Applying Sun Tzu

How do the Sun Tzu principles apply to the art of managing the artist, the process and the success of a theatrical production?

Sun Tzu predicates the base philosophy on one simple premise, ” it is better to achieve victory (goals) with out fighting, through better understanding of the necessities of the situation, more complete preparation of the plan, a better understanding of the opponent (people you are dealing with), better resource development, the trust of teammates, better management of expectations as well as actions. Making the plan ultimately dependable, workable and adaptable.

Why did I turn to Sun Tzu?

When I took over as production manager at the George Street Playhouse i knew one thing I wanted to accomplish; “to find a better way”. I realized communication was my major complaint with the general operation of a theatrical project. Certainly this was due in part to the lack of instruction. I had very limited interaction with a PM at that time, and I believe it was only the very high end companies that really were starting to make use of the position and we at UNL had not been taught the aspects of management from that perspective. When I found myself in the position I knew I need to deal with budget, schedule, staff etc. but had no real mechanism to use as a foundation to cope with the varying aspects of the job or the needs of those I was responsible to, and for. I stumbled on a document in the library which was the Giles translation of Sun Tzu from 1910. I can’t really say what made me decide I could equate it management but it seemed to be saying that to me from the start. I think I always had an interest in the military and on phrase stuck with me over the years “when the first shot is fired the battle plan goes out the window” it became about being clear and committed to achieving the goal and being able to adapt to current situations with out losing site of your goal, sanity or the trust of your team. The Sun Tzu text seemed to offer some insight into the reality of those issues.

How do I use the doctrine? I don’t use the text as a bible, at least, not generally. I do use it as a foundation and will from time to time refresh my understanding of the principles.

What translation is best?

I started with the Giles 1910 translation which is a bit thick and requires your own ability to translate into a context you can use as a manager.

When I started teaching the philosophy at CalArts I needed a text that was more accessible for me, the students and the faculty in order to grasp the base ideas and learn how to apply them. The interesting thing to me about dealing with any of this is it really isn’t deep, part of it understanding just that. Part of what Sun Tzu  professes through out, is preparedness, due diligence, simple complete execution of a plan.

Example One-Translating/Interpreting Sun Tzu Text

Adaptability

Any plan is only as good as it’s ability to adapt to current situations. TAW relates in several ways. In chapter 1 he speaks of the 5 constant factors

  1. Moral Influence or Tao That in which we believe (we can’t adapt something we don’t believe in)
  2. Weather or Heaven Those things beyond our control(We have to anticipate the probable, possible and likely of things which are out of our control)
  3. Terrain or Earth Things grounded that we can see feel and plan for. (Terrain should always be in our control)
  4. Commander or General Who leads us, this speaks to a level of trust necessary for any one to follow, trust comes from what(If we trust in those who we follow we will be willing to accept the inevitable change as part of the plan)
  5. Doctrine or Method Here we differ based on the translation as Doctrine is considered guiding principles while method refers to how. This interpretation is open to the individual based on current circumstances.(As doctrine relates to the principles that allow us to move with confidence towards achieving the goal, it is methods that put into motion the specifics of the plan with the necessary resources for success)

Due Diligence

Definition: Function noun (Dated 1903): The care that a reasonable person exercises under the circumstances to avoid harm to other persons or their property 2 : research and analysis of a company or organization done in preparation for a business transaction (as a corporate merger or purchase of securities)

Due Diligence is a term used for a number of concepts involving either the performance of an investigation of a business or person, or the performance of an act with a certain standard of care. It can be a legal obligation, but the term will more commonly apply to voluntary investigations. A common example of due diligence in various industries is the process through which a potential acquirer evaluates a target company or its assets for acquisition.[

By application from chapter 3: In order to achieve victory (success)

And so knowing victory is five fold

  1. Knowing when one can and cannot do battle is victory
  2. Knowing the use of the many and the few is victory
  3. Superior and inferior desiring the same is victory
  4. Being prepared and awaiting the unprepared is victory
  5. The general being capable and the ruler not interfering is victory

These 5 are the Tao of knowing victory

These conditions require your complete attention as you are asked to do more, faster, while accommodating all others who need your engagement.

Understanding it is the way and that many have traveled before provides the foundation to succeed. Everyman can travel where someone else has gone before. So to the point of Due Diligence, conduct your business better than others or at least as well will ensure the best possible outcome. In this light, you work to understand your opponent, colleagues, collaborators, staff, etc.

  1. Understanding yourself
  2. Achievable goals
  3. Win without fighting
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Bohm and the Implicate Order

Bohm relates things in the universe to not being random but rather intrinsically linked as a whole, even when seemingly separated.  there is an exercise used to illustrate this point very well…2 cylindrical jars one slightly smaller than the other the smaller one with a crank on top. Place the smaller cylinder in the larger one and fill the space between with a viscus liquid such as glycerin. Place a single  drop of ink in the liquid and turn the crank. The ink will be drawn out to a fine ribbon until it seems to disappear. When one reversed the motion of the inner cylinder the ink will reform to it’s original state.

To me the point here is that as individuals who manage artists and an artistic process we can never feel from the chaos there is no order because there still is and our job is to when necessary reverse the crank and reassemble the invisible to a visible order again. We do this on a reasonably regular basis, and the danger is to get discouraged by the continuation of what seems endlessly revisiting the same issues over and over. In Bohm’s exercise we should find some comfort that we are dealing correctly and consistently with these situations and form me it s an expected part of the job.

For more information see the article:

Lifework of quantum physicist David Bohm by Will Keepin.

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Wheatley, Leadership and the New Science, a study guide…

  • INTRODUCTION
  • Why I chose this book
    • The context of our collective consciousness is ever changing and rarely acknowledged until forced to do so by the current situations
    • We find ourselves in the continual state of “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” mostly because we are in our “comfort zone”. Things may not be perfect but comfortable.
    • 9- “How do we resolve personal needs for autonomy and growth with organizational needs for prediction and accountability”?[1]
      • It may be this single phrase that prompted me to consider this book for class. How do we…
      • It struck me as I read, how far we try to divorce ourselves from those dynamic processes we are made to feel are irrelevant to “art making”. Yet it seems to me with in the context of science, physics, biology and chemistry the very essence of the world is considered, questioned, and in some cases explained. So is there a level of relevance when we consider order in process or chaos in process or the connections we make with our colleagues, should we not consider more basic ideas to consider, determine, and employ the basics before we get ahead of ourselves.
    • Pg 11- Quantum Physics…[2]
      • Anyone concerned? I find the context of Quantum Physics as a tool to define and understand leadership fascinating. The very basic elements come to light and provide a basis for that understanding.
      • What is contextualized as the “unseen connections” [3] that can and do color and affect our relationships in almost every way is fundamental to our ability to manage those processes.
      • So why again Quantum Physics? The base elements of creation. Break it down to the simplest components is essential, but what is really intriguing is the level of constant relationships of one component part to another. We never venture to far from either a relationship or connection in the context to how all things are interrelated. Cause and effect, address one part the other may need addressing as well. Nothing is truly separate with significant levels of overlap.
      • Page 12[4] Reference the Gaia theory: http://www.gaiatheory.org/
      • We sometimes, ok many times consider art to be above science and all of the rather messy particulars that tend to bore us rather than entice the right brainers to action. Worse yet, as managers and leaders in an artistic process it is considered we only use the left half of the brain and are not really capable of Art making. I appreciate the possibility that there it requires both left and right to embrace complete creativity in science as in art. http://www.rense.com/general2/rb.htm
      • Page 15, Concepts of organizations
    • Study Guide Vocabulary
    • Equilibrium
    • Disequilibrium
    • Chaos
    • Gaia
    • Quantum Physics
    • Quantum Mechanics
    • Chaos Theory
    • Deterministic Chaos
    • Butterfly Effect
  • SECTION 1 Chapters 1-4 to page 74
  • Chapter 1, Page 18, “Organizations are impressive fortresses”…
    • Artistic organizations are no different, comfort and control is the watch words, don’t get beyond your own level of comfort or stretch past our own level of incompetence.
  • Page 20, “Life is about creation, so is artmaking…
    • Art is a living entity with a certain level of autonomy necessary to be self-realized. As artists we are parts of the whole that connects us together intrinsically entwined with ideas, ideals goals, vision and mission together to a certain or sometimes uncertain conclusion. (Is that possible an un certain conclusion?)
    • Individual Identity… Possibly one of the most important concepts in managing an artistic process.
    • Yet individual Identity is reinforced by the collective relationships that define our process and connect us to the whole
  • Context for the “Web of Relationships”
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Momentum
  • In classical mechanics, linear momentum or translational momentum (momenta; SIunit kg m/s, or equivalently, N s) is the product of the mass and velocity of an object. For example, a heavy truck moving fast has a large momentum—it takes a large and prolonged force to get the truck up to this speed, and it takes a large and prolonged force to bring it to a stop afterwards. If the truck were lighter, or moving more slowly, then it would have less momentum.

Like velocity, linear momentum is a vector quantity, possessing a direction as well as a magnitude:

Linear momentum is also a conserved quantity, meaning that if a closed system is not affected by external forces, its total linear momentum cannot change. In classical mechanics, conservation of linear momentum is implied by Newton’s laws; but it also holds in special relativity (with a modified formula) and, with appropriate definitions, a (generalized) linear momentum conservation law holds in electrodynamicsquantum mechanicsquantum field theory, and general relativity.

  • Chapter 2, Page 28, David Bohm, reference Synchronicity, by Jaworski (pull sections)
    • page 29[6], ”reengineering”, William Bygrave,
    • Page 33, “The World ceased to be machine….”
    • Page 35 Gregory Bateson[7],
    • “In Organizations, which is the most important influence on behavior-the system or the individual?”
    • Page 36, critical relationship, prediction and replication, elementary matter
      • The significance of particle vs. waves and what doe it men to me?
      • Chapter 4, Page 62, “self-fulfilling prophecies…”
        • “People accept that which is consistent with what they believe to be true”
        • page 64, “Quantum Mechanics”[9] , “As Non-physicists…”
          • “Knowing is disrupting”
          • Define Quantum…physics and mechanics
        • Page 65, “Participative Universe …”[10]
        • Relevance, “If we seek a problem we will find a problem” Agree/disagree
        • Again, what can we discern from the examples, we occupy a world where by mere observation we affect or can affect the outcome because we see it we believe/disbelieve it. We tend not to allow ourselves the possibility that what we see is not…but is only the perception. This may sound like it is a exercise in the ridiculous but if one looks to their own experience with a eye of honesty, one may determine while particles and wave have a level of duality our observations and our likely predeterminate tendencies can give us a false picture of what we see, because it “is consistent with what we believe to be true”
        • Knowledge – yields – power/control – yields action – completion, how does observation fit/affect/effect…
        • Page 66, Organizational Data, observation and interpretation…
        • Page 68, “ownership”
        • “Quantum Logic…” requires personal interaction
        • page 69, “Participation, ownership, subjective data…”
        • 70, Matrix diagram
        • Can we diagram our own Leadership/management structure and processes? Please do…
        • Page 71, “A subatomic particle is defined by it’s energy and by the network of relationships in which it exchanges energy. These subatomic particles, In Capra’s words are not separate entities but interrelated energy patterns in an ongoing dynamic process. These patterns do not ‘contain’ one another but rather “involve” one another…”[11]
        • Page 72, “Roles mean nothing without understanding the network of relationships…”
        • Page 73, “Why would we stay locked in our belief…”
      • SECTION 2, Chapters 5,6,7 to page 156
      • Chapter 5, page 75
        • Disequilibrium vs. Status Quo
          • We fight very hard to maintain “status quo”,
            • We are comfortable
            • We know what to expect
            • We don’t have to expend any extra energy on decisions that may or may not yield results
          • Page 76, Definition of Equilibrium
            • http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/equilibrium
            • Second Law of Thermo-dynamics
            • Context or relevance, GK
              • Positive
                • Balance, cohesion, systems, synchronicity, understanding, clear expectations
              • Negative
                • Stagnation, good enough, lack of adaptability, lack of responsivity, unclear expectations
              • Entropy
              • An interesting, or maybe a disturbing observation is, or may be perceived as, “in some artists the attempt to provide a sense of disequilibrium for those managing the process in order to gain an advantage”.
              • Do we as managers ever employ this aspect of deception, omission…
            • Page 77, “We have magnified the tragedy…”
            • Page 78, “Equilibrium is neither the goal nor the fate…” –“They don’t seek equilibrium…”
            • Page 79, with the introduction of time, “the interest turned from system structures to system dynamics” [12]
              • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilya_Prigogine
              • System level exchange of energy
                • “if the system had the capacity to react and change, then disturbance was not necessarily a fearsome opponent.”
              • Context/relevance, We use to say or believe, “Within structure there is freedom”. Certainly there very well may be a time and place for such a sentiment. I do wonder however if we can/should re-define structure rather than simply discount it for a more perceived random order. Within organizational dynamics a strong foundation can and should be the key which not only allows for or supports change, but asserts change itself is necessary for continued dynamic progress.
              • It takes a strong sense of organizational stability to embrace change as a matter of accepted structural integrity and wholeness.
              • The reality that as part of the process chaos is not only likely but assured and perhaps according to Wheatly desired, sought after and used as an instrument of change.
                • I feel chaos as conflict, is inherent and should not be avoided or ignored for fought against, but rather identified, planned and planned for then managed to a positive state of realization.
              • Relating back to the idea of trading energy, It is important to understand everything is ultimately energy is one of the determining factors relating to change or no change. We all have a finite amount of energy to allocate to any specific enterprise.
              • Adaptability
              • Energy
              • Time
            • Page 80, “Self Organizing…”
              • The real question becomes, do we as artists or managers of the artistic process have the ability to embrace change on the level we need to in order to develop a truly adaptive, dynamic process?
              • Can we allow for the re-organizing philosophy necessary, or is our sensibility to fragile?
              • “Exquisitely ordered behavior”[13]
              • http://www.partneringresources.com/articles/pdfs/LessonsFromField.pdf
            • Page 81, Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction…[14]
            • Context/relevance;
              • In the context of life, art and management and ultimately the leadership of ideas we all need to be cognizant of obscured yet emerging patterns which will define relevant information;
                • Attitude
                • Energy
                • Selective engagement
                • Immersive engagement
                • Exclusion
                • Inclusion
                • Re-ordering
              • The idea of “patterns” in a non-patterned process may seem irrelevant, yet it probably is not. I think the point of all of this is not to be satisfied the surface appearance is all there is, but to understand the need to look deeper. In order to not be left behind the curve I have found there are certain patterns (random all be-it) that will emerge if you are open to the possibilities. I think the real key here is to consider “nothing is truly random in the universe.”
              • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNnI2xz-VZo&feature=related
  • Page, 81, “Self Organizing dynamics…”[15]
  • Page 82, “In organizations, we typically struggle against the environment, seeing it as a source of disruption and change…”
    • “Our processes while linear in dimension are not in action, dynamic responsivity, (response to action, stimulus or pattern), is necessary.”[16]
    • “The viability and resiliency of a self organizing system is its great capacity to adapt as needed…process structures[17]
      • What are described as process structures?
    • Page 83, “An Open organization doesn’t look for information that makes it feel good…”[18]
      • This is not the statement that concerns me, it follows as “It is deliberately looking for information that might threaten its stability, knock it off balance and open it to growth.”[19]
      • I agree the status quo must always be challenged in order to support growth and avoid organizational stagnation. I don’t believe this necessitates threatening stability, rather if there is a solid organizational foundation it will or should reinforce the stability and move the organization forward in its thinking and processes.
      • “Especially important is the organization’s relationship to information, particularly to that which is new and even disturbing…”[20]
      • “We accept that which is consistent with what we believe to be true”.[21] Information that falls out side of that very narrow parameter is considered suspect and potentially dangerous to the organization. When we try to develop new models of production for example we need to address first our understanding of the process we which to change, the insecurities that are likely to oppose the change and decide on a plan to mitigate them so change may occur. We also need to be cognizant as I am repeatedly reminded in “action” protocols. I can only practically predict the a small portion of the possible level of concern from any specific person as access to the “complete” individual is not really possible or practical. In a continuing search for patterns I do believe they are there, but we do not see or they do not reveal themselves over night. There for a heightened level of adaptability needs to be built into the methodology for developing, promoting and initiating change. The idea of keeping an organization “off balance” is not necessarily a concept I subscribe to. The idea of an organization staying fluid and not being trapped in to past patterns due to past practice and being willing, even mandated to review, analyze, explore and adopt new methods of process, is.
      • “While a self-organizing systems openness to disequilibrium…It’s stability comes from a deepening center…”[22]
      • “Self organizing systems are never passive, hapless victims, forced to react to their environments.”[23]
    • Page 84, Patterns in ecosystems
    • Context/Relevance, In the process of evolution the beginning is defined by an imperfect set of criteria which establish the beginning patterns of organization(life). If the system has the chance to develop with in rigid parameters without the ability to adapt through the process of the open system it will either become stagnate and fail. If it is allowed to develop under an open system it will likely grow stronger as a natural condition since it can change to accommodate the ever changing set of criteria.
      • Examples from within the SOT experience seem relevant…
    • “We tend to think that isolation, secrecy and strong boundaries are the best way to preserve individuality. But this self-organizing world teaches that boundaries not only create distractions; they are also places for communication and exchange.”[24]
    • Page 85, “A second process fundamental to all self-organizing systems is that of self-reference.” “When the environment shifts…remains consistent with itself.” “Change is never random:…” “A living system changes in order to preserve itself.”[25]
    • This is an interesting article on leadership and vision, to
    • Page 86, A clear Identity…
      • Self-reference and facilitating orderly change…
      • Stability of self-organizing systems…
      • Page 87, “The more freedom in self-organization, the more order.”[26],[27]
      • Consider this statement, with context from previous ideas supported in class.
        • It is generally the small disturbance that causes the most change, frequently not change in good way. So how do we insure a positive level of response to any small issue?
      • Page 88, “bifurcation point”
        • co-evolution
      • Page 89, “Evolution is the result…”[29], [30]
        • What is the condition of our fear of change, the unknown, the leap of faith, the calculated risk?
      • Chapter 6, page 93
        • Page 93, “information as a Thing…”
        • Page 94, Information as tangible
          • “How we hear/receive information is critical to how we process, accept and act on that information” [31]
        • Page 95, “All life uses information to organize itself into form. A living being is not a stable structure, but a continuous process of organizing information.” [32]
        • Context/Relevance; Can we consider for a moment that projects, specifically “artistic” projects are organisms, developing in either a closed, open or modified system. For the most part during my time at CalArts I think I would have to classify process as closed/modified system, modified from the “normal” due to the curricular component. In some cases I can identify it as almost provincial at worst and unenlightened at best. (Ok, I will get off my soap box…) My point really is that I do consider the artistic process to be a living entity in it’s own way and it’s own right. It has the right to development, discovery and if you will an evolutionary journey to reach some probable conclusion.
          • Page 96, In continuation Wheatly notes, “In a consistently evolving, dynamic universe, information is a fundamental yet invisible layer, one we can’t see until it takes physical form.” “For a system to remain alive, for the universe to keep growing, information must be continually generated.”[34]
          • To continue my point, as a living entity, this process we embrace in what ever form must also evolve to embrace new ideas and considerations. What seems clear, is we(collectively) try to control the process by control over the information content and flow. It is not necessarily that information is being purposefully withheld, but rather there is a fear of letting it out because then it is available for others to act on. All that really means is a loss of control, which is something as humans all fear.
        • Page 97, “Managements task is to enforce control…”[35]
          • Consider how you react to this thought…
          • “Information can serve such an organizational function because organizations are open systems and are responsive to the same self-organizing dynamics as all other life.”[36]
          • http://www.mountainman.com.au/chaos.htm
        • Page 98, “If a system has the capacity to process information, to notice and respond, then that system possess the quality of intelligence.”[37]
        • Context/Relevance, I consider “systems” something we create every time we start a project, each is different with sometimes random, sometimes predictable interactions. However all the systems we create have the ability to process information, it becomes up to us whether we choose to interfere or let alone the process to continue, or whether we need to provide interpretation or context to any given particle or wave as we feel compelled. The trick is not to be compelled in the wrong manner.
        • Page 101, “Information is always spawned out of uncertain, even chaotic circumstances…”[38]
          • “We refuse to accept ambiguity and surprise as part of life…”[39]
        • Page 102, “But there is a way out of the paralyzing fear that ambiguity genders…”[40]
          • We are so afraid that without specific linear information and process we have no control. The unfortunate reality of that is in this context “control” means in charge, at least of our own reality. That is something, as much as we strive for it, none of us ever are. I think that is the beauty of acknowledgement in Wheatly’s concepts no matter how flawed they may sometimes seem, we are never in charge, but we are also never far away form each other. Yet it takes enlightened perceptions on both sides to be able to realize this new reality.
        • Page 103, “Network of relationships…”
        • Page 104, “We have organizational models that demonstrate how open access to information contributes to self-organized effectiveness.”[41]
          • “Knowledge grows inside of relationships…”[42]
        • Page 106, “Evolving feedback”
        • .. And so it begins…
        • Page 107, “We cannot continue to use information technology and management systems as gate keepers…”[43]
        • “An individual without information cannot take responsibility, but an individual who is given information cannot help but take responsibility.”[44]
          • “commander’s intent”[45]
        • Page 108, “Jantsch, as a scientist, urges managers to a new role, that of “equilibrium busters…”[46]
        • Context/relevance, here is an interesting concept for “challenging the status quo”. The context for me is, as an organization we have a responsibility to challenge every precept we hold true and question every aspect of what we know and how we do things. We can’t afford to throw all of our supporting resources into chaos and I don’t believe that is what is being suggested.
        • Page 109, “Organizations too must move beyond the boxes they have drawn to describe roles and relationships….”[47]
        • Page 111, “interweaving of process”[49]
          • “In quantum physics, a homologous process is described as relational holism, where whole systems are created by the relationships among subatomic particles. In this process the parts don’t remain as parts; they are drawn together by a process of internal connectedness.”[50]
          • “Electrons through end of chapter…” Particularly the last chapter beginning with, “Rather, we are engaging…”
        • The idea that order itself is not rigid or located in only one structure but rather a dynamic organizing energy, I find to be compelling to say the least, revolutionary and evolutionary to say the most. To be able to step out of the bonds of provincial and traditional models of organizational stagnation and embrace the ideas of a new generation of motivated and enlightened students of process is not only appropriate but mandated by the “New Science” of leadership.
      • Chapter 7, page 115
        • Page 115, “We the generative force, give birth to form and meaning, organizing Chaos through our creativity.”[51]
        • Page 117, “Chaos is always partnered with order-a concept that contradicts our common definition of chaos**
      • It is interesting that in context we deny and avoid chaos just as we are inclined to deny and avoid conflict. Yet, both are tools we need, to in some respects cleanse and regenerate the process or processes we are attempting to manage and provide leadership for.
  • SECTION 3
  • Chapter 8, Page 137
  • http://www.comw.org/qdr/fulltext/0511duggan.pdf
  • Johann Goethe, particularly this section “Goethe emphasized that perhaps the greatest danger in the transition from seeing to interpreting is the tendency of the mind to impose an intellectual structure that is not really present in the thing itself: “How difficult it is…to refrain from replacing the thing with its sign, to keep the object alive before us instead of killing it with the word.”11 The student must proceed carefully when making the transition from experience and seeing to judgment and interpretation, guarding against such dangers as “impatience, precipitancy, self-satisfaction, rigidity, narrow thoughts, presumption, indolence, indiscretion, instability, and whatever else the entire retinue might be called.”12[60]
  • http://www.arch.ksu.edu/seamon/book%20chapters/goethe_intro.htm
  • http://www.janushead.org/8-1/seamon.pdf
  • Page 143, “Seeing the interplay between system dynamics and individuals is a dance of discovery that requires several iterations between the whole and it’s parts.”[61]
  • Page 144, “motivation for individual change”…, “The organization of a living system”[62]
  • Page 147 “All life lives in the midst of an unending stream of data”.[63]
    • “Self Reference” as a process to sort data…
  • Page 149, “But as we engage in this process…”[64]

“ I have come to appreciate the real change in an organization…[65]

  • Page 158, “Our Zeitgeist is a new (and ancient) awareness that we participate in a world of exquisite interconnectedness.[66]
  • Page 166, “Information overload is a major problem.”[67]

[1] Leadership and the New Science,  Margaret Wheatly, pg 9

[2] Leadership and the New Science,  Margaret Wheatly, pg 11

[3] Leadership and the New Science,  Margaret Wheatly, pg 11, Heisenberg, 1958, 107

[4] Leadership and the New Science, Margaret Wheatly, pg 12, Lovelock 1988, Margulis, 1998

[5] Leadership and the New Science, Margaret Wheatly, pg 22, Ilya Prigogine’s recent works, 1998

[6] Leadership and the New Science, Margaret Wheatly, pg 29, William Bygrave, 1989,16)

[7] Leadership and the New Science, Margaret Wheatly. Pg 35, Gregory Bateson, 1980

[8] Leadership and the New Science, Margaret Wheatly, pg 53, Sheldrake 1995, 82

[9] Leadership and the New Science, Margaret Wheatly, pg 64, Gribbin  1984,164

[10] Leadership and the New Science, Margaret, Wheatly, pg 65, Gribbin 1984, 212

[11] Leadership and the New Science, Margaret Wheatly pg 71, Capra 1983, 94

[12] Leadership and the New Science, Margaret Wheatly, Prigogine’s study of Thermodynamics

[13] Leadership and the New Science, Margaret Wheatly, Coveney and Highland 1990, 164

[14] Leadership and the New Science, Margaret Wheatly, Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction

[15] Leadership and The New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 81

[16] Kechely, Across the Great Divide, Bridging the Gap Between Manager and Artist, Leadership and Management, 2011

[17] Leadership and the New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 82

[18] Leadership and the New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 83

[19] Leadership and the New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 83

[20] Leadership and the New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 83

[21] Kechely, Leadership and Management,  derived from the writing of Gerald A. Michaelson in Sun Tzu and The Art of War For Mangers,

[22] Leadership and The New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 83

[23] Leadership and The New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 83

[24] Leadership and The New Science, Margaret Wheatly, pages 84, 85

[25] Leadership and The New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 85

[26] Leadership and The New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 87

[27] Jantsch, 1980, 40

[28] Leadership and the New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 87

[29] Leadership and The New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 89

[30] Jantsch, 1980, 14

[31] Kechely, Leadership and Management,  2011

[32] Leadership and the New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 95

[33] Leadership and The New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 95/Jantsch

[34] Leadership and The New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 96

[35] Leadership and the New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 97

[36] Leadership and the New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 97

[37] Leadership and The New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 98

[38] Leadership and The New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 101

[39] Leadership and The New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 101

[40] Leadership and the New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 102

[41] Leadership and the New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 104

[42] Leadership and the New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 104

[43] Leadership and the New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 107

[44] Leadership and the New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 107

[45] Leadership and The New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 107

[46] Leadership and The New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 108

[47] Leadership and The New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 109

[48] Leadership and The New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 109

[49] Leadership and The New Science, Margaret Wheatly, Jantsch, page 111

[50] Leadership and The New Science, Margaret Wheatly, David Bohm, page 111

[51] Leadership and The New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 115

[52] Leadership and The New Science, Margaret Wheatly, Gleick 1987,15 page 122

[53] Leadership and The New Science, Margaret Wheatly, Capra, 1996, ch 3 page 125

[54] Leadership and The New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 125-126

[55] Leadership and The New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 131

[56] Leadership and The New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 131

[57] Leadership and The New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 133

[58] Leadership and The New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 140

[59] Leadership and The New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 141, Martin Heidegger

[60] Goethe’s Way of Science: A Phenomenology of Nature, David Seamon & Arthur Zajonic, editors. Albany, NY: State University of New your Press, 1998

[61] Leadership and the New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 143

[62] Leadership and the New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 144

[63] Leadership and the New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 147

[64] Leadership and the New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 149

[65] Leadership and the New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 149

[66] Leadership and the New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 158

[67] Leadership and the New Science, Margaret Wheatly, page 166

[67]

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Conflict

As long as we are in a business where the idea is greater than the resources to support it, we will always be in a state of conflict.

Our job in part is to identify manage and control that conflict, and when possible eliminate it. However we do need to understand a level of tension and conflict can be a healthy catalyst to creative development. Passionate people be ing passionate is a part of the path of conflict and should be embraced as a component of the artistic process.

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The Inherent Path of Conflict

Managing the Artistic Process:

The Inherent Path of Conflict or The Art of War

My philosophy of management in theater requires embracing a basic principal- as long as we are in a business where the idea is greater than the resources to support it, we will always be in a state of conflict.

As long as we are in a business where the artist puts themselves out there to be judged, day in and day out, fairly or unfairly, we will always be in a state of conflict.

It is the manager’s job to manage that conflict, whether you are a producer, production manager, general manager or stage manager. You are the front line at any moment, and your decisions may have a huge impact on project and personnel. So what do you do? You engage- it is that simple. You reach out and connect as humanly and personally as possible. A person in the volatile fight or flight mode gets the idea of going their own way, and we need to find away to break the moment and redirect the focus to the goal we have all set. The touch on the arm, the exclamation acknowledging the situation- there unfortunately is no right method. It depends on you, the person, and the situation. The true wrong answer is to do nothing.

That being said, I really believe conflict in theater, art, the creation of an artistic ideal is a healthy part of the process. Conflict leads to revolution, to evolution, to realization of new artistic expression. We can’t be afraid to be challenged; it is part of what we are there for. Artists push the boundaries, we hold the line. When we both do our jobs to the best of our ability, we come out with the best possible product.

As in Art, in the management of Art we must constantly challenge the status quo. I don’t think this is particularly different from other aspects of management in a producing mode, including most of the manufacturing, construction, retail organizations in the world today.

We need to constantly assure ourselves the wheel is round. Perhaps in the world of live entertainment, theater in this specific, we need to define or re-define what round is, what a wheel is.

I think the last 2 statements put us in a situation where, with the constant influx of ideas, dreams and desires, we have little choice but to accept conflict as a basic tool in moving the art form forward. My premise is also based on the reality that as artists dream, design, create, they put a great deal of their soul in to the art, and that means they put a great deal of emotional energy into the art as well.

So if that is indeed true, or at least for the moment an accepted consideration, then we need to find the way to lead, manage and support the process. Commercial and non profit organizations fall back on pretty standardized modalities in managing a pretty standardized process. It is out of the mainstream on cutting edge artistic exploration where new art is created and new management is created to handle it. Here is where the B’way management of the future will be in 20 years. This doesn’t mean the process is unrecognizable in form, but rather the underlying principles that guide the engagement of the artist and artistic process have been recognized for what they really are.

When I started teaching I needed to find a way to define what I did as a manager. I came to a very simple realization of 3 basic principles,

  1. A willingness to engage
  2. A willingness to be responsible
  3. A willingness to be wrong…with the conviction to be right

There is one overriding guideline for me in arts management, whether you are  a production manager, project manager, stage manager, producer, creative manager- “we all function as managers but we all must engage as artists.” It is only in recognizing that what we do is an art form in it’s own right can we fully be engaged with and be successful in managing the artist and the process.

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Sun Tzu and the Art of Managing Conflict

It may seem curious for me to equate managing a war to managing a production and certainly I will never equate the seriousness of one to the other.   There are some basic principles we can take away from the military philosophy that will serve us well as we approach our own field of conflict.

I am always somewhat amazed when people don’t want to acknowledge the conflict frequently present and often inevitable  in the theater. So many agendas, so little time, so few resources, such great expectations create an environment of need, which creates an environment of tension the inevitable path to possible, probable and likely conflict. We will never eliminate conflict from our profession but it is only recently I have considered we should not want to.

Conflict is not necessarily a bad thing in an arts environment. It denotes passion, concern, care, and a desire to complete the idea. It can be a strong, positive force in the artistic process. The key is to manage it properly.

There are many methods available for managing conflict. Sun Tzu breaks down these strategies, one of which is avoidance. What does avoidance really mean? I believe in the terms of Sun Tzu it means to negate, or mitigate a conflict witch is not probably what most of us think of. Given our positions as managers Rather than not walking into the den of a lion, it is when we walk in we are prepared for what we will find, better so than the lion. We will employ tools to achieve this level of preparedness, in the case of the lion we will have a firearm, and the understanding he knows we are coming and we will have an opening to engage and succeed, that is all we need. In our case we as a manager we know the issue on the table know how it fits with our goals and therefore we really do know how to handle the situation to achieve our intentions.

We simply don’t have the luxury to be afraid to face or deal with conflict. What we need to do is to maintain a sense of current conditions I call “situational awareness” you can find reference to this concept in many places and it is concept we don’t pay enough attention to. It is considered mostly in the context of the military, or law enforcement where it is critical to know as much about the situation you are in as is possible; but that is another article on this site…

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Leading vs. Managing

Lead people. Manage process.

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Prometheus Bound at the Gette Villa

Prometheus Bound has opened at the Gette Villa. The scenery is comprised of a giant steel wheel. Click here to see the wheel being installed. 

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Across the Great Divide

Bridging the gap between Artist and Manager.

To begin, we all arrived from what ever single or collective connection to, “the story“, we experienced at a point in life where we were receptive to the idea we wanted to make telling “the story” part of our lives.

Most likely we were invited, compelled or shamed  onto the stage, either in front or behind the grand rag, and found a level of engagement and camaraderie much like that of the athlete on the field of competition.

We realized that in our own sheltered existence there was a reality that was both interesting and exciting, and while we approached with a level of trepidation we took the step, onto stage lines firmly in our memory as are the places we are supposed to stand and deliver.

Then, it dawns on us, we are saying something that someone is listening to, not in a class, not on field, court or track but on a stage a place uniquely unlike anything else, or is it? Well, we are in some ways very familiar with this place, we have in someways been aware of it all of our lives in so many ways, as kids “putting on a show” for parents and relatives. Watching TV or the movies, it is all a stage, all a show, as well as the athletic s we have participated in since T-ball.

For me the idea of making the art of theater came as a relief from the dry humorless reality of corporate law. Not that I got to deep into law, just enough to know I was not going to sit behind a desk and read countless pages of endless expose relating to…what! I had spent 2 semesters stumbling through the text books with endless corporate briefs and decided I had had enough. Ok, no corporate law for me, now what, well how about criminal law? I really don’t like to talk in front of people that much so I guess if I want to do this I need to learn to do that. I decided signing up for a speech class was necessary and off I went. All that is well and good but what was not said was if you signed up for speech you also signed up for being cast in a play.

And so it goes.

I imagine as I did we move through a series of experiences in an effort to find a path that works for us, or speaks to us in some fashion. I searched alone for years doing a job  I thought I understood not really appreciating it’s importance or significance, handling the day to day tasks and in general feeling pretty good about it all.

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Thoughts About Thinking

HOLOMOVEMENT AND THE IMPLICATE ORDER

Before delving into Bohm’s substantive contributions to science, I will touch briefly on his ideas about language and thought. In his penchant for precision, Bohm analyzed ways that our language deceives us about the true nature of reality. We generally consider ordinary language to be a neutral medium for communication that does not restrict our world view in any way. Language the true dynamic nature of reality….

via Lifework of quantum physicist David Bohm by Will Keepin.

Everyone seriously interested in gaining a better understanding on language of leadership should spend some time with David Bohm and should view this article by Will Keepin. I have maintained there is no such thing as a casual conversation. Words thoughts in there various forms are dynamic both in intent and perception. Every good morning carries an agenda, even it if it is genuine interest in how we are, it rarely stops there.

Kechely, 7/21/09

Bohm goes on to suggest that the movement of thought is a kind of artistic process that yields ever-changing form and content. He intimates that “there can no more be an ultimate form of such thought that there could be an ultimate poem (that would make all further poems unnecessary)” (p. 63). Indeed, imagine a Grand Unified Symphony that encompassed all possible symphonies–past, present, and future–thereby rendering all further musical composition redundant and unnecessary. The idea is preposterous, and yet many physicists, not recognizing their theories as art forms, strive for just such an ultimate scientific theory. In truth, science is essentially a creative art form that paints dynamic portraits of the natural world, using the human intellect as its canvas and the tools of reason as it palette. Bohm was rare among physicists in recognizing this, and he exhibited commensurate humility in the interpretation and extrapolation of his theories.

via Lifework of quantum physicist David Bohm by Will Keepin.Implicate Order

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Leadership & Management

In an ideal reality, we lead people and manage processes.

Since we are never in an ideal reality, we must determine with care when and how to employ each technique and do so adeptly.

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Quantum Physics Relating to Leadership

Quantum mechanics (QM) is a set of scientific principles describing the known behavior of energy and matter that predominate at the atomic scale. QM gets its name from the notion of quantum, and the quantum value is the Planck constant. The wave–particle duality of energy and matter at the atomic scale provides a unified view of the behavior of particles such as photons and electrons. While the notion of the photon as a quantum of light energy is commonly understood as a particle of light that has an energy value governed by the Planck constant, what is quantized for an electron is the angular momentum it can have as it is bound in an atomic orbital.

So what does this have to do with Leadership? Quantum Physics has been popular for a few years now as a concept to understand and develop principals of leadership. It first came to me through a discussion  of David Bohm’s principles discussed in the book Synchronicity: The Inner Path of Leadership, by Joseph Jaworski. We have looked to science for decades to inform and define our need for clarity in principle, ideal and control.

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2nd Annual Forum on Leadership and Management

April 29 and 30, CalArts School Of Theater, Special Guests, Steven Lavine, President of California Institute Of The Arts, Stephen Rountree, President and CEO, The music Center, Jeannene Przyblyski Provost, California Institute Of The Arts,Travis Preston, Dean School Of Theater, Amanda Beech, Dean School Of Critical Studies, Lauren Pratt, Producer, School Of Music to name a few. Topics include, Leading through change…, Women in Leadership…, Bridging the Gap…,Leading Through the Creative Process…, Ideas on Trial…, Five panels, 2 afternoons and evenings, sounds like a good time for managers to me!

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Response to Fox News LA on Poor Dog Group Funding

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_15644208241

Alright, so let’s talk about the insecurities of right wing American thinking and what is the driving force. Let us be clear it is not about supporting art through any means or every means. It is not about government support of the arts or taking money from single mothers through taxation or robbery of any type.

It is about a basic insecurity that they are not being represented in a meaningful way.  That extreme right wing conservatism has lost a voice and needs to be heard, much the way an infant needs a change of diaper.

For those of us who lived through the crash in support of the arts, all arts in the early 90’ this is a familiar cry in the wilderness to be heard that happens with an unpopular administration in government that isn’t feeding the needs of the right wing conservatives who believe any voice other than their own is blasphemy unto the heavens of political prudence and in need of sincere and severe chastisement for the sake of humanity.

Well boys and girls for all of their pontificating, it is only blind fear that they have no voice that fuels their fires of discontent and not significant concern for the plight of single mothers that truly resides in their hearts.

The gift of story telling is older than any of their distracters and serves to preserve a political and social consciences for all who come after. It bears witness to the past present and future desire, ambitions and concerns of the generations dead, alive and yet unborn. A basic history lesson in not fact but emotion, and the very soul of consideration of our existence.

So, let the unenlightened break against the wall of art and performance. Let them fall at the feet of the very stories that tell us all from  any and all points of view, we are a people, a nation, a world who will not be denied the ability to tell the stories we are compelled to tell for the greater good of man, or just the need to contextualize our basic existence from the existence of our detractors.

No one artist or group of artists takes the food off of anyone’s plate or the roof over anyone’s heads. Certainly not in relation to the generals of profit with in the American and world corporate structures who continue to profit on every bag checked every mile flown or driven, or dollar deposited.

We in the arts serve, to illuminate and enlighten, in everyway those things both positive and negative about the lives we lead, the trials and tribulations we face. The very conscience of the fabric of the human existence that requires, no, demands a voice in the basic structure of our existence.

The voice that rails against the status quo and refuses to relent to what is easy, and conservative, and apparent to any who will not lend their voice out of the dark, the waiting light of understanding and belief of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all peoples, ideals and creeds. The right to peruse, without reprisal for belief or conviction the path to truth and understanding. The right to tell the story that needs to be told with out regard to popularity but with conviction to the truth of the story and the conviction of soul that compels the story to be told.

We are artists, politicians, story tellers keepers of the spirit , keepers of the collective conscience and above all, fellow travelers in this journey of the human spirit.

Give us space, give us respect, give our words credence, and above all give us leave to tell the stories that need to be told, for we tell them for all peoples of this great community of humans., brothers and sister one and all.

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Floozy From the Fringe

Floozy opened the CalArts Fringe Season on Saturday August 7 with a 12 noon show. Written by Amy Tofte. Here are some photos of the cast and the director.

Katie

Alejandra

Michael

Joss

Evan

Pacho, Directing and Jules the SM consult on the set up

 

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Day One From the Fringe

So it begins

Show-Floozy

Jenny, Pacho and Jules work out the issue

Show - At Sundown
Jules and Zoe go over staging
Martin, the Bacchae company

Everybody on the same page...

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Responsibility to Manage

We must manage the expectations of those we are responsible to, the actions of those we are responsible for and the perceptions of  those  we share responsibility with. It is only through such diligent management  that we can be effective in the quest to acheive not only our goals but those of our colleagues and company.

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The Technical PM

In my career I have had the opportunity to work in a variety of venues and situations. From being my own TD and construction crew to the lighting designer, and on occasion the stage manager to having a full union crew to handle all of the labor needs.

It is very common for a PM to find themselves in this variety of opportunities since we all need work and take the best opportunity at the time. That being said some of the most rewarding projects I have worked on were ones where I needed to produce my own tech either with a small group or occasionally alone.

This is not necessarily how you want your entire career to work though there are a number of people content to do just that. But the opportunity to work on that level is a unique and rewarding experience if approached in the right way.

This post is going to explore some of the things you need to know before you venture into waters where you are the one and only.

Setting up a show by yourself is no different than setting up a show for a team. The only difference is that only you do the execution. In that context, you need to understand one basic thing — everything takes more time when you are doing everything yourself.

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Implicate Order Relating to Managing Chaos

Bohm relates things in the universe to not being random but rather intrinsically linked as a whole, even when seemingly separated.  there is an exercise used to illustrate this point very well…2 cylindrical jars one slightly smaller than the other the smaller one with a crank on top. Place the smaller cylinder in the larger one and fill the space between with a viscus liquid such as glycerin. Place a single  drop of ink in the liquid and turn the crank. The ink will be drawn out to a fine ribbon until it seems to disappear. When one reversed the motion of the inner cylinder the ink will reform to it’s original state.

To me the point here is that as individuals who manage artists and an artistic process we can never feel from the chaos there is no order because there still is and our job is to when necessary reverse the crank and reassemble the invisible to a visible order again. We do this on a reasonably regular basis, and the danger is to get discouraged by the continuation of what seems endlessly revisiting the same issues over and over. In Bohm’s exercise we should find some comfort that we are dealing correctly and consistently with these situations and form me it s an expected part of the job.

For more information see the article;

Lifework of quantum physicist David Bohm by Will Keepin.

HOLOMOVEMENT AND THE IMPLICATE ORDER

Thoughts About Thinking

Before delving into Bohm’s substantive contributions to science, I will touch briefly on his ideas about language and thought. In his penchant for precision, Bohm analyzed ways that our language deceives us about the true nature of reality. We generally consider ordinary language to be a neutral medium for communication that does not restrict our world view in any way. language the true dynamic nature of reality….

via Lifework of quantum physicist David Bohm by Will Keepin.

Everyone seriously interested in gaining a better understanding on language of leadership should spend some time with David Bohm and should view this article by Will Keepin. I have maintained there is no such thing as a casual conversation. Words thoughts in there various forms are dynamic both in intent and perception. Every good morning carries an agenda, even it if it is genuine interest in how we are, it rarely stops there.

Kechely, 7/21/09

Bohm goes on to suggest that the movement of thought is a kind of artistic process that yields ever-changing form and content. He intimates that “there can no more be an ultimate form of such thought that there could be an ultimate poem (that would make all further poems unnecessary)” (p. 63). Indeed, imagine a Grand Unified Symphony that encompassed all possible symphonies–past, present, and future–thereby rendering all further musical composition redundant and unnecessary. The idea is preposterous, and yet many physicists, not recognizing their theories as art forms, strive for just such an ultimate scientific theory. In truth, science is essentially a creative art form that paints dynamic portraits of the natural world, using the human intellect as its canvas and the tools of reason as it palette. Bohm was rare among physicists in recognizing this, and he exhibited commensurate humility in the interpretation and extrapolation of his theories.

via Lifework of quantum physicist David Bohm by Will Keepin.


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Situational Awareness

The intrinsic value of knowing who we are and where we are going. We must recognize this aspect of awareness in order be able to prevent obstacles to goal achievement. Situational Awareness is critical to our ability to manage a process. Who is in the room, what are they thinking, what is their agenda? What do I know about them, what has happened to them in the last 24 hours? There is no way to answer all of these questions, but there are ways to get a basic sense of attitude, focus, POV etc.

  1. What is their body language like?
    1. Are they sitting up, focused conversational
    2. Are they slumped
    3. Is their hair neat
    4. Are they wearing the usual thing
    5. Are they making eye contact around the room
  2. When spoken to
    1. Do they make eye contact
    2. Are they clear and articulate or stumbling for words
  3. In general, are they engaged with the room or reclusive

All of these are indicators of attitude, sense of self and wellness in the moment.

Situational Awareness Knowledge Center.

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