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  • Accessible, full of real-life examples, and beautifully written by a pioneer in systems thinking
  • A systems framework based not on hopes and dreams but on thirty years of research on what systems really are
  • Speaks to leadership in the family, community, organization, and nation

For over thirty years, Barry Oshry has uncovered core truths about how we operate in large organizations through the Power Lab, an experiential program that has been called "The World Series of Leadership Development Activities." In Leading Systems, Oshry reveals the lessons he has derived from his Power Lab experiences-experiences that have been central to his innovative insights about human systems and system leadership.

Oshry maintains that the next evolutionary challenge for human beings is to recognize ourselves as system creatures, see how system processes shape our experiences, and develop the knowledge and skills to master these processes rather than be victims of them. Drawing on his Power Lab experiences, he reveals the possibilities of systems leadership and how effective leadership can provide the basis for creating sane, healthy, effective social systems.

Challenging conventional thinking, Oshry shows the limitations of consensus, the importance of unilateral action, and the restrictions that our values-such as egalitarianism, liberalism, conservatism-can place on power. He reveals how the problems we often believe are personal or peculiar to our system or circumstances are in fact systemic, limiting the possibilities of both individuals and the system as a whole-and he demonstrates what it takes to break out and elevate ourselves and our systems to higher levels of possibility.

Perhaps most importantly, Oshry shares his experience in discovering what he calls "exhilarating concepts," and shows how these concepts offer unusual insights into the nature of systems, shedding light on everything from organizational dysfunction to the conflicts that occur along lines of race, gender, sexual orientation, and ethnicity. It is only through this deep knowledge, Oshry says, that system leaders can elevate their systems to those higher levels of possibility to which we aspire.

Offering new directions, Leading Systems is essential reading for anyone who wants a deep understanding of how systems work and how to exert enlightened leadership.