ALERT Learn More | NASP Certification Program: The Path to Success Has Many Routes. Choose Yours

Meet the Author with Marion Kiely

By Tamara Parris
Published: November 24, 2020 | Last updated: November 4, 2021 03:21:15

Join us as our guest Author Marion Kiely shares with us her chapter "Weaving well-being into the fabric of our organizations with the Cynefin Framework" from her co-authored book "CYNEFIN weaving sense-making into the fabric of our world"


Discussion Chat:

0:42:18Tanya Hewitt:I only just learned of this organization recently -

00:42:45Lisa Lande:Nice, Tanya…and hello! :-)

00:46:40Sandra Adkins:I really appreciate this breakdown. I'm also a proponent of mindfulness but giving everyone access to meditation doesn't fix things like chronic job insecurity or a global pandemic or not having access to school/childcare.

00:47:42Rosa Carrillo:This survey has great information on Global wellness.

00:47:52Sandra Adkins:Thanks Rosa!

00:48:10Sandra Adkins:Just ordered by cynefin book

00:48:18Lisa Lande:Raising awareness, in contrast of a variation on mindfulness, is a necessary tool to identifying where we are and adapting ourselves relative to it, in order to perform.

00:48:54Lisa Lande:…in contrast, or a variation to, mindfulness


00:49:44Tanya Hewitt:I had been talking about this recently with one of the pioneers of Learning Teams - could they be more harm than good? My question:

00:49:47Tanya Hewitt:I have a question (I suppose I should join one of your HOP hours). However, I thought I would ask anyway.If people in a learning team have been bottling their experience for a long time, and feel as though finally there is a safe space to release years (maybe decades) of pent up suppression, the deluge might be unfamiliar to the participant, and quite scary. This is otherwise known as therapy, under the guidance of a trained psychologist who can help the patient/client through the intense emotions and accompanying fear that years of suppression and compartmentalization have enabled the patient/client to live a life distanced from this dark reality they didn't even know was there. All in all, as I understand it, this is dangerous territory for non-therapists to tread - more harm than good is quite possible in this environment.

00:53:15Lisa Lande:Tanya, you are right. Most are not trained to manage/lead through these situation. Work is also not therapy. Yet when one has an event that inhibits their ability to perform and it becomes manifest in some way in their environment, it is helpful to listen first, convey empathy, and encourage the individual to seek professional support.

00:55:27Tanya Hewitt:Incident reporting systems - the naïve knee jerk solution to a very complex socio-technical system
00:55:41Sandra Adkins:I've been able to do some similar things internally to my organization (collecting stories), but it's been helpful for me to be in a fairly neutral role from the focus group and an agreement of the specifics will be kept confidential and only high level aggregate sort of output relayed to leadership.

00:56:22Tanya Hewitt:Yes, Sandra - facilitation is so very critical in this situation

00:56:42Tanya Hewitt:The law of fluency!

00:57:40Sandra Adkins:Sounds sort of like using stories to understand their local rationality, even in a political context to understand "the other"

01:03:30Tanya Hewitt:Drew Rae talked about this regarding Dave Provan's PhD on the most recent Safety of Work podcast. Drew admitted he wanted a multi company RCT to definitively show what works and doesn't in safety - but David's ethnography showed why such an approach would not have worked anyway - and revealed way more than the RCT could ever have.

01:04:36Tanya Hewitt:Sorry - Randomized Control Trial

01:05:02Tanya Hewitt:We do tell people what they want to hear - in other words, we lie.

01:06:00Tanya Hewitt:Readiness assessments are very, very important

01:06:01Lisa Lande:We have a proclivity to avoid conflict and/or to make others “feel good”

01:11:02Tanya Hewitt:By the time the employee survey shows a problem - good people are already leaving, the problem is already too far gone to do anything around the edges (anything easy)

01:11:42Sandra Adkins:I think sometimes to not wanting to know is because we really struggle with the solutions-- there aren't neat SMART action items to fix some of the issues that pop up we can track progress with and that's hard for manager/leaders, not having solutions.

01:12:52Rosa Carrillo:@Sandra, so true!

01:13:08Tanya Hewitt:People want leading indicators - Pat Lencioni talks about the best leading indicator being "joy". See how people come to work - are they smiling, do they have energy in their step, are they excited to come to work? Or do they have a sense of dread, a necessary evil in the way they walk, interact with colleagues, etc.

01:13:22Rosa Carrillo:It is hard for managers who were not educated on human systems

01:14:07Gary Wong:Sandra: It’s natural for humans to seek order and structure. We abhor uncertainty!

01:14:55Sandra Adkins:definitely agree @Tanya, Rosa, and Gary

01:15:59Sandra Adkins:I have done some work where typical surveys just indicate a particular direction of a feeling but it doesn't provide any context about the drivers and doing story collecting reveals so much more rich context that can actually be worked with

01:16:23Sandra Adkins:ohhh bonuses, what a mess

01:17:31Tanya Hewitt:I remember raising a complaint at my former workplace - and telling labour relations the barriers to actually be here in this office are enormous - yet mgmt. used numbers of complaints as a metric of how happy employees are (how few there were - the more happy the workplace is)

01:17:34Gary Wong:Data can be Big. Stories provide context so it’s Thick data. When Thick supports Big, it’s Rich.

01:18:41Tanya Hewitt:Maybe Darden is giving a different type of MBA

01:18:47Lisa Lande:Rich, robust, full…complex and clear.

01:20:20Tanya Hewitt:

01:21:12Tanya Hewitt:

01:25:12Tanya Hewitt:Human factors - "I am human - I must know this stuff". Same with training "I went to school - I know this stuff" Nothing could be farther from the truth. We would never claim to be heart surgeons or metallurgic experts, but in terms of people relations - "Hey, I am a person". Critical people skills are hard - and they need to be learned and practiced, as much as any other skill.

01:25:58Sandra Adkins:Great point @Jim, I've seen some great paired observation work with coaches too

01:26:51Lisa Lande:Yes Tanya, and also to Tanya’s point, the attention to “soft” cues that psychologists are effective at attending to, are technical skills as well. The shift we also must make is respecting the attention to subtlety IS a technical skill too.

01:27:25Gary Wong:We’re experimenting with Trios rather than pairs.

01:27:54Tamara Parris:great method Gary! the Trio

01:28:06Sandra Adkins:What differences are you seeing with trios vs. pairs @Gary?

01:28:52Lisa Lande:One can be shift between giver, receiver, and observer; addition of perspective

01:28:59Lisa Lande:One can shift…

about his most proud interaction - he told us that listers might have recognized that the interviewee spoke 98% of the time - the interviewer hardly spoke. This was this fabulous interviewers' proudest moment - where he figured as little as possible.

01:30:39Jim Marinus:I'd like to learn more about trios @Gary

01:31:28Tanya Hewitt:Culture is LOCAL. It is often rolled up to the expense of the granularity that gives the richness of the whole experience. But when cultural assessments are talking about large groups of people, a lot of averaging is being done.

01:32:01Jim Marinus:Yes @Sandra - coaching leaders in how to learn and enable

01:32:22Gary Wong:Example of Trio is a learning team. One person with many years of experience, another with formal authority to make things happen, and a newbie who can bring in fresh thinking.

01:33:03Jim Marinus:OK, that makes sense

01:33:45Tanya Hewitt:Yes - Alvesson and Spicer really dig into copycatting in their analysis of functional stupitity

01:33:53Gary Wong:Cultural is LOCAL - totally agree. That’s why we can’t think homogenity alignment but fractals - hetergenuous coherence.

01:35:04Lisa Lande:David Snowden would 100% agree with you. I do too.

01:35:22Tanya Hewitt:I was stating this yesterday with the analogy of the COVID-19 status. Country-> province->region->neighbourhood. The stats are different, the rules should be different. This is a mirror of how culture works.

01:35:47Rosa Carrillo:The rules should be different even within same org.

01:36:41Gary Wong:Granularity is a key complexity design principle .

01:37:23Lisa Lande:Gary, that makes so much sense.

01:37:45Tanya Hewitt:But some are - Southwest airlines, Chick-fil-a, Varidesk - I'd have to look at my list ...

01:37:49Jim Marinus:A key is to remove rules

01:38:40Gary Wong:Jim: Rules work well in the Cynefin Clear domain. But not in the Complex domain. Heuristics are important.

01:38:55Jim Marinus:Agree

01:39:13Rosa Carrillo:We have to re-define the work of managers. They need to understand the social part of the org.

01:39:32Tanya Hewitt:Managers vs leadership.

01:39:43Gary Wong:Maybe start by eliminating the title “manager”…!

01:39:49Lisa Lande:We must begin to expect management AND leadership

01:40:17Lisa Lande:We all manage, and we all lead. So yes, removal from the formal term title would be a smart move.

01:42:18Sandra Adkins:Thanks so much Marion! And gracious hosts and participants! take care

01:42:25Sandra Adkins:Happy birthday!!

01:42:26TamaraParris:Happy Birthday Rosa and Marion :) Bye everyone!

About our Guest:

Marion Kiely applies anthro-complexity theory and principles to the area of health, safety & wellbeing, with a view to preventing unnecessary suffering, and helping people and the businesses they work for to thrive. Based in Ireland, she trains, facilitates, and consults globally via Upstream, the consultancy practice she established in 2016. Marion lectures in University College Cork and brings humor and humanity to her subject matter. Working with stories is a common thread that is interwoven in all aspects of her work. An eternal scholar, she travels far and wide in her quest to gain knowledge and understanding.


You can purchase here: (US) (UK)

Regular Hosts are:

Gary Wong, Complexity Facilitator at Gary Wong & Associates, Bachelor of Applied Science, Masters of Business Administration, safety and organizational change from a complexity perspective.

Tamara Parris, Community Development, Bachelors of Social Work, Occupational Health and Safety, and Emergency Management.

Rosa Carrillo author of The Relationship Factor in Safety Leadership, safety leadership consultant, MS in Organizational development.

Please share out the below details on Social with your network! It all happens every 3rd Friday of the month at 11 a.m. EST, 4 p.m. GM Register Now


Share This Article

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter

Written by Tamara Parris

Profile Picture of Tamara Parris

Tamara Parris is the VP of Community and Business Development at Safeopedia, and owner of EHS Professionals Group on LinkedIn. Her passion is working with other EHS Professionals to collaborate in thought leadership, networking and connecting our industry peers to resources that will increase profitability and safety practices within their workplaces. Tamara has been in the Health and Safety field for over 20 years, her industry experiences include the Construction sector, CCTV and Security, and Commercial Retail industries.

  • Follow on Facebook
  • Follow on Twitter
  • Follow on LinkedIn
  • View Website

Related Articles

Go back to top