Jess's Reviews > Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World

Leadership and the New Science by Margaret J. Wheatley
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Jun 26, 12

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Read in June, 2012

"In motivation theory, attention is shifting from the use of external rewards to an appreciation for the intrinsic motivators that give us great energy. We are refocusing on the deep longings we have for community, meaning, dignity, purpose, and love in our organizational lives. We are beginning to look at the strong emotions of being human, rather than segmenting ourselves by believing that love doesn't belong at work, or that feelings are irrelevant in the organization. There are many attempts to leave behind the view that predominated in the twentieth century, when we believed that organizations could succeed by confining workers to narrow roles and asking only for very partial contributions. As we let go of the machine model of organizations, and workers as replaceable cogs in the machinery of production, we begin to see ourselves in much richer dimensions, to appreciate our wholeness,, and hopefully, to design organizations that honor and make use of the great gift of who we humans are." (p. 14)

"The reduction into parts and the proliferation of separations has characterized not just organizations, but everything in the Western world during the past three hundred years. We broke knowledge into separate disciplines and subjects, built offices and schools with divided spaces, developed analytic techniques that focus on discrete factors, and even counseled ourselves to act in fragments, to use different 'parts' of ourselves in different settings.' (p. 29)

"Many former planning advocates now speak about strategic thinking rather than planning. They emphasize that organizations require new skills. Instead of the ability to analyze and predict, we need to know how to stay acutely aware of what's happening now, and we need to be better, faster learners from what just happened. Agility and intelligence are required to respond to the incessant barrage of frequent, unplanned changes. Jack Welch, legendary CEO of General Electric, says that in this modern world of constant flux, 'predicting is less important than reacting.'"

"We need fewer descriptions of tasks and instead learn how to facilitate PROCESS. We need to become savvy about how to foster relationships, how to nurture growth and development. All of us need to become better at listening, conversing, respecting one another's uniqueness, because these are essential for strong relationships. The era of the rugged individual has been replaced by the era of the team player. But this is only the beginning. The quantum world has demolished the concept that we are unconnected individuals. More and more relationships are in store for us, out there in the vast web of life." (p. 39)

"We need all of us out there, stating, clarifying, reflecting, modeling, filling all of space with the messages we care about. If we do that, a powerful field developes -- and with it, the wondrous capacity to organize into coherent, capable form." (p. 57)

"When we concentrate on individual moments or fragments of experience, we see only chaos. But if we stand back and look at what is taking shape, we see order. Order always displays itself as patterns that develop over time." (p. 118)

"The leader's role is not to make sure that people know exactly what to do and when to do it. Instead, leaders need to ensure that there is strong and evolving clarity about who the organization is. When this clear identity is available, it serves every member of the organization. Even in chaotic circumstances, individuals can make congruent decisions. Turbulence will not cause the organization to dissolve into incoherence." (p. 131)

and so much more!
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