Margaret J. Wheatley, aka Meg Wheatley

Margaret J.
Wheatley, aka Meg Wheatley

American Writer and Management Consultant on Organizational Behavior, Co-Founder of The Berkana Institute

Author Quotes

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.

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!

Leadership is always dependent upon the context, but the context is established by the relationships.

We have created trouble for ourselves in organizations by confusing control with order. This is no surprise, given that for most of its written history, leadership has been defined in terms of its control functions.

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.

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

Most people associate command and control leadership with the military.

We will need to become savvy about how to build relationships, how to nurture growing, evolving things. All of us will need better skills in listening, communicating, and facilitating groups, because these are the talents that build strong relationships.

Organizations 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.

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

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.

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

Over many years of work all over the world, I've learned that if we organize in the same way that the rest of life does, we develop the skills we need: we become resilient, adaptive, aware, and creative. We enjoy working together. And life's processes work everywhere, no matter the culture, group, or person, because these are basic dynamics shared by all living beings.

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.

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

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

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

Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful. It's amazing to me how much we do, but how little time we spend reflecting on what we just did.

The dense and tangled web of life-the interconnected nature of reality--now reveals itself on a daily basis. Since September 11th, think about how much you've learned about people, nations, and ways of life that previously you'd known nothing about. We've been learning how the lives of those far away affect our own. We're beginning to realize that in order to live peacefully together on this planet, we need to be in new relationships, especially with those far-distant from us.

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.

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

There is a simpler, finer way to organize human endeavor. I have declared this for many years and seen it to be true in many places. This simpler way is demonstrated to us in daily life, not the life we see on the news with its unending stories of human grief and horror, but what we feel when we experience a sense of life's deep harmony, beauty, and power, of how we feel when we see people helping each other, when we feel creative, when we know we're making a difference, when life feels purposeful.

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

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.

To name is to make visible.

Author Picture
First Name
Margaret J.
Last Name
Wheatley, aka Meg Wheatley
Bio

American Writer and Management Consultant on Organizational Behavior, Co-Founder of The Berkana Institute