I am very delighted to have been invited to teach this coming August on a brand new course developed by Sustentare Businesas School, Joinville, Brazil, and Symnetics, one of the country’s leading consultancies best known for their pioneering work with Kaplan and Norton and the Balanced Score Card methodology.
MetaGestão (meaning MetaManagement) is an innovative new course which includes far more than just classroom teaching. Participants on the course will be able to run open workshops at the premises of their organisations, where the teachers and consultants on the course will be working with all areas of their business, including clients, suppliers and other stakeholders. There will also be private consultancy included, to really help participants integrate the learning directly into their areas of responsibility and concern.
As you can see, I will be teaching Complexity and Chaos, but in a manner not normally taught in business schools.The reason is that having spent a year at Schumacher College in the UK where I took my masters degree, I am now able to integrate and bring the most cutting edge thinking on complexity science into the business area. I do this as follows.
The first dimension to my teaching involves understanding why non-scientists, and indeed many traditional scientists, are unable to absorb and fully appreciate the insights and implications from complexity science. The reason is that our worldview of reality and the mental models that go with it have evolved and been greatly impacted by a reductionist and mechanistic way of thinking about systems which dates back many centuries. I do not therefore just teach complexity theory.
What I do is help students to understand what has previously been implicitly or hidden in their assumptions about scientific thinking, and help them see how this affects their everyday thinking. Only then do I introduce models of complexity to give them new mental models and new ways to conceptualise dynamic and non-linear systems. Once we have looked at these, we can then look at models for transition, i.e. we look at how we as business leaders can begin to integrate these new ways of thinking into business. I do this by showing new business models, how other businesses have already successfully walked this path already.
The second dimension I use to help expand students’ thinking is to use a model of consciousness and thinking borrowed from Jung, a model which scientist Stephan Harding coined Jung’s Mandala. In western and modern economies, our thinking can be dominated by logical, rational thinking, a way of thinking which is removed from what is outside of us. This way of thinking almost forces us to see the world as fragmented and dead, and in this way of thinking we lose the dynamic dimension of organic life.
What I do is to help student’s move away from being fixed in a purely thinking modality, to one where they are able to consciously exploit the other ways of thinking, which are their intuition, sensing and feeling capabilities. A recent article on the late Steve Jobs by his biographer Walter Isaacson, points out that whereas Bill Gates was “super smart” Steve Jobs was “super ingenious.” The key differentiating factor was how Jobs was not an analyser of data, he was not a number-cruncher, and his ingenuity in part depended on his intuiting the relationships between different things.
His imaginative leaps were instinctive, unexpected, and at times magical. They were sparked by intuition, not analytic rigor. Trained in Zen Buddhism, Mr. Jobs came to value experiential wisdom over empirical analysis. He didn’t study data or crunch numbers but like a pathfinder, he could sniff the winds and sense what lay ahead.
He told me he began to appreciate the power of intuition, in contrast to what he called “Western rational thought,” when he wandered around India after dropping out of college. “The people in the Indian countryside don’t use their intellect like we do,” he said. “They use their intuition instead … Intuition is a very powerful thing, more powerful than intellect, in my opinion. That’s had a big impact on my work.”
Mr. Jobs’s intuition was based not on conventional learning but on experiential wisdom. He also had a lot of imagination and knew how to apply it. As Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
Obviously many millions of people around the world consider Steve Jobs to be a genius, but it is quite remarkable how few business organisations really spend time and effort developing the thinking processes of their employees. I am not talking here about the teaching the latest fad, framework or trendy theory by the latest business guru. What I teach is difficult, demanding but ultimately truly rewarding and that is a more balanced way of thinking that fully exploits both our brain’s left and right hemispheres’ ways of comprehending the world.
This short video by Iain McGilchrist is excellent in describing these differences and what it means for us as people living in dynamic living and breathing organisations which are themselves embedded in much wider dynamic and non-linear business, economic and natural ecosystems.
I am really looking forward to teaching again this August, having taught the MBA students at Sustentare last year. Please feel free to contact myself using the contact form on my blog should you be interested in aspects relating to my own module.
For further information and for booking enquiries please contact: Sustentare Escola de Negócios