The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence – it is to act with yesterday’s logic - Peter Drucker

The TurningTides Blog

Ideas and inspiration from Turning Tides

How systemic leadership helps people navigate complex change

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One of the earliest transitions we make in life is starting school. A much heralded change in a young person’s life. Can you remember how you experienced that transition? I can. I ran towards the school entrance with little more than a backward glance. I was following in the footsteps of an older brother and sister you see. It was a rite of passage. One that I was quite determined to traverse (according to my mother!).   Many patterns are established in childhood Leaving school was similar. I moved on with a sense of adventure. This sense of life being an adventure has stayed with me. Always curious to explore what’s around the next corner….  An example of how patterns established in childhood have an influence on how we approach similar challenges in later life. Of course not all patterns are as positive and some have their shadow side. Always...
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U Lab Scotland - Conversations and Catching the Waves

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 Know that feeling of being with kindred spirits? That's how I felt yesterday.

We were in Saint Paul’s and St George's Episcopal church in Edinburgh. A magnificent venue for the first of a series of 'U Lab Scotland' preparatory events. Over 200 people attended. Some had to take seats in the balcony. Such was the interest in this event. 

U Lab is based on Theory U, an approach to change that aims to unleash the collective energy and intelligence in a group. The process encourages participants to view complex issues through a different lens and observe deeply.  After a period of deep reflection solutions emerge through a process of 'prototyping' and testing. Otto Scharmer and colleagues from MIT have been developing the approach over many years with a growing excitement worldwide.  

Change as an Emergent Property

I've had an interest in change as an 'emergent property' for a number of years. I took an 'intensive' programme similarly called 'Change Lab' run by Adam Kahane in Utrecht a few years back. The programme, based on action enquiry, followed the U process and it was truly inspiring. I still draw on the learning in my current work in helping people and organisations navigate change.

Hearing the principles of U Lab being introduced by Scottish Government officials created a frisson of excitement inside me, and I suspect in many others. It was a defining moment. And perhaps another indication of the groundswell in Scotland of people searching for something different.

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Getting people on board with change: Writing that connects

Getting people on board with change: Writing that connects
 Think of what you’ve had to read recently at work. What has created a sense of connection? What has left you cold? Connecting with people in the way we write is a leadership skill. Simple, direct, human language inspires trust and confidence in a way that the language of organisations rarely can. Engaging with staff in person at meetings and learning events is one thing. But how do you capture people’s attention if, for example, you’re leading large-scale change or quality improvement programmes where you also have to connect and engage through the written word? It’s an important question – but one that’s routinely overlooked. And the challenge grows when it comes to working with different cultures as in health and social care. Which words do you choose when people speak different professional languages? How do you find a tone of voice to inspire confidence and trust across multiple agencies?...
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