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Zooming out – how Systems Thinking can help individual and team development

I see a sunflower.


A single sunflower.



I see the striking and familiar yellow of the petals. I see the thick stalk of a stem and the way it angles its large dark head towards the east. I see this one flower in all its glorious detail.


I zoom out.



I see a whole field of sunflowers. I take in the other sunflowers in the field; the earth in which they were seeded; the sky above them; the potential for sustenance and the risks to their growth. I see the whole ecosystem of which our single sunflower is a part.


Individual growth


At Aspire Leadership we train individuals in Leadership and communication skills. And this works. It leaves individuals more aware, more skilled and more confident to go out and demonstrate effective leadership behaviours with their teams and in their workplaces.


Sometimes, the whole field is a factor in the individual’s continued growth. Individual effectiveness is important. But what happens when we send the sunflower back to its ecosystem? Might its growth and its ability to apply its new skills be limited and if so, what can we do about that?


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Strategic Planning to Enable White Swan Events (Part 2)

Strategic Planning in a World of Uncertainty: Part 2 – How do we use strategic planning to enable white swan events?


In part one of this blog I talked about the difficulty of prediction and planning for White Swan (unpredictable events with high positive impact) whilst minimising the risk of Black Swan events (unpredictable events with high negative impact).

So, what can we actually do?

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Strategic Planning in a World of Uncertainty (Part 1)

How do we apply strategic planning in a world of uncertainty?

I don’t often say this but… imagine you’re a turkey…

It’s your first day of life, and the world feels loud, confusing, and dangerous. You chirp anxiously, calling out in the hope of assurance and food. Thankfully, your call is answered, food is provided, and your fears are assuaged for just a little longer. You still fear the uncertain, it makes you uneasy, but hey… you get fed every time. In fact, day in and day out, the world reassures you, you will get fed, you are safe. For 1000 days in fact, this has been the trend, and who can argue with 1000 days of data?!

Unfortunately for the Turkey, day 1001 is Thanksgiving…

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