Friday, August 24, 2007

Am I willing to reclaim time to think?

This is a question Margaret Wheatley poses in her book Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope for the Future. The following is an excerpt following this question.

“Thinking is not inaction. When people can think and notice what’s going on, we develop ideas that we hope will improve our lives. As soon as we discover something that might work, we act. When the ideas mean something to us, the distance between thinking and acting dissolves. People don’t hesitate to get started. They don’t sit around figuring out the risks or waiting until someone else develops an implementation strategy. They just start doing. If the action doesn’t work, they try something different.

This might sound strange to you, because many of us deal with governments and organizations that can’t implement anything. It’s true for all bureaucracies - there’s a huge gap between ideas and actions. But this is because people don’t care about the ideas. They didn’t invent them, they know they won’t really change anything, and they won’t take risks for something they don’t believe in. But when it’s our idea, and it might truly benefit our lives, then we act immediately on any promising notion.”

What do you think?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Teaching and Trust

Reflections on the Teacher Archetype in The Four-Fold Way: Walking the Paths of the Warrior, Teacher, Healer and Visionary by Angeles Arrien, Ph.D.

The definition of health for many shamanic traditions is the equal expression of these archetypes in each person. In this book, Dr. Arrien describes how to develop these four archetypes within ourselves.

“The Teacher has wisdom, teaches trust, and understands the need for detachment.” Trust is an essential ingredient for learning. Learning how to be comfortable with uncertainty is necessary to learn and practice trust. And it can’t be learned from someone who does not practice it. The do what I say and not what I do approach does not work for teaching or learning trust. There are people who think learning results from telling someone something. Maybe in the short term that works, but for someone to learn to be self directed, they need to learn much more than how to listen to others give direction or answers. Control is often seen as something that a leader, teacher, or manager gives up or needs to give up. In reality, it is often only the illusion of control that needs to be given up. Very rarely (if ever) does someone really have control over a situation, person, or group.

Dr. Arrien states that the opposite of trust is “trying to control the uncontrollable – clearly an impossible task” And yet, this is what we are often under the delusion that we are able to and in fact are doing. Suppression is not the same thing as control. Saying that someone has control over things or others is often not the reality, but the result of people giving up. Becoming resigned to things the way they are is often a result of suppression. Letting go of resignation, now that is something that requires trust.

A few of the suggestions she has for developing the inner teacher:

• Practice sitting meditation,
• Consciously make each day a focus for practicing wisdom, ask yourself how objective can I remain?
• Explore - who have been significant teachers in your life? Who were sources of inspiration? Who have you been a teacher for?

What do you think?

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Guest Post - Generative Strategic Planning

Click on the title to download a pdf of this article.