We made a public commitment to share what we had done on the book each day, starting on Wednesday March 7. Here are this week’s updates, in reverse date order.
Friday, March 30
Michael & Michele – We’ve been working on an updated version of the Integral Change Model recently. It fits into the fourth part, or mini-book, of the overall Integral Transformation Framework book. The fourth book is titled Leading an Integral Transformation, and is in some ways the heart of the book. It is a kind of OD primer about how to prepare for, launch, conduct and sustain a major change effort. The Change Model is of course essential. The creative space between us has been very productive lately, as we have surrendered into a new way of collaborating. It involves some very deep conversations, a mutual trust of our process together, an appreciation of each other’s gifts, and a fair amount of grace. As we come to a new section, it at first seems daunting, almost impossible, do we really have to, etc. Then, it becomes approachable, interesting, doable; until it becomes enchanting, alluring, magical, even mind-blowing. Writing with a partner can be hard at times, but it is so much easier than writing alone.
Thursday, March 29
Michael & Michele – Letting the Client Go — As coaches and advisors, clients can be our biggest obsession: wanting them to choose us, and then, do what we say; pursuing them, at times even practically stalking them; planning for them, wishing greatness for them, then frustrated by them. It can all become a bit of a drama. There can come a time when we have to let our clients go. For whatever reason, the work we have envisioned together is just not ready to happen: the stars have not aligned, there is not full agreement, a key player is resistant, the vision is not truly compelling; they are not willing to do the work required. Sometimes we know it is not ready; other times, the whole thing takes us by surprise.
We must let our clients go. They may return, but not while we are attached. As long as we stay attached, we cannot help them cleanly; cannot see clearly who they are now, and who they are trying to become. Instead, we see our version of them, the one we wish they were, the one we want to help. In short, we see our ‘ego-story’ of the client.
Letting go is often not easy. It requires a certain kind of courage, requires listening to that quiet inner voice, perhaps confronting something about ourselves — or our culture — that may be hard to see. It requires letting go of our image of our client – all the dreams we had for them, all the help we envisioned bringing them — the increased efficiency or value or flow or Agile culture — all disappear in an instant. We feel sad, disappointed, useless. We argue with reality. But reality always wins.
Intentionally engaging our own letting go process is a gift to the client; it frees them to exercise their will, freely choosing their own destiny. It is an active intervention on our part, and one for which we do not get paid. At least not in cash.
Wednesday, March 28
Michele & Michael – According to Gartner Research, “the biggest challenge CIO’s are facing in 2018 is not technical, it’s how they drive change and present themselves as effective leaders. Being a better leader has become much more important than telling people what to do. CIO’s need to devote much more time to increase their self-awareness and find their own purpose, their personal values”. We can think back to a time when there weren’t many OD practitioners and change consultants, and they certainly weren’t getting much attention from senior leaders. Clearly, we are living in a very different time, it is now required for organizations to stay alive and to thrive. The problem is, that people are still trying to use the same change models and how they implement them in the same way. A “change model’ was sufficient for a transactional event as you could easily manage the two biggest challenges: implementing the change effectively and dealing with resistance. Transformational change is very different. We have to move beyond those two challenges to re-imagine and co-create the future, and this requires conscious change leadership. Leaders and Transformation (change) consultants have to expand their awareness, their skills, their understanding of change, and their approach to change.
A successful change model must address more than just the implementation of change. It demands a deeper understanding of transformational change, it demands a different set of leadership skills that can match the complexity of this type of change. It calls for leaders to inquire deeply within themselves to understand how THEY must transform their own mindsets and self-limiting patterns as well as their beliefs about people, organizations and even about change itself. Change Management is not sufficient. Transformational change in this day, calls for Conscious Change Leadership – leaders that operate with much more expanded awareness, especially within themselves, to become awake to their impact on others and on the organization going through change. A change model must also take an integral approach, attending to the internal and external dynamics and led by Conscious Change Leadership.
Tuesday, March 27
Michael & Michele – Getting Feedback on Your Leadership – The only reliable way to improve your leadership is to get feedback about it. Our intention is critical in how we decide to lead, but our impact on others is the only real way to manifest our leadership. Receiving data about this impact on others can be risky, for both the giver and the receiver. Risky for the giver because it can seem to put the relationship in jeopardy – will the other person be offended, hurt, angry, defensive? All these responses may upset the giver and decrease the likelihood of further feedback. The giver appears to be risking their own well being in service of the other; it is an act of both generosity and courage. This kind of feedback is different than ‘lecturing’ the other about their ‘faults’ and how you can help them be better; this tends to come more from our own arrogance. Revealing to someone how they impacted you, on the other hand, feels vulnerable; it shows your humanity, creates connection with the other person.
The receiver, on the other hand, can take one of two approaches: become defensive and try to protect themselves (Reactive), or become curious about what happened (Creative) and try to understand it better. Was my intention not communicated skillfully, did I have an impact that I didn’t anticipate, do I not know something about myself that the other person sees (in my blind spot)? If we can stay in curiosity (despite the pain we might feel for our impact), it is natural to want to understand the other person’s perspective more fully; we can ask questions, reflect what we hear, confirm if we understand. If we are occupied with protecting ourselves, we will miss all of this; communication will be shutdown. The other person will feel unheard. On the other hand, just thoroughly taking the other’s perspective — regardless of what we ultimately decide to do in response — changes the game. It creates partnership with the other, where we have the ability to ‘decide from the whole’ — in this case our relationship — how it is best to proceed. Now, we are in joint leadership, able to see from a bigger perspective. Our ego may feel a little skittish, but our heart, and our soul, feels at rest.
Monday, March 26
Michele & Michael – Leading from the Future – The universe has been flirting with us lately. It’s been tempting us with the book Theory U, by Otto Scharmer, While we owned a kindle edition between us, we needed a hard copy – there’s nothing like a physical book, especially the Theory U book. When the book arrived in the office, Michele described to Michael how gorgeous it was, sensually luring you in with its full-colored diagrams, its soft inviting colors, its luxuriously textured pages. Michael saw the book in a different way, being accustomed to the ‘flat’ Kindle edition.
The book is about focusing our attention – the place from which we create everything we do in organizations — in on itself, trying to understand the ultimate source of our ability to create; what Schwarmer calls the leadership ‘blind spot’.
The problem was, the book got lost in translation; ‘translating’ from whatever warehouse it was lodged in to our hands. Amazon said it had been delivered. Not once, but twice; only thing is, it wasn’t. Then a refund showed up. Hmmm….Guess they realized it wasn’t delivered :-).
We ordered again. it finally came. The ‘tease’ only made us want it all the more.
Theory U is about creating an open Mind, an open Heart, and an open Will. It is about evoking a special place amongst a group of people who trust each other enough to suspend disbelief, to forsake their ego-minds enough to let something totally new come in, something nobody controls, something the future needs. It is about co-creating the future; co-creating with our future selves.
We are just beginning to experiment with consciously creating from the future, but we think its going to be an essential new paradigm in the Integral Agile Transformation Framework (a WE technology). We hope you’ll stay tuned.