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hope it lasts this time.

In the early 80s saw several articles and some books about the Whole-Brain Manager/Leader and the Intuitive Manager that shared similar lists. That was back when Tom Peters, John Naisbitt and many others were talking about the flattening of the hierarchical pyramid and the lessening of the layers and numbers of managers.

Yet in the 90s managers began to come back.

Curious to learn about what long-established companies are actually doing.

The Whole-brain list seems to be found in newer companies, companies founded and run by women (most of the time).


Good post Michelle. In looking at the comparisons you made ... a lot of them can be summed up in a basic change in thought from 'black and white' to 'grayscale." I believe there's a couple reasons for this.

First, communications technology has expanded the breadth of information which we all are exposed to - especially the younger generations.

And second we are seeing a change in generational archetypes with Generation Y (the Millennials) coming into play. One of their dominant characteristics is a tendency towards collaboration and teamwork. We saw this in the same archetype in the '40s in WW2 with the Hero generation.

In response to Alan above - concerning whether long-established companies are adapting. For the most part, I don't believe they are. It's the new companies ... those started by the X and Y Generations that being run with the new attitudes you allude to in your post, Michelle.


Clay, my experience is that these ideas aren't getting adopted by long established "companies," but rather, by work groups at these long established companies. My recommendations are generally that large organizations focus in on their most important workgroups - kind of like, when focusing on budget cuts, focusing on the divisions that spend the most. "Mine where you can get the most gold."


Hi Alan. I think it is changing for good with all of the other emerging patterns occurring - we are in a totally different world now. I have noticed a dramatic difference here in DC just in the past 5 years with my own clients (especially after Dan Pink's WNM book came out). What used to be deeply resisted through the 90s is now sought after in many organizations.

Thanks for your post, Clay. The generations cycles philosophy is fascinating to me as well, and does seem to support more reasons why this seems to be happening. Fantastic connection to this post - thank you! Also true with the emergence of internet, soc media, the way information can travel and be "yes-anded", more engagement of the right brain (ie, visual mapping), the collective unconscious becoming more conscious, groups dynamic change systems like the World Cafe, Theory U, Polarity Management, group process work, body-centered practices (and tons more)...a confluence of all kinds of things are creating a different ground and ecosystem for these new paradigm values and expressions to emerge...

Great point, Jonathan!: "Mine where you can get the most gold." Thanks!


Fascinating overview, Michelle and all. Moves me to discover how companies transitioning towards managing tasks, not people, embrace the maybe-not-so-new holistic principles of leadership. They might unleash new levels of productivity through employee engagement, as Traci Fenton of worldblu.com suggests.


Thanks Bernd. Yes! And breaking conventional thought patterns with whole brain, not just left-brain, engaging...

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