Newsletter No. 17 December 2009

We’d like to thank those who commented on our last newsletter on Leadership and the Hero’s Journey. It is great to know that readers find what we write worthwhile. And we’d like to apologise for the long quiet spell – our editor was busy writing a new book (see Latest News).

We’ve been giving much thought recently, to the need for Leadership, especially in relation to the current economic climate, where no one seems totally clear whether we are recovering or just “blipping.” We’ve been considering the effects this must be having on the lives of so many people.

This has led us to our theme for this newsletter: Resilience and Renewal in turbulent times. In fact, Resilience and Renewal takes up where the Hero’s Journey left off – helping you to think about what comes next both for yourself and your organisation.

Finally we would like to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season and all the very best for a stunning 2010. Let us make it so.

In this issue:

Best wishes from the LASA Team

Latest thinking

Resilience and Renewal

Times are tough for most people and you could be feeling that no matter how hard you try, or what you do, you just don’t get the results you did in the past. Certainly we have a strong impression that the business climate is shifting. So what do you do? Do you worry that results are down? Do you do your best to work harder, longer, smarter?

What about asking a different question: What IS working now? What are your/the organisation’s strengths? How might you build from that position of strength?

To survive these days one of the key strengths you need is resilience. The Oxford Dictionary says someone who is resilient is readily recovering from setback. Is this you? Is this your organisation? Are you prepared to face the setbacks? Do you have a good idea of what they are, ahead of their occurring? Do you have a strategy in place, ready to deploy? In our lexicon we would say that resilience is not just bouncing back, it is bouncing back and trying something new. After all, if you keep doing what you always did, you’ll keep getting what you always got.

That is where Renewal comes in; you need to consider what your existing resources, skills and knowledge are. You need to know what you need to keep; but you also need to know what you need to change, to drop or to bring in new.

This requires agility, which we’ve discussed earlier; it needs you to be open to new ideas as well as new ways of viewing existing assets; it needs you to be aware and engaged with the world outside as well as your smaller personal and organisational world. It needs you to harness ALL the skills and talents at your disposal, and, in an organisation, to create an environment of cooperation and respect, sharing and learning; one in which constant renewal becomes the norm. This constant renewal will help to build the resilience necessary to weather the storms of the future.

The next decades are expected to be increasingly turbulent with very different operating conditions than we have had to date. To understand what you will need to do differently, you need to make sense of the trends that you see on the horizon – looking outside your organisation, and remaining connected to the larger world.

Organisational renewal is the process by which an organisation achieves consistency in its response to the events unfolding around it. It is easier to respond in terms of new products than it necessarily is to respond in terms of new relationships, processes and connections, but all have a vital role to play in renewal. Looking outside of our normal box – working outside our comfort zone – this can be uncomfortable and unsettling. But renewal, we believe, is the only way we can survive and thrive in the future. And it can be exciting, rather than uncomfortable; it can be exhilarating and rewarding, rather than unsettling. And to make constant renewal successful, you need strong leadership. Which, we believe is at the heart of all successes.

� Patricia Lustig, 2009

Latest Books

Staying up in Down Times

By Bruce Elkin
e-book available on: 2009.

I really love this book – it’s about how real people can deal with the mess and complexity of real life. It is about resilience and helping you to reframe things so that you can do something about them.

It gives practical examples, simple models and is written in an easy, comfortable style. It is written from the appreciative perspective – What is good about me? What do I do well? What gives me joy? What really matters to me?

Bruce introduces the skill set you need to develop in order to be resilient, he talks about how you deal with ‘wicked’ problems (those messy, complex, bug-bear problems we all face occasionally). He helps you to set up a structure which enables you to create your way out of the wicked problem and through to resilience. He provides case studies that show you how others have done this. These help you to see how you can do it too.

Bruce is an accomplished coach and this comes across in his writing. His ‘why’ is enabling others to bloom. Best of all, the book is free – available now for download. Read it and enjoy!

Interesting Links

Nepali power lines Nepali power lines
� PMLustig 2009

Latest News from LASA

  • Nic continues to support ongoing clients such as TIG, HE@Work and C4B (Cirencester-for-Business) as well as beginning pieces of work for new clients, ASP (The Association for Sustainability Practitioners) and Elance where he bid for and won, a PHP project to allow an organisation’s staff to use data to create reports that were accessible by customers.
  • Tricia spent most of the summer right up to mid-October working on a book commissioned by John Wiley entitled Beyond Crisis: Achieving renewal in turbulent times. Her co-authors, Gill Ringland and Oliver Sparrow are long-standing colleagues from SAMI Consulting. The book is due to come out in March 2010 and is already available to pre-order on Amazon (see Useful Links below).
  • Nic developed a new, updated website for C4B which went live in November: you can see it at
  • Tricia worked with a SAMI colleague on scenario development with a group of senior civil servants from central government.
  • Nic’s old client, DoCare returned for some new work to upgrade the system he had developed a few years ago which will now allow all staff to access the central system using their mobile phones.
  • Tricia presented a paper at the 2009 Annual Appreciative Inquiry World Conference which took place in Kathmandu, Nepal in November. The workshop was around building community and stakeholder engagement.
  • Tricia is project manager for a SAMI Consulting project with Angel Trains. The project involves developing scenarios for Angel Trains’ future to 2030, as well as helping them to share these widely with their staff and stakeholders.


Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. ~ Confucius

In order to succeed, people need a sense of self-efficacy, to struggle together with resilience to meet the inevitable obstacles and inequities of life. ~ Albert Bandura

The leaders I met, whatever walk of life they were from, whatever institutions they were presiding over, always referred back to the same failure, something that happened to them that was personally difficult, even traumatic, something that made them feel that desperate sense of hitting bottom – as something they thought was almost a necessity. It’s as if at that moment the iron entered their soul; that moment created the resilience that leaders need. ~ Warren Bennis

Well if we can't plan for it, and we can't let it distract us 24 hours a day every day, what can we do? Beats me, is mostly my response. But I have fallen deeply in love with a word that may be of use ... Resilience. To deal with the absurdly unlikely, we can find resilient people and shape our organization to be more or less able to respond to a knockout blow—right out of left field. ~ Tom Peters

So long as a person is capable of self-renewal, they are a living being. ~ Henri Frederic Amiel

If there are flaws they are in ourselves, and our task therefore must be one not of redesign but of renewal and reaffirmation, especially of the standards in which all of us believe. ~Elliot Richardson

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. ~ Victor Frankl

People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. ~ Sam Levenson

Dreams are renewable. No matter what our age or condition, there are still untapped possibilities within us and new beauty waiting to be born. ~ Dale E. Turner

Inside myself is a place where I live all alone and that is where I renew my springs that never dry up. ~ Pearl S. Buck

Joke corner

Creative Puns for Educated Minds

  1. A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class because it was a weapon of math disruption.
  2. No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.
  3. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.
  4. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
  5. A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab centre said, 'Keep off the Grass.'
  6. A chicken crossing the road - is poultry in motion.
  7. When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.
  8. Don't join dangerous cults: - Practice safe sects !
  9. The man who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.
  10. The roundest knight at King at Arthur's round table was Sir Circumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.
  11. In democracy, it's your vote that counts. In feudalism, it's your Count that votes.
  12. A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.

Recession Updates

  1. Ali Baba and the forty thieves are now Ali Baba and the thirty thieves. Ten were laid off.
  2. Women are finally marrying for love, and not money
  3. Q: With the current market turmoil, what's the easiest way to make a small fortune? A: Start off with a large one.
  4. Dow Jones is re-branded as "Down Jones". .
  5. Quote from a Wall Street banker: "This is worse than divorce. I've lost half of my assets and I still have my wife"

LASA Website

If this interests you, there are other interesting resources on the LASA Insight website so why not take a look by going to

Comments and Feedback

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@ LASA InsightLtd 2009