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MS21: Imagination

How can we fire up and use our imagination to create new management principles, practices and systems? And how can we help others do this?

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Latest Activity: Sep 6, 2009

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Comment by Elle Allison on May 23, 2009 at 18:10
Thank you for this lively and thoughtful discussion. I bring some perspectives as a performance coach and trainer of coaches who support others in accomplishing their Moon Shots. I don't mean to do a "shameless plug" but my co-author and business partner Dr. Doug Reeves and I outline our ideas in our book (March 2009 Jossey-Bass) Renewal Coaching: Sustainable change for individuals and organizations. The second book is a workbook and the third is a field book which includes stories of people who doing meaningful work and creating cultures focused on higher purpose and new ways of management.

Here is an idea: Imagine a corporate culture where people interact with each other in extraordinary ways -where they treat every conversation as if it matters and coach each other in the moment to reach beyond the false limitations often perceived
Comment by Moon Shots on March 18, 2009 at 13:30
Links to a few web pages mentoning Roger Harrison:

Developing a Whole Organisation Culture, by Geof Cox and Walt Hopkins (pdf document)

Culture & Complexity: New Insights on Organisational Change

Typologies of Organisational Culture, by Roger Harrison

Roger Harrison created his model with Charles Handy - I think it was under a tree at Ashridge Management College (now Ashridge Business School) during a refreshment break. Handy went on to make it the central thesis of his book Gods of Management, and Harrison made it his life's work.

Thinking on corporate culture has possibly moved on a bit since Harrison and Handy created their model (in the early 1990s I think) but it may be worth having another look at it to see if it provides any insights.
Comment by Moon Shots on March 18, 2009 at 10:40
Thanks for some very interesting ideas about culture, Peter.

Like you, I've been exploring the notion of corporate culture for many years, and I still don't understand how it works and how it can be changed. I've read the books, attended the workshops (whatever happened to Roger Harrison?), learnt the buzz words and I'm still in the dark.

There's no shortage of concepts: vision, values, engagement, behavour and so on. But I think we're trying to understand electricity using gas thinking. (We have the late great Stafford Beer to thank for that metaphor.)

I suspect that we don't know the half of it. When I looked at the video you recommended, I saw Tony Hsieh sitting on the bath speaking into a bottle of shampoo, and I got the Zappos culture in an instant. I'd never heard of Zappos, but Hsieh embodies it, whatever the "it" is. Energy, perhaps. I felt his energy, although all I'm doing is watching a video.

I appreciate that energy is a tricky word. Maybe that's because we're trying to name a phenomenon that lies beyond the realm of words and concepts. Maybe culture is something - I'm very reluctant to use this word - spiritual. By that I mean something that can't be described, can't be measured, can't be experienced through the five senses, but is every bit as real as those things that can be described etc.

Peter, you've started a very interesting and vital discussion. Thank you again. I'm looking forward to seeing how it unfolds!
Comment by Moon Shots on March 18, 2009 at 10:19
Thanks for the suggestion, Peter. Done. I CCd the email to you.
Comment by Nigel Legg on March 17, 2009 at 18:58
Interesting stuff, Jack. I'm starting to think that maybe organisational change should be more of a bottom up process, a process of people with new ideas, people who imagine a new way of doing things, rising up within organisations and challenging the status quo. And that, by it's nature, is something that is un-manageable.
Comment by Moon Shots on March 17, 2009 at 18:23
P.S. Apologies for making these posts under the Moon Shots name. It's too late to correct this now. I'll be more careful in future! Jack
Comment by Moon Shots on March 17, 2009 at 18:20
Lynda Gratton is a professor at London Business School and bestselling author of Hot Spots: why some teams, workplaces and organisations buzz with energy and others don't (Hot Spots Movement website).

Her new book Glow: how you can radiate energy, innovation and success, is published on April 2 by FT Prentice Hall and Berrett-Koehler.

Lynda has posted an article relevant to our Inspiration theme, Learn to glow, on the London Business School website. Here's an extract:

The best way to protect yourself from cheaper competition in the job market is to provide those human facets that are invaluable to an organisation: a creative mindset, inspiration and teamwork. Following years of research, what I discovered is that people who Glow have mastered three distinct areas of their life: 1. They have built deeply trusting and cooperative relationships with others (a co-operative mindset)

2. They have extended their networks beyond the obvious to encompass the unusual (jumping across worlds)

3. They are on an inner quest that ignites their own energy and that of others (igniting latent energy)

I'm curious to know how the "inner quest" bit happens - easier said than done - but I'm encouraged by the idea that employees can be the driver for an inspired, innovative way of working, on the basis of enhanced employability, rather than the senior leadership team, which is where many commentators (me included, but I'm having second thoughts) reckon the transformation has to begin.

The article is well worth a look. Find it here.
Comment by Holly Masturzo on March 16, 2009 at 1:16
I like the idea of creating something together...I think the making together would reveal a lot, for ourselves as individuals, and in all that great space between us.

Not a lot of clarity for myself right now either about what that 'something' might be. I do think simple forms are especially welcoming and allow for layering and connection to build.

I'm thinking of gathering 'wisdom stories' with my students - ancient and modern stories we think teach of something about leadership or living together. And I'm curious about what we can do with voice.

Don't know if that's the direction surfacing here...Perhaps another way to pose the question could be in making something together, what would we want to offer?

Another concept to add to our wall conversation here: I have become increasingly interested in what has been termed Relational Aesthetics, coined by Nicolas Bourriaud in 98(96?). The concept centers on "artwork as social interstice" and the work produced is valued more for the relationships created or deepened than its 'beauty' or traditional artistic merit.

Somehow it seems to be about creating a habitat, a stage or space, for the paradoxes, the 'negative capability' to play and mingle.

An excerpt from Bourriaurd's text if anyone is curious:
Comment by Kirk Fisher on March 14, 2009 at 2:00
I, too, am enjoying the comments so far. Listening, embracing paradox, entering into ever-present, choiceless awareness...all of these are good. I think it is important, too, to determine the problems to be solved as well. In fact creating a sense of obsession, or a sense of urgency around this is often the main key.

If we hold that tension in our mind, between where we are now and what aches for resolution--the 'negative capability' Keats? spoke about--we will inevitably come to new solutions.

I wonder if this issue is spoken about as a little bit too cause and effect. There's a Newtonian view of this in most discussions: if you add a+b you'll get c. That can be helpful, but take the next step: How can we view innovation as a part of a complex, inter-related system?

Put another way: what is the agency of change? The individuals? A dedicated design team (with appropriate white coats)? Is it even the whole of the organization?

If we are talking about management systems or principles, can we do so, recognizing the widest possible sense of agency?
Comment by Moon Shots on March 13, 2009 at 16:56
I'm enjoying the contributions people are making to this group ... and ... I'm wondering if we might create something together ... use our imaginations to dream something up, and our mastery of what I call first reality (first attention, the tonal, or what you will) to bring it into manifestation. What kind of something? I don't know. But my sense is that using our imaginations might be more worthwhile than talking about imagination. Any thoughts?

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