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Pacific Northwest OD Network - Transformation in Turbulent Times
Pacific Northwest OD Network - Transformation in Turbulent Times
Pacific Northwest OD Network - Transformation in Turbulent Times
Pacific Northwest OD Network - Transformation in Turbulent Times
Pacific Northwest OD Network - Transformation in Turbulent Times
Pacific Northwest OD Network - Transformation in Turbulent Times
Pacific Northwest OD Network - Transformation in Turbulent Times
Pacific Northwest OD Network - Transformation in Turbulent Times
Pacific Northwest OD Network - Transformation in Turbulent Times
Pacific Northwest OD Network - Transformation in Turbulent Times
Pacific Northwest OD Network - Transformation in Turbulent Times
Pacific Northwest OD Network - Transformation in Turbulent Times
Pacific Northwest OD Network - Transformation in Turbulent Times
Pacific Northwest OD Network - Transformation in Turbulent Times
Pacific Northwest OD Network - Transformation in Turbulent Times
Pacific Northwest OD Network - Transformation in Turbulent Times
Pacific Northwest OD Network - Transformation in Turbulent Times
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Pacific Northwest OD Network - Transformation in Turbulent Times

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Rachel Lyn Rumson of Cultivating Leadership and Ernie Hughes of The Systems Thinking Company co-presenting at PNODN. Bellevue/Seattle. …

Rachel Lyn Rumson of Cultivating Leadership and Ernie Hughes of The Systems Thinking Company co-presenting at PNODN. Bellevue/Seattle.

The group then watched a clip from the movie “Smoke.” The clip involved the owner of a Brooklyn smoke shop who allows a writer dealing with grief, as well as the audience, to look beyond the seemingly unchanged day to day occurrences on a local street and to really take notice of the little details of life that we often miss.

The group then spent some time with what insights the movie clip provided about organizations. This was done through personal reflection followed by time spent in pairs or small groups for discussions. There was some discussion about the importance of taking time to slow our pace down and to notice when we do that, we see things that we didn’t notice before.

The discussion then moved to sustaining organizations, what sustainable organizational practices are, and what makes an organization sustainable. The group discussed why certain organizations decline and the causes of decline. The group explored the role of management, adjustments that need to occur within organizations, and shared strategies that would allow us to help organizations. This included methods such as: Appreciative Inquiry, Future Search, Open Space Technology, Theory U, World Café, etc.


We then transitioned to looking at the Cycle of Organizations. There was a visual representation provided on the back wall of what this cycle would look like which seemed to look much like the infinity symbol. The group discussed the various stages from the beginning stages through stages of crisis to charismatic leadership and beyond. There seemed to be good energy around this through to the close of the meeting.

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  • 1. Transformation in Turbulent Times November 17, 2008 Rachel Lyn Rumson Ernie Hughes
  • 2.  Broad definition: ◦ Systems or processes that can be sustained indefinitely  Application: ◦ Economic, social, and environmental practices What are sustainable organizational practices? UN Global Compact
  • 3. Raymond E. Miles · Theories of Management · Peter Senge · The Fifth Discipline · David Hurst · Crisis & Renewal · Cygnus · Systems Thinking Competency · John R. Kimberly and Robert H. Miles · The Organizational Life Cycle · USC Center for Effective Organizations · Matthew Olson & Derek Van Bever · Stall Points · Harrison Owen · Wave Rider · William Gibson · No Maps for These Territories · Jeana Wirtenberg · The Sustainable Enterprise Fieldbook · John Boardman & Brian Sauser · Systems Thinking · Karl Weick & Kathleen Sutcliffe · Managing the Unexpected · Living Fieldbook · Terry Schmidt · Turn Strategy into Action · Organizational Dynamics · Marvin Weisbord · Discovering Common Ground · Kim Cameron & David Whetten · Organizational Effectiveness · Karl Weick · Sensemaking in Organizations · Sustainability Knowledge Network · Jay Gailbraith & Ed Lawler · Organizing for the Future · Ed Lawler · Built to Change · C. Otto Scharmer · Theory U · Karl Weick · Making Sense of the Organization · Center for Positive Organization Scholarship The T-Shirt
  • 4. People grouped together around a technology Inputs People Outputs which is operated to Environment Environment Organization Materials Technology Goals transform inputs from the Resources People Needs environment into marketable goods or services. – Miles, Theories of Management What do organizations do?
  • 5. Current Definitions Emerging Definitions  Survival  Social enterprise  Success (financial)  Venture philanthropy What makes an organization effective (sustainable)?
  • 6. Management’s Role & Organizational Variables Human Variables Behavior •Goals •Integration •Capabilities •Technology •Attitudes, Values, Needs •Structure •Demographic characteristics What is management’s role? Adapted from: Miles, Theories of Management
  • 7. Why do organizations decline?
  • 8.  Too much focus on superior-subordinate and peer relationships  Little emphasis on the processes by which the organization was/is aligned or realigned with its environment  Only minimal adjustments required by the organization’s environment OD reasons Adapted from: Miles, Theories of Management
  • 9.  Stable – known or predictable demands, acceptable responses to product or service offered, low perceived threat to survival  Somewhat unsettled – indications of some shifts in demand or acceptance, perception of distant threat to survival  Turbulent – unclear or uncertain demands, lack of product acceptance, high perceived threat of survival Organizational adjustments to environmental demands Adapted from: Miles, Theories of Management
  • 10. Recent Research  Analysis of 50 representative (large) companies with stalled revenue growth  Identified 42 external, strategic, and organizational factors  Four categories accounted for more than half of the occurrences What causes growth to stall? Adapted from: Olson & Van Bever, Stall Points
  • 11. Strategic Factors Organizational Factors (70%) (17%)  Premium position  Talent bench captivity shortfall  Innovation  Board inaction management  Organization design breakdown  Incorrect  Premature core performance abandonment indicators  Others … Within Management’s Control Adapted from: Olson& Van Bever, Stall Points
  • 12.  Regulatory actions  Economic downturn  Geopolitical changes  National labor market inflexibility External Factors (13%) Adapted from: Olson & Van Bever, Stall Points
  • 13.  Change-ability ◦ Plan short-term advantages ◦ Create temporary structures ◦ Increase “surface area” - employees should be no more than two degrees away from the customer ◦ Develop person descriptions rather than job descriptions ◦ Share leadership What makes an organization sustainable (effective)? Lawler & Worley, Built to Change
  • 14.  No systems thinking ◦ Frozen mental models – stale strategic assumptions ◦ Poor understanding of system archetypes  Limits to Growth  Fixes that Fail  Tragedy of the Commons  Unopened space Key Managerial Issues
  • 15. Emergent Action Rational Action Constrained Action Creative (Charismatic) 6 Leadership Conservation Network 2 5 7 Choice Crisis 3 Life Renewal Cycle 1 Cycle Entrepreneurial Action 8 Strategic 4 Confusion Management An Organizational Ecocycle Adapted from: Hurst, Crisis & Renewal
  • 16. Rachel Lyn Rumson Ernie Hughes rachellyn.rumson@gmail.com ernie.hughes@gmail.com +1.207.332.7224 +1.206.499.4666 Calling Cards

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