It has been a momentous period for us at Intelligent Management, both locally and globally. We have become Canadian citizens and so we enter a new phase as North Americans officially. It has been a long journey. We also learned that our business novel, ‘The Human Constraint’ has now been bought in 35 countries around the world. It is a humbling thought. At the same time, we are receiving interest from around the world as we prepare to launch our new software ‘Ess3ntial’ to help companies unlock the potential of their resources.
I would like to mark this very special moment by explaining a little bit about why we do what we do at Intelligent Management.
Boosting our systemic intelligence
Learning how to change is perhaps the greatest challenge we face and the most urgent one. Technology demands it and it may not be an exaggeration to say that perhaps our very survival as civilizations depends on it. In this sense, the conflict “Change Vs. Don’t Change” is probably one of the most profound issues of our times.
To fully embrace and leverage new technologies to our benefit and remove artificial barriers to allow resources to contribute fully, we need to learn to think systemically. Thinking systemically is not usually something that we are taught at school. Indeed, thinking skills in general are not taught, beyond the ability to analyze something logically in terms of grammar or high school maths. Thinking, however, is never a purely logical activity. It is always informed by our emotions, our fears and our desires. Above all, our thinking is ‘clouded’ by our assumptions and the mental models we inevitable bring with us as part of how our brains have developed. These assumptions and mental models are intimately connected with our personal experiences and the environments where we learned to interact with the world. For example, if we ask an American, a Swede and a Japanese person what they think about the right for civilians to bear arms we will no doubt receive very different answers. It is perfectly understandable that people from different backgrounds have different worldviews. However, when people need to interact to achieve a goal, these differing worldviews often lead to conflict.
The creative nature of conflict
Given the different world views or assumptions about reality that various members of any organization or value chain bring to the table, conflict is inevitable. Thanks to Dr. Eliyahu Goldratt who developed the Theory of Constraints, there is a robust method to address conflict. The “conflict cloud” is a very powerful and fundamental Thinking Processes developed by Goldratt; it is a structured and highly effective way to leverage conflict as an opportunity for breakthrough and innovation. Indeed, conflict is an opportunity for creativity.
Why is this Thinking Process so powerful? Because no matter the conflict addressed, it takes into consideration for all parties the two fundamental human drivers: control (this connects with fear) and vision (this connects with desire). In any conflict, these two needs exist in a variety of manifestations and any sustainable solution must respect and protect them. This is key to achieving success through conflict.
In our experience at Intelligent Management, every organization has to deal at some level with the most fundamental organizational conflict of adopting a hierarchical structure or not adopting one. How they choose to address this conflict will dictate the pace at which they are able to innovate and grow. The Network of Projects solution was developed as a systemic solution to this fundamental conflict. It does not do away with hierarchy, rather it invalidates many of the assumptions or mental models that keep companies stuck in outmoded models by harmonizing and connecting the work of all those involved. It does so in a way that ensures the needs for vision and control unique to each organization are satisfied. This shift allows for intelligent management of resources and the unlocking of trapped potential.
Without the framework of the Conflict Cloud it would not have been possible to develop the Network of Projects solution in such a robust way. Without the creative friction that comes from conflict and without the intrinsic limiting elements we experience in every situation we try and improve, there will never be the signs that lead to a systemic solution.
Closing the Gap
No matter what we try and achieve, there will always be a gap between what we perceive is possible and what we are able to do bring into reality. That is the human experience. It is also why we chose the logo we did that includes the shape of the Hebrew letter “hei”.
When we act on the physical world, we change it and transform it, but sooner or later we find an insurmountable barrier, something unbridgeable between our own inner truth and an obstinate external reality. This gap is between thought and action.
Symbolically, the letter hei represents the human effort to close the gap, completing the work to help transform the world into what it can potentially become. In other words, bringing heaven down to earth through our actions.
We have to keep trying to improve, but it is our very knowledge of the gap between what we are and what we ought to be that makes us able to be productive partners in the co-creation of this world. It’s a lifetime’s work. It never ends.
Often, the main obstacle lies in our inability to change the way we perceive and think about things.
Most of our work at Intelligent Management is helping people to make that cognitive leap. When we educate ourselves to think and act systemically we become capable of so much more than we imagine. As Einstein put it, “Those who think it’s not possible shouldn’t disturb those who are doing it.”
Intelligent Management, founded by Dr. Domenico Lepore, helps leaders in organizations to speed up flow, overcome silos, and shift towards a systemic way of working, scheduling competencies into a synchronized Network of Projects. Intelligent Management provides internationally education, training and software for whole system management using the Deming and Goldratt Decalogue methodology .
See our new books The Human Constraint – a business novel that has sold in 28 countries so far and ‘Quality, Involvement, Flow: The Systemic Organization’ from CRC Press, New York, by Dr. Domenico Lepore, Dr. Angela Montgomery and Dr. Giovanni Siepe.