1RethinkingCorporateLeadership as…                           This is now…          That was then…                         ...
2                     ‘We often ask the question now,                     ‘What will become of me?’                     An...
3  The nature of identity  is changing….                           ‘If you want to know me, then you must know my story,  ...
41947    1956     1963   1975   1989   1995   2002   2011   2019   2025   2034   2042   2050   2057   2062                ...
5                                                           THE END                     ‘… the very idea of individual sel...
6   Just as I become who I am by imagining, enacting and updating my story, so    too, do people become families, communit...
7                           This is now…          That was then…                           Corporate Leadership           ...
8       Leadership as Authorship         ‘…from my early attraction to the leadership ideas of         courage, humility a...
9The Practice of Authorship in Our Everyday Lives“What we really should do about…… is…”                           “Their v...
10© Tim Coburn, 2011
11© Tim Coburn, 2011
12© Tim Coburn, 2011
Page 13                     My Journey© Tim Coburn, 2011
Page 14                     ‘How can I be sure?’© Tim Coburn, 2011
Page 15                     ‘I was… increasingly                     uncertain about the                     certainty wit...
Page 16                     The Organisation is…                     A machine                     An organism            ...
Page 17                                        The Way I Know                     Determines                             I...
Page 18‘I would like us all to recognisethat……reality is made, not given…our understanding of the worldis always seeing as...
Page 19       Jenny Rogers                           Keith Kinsella                     ‘Knowledge or wisdom, Tim?’© Tim C...
Page 20                                             System                                           Cybernetics          ...
Page 21© Tim Coburn, 2011                     Photo: David Kjaer/RSPB IMAGES; Charlie Hamilton James
Page 22      ‘But, what does this tell us about human systems…                        and leadership?’© Tim Coburn, 2011
Page 23              Human Systems   Characteristics of all                              human systems?                   ...
Page 24Everything is mediatedthrough language andconstructed inconversation                         Identity              ...
25                      Value for money                        For us, thats about offering more for your money, not     ...
26Respecting the unique worth of every person  We believe that every person is different but equal,   and that everyones ...
Page 27                          Human systems                           are systems of                            languag...
Page 28Leadership Dispositions for Working with Other Language Systems                       I am willing to put         n...
no                          curiosity                     humility    I judge       yourknowledgeagainst my    criteria   ...
First PropositionHuman systems are systems of language each with its own            vocabulary and meaning for…   Identity...
Page 31                                                           Do                                     It’s what        ...
Page 32                                                  Say                                 It’s what                    ...
Page 33                           Leadership                     it’s a big responsibility…   so where can you turn for re...
Lived Experience                                    Page 34                                 Truth is experienced          ...
Page 35   All Five produce socially constructed realities…                          ‘The goings-on between people in      ...
Page 36© Tim Coburn, 2011
Page 37                         The                        word                     is not the                        thin...
Page 38                 How do you know what I mean?           Chair            Students     Achievement           Pencil ...
39                                                                      Example            "We were disappointed we lost t...
40                                                                      Example            "We were disappointed we lost t...
Second PropositionLeaders are the authors, architects and arbiters of the language          that constructs and sustains c...
Page 42                     Examples of Authorship in Your Life?                                   Project                ...
Page 43                               ‘Leaders achieve their      Howard Gardner             effectiveness chiefly        ...
Narrator, yes….                …and author,              director, reader                 and repairer                    ...
The CorporateStory-Maker
Page 46                              ‘As in the real theatre,                               in the corporate world© Tim Co...
Page 47                      Social                     Movement© Tim Coburn, 2011
Page 48                      Social                     Movement© Tim Coburn, 2011
Page 49       Authoring the Lives of                     People You Lead© Tim Coburn, 2011
Today’s world…                                                                                              501947    1956...
Today’s world…                                                                                              511947    1956...
Today’s world…                                                                                              521947    1956...
Today’s world…                          53 © Tim Coburn, 2011   Cloud Inversion
54                                                                                                      LEAD?Today’s world...
55                           Engagement Improves                                   Satisfaction                           ...
56                                                               Culture, Nation      ‘Are you                            ...
Yes, engage me…‘The unity of a human life is the unity of a narrative           quest’     Alasdair MacIntyre
“I am my       story-maker…”1947   1956   1963   1975   1989   1995   2002   2011   2019   2025   2034   2042   2050   205...
My Story’s in Your Gift                       One day there’ll be a story                       Of the life that I have li...
Third Proposition       A view of corporate life as a system of languageinvites a view of corporate leadership as the task...
61          Systems                                     System         of Meaning                                   Cybern...
62         Knowledge                                            Local                                          Contextual ...
63         Learning                                     When we believe the realities                                     ...
64         Leadership                             Leadership as Authorship                                                ...
65         Learning and         Leadership…                           This is now…          That was then…© Tim Coburn, 2011
66 Tim Coburn Visiting Fellow, Centre for Systems Learning and Leadership Graduate School of Education, University of Bris...
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Leadership as Authorship

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When we accept the realities we live by are made in language and conversation, there is no other choice - leadership is authorship.

A brand new perspective on leadership... supported by executive development

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Leadership as Authorship

  1. 1. 1RethinkingCorporateLeadership as… This is now… That was then… Corporate Authorship© Tim Coburn, 2011
  2. 2. 2 ‘We often ask the question now, ‘What will become of me?’ And lose the fact that what we do Creates identity. And so it is, with choices made, We build who we become: The stories of our life fulfill Our quest to be someone.’ Tim Coburn, 2003© Tim Coburn, 2011
  3. 3. 3 The nature of identity is changing…. ‘If you want to know me, then you must know my story, for my story defines who I am.’ Dan P McAdams© Tim Coburn, 2011
  4. 4. 41947 1956 1963 1975 1989 1995 2002 2011 2019 2025 2034 2042 2050 2057 2062 ‘Narrative form is not a dress which covers something else but the structure inherent in human experience and action.’ © Tim Coburn, 2011 David Carr
  5. 5. 5 THE END ‘… the very idea of individual selves – in possession of mental qualities – is now threatened with eradication.’ Kenneth Gergen© Tim Coburn, 2011
  6. 6. 6 Just as I become who I am by imagining, enacting and updating my story, so too, do people become families, communities, organisations and groups by composing, creating and narrating theirs’.© Tim Coburn, 2011 In this respect, the leaders of these groups are the corporate story-makers.
  7. 7. 7 This is now… That was then… Corporate Leadership as© Tim Coburn, 2011 Corporate Authorship
  8. 8. 8 Leadership as Authorship ‘…from my early attraction to the leadership ideas of courage, humility and service… …I’ll explain how I arrived at… leadership as authorship. In so doing, I hope to engage you in developing your own view of systems leadership, how you practice it and how you encourage others to do the same.© Tim Coburn, 2011
  9. 9. 9The Practice of Authorship in Our Everyday Lives“What we really should do about…… is…” “Their view is different because…” “If you were in my shoes, what would you do….?” “Did you see…?! ….What did you make of it?” “Let’s be clear, the purpose of this organisation is to…” “Here’s a concern…. What question should I be asking?” © Tim Coburn, 2011
  10. 10. 10© Tim Coburn, 2011
  11. 11. 11© Tim Coburn, 2011
  12. 12. 12© Tim Coburn, 2011
  13. 13. Page 13 My Journey© Tim Coburn, 2011
  14. 14. Page 14 ‘How can I be sure?’© Tim Coburn, 2011
  15. 15. Page 15 ‘I was… increasingly uncertain about the certainty with which I was speaking in my endeavour to educate, encourage and enable change for others.’ ‘I was beginning to think that talking with the conviction of an expert… was actually doing more to diminish than enhance their ability to make progress.’© Tim Coburn, 2011
  16. 16. Page 16 The Organisation is… A machine An organism A brain A culture A political system A psychic prison An instruments of domination© Tim Coburn, 2011
  17. 17. Page 17 The Way I Know Determines Informs The Observations The Possibilities of I Make My Performance The Meaning The Knowledge I Make of Them I Construct© Tim Coburn, 2011
  18. 18. Page 18‘I would like us all to recognisethat……reality is made, not given…our understanding of the worldis always seeing as, rather thanseeing as is…and to take a moralresponsibility for the way we seeand act in every day life, difficultthough this may be.’ © Tim Coburn, 2011 Gareth Morgan
  19. 19. Page 19 Jenny Rogers Keith Kinsella ‘Knowledge or wisdom, Tim?’© Tim Coburn, 2011
  20. 20. Page 20 System Cybernetics Organisation Object Pattern Physics Ingredients Relationship Characteristics Person He changed the subject© Tim Coburn, 2011
  21. 21. Page 21© Tim Coburn, 2011 Photo: David Kjaer/RSPB IMAGES; Charlie Hamilton James
  22. 22. Page 22 ‘But, what does this tell us about human systems… and leadership?’© Tim Coburn, 2011
  23. 23. Page 23 Human Systems Characteristics of all human systems? Identity Purpose Action Expression Belonging© Tim Coburn, 2011 And the leader’s role?
  24. 24. Page 24Everything is mediatedthrough language andconstructed inconversation Identity Purpose Action Expression Belonging Human systems are systems of language and meaning © Tim Coburn, 2011
  25. 25. 25 Value for money   For us, thats about offering more for your money, not cutting corners. Its every Virgin companys magic tool. Good quality   Going that little bit further in everything we do. Innovative and challenging   Supporting creativity and challenging convention and freedom is a huge part of what it means to be Virgin. Fun   More than any other element, fun is the secret of Virgins success. What does this mean for our people?   Having a sense of humourA Human System     Occasional gags at a competitors expense Celebrating success together   Ensuring we can all enjoy a decent work/life balance   Avoiding blame culture, because its OK to make the odd © Tim Coburn, 2011 mistake
  26. 26. 26Respecting the unique worth of every person  We believe that every person is different but equal, and that everyones unique talent should be recognised and encouraged.Encouraging people to fulfill their potential  We all need encouragement at some time in life. Barnardos aims to create opportunities for people to make the most of their abilities.Working with hope A Human System  Our hope for a better future for all children is the source of much of our inspiration.Exercising responsible stewardship  The commitment of all our staff and volunteers to making the best use of all our resources enables us to help children, young people and their families to overcome severe disadvantage. © Tim Coburn, 2011
  27. 27. Page 27 Human systems are systems of language and every one is differentLanguage andmeaning are localand contextual notuniversal and objective © Tim Coburn, 2011
  28. 28. Page 28Leadership Dispositions for Working with Other Language Systems I am willing to put no yes my knowledge at risk yes I judge your knowledge no against my criteria© Tim Coburn, 2011
  29. 29. no curiosity humility I judge yourknowledgeagainst my criteria certainty reflexivity yes I am willing to put no yes my knowledge at risk Dispositions for working in human systems©29Tim Coburn, 2011
  30. 30. First PropositionHuman systems are systems of language each with its own vocabulary and meaning for… Identity, Purpose, Action, Expression and Belonging
  31. 31. Page 31 Do It’s what you… It’s what you… Say Act It’s how you… It’s how you… Talk DecisionIt’s in thequality of… © Tim Coburn, 2011 It’s in the quality of… Conversation
  32. 32. Page 32 Say It’s what you… It’s what you… Do Talk It’s how you… It’s how you… Act ConversationIt’s in thequality of… © Tim Coburn, 2011 It’s in the quality of… Decision
  33. 33. Page 33 Leadership it’s a big responsibility… so where can you turn for reliable knowledge?© Tim Coburn, 2011
  34. 34. Lived Experience Page 34 Truth is experienced individually and expressed in uniqueScientific Investigation ways of talking Truth is discovered by scientific investigation and other disciplined Truth is constructed methods socially – it’s what we agree to be true Five different ways to be Common Sense absolutely right Truth is revealed Truth is passed down through personal, and comes from spiritual and natural culture and tradition enlightenment © Tim Coburn, 2011 Culture and Tradition Enlightenment and Revelation
  35. 35. Page 35 All Five produce socially constructed realities… ‘The goings-on between people in the course of their everyday lives are seen as the practices during which our shared versions of knowledge are constructed.’ Vivien Burr© Tim Coburn, 2011
  36. 36. Page 36© Tim Coburn, 2011
  37. 37. Page 37 The word is not the thing© Tim Coburn, 2011
  38. 38. Page 38 How do you know what I mean? Chair Students Achievement Pencil Parents Freedom Boat Customers Trust Road Staff Potential Desk Learners Competence Phone Leaders Learning Easier Harder And this is the language of© Tim Coburn, 2011 leadership and leaning
  39. 39. 39 Example "We were disappointed we lost the game but it isnt a matter of revenge, it is about our own personal pride."© Tim Coburn, 2011
  40. 40. 40 Example "We were disappointed we lost the game but it isnt a matter of revenge, it is about our own personal pride."© Tim Coburn, 2011
  41. 41. Second PropositionLeaders are the authors, architects and arbiters of the language that constructs and sustains corporate life
  42. 42. Page 42 Examples of Authorship in Your Life? Project Department Profession People Organisation© Tim Coburn, 2011
  43. 43. Page 43 ‘Leaders achieve their Howard Gardner effectiveness chiefly through the stories they relate’© Tim Coburn, 2011
  44. 44. Narrator, yes…. …and author, director, reader and repairer …protagonist even, and not least, integrator
  45. 45. The CorporateStory-Maker
  46. 46. Page 46 ‘As in the real theatre, in the corporate world© Tim Coburn, 2011 it is the compelling story line that captures the imagination and retains the attention.’
  47. 47. Page 47 Social Movement© Tim Coburn, 2011
  48. 48. Page 48 Social Movement© Tim Coburn, 2011
  49. 49. Page 49 Authoring the Lives of People You Lead© Tim Coburn, 2011
  50. 50. Today’s world… 501947 1956 1963 1975 1989 1995 2002 2011 2019 2025 2034 2042 2050 2057 2062 © Tim Coburn, 2011 Taking Down Walls
  51. 51. Today’s world… 511947 1956 1963 1975 1989 1995 2002 2011 2019 2025 2034 2042 2050 2057 2062 © Tim Coburn, 2011 Defying Authority
  52. 52. Today’s world… 521947 1956 1963 1975 1989 1995 2002 2011 2019 2025 2034 2042 2050 2057 2062 © Tim Coburn, 2011 Increasingly Connected
  53. 53. Today’s world… 53 © Tim Coburn, 2011 Cloud Inversion
  54. 54. 54 LEAD?Today’s world… TEACH? LEARN? search find link listen watch discover learn blog share talk discuss create collaborate phone tablet laptop desktop television Knowledge Inversion © Tim Coburn, 2011
  55. 55. 55 Engagement Improves Satisfaction Productivity Retention Performance Their world… 79% Not Fully Engaged Engagement Improves with 1. Leadership 2. Learning 90,000 Employees 18 Countries All Sectors© Tim Coburn, 2011 A Human System
  56. 56. 56 Culture, Nation ‘Are you Tradition If you really want to Politics, Faith talking to Gender, Age, Ability engage me me Organisation Profession you have to or chewing Manager, discover who I am Work Team, Job a brick?’ and Family the realities I live by Relationships Conversations Words My Fond Memories Actions Work Community MY WORLD MY Home Education My Word FUTURE Thoughts Immediate Hoard Feelings Future My Hopes & Aspirations My Historical Facts My Recent My Current MY Past Reality My Realistic PAST Expectations Era Generation Life Stage Age Critical Events Personal Change Life Time© Tim Coburn, 2011 Systems of Meaning
  57. 57. Yes, engage me…‘The unity of a human life is the unity of a narrative quest’ Alasdair MacIntyre
  58. 58. “I am my story-maker…”1947 1956 1963 1975 1989 1995 2002 2011 2019 2025 2034 2042 2050 2057 2062
  59. 59. My Story’s in Your Gift One day there’ll be a story Of the life that I have lived. I’ll be the one who makes it, You’ll decide if it’s a gift. For I have passion for what’s possible And dreams that take me there. Where mountain tops evaporate In destiny’s thin air. I am my story-maker. You choose the words for me? No… My heart will beat foreverThe Learner’s Voice If your voice sets mine free. For I have passion for what’s possible And dreams that take me there. Where mountain tops evaporate In destiny’s thin air. So, the story that you tell one day Will be the one I lived. My life in words you gave me; My story’s in your gift. For I have passion for what’s possible And dreams that take me there. Where mountain tops evaporate In destiny’s thin air. © Tim Coburn, 2011 Tim Coburn, 2003
  60. 60. Third Proposition A view of corporate life as a system of languageinvites a view of corporate leadership as the task of corporate authorship
  61. 61. 61 Systems System of Meaning Cybernetics Organisation Object Pattern Physics Relationship Ingredients Language Characteristics Person Knowledge It’s time to change the subject© Tim Coburn, 2011
  62. 62. 62 Knowledge Local Contextual Relational For the time being Knowing ‘how to Universal go on’ Objective Truth For ever Made by everyone Knowing ‘this’, ‘that’ Manifest in language and ‘how’ Found by experts Manifest in facts Of course, we need both© Tim Coburn, 2011
  63. 63. 63 Learning When we believe the realities we live by are… made by everyone Learning occurs by… collaborative construction When we believe the realities we live by are… We might call this… found by experts ‘learning-by-making’ Learning occurs by… didactic instruction With the advantage of… everyone knowing We might call this… something ‘learning-by-listening’ With the advantage of… experts knowing everything New paradigm, new pedagogy© Tim Coburn, 2011
  64. 64. 64 Leadership Leadership as Authorship Everything is mediated through language Authoring… your disposition in creating productive relationships You are the author, narrator Authoring… conversations that and protagonist in create new realities for people to the story of your life live by And, you have to read, repair, relate and respond to Authoring… social movements the stories around you, too that enable the fulfillment of narrative integrity Like life, leadership is like a quest for narrative integrity Corporate Leadership as Corporate Authorship© Tim Coburn, 2011
  65. 65. 65 Learning and Leadership… This is now… That was then…© Tim Coburn, 2011
  66. 66. 66 Tim Coburn Visiting Fellow, Centre for Systems Learning and Leadership Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol Contact: tim.coburn@bristol.ac.uk Founder and Director, Flourish Contact: tim@timcoburn.com© Tim Coburn, 2011

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