Archive for July, 2007

Starting Fires: Leadership and Pyrotechniques

Posted in leadership, personal development on July 22, 2007 by velocityvortx

Second order change always requires doing something in or to the system previously not done, everything else is simply a repeat performance.

Peter Berquist, The Postmodern Organization

We want to learn to start fires as often as possible. 1st order change, while periodically effective, rarely produces the kind of permanence we desire. Here are some of the things to look for:

When attempting to implement a change, and stubborn resistance seems to prevail, ask this question “Is my approach applying a ‘more of the same’ solution?” Are you simply yelling a little louder, applying a little more grease to the same squeaky spot or trying to motivate the same tired component into effectiveness? These are “more of the same” solutions.

Step back and refuse to look at pieces of the system and instead view the entire system. “More of the same” is usually inability to see the forest because of moving from tree to tree. Component enhancement, fixing and tweaking are always pendulums and never fire. Remember our Pendulums and Fire discussion? Ask instead how could the whole system or situation be altered? This usually occurs through the introduction of a new component into the system. This by definition changes the relationships through the system of the various components.

Last, always look at the place of greatest resistance in the system. This is generally the place the fire should be lit. Change will be massive and swift. Often a “why didn’t I see that before” will result once the change is implemented, proving you finally set a fire and are on your way to systemic 2nd order change.

And let me just say if you haven’t read Berquist’s book quoted above.  You are missing out.  Even as old as it is it might be one of the best to read on pomo orgs.


Limitations and Innovations

Posted in leadership, Uncategorized on July 2, 2007 by velocityvortx

Let Limitations guide you to breakthroughs.
Price Pritchett


When we speak of doing things in a ‘new way’ for some this brings feelings of frustration and stymied paralysis. Every great discovery, invention, or breakthrough was previously thought to be ‘impossible.’ Simply stated ‘limitations’ are pathways to innovation, creativity and paradigm shifting. But they only function as pathways (instead of roadblocks) if we can reframe them as exciting catalysts and opportunities.

Limitations and constraints, the seeking of the better approach, force us out of standard operating procedure. They often force us to look to the experts – whether in the print of podcast versions. But here is the downside of that solution approach, it may slam the door to creativity and make us rut ridden if the experts haven’t encountered our scenario. Only 5% of us can innovate a new model of anything says Stanford Research. Why? My guess is we have wrongly conceived that innovation and new paths are the domain of the genius. Instead, let limitations or the quest for a better way push you toward greater cleverness, solutions of simplicity and elegance. This is the domain of the spirit inside us all, this is the arena of the imago dei.

Feel cornered by a tough situation, pressured to cut a new path? Look for the trap door of innovation, resist the temptation for over-the-counter mass-produced solutions, and use the escape route of creativity to write a new recipe or redesign the blue-prints. Creativity is more exhilarating, productive and fits the context much better than the pre-packaged ones off the shelves.

This is the new leadership download, not established repertoire leadership, but the in-the-moment-make-it-happen inspiration rooted in the image of God at our core.