|Developing visionary leaders|
An approach to organizational creativity and organizational transformation
A Releasing Your Unlimited Creativity discussion topic
Copyright 2008 by K. Ferlic, † All Rights Reserved
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The following discussion was provided as background information for a colleague to introduce the concept of the visionary lead and some of salient consideration in transforming an organization based on the understanding found in Organizational Creativity for a proposed management conference on innovation and creativity.
To lead any significant organizational change to manifest a creative endeavor there needs to be individuals who are what can be called visionary leaders. That is, they are capable of accessing and holding a vision of a world/organization not yet manifested and have the knowledge of the creative process, discipline, strength of will, and passion to hold that vision through the entire creative process and simultaneous lead other into the manifestation of that vision. What is provided here overviews the types and kinds of issue and attributes a creative leader will be called upon to manifest a creative endeavor. In many ways what is discussed here is what is required for creating visionary leaders.
An approach to organizational creativity and organizational transformation
The key to any organizational change/transformation is to understand that it is a creative endeavor. That is, as in any creative endeavor, we are moving from something we know into something we have never previously experienced. We may have experienced something similar but each organization, each group of individuals and the environment in which they are functioning are all uniquely different from what we previously experienced. The questions are "How much is the current organization going to look like the new organization and are underlying assumptions going to be challenged?" And "How big are the differences and do the difference impact the assumptions we are making about what is happening, or will need to happen?"
So some of the issue and question we face relative to this last paragraph are:
How adaptable are the individuals who will be involved in the changes? (Here we need to note, a chain is as strong as it weakest link)
How does the environment influence or support, or not support, what we desire to create.
Is the change elective of forced? (Here lies a spectrum spanning the range from that of a victim to that of a conscious creator and which translates into a difference consciousness and perspective for each. That is, a consciousness, belief structure and perspective of a victim and that of the consciousness, beliefs structure and perspective of a conscious creator.
If the change is elective, what is the motivation behind the change? (There are no secrets in Creation. The truth will be revealed in quite surprising ways and will be revealed in the fruits that come forth from the creative endeavor.)
The visionary leader will need to have the understanding to address each of these six issues and be able to deal with what they present. The concepts and principles in the Releasing Your Unlimited Creativity material and Organizational Creativity are designed to give the understanding and tools to address these and related issued.
What is organizational creativity and what does it provide to the visionary leader?
Organizational Creation is a complement to any existing organizational development and/or organizational dynamics approach. Its primary purpose is to provide individuals an understanding and insights as to how to "get out of the box" of mind set and tunnel vision to manage the organizational change and transformation. In doing so, organizations and/or a group of individuals are able to find creative solutions to any problem or issue facing the organization. Here we need to understand the mind which created the problem or issue we face that is necessitating the change is not the mind which will solve the problem. We will need a shift in consciousness and create a new belief structure and perspective to think differently.
Organizational Creativity is applicable to organizational design, change management, reengineering and/or restructuring an existing organization, organizational transformation and any other activity which requires organizationally doing business in a new or different way. In essence, it is about accessing and bring truly creative ideas and innovations into existing organizational dynamics.
The approach used in "Organizational Creativity" is based on keeping in mind the old proverb "If you give an individual a fish, they eat for a day; If you teach them how to fish, they eat for a life time." The Organizational Creativity family of subjects provides the basic understanding of a creative endeavor, the creative process and our inherent creativity that you can use for any creative endeavor inside or outside the organization and in any aspect of life. They will provide the basic understanding as to how the visionary leader can go about harnessing the creative spirit of the individuals in the organization to both nurture the creative spirit and yet meet the organizational needs and its associated mission and function.
The primary issue addressed
The primary issue addressed by Organizational Creativity is that each organization and each group of individuals are unique as are the environmental influences. Any "cookbook" or predetermined approach or method will not ultimately work. Parts will work which make the chosen approach look successful. However, success arises only to the extent the existing organization falls into the implicit and explicit assumptions made within the selected approach. The more the organization lies outside the assumptions the less the chosen methodology will be successful.
The single issue which became the occasion to explore creativity in the workplace was the observation that many of the typical difficulties encountered in organizational change or transformation is that managers do not look at the uniqueness of their organization and its members in attempting to apply solutions which worked for others. Here lies the primary organization issue - who understands the true issue being faced and who is going to be empowered to do what needs to be done to bring forth the desired changes?
Any activity does not work as theoretically envisioned. There is often a tremendous gap between and intellectual knowing of a concept and the experiential knowing which arises from its practical application. Where we think a problem lies is not always cause of what we face. We need to become very aware of the assumptions we are making about what we are facing. It is in our assumptions we find many, if not most, of our problems.
Organizational Creativity looks to get at the root of the problem and realizes the mind which created the problem is not the mind which will solve the problem. Organization Creativity does not endorse any particular organization approach or solution. In fact, usually any organizational approach will work if consistently and uniformly applied across the organization. It is just some organization approaches are more effective than others for particular task. With this in mind, rather, than endorse an approach, Organizational Creativity provides a way to utilize the benefits gained in the lessons learned captured in a predetermined approach but overlays the uniqueness of the organization or group of individual to whatever approach is to be applied. The key to overlaying the uniqueness of the organization and any group of individuals is to understand the creative process encountered in any creative endeavor and the strengths and limits of the individualís inherent creativity.
The nature of a creative endeavor
There are two things which need to be understood about any creative endeavor. One is a true creative endeavor takes us into the unknown where mind had not previously gone. That is what it means to create - to bring into existence something not previously experienced.
Mind only knows the past. It is the collection of our past experiences. Mind is actually of limited value in a true creative endeavor. The more what we create is like the past, the more useful mind will become. The more we create something different than the past, the less useful mind will be. To move through a creative endeavor we will need a new way of navigating through the unknown. The method is to learn to dance between our mind and what is symbolized in the heart.
What is symbolized in or by the heart is what can best be described as our creative spirit. It is related but different than the traditional concept of spirit associated with religious, mystical or spiritual endeavors. It is representative of the energy that give us life and we experience as passion which, in turn, gives us the energy to act and engage life. In this regard, it is a creative life energy for it creates the life we experience and supplies the energy to recreate our life. We experience this energy and creative spirit as a feeling. When we are aligned with it it can be described as "being in the flow" and we experience a fullness within our being, a expansion within our being or a blossom within our being similar to watching a flower blossom. When can use being, and not being, aligned with this feeling as an internal compass to guide us through a creative endeavor where mind is of little value.
The second issue relative to the nature of a creative endeavor is to realize and understand there is a discernable creative process that governs any creative endeavor. Although exactly how the process unfolds in a particular creative endeavor will look different, the same essential process is followed. Although we can study the process in depth, two key things need to be understood.
One is there is a sacrifice required, the sacrifice of creation, for any creative endeavor. Something old must be given up to create the new. As a minimum we have to give our time and energy to the creative endeavor. That means we will have to sacrifice and give up something in our life to free the time and energy for our creative effort. Otherwise we will not have the time or the energy to create something new. Rather we will continually repeat the past. The more we hold onto what needs to be sacrificed, the greater the pain we will face. Here we have to learn to let go of what needs to change. To some this means a loss of control if not the death to some aspect of their ego and/or identity.
The most fundamental application of this required sacrifice is that the mind that created the problem will not solve the problem we face. Our current mind, what we currently think and believe will have to some how die and transform to have the awareness to what needs to be done. This is inevitable and it means there will need to be a shift in consciousness to one degree or another.
The second thing about this creative process is that as we move through the creation process and we move from the old into the new there is a period of chaos, the chaos of creation. The organization of existing way of being will give way to a chaos as new ways of being come into existence. That is, we are no longer in our old world and we are not yet in the new. This "in between period" will seem very chaotic. However, the chaos is only an experience of mind. Mind experiences chaos because mind does not have the experience and perspective to understand and just be with the changes and we move from the old to the new.
It is here many become lost and thwart their own creative endeavor for they cannot deal with the chaos. They keep trying to regain control with their mind. Try to regain control with the mind forces them back into the past. That in turn, thwarts, if not kills the creative endeavor. Additionally fear and anxiety can arise. If we give into our fears, again we will thwart our own creative endeavor. We must learn to deal with our fears from wherever they come from and deal with the true hazard and not a ghost from the past.
The way through the chaos is to step out of mind and surrender to the feeling of flow of energy which is unfolding to manifest our new creation. We need to move as close as possible to "being in the flow." We do that by opening ourselves to feeling and feeling the flow.
What we need to face relative to our inherent creativity
In actuality, relative to our inherent creativity, surprisingly, we are a being of unlimited creativity. However, we do not experience this unlimited creativity for one primary reason. As a result of the how creation works, we must give up a portion of our creative ability and creative power in order to have an experience of any creation. Currently we are having an experience of being a human being in are in a shared Physical Creation and we have to give up a significant portion of our creativity to do so. Explaining exactly how and why this impacts our ability to access our unlimited creativity requires more time that available here. Rather, it is sufficient to say, as a result of the creative process of creation, we give up a part of our creative ability and creative power in order to have an experience of any creation. That is, we become the creation by giving up a part of ourselves. We are both the creator and the creation.
As simply example here. When a man and a woman get married, they create the new experience of marriage. However, each gives up a part of their freedom. The give up being single. If they do not give up that freedom of being single they cannot experience the marriage. Similarly when we agree to become a player in soccer game on the field, we give up the experience of being a spectator or doing something else with our time. So too any creative endeavor. We give up a part of ourselves to have the experience of that creation.
Giving up a part of ourselves to experience a any creation is a very important concept. The key understanding here is we need to be able to call back or reclaim the creative ability and creative power we give away to the existing way of doing business to create a new way. Otherwise, we become stuck in the past. Because we carry memories, often we keep those memories alive and continually rob ourselves of the energy we need for a new creation.
Giving away and calling back our creative ability and creative power is actually a dance. It is a conscious and/or nonconscious dance between what we call the mind and what we call the heart. In essence there are two views of Creation. There is the view of the mind and the view of the heart. To know each, we will need to spend some time exploring each. This aspect is reflected in the discussion entitled, "The Key" and in the discussion on "The two views of Creation."
What needs to be understood about any organization is, since organizations are a collection of people, this dance between heart and mind gets directly translated into the organization. Dealing with these two facets within the organization are reflected in the two complementary topics, "Transforming the Heart of the Organization," and "Transforming the Organization." But to understand these two topics on organizational transformation at the organizational level, it is necessary to first understand the two views of Creation. So, our efforts move to understand these two views and then return as to how they get translated into organizational design, organizational management and organizational dynamics.
Relative to our understanding of these two views of Creation and how they are needed to understand and work with the creative process of Creation we start with a discussion entitled, "The Human Condition as seen from the Creativity Perspective." That is, we are like a eagle desiring to fly but raised with chicken who have no concept of flying. Or, we are like the lion cub raised as a sheep and never know their fully creative potential in learning the creative dance between heart and mind.
In being able to discern these two views within our being to know which is which, we can then begin to work and face the creative process of Creation without becoming distracted by the chaos of creation.
Exactly what any particular individual will need to do relative to learning these two views of Creation and learning the dance between heart and mind depend on the experiences they have had in life. This requires an inner journey that can be only done alone. We can use a guide, but no one can take this journey for us. Here again, what needs to be done is unique to the individual and all we can do is talk in generalities here. But, even when we understand and begin to use these two views, we need to realize we need to shift the perspective of mind. We need to remember the mind that created the problem is not the mind that will solve it. We need to shift our consciousness.
Transforming the mind - a shift in consciousness
To shift our consciousness and what mind perceives in a creative endeavor, we need to create a belief structure and perspective that will allow us to see the solution. Shifting Consciousness is about letting go of our mental paradigms to create a paradigm shift to paradigm to wake up to what we need to do and understand to create that organizational transformation.
What is a paradigm and how do we go about shifting it? A paradigm is simply a way of thinking and perceiving something or how something works. The paradigm we desire to shift towards to transform an organization is a paradigm that we do create our experiences and we are in fact capable of creating our own reality. To create such a paradigm, we need to become aware of how and what think and feel for within what we think and feel lies our creative ability and creative power to make the changes we desire.
The first place we can start to shift our paradigm is to change what we think and believe about what it means to create and creativity.
To create is to bring into existence something not previously seen and experienced. It is to move into the unknown. Here we need to understand the nature of mind and that mind is only a collection of our past experiences. To escape the past and the past way we have done business is to step out of mind. So what does stepping of out of mind look like? Is it to become crazy? Or is it simply to understand the identity we give ourselves is our own creation?
We need to realize that in a different placed and different time, we would have different experiences and we would be different. With a different set of experiences we would perceive ourselves quite differently than who we think and believe we are. We need to claim that flexibility and become it to manage change. If we remain fixed in our thinking we will be unable to make the necessary changes. It is here the concept and understanding that we can shift our identity is the basis of what is called a learning organization.
A learning organization is a conceptual model for an organization in that when we are open to learning and recreating our mind and what we think and believe, we enhances our capacity to create an organization responsive to change. Real learning gets to the core of what it is to be human. It is here is being open to learning we become able to re-create ourselves as in the mythical phoenix. This capacity and ability to learn applies to both individuals and organizations and is essential to shifting our consciousness for a creative endeavor.
When it comes to learning we also need to become aware of whether we are embracing survival/adaptive learning or a type of learning that enhance our capacity to create. Survival learning or adaptive learning is necessary but it is exactly what it says. We learn in order to survive or we learn in order to adapt. Although adaptive and survival learning is important, it is insufficient for creative endeavors. Rather, there must be a creative type learning that is more of a generative type learning in that it generate new creative ideas and possibilities. When it comes to learning we need to become aware of whether we are engaging survival or adaptive learning, which is characteristic of most types and kinds of learning, or a generative learning which creates new and original thoughts. Generative learning is about continuously challenging us to move beyond our mental limits and barriers and to hold our creativity sacred.
To understand our inherent creativity, we need to become aware of the difference between creative ability and creative power. If we have ability without out the power we will be unable to create what we desire. If we have the creative power but lack the ability, again we will be unable to create. Creative ability lies in understanding coupled with mindfulness and awareness. Creative power lies in feeling. Our passion and creativity are integrally connected. We must become excited about what we desire to create. Without some passion, we will not have the energy. To create we need passion and focus a drowning person has for air. The drowning person knows without air they will drown and they will do whatever they need to do to get it. When we have a true passion to create, we know a part of us will die if we cannot act on what we desire to manifest.
Here we need to understand the power of intention and its ability to focus our energy. To create we need to have a single point focus for what we desire. We then need to be prepared to create the space both within and without for our creation to manifest. Without creating the space, there is no room for our creation to grow. We need to empty a part of ourselves within and create the space externally in our life for our creation. Here we are faced with the sacrifice of creation inherent in the creative process for any creative endeavor. Without giving up the old there is no room for the new.
Part of the space we create is related to the environment in which we find ourselves. Whether we realize it or not our environment and our creation are integrally linked. Some environments will not support the creation we desire. Others will allow our creation to flourish. Still other environments will support our creation with proper attending to the true needs of the creation. Here we need to become a gardener and learn how give our creation what it truly needs and not what our mind wants.
The creative leader is aware of these requirements and what they mean both for themselves and for the people within the organization they lead. Here the leader becomes a gardener as much as a leader. Creative leadership is about tapping into and harnessing the creative spirit of those under our leadership
Our creative spirit is an aspect of our being which few are really aware. Most confuse it with the traditional concept of spirit but as said above it somewhat different. Our creative spirit is seen as residing in our heart and symbolized by the heart. Since it is so closely associated with the heart and the passion to live life and engage life many confuse it with our emotions. But, emotions are of the mind and are only the way mind is characterizing what we feel. The flow of energy may be from the heart but our mind interprets it based on its past and the concept of emotions in no way does justice to this creative spirit to the energy it represents.
For example, we say we are in love with a member of the opposite sex but we do not give them what is needed to nourish their true needs. To truly love something is to nourish and supply it true needs. To give what mind wants is not to love. But yet, we will say we are in love when we are only satisfying biological urges. Hence the emotion we call love is of the mind and does not reflect what we are really sensing and perceiving.
Our creative spirit what gives us life and give a passion to live life and engage life. It is seldom seen for what it is. It can be experienced as a spirit within us, or as said above, that flow of energy that give rise to the expression, "being in the flow." The more alive and well it is within our being and its needs are nourish the greater things we can do and accomplish in life. However, if this creative spirit is not nourished, we lose the interest and passion in and for life and for what we do. Sometimes it may even create accident, illness and disease to challenge us to call it forth to become creative and heal ourselves.
Motivation and motivating individuals is a shallow attempt to access and harness this creative spirit for an organization. To truly harness this creative spirit we need to have the desire to act that comes from within the individual align with what the organization desires. Typical motivation approaches and techniques are from the mind and more associated with the old carrot and stick approach. That is we hang a carrot on a stick in the face of our best of burden so the animal pulls our cart trying to get the carrot. Harnessing the creative spirit is about causing a passion to arise from within the individual at act to achieve the organizational goal.
The creative leader needs to learn to harness the creative spirit in a way that it flourishes and grows and does not becomes stifled and stilted. We need to remember, we cannot give what we do not have. If we do not learn to nurture our own creative spirit we will be unable to nurture the creative spirit within others. Hence the work to transform the heart of the organization starts with us and those who are going to guide and manage the transformation. As we being to learn to nurture the creative spirit within us and with those under our leadership we will being to see "Am I doing the right things?" will become more important than "Am I doing things right?" This is a very important. Distinction. It is here in the difference in these two statements which allows us to bring a new creation into existence. We can not be bound by what we think is correct. Rather we will do what the creation needs to grow and unfold. Effectiveness is our the measure of truth. We look to see how effective we are at accomplishing what we desire and simultaneously nourish the creative spirit of all those involved in the activity.
Transforming ourselves to transform an organization
To change or transformation an organization, we need to become aware of what the organization thinks and feels. We may not be aware of the thinking and feeling of an organization but we only need to step back and look. Most refer to these aspects of the organization as its culture. When an individual become a member of the organization, they change who and what they are and how they think to fit in and become a working part of that organization.
Changing the heart of an organization depends on transforming the very thing that is at the heart of the organization, that itís the heart and mind of it people. But, to get at the heart and mind of the individual we must first break through the organizational culture to find what the individual really thinks and believe to see what gives them the passion to operate in the organization. Is the individual motivated by passion for the organizational mission, desire for a paycheck to survive in life, or something totally different. Here we begin to look at how individuals try to satisfy personal issues at the expense of the organization and how others try to solve organizational issues at the expense of the person. Here is one of the many dances we need to learn to do. The dance between the individual needs and the organizational needs. Ideally, what the mission of the organization requires is fully in line with what we desire to do and create with our life. When they are not in align there will be a discomfort if not pain within our being. Some may even be lead to numb the pain in an addiction or in and addictive behavior.
In the end, all these question can only be addressed if we know how to address them within ourselves. Transforming the heart of an organizations start with knowing how to both shift our consciousness and transform our heart. However, more often than not, we donít really need to transform our heart. Rather, we need to change the programming and beliefs about what lies in the heart and which encase the heart. The programming and beliefs lie in our mind and we need work on what mind thinks and believes.
In understanding this, we can see a process unfolding. There is need of a personal mastery of our own mind and heart. Then with that mastery, we create a model or set of beliefs that will empower us and our organization to create what is desires. We need to give some time to both give the members of the organization time to explore what lies around their heart abut the organization and motivation them and use our understanding of manifesting a creative endeavor to build a shared vision where each can learn to align their passion with the desires of the organization.
With a shared vision we can then begin to learn to work as a team where each individual has a role and responsibilities. Here each individual needs to realize two things. One is each individual in the organization is important. People are our most valuable resource and each has the ability to impact the structure and system of which they are apart. The can impact the structure and system constructively, destructively, but most important obstructively.
All organization look to reward individuals who constructively support the organization, its systems and it structure. Performance appraisals tend to be built on them. Similarly, most organizations have a way to punishing if not removing individuals who impact the organization destructively. However, few organization are aware of individual who obstruct the organization and the flow of the organization. Individual can consciously or nonconsciously obstruct an organization.
It is here the passion, motivation and desires of the individual become very important. When individuals are motivated they work to keep things flowing. They can be motivate for many particular reasons but they will not obstruct the flow. Those who obstruct the flow more often than not have some how severed relationship between what their creative spirit desires and what they are being asked to do in the organization and/or what they think about the organization. They lack the inner passion and motivation to do what is asked. Transforming an organization pays little to no attention to those who obstruct an organization. Transforming the heart of an organization deals directly with this aspect of the work place.
One way to address the issue of obstructive individuals is learning to understand and use what is called systems thinking. Systems thinking is to see how each individual piece contributes to the whole. It is to move from seeing individual parts or pieces to seeing and whole integrated process. It is to help each individual see how their role contributes and is necessary to the whole and how or why the organization is impacted when they fail to do their job. The goal of systems thinking is to help the individual understand they are shaping the reality of the organization of which they are a part and they can make the workplace a better place to work or one that make it unpleasant for all.
Personal mastery in leading a creative endeavor
Personal mastery relative to a creative endeavor and visionary leadership has two key components. One is the ability to have vision and hold a vision and maintain a single point focus. The other is to hold the creative tension between the current reality and the new reality the vision will create.
In leading a creative endeavor, the one who has the vision is the one who will need to guide and reassure others as the organization experiences the sacrifice of creation, the chaos of creation, and the creative tension between the destruction of the old and the unfoldment of the new. The leader of a transformation needs to be able to reassure the individuals as to the future and their new role in the new organization. Additionally, as these are experienced the creative leader retains some semblance of a calm in the storm of transition.
To have vision and hold the focus through the chaos and a place of calmness in the storm of transition, one will need to be able to navigate from the heart and from a deep inner knowing. If we reside in mind, we will pulled deeper into the chaos of creation for the mind is holding to the past. However, if our focus resides in the heart in holding a vision surrendering to the flow to "be in the flow," we will find a deep calmness and inner satisfaction. That calmness and inner satisfaction will permeate out from us into the organization.
But this ability to hold the vision and manage the creative tension, we need to call back our creative power. We need to become aware of to whom or what we have given it and how we have given away our creative ability and creative power. Here we must learn to hold our creativity sacred and see how we have given it away and why. If we donít understand why we have given it away, we will give it away again. However, relative to Organizational Creativity, many managers still hold response patterns to life, beliefs structures and patterns of think that they developed as child or teenagers that rob us of our power. We need to see if our ego is able to serves us and what we desire to create or is it controlling us and our response to life. We need to make our ego an asset to our transformation and not a hindrance.
Calling back our creative power is about taking an inner journey to explore the nature of our own truth and understand how we do or do not live our truth in the world. In general there is nothing wrong with compromising our truth if we know we are compromise it and why we do so. However, most have learned to compromise their truth to fit into their world and become acceptable but have no awareness they are compromising their truth. Those who rebel against the world more often than not also deny their truth in reacting to the external world rather than become proactive.
To live our truth and be in the world is not about rebellion. It is more about understanding there is a left hand path that is just different than the accepted way others want or expect us to be. The challenge to our creativity is to be true to ourselves yet find a way to fit in and meet the needs of the world without compromising our truth. In many ways learning to be in the flow as we move through the external world to manifest our desired creation is to follow a left hand path. Few are able to be in the flow in what they do. Most move forward at the urging of the mind rather than the heart. When we act and are in the flow we are energized by what we do. We when act and are not in the flow but act at the urging of mind, we become tired, depressed, frustrated, anger and simply wear ourselves out.
Learning and becoming our own truth is not about rebelling against society. It is about learning to become committed to our own truth and to navigate through society in a way that allows us to not confine our creative spirit and creativity to a cage of our own making. It is about doing a dance between our inner world and our external world balancing the need for both. If we do not do that inner work, we will be unable to hold the vision and creative tension. Rather we will be pulled by our mind back into the past and thwart our own creative efforts.
In guiding a creative endeavor, we need to be committed to the truth of what is the best we can understand it and comprehend it rather than what we think or would like to see. What we think and would like to see is of the mind and holds us to the past. In look to see the truth of what is, we are pulled out of our beliefs and our ego. Here again, to not lose focus, we need to learn to navigate from the heart and where the flow of energy of the unfolding creation is going. We need to learn to sense the flow to "be in the flow."
We need to consider the fact that truth is independent of time, place and the people. It does not depend on any given individual. We need to understand there is a personal truth, a collective truth and the truth of reality. One way to help determined truth is have different individuals look at the same situation and ensure that each of those who look do not share the same mind set or perspective. The more diverse the perspective of the individuals observing, the greater the ability to see the truth of what is. As a leader in a creative endeavor, it is wise to find a set of individuals that can be used to discuss and see the truth of what is relative to the creative endeavor we undertake. However, we need to be very careful about mind set and a shared perspective which blinds us and a group as to the truth really is.
Relative to holding a vision, we need to understand that vision and our creative imagination which gives us our vision is the door way to the unseen aspects of Creation. Here again, seeking to know truth is very important if not essential. What is true in our creative imagination is not always possible in the world in which we find ourselves. It is not that what we desire to create is impossible but our environment many not support what we desire. We need to know the truth of our environment to know if we can or cannot manifest our vision. In some cases, we may also have to recreate our environment to manifest our visions. For example, individuals had a dream of flying for many years. But, until an engine was found that could sufficiently propel the aircraft, flight was not possible. The environment where the sufficient powerful engine existed needed to be created before heavier than air flight could occur.
So too we will find in our creative endeavors. We, as a vision holder, need to become aware of what is, and is not, possible and how the environment does and does not support what is desired. We cannot live in the illusion of our mind yet we need to become aware of the creative possibilities available in the creative imagination that are interpreted by our mind. Here it is recommended we lean to explore what is available in our creative imagination and see how our intuitive guidance does or does not accurately provided information. In understand this we become must more attune to what can or can not be manifested.
If we have not learned to use our intuitive guidance, we will need to learn to use it for our creative endeavor. Here again, mind does not have the experience to carry us through the unknown to manifest a creative endeavor. However, aligning with the flow allows us to safely transit the unknown. As a result of how our intuitive guidance works and develops its insights, it functions as a bridge between following the flow we feel and sense and our mind. As we gain the minimum set of experience to manifest what we desire, our intuitive guidance will become more and more accurate until what mind know is sufficient. The more our intuitive guidance is in error at interpreting what we feel is an indication as to how far our mind is out of alignment with what mind needs to know for the new world we desire to create. The accuracy of our intuitive guidance is a pretty good indicator of how much we need to yet learn relative to any creative endeavor. The greater the accuracy, the less we need to learn. The greater the error the more we need to learn.
In looking to find or explore vision, some go off and explore vision in a vision quest alone and in isolation. Other simply actively engage in creative activities such as creating a life map to see what their inner world is communicating. In any case, we need to understand we each have an inner language and we need to learn it symbolism and the way it communicates to us. We need to realize each or our inner languages are unique. The symbols our inner world uses may or may not be like any other. There are some classic archetypes such as those discussed by Jung or other psychologist that are shared across humanity. However, we each are unique and we cannot necessarily use generic interpretation or an interpretation supplied by another. We need to learn to work with our own inner world. Yet, in doing this exploration we will have a great inner calmness and inner satisfaction to guide others through any creative endeavor and transition of organizational change.
In doing such inner work, we may find that we are faced what has been called the Dark Night of the Soul and it associated phenomenon called the Kundaline rising. That is, working through all of the programming we have received in life to understand our own truth and how our inner world works can be very difficult if not frightening for some. Traditionally in the Western mystical literature it is called the Dark Night of the Soul and is representative of the stripping away of the ego. However, on the other side, as the programming is stripped away, there is a great freedom and rush of energy that enthuses our entire being. This facet of the inner journey has been called the Kundaline Rising in the Eastern mystical literature. Yet both are related to the same aspect of the creative process but experienced different simply because of how mind is interpreting what we experience based on what we have come to believe.
Doing the inner work described here is important for another reason. It is related to the role of the ego in the organization. Our ego is a creation of our past and the ego is extremely reluctant to change. Quite simply it fears death and any change that implies its death in anyway. To move into a creative endeavor, the ego must change in come way. We should not be surprise if fears arise in a creative endeavor. The more our ego is attached to our identity in the organization the more difficult it will be to guide or lead a transformation. We must create a malleable ego and know we are the mythical phoenix for the leader of any transition will have to change their role as the transition unfolds. If we lock ourselves into any given identity, we will be unable to manage the change that is required.
If we hold to our ego, we will try and use what resources we have at our disposal in the organization to protect that ego. If we are willing to let our ego go and know we can accordingly transform ourselves, we free up both our energy and the resources of the organization to manage the change. Doing the inner work to understand how our inner world communicates to us will transform our ego. Our ego will be amazed as to what our inner world can and will communicate to us. That, in itself, will help to transform the ego and give us the ability to transform it as we need.
One of the overall benefits of creating a personal mastery is that we will learn to nourish our true needs. In learning to nourish our true needs we will learn to nourish the true need of other and the organization. We cannot give what we do not have. Until we see what different there is in the life and performance of an individual as their true needs are met, we will not understand how powerfully a single individual can impact an organization positively or negatively. In this realization we can see how to structure the organization to both achieve optimum performance of its individual and achieve the desired mission. We will find a way to both harness the creative spirit of each individual while simultaneously helping to nourish its needs.
Creating a mental model
The discipline of creating a mental model (for example, a model or idea about how we think Creation works) is about turning our focus inward; learning to unearth our internal pictures of the world and our organization, to bring them to the surface and hold what we believe rigorously to scrutiny. In doing this exploration of mind, we need to become aware of the nature of mind and how it is only a collection of the experiences we have had. Because we only know our own past, we need to become aware of the assumptions we make about the situation we face. Some of these assumptions lie very deep within our belief structure and have great influence on our life. Other assumptions have influence only in certain situations.
Looking at assumptions go well beyond what we think and believe. They also are related to what we allow ourselves to "buy into" in our life. In looking at our assumption and who we allow ourselves to follow, often we are lead back to early childhood experiences. In particular, we need to face our response as to how we have been taught to follow the direction of other and the expense of our own truth. Additionally there are many things we believe about life, Creation, how our world works and the like that are incorrect or are in error. Some of these have been formed with the mind of a child before we had all the information on a subject or obtained a developed mind to properly understand what we had experienced or been taught. We need to remember, the brain which interprets what the body experience is not fully matured until late into the teenage years. Perceptions form early in life are not necessary a correct interpretation about what we experience. We we may need to go back and revisit our interpretations.
As we begin to pull together our internal picture of the world we may find will need to begin to face our dark side. Facing our dark side is the realization that whatever judgment we hold about anything we have its opposite lies within our being. If, and when, we desire to change our mind and remove such judgments and biases, we need to be willing to bring forth that dark side which allows for our bias. We then need to allow the bias and its dark side to annihilate each other. Often this annihilation is the realization of the old adage, "There but for the grace of God go I." That is, it is the realization that given the correct circumstances we could become exactly what we judge. In such a realization our judgment turns to compassion and understanding.
Here we begin to face the pain of our truth denied. We begin to see that the judgment we hold are not of us but our programming and what we have been lead to believe for one reason or another. We begin to see how we have denied our truth because of the judgments we hold. If we tell our story about our life in such an awareness we will begin to see our life from a different perspective. We will begin to see there are others interpretations to our life if we are open to seeing them.
In this realization of multiple interpretation to our life, we can become more open to see a better way to understand what the individuals are facing in an organizational transformation. We can see how any judgment they may have or make about what is occurring the opposite resides in their dark side. In creating the correct conditions, we can create the space for them to see both side to what is occurring and see the transition from a different point of view.
Building a shared vision
Building a shared vision is much more than getting individuals to agree. A shared vision allows for individual to operate toward a common end with little communication. The reason for this is the vision itself provides the path an individual needs to follow. Knowing their role, they can "see" what it is they need to do. It is in this way the pieces can add to a sum greater than any individual part for each piece is integrally linked through the shared vision.
In building a shared vision we need to understand, we each are a world unto ourselves. No one has our experiences and our perception. To build a shared vision, we need to create a sufficient number of shared experiences, facts, understanding, concepts and the like such that we can come to the same realization as to where the change need to go. However, this is much more difficult than one may first think. Creating a shared vision is to move past any letter of the law or spoken word and looks to what gives rise to what is being written or the worlds that are being used. It is to look at the energy that is being characterized. It is to look to the spirit of what needs to be done and what each needs to become to create the new organization. A shared vision works with guidelines versus rules, laws and regulations.
It is not about enrolling individuals to participate in a common task or simply making a contribution to an effort. Rather it is about making a commitment to an effort. Analogously, the chicken makes a contribution to breakfast with an egg. The pig make a commitment with the ham. The pig becomes the breakfast. Similarly, we must become the vision or at least a part of us becomes the vision. The key in a shared vision is that the commitment comes from the heart of the individual where as a contribution comes from the mind. In a commitment, we give our life and a part of our being to the effort. A part of us must die and be transformed to become open to the vision.
One of the easiest ways to begin to create a shared vision is to see how the individuals in a group perceive a common energy. There is a true interpretation of what is and then there is our perception. In seeing how a common shared energy is perceive the individuals can begin to understand how each of them will need to change to move toward the truth of the situation. Within this discussion there is the freedom and the ability to carry on Ďmeaningfulí conversations that balance inquiry and advocacy. Each individual is free to expose their own thinking effectively and make that thinking open to the influence of others.
In building a shared vision, it needs to be realized that sacrificing for the good of the all is not building a shared vision. A shared vision allows the creative spirit within each of the individuals to flourish. With a shared vision any of the involved individual do not become less in any way. Rather the creative spirit within each individual is nourished by the shared vision.
Creating a team and looking at the whole
Creating the organization as a team requires each individual to look at the whole picture. It is about seeing the big picture and what occurs in the context of the whole rather than individual parts. It is about helping each individual to develop the ability to see the forest in spite of the tree standing in the way. It is to remember the bigger picture and keeping the end in mind for all that is done. In understanding the bigger picture roles and responsibilities are able to adapt to new roles as change occurs
In a team, each individual needs to understand the role they play. But they also need to understand the role they play in the larger organizational process and how the role they play and role of others interact and depend on our role. In fact, it could be said, a truly functional team cannot exist unless there is an understanding of the bigger picture for each of the member by each of the members.
Creating a team is not about creating a group of individuals with a fixed mind set. Rather, it is about creating a group of individual that look at what needs to be done in the context of their role and the bigger picture and each is free to tell the truth as they see it. In this regard, the individuals are free to think and look at options without the feeling there is any penalty in expressing their truth. There is the realization, of course, they are speaking from their perspective and their role. But they, as do the others, also realizing their role and perspective is important and unique. No one else on the team has their perspective. A team allows for a true dialog where ideas and shared and not dictated.
With in a team the learning which occurs is a team learning in the context of the whole. Individual learning and thinking is overlaid with keeping the end in mind and the concept of the role in which the individual serves. Within a team the ego is willing to surrender to the role the needs to be played. If there is a shared vision or the involvement what is done comes from the heart. There is no sacrifice in surrendering to the team and there is a passion to do what is required.
The leader or manager of such a team there has the realization that as a chain is a strong as it weakest link and their team is only as strong at it weakest member. If any given member was not needed they would not be there. If their function is not properly performed the whole team suffers. In this regard, discipline in the form of some punishment is not how the team deal with poor performance. Rather, there is the desire to understand and correct the reason which gives rise to the poor performance. Here again, the poor performance is seen in the context of a system and whether or not the system is setting up an individual to perform poorly. That is, give the individual a role but deny them the tools to perform that role.
Within the team and system thinking there is the awareness that all accidents and all performance issues have precursors. There are indicators or precursors for every fortunate or unfortunate event which reveals where the system is breaking down in some way for some reason. When individual are passionate and motivated about what they do they are mindful and aware of precursors. They will catch the precursors long before they become an accident or performance issue.
Within a team individual look at the pattern of what is occurring and do not focus on snap shots. A team look to see the cause effect chain back to the root of any discrepancy that is found. There is the desire to fix the root cause rather than seek some "quick fix" or inadequate fix that allows for the problem to return. But to look at the pattern to track the cause effect chain someone must always be looking, being mindful and being aware as to what is needed.
To always be looking, being mindful and being aware of what is need is not about and real time inspection program. Rather it is about each individual within the team being mindful and aware of what is being required and they ensure the requirements are met. There are feedback loops that can be created for any aspect of an organizationís performance to ensure a health, safety, quality and efficient and effective performance. With motivated individuals such performance is a natural byproduct and there is no need to regulate it through a formalized program. But, each individual needs to be able to perform their job.
The challenge we face is how to put this all into practice. This effort starts with us as an individual. As we do what needs to be done for us to become a creative leader, and if we are willing to do what is necessary to lead a creative endeavor in an organization, the rest will follow. We will know what to do.
We start this process by looking at what we desire to create in, and with, our life and to keep the end in mind to help create a single point focus as to what we desire to create. When all is said and done, we need to understand what do we want said about our actions in life? Whether it be when we leave our life, as in our death, or live an organization as in retirement, what do we want our eulogy to be?
To start this inner journey of becoming a creative leader, it is recommended we look at our eulogy and then pull the string as to why we want the eulogy. We need to look at what we want said about us when we leave the organization or life and why we want said what we do. That will tell us how much work we are really willing to do to transform the organization. If we are willing to look at the larger perspective and look at the eulogy for our life we can then see how our time in the organizational fits into the overall picture of our life. In do so, we then take the first set to being able to transform the heart of the organization. Whatever we do is our choice and the world will be different depending on however we choose.
The recommendation is to look at the eulogies we desire to have said both at the end of or organizational life and for our physical life. Then armed with that information look to create a mission statement for our life and begin the worksheet for getting started to become a visionary leader.