The Interaction of Complexity and Management

By Michael R. Lissack | Go to book overview

16

Stories and Beliefs

Ron Schultz

Something I wanted to discuss briefly is the notion of how our thoughts shape our behaviors and how we get new thoughts and ideas into effective practice. How do we actually change behaviors? There is what is called a results cone. Here there are beliefs and thought habits, driving up to behaviors and then results. So, in order to make a real change within an organization, you really have to change the beliefs and thought habits that drive on through to results. What happens when we get stuck in our beliefs is that there is no new change; our results stay the same. We get what Alfred North Whitehead calls “orthodox experiments revealing orthodox novelty.”

Since we learn through story, I offer a brief example of what happens when we get stuck in our thinking. A small village is getting a new minister, and there are three men in the town who always take the new minister out on the lake and go fishing and get to know him better. They show up at the appointed time, and, to their surprise, the minister is a woman. They think, That’s okay; we’ll take her out fishing, anyway. They go out in the boat and they’re casting lines, talking, having a wonderful time. She is catching fish and they are having a great conversation. She seems to be a remarkable woman.

At one point in the day, as it is wont to do, the Sun starts to go down.

-143-

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