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, April 13
Michele & Michael – Continuing our Integral Systems Analysis, today we look at flow from the perspective of the ‘ITS’ quadrant. ITS is the quadrant where flow is central to value creation. From an external perspective, in this quadrant we typically look at how the organizations structure limits or enables the flow of value. This view is measured by hard numeric data. But we can also look at it from a more human, internal perspective, which shows us how it ‘feels’ to be the bottleneck or constraint. You can imagine what customers and stakeholders ‘feel’ when experiencing these long wait times; we can even anthropomorphize a step in the process – what is it like to be a value stage that is in a “waiting” mode. Taking this perspective, can help us see the system more clearly and and gain insight in how to change it.
Thursday, April 12
Michael & Michele – Being in Flow III (“I”) – Continuing our Integral Systems Analysis, today we look at flow from the perspective of the I quadrant. I is about our thoughts, our feelings, our beliefs, our inner experience. Being in flow from the I perspective may mean being in flow with an other, with the moment, or with our higher Self. From the I perspective, it doesn’t matter what we are in flow with; it is about our inner experience of having no separation. When we are in flow, we are not particularly aware of our separate self, rather we are absorbed in the moment, in the other, in our Self. It feels natural, ordinary, effortless, peaceful. Until we think about it; then it becomes a big deal…and we lose it. From the point of view of I, flow is our normal state. It is an integration of our inner Self with our awareness; there is nothing extra. There are things that cultivate an environment of flow: stillness, deep listening, an open heart, abandoning expectation. When we are in flow, spirit works through us; we feel liberated, like we are being used, in the way we are supposed to be used. We feel clean, fulfilled, free. When a system is in flow, it is fulfilling its business purpose; when we are in flow, we are fulfilling ours.
Wednesday, April 11
Michael & Michele – Being in Flow II (“IT”) – Continuing our Integral Systems Analysis from Monday, let’s look at flow from the perspective of the IT quadrant. IT is about process, practices, empiricism, the behavioral view. To set up flow, we need to know the steps we must take, the behaviors we must enact, the motions we must go through. Flow requires structure, restraint, consistency; it requires reducing the noise, minimizing outside stimulation. Creating a flow state is most easily done in silence or with minimal speaking, reducing distractions and extra input, inside a ‘sterile’ box. We may use headphones to create a neutral, white noise environment. If we are working with a partner, we minimize distracting discussion and go on a “word diet.” We setup an environment that does not tolerate interruptions, that engenders mindfulness and stillness, that cultivates panoramic awareness. In that awareness, the separation between subject (us) and object (our focus of attention) dissolves. We become part of the environment, part of the discussion between one aspect of the problem and another. The problem is embracing itself; boundaries disappear. The problem solves itself without our effort. We are the conduits through which the universe untangles itself, releases its Gordian knot. And in that release, we are also released. You scratch the universe’s back, it’ll scratch yours.
Tuesday, April 10
Michele & Michael – Integrity – When you see integrity, you recognize it. Integrity is about consistency. Consistent to your values no matter what the situation is. Integrity requires consciousness and choice. In the moment. When the situation feels threatening to Ego. Integrity means operating from intention on how to behave, what to say. It reflects honesty, character, values in the face of adversity. Integrity shows up when no-one is looking. Integrity is Authenticity. Integrity is about bringing others along a journey of leadership and authenticity. Integrity is acting out of right, no matter how you feel in the moment. When people feel your integrity, they respect you, they are drawn to you – you become their inspiration for a life journey of wholeness – true to who you are called to be. Integrity understands the impact you have on others and intentionally chooses to behave in a way that chooses the other as center, instead of themselves. Integrity is the opposite of self-indulgence. Integrity is self-nurturing to consciously show up in a manner that enrolls others to be on the same journey. Integrity is one of the most effective creative competencies required by leaders today. Integrity is authenticity. Authenticity takes courage and intention.
Monday, April 9
Michael & Michele – Being in Flow I (“WE”) – Once you get used to it, taking a tour of all four quadrants to examine any given situation – what we have taken to calling an Integral Systems Analysis – is both quite natural and highly illuminating. If we put the concept of being in flow through such an analysis, we can look at what it means, or looks like, from each quadrant’s perspective. Just to be different, let’s start in WE, with a work pair. Being in flow from this WE perspective involves understanding each other’s needs, honoring the other while also honoring ourselves, matching our pace together, being aware of the silence between us, the activity, the ebbs and flows of ideas, the moments when things get stuck, when things need to slow down, and when they can naturally take off in excitement. It may mean provoking the other with humor, or holding the other with support. It means bridging the boundaries between us, finding the space between you that neither could occupy alone, requiring both to surrender their solo voice. It requires suspending disbelief, letting go into the unknown of what is emerging. We must let go of time, enter the timeless realm where we don’t know what’s about to happen, nor when it will stop. In the middle, we may recognize we are in flow, though the thought risks making us self-conscious, becoming attached to being in flow, then dropping back into our normal state. Or we can renew our lease, and drop back in to the dance of flow once more.