Why does our productivity rarely meet our own expectations? When planning our work, most of us make a reasonable effort to estimate how long we’ll need. While any given task seems perfectly doable on its own, when we string together a sequence of them we rarely achieve our target. If we were as productive as
The ultimate prize promised by Theory U is the kind of transformational improvement that self-perpetuates. While even the most dynamic systems will eventually succumb to entropy, the Theory U approach is one possibility of creating an organisational shift that embeds a deep culture of learning and continuous improvement. Change demands a step into the unknown.
Not long before I did my solo retreat in nature, I took part in a visioning exercise. The facilitator invited us to sit in our chairs, close our eyes and forget the rest of the group. He asked us to transport ourselves—alone in our chair—to a beautiful meadow, surrounded by mountains and forests, with a
It is paradoxical, but true, that even the most deeply systemic changes start because an individual wills such a change into being. This is not to say that the individual alone can make the change happen. Nor is it only the individual leader who has to go through a personal transformation. Everyone on the team
My previous article, The U Journey: Stepping into Design, introduced a key part of the Design phase—the Learning Journey. This includes developing and testing hypotheses, soliciting innovative ideas from wherever they might arise, exploring the psychological and cultural frontiers of your people and organisation, and trying on new ways of working. The principle purpose of
The ‘Explore’ phase of the U Journey ends when you know where your vision is pointing and you start to consider what means will help you get there. A crucial first step of ‘Design’, the next phase, is the Learning Journey. You’ve finished the Foundation Workshop and there’s a real sense of accomplishment. Order has