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Company Culture

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Episode 040 The Myth Of The Dysfunctional System

In this episode, Angie and Haley ask past guests—Benjamin Taylor, Angela Montgomery, Oleg Konovalov, and Sonja Blignaut—to share their thoughts on a quote by Jeff Lawrence. His quote states, “There is no such thing as a dysfunctional organization, because every organization is perfectly aligned to achieve the results it gets.”


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

“You have to appreciate why something [a system] is the way it is and how it’s’ learning to do that. And, you have to value what it’s creating and achieving.” - Benjamin Taylor

“If you’re looking at a system and you know what’s wrong, take a deep breath, wait, and see what happens next; see what you learn before you act and I think you might go a lot further.” - Benjamin Taylor

“We can say that an organization is dysfunctional when it works in a way that is not consistent with the goal it is supposed to pursue, so lack of clarity and understanding of the goal could easily produce dysfunctional organizational behavior which means behavior that is not consistent with that goal.” - Angela Montgomery

“What could be perceived as dysfunctional toward a stated goal can actual be extremely functional for a non verbalized one.” - Angela Montgomery

“Many organizations tend to lose their sharply defined goals or directions by rushing into something irrelevant, so wrongly set goals are making them dysfunctional. As a result, they are losing their core functions and abilities. I call this ‘goal perplexity’.” - Oleg Konovalov
 

“[This quote] perfectly describes how stuck we are in a mechanistic metaphor. We describe a system or a culture as being broken or needing fixing, as if it’s a machine.” - Sonja Blignaut

“We tend to think about self organization as just a positive thing, so we talk about self organizing teams in the agile space, for example. Complex systems or human systems are always self organizing, they may just not be organized in a way that we think is the way that it should be. This is something that we see as dysfunction, but it is something that is serving part of that system.” - Sonja Blignaut

 

Resources from this episode:

"Dysfunctional Organization: Definition and Cure" by Angela Montgomery

“Techniques to Match Our Values” by Marvin Weisbord

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Episode 039 Company Culture: An Emergent And Evolving Phenomenon

In this episode, Angie interviews Sonja Blignaut who is a narrative practitioner, change catalyst, and founder of a niche consultancy called More Beyond. Sonja shares how using a complexity thinking approach to study and influence company culture can help leaders avoid best practice recipes and reach positive organizational change.


Show Notes 


Quotes from this episode:

“The moment we think we know the answer, or even the question, we close down our options to explore and we can no longer find the things that we didn’t know to look for.” - Sonja Blignaut

“Keep a couple of pet mavericks around.” - Dave Snowden

“Hold your plans and outcomes very lightly. Focus on having a clear direction a purpose but not alignment to a specific goal.”- Sonja Blignaut

“In complexity, context is everything, there are no recipes. You really need to understand what the emergent contextual ideas are, and not just come in and apply your best practice recipes.” - Sonja Blignaut

“I believe that culture emerges. It’s not a thing, but an emergent property of a complex adaptive system.” - Sonja Blignaut

“We all have meaning-making skills and we do that through narratives.” - Sonja Blignaut

“It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.” - Mark Twain

“Always assume a posture of curiousity or not knowing. Be curious. Question assumptions.” - Sonja Blignaut

“Realize, that in complexity, diversity really matters. So, I surround myself with people who have radically different perspective than I do.” - Sonja Blignaut

“Think anew and act anew.” - Abraham Lincoln

 

Resources from this episode:

"A Leader's Framework for Decision Making" by Dave Snowden

 

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Episode 038 A Philosophical Look At Company Culture

In this episode, Haley interviews Benjamin Taylor, a business evolutionary, systems thinker, and avid learner. Benjamin discusses the intended and unintended consequences of systemic leadership, and he describes the philosophical side of company culture, as well as, how leaders can influence company culture.


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

“Most of my work is really helping people to do transformation or ‘serious change’ in public services.” - Benjamin Taylor

“Most people in this world should be trying to work themselves out of a job.” - Benjamin Taylor

“Once you’ve really explained system thinking, it starts to sound like common sense.” - Benjamin Taylor

“Meaning only ever emerges in context.” - Benjamin Taylor

“You cannot understand a system until you try to change it.” - Kurt Lewin

“It is easier to act yourself into a new way of thinking than it is to think yourself into a new way of acting.” - Millard Fuller

 

Resources from this episode:

Benjamin Taylor is a Managing Partner at RedQuadrant, Chief Executive at The Public Service Transformation Academy, and a non-executive Director at SCiO. Benjamin is a frequent contributor on model.report, an online forum for system thinkers. He is also a moderator on the Linkedin group System Thinking Network and co-host for the Outliers Inn Podcast.

 

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Episode 037 The Complexity Of Living Organizations

In this episode, Haley interviews Dr. Oleg Konovalov, who is the author of a new management concept called Organisational Anatomy, which views organisational processes and functions from a biological perspective. Dr. Oleg shares some key concepts from his new book, along with several metaphoric examples to help unpack complexity and make it more digestible.


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

“Complexity is a pack of simple things; don’t make it unsolvable, don’t make it a mess” -  Dr. Oleg Konovalov

“Professionalism is reflected in simple language.” -  Dr. Oleg Konovalov

“Organizational culture is a catalyzer of performance...if negative, culture can be an inhibitor.” -  Dr. Oleg Konovalov

"Complexity is always multi-dimensional, it is not flat.”  Dr. Oleg Konovalov

“Things should be made as simple as possible. But not simpler.” - Albert Einstein

 

Resources from this episode:

Organizational Anatomy by Oleg Konovalov

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Episode 036 Harnessing System Potential

In this episode Angie interviews author, entrepreneur, and systemic thinking advocate, Angela Montgomery PhD. Angela discusses the importance of leadership education and systemic thinking within organizations, and she shares some key insights and tools for managing business complexity.


Show Notes


Quotes from this episode:

"Systemic thinking is how we save the world, because the problems we are facing today are unprecedented." - Angela Montgomery

“Today we need a much more sophisticated type of organization that gives space for humans to be humans inside a human system.” - Angela Montgomery

"When people go to work, they shouldn't have to leave their hearts at home.” - Betty Bender

 

Resources from this episode:

Angela Montgomery is the founder of Intelligent Management, which is an organization that guides CEOs & decision makers on systemic principles & methods to manage complexity. She is also the author of the business novel, The Human Constraint which is available for download. Her novel was inspired by the work of Dr. W. Edwards Deming and Eliyahu Goldratt. In her interview, she references the The Goal , a popular business novel by Eliyahu Goldratt.

One of her new projects is called Social Nation, which is “A Social Network that will enable us to grow together”. This exciting new online platform focuses on identity verification, privacy, and security.

In her interview, Angela also describes the “Core Conflict Cloud” which is a tool that provides a structure way for people to take a close look at their fears and desires.

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