7535 Chapters
Medium 9781523094479


Stack, Laura Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Trusting Your Team Members
Accepting Responsibility
Maximizing Performance

Trust may be the most important Accelerator in this book, and the most difficult one to achieve and maintain. It’s also one of the easiest to break, because as we all know, once someone betrays your trust it’s hard to rebuild it. Especially difficult is avoiding blind trust, the “because I said so” type that should always be questioned, even if it’s “Because I’m the boss and I said so.”

Trust isn’t something easily given, nor should it be. However, in a healthy team environment, I believe it should be assumed. If someone promises to meet a certain deadline, there’s no reason to think otherwise. If later you are proven wrong, you may have to send reminders. You should trust your team members implicitly, at least until someone gives you a reason not to. Even then, you should always work to reestablish that trust, especially if you broke the trust by not doing what you said you’d do.

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Medium 9781576754160


Bamburg, Jill Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

WHEN IT COMES TO THINKING about how to grow a business, I have a double learning disability: an MBA from Stanford and about 10 years of working in the computer software industry. Both of those experiences give me a distorted view of reality: too much emphasis on outside investors; too much concern about first-mover advantage and early market share; too much pressure to “get big fast.”1

I mention my biases here because I think they may be fairly widespread. To some extent, we are still suffering from a collective dot-com hangover, which is really only the latest—and perhaps most extreme—version of the all-American, Inc. 500, fast-growth success story. A handful of the companies I interviewed for this book grew really rapidly (and made the Inc. 500)—but only a handful. The predominant growth story was slow and “organic”—a natural unfolding of the business, a onething-leads-to-another approach.

This approach does scale. It just scales a little more slowly than the venture capital model that has created such high expectations in the public imagination. But in fact most businesses of all sorts—mission driven or not—grow more slowly than that. And just because a business grows more slowly and organically does not mean it cannot eventually become quite large. 46

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Medium 9781576753446

7. Chaos and the Strange Attractor of Meaning

Wheatley, Margaret J. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Thus before all else, there came into being the Gaping Chasm, Chaos,
but there followed the broad-chested Earth, Gaia, the forever-secure seat
of the immortals … and also Love, Eros, the most beautiful of the
immortal gods, he who breaks limbs



Several thousand years ago, when primal forces haunted human imagination, great gods arose in myths to explain the creation of the world. At the beginning was Chaos, the endless, yawning chasm devoid of form or fullness. And there also was Gaia, mother of the earth, she who brought forth form and stability. In Greek story, Chaos and Gaia were partners, two primordial powers engaged in a duet of opposition and resonance, creating everything we know.

These two mythic figures again inhabit our imagination and our science. They have taken on new life as scientists explore more deeply the workings of our universe. For me, this return to mythic wisdom is both intriguing and comforting. It signifies that even as we live in the midst of increasing turbulence, a new relationship with Chaos is possible. Like ancient Gaia, we are being asked to partner with Chaos, understanding it as the life process that releases our creative power. From Chaos’ great chasm comes both support and opposition, creating the “light without which no form would be visible” (Bonnefoy 1991, 369–70). We, the generative force, give birth to form and meaning, organizing Chaos through our creativity. We fill the void with worlds of our own making and turn our backs on him. But we must remember that deep within our Gaian centers, so the Greeks and our science tell us, is the necessary heart of Chaos.

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Medium 9781523096183

CHAPTER 4 Systems Thinking and Senior Leadership

Edited by Mark Grandstaff and Georgia Sorenson Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

George E. Reed, PhD

For every problem there is a solution that is simple, neat—and wrong. This maxim has been attributed at various times to Mark Twain, H.L. Mencken and Peter Drucker as a wake-up call to managers who mistakenly think that making a change in just one part of a complex problem will cure the ails of an entire system. Everyday management thinking too often looks for straightforward cause and effect relationships in problem solving that ignore the effect on, and feedback from, the entire system.1


The U.S. Army War College suggests that senior leadership often takes place in an environment that is volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. Problems in this arena are rarely simple and clear-cut. If they were, they would likely have already been solved by someone else. If not well considered (and sometimes even when they are), today’s solutions become tomorrow’s problems. Inherent in the concept of strategic leadership is the notion that this environment requires different ways of thinking about problems and organizations. The Army War College curriculum stresses concepts of systems thinking and suggests that systems thinking is a framework that should be understood and applied by strategic leaders.

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Medium 9781576753019

27 Panama: Another Presidential Death

Perkins, John Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

I was stunned by Roldós’s death, but perhaps I should not have been. I was anything but naive. I knew about Arbenz, Mossadegh, Allende —and about many other people whose names never made the newspapers or history books but whose lives were destroyed and sometimes cut short because they stood up to the corporatocracy. Nevertheless, I was shocked. It was just so very blatant.

I had concluded, after our phenomenal success in Saudi Arabia, that such wantonly overt actions were things of the past. I thought the jackals had been relegated to zoos. Now I saw that I was wrong. I had no doubt that Roldós’s death had not been an accident. It had all the markings of a CIA-orchestrated assassination. I understood that it had been executed so blatantly in order to send a message. The new Reagan administration, complete with its fast-draw Hollywood cowboy image, was the ideal vehicle for delivering such a message. The jackals were back, and they wanted Omar Torrijos and everyone else who might consider joining an anti-corporatocracy crusade to know it.

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