Sunday, May 8, 2011

Being Present During Transformational Change

Following my post 'Designing for the 4th Bottom Line' my wife put together a graphic that puts Presence in the centre - and I like it very much. She also used the term 'prosperity' rather than 'profit' and I think that is richer and more inclusive and resonates with Bhutan's 'gross national happiness index'.

4th Bottom Line by Dr Sue Stack

The 4th bottom line has been called 'personal', 'perspective', 'spirituality', 'culture' and 'sustainability' but I prefer 'presence' following Peter Senge et al in the book Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future.

The authors describe the 'U Process' for organisational or systemic change:

Sensing – knowing the whole system as it is
Letting go - of historical processes and perspectives
Presencing - taking time to retreat and reflect
Letting come - allowing new processes to become realised

In re-reading parts of the book today I found the notions of 'presencing', 'letting come' and 'realizing' particularly relevant as we envisage a virtual campus and new online spaces.

From Presence:

"Moving up the U involves bringing something new into reality... but this action comes from a source that's deeper than the rational mind... the magic comes from the capacity to sense something new and act instananeously in accordance with what that felt knowledge dictates."

"Operating from this larger intention brings into play forces one could never tap from just trying to impose our will on a situation."

"At it's essence the U theory poses a question: 'What does it mean to act in the world and not on the world?' "

In facilitating participative change I would also ask in what ways can we co-create what is best for the world rather than (or in addition to) what is best in the world?

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