Quotes: Critics

I viewed Brené Brown’s two videos on TED (The Power of Vulnerability and Listening to Shame), yes I know, I’m a self-confessed TED junkie – I enjoy having my brain rewired by other people’s ideas. Talk about being vulnerable! See the videos for yourself; I found them enlightening. In one of the videos, Brené recited a quote by Theodore Roosevelt, so I just had to pause and Google. (I also need to find out about Theodore himself, must confess complete ignorance of the man). The quote struck a chord. It’s easy to be critical, I should know, I’m an expert! I’ve also had my share of naysayers; though while I’m still flopping about in the proverbial swamp, it’s a challenge not to give the critics some credit for their insights … Nah! Here’s the quote thanks to The Quotations Page: It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. Theodore Roosevelt, “Man in the Arena” Speech given April 23,...

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Quotes: IF

IF If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too: If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or being hated don’t give way to hating, And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;   If you can dream–and not make dreams your master; If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim, If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same: If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;   If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings, And never breathe a word about your loss: If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"   If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with Kings–nor lose the common touch, If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much: If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run, Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son! Rudyard...

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Complexity, Complex Adaptive Systems, and Project Management – a quick peek

There are many definitions of Complexity Theory, Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS), and Project Management, and I’m about to create some more. My interest in these ideas is in their practical application to help people in organisations achieve common objectives efficiently and effectively. For me, Project Management is defined as the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities, within the constraints of scope, quality, schedule, budget, resources, and risk (etc.), to create a unique, product, service, or result. (PMI, 2008). Complexity Theory and Complex Adaptive Systems do not enjoy singular definitions with widespread agreement. This is to be expected, just as the definition of Project Management above is based on the Project Management Institute‘s (PMI), and is not universal. For the purposes of this post, my lay description (by no means a definition) of Complexity is that of a system or a system of nested systems, where each system contains interactive and interdependent agents where no amount of research, examination, or theory allows anyone to completely understand the system, control the system, and much less predict anything about the system in detail and with high levels of confidence. And a Complex Adaptive System, is a complex system, that given the right starting conditions, resources, and boundaries, can adapt to its environment. “Rather than focusing at the macro ‘strategic’ level of the organisational system, complexity theory suggests that the most powerful processes of change occur at the micro level, where relationships, interactions, small experiments, and simple rules shape emerging patterns. Everything in an organisation is interconnected, so large-scale change occurs through an integration of changes that affect the smallest parts. Organisation change emerges from evolution of individuals and small groups.” (Olson & Eoyang, 2001, p. xxxiii) Another way of looking at Complexity and Complex Adaptive Systems is to look at what they are not. Armed with technology and science, it is tempting for us to believe or assume that the universe and all its contents behave with clockwork precision. Newton’s clockwork universe is only a useful approximation of reality and only when systems are closed, the rate of change is low, interdependencies are low, variability is low, and certainty is high. History and experience attest that such constraints only describe a small subset of systems and scenarios. Enough by way of shallow-end introduction, I want to share two videos. The first is by David Snowden, of Cognitive Edge...

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