Margaret J. Wheatley - Quotes

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Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful. ---->>>

In our daily life, we encounter people who are angry, deceitful, intent only on satisfying their own needs. There is so much anger, distrust, greed, and pettiness that we are losing our capacity to work well together.

In our daily life, we encounter people who are angry, deceitful, intent only on satisfying their own needs. There is so much anger, distrust, greed, and pettiness that we are losing our capacity to work well together.

Even though worker capacity and motivation are destroyed when leaders choose power over productivity, it appears that bosses would rather be in control than have the organization work well.

Even though worker capacity and motivation are destroyed when leaders choose power over productivity, it appears that bosses would rather be in control than have the organization work well.

Listening is such a simple act. It requires us to be present, and that takes practice, but we don't have to do anything else. We don't have to advise, or coach, or sound wise. We just have to be willing to sit there and listen. ---->>>

Our willingness to acknowledge that we only see half the picture creates the conditions that make us more attractive to others. The more sincerely we acknowledge our need for their different insights and perspectives, the more they will be magnetized to join us. ---->>>

For me, this is a familiar image - people in the organization ready and willing to do good work, wanting to contribute their ideas, ready to take responsibility, and leaders holding them back, insisting that they wait for decisions or instructions. ---->>>

Determination, energy, and courage appear spontaneously when we care deeply about something. We take risks that are unimaginable in any other context.

Determination, energy, and courage appear spontaneously when we care deeply about something. We take risks that are unimaginable in any other context.

I'm sad to report that in the past few years, ever since uncertainty became our insistent 21st century companion, leadership has taken a great leap backwards to the familiar territory of command and control.

I'm sad to report that in the past few years, ever since uncertainty became our insistent 21st century companion, leadership has taken a great leap backwards to the familiar territory of command and control.

When leaders take back power, when they act as heroes and saviors, they end up exhausted, overwhelmed, and deeply stressed. ---->>>

Circles create soothing space, where even reticent people can realize that their voice is welcome. ---->>>

Too many problem-solving sessions become battlegrounds where decisions are made based on power rather than intelligence.

Too many problem-solving sessions become battlegrounds where decisions are made based on power rather than intelligence.

In these troubled, uncertain times, we don't need more command and control; we need better means to engage everyone's intelligence in solving challenges and crises as they arise.

In these troubled, uncertain times, we don't need more command and control; we need better means to engage everyone's intelligence in solving challenges and crises as they arise.

Yet we act as if simple cause and effect is at work. We push to find the one simple reason things have gone wrong. We look for the one action, or the one person, that created this mess. As soon as we find someone to blame, we act as if we've solved the problem. ---->>>

Whatever life we have experienced, if we can tell our story to someone who listens, we find it easier to deal with our circumstances. ---->>>

Aggression is inherently destructive of relationships. People and ideologies are pitted against each other, believing that in order to survive, they must destroy the opposition. ---->>>

And time for reflection with colleagues is for me a lifesaver; it is not just a nice thing to do if you have the time. It is the only way you can survive. ---->>>

Aggression only moves in one direction - it creates more aggression. ---->>>

Hopelessness has surprised me with patience.

Hopelessness has surprised me with patience.

There are many benefits to this process of listening. The first is that good listeners are created as people feel listened to. Listening is a reciprocal process - we become more attentive to others if they have attended to us. ---->>>

For us, someone who is willing to step forward and help is much more courageous than someone who is merely fulfilling the role. ---->>>

In the past, it was easier to believe in my own effectiveness. If I worked hard, with good colleagues and good ideas, we could make a difference. But now, I sincerely doubt that. ---->>>

Probably the most visible example of unintended consequences, is what happens every time humans try to change the natural ecology of a place. ---->>>

We have created trouble for ourselves in organizations by confusing control with order. ---->>>

I believe that our very survival depends upon us becoming better systems thinkers. ---->>>

In virtually every organization, regardless of mission and function, people are frustrated by problems that seem unsolvable. ---->>>

Everyone in a complex system has a slightly different interpretation. The more interpretations we gather, the easier it becomes to gain a sense of the whole. ---->>>

Aggression is the most common behavior used by many organizations, a nearly invisible medium that influences all decisions and actions. ---->>>

For example, I was discussing the use of email and how impersonal it can be, how people will now email someone across the room rather than go and talk to them. But I don't think this is laziness, I think it is a conscious decision people are making to save time. ---->>>

When we can lay down our fear and anger and choose responses other than aggression, we create the conditions for bringing out the best in us humans.

When we can lay down our fear and anger and choose responses other than aggression, we create the conditions for bringing out the best in us humans.

I think it is quite dangerous for an organisation to think they can predict where they are going to need leadership. It needs to be something that people are willing to assume if it feels relevant, given the context of any situation.

I think it is quite dangerous for an organisation to think they can predict where they are going to need leadership. It needs to be something that people are willing to assume if it feels relevant, given the context of any situation.

We do as much harm holding onto programs and people past their natural life span as we do when we employ massive organizational air strikes. However, destroying comes at the end of life's cycle, not as a first response. ---->>>

Thinking is the place where intelligent actions begin. We pause long enough to look more carefully at a situation, to see more of its character, to think about why it's happening, to notice how it's affecting us and others. ---->>>

Destroying is a necessary function in life. Everything has its season, and all things eventually lose their effectiveness and die. ---->>>

I think a major act of leadership right now, call it a radical act, is to create the places and processes so people can actually learn together, using our experiences. ---->>>

Listening moves us closer, it helps us become more whole, more healthy, more holy. Not listening creates fragmentation, and fragmentation is the root of all suffering. ---->>>

I believe that the capacity that any organisation needs is for leadership to appear anywhere it is needed, when it is needed. ---->>>

We know from science that nothing in the universe exists as an isolated or independent entity.

We know from science that nothing in the universe exists as an isolated or independent entity.

Without aggression, it becomes possible to think well, to be curious about differences, and to enjoy each other's company. ---->>>

I've wanted to see beyond the Western, mechanical view of the world and see what else might appear when the lens was changed. ---->>>

Most people associate command and control leadership with the military. ---->>>

These days, our senses are bombarded with aggression. We are constantly confronted with global images of unending, escalating war and violence. ---->>>

We experience problem-solving sessions as war zones, we view competing ideas as enemies, and we use problems as weapons to blame and defeat opposition forces. No wonder we can't come up with real lasting solutions! ---->>>

I think we have to notice that the business processes we use right now for thinking and planning and budgeting and strategy are all delivered on very tight agendas. ---->>>

Successful organizations, including the Military, have learned that the higher the risk, the more necessary it is to engage everyone's commitment and intelligence. ---->>>

Organisations are now confronted with two sources of change: the traditional type that is initiated and managed; and external changes over which no one has control. ---->>>

The nature of the global business environment guarantees that no matter how hard we work to create a stable and healthy organisation, our organisation will continue to experience dramatic changes far beyond our control. ---->>>

For eons, humans have struggled to find less destructive ways of living together. ---->>>

In this present culture, we need to find the means to work and live together with less aggression if we are to resolve the serious problems that afflict and impede us. ---->>>

Biography

Nationality: American
Born: 08-17, 1944
Birthplace:
Die:
Occupation: Writer
Website:

Margaret J. Wheatley (commonly Meg Wheatley) (born 1941) is an American writer and management consultant who studies organizational behavior. Her approach includes systems thinking, theories of change, chaos theory, leadership and the learning organization: particularly its capacity to self-organize (wikipedia)