What was the Point? Meaning Flowing from Disruption.

Real Stephen’s latest article What Was the Point? Meaning Flowing from Disruption published in the Journal of Quality and Participation.

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Courage in the Face of Nonsense: Leading in the Workplace

Leaders must draw the line between using rules in an attempt to drive compliant behavior and engaging employees in spirit-based discussions on ways to ensure that the right actions are taken. Who would have thought that product labeling could provide such humor? We have all seen warning labels cautioning against using lawn mowers to trim hedges, hot coffee cups informing the customer that the coffee is indeed hot, plastic fruit labeled as inedible, or other examples of this silliness that has become the stuff of daily comics and snickering web postings. What hap- pens, however, when this...

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Evoking Collective Spirit through Soulful Organizations

Having recently returned from Gdansk, Poland, following a study mission, my thoughts revolve around the power of places, rituals, and artifacts to evoke spirit. Spirit is a sought after commodity for individuals, teams, organization, and societies. Spirits of innovation, of competitiveness, of service, of cooperation, of performance, and of achievement are among the fires leaders desire to instill within self and their reports. But, beyond a stirring address, leaders often miss the opportunities to connect with the soulful places, rituals, and artifacts that evoke these spirits. Several...

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Holistic Thinking in a Subsystem World: Collaborating to Create Inspired Visions

During a summer hiking adventure in southern France, I had the opportunity to visit the Point du Gard. This structure is an ancient Roman aqueduct crossing the Gardon River and part of a 31-mile system that once carried water from the city of Uzès to the Roman colony of Nîmes. Built in the first century it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The aqueduct carried an estimated 44 million imperial gallons of water a day supplying baths, homes, and fountains to 50,000 citizens. Amazingly the height drop of the entire aqueduct’s length is only 56 feet, demanding a gradient of 1 in 3,000. What...

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The Importance of Being Grounded

Recently I had the opportunity to attend an address by David Petraeus, retired US Army General and CIA Director. Currently Petraeus is a Partner with KKR, chairman of the KKR Global Institute, and serves three separate universities in various roles; obviously a bright and accomplished individual.  And although I found his address engaging, what impressed me most was his sense of firm grounding.  He knows who he is. His self-knowledge radiated from the podium. Through good times and bad, wise decisions and stumbles, David Petraeus has a strong sense of self and the bigger world. The source of...

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Exploring the Possibilities

As we in the Northern Hemisphere are experiencing the transition from long summer days into autumn coolness, I am reminded of the constancy of change. I welcome the four seasons as the changes in weather produce new exercise routines, social engagements, work patterns, community events and celebrations. Each season seems to usher in a new life chapter. But all change is not the same. Seasonal changes have a pattern, and we like to compare our previous experiences with the repeat of the pattern. How cold or hot is the season compared to previous ones; what is the nature of this seasonal...

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