Organization & People

Employee Disengagement

Gallup’s employee engagement statistics are startling. Only a third of the American workforce feel connected to and are passionate about their organization. The rest feel unsupported and undervalued. That’s a large majority. The answer is for organizations to challenge people, offer opportunities to apply their strengths, and recognize their contributions. We see the difference this…

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High-Performing Teams

Increasingly, we rely on teams to design and implement change. Research has shown that high-performing teams have special properties — strong interpersonal skills and equal opportunity to contribute. Integral Strategy Network uses processes that foster authentic dialogue and effective collaboration. We have seen first-hand how working this way helps organizations and communities get better results…

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A Story of Improvisation: The Epic Journey of Apollo 13

People are largely unaware of their true strengths. These strengths are often revealed when they confront difficult challenges — a moment of truth. The same is true of organizations. Teams often demonstrate unexpected abilities by multiplying the individual strengths of team members. We see this in our work, where clients challenged to find solutions to…

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All That Jazz

“Where’s jazz going? I don’t know. Maybe it’s going to hell. You can’t make anything go anywhere. It just happens.” Jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk reflected on the mystery of this quintessential American music. Trumpeter, bandleader, and composer Miles Davis once said: “When you hit a wrong note it’s the next note that makes…

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The Control Revolution

The Crisis of Control It is clear that traditional organizational structures are struggling to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Yet they were once revolutionary, responding to the wave of change created by industrialization. Before the Industrial Revolution, businesses were small and a single individual could manage them. Until then, James Beniger wrote in…

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Emergent Properties of Organization

  States of Matter We are all familiar with the properties of water. It transforms magically at different temperatures — from a solid to a free-flowing liquid, to a vapor that appears to have no substance at all. Scientists are familiar with another state of matter that exists only at very extreme temperatures – plasmas…

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Commander’s Intent

No organization is a better example of command and control than the military. It’s a popular notion that is no longer true. Faced with the volatility and uncertainty of 21st century conflict, armies have turned to self-organization to increase their agility on the ground. The all-powerful, all-knowing, top-down military command of the past is now…

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Crisis and Renewal

The Adaptive Cycle in Nature Nature responds to opportunities. Empty spaces fill quickly after a fire destroys a forest and leaves barren ground. Plants adapted to survive in harsh conditions arrive first. Once established, they pave the way for others. Early colonizers are followed by shrubs and trees. Over time, the ecosystem resettles into a…

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The Social Operating System

Programming Complex Systems M. C. Escher was famous for his art, where foreground becomes background and background becomes foreground, alternately attracting our attention. His drawings change what we see by playing with perspective, We generally see things rather than the spaces between them. But it is in the interactions between things that higher systems emerge.…

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Visualizing Collaboration

Creating Shared Intentions The Strategy Roadmap is a way of visualizing strategy that clarifies the purpose of a community or organization. Using this approach, I’ve had the opportunity to work with organizations in all sectors on some of their most daunting challenges. It continues to be amazing — even after 15 years of practicing this…

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