25 September 2008

It’s all Isaac’s fault: Why do we think about management and leadership the way we do; and what might be the implications of this?

Tony Droar and Sue Couchman

Systems thinking still seems a relatively rare commodity in many organisations. This session explored why this might be; the potential implications; and what might be done to facilitate more systems thinking now and into the future.

In the first part of the morning, Tony Droar considered how Newton’s reductionism and machine metaphor is deeply imbedded into our thinking about our world and our organisations. Yet new views are emerging from fields like physics, the biological sciences, and economics that offer alternative theories. Tony explored how these alter our thinking about organisations and thus our approach to change and transformation.  He drew on Deming’s system of profound knowledge to illustrate the points.

Sue Couchman looked at the role of psychology and asked how the quality of interactions between human beings can impact the effectiveness of the system’? Sue also considered the phenomenon of self-patterning in systems and the role of trust in interactions.

About the speakers

Tony is a regular attendee at the annual Deming Forum, and a member of Society of Organisational Learning (SOL UK). He currently works as an internal business change consultant with a county council, and has a life long interest in learning, change and transformation. Tony is also an executive coach and has wide experience of both the public and private sectors.

Sue is an expert in partnership working and is currently writing a book on performance management in public sector organisations.

What participants said…

“The atmosphere is really positive – very open and friendly.”

“It was thought provoking, but it is always good to create practical links to situations back at work.”

“On the whole it was very good.”

“I enjoyed the interaction of the presentations. For me there was nothing original in what the first speaker had to say, although I hadn’t had these different ideas put together in this way.”

“I felt the content was a valiant attempt to bring a number of modern ideas in, but they were not synthesised or integrated. There was no relating them to practice either, so it did not add a great deal.”

“Full marks for presentation and only one point less for originality of content.”

“Tony was interesting, but tried to cram too much into the session… The key message on Newton’s ‘mechanistic’ thinking and its impact on our world of economics and politics was thus diluted.”

“I found the meeting was a very useful experience and opportunity to start networking with people within my field of work. I’m looking forward to the next meeting.”

 

 

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