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Session C - Pre-Conference Session
Thinking in Systems and Stories: A Whole-Hearted Approach to Devising Creative Solutions
Presented by Steve Byers and Bob Dickman


Description: In this workshop, participants will be invited to consider new ways of approaching complex issues in their communities and organizations. Stories and systems thinking are two closely linked ways of gaining the deeper understanding that is essential if we wish to devise creative and sustainable solutions. Participants will be asked to bring a recurring problem or issue or opportunity with them to the workshop. First, we will seek to understand their issue in a new way by viewing it through the lens of systems thinking. Then, participants will take the new learning obtained and express it as a story in order to engage others around the desired change (in the organization or community). Participants will experience the power of a compelling narrative.

Target Audience: This workshop is designed for change agents who are interested in learning new skills and who are open to new perspectives and new ways of learning. Participants will be curious about how to articulate their organization or community’s compelling story.

Organizational Issues: Solving complex problems requires more than consideration of facts and technical aspects. Emotional aspects are as important as technical aspects. Thinking whole-heartedly is different than thinking in our head. Systems thinking is not just intellectual, but rather helps us become aware of emotional interconnections, thus enabling us to create a compelling organizational story. Workshop participants will discuss and practice tasks that increase both emotional and narrative intelligence.

a) learn and apply specific habits of systems thinking to a real issue; b) distinguish between a rational argument and a story, between convincing and moving someone to act; c) experience a whole-hearted approach to change, with mind and heart.

Materials Needed: None

Date: Thursday, April 19th

Length: 3 hours (9:00am-12:00pm)

Location: Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne - 6633 Canoga Avenue, Canoga Park

Cost: None

Handouts: Available for download after the Forum

Steve Byers

Based in the Pacific Northwest, Steve consults with leadership teams, organizations and other communities seeking to establish or renew their essential conversation. His passion is helping human systems (www.helpinghumansystems.com) think, learn, and work together - better. Steve is a graduate of the Organization Systems Renewal (OSR), www.osr-nw.org, program at Seattle University, where he learned to design and lead significant change through collaborative relationships. Lately he’s contributed to a bloom of World Cafés in the Northwest, and in Olympia hosts a monthly First Wednesday Conversation at a local fair trade café. His favorite quote is from the poet and consultant David Whyte: “The conversation is the relationship.” Steve, with two colleagues, offers a public systems thinking workshop called New Habits of Mind for New Solutions (NHOM). He also offers several workshops through South Puget Sound Community College (Olympia): “Conversations That Matter”, “Thinking Together – Better”, and “Better Together at Work”. These workshops are highly interactive and based on the principles of co-learning. Prior to developing his practice as an organization consultant, Steve worked in quality management roles and shared his understanding of W. Edwards Deming’s System of Profound Knowledge. Steve is a life-long learner. In the last year he completed the “Powers of Leadership” seasonal retreat at the Whidbey Institute at Chinook, “The Art of Hosting Conversations that Matter” (Berkana), and “Sensing and Shaping Emergent Change” (OSR). He is co-chair of the OSR Alumni Association. He is deeply involved with the In2:InThinking Network, helping with Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne's monthly Ongoing Discussion teleconference and contributing to the design of the annual Forum. When he and his wife, Janet, aren’t working, they can be found paddling kayaks, tending their garden, staying fit at the gym, or walking with Iris, their attentive Australian Shepherd.

Steve can be reached by e-mail at smbyers7@comcast.net for additional information about this Pre-Conference session.


Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/pub/steven-byers/3/613/267

Bob Dickman
Bob Dickman is known as a mirror for hirer. He holds up a mirror to leaders who are unafraid to look at themselves as a way to improve their communication and leadership skills. Collaborating with senior management teams, he has coached in and developed workshops for clients at The United States Naval Post Graduate School, Ford Motor Company, California Academy of Science, and Aramark among others.

Bob's seminar “Story as leadership Story as strategy” has been conducted throughout the U.S. at clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to rapidly expanding small business enterprises.  As a thought leader in the field of narrative communication, he writes often including his recent book, The Elements of Persuasion, published by HarperCollins, which he co-authored with Richard Maxwell. The book was nominated as one of the top business books of 2007 and had been translated into fifteen languages. He has also written articles for The Systems Thinking Journal and Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Reflections Journal

Bob holds a B.A. from Goddard College and is a graduate of the Hudson Institute’s program in organizational coaching and is certified as a coach by The International Coaching Federation. He is a member of the Society for Organizational Learning’s community of coaching practitioners. He brings a unique, entertaining and pragmatic perspective to how leaders can create and successfully communicate new ideas.  Discussing his skill at getting great performances out of even the most difficult talent and helping prepare writers and directors for the pressure of press tours two-times Academy Award Winner Gene Hackman said, “Bob is a powerful and intuitive coach. If you want to change fast, work with him.”    

Contact: Bob can be reached by e-mail at bob@first-voice.com for additional information about this Pre-Conference session.

Website: www.first-voice.com


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