organizational structure …

There are only five constraints on this model of personal empowerment:
1. When a problem or opportunity is to be discussed, there must be wide notification of the meeting time and place so anyone who is interested can attend.
2. Proposed solutions/ideas must be broadcast widely …
3. Proposed solutions cannot be hurtful to anyone else.
4. Proposed solutions should channel our limited resources in such a way as to have maximum impact on achieving our goal.
5. Accomplishing the work for which we were hired takes precedence over our group work. However, if the RIGHT people (those who really care) are involved in any topic, they will find a way to make sure their work is completed and the work of the group is brought to a successful conclusion.

There are NO CONSTRAINTS on the following:
1. Who can call a meeting.
2. The type of problem or opportunity that is being addressed.
3. The availability of time to have a meeting.
4. Who may attend a meeting.
5. The availability of information necessary for a group to work.

Open Space assumes a consensual process will be observed by the ad hoc groups that form and that all ideas will be considered respectfully by the people in the group.  … The ad hoc group may choose to modify its plans based on feedback.

While we believe this is a good way to develop a truly successful organization, it is an approach to organizational behavior which is fraught with insecurity which, in the short run, may produce fear, anger and frustration. It will take a long time for those of us who have lived in hierarchical and paternalistic organizations to believe we are really empowered.

We … recognize this philosophy is somewhat revolutionary and will be uncomfortable for all of us some of the time. But we also believe people do their best when they are empowered to control the conditions that affect them. We also think that solutions which are imposed on people rather than generated by the people who are affected are doomed to failure.1

In short, open space enables generative organizing. Generative organizing requires open space. The generative organizing ceases as soon as the space closes.

Notes:
1 This is a story about the use of Open Space at The University of Kentucky Center for Rural Health by Loyd Kepferle and Karen Main. See Harrison Owen (Editor), Tales from Open Space (Abbott Publishing, 1995), Chapter VI, pp.39–43. This book (and many other publications) can be downloaded for free from openspaceworld.com.

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts

Categories
Agile Books Leadership Reviews

Book Review: Leadership Agility

Let me first say that I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book so that I could review it. I accepted writing this review since I’m interested in deeper generative organizing. The dance between leadership and followership is part of this dynamic. So, here is my summary of the book together with some impressions.

The core of Leadership Agility: Developing Your Repertoire of Leadership Styles by Ron Meyer and Ronald Meijers consists of ten opposite pairs of leadership styles.1 These ten dimensions represent many of the balancing acts leaders are faced with.2 Each dimension deals with a different leadership task, and each task differs in nature and scope.3 The focus is on understanding the qualities and pitfalls of each leadership style.4

The authors believe that leaders need to “have the capacity to switch between leadership styles, and adaptively master new ones, in rapid response to the specific needs of the people and situation they want to influence.”5 Keywords here are flexibility, adaptability, and responsiveness. Leadership agility is, in short, sensing into what is required in the situation, while attuning to people’s needs.

The authors explore the various leadership styles throughout the book. They also clarify what they believe is the essence of leadership,6 for example:

  • Leadership is about engagement instead of enforcement.7
  • Leadership can be exercised by anyone at any time depending on the situation.8
  • Leadership is helping people to make sense of the situation and themselves.9
  • Leadership is helping people to find their own meaning in what they do.10

As soon as we want to influence people to move in a certain direction, we are leading. We are, in fact, leading all the time. 11 This also means that leading is relational, involving two or more willful beings. The authors point out that getting people to follow requires more than key performance indicators. You can manage things, but people have a heart and mind of their own.12

All this sounds like music in my ears. The authors, furthermore, emphasize that formulating a “leadership script” is useless and misleading. There are simply too many variables that need to be taken into account in order to arrive at a simple leadership formula.13

There are many ways of being an effective leader. You have to figure out yourself what works for you under what circumstances.14 This book may help you to expand your leadership style repertoire, but moving outside of your comfort zone is something you have to do yourself. You have to experiment and see what works for you.

The authors end the book with a few words on the “paradox of leadership and followership.”15 People are leaders and followers—at the same time. The ultimate test of leadership agility is combining leadership and followership.16

There are thousands of books on leadership — and agility has become a buzzword — so I was a bit skeptical when I first heard about the book. But it’s a great book. The focus is more on leadership styles than leadership agility. I particularly appreciate that the authors avoid formulating leadership scripts or formulas. I also share the human values expressed in the book. People are living beings and not things to be managed.

Notes:
1 Ibid., pp. xx, 18, 21.
2 Ibid., p. 17.
3 Ibid., p. 19.
4 Ibid., p. 227.
5 Ibid., pp. xvi–xvii.
6 Ibid., p. 3.
7 Ibid., p. 7.
8 Ibid..
9 Ibid., p. 11.
10 Ibid..
11 Ibid., p. 13.
12 Ibid., p. 14.
13 Ibid., p. 16.
14 Ibid., p. 17.
15 Ibid., p. 258.
16 Ibid., p. 259.

Categories
Communities Leadership Life

Peter Pula on why hosting is harder than leading

Peter Pula

Peter Pula is the Founder of Axiom News. Here is his post on Why Hosting Is Harder than Leading. He writes that:

“We have become so remarkably accustomed to a form of leadership that comes from the top.”

“Top down leadership seems easier in the short term, but I believe it takes its toll. Too many leaders I have seen are in despair, … without the power to give life but only to take it away or at best hold the line.”

“Hosting the space for generativity is a different game entirely. … Deep, deep democracy is at work.”

“Holding space for life … starts with acknowledging you are a limited perceiver. … the best hosts must … [be] ready to be changed personally, to learn, and to be surprised.”

“… nothing changes until those gathered drop into their truest intentions and purposes and come into presence with one another …”

“As a host … Are you able to stay ‘still in disturbance’ when you have unleashed life on an unsuspecting routine? … Can you stay ‘soft’ and out of leader-centric narcissism, its highs and lows, its doubts and certainties? Can you tenderly hold what is being born?”

Here is Peter Pula’s full blog archive.

Categories
Communities Cooperation Decisions Leadership Organizing Research

Analysis of egalitarian dynamics among the G/wi

This is a post in my organizing “between and beyond” series. Other posts are here. The purpose of this post is to explore the egalitarian dynamics among the G/wi-speaking people in the Central Kalahari Reserve of Botswana. The analysis is summarized here.

Background
The egalitarian dynamics among foraging societies hold clues to a deeper generative “order” for organizing. The example below is from Politics and history in band societies edited by Eleanor Leacock and Richard Lee. George Silberbauer spent time together with the G/wi in 1958–66. The G/wi were the only permanent inhabitants in the remote and arid heart of Botswana.1 Exploration for, and exploitation of, natural resources have disrupted the lives of the G/wi. The close-knit, self-sufficient organization of the G/wi were gone already in the 1950s.2

Assumptions

The community (the band)

  • The social community is the band.3
  • The band has a stable identity as a group of people living in a geographically specific territory and controlling the use of the resources of that territory.4
  • Membership of the band is less stable than its identity. Members are free to join other bands and are, therefore, free to leave the current band.5
  • The size of the community is limited by available resources of food etc. The community is open, but is nevertheless a finite one.6

Groups (cliques)

  • Cliques are unstable groups which which shift when moving to a new campsite every three to six weeks. The group’s composition is determined by the preference for one another’s close company.7
  • Interaction within a clique is much more intense than between cliques. The exchange of goods and services is higher within the clique. The women usually form a food-gathering group, and the men assist one another.8
  • Cliques also become focuses of opinion and function as sub-units of agreement within the band.9

Leadership

  • Leadership is the extent to which an individual’s suggestion or opinion attracts public support.10
  • The leadership is authoritative, rather than authoritarian. Knowledge, experience, and firmness are characteristics which win support. Expertise in one area may be seen as not at all relevant to another area.11
  • Leadership shifts unpredictably. Many discussions and lack of competitiveness separates idea from identity.12

Decision-making

  • The process of reaching a decision is initiated by somebody identifying and communicating a problem which calls for decision.13
  • Decisions affecting the band as a whole are arrived at through discussion in which all adult, and near-adult, members may participate.14
  • There are many ways to discuss: A quiet, serious discussion; A campaign of persuasion; Or a public harangue.15 The ‘forced eavesdrop’ avoids direct confrontation. Opponents are free to do the same.16
  • The time taken for discussion is naturally limited by the urgency of the matter. Less urgent matters can be debated for long with the subject cropping up from time to time until a satisfying solution to the problem is reached.17
  • If discussion becomes too angry or excited, debate is temporarily adjourned by the withdrawal of the attention of the calmer participants until things cool down.18
  • Public decisions cover a wide field. That which is not public is permitted to be private, but there is little which escapes the concern and insight of band fellows.19

Consensus

  • Decisions are arrived at by consensus. Consensus is a term in common use but without common meaning. It is not unanimity of opinion or decision. In the same way as egalitarian doesn’t mean equality.20
  • Consensus is reached by examining the various possible courses of action and rejection of all but one to which there remains no significant opposition.21
  • Significant opposition is the dissent of those to whom the proposal is not acceptable, who are unable to live with it, and who are not prepared to concede the decision.22
  • The fact that it is the band as a whole which decides is both necessary and sufficient to legitimize what is decided and to make the decision binding.23

Coercion

  • The consent in consensus negates coercion, and vice versa.24
  • The openness of the band gives members freedom to move to another band.25
  • The power lies in what the band decides and in book-keeping of material benefits and social balance.26
  • The leadership is facilitative, rather than forceful, seeking ways of getting things done, while accommodating dissent.27

Conclusions
The example above shows how deeply leadership and decision-making is embedded in the social context of the G/wi. The leadership is authoritative, rather than authoritarian, and shifts unpredictably depending on the situation. The decision-making is done in many ways depending on the kind of decision and the urgency of the decision. Individual band members choose freely which groups to join, and strives for cooperation in the activities he or she wishes to undertake. It is also interesting to notice how the openness of the band gives members freedom to move to another band. The freedom to move to another band is an effective way to meet coercion. The loss of many band members would be costly to those remaining. An open, egalitarian, social structure is authentic because it’s based on a natural belonging together, while a closed, coercive, social structure is counterfeit because it’s a forced belonging together.

Notes:
1 Ibid., Eleanor Leacock, Richard Lee (editors), Politics and history in band societies (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1982), p. 23.
2 Ibid., p. 24.
3 Ibid..
4 Ibid..
5 Ibid..
6 Ibid., p. 26.
7 Ibid., p. 28.
8 Ibid..
9 Ibid..
10 Ibid., p. 29.
11 Ibid..
12 Ibid..
13 Ibid..
14 Ibid., p. 26.
15 Ibid..
16 Ibid., p. 27.
17 Ibid..
18 Ibid., p. 29.
19 Ibid., p. 30.
20 Ibid., p. 31.
21 Ibid., p. 32.
22 Ibid., p. 34.
23 Ibid., p. 32.
24 Ibid..
25 Ibid., p. 33.
26 Ibid., p. 34.
27 Ibid..

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts

Categories
Books Leadership Methods Philosophy Workplaces

John Seddon on lean

John Seddon writes about lean in his two books Freedom from Command & Control and The Whitehall Effect. He writes that the term lean was coined by Womack, Roos and Jones1 when they wrote The Machine That Changed the World. The term thus came to represent the Toyota Production System as a whole.

What’s interesting is that Taiichi Ohno, the man behind the Toyta Production System, unequivocally warned against using any kind of label on grounds that people then would view it as a ready-made package.2 Ohno counselled, never codify method, because it is the thinking that is the key.3 Ohno’s favorite word was understanding. He never explained.4 To Ohno, the approach was a way of behaving when faced with problems that needed solving.5 The point is that you can only absorb counterintuitive truths by studying and seeing them yourself.6

To sum up, the reason lean has become so popular is that it reduced the Toyota Production System to a set of tools.7 Tools can be taught and reporting can be institutionalized.8 Learning, on the other hand, requires active involvement.9

Updates 2016-06-19:
References added to Freedom from Command & Control and The Machine That Change the World.

Notes:
1 John Seddon, Freedom from Command & Control, (2nd ed., 2005), p. 182.
2 John Seddon, The Whitehall Effect, (1st ed., 2014), p. 149.
3 Ibid..
4 Ibid..
5 John Seddon, Freedom from Command & Control, (2nd ed., 2005), p. 182.
6 John Seddon, The Whitehall Effect, (1st ed., 2014), p. 150.
7 Ibid..
8 John Seddon, Freedom from Command & Control, (2nd ed., 2005), p. 182.
9 Ibid..

Categories
Culture Leadership People Research

The toxic handler

Peter J. Frost and Sandra Robinson presents their research on The Toxic Handler: Organizational Hero—and Casualty in the July–August 1999 issue of the Harvard Business Review. They write that:

Toxic handlers voluntarily shoulder the sadness and the anger that are endemic to organizational life.

Toxic handlers alleviate organizational pain in five ways:

  • They listen empathetically.
  • They suggest solutions.
  • They work behind the scenes to prevent pain.
  • They carry the confidences of others.
  • They reframe difficult messages.

But toxic handlers also pay a high price themselves in creating a life-giving environment within the larger toxic organization.

Managing organizational pain is vital to the health of the enterprise—but at great cost to the health of the toxic handlers themselves.

I wonder if it’s worth it to risk your health?

Categories
Books Coaching Collaboration Communication Culture Dialogue Leadership Workplaces

Integral Management

Integral Management is a management model which addresses the question: “What does it take to have everyone in a company wholeheartedly join forces and take on challenges that, to most companies, would seem quite impossible?” The model has grown organically for more than 25 years. It’s based on a learning dialog involving tens of thousands of managers and co-workers from around the world. There is a book in Swedish, Manöverbarhet (maneuverability), by Lasse Ramquist and Mats Eriksson, which describes the management model and its development since the early 1980s in detail. There’s also a shorter English version of the book, Integral Management (see the picture), which describes the model and how to make a company come together as One Team.

Update 2022-09-24: Text converted to blocks.

Related post:
Analysis of Integral Management

Categories
Books Leadership Reviews Workplaces

Book Review: Turn the Ship Around!

Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders by L. David Marquet is “a call to action, a manifesto” for turning followers into leaders (p. xxx) . At its core is the belief that “we can all be leaders, in fact, it’s best when we all are leaders” (p. xxvii). David Marquet’s view is that “we all have what it takes” to be leaders, and that “we all need to use our leadership abilities in every aspect of our work life” (p. xxvii). His vision is a “world where we all find satisfaction in our work”, and where “every human being is intellectually engaged, motivated, and self-inspired” (p. xxx). Treating people as followers means that “a vast untapped human potential is lost” (p. 15).

Never ever give an order
David Marquet is the unusual submarine captain who “vowed … never to give an order, any order” (p. 81). Eventually everything was turned upside-down on the ship. Instead of “one captain giving orders to 134 men” there was “135 independent, energetic, emotionally committed and engaged men” thinking about what needed to be done, finding “ways to do it right” (p. 84). This turned all men “into active leaders as opposed to passive followers” (p. 84). Through “trial-and-error, the crew arrived at a body of practices and principles that were dramatically more effective” than those within the traditional leader-follower model (p. 204).

Decision-making, competence, and clarity
The book covers the “leader-leader practices” that were introduced (p. 49).  These practices are divided into three parts which are related to decision-making, competence, and clarity of purpose. The first step in turning the whole crew into leaders is to delegate the “decision-making authority, as much as is comportable, and then adding a pinch more” (p. 59). David Marquet discovered that as the “ability to make decisions” increased, the crew also need more “intimate technical knowledge on which to base those decisions” (p. 128). Furthermore, he discovered that it “becomes increasingly important that everyone throughout the organization understands what the organization is about” (p. 161). If this “clarity of purpose is misunderstood”, then “suboptimal decisions will be made” (p. 161).

Leadership at every level!
The core of the leader-leader model is “giving employees control over what they work on and how they work” (p. 206). The two enabling pillars are “competence and clarity” (p. 206). Here are some of the practices described in the book:

  • Delegate the decision-making as far as possible
  • Act your way into the new thinking
  • Short, early conversations make efficient work
  • Learn everywhere, all the time
  • Specify goals, not methods
  • Achieve excellence, don’t just avoid mistakes
  • Build trust and take care of each other
  • Encourage questioning over obedience

Emancipation results when “we are recognizing the inherent genius, energy, and creativity in all people, and allowing those talents to emerge” (p. 213). It’s a great and very inspiring book!