Adaptive organizations, listening like an improviser and the intelligence of crows

Here’s one more “mental sorbet” post – a sampler of interesting reads on leadership, listening and change to refresh your brain.

Here’s an oldie, but a goodie, recently brought to my attention in a post by Canadian leadership blogger Tanveer Naseer. He cited the controversial Joshua Klein TED Talk on the adaptive power of crows to use vending machines to demonstrate our ability to adapt to change.

What might be most fascinating out of all of this is Joshua Klein himself, a professional hacker. Josh is intent on hacking into the future by breaking into a bunch of stuff in the present, and making it better.  He breaks into everything from social systems to crows’ minds (he’s also a speaker and writer). Josh’s zest, and sense of play speak to me about gamification, a strategy I’ve been exploring with my buddies in the Fielding Graduate University School of Human and Organizational Development Program, and which is typified by creative gamer Jane McGonigal. But that’s another post.

Tanveer himself is a pretty interesting guy, and I loved the way he applied Klein’s concepts to organizational change. Great videos on twitter, too (see below).

More and more of us are using the language of theater and performance to talk about organizational change. I had a crackling conversation with sharp, wholehearted Cathy Salit of Performance of a Lifetime this morning. She and her team do kickass work on listening (see the chapter about her work in Dan Pink’s recent book, To Sell is Human). Cathy and I talked about a recent listening experience she’d facilitated, and then blogged about – and her thoughts on listening like an improviser changed how I approached a conversation a mere 30 minutes later. (Thank you, Cathy.)

In other news, the Economist has a poll asking, “Do most businesses adapt too slowly to change?” Have you chimed in?

I am still finding my blog legs, and Laura Huckabee-Jennings of Transcend Coaching in Huntsville, Alabama, is inspiring me with her consistency. Laura has a small but mighty following online and a motherload of blog posts on leadership as a way of life dating back to 2009. Way to keep at it.

About those videos on Tanveer’s Twitter Media Gallery? Appropos of mental sorbet, you have to watch this one.