As individuals, we all have some healing to do as we emerge from the pandemic. The same is true of organizations.

I’ve been reading Stuck?: Dealing With Organizational Trauma by Phillipe Bailleur, an organizational consultant who works with a living systems mindset. In Bailleur’s words, organizational trauma can’t be fixed, like a car going in for repair. Instead, as leaders, we need to learn how to heal our organization. Because humans and any other living systems organization can only be healed — not fixed.

Our organizations (and the people in them) have been adapting at an accelerated rate for more…


In his book, Physics of the Future: How Science will Shape Human Destiny and our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 Michio Kaku writes “…the future is already here; it is just unequally distributed.” In Physics of the Future Kaku shares his vision for AI, computers, medicine, nanotechnology, energy, and more by visiting places and people who are experimenting on the frontier of these fields.

Today, we are slowly coming out of a pandemic and wondering what our new emergent will be. It makes me ask myself ….what if the future was already here? …


What changes if we trust our employees? Does that change how we supervise? What do we use as a criterion for good performance?

It seems like this question should be obvious, however, management and leadership literature is filled with language that suggests manager positions were created because we can’t trust our employees. We use concepts like accountability, span of control, planning, motivation, and direction as essential roles of managers.

There is no CEO in Nature

Nature is designed on relationships that imply trust. Every species down to the molecular level are designed to self-assemble and self-organize. Ecological systems work because each species and plant life initiate…


Recently I had a chance to revisit decision-making when done in the context of thinking about your organization as a living system. Living systems behave differently and therefore, require us to reflect on the decision-making models we traditionally use. In nature, context is a constant companion and as such needs to be considered when we make decisions in our teams, organizations, and communities. I offer this model as a practical tool to aid individuals who want to apply a living systems framework, to decision-making in their organizations.

I’ve included the tool below, and feel free to also download the Decision-Making…


Whether we see our interdependence in the system we live in — or not — it is there, influencing the dynamics of all the other parts. Our ability to recognize our connectivity is important to the effectiveness of our leadership. When something in our organization is present but unnoticed, our strategies can be misaligned because we aren’t reading the system accurately. If we see the world as separate rather than interdependent, we ignore the connections that shape the world we are trying to influence.

The folly of trying to influence change from a separate point of view

As positional leaders, we often attempt to initiate change with the mindset that it is something…


This post is by my friend and colleague Matt Rezac of Blue Dot Consulting. Matt has spent 20 years working with mission-driven organizations and community change efforts before starting Blue Dot Consulting. A practitioner-learner, Matt’s study of world religions, meditation and creativity has made him a passionate believer that the inner life is the root of effective action, whether at work, in community or through society at large. Learn more about Blue Dot and Matt here.

Life has flourished on the Blue Dot for 3.8 billion years, resiliently abiding in the immensity of cold space. Nature follows certain design principles…


I used to think being perfect was a desirable and achievable goal. It seemed to be the epitome of professional competence.

I never questioned the legitimacy of this goal and spent years as a professional trying to achieve perfection of different skills, subjects, and leadership. Over the years, I began to realize that perfection is overrated and unachievable.

This epiphany began when I realized I wasn’t living in a closed system anymore. Closed systems can be controlled because the number of variables is finite. It might take time to understand all the elements of a system, but eventually, they can…


On October 8, 2020 Dr. Kathleen Allen participated in TEDx St. Cloud 2020. The theme of the event, which included several other speakers, posed the question…are you a metamorph? Each speaker discussed ways that we have all experienced significant transformations.

During her session, Dr. Allen suggested that by thinking like nature, we can all be more productive. By retraining ourselves to self-organize, we can all experience greater peace of mind as well as greater efficiency whether in our professional or our personal lives.

Check out the other great speakers from this event as well!


What we pay attention to matters. If we monitor finances, productivity and service, those become the things we focus on. We begin creating ways to receive feedback on how well we are doing in those areas, which is essential for managing profitability and effectiveness. Rarely, though, will you find relationships among an organization’s priorities for self-assessment. Why do we pretend that relationships don’t matter to the bottom line? We are skilled at measurements of costs and productivity with regard to profits. …


By David Erskine

Dr. Allen asked me to write a fifth blog once again from just ten minutes north of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The good news is that California has flattened the curve (for a second time) as I write this mid — October. So far our state has completed 32 weeks with the goal to flatten the curve, support frontline health workers and keep ourselves and our families healthy.

Fear, and more specifically the fear of living with change and uncertainty, can be incredibly challenging to say the least. 2020 has given us the opportunity…

Dr. Kathleen Allen

Dr. Allen has written and presented widely on topics related to leadership, human development, and organizational development.

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