01- Introduction

July 6, 2008

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This blog provides a venue where I can share with my colleagues some ongoing reflections regarding three fundamental themes that I have written about or spoken about in many different organizations and many different countries over the past forty years:

  • The Postmodern Condition in the lives of individuals, leaders, organizations and societies as this condition leads to increasing complexity, unpredictability and turbulence in our world. [I will also be sharing my thoughts about the emergence of a profound new societal trend that I describe as “an age of irony.”]
  • An Appreciative Perspective that can be applied with great success by 21st Century leaders, consultants, coaches and other people who are engaged in the challenging task of influencing rather than controlling other people, and understanding rather than predicting the dynamic nature and outcomes of interpersonal relationships.
  • Radically Shifting Knowledge regarding the human psyche, based on the cognitive and neurobiological revolutions that are occurring simultaneously and interactively in the various biological and behavioral sciences.

A central tenet of my postmodern perspective regarding leadership concerns the complex, unpredictable and turbulent context in which postmodern leaders, consultants and coaches have to choose, act and define themselves. A central tenet of my reflections on the cognitive and neurobiological revolutions concerns the multi-dimensional nature of human thought and feeling, and the profound challenges being faced by 21st Century leaders, consultants and coaches who must make sense of these various dimensions when navigating through the complexity, unpredictability and turbulence of postmodernity.

I intend that this blog will provide brief weekly essays and tools which relate to themes that describe postmodern conditions and build on what we are learning from the biological and behavioral sciences. I also prescribe a specific set of strategies for addressing the challenges inherent in these themes—strategies that reside in the process of appreciation and that lead to the creation and maintenance of a culture of appreciation. Many of these essays and tools will be co-authored with one of my colleagues and provide previews of a book that I am authoring or co-authoring. These essay and tools will also, in many instances, include a consulting or coaching case study based on my own experiences—or the experiences of my co-author—that exemplify the use of an appreciative approach with regard to one or more of three dimensions of organizational transformation: structural change, change in process and change in attitude.

This blog is intended to provide insight and direction for leaders and for those who consult to or coach these leaders. I sketch out some thought-provoking themes from philosophy, psychology and the sciences that underlie our life-and-work experience, and invite leaders and their coaches and consultants to become familiar with these themes—so that they can then invent their own responses and variations. This is also a “how-to” blog. It provides reflections about living in flux and guidelines for engaging, through appreciation, in this postmodern world of flux. This blog is about making choices and decisions—creative and courageous acts in the face of complexity, uncertainty and turbulence. The essays and tools contained on this blog are about finding multiple ways to apply powerful appreciative perspectives as leaders, consultants and coaches. I hope that you find what I write to be distinctive and perhaps a source of insight for you in your own engagement with our postmodern world.