Saturday, August 28, 2010

Why 150?

I've written in the past here as wanting to set off "150 light bulbs" in people's minds, and a "tribe" with a 150 people in it.
It's not a random number, as you possibly may have guessed. It is based upon Dunbar's number or what is sometimes called the '150 rule'.
It is an approximate number of the limit of people one can have "stable social relations" with. Malcom Gladwell wrote about it as well in his book, The Tipping Point.

Groups larger than 150 begin to need different rules of organization and laws to remain cohesive.

It's mildly noteworthy as well that the 150 rule also comes up in Stephen Wolfram's cellular automaton. Maybe much like fractals play a larger than understood role in the development of life, so does the '150' rule.

On a quiet week on the blogging front, I thought you might like to know where the 150 number came from!

This piece from Mind Sport is excellent at explaining why the 150 rule is important to organizational size,

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sustainability 101

Sustainability is a term of growing ubiquity and importance, and for good reason. If we don't continue to find new ways to create sustainability, business loses, people lose, society loses.

How we think of sustainability becomes all the more important with each passing year. Thinking of sustainability from a systems thinking point of view, is more critical yet.

Sustainability from a systems POV takes into account not just the sustainable practices of the various actors and components of a social-economic system, but how well these practices sustain the system as a whole.

Our food chain is vulnerable, and while technology and practices have kept pace to keep much of the industrial countries supplied, we will have to continue to ask the questions of "at what cost?".
It requires enormous amounts of energy, water and chemicals to grow the foods here in North America that keep us fed, plus the amazing varieties of food stuffs we import.
But are these practices sustainable?

Fertilizers that are part of a process of that artificially enriches the soil, but the run off can deaden the water of oxygen, leaving fish stocks depleted. Where we gain in land productivity, we give away in water productivity.

As consumers either of the food we cook for ourselves, or from the restaurants we frequent, sustainable choices are going to get tougher and more critical. Likewise from the organizational side from our suppliers, grocers, and restaurants suppliers.
As systems be-ers, we will all need to think of our roles in the food supply chain, plus the many many other ways our buying habits affect the environment, and diversity of sources that makes our life style possible. We all need to, from people, from organizations, from government, to take the lead in understanding the systematic nature of our daily resources.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Geo-Politics--Order over Chaos

I do need to add this as part of the post that follows below.
Politics and their organizations bear specific scrutiny and understanding in the Big Scheme of Things.

Politics is the ideological force of order imposed over chaos. This is not a judgment, but rather a statement. It isn't inherently good or bad. It is a form of social organization that evolved to adapt the state to ever growing populations, democracy being the latest adaptive trait.

Understanding this in the context of society, for creating the operating environment of human economic and social activity, we need to broaden our own perspectives and that of our organizations perspectives. Saying politics matters is like saying oxygen matters.
It is understanding the dynamics between political will and economic activity where fruitful innovation can happen, and within that, it is understanding what political oversight and economic activity are trying to accomplish. That can be simply put as creating a sustainable environment for human survival and personal growth.

The interplay between all political bodies from regions, within countries, within geo-political regions, etcetera, can either create pockets and environments of enormous creativity, productivity, and desirable lifestyles, or it can cripple and retard these.
Ego and often out-moded ideologies are very often behind the crippling affects.
Political organizations more than any other type of organization need to re-think how their ideology can play a role in creating the future that is inclusive and sustainable for the kind of world we are heading towards.

What Are We Adapting To?

It's the Journey, Not the Destination--The Destination is Gone By the Time You Get There

We're going to tie together a few themes in this post.

My life's work, my mission in life, is to make people, organizations, regions, more adaptive to what is inevitable change. My mantra is, that the industrialized organizational models and management theory is no longer applicable--for that matter, it hasn't been for thirty years at least--and that if we the people, the organizations, the regions and on up are going to be more adaptive, we need different organizational models and theory.
These models and theory are what my consulting practice and Transforming projects are based upon, it is what I write about extensively here.

By "destination" in the subtitle, I mean we cannot predict to future. What we can do, is as people and organizations, is develop and follow a process and system for being much more flexible and able to adapt to whatever might come our way in the future. That is what is meant by "it is the journey, not the destination".

Way back in the mid-1990's, as I was searching for my own future, what I felt I needed to understand if I wanted to be aware of what would shape that future, I needed to keep up with six 'forces'.
They are:
       --market economies, capitalism, the cultural hybrids of the two that countries adapt to their culture, the macro and micro features and theories and observations. Rooted in biological drive to accumulate and trade scarce resources.  Take away features--These are living systems. Inherently unpredictable. Evolve with no central control or authority guiding it.
       --To say that our religions and beliefs have an enormous impact on culture and society would be an understatement. Take away features--defines our humanity in many ways. Driving cultural force. Must be respected. Belief trumps intellect in personal guidance.
       --Globalization should be, needs to be understood as a very long term trend. Homo sapien has been 'globalizing' the world for some 60,000 years, give out take. Take a brain that can plan, couple it with an instinctive drive to find and accumulate 'scarce' resources, add culture and technology, and we get globalization. Take away features--Biologically and culturally driven. Technology and social media enhanced, globalization is gaining more momentum.
        --Technology also needs to be understood in a historical perspective. We have been making tools for a million years, with the implicit purpose of shaping our environment, enhancing our adaptive traits. As noted, our big brains, and evolved ability to transmit knowledge via culture, has turbo-charged technology. The industrial revolution marked the beginning of a very steep trajectory of this curve. Take away features--Evolving at a pace that out-paces culture. That cycle is shrinking. Shapes our environment like nothing else.
--The Environment
       --The ecology of life that supports human activity. Also includes natural resources that the earth produced. Take away features--Life is indestructible. The ecology of life that supports human activity does have limits. Has a history of collapsing, six that we know of. Regenerates over hundreds of millions of years. A living system.
--The Internet
       --Yes, this could be categorized differently. I included it as the six force because it does change everything. The genesis of the information revolution pre-dated the internet. But this is how we need to think of this--life is information (RNA, DNA), life grows and evolves through the transmission of information. The internet can transmit and socialize information like no medium, no technology ever before in human history. The internet is cultural biology. It is defining our future. Take away features--Highly distributed. Highly networked. No central control. Global in reach. Growing connectivity at an unimaginable pace and matrix.

These six forces all have an historical quality that are not changing vectors any time soon. They, in a very dynamic, very organic, living system kind of way, shape our future in ways we cannot even think of controlling. Planning for a future with the pace of change these forces are driving is not recommendable. For people and organizations to remain relevant, to be able to adapt, the mechanized organizational models developed for the industrial revolution are archaically inadequate.

As people, as organizations, as regions, we need to be cognizant of the forces that shape our world, yet find ways to adapt ourselves to thrive in what comes.
A systems thinking mindset or mental models, organizations that learn, and the social networking of our knowledge and abilities is a process and system that give us, our organizations, our regions an optimal way to adapt. It's that journey creates the value and profits needed to survive.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Getting Specific--Fine Grains

Large grain, and fine grain, and the variation in between are terms I can't remember exactly where I picked them up, but they describe how closely or how broad a perspective we are taking.

With this post, I'll begin referring to specifics with some commentary.

In my research travels today, my brother sent me a link to a piece from The Vancouver Sun  giving a nuts and bolts look at Vancouver's high property prices and some implications for the future of our intellectual capital.

Here is the bit that most grabbed my attention:
"High housing costs have a great way of killing innovation and creativity. Can the next Facebook or the next Apple computer really come from Vancouver if you’re too busy trying to pay the rent?”
The upshot, he says, is that Vancouver is increasingly seen by the young as a nice place to hang out for a couple of years, but not a place to settle down.
“That’s serious. You’ve got to think about what’s down the road. They’re not going to be here to support us, to pay for our social infrastructure and all of that.”
 How much this is happening to creative young talent is hard to say, but given Vancouver's epically high housing costs, it is something we need to have on our radar. We need to attract and keep all the innovative and creative talent we can.

The second piece that caught my attention today was a opinion piece by Jock Finlayson (executive vice-president of policy at the Business Council of B.C.),  Ineffective Planning in Metro Vancouver, this coming from the BCBusiness magazine.

The economic section of the draft plan is preoccupied with agriculture and ignores the many other industries that drive Metro’s economy and support 1.25 million regional jobs. Scarcely a word is devoted to manufacturing, advanced technology, tourism, the port or the film and digital media sectors. Readers could easily be left with the impression that farming is the dominant industry in Greater Vancouver, which is far from the case.

Metro Vancouver’s army of planners and their largely disengaged political overseers have a habit of steering clear of issues such as competitiveness, the region’s connections to external markets and the impact of public policies on industry structure, job opportunities, business location and investment decisions.

 Whatever your political leanings, a document, no matter how well meaning, purporting to plan for the year 2040, is folly from a systems thinking point of view. It's not just that the document is flawed--the quoted paragraphs illustrate that well enough--the premise itself is highly flawed.

We can have a vision of what we would like the city to look like, what key areas of livability we can work towards, we can have design parameters, we can have a process to get there, but having too rigid a plan this far in advance of a future we can only vaguely imagine is ill-conceived.
We need far more flexibility, distributed inputs and feedback loops to grow with the kind of dynamic adaptability than a static plan can offer.

Big Picture--Your Edition

The innovative and productive dynamics that are waiting to be harnessed with the concept I am developing really start to take hold and grow exponentially when you understand that social networks involve people.

Here is what I know about you, and organizations in general. You have skills, talents, interests, social skills, I could go on and on, that society needs, that your organization could use, that are lying there under valued. You likely have skills we could use that you can't even imagine there is a use for!
But I know they are there. I've found them in pretty much everybody I talk to.

You just have to want to take the lead in wanting to both develop your skills, your passions, your interests, and then sharing them. If it is with the networks I am developing, my 'tribes' of transforming organizations and people, you'll not just learn how you matter to how we all grow and benefit, you will experience just how satisfying that can be to your self and your soul.

I cannot emphasize this enough. We need you because will all benefit in some way big or small with you being part of this. You have a lot to give, and a lot to gain back once you participate, once you experience the positive energy, you'll grow personally like you never thought possible.

All it takes is sharing and developing what I know lies within you, and wanting to be part of something cool, something bigger than yourself, something that can and will benefit society as a whole.
With that, you will be better able to adapt, and thrive in coming years ahead. You will have an outlet for your talents, your interests, your passions. You may discover paths for yourself that you either gave up on, or didn't think existed. You win, society wins, well all gain.
And the Vancouver region is the better for it.

Big Picture--Vancouver Edition

We're going to try cover a lot of ground here this morning, so you might want to grab a coffee.

This post can also be sub-titled, "The Everybody Complains About the Weather, But Nobody Does Anything About It Edition".

First, a quick synopsis covering what motivates me, and what I'd like to think would motivate everyone on this planet. 
By the year 2050, it is projected that our planet will be required to support nine billion people. That is a little less than three billion more people than we already have.
You do not have to do much research to see that humanity and the resources that make our life style possible are already under increasing strain, adding three billion more will create further challenges.
Change, instability, rapid evolution of technologies and social trends, and political systems unable, to slow to cope are going to be the defining features now and the future.  The more we understand this, the better.

Now, lets look at a key word I used there--"projected". One thing to understand about chaotic systems is that we can not predict with any certainty the outcome in the years ahead. We can only project. Like the weather. The weather we get today is the product of chaotic systems and inherently unpredictable. There are boundaries that make predictions reasonable within a span of a few days, and general predictions within months (those are as much based on seasonal patterns than any real predictive abilities, however). But long term predictions of weather, or lets introduce a term we'll get used to here, climate change, is inherently unpredictable.
Just as a quick aside on 'climate change' here, I am not a climate change denier, but my approach to climate change comes from my understanding of chaotic systems. We cannot manage climate change. Cutting our carbon foot print is a great idea. It makes great sense from angles other than that of trying to 'halt' climate change. It's a path we should take anyways simply from the responsibility of a systems being point of view.
But from a trying to affect climate change, it's not a reasonable proposition. I say this now, in that I will always take great pains not to politicize chaotic systems. That my friends is the road to fanaticism.

While climate change is one thing humanity will have to adapt to as it happens--and we can do our part!--what we can have much more effect upon is our social systems.

Here is a question I like to ask: Hands up who thinks we can not do better as a society, as organizations, and as people?
This actually is a trick question. Studies show that we have a tendency to think we're doing enough, we're doing our part, but it's the other people that aren't. That is a trick our minds play on us. The reality is different.

The reality is we can all do better, the reality is we all have to do better. What we are all doing right now is not good enough.

The question people can then reasonably ask then is, how?

The answer largely lies in understanding chaotic systems. Of which our economies especially, our social structure to lesser degrees are chaotic. How we do better lies in part with our giving up our illusion of control we have over these systems. Ten thousand years of civilization has been a story of trying to impose order over an ever increasing level of complexity and and 'chaotic unpredictability'.
What we here need to understand, is neither complete chaos is desirable (no order in the system), nor is complete order (no chaos or 'disorder' in the system).
Understanding this takes a different approach in improving ourselves, improving our social systems, improving the organizations that make modern life possible.

The 'answer' in how we can do better is then not an "Answer"--there is no "The Answer"--but rather a process.

What I am developing with both my consulting practice, and my Transforming projects is both growing and building the process, and the methods for developing and learning the process.

Bringing this all back to Vancouver, is while my long term goal is to have a positive affect on world, my immediate goals are having a positive affect on the city that makes my amazing life possible.

The many forces or winds of change that will force regions, organizations and individuals the world over to change and adapt their ways will affect us here too.
Will we adapt? That is quite likely. How well can we adapt? That's a better question. How can we lead the way in showing how to adapt? Now we are talking!

I did not develop the approaches I advocate. What I did do was dedicate myself, my life, to understanding them, understanding how to 'package' them to bring further value to people, organizations, and society, and dedicated myself to being a leading force in bringing this process to as many people and organizations as I can, and as we "get this" as a network, we are the leading force in developing this for not just our benefit, but for the benefit of society as a whole.

I did this, because this is the most natural way for us to affect change, and it's effectiveness lies in the idea that there is no central authority, no central control, no chain of command, there is just the process, and our desire to lead and grow at whatever level we chose. Our "control" lies in our ability to improve ourselves, and in leading and inspiring others to be the best they can be in the context of the challenges we all face!
It is the "emergent properties" of this process that creates the change we need in ourselves to respond to the challenges life is bringing us, and the change in organizations and society that will give us the optimal chance to adapt and thrive in the face of the unpredictable nature of the challenges and opportunities.

It is very empowering at a personal level, at an organizational level, and if we as a Vancouver society can harness it together, very empowering at this regional level.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Weaving the Web

One of the things we are learning here is that we are the economy. That is, the 'economy' as the aggregate or the emergent properties (my preferred term!) of people--you and I (etc) doing the things we need to do to earn a living, house ourselves and family, feed ourselves and family, and lately (the last 50 years or so) our pursuit of leisure activities.
It's important to know that the economy is a bottom up phenomenon.. Or, as Adam Smith observed some 250 years ago, our "propensity to truck and barter". (We'll save discussions around supply and demand for another post another day) I also never tire of wanting to point out that the stock markets are not the economy, nor or they a measurement of the economy.

What happened in the United  States, and to lesser degrees elsewhere around the world, was an economy based on speculation over a period of 15 years--this so called bull run--rather than sound economic activity. Policy wonks, politicians, economic schools of thought, ad nauseum debate and fight over what to do, in a rather ironic misguided conceptual basis that we have a command economy. En mass, somehow experts while knowing better prescribe 'solutions' like a centralized authority controls or manages the economy!

Unfortunately, or fortunately depending how you look at this, it comes back down to people getting down to the hard work of making themselves more productive, and the companies they own or run, or work for, more productive. This is inescapable.

For people like us, the more we connect our own efforts to become more productive, more knowledgeable, becoming more understanding of what it means and takes to become more productive, to add more value, in the 'information age', we'll realize the enormous opportunity that exists in front of us.

There is, right now, the weaving of the web of the economic basis for a healthier economy. There is tremendous opportunity for those of us who understand enough of those dynamics to harness and network our energies.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Zooming In--Vancouver Edition

I live in downtown Vancouver, one of the great places in the world to live, as such, as I develop a client wish list, it's the economic dynamics of my city that draws my attention.

One area I am very keen on working with is our restaurant industry. Particularly some of the bigger players like Earl's, The Cactus Club, Milestones, The Boathouse and The Keg to name a few of those I frequent, but there is no limit as to the restaurants I'd love to have on board.

The are several key reasons.
Restaurants, especially the bigger upper scale chains, have significant impacts on the food chain. The more awareness and practice we can develop around where and how restaurants acquire their food sources, that can be a significant effect on not just their impact, but also creating and instilling deeper awareness in their customer base.

From a Transforming the World, Transforming Vancouver perspective, working closely with restaurants has amazing potential to create a lot of positive ripple affects around the kinds of organizational and cultural practices we need to develop to respond to the greater challenges ahead.

A third being, to keep Vancouver dynamic and a growing economy, restaurants and all manners of our service industries need to expand their role in how this grows and attracts our economic vitality.

It's critical in my mind to develop broader, deeper understanding with all our economic players to gain as much as we can from our potential.

As good as these service entrepreneurs have been, I know from my own observations and napkin assessments there is a lot of under used talent and organizational processes that could be harnessed to further increasing the growth dynamics that are here in the Vancouver area.
Harnessing these in sustainable winning ways is only going to increase the value of Vancouver as a leading city to live.
We as a city need to keeping pushing the envelope as a model city.

I know there are a lot a terrific initiatives here pushing that envelope, but there's a lot left on the table that we can work with.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Reference to the Reference.

The post that follows this one, I liked as a copy and paste job, as the book and overview do a nice job of saying what I try to get at in regards for organizations, or in the case of the book, corporations, need to transform themselves.

I don't want to post outside copies like that often, but this one just so naturally fit to the ongoing theme here. 

Outside Reference

Creative Destruction - Why Companies That Are Built to Last Underperform the Market – And How To Successfully Transform Them
Doubleday/Currency, 2001
Richard Foster and Sarah Kaplan

Creative Destruction offers a radical new proposition: The most exceptional, enduring corporations cannot continue to beat the capital markets indefinitely. In order to continue to maintain excellence and remain competitive, they must adopt the dynamic strategies of discontinuity and creative destruction.
Foster and Kaplan, drawing on research they've conducted at McKinsey & Company on more than 1,000 companies in 15 industries, show that even the best-run and most widely admired companies are unable to sustain market-beating levels of performance for more than 10 to 15 years. They write: "Corporations are built on the assumption of continuity; their focus is on operations. Capital markets are built on the assumption of discontinuity; their focus is on creation and destruction. The data present a clear warning: Unless companies open up their decision-making processes, relax conventional notions of control, and change at the pace and scale of the market, their performances will be drawn into an entropic slide to mediocrity."
Corporations operate with management philosophies based on the assumption of continuity; as a result, in the long term they cannot change or create value at the pace and scale of the markets. Their control processes, the very processes that have enabled them to survive over the long haul, deaden them to the vital and constant need for change. What will be required are more than simple adjustments for these corporations.  Foster and Kaplan explain how companies like Johnson & Johnson, Corning, and General Electric overcome cultural "lock-in" by transforming rather than incrementally improving their companies. In order to continue their success, these companies create new businesses and sell off or close down businesses or divisions whose growth is slowing. They also abandon outdated, ingrown structures and rules and adopt new decision-making processes, control systems, and mental models. Corporations, they argue, must learn to be as dynamic and responsive as the market itself if they are to sustain superior returns and thrive over the long term.

Network Theory 101

Let me connect a dot or two for you, for us.

Networks produce more than the sum of it's parts. A network of bees produces more than an individual bee, or than what 150 individual bees could produce. It's the networking of them that not only produces a hive, but also hive intelligence. Likewise with your mind. The mind is the emergence of what a network of 3 billion brain cells produces by being dynamically networked.

A tribe, our tribe in particular, will produce more than that of our individual efforts. One hundred and fifty of us will produce, more productivity, more value, more growth more results if we form a tight network. And the more you put in the more you get out. The more Vancouver gains, the more the region gains, etc, etc.The more Vancouver, the more the regions, etc, etc gains, the more we gain.

These are natural systems occurrences.

Networks naturally create productivity. Understanding and directing the nature of networks creates more productivity.

Highly creative, innovative networks lie on a moving scale between order and chaos. Too much order, stifles creativity and growth, too much chaos doesn't harness the capital the network brings and creates.

Bureaucracies and systematic order stifle growth. Growth happens in spite of these highly ordered systems.

Limits To Growth

Let me put this to you this way, just so we all know the score here. By growth, I mean the ecological, economical growth humanity needs to sustain itself and the planet upon which it resides.

The limit to this growth is tied directly to your own self-imposed limit to your growth.

Give me 150 people and organization that get that and want to lead the way to sustainable economic growth, we'll not only have more prosperity than others, having richer lives than others, we'll be the people and organizations that shape the way to future growth and prosperity.

Bring talent, bring desire. Bring belief in yourself and our ability to create, innovate and organize the financial, intellectual and social capital we'll attract.

What's stopping you?

Economics and Productivity.

I am not an expert in the body of so-called knowledge that is known as Economics. It should be unsurprising to those who read this blog that I also find the order of economic dogma a barrier to economic growth. (The post that follows should give enough clue as to the issues the organization that is "Economics" faces. Economics is far too much the study of itself rather than that of economies. This will not be the last time I touch upon this matter.)  My interests and my own body of expertise derive from wanting to understand economies and sustainable economic growth.

Let me put this bluntly. Economies grow despite economists. Before I get hate mail from economists, I am saying this in their own best interests. I am NOT one of those wing-nuts that have this thing against economists. I just have a thing against "Economics".

It's helpful to know that Economics is the study of the allocation of scarce resources. It's helpful to know that economics is not economies. Economists study economics, they do not do economics. "Economics" suffers from a desire to be too much about mathematics and order, the illusionary allure of the structure of physics. "Economics" isn't enough about living systems, the chaotic nature of life and evolution, and that all life is economics. Or, that is, economies. All life acquires and develops systems of allocating scarce resources. Life grows by the natural product output of that process. It's helpful to know it's not a neat, orderly process. It's order and chaos.

Whether you really understand this or not is not entirely important--that's my job--but rather that you see it and acknowledge it.
These are part of a general awareness on the path to making yourself, your organization more productive, more adaptive, and taking the lead in your chosen field of business. This is part of expanding your perspective. This is part of expanding your mind.
This, my friends, my fellow tribe members, is where we gain productivity.

Productivity flattens if we standardize what it is we do. Standardization is great, it is the repetition of tasks that has a degree of requisition that enables your organization to function.
The problem is, if you can do it, so can anybody, any other organization. You will find degrees of marginal improvement, but there is--as the economists say--the curve of diminishing returns.

Of course, your business, your organization has, does, and will find innovations to make marked improvements in the overall productivity of what it does.
I mean, you're pretty damn good at what you do, you run a pretty good business. It is what you do. Or, you provide productivity for a business. It's your job.

What I want to do is take you and your organization to the next level. That is how I create value and productivity. I also know that if I create a tribe of people who share these goals of self improvement, who want to lead rather than follow, grow rather than stagnate, and we create and nurture and cohesive sense of team around that, we'll have  gained far more than if we take this journey separately.

From the outside looking in, it is in many ways much easier for me to see where both people and organizations can develop sizable gains in productivity and value.
I see huge amounts of untapped, under used, misunderstood intellectual, knowledge and social capital.

Economic growth is bumping into the limits of the organizational structure and imagination that was developed and evolved from the mechanization of the industrial era. The concept of productivity is mired in the mindset of that era.

The modern economy (the so-called "new economy") will have constraints on it's growth until more and more organizations and the people that make them function adapt the mindset of  living systems.

The limits to economic growth and productivity are not in our abilities or knowledge base, it is in our minds and imagination. It is in our inability to adapt new organizational models.

We have to break through those mental barriers, the limits we are putting on ourselves. The quality of life for those now, and in the future depend upon it.

Order and Chaos. Organizational Theory 101.

The organization is the difference between order and chaos. (All living systems 'self organize' to find order in the chaos.) It is the human ability to orchestrate organization that makes our economy of life unique among all living things.

If you were to look around, no matter from where you are reading this post, it is the human's ability to organize in a visionary way that makes everything around you possible. For better or worse.

What needs to be made more explicit, is if we are going to continue to enjoy sustainable degrees of economic comfort and economic growth, getting more productivity from out of organizations is no trivial matter.

If that is clear enough, and it should be, the question isn't if but rather how.
Yet, this neatly drills into two things that challenge organizations. The question of if and the question of how.

Of the two, it's a coin toss which is tougher.

The question of 'if' gets clouded by the sense of security profitability gives. The if it isn't broken, don't fix it mentality is pretty innate in most people. If an organization has grown to be sizable, something also sets it which clouds the ability to pro-actively gain more productivity--and that is the organizations propensity to become bureaucratic. People for reasons that are in many ways perfectly rational want to acquire power around the security and money leveraged by the positions they climb up to in the organizational hierarchy.

Hierarchical structure and bureaucracy are, if we dig deep enough, the self-organizing behaviours  of most organizations, and present one of, if not the biggest, impediments to growth and adaptability to changing operating environments.

I don't think I am shocking anybody here by saying that profitability and natural self interests of upper management create a paradoxical fog that obscures and inhibits the ability to clearly see the need to adapt new methods to make themselves more productive and adaptable to the change that is always around us.

The second one, 'how', can be harder still for an organization to grasp. For the simple reason it's neither obvious, or easy.

As a consultant who specializes in making organizations more productive, and more adaptive to the rapidly changing conditions of the coming years, frankly, I love it! For my self interests, I see unlimited growth for what I do. There is a certain delicious irony in what I do, as it is my independence from the organization that makes me effective. I have to laugh, however, as it is also the organization's own anti-bodies (living systems geek speak there!) that makes it difficult for me to help an organization.

I can be one of the most valuable assets an organization can have, yet, because I represent change and disorder to the natural power structures within an organization, that fear factor is amazingly effective in preventing me from bring value to an organization.

Now, because you've invested your valuable time in reading this far, I'm going to assume you are if not smarter, at least you have greater intellectual curiousity than 90% of people, and I'm going to throw this at you to think of. (this is also shameless self-promotion!)

In theory of the mind, we cannot know our own minds. That is, there are limits to how well we can know our own minds. Why that is so fills more books than you can reasonably read, but the take away here is we are for good reason very good at being able to fool ourselves.
The same goes for an organization. There are limits as to how well it can know it's own self.

Even more difficult still, is that organizations are a collection of human minds.

Again, ironically, this creates a host of psychological issues to preventing organizations to seeing the need to change and adapt--it is the very nature of organization that becomes the biggest barrier to productive improvement.

I've asked you to make some pretty long leaps here, but to tie this post off, here is where we've landed.
For organizations--and people--to change and develop more productive and adaptive methods they need to move from the comfort and security of order towards the destabilizing nature of chaos.
This is the "creative destruction" that the great economist Joseph Schumpeter wrote about in 1942. My ideas, as you can see, are not all that new.
Living systems, economies, and your organization all must oscillate between order and chaos. It is the way of life.

To move towards the innovations and invigorating edge of chaos, you need belief, a strong vision of where that journey will take you, and a process.
It excites me to no end I get to help you or your organization to find all three.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Attention Economy.

Of the many many things we'll learn as our tribe grows, and shares our collective knowledge, this just might, just very well may be one of the top ten things we need to understand.

The Attention Economy.
And from that, we derive the concept of separating signal from noise.
And from this,  we derive the concept of that for every signal there is a sender and receiver.

Take this blog.
There are, give or take, 42 million blogs out there .

If it was more directed at a general audience, I would be competing for attention with those blogs. Fortunately for me, I am not competing with those blogs. I am sending out a specific signal to specific receivers.
Furthering that, I want to ever refine the relationship between the sender and the receiver for the explicit purpose of creating value for all of us.

What the attention economy is is the scarse amount of your attention and where, how and on what you chose to spend that attention. Ninety percent of people waste their spending of their attention. I want to talk to the ten percent who don't want to waste that attention.

There is a key point here in social networking (the veritable sea of senders and receivers, the vast universe of noise in search of attention, the vast majority of which is senseless noise to 98% of people), you want to create and send a clear and valuable signal to receivers who find it of value. In a dynamic two way environment (an inherent weakness of blogs. Not entirely, but they are more designed to send signals rather than receive them and interact the signals.), there should be a process to refine and clarify the signal between senders and receivers (along with the passive followers!) with the explicit purpose of creating value for all involved.

There are three incredibly valuable things that emerge from this:
We create value above and beyond what previously existed (key to growth)
We create trust and reputation. (key to value)
We create signal from the noise. (key to prospering in the attention economy)

The ecology of the social media will not be getting less crowded any time soon. Those that can create signal between sender and receiver (the larger the passive audience the better!!), those that can create trust and reputation, those that can create value in this ever increasing sea of noise--that is, attract and hold attention will have a huge advantage over those that can't.

Bonus points!!

Do you want to understand why superstar athletes get so much money? Why Super Bowl  ads can get 100,000s  of dollars per second?
The key to understanding that is the attention economy. The Super Bowl and Tiger Woods (et al) attract and hold attention. In an economy where the only scarce resource is your attention, that has enormous value.

(hat tip: I picked up on and want to credit  the concept of the Attention Economy to an article from Wired magazine from around 12 years ago. I do not recall the writer.)
(bonus points to whomever can send me who that was!)

Our Tribe, Our Ticket. Our Life

With some of the philosophical foundations laid, I'd like to talk a bit more about who I am writing for and why.
(We mustn't, my fellow tribe members, forget I am a builder at heart and by trade. My thing was to build for a 100 years. For that, you need a solid foundation. For many reasons obvious and not so obvious, I am anal about foundations. Be they philosophical or of concrete. That's a hint that what I am building here is meant to last 100 years.)

So, who am I writing for? Simple!! Us. You and I, and 148 others of us who get it.
We have reservoirs of untapped knowledge, undervalued abilities. Ideas. We have skills and passions that aren't being fully utilized by either the company we work for, or we're not getting the most out of ourselves and we know we want more of ourselves.
We might own, run, manage an organization that also knows it has untapped knowledge, underused abilities, fallow ideas and innovation, skills and passions within it that aren't creating more value for anyone. And we want to change that.

We are the people and organizations that want to lead the future rather than be lead by it. We are leaders, we are team players. We play to win. Not just winning 'championships' (quarterly revenues, etc ad infinitum), but much more than that--we play to win the game of life. (The Game of Life is a post for another day.

What, you are naturally asking, do we "get"?
We get two dictums of three.

The first of three are:
We are not just systems thinkers, we are systems 'be'-ers.

We have learning not just as a personal lifestyle, but as the culture of our tribe.

We cultivate rich social networks.

Rich sustainable economic ecologic environments require three types of capital investment:

Financial investment.
Knowledge investment.
Social investment.

Furthering this, all living systems require win-win relationship dynamics to grow.

If I and 149 other people truly get this, and live it, until our time on this earth has passed, we can't lose. Of that, if we can form a core of 15 organizations, and 15 super star tribe members, we will be able to do amazing things. Truly amazing things.

This all maybe sounds just a bit too good to be true.

Let me share something with you. These six principles, these two three legged tripods upon which our tribe's values rest, are not idle buzzwords.
They are not fads.
They are not trends.

They are based on living systems, they are based on life itself. They have, as I like to say, around three billion years of R&D.
These principles work because they are the foundational basis for how we (humans, and too many life forms to mention in a blog post!) got from there to here. These principles will work for any future for getting from here to there.

I have unshakable belief in what I can do for people and organizations because I get it, I understand it, I want to live it.

I also know with out a doubt, that if I find 150 people who get it, our tribe will have a ticket for life.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Big Picture--Dynamic Edition

Our day to day lives, be that in managing a household, or managing a business, or just the things we need to do to earn a living are busy enough and complex enough that keeping up with the larger world events, the long term trends, or the issues that are affecting the whole planet are usually beyond our scope.

Yet it can be the day to day effects of our actions that are part of the dynamics that create the global issues. That can be every thing from our buying habits, our lifestyle habits, or how our work organizations conduct their business.

Those global, big picture issues, and short and long term trends in turn affects our buying habits, our lifestyle habits, and how our work organization conduct their business.

When we think in terms of systems thinking, we start to understand better, our perspectives change as to our relationship with the world at large. And with that, we can start to see how transforming ourselves, transforming our organizations can and will have positive affects in transforming the world.
It is seeing this relationship between the big picture, and our 'personal picture' as a dynamic, two way feedback loop, that creates that vision, this gravitational pull on our awareness and motives which in turn changes our own ways of thinking of our world.

This can be a powerful dynamic.

One of the  goals of the Transforming Organization and Transforming People projects is creating the knowledge base around the larger issues, the large scale long term trends, and creating the social networks where we can share the perspectives and understandings that can make a difference to your organization or your personal life. You don't have to be an expert on any of the issues, but as we grow as a group of organizations networked together, there will be others that are experts, or have perspectives on the trends and issues that you can draw from to help you make better informed decisions on your life or your business.

Likewise, when we connect and share the small things we as individuals, or as organizations are doing to either adapt to change, or address sustainable business practices, this is where innovation can be multiplied and rippled throughout our social networks and beyond to have direct positive affects on not just our communities, but on other communities elsewhere.

It is by creating the multiplier affects of connected people and organizations dedicated to the principles and actions of transforming themselves, by taking the lead in knowledge sharing and innovative cultures that inspiration and change happens.

Think in terms of systems, develop organizational and personal knowledge, connect, share and network those perspectives and knowledge and amazing things will happen.

We'll feel great doing it, we'll be more productive businesses, we'll be better employees, we'll bring more value to our day to day lives, and the lives of others.

This is how winning people and organizations will think and act in the years to come. We can start by thinking and acting like this now.

Presentation on September 16th!

To my loyal readers, I will be giving my first presentation on September 16th. I've yet to nail down the venue, but it is most likely to be in the downtown Vancouver area.
It will be about a hour long, with a follow up Q&A, and the presentation will give you a pretty clear picture as to how I can help improve your organization's ability to understand, adapt and lead the way in the coming years. It will be pretty dynamic, albeit it low tech (no fancy slide shows or power point yet!), and will be a great way to get better exposure to my concepts and plans.

Here's an invite, do RSVP me ASAP!

Who Is Presenting?
Gregory Esau--The Unconventional Consultant and founder of Transforming Organizations and Transforming People
This is my inaugural presentation!


September 16th, 7 pm. This will take approximately one hour, with an optional 30 minute Q&A.


To Be Announced.

Who Should Be There?

Any one or any organization that cares about the future, the world, their world, their business and their life.

People who are looking for new, exciting challenges and opportunity in their life.

People and organizations that want to respond to the challenges and opportunities the 21st century is bringing.

What Attendees Will Take Away

A broader perspective of how the world affects you or your business, and how you or your business affects the world.

How my "social systems" approach can help you or your business better adapt to the rapidly changing conditions and challenges the 21st century is bringing, and to be a leader in shaping the future.

A desire for you and/or your organization to join me and my Transforming Organizations and People projects on a journey to be part of transforming the world.

An inspiration to do more, to be more, to be a leader.

Please RSVP

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Big Picture 101 (personal edition)

The Unconventional Consultant's own path of exploration of The Big Picture is not uninteresting.
Back--way back!--in my earliest working days, the Unconventional Consultant was a somewhat conventional logger. (My twin brother and I did our first stint "in the bush" as a summer job at the age of 15 through the company our Dad worked for, so perhaps not entirely conventional.)
My twin and I both went logging for two more summers, then we both continued upon graduation from high school. ("Why go to further schooling when I can make all this money now!") Less than two years into this somewhat lucrative means of making a living as a full time 'job', I could see the writing on the wall. This was an industry under rapid pressure from external and internal forces, and, to me, that future didn't look bright.
The Unconventional  Consultant then began his career as an Unconventional Carpenter. (the 'conventional' has never been part of my general make up).

Within that career, I got to live through and try work through three of the construction/homebuilding boom and bust cycles.
In 1992, a cycle was again affecting the nature of my means of earning a living.

While already having a pretty good personal experience and model for thinking of the bigger trends, the bigger picture that affected my life, it was then, in the early 1990's, that I began to study in earnest to better understand the trends that shaped our future and how I could find ways to better adjust and adapt my life for these trends.

Three things were evident early.
Technology was changing and evolving at a pace never before experienced in human history.
This deal called the internet (the web browser--aka WWW--hadn't been 'invented yet!) was going to change everything.
People were going to be able to connect (or collide!) in ways never before seen in human history.

I was hooked. My life and how I looked at life and the world would never be the same.

What did I learn?
My consulting services and my Transforming organization projects are the direct result of what I learned:
--We need to change and adapt our ways of thinking, our ways of seeing how the world worked, with a 'systems thinking' point of view.
--We need to make learning and sharing knowledge a way of life.
--We need to use the internet enabled social media to create communities of that shared knowledge with a high degree of trust and reputation.

Oh. And this. Being a "lone wolf" in this day and age is not a strategy I'd advise.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Who Is This For? This Transforming Thing?

I'm glad you asked!

The Transforming People and Organizations program is for anybody or any type of organization that cares about the present, the future, their business, their life, our way of life.

My professional aim and my services are developed to make organizations, businesses and people more adaptive, more aware, more aligned and to take the lead in responding to the challenges and opportunities the 21st century is presenting us.

In doing so, you and I are going to have more fun, more enjoyment than anyone else.

Transformed People, Transformed Organizations

If we are part of a committed process for transforming organizations and people, what then do Transformed People, Transformed Organizations look like?

For Organizations:

--better integration with it's surrounding environment, it's employees, contractors (externalized work), supply chains and customers.
--enhanced strategic planning processes.
--enhanced ability to understand and adapt to macro and micro trends.
--enhanced productivity, an improved bottom line.
--to lead in shaping the future.
--deeper trust and relationships between all social components of its operation.
--deeper connection to the world that makes our economic life possible. 
--deeper connections to the local and global community.
--recognized as a Transformed Organization that is part of an advanced, life long process to being broadly aware and responsive to the challenges the world faces in the coming years.
--recognized as being a leader in the standards of ethics and behaviour in their field and in the business world.
--the rich satisfaction in knowing it is part of the solution, not part of the problem.
--being a integral contributor to the Transforming Organizations and Transforming People Social Network.  

For People:

--better integration with society, community and work.
--better able to initiate, grow and manage your passions, dreams and opportunities.
--you are the type of person that great organizations and companies would love to have.
--self-realized personal growth.
--better relationships.
--better understanding of how modern economic society works and your role in it.
--better skills for adapting to the challenges of life.
--leadership qualities, in leading your life and inspiring others.
--better able to shape your future rather being shaped by the future.
--deeper trust and connections with your way of making a living, your community, the global community.
--broader, deeper perspective of life.
--deeper understanding and connection to the world that supports and enables our way of life.
--recognized as being a leader in the Transforming People organization that is part of a life long process to being broadly aware and responsive to the challenges to world faces in the coming years. 
--being an integral contributor to the Transforming People and Transforming Organizations Social Network. 

Those people and organizations that reach that level will already know that being the best is being committed to a process and system for being the best.
We are at the beginning of that process with Transforming People, Transforming Organizations. The more we grow personally and in numbers, the more we all gain, we all grow, the closer we all get to being part of a network of people and organizations that can transform the world.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Systems Thinking Dynamics 102

This and the following posts this morning are a little deeper than I intended when I started out to write them. They are important to understanding how and what I am developing for our benefit, so I hope you can find the time to read them and think about them for at least ten minutes. We'll both win if you do!

Here is a few additional important concepts of systems thinking.

For information to grow, there has to be an exchange of information.
Here is one of my favourite examples.
Systems 'thinking' (we can also very usefully think of it as "systems being"!) is incredibly robust because this is what life has been doing for somewhere on the order of 3 billion years. I think we can both agree that is a lot of research and development!

This exchange of information is dynamic. That is, it flows both ways. In living systems, the more we study how living systems 'work' and how they exchange information, the more we learn, and the better we can then in turn manage our living systems. For ecological systems--the very living systems that makes our human life possible!!--this is very good news indeed, as we'll hopefully better able to manage our inter actions and dependency on our ecological environmental systems.

My other favourite example I have already touched upon is the blogosphere along with other social media environments like forums, wikipedia, and online communities (Howard Rheingold's "Brainstorms" was a stellar example of such) where knowledge is freely shared, and those actively participating improve their own knowledge and social awareness. Very dynamic, and excellent examples of win-win relationships.
The "whole" (a tribe, or organization, or whatever the free association is) gains exponentially by the participation and exchange of the parts (people and their knowledge).

To repeat. People and organizations that harness the dynamic systems and knowledge available to them will have the competitive advantage now and in the future over those that do not. It is that simple. I as the unconventional consultant can not stress this point enough.

Tribal Economics 103

I have been told many times I should write a book, or books even. On average, I am told around once a month.

The thing is, I already know I am better off giving away and sharing with you and others what I know. I am much better sharing it with you, and building a tribe around it rather than packaging and selling it as a book. By making it a commodity of financial exchange, I taint the knowledge I have just that little bit. (I believe in capitalism as well, just to keep this in perspective!) I know there is much more value in the trust and reputation I gain by sharing it with you.

If you are by some shocking account unfamiliar with the blogosphere, let me share something with you. There is a staggering array of knowledge freely shared by high profile economists, sociologists, anthropologists, physicists, and so on. There is also essentially 95% useless or trivial information. Systems thinking and by extension of the systems I am developing for my organizations are a way of separating the signal (pertinent knowledge and wisdom) from the noise (trivia, propoganda, etc).
These people can freely share their knowledge because they are also secure in knowing that they can add additional  value in order to create a living around their acquired knowledge.

There is a tremendous amount of knowledge out there. Being open minded to exploring new innovative ways to make that knowledge and wisdom useful for you or your organization is up to you. AND up to me.

Put up your hand if you are starting to 'get' it!

Systems Thinking Dynamics 101

Readers who have taken the steps to read this blog regularly are to be congratulated, you are on your way to being transformed, by being exposed to newer ideas and concepts, expanding your own mind, developing newer and broader perspectives and learning new ways to think and grow.


You've read me write a lot about how systems thinking is important to you and organization's enhanced ability to adapt to current and future environments. In this post I'd like to give you a better idea how it works.

Systems thinking is grounded in the study of systems. Just to state the obvious. Less obvious is there are different kinds of systems and systems thinking. There are mechanical systems, for example. Their are social systems, like the organization you either work for, or manage, or are in charge of, and their are living systems.

My particular brand of systems thinking is grounded in my study of living systems with applications to social systems. Like you. Your community. Your work. Your organization.
(While I am indebted to many books and writings of systems thinkers, I am especially indebted to Peter Senge and his book, The Fifth Discipline.) 
Systems thinking is a broader, more holistic way of looking at and thinking of how all the various components and sub-systems of  a system interact and produce. (understandably, we will put aside for now what it is systems can produce!)

Our tribal ancestors would have assuredly used systems thinking in their adaptive approaches to the environment in which they lived. Which is to say, it is a natural way within us to think. We know this because there are still many peoples who live now as our ancestors did tens of thousands of years ago.

The difference now between our tribal ways of life and our modern  economic way of life is the level of complexity.
Modern systems thinking has to deal with a degree of complexity unimaginable to our tribal brethren.Modern economic life involves mechanical systems, technological systems, social systems, economic systems, belief systems, living systems, trading systems and ecological systems. All have interactions and inter dependencies with one another.

For now, I want to focus more on systems thinking at the more basic level where it means something to you or your organization.

Anybody can incorporate systems thinking into their perspectives and ways of thinking of themselves and the world they live in.

By way of example, I will share with you how I developed my own systems thinking process.
Firstly, I was highly motivated to do so. Whether my mind had a natural propensity to think in terms of interactive systems is hard to say (a chicken or egg problem!), but I can say some time around 15 years ago I started to develop systems thinking as a way to look at how the world worked.
To grow my knowledge, the more I learned the more I shared and in turn the more I learned. That dynamic process enabled me to develop a pretty robust systems thinking point of view.
It is a process that can be applied to anything.

Now here I can introduce two important concepts of systems thinking.
--All systems are reliant on the acquisition and transmission of information.
--All systems develop dynamic feedback loops as course corrective mechanisms.

Simple, right?

For me to learn about systems thinking, I tried to continually acquire and transmit information on systems that I read about, observed, inter acted with, etc.
I learned to develop both positive and negative feedback loops as corrective mechanisms for my acquired information. This process leads to the classic pattern of--data-information-knowledge-wisdom.
(Bonus note!! Our brains/minds take in data all the time, of which approximately only 95% we are 'aware' of. Your conscious is the minds way of turning data into functional information and knowledge for you to operate in your living environment)

The fundamental key here is developing both positive and negative feedback loops and finding a harmonic balance between the two. If there is only ever ONE thing you learn about systems thinking, this is it.
Negative and positive feedback loops (negative="oops, that's wrong! positive="yay, that's right!") are how all living systems adjust to the data and information they take in to produce the knowledge it needs to adapt and survive in its environment.
Wisdom is your way of adding additional value to the knowledge you have systematically acquired. Whether I am adding wisdom here is up to you to decide! (Hint. Systems thinking is the best way to assess whether or not I have added value!)

While there are a lot of things that derail our natural systems thinking minds (Bonus note!! Civilization itself has been part of the process of systematically derailing your own systems thinking mind!) here are a few:
--a mind boggling (literally!!) degree of complexity in modern life.
--ego short circuits the positive and negative feedback loops ("I am the pinnacle of expertise!"Or conversely; "I am too stupid to get this!)
--hoarding and developing silos and walls around your knowledge for personal power or gain ("Only I have access, and you will pay dearly to access it!").

All three are detrimental to your personal development and the ability of organizations to adapt and grow.
Winning people and winning organizations will learn to over come all three.

Tribe Economics 102

As readers of this blog will come to know, I continually try to tie the bigger picture to the little picture (your picture, perhaps!), and vice versa.
The unconventional consultant is passionate in getting people to want to develop a fuller, more rounded understanding in how our actions (or in-actions!) can make a difference in how humanity can respond to the enormous challenges we face in the coming years.

It is virtually impossible to keep up with the many issues that we as people, we as organizations face now, and in the coming years. For one, there is a lot of disinformation, politicized information, information with hidden agendas, or even hoarded information.

When developing the concepts that go into the Transforming People Organization, and the Transforming Organizations organization, I wanted to develop systems and organizational culture for addressing these issues.
That is, I wanted to create a process for developing knowledge and wisdom around shared information, with a level of trust and reputation around that information, knowledge and wisdom that is difficult to find via traditional means.

We as individuals, we as people within organizations have an enormous amounts of under used wealth of information and knowledge. By creating the trusted networks between our tribes, our organizations, we can develop very dynamic systems for not only keeping us better informed of the issues we face, but much more importantly, creating the innovations and actions for addressing those issues.

It is the act of giving and sharing information and knowledge that enabled humans to populate vast regions of the earth with six billion people. As people, as organizations, we will need our ever increasing creativity and capacity to innovate to manage the possible addition of another three billion people within the next forty years. It is imperative that we do so.

Finding new ways to connect with people, new ways to build solid, trusting relationships with people finding new ways of sharing our knowledge and expertise will be a critical component of both understanding the challenges we face, and addressing the challenges we face.
The internet and new forms of social media give us unprecedented opportunity to connect, share and build relationships.
Those that can create win-win dynamic relationships, where those that give and those that receive both win, will have an enormous advantage in the long run.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Tribe Economics 101

"...ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."
John F. Kennedy 

Yesterday I was asked, "How does this work? What do I  get out of this?"

Awesome! Feedback!

I will try to answer as clearly as I can with as few words as possible.

The shortest answer possible is you get what you give to your tribe. Or this tribe. Or any tribe that is worth your association. And the more you give in, the more you get out. That is how Tribe Economics expands in shared value for the entire tribe. Hundreds of people giving more than they get. That dynamic builds value very quickly.

What do you get? Trust and Reputation.
 Trust and reputation around whatever it is you choose to give freely to the tribe. That could be your knowledge or expertise on any number of things. It could be your ideas. It could be your plan for trying something new in your life. The possibilities are many.

What you get, what you develop, is a trust and reputation around whatever it is you're willing to give within an ever expanding network of people and organizations that also share and develop trust and reputation around what they are willing to give.

When you belong to a tribe--and better yet!!--a network of such tribes, you are creating and developing the social bonds, the social glue that allowed our ancient ancestors to survive often incredibly harsh conditions for hundreds of thousands of years.

Developed and shared trust and reputation were the cornerstones of success, winning, and thriving under any economic conditions of the past, and will be in the future.

These are the cornerstones for the core values of Transforming Organizations and Transforming people. (Think of these as tribes of tribes!)

This will be the theme of the week.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Who We Are--Organizations

I have a special affinity for organizations. For one, our ability to organize to produce a good or a service-- be that in the capitalist sense, the political sense, the ideological sense, or for labour, or even in the personal sense--I believe is one of humanity's greatest abilities, greatest 'discoveries', this ability is what also makes modern life possible.
Modern economic life would not be possible if not for our ability to organize in all sorts of manner.

Look around you. Your environment is the product of modern economic life and our ability to organize people. Your ability to survive would be dramatically diminished without it. (Unless you count returning to the days of hunting and gathering as a way forward for yourself and your tribe. A laudable strategy, just not one well suited for six billion and growing people.)

Now, as an organization, I want you to think about that. As an entity, you are responsible for the quality of life here on earth. You may only affect a radius of 10 miles around you, or maybe 100 miles, or maybe 1,000 miles, or you may affect an entire region, an entire country, an entire continent, and entire world. What ever the range of your organizations affect, with that affect comes responsibility.
To me, the unconventional consultant, that is an enormous responsibility.

As the unconventional consultant, it is my mission in life to take your organization to the next level in handling that responsibility, it is my mission in life to make your organization a leader in establishing the standard for that responsibility, it is my mission in life to enhance the economic and social well being of people by making organizations better.

Let me put this simply. The quality of life on earth is dependent on the quality of our organizations. My mission in life is to enhance the quality of those organizations.

As the unconventional consultant I have two ways of doing this.
One, is I work with your organization directly. If we build a relationship, if you buy into what I am about and what my systems are all about, I will transform your organization into one that can grow and thrive in any condition the future brings. I will develop a process and system for making your organization the very best it can be.
Two, I have the seeds and a registered domain name for starting an organization called Transforming Organizations.

What kind of organization would want to be part of such an organization? (an organization of organizations!)
Ones that get they have an enormous responsibility to not only their customers or constituents, not only to the people they employ or have work for them, but more importantly, an enormous responsibility to the economic fabric, the social fabric, the ecological environment that their organization touches.
I want involved organizations that understand for market capitalism to work, it's their responsibility. I want involved organizations that want to understand that responsibility and want to set the standard for that responsibility.

Do you understand what regulation is? I will tell you what it is. It is the outsourcing of the responsibility of standards of ethics and behaviour of the business your organization is in to some other organization.
I want organizations involved that understand that, and want to be leaders in setting the standards of ethics and behaviours that will lead the way for quality of life on this planet for now and future generations.

I want involved organizations that understand they need and want to have a different way of looking at their role in the economic and social systems that make modern and future life possible.
I want involved organizations that at least want to understand the characteristics of an organization that has systems thinking, learning, and social networking as part of their cultural make up, and that cultural make up will have an advantage over those that don't. 

I want to be involved with these organizations because I know that it is organizations that will have the greatest affect on the quality of life for not just people, but life itself now and for the future.

I want to be involved with organizations that for this resonates with them, and have the initiative to at least contact me to find out more, or better yet, get what I am talking about and ask, "How do we help, what can we do to help make this grow?"

I want that kind of initiative because I know the quality of the future depends on the quality of your organization.

Who We Are--People

As you get older, and wiser, you realize you can choose whom you get to work with, whom you choose to build business and personal relationships with, and, whom you look for to be part of your tribe.

This morning I would like to describe more clearly who we are.

Firstly, I'd like to qualify this by saying there are very few people I do not like. I have this natural tendency to see the best in people. That is, recognize that there is within most people their better side. I also recognize that life has a way of grinding people down.
We all start off at the beginning of life--the river of life lets say!--as sharp, unique stones full of promise, full of potential, full of unique gifts to present to the world. As the rushing river of life starts to take us downstream, that process slowly or quickly, starts to round off the edges of our uniqueness. Before long, people are rounded stones, some bigger, some smaller, but all with their unique edges and shapes worn off, rounded stones like everyone else.
This is not idle philosophizing, there are biological underpinnings for this phenomenon of sameness. It is the herd mentality. It is the safety in numbers mentality, it is the do not stand out from the crowd mentality. It is the universal human comfort zone.
There are, quite naturally, pros and cons to such biological underpinnings. Those pros and cons can and do fill books, so we will not delve into them in this post.
Trying to fit in, trying to be part of the crowd, wanting to be part of the herd is in itself not a bad thing, it doesn't make you a bad person, it doesn't make you unlikable.
It does, however, eat away at your soul, eat away at your unique gifts and abilities to give to the world.

I see that untapped potential in you. That is what I see, because I know it exists.

Right now, I have the seeds for an organization called Transforming People, with a registered domain site called
That site is for the potential in people that I know is out there.
You might already be a highly accomplished person! But guess what, you can do better!
Why? I am glad you asked!

Here is what I know. Whatever the current state of the world, whatever the current reality is, whatever you think of the current state of the world, the current reality is, what I know is we can do better. Much better.
What I also know is that not just humanity, but the earth as a system (Lets be clear here! Humans are just part of the system of life on earth.) is going to face enormous challenges that are going to test humans ability to adapt and grow, but also many other species' ability to survive.
As the one species with the cognitive ability to shape our environment in a planned and methodical way, we are the stewards, we are the leaders in shaping how well the future global environment is going to be able to support not only humanity, but also the other countless species and ecological niches that makes our lives possible and worth living.

The Transforming People Organization is for people that not only want to be part of an organization where their unique abilities, their knowledge, their passions can be recognized and given a place to grow and thrive, the Transforming People Organization is also for people who recognize the bigger challenges on the road ahead, and realize that their abilities, their knowledge, their passions can be part of the innovations, part of the social fabric, part of the economic fabric that can make the difference in how the future is shaped.

We start by first understanding that where we stand today is not good enough. We start by understanding we can do better. We start by accepting the leadership role within yourself in wanting to respond to the challenges the future will bring. We start by understanding that responding to the future challenges we will need to change the way we think of ourselves and our role in the game of life, but also how we think of the world.

We also start by understanding that we are creating an amazing journey together. We are going to create lifestyles that are rich in meaning, rich in personal connections, rich in finding greater joy and sense of purpose than we previously thought possible.

Here is what I also know. An organization of people like us will thrive, will have a sense of security and purpose in their lives no matter what the future brings.

What I also know is you are out there.

The people I want to grow with, build long lasting relationships with, that I want to start and build an organization like Transforming People with, will resonate with what I am writing, what I am trying to say.
They will also have the initiative to ask, "How do I get involved? How do I help make this grow?"
That is who we are.