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Buck the System Bruce Waltuck



Buck the System: Consulting Through the Lens of Complexity. Presentation at the 2d international conference on complexity in business, Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, November 12th ...

Buck the System: Consulting Through the Lens of Complexity. Presentation at the 2d international conference on complexity in business, Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, November 12th 2010.



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Buck the System Bruce Waltuck Buck the System Bruce Waltuck Presentation Transcript

  • Buck the System Consulting Through the Lens of Complexity Bruce A. Waltuck M.A., Complexity, Chaos, and Creativity [email_address] 609-577-1584 complexified on Twitter Former Senior Advisor for Process Improvement Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • Context: USDOL Improvement
    • 1987 E.O. to improve quality & productivity
    • 1989 USDOL explores quality and org improvement
    • 1989-90 research: “Success Leaves Clues”
    • 1990 EIQI design: rule set born of necessity
    • 1990-1994 award-winning improvements
  • A Look Back – Through the Lens of Complexity
    • DOL design: simple rule set
    • Innovation Encouraged
    • “ Explored Possibility Space”
    • Collaboration & Communication (“4 C’s”)
    • Clear articulation of vision and purpose
    • Leadership commitment (2d Law of Thermodynamics)
    • Power Patterns
    • Emergent Behaviors ( Gazeta Mercantil “Sabotadors”)
    • Lack of Looped Learning
    • Lack of Looped Feedback (Empowerment is not Accountability)
  • “ R.O.M.P.-ing” Around Complexity Personal Paradigm Shift
    • Exploratorium: Turbulent Landscapes
    • Briggs & Peat “Turbulent Mirror”
    • Waldrop “Complexity”
    • Wheatley “A Simpler Way”
    • McMaster “The Intelligence Advantage”
    • Shaw: Changing Conversations in Organizations
    • Eoyang and Olson: “Facilitating Organization Change”
    • Dooley; Dimitrov; Fitzgerald; Block; Homer; Holley; Krebs; Stephenson; Snowden; Heifetz;etc.
  • SAMHSA From the Present to the Possible
    • Visionary Leadership
      • “ If this tool worked over here…”
    • Failed on First Try
      • “ but the consultants told us…”
      • A few pockets of success
    • Goals & Concerns
      • Grants are the core business
      • Grants are not the core concern
      • Commitment vs. Morale
    • Methods and Perspective
      • Dialogue & deliberation
      • Small teams
      • Learning, collaborating, experimenting
  • Through the New Lens of Complexity Intention & Practice
    • Build relationship and trust as primary goal (Stephenson; Wheatley; Shaw; Stacey, e.g.)
    • Build capacity for team collaboration, dialogue, experimentation, assessment (Scholtes; Shaw; Homer; Brown & Isaacs; etc.
    • Build capacity for change by nudging away from equilibrium; amplify differences; connect people and information (various; also Eoyang and Olson; Wheatley)
    • Belief (assumption?) that collaboration with intention would yield desired results (various as above; See also Knowles)
  • Murphy Strikes Again Known and Unknown Unknowns
    • Sudden departure of visionary leader
    • Assumptions and expectations of replacement
    • Lack of communication
    • Playing favorites
    • “ Held in place by an uneasy tension”
    • Power and Fear
    • Can we move that dead elephant?
    • Con(at)tractors of meaning
    • Thanks for the storm, Lorenz
    • Oh by the way… goals being achieved
  • A Difficult Conversation…
    • Need to insist on access and communication with leaders
    • Need clear charters and sponsors (opening the possibility space)
    • Need commitment of time and resources
    • Need conversation and agreement on objectives and measures (oops..?!)
    • Need commitment to permit tinkering and experimentation
    • Need to stop treating the complex/adaptive as complicated/technical
    • Need conversation and agreement on time
    • Need trust, transparency and integrity
  • All Bucked Up The Selfish System
    • “ Greatest Gift” downplayed
    • Back room conversations amplified rumor and unfounded expectations
    • Fractal probes and sense-making (Branch)
    • We found the more powerful Attractor (“more smiling faces”), but the Status Quo counter-attacked (“rapid improvement” and “people first”)
    • Deming was right; Deming was wrong (“it’s the system, stupid!”)
    • EBP vs. PBE
  • Resources
    • Patricia Shaw, “Changing Conversations in Organizations”
    • Margaret Wheatley, “A Simpler Way”
    • Michael McMaster “The Intelligence Advantage”
    • June Holley and Valdis Krebs “Weaving Smart Networks” workshop/papers
    • Glenda Eoyang and Ed Olson “Facilitating Organization Change
    • Richard Knowles, “The Leadership Dance”
    • Ron Heifetz et al “The Practice of Adaptive Leadership”
    • Art Kleiner “Karen Stephenson’s Quantum Theory of Trust (article in S+B)
    • Juanita Brown and David Isaacs “The World Café” (with work by Ken Homer)
    • Vlad Dimitrov “Toward A New Kind of Social Science”
    • Peter Block “The Flawless Consulting Fieldbook”
    • David Snowden and Mary Boone “A Leader’s Framework for Change” (HBR)
    • Articles by Laurie Fitzgerald, Kevin Dooley, Frank Barrett, Harlene Anderson, etc.