Thoughts On Thrivability

So your organization is a living system…now what?

Earlier this week, a new collaborator asked me for a few guiding principles that go along with thinking of an organization as a living system.  "Just give me a few sentences that I can share with my colleagues,"  he said.  As I anticipated, it was a valuable exercise....

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What if Good Business Sense Doesn’t Make Sense?

I was the last of five speakers at a local business school's Sustainable Business conference a few days ago.  The experience should have left me feeling encouraged at all the good things happening across industries.  But instead, it left me heartbroken.  Soon, I...

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Blue-Green: The True Color of Money?

Here in Quebec, we are fortunate to have thousands of lakes, and the tradition is to spend summer vacation splashing in the water at a lakeside cottage. Tragically, this tradition has been threatened in the past several years. Household use of phosphate-based lawn...

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Is Sustainability Serving the Wrong Master?

I just finished reading an article about sustainable communities, in which the priorities were equity, the environment and economics. This seemed to be a rephrasing of the triple-bottom line factors of people, planet and profits. Seeing it this time raised a question:...

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Do you believe in life before death?

Forget life after death – the bigger question is: do you believe in life before death?  As absurd as the question seems, the evidence would suggest that most of us don't, at least not fully.  And that may be the root cause of the most pressing challenges humanity...

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Work for Human Beings

I'm pretty constantly on my soapbox these days, hawking a view of organizations as living systems.  Included in this new paradigm is a shift in our concept of the work contract, from one that views people as resources or assets to one that recognizes their full role,...

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Talk to the Machine

I had a great time presenting a workshop at the McGill Business Conference on Sustainability this Saturday and got some really good questions and comments. One was about Starbucks and why it started out feeling so alive and authentic and doesn't anymore, for anyone...

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The Key to Sustainability

My work is based on a view of organizations as living systems. Why is this important?  It's the key to sustainability, in every sense of the word. For humanity, and even for most organizations, the challenges we face are too complex and too urgent to solve with...

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Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution

My colleagues and I have had an ongoing debate about whether we should use the phrase “spirit of life” when we talk about the integrative property or force that animates living systems, including ourselves and our organizations. Of course, we mean it in a...

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