How Do You Know That?
A Whole New Playbook for Making Strategy Happen
By Diane Neuhauser
Having had the pleasure of getting to know Diane Neuhauser when she lived in my neighborhood in San Pedro el Alto near Antigua, Guatemala before she moved back to the States, I was delighted to see her recently and get a copy of her new book–something she calls “a playbook for making strategy happen”. Diane has a wonderfully inquisitive mind and is a scholar of organizational change and systems thinking, and her book is a great resource for anyone serious about organizational change–especially change taking us out of the systemic corruption that is permeating our world/our planet today. Although Diane’s work focuses more on change for corporate “competitive advantage” than change in non-profit or for-profit initiatives that are more about sustainability and healing than monetary profit, it is full of simple, deft advice that any leader, facilitator, and transformational change agent will find inspiring and resourceful.
Diane invites us to embrace complexity, not be overwhelmed by it. She understands systemic thinking, flow, and the importance of strategic teams that can respond to complexity in surprising ways. The book’s title “How Do You Know That?” permeates every page as she suggests ways we can ask this of one another in our work to sometimes not only deal with disruption but perhaps cause a little upheaval that will nourish the shift so needed today in organizations and civil society caught in old structures, five-year plans, and tunnel vision. Diane writes succinctly about complex thinking and the dynamics of dialogue. She presents her own six-point loop/system for analyzing complexity. She reminds us of the fundamental elements of complexity through the acronym, UNRAVEL. The complexity she invites us to unlock is unique, non-predictable, relationship-based, “and” instead of “or”, and volatile. Her six-point system, based in scholarly research, is a great tool for unpacking this complexity, and transforming it in creative and empowering ways.
In less than one hundred pages, Diane’s book is a playful, scholarly invitation for us to step back and ask ourselves and others how we source our knowing–how we know what we know. She then guides us to embrace what we might do to transform that knowing into creative, caring, responsible opportunities to change and grow. This playbook is a refreshing gift to bring hope amidst the confusion and uncertainty so prevalent in our world today. Thank you, neighbor, for this gift, and may many others unwrap it and enjoy the contents and the possibilities–releasing the flow rather than damning and damming it. Let’s play!
Review by Sherry Miller, Ed.D.
SERES Global Ambassador
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