Constructed around five major themes -- play, organization, self, emergence, and coherence -- A Simpler Way challenges the way we live and work, presenting a profound worldview.
In thoughtful, creative prose, the authors help readers connect their own personal experiences to the idea that organizations are evolving systems. With its relaxed, poetic style, A Simpler Way will help readers increase their organizing capacity and free them from the daily stress that disorganization brings.
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Strikingly different from most business books--it opens and closes with a pair of very powerful black-and-white photo essays, for example-- A Simpler Way lays out a fascinating and productive reexamination of the traditional tenets of organizational behavior. Internationally known consultants Margaret J. Wheatley ( Leadership and the New Science) and Myron Kellner-Rogers focus on the basic themes of play, organization, self, emergence, and notions of coherence to explore how people really systemize their existence. The authors draw upon science, poetry, philosophy, and other unconventional corporate resources to suggest a completely original method of working together. "There is a simpler way to organize human endeavor," they write. "It requires a new way of being in the world. It requires being in the world without fear. Being in the world with play and creativity. Seeking after what's possible. Being willing to learn and to be surprised."
While A Simpler Way may appear too New Age for some readers, this beautifully produced book hits the mark by bringing together an array of unexpected ideas as the authors look anew at established theories of human behavior to propose a decidedly unique way of promoting organization and achieving success. --Howard RothmanFrom the Publisher:
Questions for Discussion:
I. Play 1. What does this chapter say about "hard and fast" rules?
2. Why is a sense of self so important in the workplace?
3. What does play (creativity) mean in relationship to the workplace?
4. What prevents us from approaching work as play?
5. Share some messes that life (work) has served you that would have worked more effectively using Wheatley and Kellner-Rogers rather than other models?
II. Organizing as Play 6. What does this chapter say about hierarchical order?
7. How has our ability to "see what we want to see" skewed our activities of setting goals and measures?
8. How could we initiate the concept of play in our organizations?
9. How does this chapter challenge the concepts of TQM?
10. How could we motivate individuals in our organization to dedicate their intelligence to discovering solutions?
III. Organization 11. How would focusing on relationships enhance your organization?
12. Consider possible areas where your organization could benefit from self-organizing.
13. How do systems organizations capitalize on informal leadership?
14. How does this chapter explain a groups' ability to respond in a crisis situation?
IV. Organization as Organizing 15. Theories have substantiated the fact that individuals work for much more than just a paycheck. What does this chapter say we can do to enhance this propensity?
16. As trust is half of all human communication, how do we build trust in our organizations? List four ideas.
17. How could your organization foster "quick response" teams that have license to be collectively creative? Identify a list of techniques.
18. How do concepts of this chapter defy organizational politics?
V. Self 19. How has who you've decided to "be" impeded your organization?
20. Define what you notice about your organization. Does it align with the perceptions of others?
21. How do we encourage change in entrenched colleagues? List three ideas.
22. How does the concept of connectedness vs. separateness impact your organization?
23. How would reaching beyond our boundaries enhance our "being" as well as our organization?
VI. Selves Organizing 24. Do staff "love" your organization?
25. Give examples of how your organization inspires individuals to give their life meaning.
26. What boundaries have been defined in your organization that defy systems thinking?
27. Do individuals feel they "belong" to your organization? List reasons why or why not.
28. What sorts of supervisory behaviors or institutional policies cause individuals to withdraw their love?
29. How does our wish to be separate impede our organizations from becoming systems?
VII. Emergence 30. Why is it important to have a sense of self before emergence can occur?
31. Does your organization honor separateness or joining together? What symbols or rituals does your organization uphold that substantiates this?
32. How could the concept of emergence be implemented in your organization?
VIII. Emerging Organizations 33. Consider examples of why we can't change a system by changing individuals. List 3 examples.
34. Is the information flow imperative to the development of a systems model? What is the flow and what changes could be made to that flow to make it all inclusive in your organization?
35. Discuss the typical impervious structures that permeate fear-filled organizations.
36. Define 3 elements that deter individuals from trusting in your organization.
37. Why is a well-formed identify essential for emerging organizations?
IX. Motions of Coherence 38. Draw comparisons to your life's journey considering the passage from Wheatley and Kellner-Rogers, "If an individual can change, it may be lucky enough to survive."
39. What is it in the workplace that keeps us from being real?
40. Does diversity stifle or enhance a systems model? Cite examples.
41. Identify the fears in your organization that stop the energy to create affiliations and systems. List 3 fears.
42. Why is "being a part of the system" so imperative to developing a systems model?
43. Identify the personal fears that prohibit you from encouraging openness to others in your organization. List 3 of those fears.
Suggestions for Further Reading:
* Jaworski, Joseph, Synchronicity: The Inner Path of Leadership * Stacey, Ralph, Complexity and Creativity in Organizations * Wheatley, Margaret J., Leadership and the New Science * Zohar, Danah, Rewiring the Corporate Brain Courtesy of Berrett-Koehler Publishers
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