Our lives today are filled with unprecedented levels of rapid change and complexity. Unintended consequences can quickly emerge from inadequate thinking, so we have an urgent need to learn to think in a “joined-up” way. The definition of ‘joined-up thinking” is:
“thinking about a complicated problem in an intelligent way that includes all the important facts”.
That may seem obvious and yet how many times in business, personal and community life do events prove that this is not going on? There are certain skills that we need in order to to be proactive members of our communities and corporations. To be able to be proactively contribute to a business, community, and democracy we need to be able to:
- understand what is being proposed to us;
- be able to analyze a proposal for weaknesses;
- be able to extrapolate from a proposal what negative implications there may be;
- be able to suggest possible remedies to overcome unintended consequences of what may seem like a good idea;
- be able to build an actionable plan that can be carried out to enact positive change.
Anyone who is paying the slightest attention to the result of the UK referendum on the European Union will recognize what a tragic shortage of these abilities there is, not just among confused voters but also leaders who do not even have a plan to enact a radical change they have been promoting. USA voters take heed. This is a sorry state of affairs for which a high price will be paid by all concerned, and as interdependencies are the main feature of our complex reality, that means a lot of people.
Better thinking for better lives
I felt so strongly that our lives are artificially limited by our leaders’ and our own inability to think-plan-act adequately that I spent two years writing a novel, ‘The Human Constraint’ under the mentorship of acclaimed US playwright Donald Freed. The story unfolds during the financial crisis that follows 2008 and how this affects a group of people engaged in a transformation process. It charts their attempts through the crisis to transform part of an industry dominated by a zero sum game mentality with an approach based on an ethical and value-based supply chain where all stakeholders benefit.
The story is accompanied along the way with a Knowledge Base of systemic thinking process tools from the Theory of Constraints. This provides additional resources for those readers who want to learn more about tools for “joined-up thinking”. The Thinking Process Tools from the Theory of Constraints provide a full set of solutions for a change process, from the correct identification of what needs to be changed through to designing practical steps for a robust and negative implication free implementation.
Beyond the comfort zone
We all have gut reactions but we are also blessed with intellect. We can strengthen that intellect through the use of tools that with practice become perhaps not second nature but certainly provide an expanded awareness. The solutions for thinking, analyzing and acting better in our complex times do exist. The only limitation is our self-imposed ‘human constraint’, our mental models, our willingness (or refusal) to push ourselves beyond the comfort zone that may keeps us warm until we notice too late that the comforting warmth has become an unbearable heat from which we no longer have the strength or ability to escape. As always, the choice is up to us.
Summer reading for positive change
We fund our ongoing efforts at Intelligent Management to develop and promote systemic thinking solutions for a more ethical and sustainable future through the sale of our books. Please do read ’The Human Constraint’, share this post and encourage your friends and connections to do so. I am offering a summer promotion to make sure as many people as possible can have access. You can purchase the book for a special price of $7.70 here:
It’s a good read, but don’t take my word for it! Here are some sample reactions:
“I think the book is brilliantly written, much more engaging than the Goldratt books. It sort of captivates one with a sense of wanting to see what’s going to happen next.”
GENE BELLINGER, SYSTEMS THINKING WORLD
The Human Constraint explores the single greatest challenge any leader faces in an organization: creating a unified and systemic response to opportunity. Dr. Montgomery’s book, along with its detailed website materials, shines a light that guides us as leaders and managers toward a more sustainable and productive future.
LEE HERRIN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, FERNWOOD NRG
“I can’t count how many business books I’ve started to read and couldn’t finish – my response being along the lines of “this is just too boring” or “I know all this stuff – doesn’t everybody?” Angela Montgomery has solved this problem with a new way of thinking that goes beyond conventional approaches. She captures today’s complex realities of business in this novel. Read it and enjoy. I know you will learn a lot, and finish it!”
DAVID STRONG, PHD, DSC, LLD, FRSC PRESIDENT EMERITUS, UNIVERSITY OF VICTORIA CHAIRMAN AND CEO, STRONG EDUCATION LTD.
“Relating to my own experience, I constantly saw the transformative forces of Inspired Leadership, Unity of Purpose and Community at Trust at work throughout the entire narrative. Management methods of the previous millennium are insufficient and even inadequate. New ways to attain sustainability through win-win thinking are required. Ultimately, the problem, the real constraint is not that of limited resources in an ever shrinking world, but that of the way we all think and work together. Read it!”
STEVE TENDON, MANAGING DIRECTOR, TAMEFLOW CONSULTING
“The Human Constraint is a must read for any entrepreneur or executive looking to hone win-win thinking and build a more effective and sustainable business.”
RABBI CHAIM MILLER, AUTHOR TURNING JUDAISM OUTWARD-A BIOGRAPHY OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE, RABBI MENACHEM MENDEL SCHNEERSON, AND EDITOR OF THE KOL MENACHEM SERIES.
“In The Human Constraint, Montgomery brilliantly delineates how to transform a large organization from silos, hierarchies and a zero-sum approach (where someone must win and someone must lose) to an organization that is systemic, project-based, win-win, leverages the knowledge and intuition of its employees and is highly profitable. The Human Constraint is a superb literary work.”
LISA HELPS, MAYOR OF VICTORIA, BC, CANADA
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About the Author
Angela Montgomery Ph.D. is Partner and Co-founder of Intelligent Management, founded by Dr. Domenico Lepore. She is co-author with Dr. Domenico Lepore and Dr. Giovanni Siepe of the forthcoming ‘Quality, Involvement, Flow: The Systemic Organization’ from CRC Press, New York. Angela’s new business novel+ website The Human Constraint looks at how Deming and the Theory of Constraints can create the organization of the future, based on collaboration, network and social innovation.