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I am finally able to get a moment to respond to an emerging conversation in which Dave Snowden critiques one of my tweets and the rest of human systems dynamics as if it were captured in the same 140 characters.  It is always interesting to read a critique of my work, if only to tease out what it says about the critic from what it says about me and the work my colleagues and I do.  Our practice in human systems dynamics ( and adaptive action encourages us to turn judgment into curiosity; turn defensiveness into self-reflection; and turn conflict into shared exploration.
We have all seen or experienced a version of this story: the CEO leaves a company or an organization, creating the possibility of massive, potentially disruptive change, and our first reaction is, “Now what!?!”  But, for those of us who want to effectively manage constant change (i.e., life in the “real” world), we must work through the “Adaption Action” cycle of asking What? and So what? before we get to the Now what?
Over the past couple of months, I’ve led Adaptive Action Labs around the world.  Each Lab was unique, but in every one, a team took advantage of the opportunity to break free from their most sticky issues. An Adaptive Action Lab is a new mode of support for teams facing complex challenges. They arrive with an apparently intractable issue and leave with concrete action plans and renewed energy and curiosity.
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How can I/we be adept in a volatile/uncertain/complex/ambiguous world?
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Mary's blog post about generative engagement is a great starting place for this reflection about conflict at all levels of an organization or community. This week's survey invited responses to three items: 1. Describe an intractable conflict - local, national, or global. 2. What keeps the conflict going? 3. What can you do/do you do to help those around you deal with the inevitable conflicts that arise when people live, work, or play together?
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One section in the Adaptive Action book looks at the development of a model Royce and I created to help us make sense of and how to work well with diversity in groups, organizations and society in general. Why is diversity important? Well, diversity is at the core of how nature finds solutions.
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The Adaptive Action Survey this week asked respondents to consider the current scenario in US politics, as Congress struggles with policies and decisions--fiscal and otherwise--that seem stuck along partisan lines. As we look at evidence that our Congress is stuck, we asked three questions: 1. What do you believe is the reason the US political system is “stuck” and unable to move toward effective decision making? 2. What would you name as the largest barrier to Congress’s ability to make a decision about the looming fiscal issues? 3. What one piece of advice would you give members of Congress this week to get them unstuck?
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