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Notes on the Role of Leadership and Language in Regenerating Organisations

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Organisations are living systems, and like all living systems, they seek equilibrium and avoid change. (They conserve themselves.) Change occurs in the relationship between organism (organisation) and environment (the organisation’s niche). An organisation is fundamentally its language, alive in its conversations (who talks to whom about what).

Each conversation
is recognised, selected, and amplified
(or ignored) by the system.
Decisions, actions, and a sense of valid purpose grow out of these conversations.

Conversation leads to agreement. Agreement leads to transaction.

Therefore, an organisation’s language
is critically important.
It becomes
more than simply a means for communication. It becomes

a field for action, and a way of constructing truth. It becomes
the basis for all transactions,
the basis for all business.

This essay, revised from its original publication in 2002, emerged from conversations between Hugh Dubberly, Peter Esmonde, Paul Pangaro, and Dr. Michael Geoghegan, who devoted more than twenty-five years to research, development, and strategic planning at DuPont. A distillation of decades of experience, the statements in it draw on concepts culled from fields as diverse as economics, philosophy, biology, and cybernetics.

Paul Pangaro is a technology executive, conversation theorist, entrepreneur, and performer. He combines technical depth, marketing and business acumen, and passion for designing products that serve the cognitive and social needs of human beings.

From his background in the cybernetics of language, Paul has developed a methodology for modeling the necessary conversations for consumers to understand how products and services may be used to achieve their goals. He has collaborated closely with designers in creating high-traffic web sites and models of gnarly concepts such as innovation, play, and the creative process. He is currently the Associate Professor and Chair of the MFA Interaction Design at The College for Creative Studies in Detroit.

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