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LILA Summit 2017 Animation: Adaptive Culture

LILA Summit 2017 Animation:  Adaptive CultureBecoming an adaptive culture is no small feat– demanding we keep transforming to sustain our organizational “fitness”, while at the same time sustaining an internal environment in which our people can thrive amidst change and uncertainty. We invite you join us in this ongoing inquiry, making sense of what it means to be an adaptive culture. More »

Frustrated or flourishing? Three ways we make sense of challenges at work

Frustrated or flourishing? Three ways we make sense of challenges at workSally Maitlis shared her research which revealed that, in the face of challenges, there are three pathways that workers take:   Identity Path: in the face of threats, they rely on their sense of who they are Contribution Path: in the face of threat, they try and use their skills to help Practice Path: in the face of challenges, they learn skills as part of the work   What’s important is that these paths explain different outcomes of employees – the identity and contribution paths lead to frustration, burn-out and leaving the organization. Only the practice path, which is about viewing the work as an opportunity to learn the practice of the work, individuals are able to move through challenges and flourish.  This is important because the most passionate and committed people might be the most vulnerable because they may be driven by a strong identity and contribution mindset. I wonder: what identity structures are people using when they take the “practice path”? It’s not that they aren’t using an identity structure in face of challenges, More »

Growing through loss: How we make sense from trauma

How do people overcome devastating and traumatic experiences and grow? Sally studied artists who experienced injuries that resulted in which they couldn’t do their art anymore. These are experienced as highly distressing, traumatic, and threatens their core identity. It’s about loss. These events trigger sensemaking: who am I? What is my place in the world?   People who grow from these events create meanings: The injury as growth or loss: while painful, it helped them grow by opening up new worlds and possibility, made them stronger, or revealed some deeper struggle that could be resolved. Others didn’t grow and instead felt it simply ruined and defeated them.   Self as evolving or diminished: they draw clear boundaries, expand their former identities, or find ways to have continuity. Others defined themselves in the absence of their former self.   The work as connected or disconnected: Some continue some relationship to the art but on different terms and different roles, but still are connected. Others completely separate.   A big idea is that there are enabling and disabling meanings of traumatic events. When people have narrow, singular identities that are more vulnerable.   Secondary identities, range of personal experiences, and social connections are resources for resilience.   And organizations need to acknowledge and support people through sense of “loss” that is a normal part of the human experience.   I wonder: what are ways to design for dealing with micro-loses in organizations? How is the identity of a practice (e.g. cellist) different from other more entitative More »

February 2017 Animation: Creating Cultural Contagions

February 2017 Animation:  Creating Cultural Contagions This is the animation from the February 2017 gathering focused on Creating Cultural Contagions. What did you see in the animation? What did it make you think about? What are you wondering about?   Click to read the More »

April 2017 Animation: Connecting Cultures

April 2017 Animation:  Connecting CulturesThis is the animation from the conversations that took place during the April 2017 gathering focused on the theme of Adaptive Cultures and specifically the topic of Connecting Cultures. Click "more" to view the More »

 

 

Our Current Focus

  1. LILA Theme for 2016-2017 Announced

    Every year, the LILA community focuses on a particular theme of interest to members that will help them advance their thinking regarding the initiatives they are leading in their organizations. The 2016-2017 theme is Adaptive Cultures: How Institutions Set the Conditions for Success.

  2. Managing Complexity – How Organizations Navigate Strategic paradoxes

    Managing Complexity – How organizations navigate strategic paradoxes Dynamic work environments are complex and the changing conditions of ambiguity, uncertainty, conflicting goals, contradictory messages, and competing perspectives create barriers to effective performance. We are asked to take a long-term view and to make short-term decisions that increase profits. We are asked to learn new things and to perform at highest levels. We need to innovate and to operate in predictable ways. We oscillate between centralized and decentralized operational structures. We organize work closely for control and want people to show initiative and self-organize. We encourage collective identity and reward individual...

  3. Last Year’s Focus

    The starting point for our exploration of flexpertise was recognition of the incredible power of expertise. Our world runs on expertise – technical, political, economic, management, etc. Any one of us can live a good life knowing only a little about microcircuits or international finance or water shortages because other people know a lot, and we benefit from their knowledge. Departments in organizations can get away with knowing only a bit about X or Y because some other department or an outsourcer does it expertly. It’s a wonderful and amazing system. However, as individuals and organizations, we often don’t make...

What’s New

  1. LILA Thematic Arc for 2017-2018 Announced: Emergence in Organizations: Shaping the future as it unfolds

    LILA Thematic Arc for 2017-2018 Emergence in Organizations: Shaping the future as it unfolds We live in a transformative time – one where often, old paradigms no longer help us solve the challenges we face and where new ways have not fully evolved. There is much we do not know about how to perceive, understand, and approach the issues we face. In past years, LILA has embraced themes addressing this dilemma, themes such as Unlearning, Managing Complexity, and Adaptive Cultures. For the coming year we outline another such theme, one that directly engages organizational structure and structuring in the context...

  2. The social structure of cultural change: Damon Centola

    A dominant theory cultural norms are functional, but Damon provoked us to consider that there are cases in which norms are not functional at all, and can even be dysfunctional. Conformity norms stifle speaking up, for example which is seen in the Emperor’s New Clothes story and Stalin’s Russia. Such norms often comes from some sense of exogenous authority that dictate a behavior (political science), or sense of what is better (behavioral economics), or snow-ball effects of what’s popular (sociology). But all of these explanations assume there is awareness of all these things and they are valuable in some way....

  3. Where the tipping point missed the point

    Damon Centola’s work unpacked assumptions in networks that related to how ideas/behavior spread through networks via “strong vs. weak” ties.  For many years, and argued well in Gladwell’s Tipping Point, the belief was that all ideas spread like viruses through networks. Daemon’s work points out that what is important is the distinction between simple contagions (ideas/actions that requires a single contact) vs complex contagions (ideas/actions that require multiple contacts and social reinforcement). Many cultural practices require social reinforcement, particularly when there is uncertainty & risk, run against norms, or interdependence with other technologies. What is important to know is how complex...

  4. Why tightness is terrible and terrific

    Michele Galfand’s work in social psychology explores how micro changes in behaviors connect to larger shifts in values in cultures? Her work has looked the effect of social norms across cultures. Her concept is that there are qualitative differences in tight groups (with strong norms, litter tolerance for deviance, more orderly) vs. loose groups (weak norms, high tolerance for deviance, less orderly). Her research showed that tight groups coordinate well amidst threats of survival, both human made (e.g. tribal conflicts) and natural (e.g. natural disasters).  Tightness can be activated, too, by real of natural threats. And the situations, such as libraries...

  5. What We Learned About Unlearning To Learn

    This brief represents the culmination of our year of exploring the theme of unlearning to learn together. Over the course of the year, we have explored how we can best define, understand, and foster unlearning. Unlearning is learning to think, behave, or perceive differently, when there are already beliefs, behaviors, or assumptions in place (that get in the way), at either the individual or the organizational level. It becomes important when individuals, groups, and whole organizations have to find ways to effectively support change, overwrite old habits, surface and supplant entrenched ways of thinking, and develop new ways of working...

  6. Journal of Workplace Learning Publishes LILA Research on Informal Learning Conversations

    Informal learning conversations with colleagues is a powerful yet understudied source of self-directed, professional development. This study investigated the types of learning 79 leaders from 22 organizations reported they learned from 44 peer-led conversations over a two-year period. Survey data suggests empirical evidence of five learning outcomes – informational, conceptual, operational, reflective, and social learning. The study describes these categories, the overall distribution of these types of learning in the community, and how most conversations were “rich” in a particular outcome. It concludes with possible explanations for these patterns as well as potential lines for future research.

  7. Leaders as Problem Finders

    The LILA Community explored the Problem Finding Organization. Michael Roberto shared his finding that leaders at all levels must hone their skills as problem-finders to identify and correct problems and prevent catastrophe.

  8. Critical Knowledge Transfer by Dorothy Leonard

    As you may recall, Dorothy Leonard who is the William J.Abernathy Professor of Business Administration Emerita at Harvard
    Business School joined the LILA Community during the last several years as part of her research into the recently published book "Critical Knowledge Transfer." It is based on original research, numerous interviews with top managers,and a wide range of corporate examples, When highly skilled subject matter experts, engineers, and managers leave their organizations, they take with them years of hard-earned experience-based knowledge—much of it undocumented and irreplaceable. Organizations can thereby lose a good part of their competitive advantage.

  9. The Emotional Decision Maker

    A revolution in the science of emotion has emerged in the last few decades, with the potential to create a paradigm shift in thinking about decision theories. The research reveals that emotions constitute powerful, pervasive, and predictable drivers of decision making. Across different domains, important regularities appear in the mechanisms through which emotions influence judgments and choices. The present paper organizes and analyzes what has been learned from the past 35 years of work on emotion and decision making. It also proposes an integrated model of decision making that accounts for both traditional (rational-choice theory) inputs and emotional inputs, synthesizing scientific findings to date.

Upcoming LILA Events

  • September 22, 2016 Member Call on September 22, 2016
  • October 2016: Understanding culture in organizations on October 19, 2016
  • November 17, 2016 Member Call on November 17, 2016
  • December 8, 2016 Member Call on December 8, 2016
  • January 19, 2017 Member Call on January 19, 2017
  • February 2017: Creating cultural contagions on February 8, 2017
  • March 23, 2017 Member Call on March 23, 2017
  • April 2017: Connecting cultures on April 12, 2017
  • May 18, 2017 Member Call on May 18, 2017
  • June 2017: 11th Annual LILA Summit on June 6, 2017

Latest from Twitter

RT @lincassociates: Great discussion around the role of identity in unlearning @pzc2017#hgse#harvardlila https://t.co/A39xbFLPQ5
h J R
RT @cpaterso: Exceptional mini-course on Unlearning to Learn at #pzc2017 Now I know what mob programming is! Keen to learn more. #flexperti…
h J R
RT @LbernardMi: Great article. It also outlines the importance to have a comprehensive corporate #culture. https://t.co/ZfG43g5tlS
h J R
RT @ProjectZeroHGSE: Why ‘Unlearning’ Old Habits Is An Essential Step For Innovation https://t.co/BhJZNGYMlc @LILAHarvard
h J R

Harvard Graduate School of Education