Chautuaqua is named after a lake in New York state. Native Americans used to gather in tents pitched on the shore each summer to teach and learn from each other. The Meta Network is an online community of organisation development people. Every month or so they invite an author to host a "Chautauqua" session in an online version of the Native American tradition. In June 97, Lisa Kimball, a founder and organiser of The Meta Network invited Tony Page to host a Chatauqua session. It produced 120 postings during the month long on-line dialogue covering diary method, reflective learning, personal and organisational and change.


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  You are Tony Page

Tony Page's Diary of a Change Agent

  Item 39  01-JUN-97 12:35 Lisa Kimball
This month, I'm really looking forward to our Chautauqua with Tony Page, author of:

Diary of a Change Agent (Gower, 1996)

Tony's is a very unusual and personal book. It's about consulting, it's about change, it's about reflection and learning, it's about creating value, it's about relationships ... I suspect that it ends up being "about" what each reader is strugggling with in their own practice because the book invites the reader's personal reflection.

The form of the book is that of a diary with entries and reflections over a three-year period. One of my favorite aspects is that these entries are sprinkled with hand-drawn illustrations which made the entries seem very alive to me.

"I started making dialy entries on my laptop in January, 1993. Soon I found myself recording quite remarkable events that might previously have passed in the background, almost below consciousness. The diary quite quickly began to give me a greater sense of control and confidence. I suppose this was why I kept it going. From time to time I would look back at earlier entries and notice themes or patterns in my behaviour. I also started to notice moodes. I noticed how a mood of optimism or pessimism could colour everything and how long the mood would endure. I found that once I expressed worries and concerns in the diary, I often became free of them. Those that persisted I could sort of interrogate, find their roots and then identify some positive actions or intentions that would propel me forward, out of my previous sense of 'stuckness'. I noticed how there is a spill-over from home life into work and vice-versa." - Tony Page (page 8)

You can get a sense of Tony's ideas about change in an article called "Consulting With the Flow"linked to Tony's home page.



  39:1) 01-JUN-97 12:51 Lisa Kimball
 

Thanks for joining us here, Tony!  

I want to spend some time talking with you about change, and consulting,
and many of the other themes from your book.  

But, to start with, I want to talk with you about the diary process which
seems to have been so rich.  

Had you kept journals previously?  Are you still keeping a diary?  What
was the balance between writing entries for yourself (that perhaps only
you would understand) and writing something that could be shared?  How
did you deal with being so vulnerable and exposed to colleagues and
clients?  

 


  39:2) 02-JUN-97 3:44 Tony Page
Edit
First of all Hello! Lisa and to anyone who joins in this dialogue.  

It's a sunny Monday morning in Hampton Wick, South West London. I'm
sitting in my home based office. My son is about to leave for school. And
I'm taking a few minutes before I start work to start this Chautauqua.  

Hope to return again a little later today to continue, then I'm in
Edinburgh, Scotland for 2 days where I'll try to continue from my hotel
room.  

Thanks for your intro Lisa and for the questions.  

Have I kept a journal before? When I was 18, in the summer I left school
I was amongst a group of four lads who drove round France, Italy,
Switzerland in a wreck of a car. One of us, Mick, brought a little red
book which he started using a a record of where we went, who we met, how
we were getting along with one another, the general mood. Quite soon it
extended from Mick to the rest of us and we were each taking turns
writing the journal. One of us seemed constantly to be sleeping,
uncommunicative, or in a bad mood, but he joined in with the journal, and
it freed things up a little.  

I kept a jouranl briefly at another point in 1988 when I was leaving PA
Consulting and going independent. This was a difficult time, a
rebalancing of life. I was trying to work less and be more present at
home with Helen my wife and my one year old son. I was also trying to
start up a business.
So this was both about regaining distance, perspective, and about fiding
energy for personal change/development.  

Yes, I still keep a diary. I do not do it every day now but as the need
strikes me, perhaps a couple of times a week. I donwload my thoughts and
feelings into my Psion, a palmtop computer. This helps me get centred,
clear of distractions. It is also a creative space where I find and
capture solutions to those problems that are incubating, below
consciousness. Every month I print off the diary and review it. I still
get surprised by the review: how much has happened, what a distance has
been travelled!  

These entries have been for me not for others. Writing the book Diary of
a Change Agent required editing, providing some explanations and
exercises to make the content and the method interesting, accessible,
engaging to others.  

I'll come back to the vulnerability question.  

I would be interested to hear from other people who have used a
diary/journal method and what their experiences have been. I am really
keen to explore these themes with others so if you're reading this please
join in!


  39:3) 02-JUN-97 9:26 Tony Page
Edit
Before I catch my plane, I wanted to respond to your questions Lisa about
vulnerability.  

I think for me vulnerability is an important part of the learning. For
years I became expert at being objective, emotionally detached and
invulnerable. What I have been seeking are ways of being present,
AUTHENTIC, more fully engaged, communicating more deeply and therefore
more powerfully with the client.  

I have received a lot of support, (but not 100%!) following publication
from clients and colleagues. This has helped to diminish my sense of
vulnerability. I have been invited to lead various public events (talks,
workshops and a couple of conference keynote slots). Published reviews
include "unputdownable", "best book I read in 1996" etc.  

Now what about the downside? One client whose support I expected said
"but I don't understand why you wrote it!" and "it's not the kind of book
I like to read". Some people have said they wished they had written it
first. But I have no way of knowing what most people think.  

At first I did feel very vulnerable but less so now. I feel with
hindsight it was something I NEEDED to write and publish.  

I also felt it was needed by the profession. Plenty of theory has been
written - this book is about the real, tough practice of learning deeply,
of double looping (Argyris), of seeking to build emotional intelligence
(Goleman), personal mastery (Senge) or whatever you like to call it. You
can't do this stuff without making yourself vulnerable can you?  

Do others share the view that vulnerability is part and parcel of opening
yourself to learning???  

Hoping some of you can engage with this thread. I'm off to catch my plane
now. Back on Wednesday. Byeeee!


  39:4) 02-JUN-97 12:20 Amy Eunice, MDG
Hello Tony! I am intrigued by the concept of your book. I'm glad that you
are addressing the vulnerability issue. My immediate reaction of a
journal is that yes, it is a personal journey that could expose a risk
for vulnerability. That is exactly why I am impressed with your idea to
turn this style of writing into a practical book for professional growth.  

When I think about writing a journal, I associate it with two types of
experiences. One, as you described by your trip abroad, would be a
journey that is especially noteworthy that you expect to be a positive
experience and you further expect that you will want to revisit it
throughout your life.  

The other experience is one when you are going through a difficult
experience and the journal is used as a coping mechanism. I have kept a
journal at two times during my life. One was a trip to Nicaragua where I
was a delegate to a confererence with a sister city project that I was
involved in. And the other was in high school which was initiated by my
parents separation. Both experiences, in different ways, have had
implications for me that have hindered my desire to keep a journal again.  

Anyone that has kept a personal journal usually benefits from doing so. I
just never thought of doing one professionally--I see why people have
said that they wish they had thought of it!!  

My question to you is, how do you think the introduction of technology
such as computer conferencing as we are doing here will play a role in
professional journaling? It seems to me that by participating in online
conferences, we are keeping a journal possibly without even meaning to do
so. I sometimes have a reaction of vulnerability when I write a response
in an online conference that I don't seem to have when speaking face to
face to a group. Do others?


  39:5) 02-JUN-97 14:17 Diana Wright
I have found that since I have been on-line, my journal has mostly come
from very intimate sharing with one person or another in times of great
stress, and it is always with a person whom I can trust to question me.  

I kept a diary during my husband's illness, and for the few months after
his death.  I edited it for publication, and while no one seemed to want
to publish it, a large number of people found it helpful.  A couple of
Hospice groups used it in their training programs, a hospital chaplain in
Illinois uses it with it people, an analyst here in DC uses it with some
of her clients.


  39:6) 02-JUN-97 18:10 Abby Baker, MDG
Hi Tony! Lisa came up with the great idea of offering your book through
our new association with Amazon Books, the world's biggest bookstore!  

I have just built a Chautuaqua Guest Bookstore, which we hope will grow
in coming months, and you are the first author in there. Clicking on the
picture of Diary of a Change agent takes you to the Amazon site where you
can purchase a copy. They are very reliable.  

So, please check out the Bookstore at http://www.tmn.com/books/  

 


  39:7) 02-JUN-97 23:05 Lisa Kimball
Diana's comment about the benefit from being questioned by a trusted other and Amy's mention of online journaling are interesting in the context of diary-keeping since we usually think of it as solitary. A passage at the beginning of the book talks about the diary as a conversation with self ... nourished by all the conversations with other people going on at the same time.

"As I write this, I'm aware that the diary activity sounds lonely and isolated. I actually found it a brief and pleasant interlude in a busy and gregarious life. My dialouge with the diary helped me to take in and transform many pressures and problems that life throws up, instead of ignoring them. It also added a positive stimulus and productive direction to life. Through the diary-based learning, I felt less fixed in my viewpoint, freed from some of my prejudices and able to see reality more clearly with all its inherent complexity and contraditions. It was like a heightened awareness." - p. 9

Does the process of writing put you in a relationship with yourself ... perhaps your inner self ... which you don't have when simply "thinking" about what's happened in the course of the day?



  39:8) 04-JUN-97 18:00 Antony Coyle
It's great to join you here Tony.
I believe the process of writing  can put you in a special kind of
relationship with yourself if you will only allow this to happen.First
off,I find that I have to concentrate to get the right voice,to get my
inner and deeper voice and to give that expression rather than the more
superficial and transient voice that first picks up the pen.Second,I have
to get through and beyond the scorekeeper,competitive part of me that
just wants to judge the experience-successful or unsuccessful,right or
wrong-and move on,almost without attending to the content of the
experience.And so on until I slow down and really pay attention to me and
to the content of my experience.
What is so powerful about Tony's book is this quality of attention and
the naming of the dilemmas that underlie the phenomenal world of
experience.I know this at first hand as I was working with you Tony
throughout this period.Indeed,I was possibly the source of more than one
of your dilemmas during this time!
I hope at some point we may get into some of the theory of the book as it
relates to becoming more and more reflective as a practitioner?
  39:9) 05-JUN-97 5:14 Tony Page
Edit
Hello again. It's Thursday morning. I'm back from Scotland and delighted
to find a dialogue is already starting...  

Amy - thanks for your comments. I appreciate the 2 different experiences
of a journal you describe. In your second use, coping with a difficult
experience, you describe how keeping the journal somehow got mixed in
with the distressing experience itself, hindering your desire to continue
with a potentially useful practice.  

A pity...but I think I can understand your feeling...from my own
experience I know how profoundly distressing events like
separation/divorce/death that can colour all of the other experiences
that surround them.  

Coming now to your question. YES I had not thought of it this way before
but computer conferencing is a sort of dialogue, a sort of social form of
journaling, a means of finding our deeper values, assumptions and
beliefs, and opening them to others, to question and allow them to
evolve, in other words, a means of DEEP LEARNING.  

And as in the personal journal, there is a record left behind us that we
can return to and review/reflect and learn again. My friend and mentor
Garth taught me the value of REFLECTING ON YOUR REFLECTIONS to access a
deeper learning.  

And YES again to the point about vulnerability. In a face to face
dialogue we make gradual advances in candour according to the other
person's reactions. There is a sort if INCHING FORWARD towards deeper,
authentic exchanges of truth, meaning.  

When we're online we are engaged in a similar process, but robbed of the
real time encouraging cues from the other person. So we take a risk, we
speed things up, we offer up what is meaning and truth for us, but
without the benefit of gradual encouragement and reciprocation from the
other person(s).  

So we are vulnerable, risking rejection/disapproval from others in the
online conference. Have you noticed sometimes online, when a person's
comments are not valued, or are met with hostility, how the dialogue
stops, the person withdraws, or if the contact continues it is at a more
superficial level, adversarial debate, fisticuffs, attack/defend.  

Robbed of non-verbals, like many others I am still learning how to
communicate and learn with others online.  

Thanks for your thoughts Amy. Now for my question to you and others.
Would you like to share any more about how you cope with the
vulnerability, and how you get the best out of online
dialoguing/journaling/learning?


  39:10) 05-JUN-97 6:09 Tony Page
Edit
Hello Diana! and others  

I just wrote you something but it got lost in the process of posting so I
wonder if we'll see this twice?  

Thanks for your input and Lisa for your response with well-chosen book
excerpt.  

Diana, I am pleased your diary is proving helpful to hospices and to that
analyst. Helen my wife went through the death of her sister last year and
I know it is tough to find a way to reach people who are going through
bereavement. I suspect your diary is helping people greatly to understand
and release their overwhelming and confusing feelings, coming to terms
with what is happening.  

Lisa, on the question of inner self, Vincent Hill a psychosynthesis
(Assagioli) therapist made contact with me recently after reading Diary
of a Change Agent. He spoke about higher self, or Self watching self. He
said cultivation of Self throughout life can be greatly enhanced by diary
keeping. He also said that not everyone is interested in such a
developmental journey, some preferring to ground themselves totally in
the pragmatic details of their daily lives.  

I tend to think of it like this. That inner self is not fixed but
emergent from the INTERPLAY between what's there already and what life
is offering up. Happiness, proactivity, authenticity, personal
powerfulness and leadership can all be enhanced and developed by allowing
that interplay to occur through reflection.  

Some people seem to accept this without difficulty, whereas others feel
uncomfortable with reflection, or look on it critically. I sometimes
sense that it is OK to be extravert, working and networking all the time
with others. BUT that it is NOT-OK to be devoting time to reflection.  

Paradoxically, instead of reflection leading to self-obsession, I find
that it reminds me of the importance of being OTHER-CENTRED and achieving
a healthy balance between reflection and connecting with others.  

I would be interested in your views (Amy, Diana, Lisa, Abby, Tony,
others?) on this questions of OKness.  


  39:11) 05-JUN-97 7:26 Tony Page
Edit
Abby. Hello!  

I checked out the Chautauqua Guest Bookstore and I love it! It's great
that you were able to put the book cover there, and to make it into an
Amazon button. Thank you.  

Tony Coyle! Hi Tony!  

I'm pleased you have joined us. I was thinking of EMailing you to invite
you in, but no need now. Yes, as my CLIENT, you were the source of
several dilemmas (!) and you helped me with several others. Our work
together was helping me to find and trust my voice as a CONSULTANT.  

Your comments on finding the inner, deeper VOICE are interesting: getting
past those distracting voices. I also recognise the scorekeeper voice in
myself and I still find it hard at times to get beyond it!  

I'm  interested in your question about becoming more and more reflective
as a practitioner. Tony, are there some specific parts of the book where
the theory of this becomes clear?  

Just for now, I'd like to share a few thoughts on becoming more
reflective. When learning 3 years ago to meditate I was quite blocked by
the question "AM I DOING IT RIGHT?". Seeking that special relationship
with yourself through writing, or becoming more reflective as a
practitioner, may not be very different.  

I used a simple EXERCISE at some recent talks and workshops, that offers
a here and now experience of reflecting. It focuses on 2 simple questions:
1. What's going on in your life today?
2. How do you feel about it?
You get 5 minutes individually, followed by a 5 minute discussion in
pairs using 2 different questions:
3. What was most memorable about the last exercise?
4. What, if anything, have you learned from it?  

The silence for the first 5 minutes can be tense for me: typically I am
anxious, wondering how people are taking the exercise. Then when I shout
time, the pairs exercise starts and the energy in the room builds slowly
to an exciting noisy buzz after a couple of minutes. Ending the pairs
exercise after 5 mintues requires a loud voice, walking amongst people to
win their attention.  

In the debrief afterwards people say INTERESTING THINGS like: how
revealing/rewarding/memorable it was, how much you can gain from 5
minutes simple reflection, why don't we find time to do this, the
objection that we don't have time is ridiculous when such value can be
gained so quickly.  

My point is that I know that this exercise may not provide everyone
instantly with their "voice", or the best, most powerful method, but its
UTTER SIMPLICITY tends to silence the critic's voice (am I doing it
right?). Is it possible to do it wrong?!?  

Once you start reflecting, as with meditation, if you do continue, then
you start to develop a confidence about how you want to develop the
practice to make it most powerful and effective for you.  

That's enough chatting for now! It's lunchtime here.  

I would be interested to learn other's experiences of starting to engage
in reflective practices. What reflective practices do you employ? What
gets you started and what encourages you to continue? Is there an age, a
lifestage at which reflection starts to become more important?  

I'm aware of a lot of my input today being somewhat abstract. I was
wanting to share some of my experiences from Scotland. Sometimes this is
my reason for wanting to write my diary - I feel sort of full up with
experience that is unprocessed, slightly occupying me in the background,
consuming/draining energy, pulling my attention away.  

I'm also looking forward to continuing these discussion themes. Please
keep joining in!  

Thanks Lisa for keeping things moving along.  


  39:12) 05-JUN-97 17:01 Lisa Kimball
Well, it's wonderful to have a "reflector" as a Chautauqua guest because
we get so much good stuff to respond to!  I think i'll experiment with
just reflecting on your reflecting right here in this comments box rather
than processing a response which finds the "right" question for you ...  

Being in Washington, DC it feels like we're in a culture at the high end
of the working/interacting/doing curve without a lot of reflection space.  

This is true even in comparison to other major U.S. cities ... for
example, in New York (which is also pretty intense) you are much more
likely to have someone bring up and discuss being in therapy of some kind
where there's at least that 40 minutes of reflection time.  It used to be
very dangerous here to admit to such a thing (it might come up in your
Senate confirmation hearing) and, tho it's probably loosened up a bit,
it's still not really something you'd mention in many social circles.
Practicing meditation or other more personal forms of reflection rarely
emerges in conversation.  

I wonder if that means that it's not happening or just that it's not
shared?  

The other bit which struck me in that same response (39:10) was Hill's
notion that some people were interested in pragmatic details of their
daily lives rather than in the sort of developmental journey enhanced by
diary keeping.  How does this fit with a kind of "chop wood, carry water"
perspective where there is a form of meditation in the doing of the daily
life details themselves?  Perhaps we don't want to put those things in
opposition but rather seek ways to life differently all the time ...  

 

 

 

 


  39:13) 06-JUN-97 8:26 Tony Page
Edit
Lisa  

I tend to agree with chop wood, carry water, meditation in the doing. I
found this when I was repointing brickwork on our house (boring,
repetitive job) after a day spent consulting - instead of being tedious
this became a welcome opportunity to let my thoughts flow freely.  

It seems daft for activity and reflection to be in opposition - after all
they are both part of living and learning. Perhaps we all need a variety
of tasks, some more mentally challenging and some more repetitive
allowing freewheeling.  

Most of the corporate cultures I have known seem to value activity ahead
of thought, but perhaps that is just me, a reflector, measuring them
against my own preference? Or maybe this is a reason for having job
rotation and tea breaks.  

If I ever visit Washington DC I'd better bear what you say in mind!  

Meanwhile Ive got to dash to produce some training materials this
afternoon. Irony! Life's a bit of a production line sometimes!. Chop-chop
busy-busy work-work bang-bang!


  39:14) 06-JUN-97 9:11 Diana Wright
One of the Christian religious classics is The Practice of the Presence
of God by Brother Lawrence, who was a lay brother working in the kitchen
of a monastery.  His short masterpiece is a meditation about scrubbing
pots and sweeping straw to the glory of God, and I think is another view
of what you are talking about.  

I have always liked polishing wood and ironing because they seem to allow
so much head time.


  39:15) 06-JUN-97 10:23 Hope O'Keeffe
The Miracle of Mindfulness also talks (without using the term) about the
notion of "moving meditations" like washing dishes and chopping wood.
  39:16) 06-JUN-97 13:09 Amy Eunice, MDG
Back to the subject of Okness and extroverts and introverts. I have given
this issue a lot of thought. First of all, I seem to have a little
personality conflict over which way I categorize myself. I can be
extremely one way or the other. Mostly extroverted face to face and
verbally with others and introverted in my writing and in my relationship
with the online medium.  

Anyway, Tony, you said: "Some people seem to accept this without
difficulty, whereas others feel uncomfortable with reflection, or look on
it critically. I sometimes sense that it is OK to be extravert, working
and networking all the time with others. BUT that it is NOT-OK to be
devoting time to reflection."  

Seems to me that the only reason that it is perceived as 'ok' is that it
is the extroverts who vocalize the standards. After all, it's a lot
easier for an extrovert to interupt or assert views over an introvert
then the other way around!!


  39:17) 07-JUN-97 11:20 Tony Page
Edit
Yes Amy and our reflections here, online, might be helping to colour in
the rest of the picture, acknowledging both extraverted and introverted
sides of us, making both OK. I hope so!  

Thanks Diana and Hope for your comments on moving meditations. Hope, will
you tell me what is the Miracle of Miondfulness? Is it a book? Who is it
by?  

Thinking more about your comment Lisa on the differences between
WASHINGTON DC and New York. I wonder what you noticed in Africa?  

I reckon in Britain we're a lot closer to Washington DC than New York,
valuing action before reflection, rather than seeking to balance and
integrate the two....  

And I wonder whether there is a sort of new, quietly emerging spirit of
the times that is different, wiser.  

I went to OD97 yesterday and read through the strand on knowledge, wisdom
and dialogue. It reminded me of the importance of CONTEXT, social and
historical. It made me wonder what is the context for my/our interest in
reflection/journaling/dialoguing...  

I thought of the sheer PACE OF LIFE over the last 3-4 generations. I
learned a couple of weeks ago that one of my great grandfathers was a
ginger-haired giant called McCloud from the Isle of Skye in Scotland. He
moved south, met and married an Irish woman. Their daughter Constance
Daisy was my gran, born in Reading, about 30 miles due west of London.
My gran lived through 2 world wars and produced 4 children. One of them
married a GI and went to live in California. Another was my Mum.  

Then when I trace my context through my father, he was the son of a
French woman and an English civil servant of Welsh origin. (It's
surprising how much the national cultures mixed!). My father was a
statistician for 20 years then in the sixties got heavily involved in
personal growth: T groups, Encounter Groups, Gestalt, you name it. I
suspect at that time, with the Beatles, Flower Power and a little postwar
prosperity, this was the breaking of a sort of long silence, an opening
of new dialogues and exicting possibilities. It was a time of ICONOCLASM.
My father's interest in personal growth sent shock waves through his
marriage and his family. But that's another story...  

Piecing this all together is about finding my context. Somehow I feel a
lack of context often, and I am hungry to extend my awareness, to have
the joy of realising, or making connections. This deeply felt need is
satisfied both through conversation and through diary-writing. I know I
am not alone in this need. Someone told me it is existential, the NEED TO
EXIST, to prove you exist to others and ultimately to yourself.  

Is it fundamentally healthy and healing/therapeutic to allow people to
tell their stories? I think so. And is it not part of community building,
(=culture building in organisations) for the people in a community to
devote some time to telling and hearing stories, to develop a SHARED
SENSE of past and present life, to share possibilities about the future?  

Why is this not part of normal organisational life? Or is it? My
experience says that community building tends to happen in times of
change, where there is a crisis and a need to refocus, but otherwise is
rather NEGLECTED and happens sometimes but largely by default. In SOUTH
AFRICA I'm told they say that "battles make you brave, but telling
stories about battles makes you wise". I think this STORY TELLING is just
reflection under another guise.  

And the more I go on about reflection, the more IMPORTANT it seems to me
to be, and sadly the lack of reflection and knowledge/wisdom-building in
many of our post-downsizing, lean and mean, DILBERT-STYLE organisations
becomes all the more apparent.  

I would be interested to know how other people feel about the place and
the extent of reflection, dialoguing, story-telling etc in our work
organisations today.


  39:18) 07-JUN-97 17:46 Lavinia Weissman
Lisa, thanks so much for your e-mail.  It is wonderful respot to come
visit here.   I have my office completely pulled apart today, we are
redesigning our whole file system to parallel our business plan.
Interesting the way I go about my filing on computer and in drawers has
always been a bit of reflective process for me.  

Tony, I so appreciate making your acquaintance.  Already for me I had to
reread this twice and take a break and just walk around a bit.  I started
being reminded of how I learn best as you wrote and how my upbringing is
so contrary to today's society.  

My nature is very reflective and I have always had to live life with more
quiet than most.  My grandfather was a mystic and student of the Kabbalah
in Russia and he brought this with him to the US.  My father was not only
a restauranter, but a community leader among trades people and at a very
early age, he mentored me in what some call the gift of gab, but others
have shown me is actually learning and dialogue.  My father's trades group
of business people were an early form of socially responsible community.
One of the men in his group actually was instrumental in forming Stride
Rite Corporation a leading socially responsible business.  

Success in my work has only come from building the environment around me
that works.  Fortunately in the Corporate World that has produced some
sitations that led to very solid revenue growth.  But the most intersting
project I ever worked on was an early form of "conscious downsizing" that
I wrote up in a case study and the ingredients for my success came from
creating an environment that resonates what you are writing about that was
not everyday a way of life in the rest of the corporate system.  I was
fortunate that I could build some protection for myself, taking on a
business problem I liked and wanted to learn from taht no one else wanted
to touch, so I was left alone to do it by asking the people I work with to
engage in what we know call dialogue.  

I hope you will visit the item on Appreciative Inquiry, I am very slowly
building in OD97 as time goes on....I would enjoy your input.  


  39:19) 07-JUN-97 17:49 Lavinia Weissman
Amy, I just wanted to say I am very much appreciating getting to know you
here and learn about you as you describe your experience.  It's intersting
to me how few people in the work place either in interviews of in day to
day relationships take the time to share experience "someone organizes a
retreat."  

Diana, what a gift your journal must be.  I want to say through my
learning and the inspiration of Robert Farnquist, a learning partner,
he paralleled the loss of a job or downsizing experience to a hospice
experience.  His was one of the first people to really comprehend the
importance of Bill Bridges work to corporate settings and job loss.  I
think Bob could have in a sense as I read what you and Tony wrote be
acknowledge for experimenting with the learning of corporate hospice.


  39:20) 08-JUN-97 10:25 Gary Obermeyer
Tony, Lisa told me that I should come meet you.  Now I understand why.  I
admire your persistence in sticking with journaling.  I've started
journaling dozens and dozens of times (I could probably do a whole
journal on why I can't keep at it).  <grin>  

Guess you could say I'm a journalist at heart, though.  I'm certainly one
who spends lots of time in reflection.  And, I'm very much intrigued by
the comments about on on-line journaling, especially the issue of
vulnerability.  Over the dozen years now that I've been active on-line,
cyberspace has been by far the most important resource in self-discovery
and figuring out my place in school change work.  

In fact, I've done quite a lot of work with a concept I call interactive
journaling - setting up a continuing relationship between a "journalist"
and a small group of critical friends.  The first time I ever used this
approach, I followed two teachers over a 2-year period.  It was fun and
amazing to watch.  

 


  39:21) 08-JUN-97 20:30 Hope O'Keeffe
I can't find my copy right now and would completely mangle the name of
the author of The Miracle of Mindfulness, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk.
I'll track it down.  


  39:22) 09-JUN-97 6:01 Tony Page
Edit
Well, it/s Monday morning again, ONE WEEK IN to this Chautauqua and I'm
finding myself quite engaged, looking forward each day to this as a sort
of gently challenging, unfolding inquiry. I am deeelighted that several
of you have been able to join in..... and interested in your experiences
of journaling.  I hope you will be able pleeeease! to continue, each of
you adding a little, perhaps unfolding/sharing a little more as we go.  

I am gaining from this ONLINE CONVERSATION some of the value I gain from
writing my diary, although it is different, more social, in that I am
thinking a lot of the time about what to say that might be interesting to
talk with others about, and I am coming to this conversation fairly CLEAR
rather than using it as a place for offloading/clearing emotion.  

Hello Lavinia! I've justed visited your OD97 Appreciative Inquiry site
and posted a message there. You are developing something there that looks
set to become very interesting and significant. Thank you for your
comments. I'm pleased you joined us and I would like to learn more,
either here or there in OD97, about your experiences of creating HEALTHY
ENVIRONMENTS within corporate systems.  

Gary, thanks for your comments. I had a quick look at your home page and
the Learning Options menu. Your work in online journaling looks very
interesting and I'd like to hear more about your experiences of this.  

And yes! Gary, I'm sure PERSISTENCE does have some kind of part to play
in journaling, but I would like to add that few of us, least of all me,
would continue with a practice that does not deliver up real BENEFITS or
rewards to us.  

When I started my diary, it was as if there was MORE TO SAY, more to
discover in myself than was possible through many of the conversations I
was having. And... as I started to express how I was feeling more
honestly and accurately to myself, I gained in confidence, I felt myself
STARTING TO GROW. If the practice had not made me on some level feel
better fairly soon, then I suppose like you I would have stopped.  

This point reminds me that last summer I was reading that bestseller
EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE by Daniel Goleman. Goleman quotes a paper by James
Pennebaker, presented to the American Psychological Society in 1992.
Pennebaker conducted research with people on the BENEFITS OF WRITING DOWN
FEELINGS. He discovered enhanced immune function, fewer health centre
visits, fewer days missed from work and improved liver enzyme function!  

I was stunned when I first read this because I previously had a very
strong intuitive sense of benefits, but here was some EVIDENCE. And
Pennebaker went on to reveal that those whose writing showed them most
evidence of turbulent feelings, had the greatest improvement in their
immune function.  

A specific pattern emerged in Pennebaker's research as the HEALTHIEST WAY
to ventilate troubling feelings:
1. First EXPRESS a high level of feeling (sadness, anxiety, or whatever
the troubling feeling is)
2. Then over the course of the following days WEAVE A NARRATIVE, finding
some meaning in the trauma/troubling feeling.  

This is a little like "being your own therapist". It confirmed my own
answer to a question people have often asked me "WHAT DO YOU WRITE in
your diary?". My answer is to write whatever you feel most strongly about
at the time, and express the range of feelings, both
positive/joyful/optimistic and the darker feelings too.  

As I write this I am thinking that if we lived in a really HEALTHY WORLD
then feelings would get expressed authentically and acknowledged by
others as they arise, rather than building up and seeking expression
later through diaries, dialogues and therapies. And I would like to live
in such a world and to transform my world to be more healthy....  

...but perhaps the diary just helps me to keep my head above water
(between the healthy oases) in today's real, more HOSTILE WORLD, and
helps me to unlock more energy, to see more clearly, to discover
direction and to move forward more postively.  

Beyond the solitary practice of my diary, conversations/dialogue/inquiry
and LINKING WITH OTHERS, both online and face to face, are crucially
important to me. I think the diary helps me to be more honest, authentic,
to know myself and to have more energy available to others. I think it
helps me build more fulfilling and effective relationships. It stops me
from polluting those healthy oases!  

So for me it is not EITHER DIALOGUE OR DIARY, either social or individual
learning, it is both-and!  

Reflection on this strand: the Diary Method was never for me just about
feelings, it embraces other forms of learning, sort of holistic/whole
brain/whole person stuff, but clearly this feelings element is rather
important, and interesting to try to explain/express!  

Thanks Hope for seeking out that reference.  

Byeee for now!


  39:23) 09-JUN-97 13:14 Gary Obermeyer
Tony, I found the article about the two teachers I mentioned earlier
http://www.tmn.com/ncrest/journaling.html  

I really appreciate and connect with what you just said:  

  When I started my diary, it was as if there was MORE TO SAY, more to
  discover in myself than was possible through many of the conversations
  I was having. And... as I started to express how I was feeling
  more honestly and accurately to myself, I gained in confidence, I felt
  myself STARTING TO GROW. If the practice had not made me on some level
  feel better fairly soon, then I suppose like you I would have stopped.  

I know that part of the reason I've never stuck with the journaling
process in any sustained, continuous way is because there is so much to
say.  It's like facing such a big job that you don't know where to start.
The reason I do better in this interactive environment is that the
conversations and the contributions of others create a starting point.  

There's sort of an irony that's a bit like my experience as an art
teacher. I spent all day helping kids with techniques and creative
blocks, and when I got home at night I had no energy left to work on my
own stuff.  Likewise, I've spent a number of years helping school folks
use networking and conferencing to engage in reflective practice,
journaling, etc. but I've never had an interactive journal to call my
own.  

hmmm?


  39:24) 09-JUN-97 17:42 Lisa Kimball
 

I imagine there's much more for us to reflect on about diaries and
journaling as a process so let's continue that thread ...  

There's another thread i'd like to pick up on as well which is about
authenticity.  I sense it's related to vulnerability which we touched on
earlier.  What's it like as a consultant to take the risk of not putting
up a front with a client?  

Earlier, we talked about how some cultures didn't seem to support
reflection.  In one of the exercises in T ony's book there's a list of
feelings; happiness, arrogance, sadness,surprise, anger, keen interest,
vulnerability, fear, envy, complacency, boredom, worry, lonliness,
security, sympathy ...  

It strikes me that some of these are a lot more "acceptable" to express
in the context of a consultancy.  But if a consultancy is also a
relationship ... hmmmm ... wouldn't it be inauthentic to fail to express
such feelings when they arise.  Does it seem like some of these OK and
others NOT OK? Are some feelings OK to express in our diary but not to
verbalize with our client?


  39:25) 09-JUN-97 17:49 Barry Bluestein
The reason many of us don't do well with journalling is the simple
mechanical dis-aptitude of having low manual dexterity.  

When computerized voice dictation becomes feasible and I can talk to my
journal as easily as I converse, then I shall produce prodigiously.


  39:26) 09-JUN-97 20:52 Lavinia Weissman
Barry, you always make me laff!  One of my problems is that I cannot write
as fast as the words come to me.  So I always find it helpful to slow down
to a meditative state to journal.  

I first started journalling when I was kid, by expressing my feelings
in drawings and writing stories.  As I got older, I recovered that
experience when I lived on the Island of Nantucket over the weekends.  

To me becoming quiet and contemplative is key to journalling.  I do it the
best when I live somewhere rural.


  39:27) 10-JUN-97 1:25 Joshua Gofman
Having discovered this pocket of creative activity late in its embryonic
stage, please forgive my late entry and some potentially tangential
thoughts. I am anxious that my thoughts may not be in harmony with the
current flow of the dialogue and may in fact disturb this flow.  

I find my self thinking and defining for myself the process of journaling
as capturing on paper (or wordprocessor) one’s feelings and thoughts,
almost like a string of frames in a movie. The process of capturing
involves a certain amount of interpretation. The internal dialogue is
easy to capture, all we have to do is write down the string of words
swirling in our heads. But one’s feelings are so much more difficult to
capture. After all we have to stop and think and assign a value and what
we believe to be an accurate description of that which we are feeling and
which may not be at  all clear and describable. Pictures and colors may
offer a better recording mechanism in situations like this.  

Observing this dialogue no doubt influences the dialogue itself.  But the
process of having to slow down enough to record my thoughts brings in the
element of bias, interpretation and lost momentum. And then there is an
occasional case of being so impressed with one’s inner dialogue that all
kinds of embellishments and concerns for the written style overtake the
original thoughts and feelings. It becomes art, as opposed to an honest
description and analysis of the original substance.  

I have often wished for a process of being able to automatically record
one’s internal dialogue. Sort of a running log of what one is thinking
about. This would eliminate the difficulties I am referring to above. Why
shouldn’t this technology be with us in the near future, after all, what
are thoughts but packets of energy? Haven’t we been able to sense and
interpret the footprints of distant galaxies, recording events that have
taken 100s of millions of light years to reach us? Why is it so difficult
then to record in a meaningful way that which is happening only inches
away?


  39:28) 10-JUN-97 1:29 Joshua Gofman
Tony, I just read your comments about the meaning of social and
historical context in the process of self-reflection and journaling.  In
following up with this thought I would like to expand the frame of
reference beyond this century and the corporate world to include the
larger
context of the last few centuries and religion (fear of god); strict
social norms; and the  insular social orientation of those times.  

A person living under those circumstances no doubt had radically limited
opportunities to engage into open, externalized dialogue and debates
about the legitimacy of one’s government, one’s church, one’s social
order. Therefore keeping a secret journal, whether a written one, or an
internally ‘spoken’ one would have been the only method of reflecting on
the events, the conflicts, the self-doubts. A journal - even a temporary
one in the form of a picture drawn on the sand with a branch, a carving,
a confession with a trusted priest or friend,  a fairy tale - would have
provided the only safe form of relief.  

Contrast this with our times of complete disclosure and full
transparency. In public we can openly communicate on almost any topic,
and with a shrink on ANY topic. Furthermore, listening to the reflections
of others, which are constantly aired publicly on television, radio,
newspapers; contained in books, biographies, and on the web we can
clarify our own internal dialogue. Thus the nature of self-reflection and
journaling may indeed be changing within the context of our society,
technology and self-understanding.


  39:29) 10-JUN-97 4:45 Tony Page
Edit
Good morning everyone! It's great to log on to find a buzz of activity
here since yesterday. I feel excited about responding to and developing
some of the points you are raising.  

Joshua, I appreciate your comments - it's never to late to join in! I'll
come back to some of your points in a minute.  

Gary, just read (or rather scanned quickly) your article. Really
interesting! The time it takes to get to authentic dialogue, your
encouragement to Linda (?) to notice the shifts in her mindset, her
passion later to bring about a paradigm shift in relation to the notion
of 'gifted' education. I was impressed with how the online medium helped
you to capture this transformation and how your write up clearly helped
to bring out both the experience and the meaning/relevance for others.  

Yes there is so much to say isn't there! And I relate to your sense of
irony too! I remember an early  psychologist (William James?) described
the experience of a baby as a "BLOOMING, BUZZING CONFUSION". Well, I
think many of us old adults notice something similar as soon as we
disengage from activity into reflection. I think of this as shifting
atteNtion from FIGURE to GROUND, or as Lou Tice says, using our
lock-on/lock off mechanism.  

While writing Diary of a Change Agent and trying to express how
reflective practice can lead to personal development/transformation, I
came across this quote from Marilyn Ferguson, in her book Acquarian
Conspiracy:  

"The beginning of personal transformation is absurdly easy. We have only
to pay attention to the FLOW OF ATTENTION itself. Immmediately we have
added a new perspective. Mind can observe its many moods, its body
tensions, the flux of attnetion, its choices and impasses, hurting and
wishing, tasting and touching."  

Lisa, responding now to your questions about AUTHENTICITY, I suppose I
felt that  role playing, the inauthentic ways of behaving and relating
with others were in my case so deeply ingrained, as least in the
corporate setting, that I needed to do some personal work before
authentic contact with others in a work setting was really possible. So I
felt such a HUGE SENSE OF RISK, in not putting up a front that the diary
method provided me a low risk of moving towards greater authenticity,
sort of edging gently but accurately in that direction.  

I do not see why authenticity might be easier in the context of
CONSULTANCY, but then maybe I am not appreciating something that blocks
authenticity in other non-consultancy work relationships??  

I attended a seminar last month in London with Dr Marshall Rosenberg, a
clinical psychologist from Detroit who now travels worldwide from one hot
spot to another: Rwanda, Croatia, Ireland, Israel etc. He said we all
face A CRITICAL CHOICE about how we communicate. We choose either to be
GIRAFFES, using language of the HEART (feeelings and needs), or to be
JACKALS, using the language of the HEAD (adversarial debate,
bureaucratic, formalised, analytical...).  

When we talk about being authentic, I now think of using giraffe
language, which is simple to describe (it is being assertive, adult,
clear in your observations, feelings, needs, requests and in your inquiry
about others observations, feelings, needs and requests..), but NOT
NECESSARILY EASY to do.  

And yes Lisa, when is it OK to write feelings in a diary rather than
verbalise? I would like to live in a Giraffe authentic world where we
could deal here and now with people's feelings and needs. But, sometimes
we just have a job to get on with. There is a HUGE PRESSURE in most
organisations today to achieve fast and drive performance on.  

Until recently Helen also worked in a highly demanding corporate setting.
There were days when I went home, weighed down by the day and so was
Helen. I found this was not a good position for me to be a parent or
partner from. You need a certain level of energy, or FREE ATTENTION to be
able to be authentic. When you are both "needy", if only of a listening,
supportive ear, you can easily fall into painful conflict rather than
meeting each others needs. When I am needy there is the risk I will be
PROJECTING my feelings onto others. Keeping the diary has helped me to
gain a greater sense of when I am in deficit, carrying something TOXIC
from a previous setting and when you are reasonably clean, better able to
be human, interactive, supportive, light.  

Oh, yes, Barry, and keeping the diary using a key board has helped to
develop my manual DEXTERITY!..but they're getting there now with voice
recognition aren't they?  

Like you Lavinia I like the rural peace. We have a beautiful large park
at the end of our road where Henry VIII used to hunt deer. I go there
sometimes, to walk or cycle when I feel I need space, to be quiet. I
quickly gain a peaceful, more relaxed and less stressed feeling.  

Now finally to Joshua. I was interested in the idea of USING PICTURES and
colours to express feelings, although I have not really tried this. I'm
still recovering from what my art teacher said about my pictures when I
was in primary school! The cartoons in my book were a big breakthrough,
so maybe real pictures and colours are my next step!  

A RUNNING LOG might be very interesting, but I do believe there is a
value in labelling feelings and breaking the flow. Life has lots of
stop/starts anyway and stopping through choice, breaking flow, moving
into observer role can be very useful to do, bringing new perspective and
new choices.  

Yes I agree there is the risk of EMBELLISHMENT in seeking to express
something. For me that would be no less a risk in the picture/colour
medium. It is down to your conscience. At some level we all do it, and
probably anxiety about how we appear inhibits all of us. When we notice
this tendency/PATTERN in ourselves and label it as anxiety, this newfound
AWARENESS offers us a degree of choice we did not previously have!  

I'm very interested in your comments about the longer CONTEXT, which I
think in Celstine Prophecy Redfield called "the longer now". I do believe
we are discovering new possibilites in our new age of openness. Our
interest in diary/journaling, dialogue etc evident in this Chautuaqua, is
very exciting. Through this inquiry we open up the best, the highest
possibilites for ourselves, our relationships, our world. I do not
believe much of this was possible in my parents generation let alone
further back. If it existed at all, it is becoming much more accessible
now. It feels to me as if a new wave is breaking!  

As we continue I would like to start exploring what new POSSIBILITIES
there are in a corporate setting. I am starting to feel that Appreciative
Inquiry, Diary, Dialogue, Meditation etc, in other words reflective
methods, are becoming more important in organisations. In fact are
reflective methods the new consulting, new communicating, new
self-managing, new learning tools that people get taught when they join a
corporation? Probably not yet? But what are the possibilites? And what is
actually happening now?


  39:30) 10-JUN-97 8:02 Diana Wright
Tony, you will be interested in the most recent issue of the New Yorker
[June 16], the article on the last page by Bruce McCall who is, I assume,
an artist.  He tells about growing up in a tiny, crowded space with
alcoholic parents.  He created his own world, drawing, making
in-your-face cartoons & ads, inventing countries, and bringing his
characters from wierd worlds into normal life.  

He says: "In that non-stop squalorama, indeed, a progression can be
traced: initial sturggle to overcome depression by ridiculing depression
itself; experiments in feeling unafraid; and finally, daring to embrace
optimism.  Neutralizing inner demons in the solvent of art became a habit
. . .."


  39:31) 10-JUN-97 9:41 Hope O'Keeffe
JOshua, your comments remind me of a man I read about a month or two ago
who kept a continual journal, recording every 15 minutes or so what he'd
done and thought for the past 14 minutes.  It ran, as I recall, some
75,000 pages.  

So at what time does the journaling start interfering with the living?
And when does Writing interfere with journaling?  I've been an irregular
journal-keeper since I first learned to write, and I'm currently in daily
journaling mode.  But I do find both that when I'm living I sometimes
think about journaling it, and when I'm journaling I shade sometimes
towards Writing.


  39:32) 10-JUN-97 10:04 Antony Coyle
Tony,one of the things which most excited me about reading your book was
the connectedness between the diary form and mode of learning and the
insights you were gaining about the nature of change,both personal change
and organisational change.That change comes through opening oneself up to
what is emerging right now,either in one's own energy field or in flow
with others.Through listening closely to that still small voice that's
telling you what life wants right now,what life is bringing forth at this
very moment.As i reflect on this I start making strong connections with
the spirit of Appreciative Inquiry and the intention to hold open a
non-critical space in which what is emerging in the organisation can be
seen and heard.
What connections are there for us in linking personal reflection and
methods of organisational change and transformation?
  39:33) 10-JUN-97 11:54 Gary Obermeyer
I don't want to get in the way of Tony's response to Antony (interesting
connection between the names, huh?), but I do want to say what a great
conversation this is.  I'm in the middle of a very busy week, up to my
armpits in deadlines and here I am taking time in the middle of the day
to talk with a group of "virtual" friends about reflection and journaling.  

I, too, am looking forward to automated voice transcription as a tool for
capturing ideas.  It appears that I'm on the same wavelength as Joshua
considering the possibility of tapping directly into the energy packets
(but, if you think that wire-tapping is nasty business, wait til
mind-readers are on the market? <grin>)  I've also wondered about
reversing the process, translating information into energy packets to
speed up the process of absorbing new info.  

But, enough of this diversion.  I need to get back to work (the old
fashioned way).  I, too, am curious about the question that Antony raises
- the connection between individual reflection and organizational change.
It's an area I've worked with intuitively (I call it finding two voices
- the individual and the group) in my work with school and school
district leadership teams.  

This ties back to authenticity, btw.  My work is all developmental work.
I present the two-voices to clients as one of my key "Growing Into
Schools of the Future" theories.  Any grounding or parallel development
that I can point to would be helpful (and reassuring) for my pragmatist
clients.  


  39:34) 11-JUN-97 12:08 Susan Frady
Tony,  

I am very interested to see continued discussion about the emerging role
of reflection in organisational processes.  From my experience, the
biggest hurdle to overcome is the value most organisations still attach
to activity, which generally means a focus on process instead of
outcomes.  I find I am fighting an uphill battle in attempting to get
folks to shift their focus, but ever so slowly, I am making inroads.  I
truly believe that it will take a major shift in the paradigm  through
which we define "work" before the true value of reflection is realised.
I do believe, however, that the information revolution occurring in our
work places is acutally providing the framework or infrastructure,
whatever you want to call it, for overtly productive or "culturally
acceptable" reflection.  I can only see this trend continuing - this is a
good thing!  I, by nature, am an extremely reflective person, and the
challenge for me has alway been to translate that reflective activity
into productive outcomes - visible to others in the organisation as a
value-added "activity" if you will.  Once you can weave the benefits of
reflection into organisational processes, things that benefit the "stuff"
of daily work, then you've got the ball rolling - you've acutally got
former activity junkies interested in deep thought and hence - lasting
learning experiences.  I don't know if this has added to the discussion
on organisaitonal relfection, but 'd  really like some feedback from
others on their experiences in these types of organisational
transformations.


  39:35) 11-JUN-97 12:56 Lavinia Weissman
Susan, your comments really struck a cord with me.  Many times I am called
into companies that distinguish tasks as the only way to pay people and I
have to explain that my work requires thinking and change.  

Most recently this past month, I was called by a clinical pharmaceutical
trial company to look at the breakdowns in productivity.  While on the
phone, I was told that my recommender was logged on her computer so she
could show her management that she was working while she talked to me on
the phone.


  39:36) 11-JUN-97 14:03 Joshua Gofman
Over the last two days, fueled by the flow of this dialogue I have been
reflecting on the many possible facets of journaling in our daily lives,
personal and professional. I found myself looking over my e-mail log,
electronic organizer with its listing of appointments, notes resulting
from these appointments, links to documents related to the different
meetings and phone calls, and also just old fashioned mental recollection
of the events and impressions from the days past.  It seems that
journaling is everywhere! What happens on the outside is a reflection of
the inside and vice versa. The two are so inter-related. For me it really
helps being aware of this relationship and intentionally uncoupling the
two streams (external and internal). Yoga and meditation really are
effective in setting this process in motion by sheer grounding of the
external self.  

Tony, if I understood your correctly you are suggesting that upon our
disengagement from the activity stream of our daily life we re-experience
a state of babyhood, which was described as a  ‘BLOOMING, BUZZING
CONFUSION’”
I quote you:  “WELL, I THINK MANY OF US OLD ADULTS NOTICE SOMETHING
SIMILAR AS SOON AS  WE DISENGAGE FROM ACTIVITY INTO REFLECTION.” But I
beg to disagree! When I was a baby  I WAS a  ‘BLOOMING, BUZZING
CONFUSION’.  I just did things, without much reflection on the source of
my feelings; the larger picture; the consequences on my own life and the
life of others; repeating patterns, the ego; the value system of the
community at large; the authenticity of my thoughts; feelings and
behavior, etc., etc. I do find that these are the thoughts and questions
running through my head when I am reflecting (diary, mediation, therapy).
It is as if by definition reflection preempts in me any chance of
experiencing a ‘BLOOMING, BUZZING CONFUSION’.  

45 minutes after I wrote the above paragraph, as I am re-reading the text
one final time before positng it online, I realized that you may have
meant something different, perhaps you meant: reflection withOUT analysis
and judgement enables us to observe the BUZZING CONFUSION within. This is
the concept of Zazen, or sitting meditation, where we try to find a state
of ‘blankness’ or complete disengagement with our thoughts. We are still
observing the thoughts if and as they arise, but without actively engaging
them, or judging ourselves for having them, simply allowing the thoughts
to pass through us like shadows of passing birds and clouds, shadows
which we notice but don’t try to grasp.  

By the way, the most difficult dimension of reflecting for me isn’t
stopping to reflect but knowing what to pay attention to; how much
significance to attribute to these observations; formulating strategies
to test whether my interpretations are indeed accurate; and most
importantly not letting the reflecting get in the way of  living in a
state of a ‘BLOOMING, BUZZING CONFUSION’.  

On the question of authenticity. Tony, in my consulting days I often
found it difficult to decided whether my ‘authenticity’ was in fact
appropriate. For example, in Japan I was amazed at the contortions my
colleagues would go through inorder to save face of an associate or a
client. Western standards of ‘call-it-as-it-is authenticity’ simply
didn’t apply. In other less extreme situations I found myself being
authentic only to find out that it would have been a more effective
learning experience for the group to continue down its ‘inauthentic’
path, fall over the cliff, and hit the jagged bottom. The ‘hard fall’ may
have done more good in precipitating the change in behavior than my
efforts to prevent the pain by shining the light on the ‘truth’.  

Have you had similar dilemmas? How do you deal with them? Perhaps it is
not ‘what we say’ but ‘how we say it’ that makes the difference between
productive ‘authenticity’ and disruptive ‘authenticity’?  

Tony, I really appreciate your example from your life with Helen. I dare
not ask of your current relationship / marriage status with Helen. Were
you able to act on your awareness and analysis in time to change things
for the better?  

I find myself in a similar situation in my one year old marriage. We have
been so challenged professionally over the course of the last 6 months
that we are both looking to the other for salvation, understanding, and
care. The problem is we are BOTH needing ‘treatment’ from each other at
the SAME TIME. It is like two wounded doctors needing relatively simple
medical care but  unable to help each other because they are both sick at
the same time. Breaking out of this cycle demands incredible trust,
faith, and ability to dig really, really deep within one’s heart and
soul.  

Tony, you mention your desire to explore how reflective methods - diary,
dialogue, meditation - are becoming more important in organizations. I
would like to take you up on this. Lets examine a case of the US Air
Force’s recent handling of the an adultery case involving a young woman
pilot. Here is a young woman, 26 years old, passing at the top of  her
class the physical, intellectual challenges of becoming an elite pilot.
The first female pilot to fly a B-52 Bomber!  This young woman, Kathy
Flynn, is her name I believe, was stationed in a small northern town, far
away from her family, friends, and the civilization. She finds herself in
a very small ‘box’ - unable to date men below her in rank, unable to
socialize with the wives of other pilots, finding it difficult to
socialize with other male pilots (the old boy’s club).  So she falls in
love with a young MARRIED civilian.  

What does the military do? It orders her to stop seeing the man. When
Flynn disobeys this order (which her commander apparently was in no
position to make) the military takes her off pilot duty, it threatens her
with court-martial, it interrogates her lover, and in the end it
dismisses her without honor.  The young woman’s dreams and a lifelong
commitment to fly military airplanes and the space shuttle are erased
forever.  

So Tony, where is the military commanders’ reflection, meditation,
anticipation of the emotional crisis a young, single, woman pilot would
experience under such circumstances.  Where is the trust, the faith, the
love, the respect of the complexities of human life, mind and heart?  

I used this example, but there are many others in corporations world
wide. The more we read about instances like this the more we shut our
selves off from the process, afraid to be blamed, to be isolated and
extinguished. Is there room for open reflection in corporate settings?  

 

 

 


  39:37) 11-JUN-97 14:18 Susan Frady
Lavinia,  That's pretty amazing - - but unfortunately, all too common.
Somehow, I think this can be tied into the  "Loose, Tight vs Tight,
Loose" theory floating around at the moment. I just heard this, so please
forgive me if I mess it up.  But as I understand it, it goes something
like this: Loose control/vision/direction at the top and tight control
over processes in lower levels of the organisation being more indicative
of traditional, bureaucratic organisations vs Tight direction and vision
from the top with loose direction over the specific processes taking
place in lower levels of the organisation being more indicative of high
performing, learning, empowered, thinking organisations.  It seems to me
that in order to get into a more reflective mode, we need to facilitate
the shift from "Loose, Tight to Tight, Loose".
  39:38) 11-JUN-97 14:36 Dennis Egan
Hi - my apologies to the group for late arrival.  My compliments on very
insightful dialogue.  Not much room for reflection in corporate settings
unless we make room for it.  I'm in Alaska now and have been over-
whelmed with the savage beauty of the land & seascape.  Whales pods and
seals everywhere.  I must get out on the water to reflect; its first
impact is on ego...feel very small yet a part of the whole; recognize the
brittleness of our personal existence.  I live on a stream fed by a huge
glacier - the sound of the water allows me to find the space to reflect.
Does this mean I'm less busy on the office - no, but after the death of
my parents I learned to shift my priorities and make space.  Regular
prayer helps because it brings with it a discipline of inner reflection,
alone but never alone.  

Peace - DennisE


  39:39) 11-JUN-97 15:10 Tony Page
Edit
Hello again! It's Wednesday evening and I'm keen as ever to continue this
conversation.  

Thanks Diana for that story. My local newsagent here doesn't stock the
New Yorker (!) but I think you've already given us the flavour. I gained
a strong sense of how for a child surrounded by squalorama (lovely
word!), a  rich inner world and inner dialogue can develop.  

I'd like to move on to the area Tony (ie Antony) is raising, that is the
nature of CHANGE.  

Tony and I worked intensively together in '93/4 on a major change
programme in a healthcare company, then in the summer of '94 I attended
with clients/colleagues from the company a one week meditation and
well-being course run by Bhuddhists in Scotland at a centre called
Tharpaland. Somehow the combination of diary, real-life consulting
experience with Tony/others and meditation provided a very fertile base
from which INSIGHTS ABOUT CHANGE burst forth during autumn '94!  

I was conscious that 60-80% of corporate change prgrammes were said to
fail. I had seen an article about BPR with the appalling title GETTING
THE TURKEYS TO VOTE FOR CHRISTMAS, which seemed to express very well how
confused some consultants and leaders were becoming about the human
element.  

I think we were seeking means of WAKING PEOPLE UP and getting change that
was motivated, from people's hearts rather than oppressive, top down,
imposed.  

The new emerging insights were shared and developed in CONSULTING
CONVERSATIONS with Tony, linked to his work challenge of engaging people
in corporate change. We saw these insights as a sort of emerging new
paradigm which we called FLOW THEORY.This was transformational stuff,
overturning our previously held assumptions about how to do change in
companies.  

Here are a few of the many INSIGHTS to give you a flavour:
- Flow Theory defines the human conditions needed for change
- Flow Theory recognises a rigidity in human behaviour where there is
threat
- When people are in Flow together they open out revealing their deeper
thoughts and feelings, inviting learning, change and growth
- Flow takes place easily, constantly and naturally between people
provided honesty and freedom exist
- The Change Agent's art is to observe change energy, notice where Flow
exists, where Flow is blocked/disconnected and assist connections both
within and between individuals.
(described more fully in an article we wrote that you can read by going
to my home page www.tmn.com/~tonypage).  

Instead of leaping straight into wild, new but ungrounded corporate
vision-building, we stressed the value of first seeing and hearing
current reality, connecting with "WHAT IS", then seeing what energy
emerges, like in Appreciative Inquiry, looking for where the life is, for
what really matters to people.  

It seemed that the role of the consultant was to hold open a
TRANSFORMATIONAL SPACE in which the client and their people could have
new conversations, entertaining new possibilities, speaking beyond the
orthodoxy of the current corporate culture/worldview. Hofstede makes
reference to culture as collective mental programming or corporate
hypnosis, suggesting its nature can be oppressive, closed and blind.  

With hindsight it is clear to me that these thoughts were also inspired
by Bhuddist thought, by Robert Fritz, Richard Pascale and Lou Tice.  

When these insights "arrived" they caused me not a little embarrassment.
They felt "soft". I felt they would be seriously counter-cultural in
organisations I worked in. There was fear of criticism, and some
reluctance to share but combined paradoxically with a sort of obsessive
excitement, conviction that these were exciting and a strong desire to
tell the world.  

Conversations with Tony helped crystallise and develop the insights and
develop a confidence about including others in the dialogue about them,
using the insights perhaps to open some more of those transformational
spaces I referred to. So we wrote our ARTICLE "Consulting with the Flow -
Change Management for Real"!  

That's all for now.  

I'm interested Gary in your notion of 2 voices, which might help to
clarify what we are grappling with at the divide between individual and
organisation.  

Susan, thanks for joining in - yes any more thoughts on getting
reflection into the stuff of daily work? Here's one from today. A
colleague in an executive coaching firm I met today was keen to get his
people journaling and sharing, saying this is how we build our
intellectual capital/knowledge base and, at the end of the day that's all
we have isn't it! I suggested he join this Chautauqua dialogue (!) to
gain a sense of the kind of dialogue that may be possible in his firm.  

Hope, I'm becoming more conscious since your last entry of the living,
journaling, writing divides. They do blur a bit don't they!  

Bye for now!


  39:40) 12-JUN-97 16:01 Tony Page
Edit
Hello! It's Thursday evening.  

Today I was delivered the first day of a new 2 day course called
Navigating Change. I'm feeling a little tired but happy. This Chautauqua
dialogue is giving me confidence to be more spontaneous and less
well-prepared than I usually would be. Now I find that I like consulting,
facilitating and training best when there is something real, spontaneous
going on, life, an energy transfer.... I'm feeling happy about being
spontaneous!  

Hello again Joshua! Hello Susan and Dennis! My last post crossed with
yours so I'm cutting back to what you were saying.  

Joshua, I was interested by your reflection on various facets journaling
in your daily life and in your comment "What happens in the outside is a
reflection of what happens on the inside and vice versa". I relate to
this and it seems to capture the value of journaling very well.
Journaling allows a FULLER ENGAGEMENT for me with life, enabling me to
bring more to and get more from life.  

The blooming buzzing confusion part was maybe blooming, buzzing
confusing!. Are we in violent agreement? Your second interpretation seems
close to what I was intending. At the risk of adding to the confusion, I
notice that there's so much complexity, and scope for alternative
explanations when we REALLY look as a dispassionate observer at anything
at all.  

Also that the ACT OF NOTICING and bringing attention to something,
whether in a more reflective or more active mode, is motivated from some
inner need, and reveals that need. For some reason we usually pretend we
are noticing a solitary event on a dead, tranquil landscape, something
that is going on "out there".  

With authenticity, yes I agree it's a challenge and I think I understand
your dilemmas over inappropriate authenticity. Beyond what we say and how
we say it there is also timing, WHEN we say it.  

Yes, thanks for daring to ask: Helen and I are still very much together!
I like your image of two wounded doctors. That described us very well!
Now we're adjusting to a new life stage where we're older, kids need us
slightly less, we're slightly less driven and H is doing parent/school
governor/victim support/caring for elderly parents and other
miscellaneous unpaid work. There's still the risk of her compassion
fatigue colliding with my exhaustion or neediness!  

Regarding your example of badly treated female pilot, perhaps it
underlines how ROBOTIC behaviuor as opposed to reflective practice is
still widespread, tolerated and even encouraged in so many organisations.  

Susan, your earlier comment about encouraging reflection in activity
junkies is pertinent here. And your later response to Lavinia about the
inversion from loose at the top to TIGHT AT THE TOP I find interesting.  

To facilitate the shift towards this, do we need to refine and develop
our reflective methods as reliable, truthworthy ways for people to cope
with a more uncertain world. Does this imply we need to present/offer
reflection dialoging and journaling etc as new and better information
processing methods.  And then how do we capture the TIME AND SPACE needed
to employ such methods???  

Dennis, great to hear your peaceful message from beautiful Alaska!  

That's all for now. Looking forward to more postings. Has anyone tired
online journaling in a corporate setting, ie within a single
company/organisation?  

Tony


  39:41) 12-JUN-97 16:48 Lavinia Weissman
I am peaking in here very briefly to just enjoy this mode with you all.
I could be hurrying around like mad now, but needed a break from business
activity.  

Tony, you described from personal place about some of the life changes you
have encountered with Helen and reflected on your way and how that can
get in the way.  

I am in a time right now where there is so much change occurring in my
life, indeed I wake every morning with a level of vulnerability and
the walls I build for myself at a very intense level.  

I recall thinking about how all the change efforts I have helped architect
in health care and high tech and how parallel to the business process, my
personal process always got pushed.  

This raised my very long standing question about change, how do you build
an environment that gives permission to personal and organizational change
in unity?  

I think intuitively my work has always reflected this, but rarely have I
have found a business setting that can appreciate this.  Would you or
others care to comment


  39:42) 13-JUN-97 12:28 Joshua Gofman
Goodmorning (California Time) everyone! Wonderful to be in this space
with you.  

Tony your comment:  

"Does this imply we need to present/offer reflection dialoging and
journaling
etc as new and better information processing methods. And then how do we
capture
the TIME AND SPACE needed to employ such methods??? "  

got me thinking and reflecting .... I am not even sure what it is
specifically that I am thinking about. Samples of my thoughts follow:  

What evolutionary advantage would self-reflection have offered the human
being? How and when in human development did self-reflection start? What
was self-reflection like in the ancient man? What are the earliest
recorded examples of self-reflection? What would my mode of
self-reflection be like had I not read diverse works on the nature of the
mind, the soul, the body, thought, etc.?  

I suppose that in the society so highly dependent on knowledge creation
and transfer; a society so able to destroy itself through undustrial and
military action,  self-reflection is even more important now then it ever
was. How do we teach self-reflection? Shouldn't is start when we are
young? Does the Western culture provide enough 'room' in the commercial
vortex of NBA, NFL, MTV, Nike, Coke, etc. for meditation,
self-reflection, inner connection?  

Lavinia, you write:  

"I recall thinking about how all the change efforts I have helped
architect in health
care and high tech and how parallel to the business process, my personal
process
always got pushed."  

I am not sure I understand what you mean. With respect to your work you
say "I have helped architect", wording which implies control, intent,
purposefullness. But then you say: "my personal processes always got
pushed", wording which implies being out of control, having something
imposed on you by someone or something else. I am sensing a something
here but not sure what exactly? Can you elaborate?  

Again Lavina, I am intrigued by your comment:  

"... how do you build an environment that gives permission to personal
and organizational change in unity?"  

What do you mean personal and organizational change in unity? 'Personal'
meaning in the lives of the people working in the organization that is
undergoing change? OR 'Personal' as in your own life, the life of the
change agent driving the change in the client organization?
What is the difficuly that you are refering to? Why wouldn't the personal
and organizational change be mutually compatible and in fact desirable?  


  39:43) 13-JUN-97 20:55 Lisa Kimball
 

Tony, I'd be really interested in how you think the course you're doing
now on Navigating Change is different from the one you would have taught
in pre-diary days?  

In your article on Consulting with the Flow, you talk about how you
became increasingly dissatisfied with the mounds of material you'd been
collecting about change.  Are there new resources which are more in
keeping with a flow perspective on change?  

 


  39:44) 13-JUN-97 22:15 Sanyakhu-Sheps Amare'
Hello Tony and all...been lurking here since the beginning. Thaks Lisa for
reminding me of this item. This item didn't seem to make much sense to
me..however reading Susan Fraday (39:34) 's response struck a cord with me
as well. I don't have the disipline tokeep a diary..and am too afriad that
what I write personally will get inot the wrong hands so I don 't do it.
However, computer conferencing software like Caucus is excellent in keep
and diary like atmosphere in some cases...that is til I saw stuff I wrote
in conferences gone by on the internet. (you should try it..if you haven't
seardch yahoo or the like on your name!!?) Anyway I am interested in seeing
this technique applied to organizational change.
  39:45) 13-JUN-97 23:09 Hope O'Keeffe
Yep -- self-censorship is an enormous issue in journaling -- because
writing things down makes them so, because of the issue of the potential
reader, because of the Writing getting in the way.  

I've been in several organizations undergoing the communication
revolution of email.  Do you see that as a sort of organizational
journaling, particularly when it takes the form of conferencing and
d-lists?  That has certainly been the case in at least one, and perhaps
two, of the three places where I've participated in e-mailization.


  39:46) 13-JUN-97 23:24 Barry Bluestein
This begins to get into the realm of specialized corporate journaling
products such as CM/1, oops, I mean QuestMap. (They changed the name
recently)
  39:47) 14-JUN-97 16:21 Peter Tuddenham
Enjoying reading this discussion. There are many questions here. I am
intrigued by your willingness to share your journaling in a book.  

Why did you set your context as diary of a  CHANGE AGENT?  What about
other roles and scripts in your life?  

 


  39:48) 15-JUN-97 11:43 Gary Obermeyer

Tony, I'm glad to hear of your interest in the "two voices" idea. I'm going to take that as a prompt to revisit and dig a little deeper into my own thinking about and experience with the two voices. It's been a while since I've done any work on that piece of the "Growing Into Schools of the Future" theory. Now, I know it's time.

Funny you should mention Bhuddist thought. Just last night I was viewing James Burke's Connections 2 from The Learning Channel. One of the segments was making the connection between Bhuddhist thought and Einstein's theory of relativity. Burke was describing the shift from Newtonian science to Einsteinian science, making the point that in order to know anything, one must know one's point of view. Somehow, in my personal history with the study of history, I had missed this connection. But, maybe in the cosmic scheme of things, that was so the connection would have more impact in conjunction with this conversation.

In any case, it's that point of view thing that I'm trying to understand better (and advocate more effectively) in working with schools and school disctricts. In this context, the two voices idea is about knowing one's personal point of view and knowing one's organizational point of view. School folks are so deeply embedded in the paradigm of classrooms, lesson plans, teachers/students, tests, etc. that it's next to impossible to know the point of view or how it affects what one sees.

I know you work with different kinds of organizations than I do, but does this problem statement match with your experience. Does that connect with what you're trying to do in "navigating change?"

p.s. there's another interesting "connection" here with your use of the term "navigating." One of the projects I'm working on is called "Flagships." It's built on a metaphor of exploration and navigating uncharted waters. Here's a quote from the intro:

I'm not completely comfortable with the leading/following thing, but I am certain that innovative schools documenting their work and keeping track of where they've been (and where they are) can be of value to others. What are your thoughts on the leading/following thing, i.e. does each person/organization follow a unique path or are there times and cicumstances when one can follow other's charts/maps?



  39:49) 15-JUN-97 13:18 Lisa Kimball
 

Something about this 'two voices' dialogue made me think of Foucalt's
idea of "soi de souci," the ethical care of self.  He talks of
"technologies of the self" which make possible the social construction of
personal identity ...these technologies could be processes as well as
hardware (computer conferencing seems like a nice combo) and so could
include journaling and interactive journaling.  


  39:50) 15-JUN-97 15:23 Tony Page
Edit
Sunday, 6.15pm London time. Fathers Day here, so I've been allowed a
slightly lazy and self-indulgent day! Kids wanted to play tennis but
Helen insisted that we should do what I wanted and we went for a cycle
ride by the Thames. Crossed on tiny ferry at Surbiton for a pint of
bitter in a riverside pub. Bliss for a few brief moments! Then later at
home, sitting in front of our house supervising the kids rollerblading
while reading the papers.  

Thanks to you all for continuing to stretch and advance this inquiry.
I've been reflecting on what we are doing here, prompted by something you
said Lavinia in OD 97 about the need for a PURPOSE in any inquiry.  

Our emerging purpose as I experience it seems to be to explore REFLECTIVE
PRACTICE (diary, journaling, online etc): its relevance and various
forms/methods we have experienced. This purpose is evolving in more
recent entries to explore CHANGE in both a personal and organisational
context.  

And Lavinia, I suppose like you I have been struck by how personal and
organisational change rarely happens in unity and how badly alienated,
fearful and lost I can feel, and I sense others feel also wherever there
is organisational change going on. I sense that this represents a huge
and cumulative HIDDEN COST in many organisations. Alot of my work is
striving to find some better ways of engaging people in organisational
change. I'll come back to this issue in repsonding to Lisa and others in
a minute.  

Joshua, as ever I find your thoughts stretching and valuable in providing
a broader canvass/context against wihch to understand now (as you say, a
society dependent on knowledge creation and transfer and able to destroy
itself through military or industrial action).  

You ask how do we teach reflection? In a way Diary of a Change Agent
seeks to teach and inspire others to undertake self-reflection. The book
contains questions, exercises and examples. But to add to that, when I
work with groups, I like gently to introduce self-reflection using simple
questions that activists/pragmatists can relate to without too much
difficulty like:
- What do you find most memorable in this meeting so far?
- What are you learning?
- How can you apply that learning?
When you facilitate discussion of such simple questions in a group, you
can start to feel that something of immediate and high value is being
created, beyond individual reflection/learning: you are unblocking
communication, building shared knowledge and starting to establish a
habits reflective learning in the team. Susan, is this anything like what
you do with activists?  

Lisa, you asked is my course on Navigating Change different from one I
might have done in pre-diary days. Good question (ie. it stretches me!).
Yes. Pre-diary I did design and teach a course called Creating Change,
and I would say it was a good course but focused from a consultants
perspective and somewhat fixed, predetermined, task-centred, mechanistic,
controlled, superficial...  

By contrast Navigating Change concentrates more on engaging your heart
within the realities of your business/organisational context, and
exploring what is involved in engaging others' hearts. We encourage
people to be present and authentic, to discuss the issues that are real
for them. The course is in 3 parts:
- you are the CEO (= whole business viewpoint, strategic context)
- you are you (= whole life, being)
- you are engaging others (mobilising).  

Last week we had 7 people on Navigating Change all from different
companies. I was reminded how deeply difficult change is if you are a
link in the chain, as we all are, impacted by change but needing to gain
others support and commitment. There was real FEAR of your job being
outsourced or located to somewhere else in the world where people will do
it for less eg. as in BA moving accounting to India.  

I was reminded of how hard (time, energy, resource wise) it is to get
back on top after you have lost your position as number 1 eg IBM,
Sainsbury (supermarket).  

I was reminded of how long it is possible as a manager to survive in
denial, being reactive, hoping change will go away.  

Yes Lisa, there is a new resource pack called Navigating Change which
contains a presentation with script, a holistic process for engaging
stakeholders, worksheets, bibliography... etc.  

Hi Sanyakhu! And Hope. Yes there are problems with diary-keeping, like
those you mention, such as who will read it and SELF-CENSORING. I have
realised during this dialogue that a diary can perform a quite different
function to on-line journaling. When the diary is just for you, and is
secure then there is little or no risk of it becoming "writing", or
becoming diluted and corrupted by the need for social approval or
whatever. If it is for you alone then SELF-DECEPTION IS POINTLESS and it
can be deeply honest and more penetrating than is possible in any social
or quasi-therapeutic setting.  

There is a huge difference over whether we are talking PUBLIC OR PRIVATE
journaling. When I started the diary, I felt the need to "go inside" and
do private journaling. Now I'm in a stage where I maintain the private
practice at a lower, less intense level, but I am now excited by this and
other opportunities for a form of public journaling, making connections
and learning with others.  

Gary, I think in Navigating Change we have been coming at the two voices
idea perhaps from a slightly different angle, but similar in that we
explore the organisation/business level and the personal level then
encourage participants to create a new, integrated person-business view.
So yes, I think it does connect.  

Regarding LEADING AND FOLLOWING, it strikes me that everyone involved in
change has a piece of work to do which you could call "making meaning out
of what is happening". Sort of to do with stepping back, gaining
perspective, and then reconnecting with life on a new, clearer, commited
basis. This applies whether leader or follower. I suspect that as more of
us come to work with this kind of viewpoint, change become more a sort of
co-creation, a multidimensional and emergent phenomenon and less linear
moving from leader to followers.  

Hello again Barry. Thanks for your occasional snippets here!  

Peter, welcome. You ask why Change Agent? If you read job ads over here,
many of them are looking for people to be agents of change. It seems to
be a strong theme. For the last 20 years I have worked in some sense as a
change agent, ie facilitating and helping others who lead change. And I
have started to want to connect up the dots in the puzzle a little. If
you do see the book you may be struck by how it bridges across the
usually separate worlds of the personal, the corporate and the
professional.  

So Peter, I hope I am recognising my many other roles and keen to explore
these too...but you can't put them all in a short book title can you?!!  

Time to go. Speak to you again soon.  

Tony


  39:51) 16-JUN-97 10:27 Lavinia Weissman
Tony, I really appreciate how thorough you are in interacting with
everyone here.   I find the way you express your experience does not
pretend to have all the answers, but the fact that you point to the places
where there is "no knowing or solution" makes this conversation a place to
explore safely.  

Earlier it was mentioned that change is something "good" so why should it
be a negative experience.   I need to be respectful and read the
particular response, but I have been carrying around this question for a
few days.  It is very relevant to my work.   It is often asserted that a
doctor fails when a patient dies.  I think part of the incongruity in
organizational learning and personal growth relates to when paths become
separate.  We are not good at building links for people and organizations
to part.  

I will return here in the next bit after I pull up the commentary that
made me reflect this way.  


  39:52) 16-JUN-97 14:02 Susan Frady
As I was reading the last few entries about the "huge and cumulative
hidden cost" of alienation in organisations and the disconnect between
organisational and personal growth something struck me.  A few years ago,
I remember reading in some change management literature about the cost of
change - and how to calcualte it in dollars and cents.  This appealed to
me, because it was a way to get senior management to see the "value" in
some of the intiatives I was proposing that, to them, seemed a little
squishy.  It basically was a calculation based on an average amount of
time spent by members of organisations worrying, talking, speculating,
gossipping, etc, about impending change.  I think it was set at something
like 2- 3 hours a day.  This was then multiplied by the average hourly
(salary) cost times the number of employees, times a period of time (or
something like that).  The bottom line is that you come up with a
tangible figure that raises more than a few eyebrows.  It was at this
point when the huge hidden costs, were exposed.  This was useful in
getting the support I needed from the top to get the ball rolling.  This
then led to some intial wins, which built trust, which led to support for
longer-term outcomes, which led to the organisation and its members
becoming more closely aligned, which led to a greater convergence of
organisational and personal goals, and so on, and so on.  My point is
that I don't think you can isolate one piece of the picture and ask how
do we make this piece (alignment) occur.  I think you just have to allow
yourself to have faith in the process.
  39:53) 16-JUN-97 21:02 Diana Wright
How can good change be negative?  This reminded me of a woman I met in
Greece some years ago -- I put her story in another conference here when
I wrote about a miracle -- who experienced a profound healing.  After the
miracle, she wore black for three years because, as she said, when you
are healed you still have lost the sickness, and that was a part of you
that still needs to be honored.  

This may not be what you meant by that phrase, but I am all too familiar
with the upset that comes, even when plans work out beautifully and
things go as you want.  Libido is still drained from the system and it
takes time to replace it.


  39:54) 16-JUN-97 23:56 Netiva Caftori
So much material.  I only skimmed thru.  Forgive me.  A couple comments.
I see change in 2 levels:  the personal, which is very rare (one doesn't
change unless one goes thru some trauma) and the environment that we
affect.  I think journaling, or any other way where we stop what we
ordinarily do and reflect, is absolutely necessary in order for change
around us to occur.  I see the world around me as constantly changing.
By journaling i jump off the boat for a short while to observe where the
course is leading, analyze the situation and jump back aboard, maybe
seizing the helm or just enjoying the ride.  

I have different ways to write my journal.  One is by writing to my
parents every week a 2-page letter in the past 24 years (that makes 2400
pages).  The other is thru painting (like Lavinia I think) or writing in
a private diary.  I found that I always write to a reader.  It is a bit
upsetting since I cannot be entirely sincere not trusting that no one is
going to read my writings.


  39:55) 17-JUN-97 8:24 Lisa Kimball
 

Netiva .. do you keep copies of your letters to your parents (or do they
keep them?)  What an incredible read that would be!  My father wrote long
letters to his parents when he was in school in England just as WWII brew
up.  Luckily, they kept them because it's fascinating to see what he was
observing then.  Sometimes, our writings here are a bit like letters to
friends ...  


  39:56) 17-JUN-97 10:02 Joshua Gofman
It is so peaceful to observe the ebbs and flows of this dialogue.  Thank
you for the experience.
  39:57) 17-JUN-97 12:43 Geoffrey Bellman
After doing all that scanning and reading...After getting all that
stimulation, I couldn't sign off without acknowledging that I appreciate
the conversation.  I am noticing how a book and conversation involving
journaling attracts people who do that...I notice my own hesitation about
and attraction to putting my thoughts here.  And I imagine that other
readers are going through the same thing.  My own experience as an
occasionally intense writer of a personal journal is that there is a
great gap separating those that are drawn to this and those that just
don't understand how others gain so much from it.  I find myself
immediately in synch with the former and out of touch with the
latter...In fact, sometimes I blame those who don't benefit from
introspection...Yet another opportunity to feel superior...and in the
process of elevating myself don't connect with them and what works for
them. Thanks for the conversation everyone.
  39:58) 17-JUN-97 12:50 Barry Bluestein
Netiva, I think that it might be useful to remember the organizations of
people have a collective personality (and often a collective pathology as
well) which can be changed with varying degrees of ease.  

One of the most powerful tools of change in an organization is to perform
'brain surgery' by 'rearranging the neurons' that is, simply reassigning
people and assembling them into different groupings. There are, of
course, many other tools to change the collective psychology.


  39:59) 17-JUN-97 13:20 Susan Frady
I would like to offer this example of journaling in practice in the work
place.  The organisation in which I work consists of 90 some locations
globally.  Most of us are connected to one another via an internal e-mail
system.  We have recently begun a form of collective, corporate
"sponsored" journaling.  It has become a monthly dialogue facilitated by
an editor at our main location. One thing I have observed is what
Geoffery referred to as "getting it".  Those who get it, are avid readers
and contributors.  Those who don't are (in my humble opinion) missing a
great opportunity for sharing.  A significant portion of the organisation
views this exercise as pointless navel-gazing.  But what we are doing, is
sharing practices, and approaches with one another - around the world.
We've got this great flow of best-practice sharing going on and we are
all benefitting from it.  This is where I see organisation and individual
coming together.  It's a great working example of organisational
journaling.  As more practices are shared and implemented, more peoople
are drawn into the process.  There will always be those who aren't
interested, but I belelive these types of things, once they gain
momentum, slowly weave themselves into the fabric of an organisaiton and
eventually become a natural, and relied upon, means of integration and
communication.
  39:60) 18-JUN-97 12:44 Joshua Gofman
Susan, it was interesting to read your account of company-wide
journaling. How many people are involved in the process? How is the
communication, conflict resolution process managed? Is the technology and
format similar to the one we are using here? How are organization's
traditional boundaries (hirarchy, departmentalization, cultural/language
segmentation) effecting the process? What is being done to minimize these
boundaries?  

Those people hesitant to participate, or suspicious of the process, are
they being actively encouraged and assisted in dealing with their fears?  

I tend to compare the process of shared journaling to reading  aloud for
the first time in school. For some children this is easy, they have been
brought up by parents who have read to them, surrounded them with books,
encouraged public performances in front of other kids and parents.
Compare this to the upbringing of other children who may have been
brought up in relative isolation, without books or being read to, made
acutely aware of the impressions they make in public, driven into a state
of shyness and hypersensitivity.  

 

There are so many possible reasons for resisting the process of shared
journaling, especially over a  network. How are these factors being
identified and managed in your organization?  

Thank you for sharing with us. Joshua


  39:61) 18-JUN-97 13:30 Lisa Kimball
Lovely to see you here again, Geoffrey! I think your book connects with Tony's (anyone here who hasn't read Geoff's Chautauqua in item 36 will enjoy that!) on several levels.

Geoff has a chapter in his book about "Passon at Work" which I found very powerful:

"One definition of passion is 'an intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction.' How does this definition fit with your feelings about your own work? What powerful or compelling emotions do you experience in the pursuit of your work? Another definition is 'strong amorous feeling; love.' Test that against what you feel at work. The word passion comes from the Latin pati, to suffer or submit. How does that fit? Notice the feelings passion arouses in us as it pulls on our emotions, or arouses us, or causes us to suffer. All of these definitions together express an array of feelings that can be associated with the passionate path of work - work as powerful emotion, submisison, and suffering. These interwoven themes snake along the work path bringing agony, ecstasy, and meaning." - Geoff Bellman, Your Signature Path, p. 107

Whew! I had to catch my breath after reading that.

While reflecting on passion ... i felt a connection to some of what you wrote, Tony, about moving from an activist pattern (i KNOW that pattern personally *really* well) to something more authentic .. which reminded me of Krishnamurti ....

"We consider living to be a positive action. Doing, thinking, the everlasting bustle, conflict, fear, sorrow, guilt, ambition, competition, lusting after pleasure with all its pain, the desire to be successful_all this is what we call living. That is our life, with its occasional joy, with its moments of compassion without any motive, and generosity without any strings attached to it. There are rare moments of ecstasy, of a bliss that has no past or future. But going to the office, anger, hatred, contempt, enmity, are what we call everyday living, and we consider it extraordinarily positive." - Krishnamurti

I sense that the diary process, like the dialogue process (a la Bohm) puts us in a different state than the one you describe as your life at the beginning of 1993 (pre-diary), "I felt I was racing through life - like driving in the outside lane of a motorway at 90 mph, the scenery was flashing past. I had very little sense of control and a rather low awareness of what I was leaving behind me."

The origin of the word "passion" which Geoff gives us has a "letting go" feel to it which would imply that to be passionate in or about our work is something other than a lot of DOING things ... which would surely require a more reflective being than most of us enjoy ...


  39:62) 18-JUN-97 15:29 Tony Page
Edit
Hi everyone. It's great to come back here after a day travelling to find
this bubbling away nicely. There's so much you've all said that
stimulates me and brings up a variety of thoughts, feelings, reactions.  

Welcome Geoffrey! I read your Chautauqua a little while ago. I think I
just lurked but I was left with a strong and comforting feeling that we
were both wired up in the same kind of way! I was very interested in the
challenges you described of finding BALANCE in your life and overcoming
compartmentalisation.  

A few months ago I was in a library and Roffey Park Management Centre and
I picked up your book called "Consultant's Calling - Bring more of Who
You are to What You do". Have I got that title right? I stood there for
an hour reading!! Your book sort of sucked me in! It struck a chord. Now
I find that when I talk about AUTHENTICITY, your title describes what I'm
driving at! Glad you overcame your hesitation and thanks for joining us.  

Lavinia and Diana referred to "good" change. This troubled me a bit and
got me thinking. Here's what came up:  

I find it hard to catagorise change as "good" or otherwise. Before
thinking about CHANGE, I  prefer to think about LIFE and what are the
healthy rhythms, patterns, movements, signs of life.  

By contrast there is a narrow, unbalanced, fast, unsustainable activity
that can be exciting that is not what I call life but is more like an out
of control CANCEROUS growth. Maybe the first (LIFE) is "good" and the
second (CANCER) is not..but when you're in the middle of it its not easy
to tell.  

In school here they teach an acronym MERRING that defines the 7 processes
in a living organism:
Moving
Excreting
Respiring
Reproducing
Irritating ie sensitve to outer environent & vice versa
Nutrition
Growing.  

I was excited recently when I heard this is now taught, (was I
daydreaming in this lesson??) and I wondered how to apply it to us, our
teams and our organisations.  

Each time I think about change I first like to think of me/the client/the
organisation or whoever as a SIMPLE ORGANISM in its environment. Is this
also the way you think Netiva? I like to ask what c
ontact/information/value is flowing across the interface. Then I like to
think of many orgsanisms, of a larger ecology, a landscape of many
interdependent but different organisms. Is it a stable, sustainable
ecology or is it doomed with some species threatening to eradicate
another?  

Oh well. These kind of thoughts help me gain distance and perspective.
Maybe I'm just a frustrated biologist. It never was my strong subject at
school!!  

Run out of time. My son wants to play on the computer. I'll try to come
back later!  

Until then, Tony  

 


  39:63) 18-JUN-97 16:45 Tony Page
Edit
A little later on Wednesday evening....Hello again!  

Diana, I liked your story of the Greek woman...loss of something bad but
still honouring the part of you that you lost. It challenges the simple
monchrome, black-white, good-bad thinking we sometimes slip into.  

Susan, yes, making the hidden cost tangible helped you to draw attention
to it and get the ball rolling. I also agree its a process that you have
to LEARN TO TRUST..and perhaps guard against the illusion that you are
contorlling it, or that any on person or group is. Its a whole complex
mix of actions, reactions and interactions! This is why I like to reflect
on the ecology of it all.  

Netiva, you made me think about paradigms and mindsets. Normally we
experience a trickle or a torrent of information entering our little
worlds from our outer environment that largely confirms our attitudes,
values, beliefs and assumptions. But every now and then there is
SOMETHING PROFOUNDLY SHOCKING that causes us go through the classic
letting go cycle and in due course to rearrange our mental furniture.  

In 1997, we expect these profound shocks to hit us more frequently than
say 30, 50 or 100 years ago. So profound, double-loop, reframing,
paradigm shift type learning is becoming a SURVIVAL SKILL. And, as you
put it, "stepping off the boat", diarying, jounraling, writing your
letters home, or painting, these practices are important for making
meaning from the confusing but interconnected actions, events and
relationships in our lives.  

Barry, your comments about collective personality and pathology are
interesting. Someone yesterday in a sales driven telecomms organisation
commented glibly that basically everyone is driven by FEAR or GREED. This
sort of upset me. It is not the kind of world I wanted to live in, or
organisation I would like to work in! So I reckon there was some kind of
collective patholgoy going on here. Is this the kind of thing that you
mean?  

Brain surgery in this context sounds rather ugly to me. It made me
reflect on labotomies and brainsurgeons in the 50s using the knife
without fully understnading what they wre doing...but accepting the
dilemma that a distressed patient might as a result become more placid,
apparently happier or less dysfunctional.  

I am drawn toward methods like Dialogue, Appreciative Inquiry, Future
Search that create a possibility space and a taking up of control by
those affected, those living/working in the organisation.  

Susan, I'm a little concerned from your comments that like journaling
these methods work best on reflective types like us and leave out the
activists from the important work of creating/transforming/renewing their
organisations. I've started to get interested in finding FAST DIALOGUE
tools to give activists a sense of whats possible here. I'll try to
describe what I mean by this later. Maybe these will help include those
who do not find journaling their cup of tea. Or maybe you're right and
once you gain momentum ewveryone gets drawn in somehow.  

Joshua - interesting thoughts on reading aloud linking the epxereince to
shared journaling. And I'm glad you appreciate this space.  

Lisa, thanks for giving us the quote about passion. I want to come back
to this in a bit. I'm thinking about the notion of CHANGE ENERGY...but a
little rushed now.  

Thanks everyone. Let's keep this space bubbling! Good night. Tony.


  39:64) 19-JUN-97 13:26 Susan Frady
Joshua, I'm not sure as to the number of individuals involved.  The
format used will probably answer some of your questions.  This process is
conducted within the format of an "information digest" with a formal
editor.  Items are submitted to the editor, compliled and "published"
weekly, distributed via e-mail.  So in that sense, the format
is more strucured than true free-flow journaling.  However, the editor is
playing primairly a coordination role and is not really contriving the
direction of the dialogue. Additionally,  in an organisation where
communication has traditionally been very very formal and unless it's
written in triplicate, signed-off by at least three levels of management
and circulated through the proper channels, it's not real communication,
this informal dialogue is a pretty radical departure.  So, even though
it's not spontaneous, it reads like a conversation more or less.  

The question of traditional organisational boundaries is particularly
interesting given the extraordinary attention that has traditionally been
paid to hierarchy and segmentation in this organisation.  This forum is
relatively free from class issues.  Those who are hung up with levels and
status, generally, don't participate in the dialogue (they lurk - or
ignore the process altogether hoping it will just go away)  As far as
actively recruting resisters to participate, the organisers of the digest
have taken the "seat on the bus" approach (there's a seat on the bus for
everyone - get on or get left behind)  Ultimately, the true test of
survival of these types of process will be in the delivery of desired
results for the organisation.  

Tony, this ties in with your mention of reflective processes as survival
skills.  If they are, then orgs that engage in these processes will
flourish and those that don't won't.  To the acitvist - results speak
volumes.  I was particularly interested in your comments on FAST DIALOGUE
and would be anxious to hear more about it. Sue


  39:65) 19-JUN-97 16:59 Joshua Gofman
Sue thanks so much for elaborating on the process. I am left disturbed by
the attitude (I am not sure whether it orginates with you or the
organization you are describing) of "get on the bus or get left behind".
It is a cold, impersonal and unnecessarily Darwinistic. "Only the Strong
Survive"  may be a healthy process when we are facing slow change,
however, when we are all being bombarded with radically new technologies,
ways of thought and interaction, the mind and body can't adapt quickly
enough to
cope.  Everyone of us would eventually, under one set of circumstances or
another, turn into 'dead wood'. Unless of course we learn to be humane
about change and help
each other manage it.  

Perhaps this is why every organization should have a group of people who
reflect on change from a meta/systematic perspective. This group thinks
about the unique 'pockets' of people (segmenting them along numerous
axis: age, culture, language, education, etc.) taking into consideration
each segments deeply held assumptions, values, beliefs, experiences,
expectations and tools, all of which then gets digested in the context of
the newly introduced change.  In fact with more and more complex change
looming ahead, we may need multiple tiers of support agents. With each
tier of meta thinkers in  fact thinking about the compleixities and tasks
about to be faced by the tier before it.  

Thus the case of online, company wide (in this case global) journaling
would/should bring with it support systems which
would be tailored to the different groups of hold-outs. Some for language
reasons, some for reasons of organizationional (mis)trust, still others
due to ineptitude with the technology, etc..  

If the true initiative is designed to stimulate sharing of best
practices, not the formation of the 'new elite - the digiratti',
would you want a key front line employee in one of your foreign markets
to avoid sharing the experience because he/she is computer illiterate, or
a slow typist, or shy about her use of English, etc.? I bet not!  

Lisa, thank you for quoting Krishnamurti. It makes me want to go home and
pick up his book. Also, the introduction of Geoff's book/theme about
passion of one's work is so well timed. It amazes me how our
discussion originating in Journalling has zig zagged its way across so
many
dimensions of thought and life. Passion in one's workplace has been,
perhaps without us saying it out loud, an underlying theme in all of
this. It makes me think of other participants' comments  about
organizational change and personal change taking place in harmony with
each other.  

There is something metaphysical about all of this.  

Tony, I just reread your comments about the ecosystem/microorganisms. I
gather you are
thinking of the ecosystem as a model for some aspects of our life, work,
change management, etc.. I am wondering, can you think of an ecosystem or
a microenvironment in an ecosystem that is or has been faced by similar
degree of change (magnitude, frequency, intensity) to the one humanity is
currently experiencing? If there isn't the parallel between the two
worlds, then should one be used to model the other one? Perhaps, as
always, it is a matter of degree ..... not absoluteness.


  39:66) 20-JUN-97 4:08 Tony Page
Edit
Good morning. It's Friday and 8.30 here. I've half an hour before
catching my train for meeting in London so I might rush off in the middle
of this and I'll come back to it later.  

My meeting this morning it with a colleague in a movement called
Tomorrow's Company which is committed to an INCLUSIVE APPROACH to running
a business or organisation, balancing the needs and interests, short and
longer term, of all the key stakeholders ie beyond shareholders, to
customers, staff, suppliers and wider community. Quite a number of large
companies are now signed up to this and we are exploring how to work with
a few of them on a journey towards greater inclusiveness, and therefore
towards superior performance.  

This work is very EXCITING for me. It is a connection between some of the
aspirations many of us share and today's real hard-nosed business world.  

My PASSION for this work arises I think from the way it permits and
expresses by beliefs and values, which curiously has not previously been
possible in the (many) organisations in which I have worked.  

This brings me round Susan to FAST DIALOGUE. What I seek to do is through
a variety of methods create conditions in which people can safely
express what is important, what really matters to them, in other words
their beliefs and values...but not just to express, but to listen to
others expressing and be open to understanding alternative and apparently
opposing viewpoints of work, life, the world etc.  

My interest in fast dialogue arose from a mini-workshop, a sort of
breakout group I ran for 90 minutes at a conference last summer. I spoke
for about 20 minutes about values: how I think they form in an individual
with examples from my own life, using a sort of caterpillar/cuccoon/
butterfly metaphor. Then about the self-contained compartments or worlds
in our lives (eg work, career, home, social life, health and fitness,
money....) each of which contains a more or less coherent, congruent
value set BUT between which there is often incongruence or dissonance.  

After this talk there were short pairs exercises built around
the question: WHAT REALLY MATTERS TO YOU IN THIS WORLD? with a simple,
repeated follow-up probe AND WHAT REALLY MATTERS TO YOU ABOUT THAT?.  

Within a few minutes of starting the pairs work the energy in the room
went Whoosh!!!, the pairs dug deeply in, exploring differences,
incongruences and finding areas of common ground. It was very hard to
bring the exercise to a close, as you might imagine.  

Months later a participant described this as like TWO STRANGERS IN A
RAILWAY COMPARTMENT and as a form of FAST DIALOGUE, achieving in 5
minutes or so what hours even days of teambuilding or dialogue often
fails to deliver. I know it is 1-1 and therefore not dialogue in a full
sense, but it is a seed from which I want to grow something larger.  

I was invited in March by one of the pairwork participants to run a
seminar about this exercise and its implications for 150 top managers at
Islington Council in London. After this challenging session I was told
that the questions asked by managers felt more real and sincere instead
of political, and that the seminar had helped create a new deeper level
of engagement and commitment to the council-wide "Leading Change"
programme!  

Now I have evolved a larger number of simple FAST DIALOGUE tools, most of
them absurdly easy to understand and engage with, but aiming to create a
DEEPER CONVERSATION without leaving individuals feeling vulnerable,
exposed or violated by the degree of disclosure involved.  

These include SIMPLE REFLECTION, FEELINGS, CASE FOR CHANGE, CHANGE
ENERGY, GOAL-SETTING, SNOWBALL...all of them about finding connections
inside to self/values and outside to others. So I suppose there are about
PASSION and alignment of self-with-others and person-with-organisation.  

I'm late for my train.  

Joshua. Thanks for participating so generously in this session. I can't
do justice with a fuller repsonse at the minute but...on ecosystems,
where I'm coming from is that as humans WE ARE AN ECOSYSTEM and we
participate in many larger ecosystems. Beyond modelling, this is a way of
reframing and challenging our human arrogance, our view of being
superior, our tendency to destroy nature and not to understand what we
are interfering with...  

Finally for now I'm pleased at the way you and Susan are starting to make
contact. I hope that by the end of the month there might have occurred a
kind of shift in the mode of discussion where instead of this being
multiple "one to ones", we might evolve to a "MANY TO MANY"
style of conversation. Is that possible here???  

When I come back later I want to ask a few questions to stimulate us all
to
REFLECT on the ground we have covered together over the last 2-3 weeks,
and to see what MEANING we are getting from it, giving us time to explore
SO WHAT? questions next week before we draw this to a close.  

Tony


  39:67) 20-JUN-97 9:02 Susan Frady
Joshua,  I absolutely agree with your assessment of the benefit of
focusing on a more humane approach.   Perhaps my "get on the bus"
statement was a bit harsh, because in reality, I don't believe that the
organisation deliberately wants to exclude anyone from the discussion
because of limitations of any sort.  However, how do you strike a balance
between making group systems availble, intuitive to use, and productive
AND including those who are simply unwilling to participate (for whatever
reason)  I was trying to get across the feeling of the organisation that
they prefer to put their creative energy into giving those who are
interested in an outlet for this type of disucssion and not getting
dragged down by those who aren't.  Maybe that sounds a bit cut and dry,
but as I said earlier, as this process adds value to the work of the
organisation, others will come along.  It's part of the unfolding of a
dynamic process.  At least that's how I look at it - more along the lines
of progressive inclusion rather than outright exclusion of the
uninterested, underskilled, inaccessible etc.
  39:68) 20-JUN-97 12:56 Joshua Gofman
Goodmorning everyone. This is a wonderful intellectual and emotional
space to start my day with.  

Tony, I understand your comments about the ecosystem. You are absolutely
right about the need to reflect on the whole system, and recognize the
gift of being a member of this system. Unfortunately, the understanding
that our presence here is 'gift' hasn't penetrated deep and wide enough.
We still arrogantly work from the 'control' paradigm.  

I really like the concept of Rapid Dialogue and Deeper Conversation.
Would be interesting to know how you have been able to apply these to
those 4 or 5 topics you made reference to in your last message.  

Your comment about the many to many dialogue also struck a cord with me.
I was reflecting on this over the course of the last few days, thinking
how this may be difficult to achieve in an asynchronous environment,
unless of course you have a group of people working towards a specific,
well defined and mutual goal, for example, a business plan, or a policy
document. Something that required JOINT  responsibility for a well
defined outcome.  Clearly this is not the case with this dialogue. We are
all sort of flirting with each other, perhaps on a higher level, but
still flirting. This makes makes me think of a poignant proverb: What is
the difference between a chicken and a pig? The chicken is INVOLVED but
the pig is COMMITTED.  

Well, we are all chickens here, laying an egg here and there.  

I agree, it will be interesting to reflect on the ground we have covered.  

Sue, I carefully read your response and understand what you mean about
the need for moving the process forward. I am now thinking of a military
scenario, where an army is moving forward in a long column. Without
driving forward there is no progress, however, if the front gets too far
from the middle and the middle gets too ahead of the rear, then we will
have fragmentation, we will lose momentum, morale will drop and we will
be vulnerable to an enemy attack. I wonder if this metaphor/analogy is
applicable to our organizational scneario.


  39:69) 20-JUN-97 13:27 Susan Frady
Joshua,  It could very well apply.  In our scenario, the further along
the group that is invovled in the dialogue move, the greater the gap
between the participants and the onlookers.  We could then end up with an
insular group preaching to the converted so to speak. The connection with
the rest of the organisation becomes more and more tenuous.   It
certainly is a good argument for active inclusion.
  39:70) 22-JUN-97 11:08 Sanyakhu-Sheps Amare'
 

 

 

 

Can it be elaborated upon some more..the statement "learn to trust"
how is that done in an organization? I gathered that this there were some
steps to that?


  39:71) 22-JUN-97 11:49 Joshua Gofman
Sue, I really like your phrase: "ACTIVE INCLUSION"!  JG
  39:72) 23-JUN-97 8:51 Tony Page
Edit
Monday morning. Winter weather - windy and cold! Brrrr! Yesterday I
cycled in an organised ride from London to Oxford. 60 miles in high winds
and torrential rain. Double, no treble BRRRRRRR! Today I'm glad to be in
the office, letting my aching limbs recover slowly!  

Last week I said I wanted to REVIEW this dialogue and also encourage
others to, to see what it leads you to in this final week and after we
finish, in terms of "So What?" or "action as a result of being here". So
I printed off this Chautauqua over the weekend and sat down today to
review it. 36 pages! What a lot we have generated! And what interesting
ground!  

I know I will always remember and return to this from time to time. There
has been a huge PLEASURE for me anticipating what will be posted, then
feeling the challenge to look inside, finding then trying to
express/share what is true and meaningful, and at the same time in
receiving from others, taking in, seeking to understand and integrate
different views. This is LEARNING with a capital L! Vivid, engaging, real
in its effect on me and I hope us.  

A few recollections that are quite memorable for me:
- Lisa's putting the ball into play, inviting people in, keeping us moving
- Abby setting up the Guest bookstore
- Anthony/Tony getting beyond the scorekeeper
- All sharing experiences and inhibitions with journaling
- Lisa on activist Washington and therapist New York
- Amy on OKness, extravert and intravert
- Hope on mindfulness, self-censorship, living/journaling/writing
- Diana's journal and her stories of Greek woman and "squalorama"
- Sanyakhu on Caucus, wrong hands, yahoo search on your name
- Lavinia on conscious downisizing, drawing, stories, quiet
- Dennis beaming in from the savage beauty of Alaska
- Gary's interactive journaling, online transformation article, 2 voices
- Barry's occasional (staccato!) inputs, voice recognition, brain surgery
- Susan's activity junkies, hidden costs, corporate journaling, tight at
top
- Joshua's longer now, 2 wounded doctors, evolutionary advantage, flirting
- Lisa again on ethical care of your self, Krishnamurti
- Netiva's weekly 2 page letter home for 24 years
- Geoffrey's hesitation, then posting, passion
- Joshua and Susan's interchanges, army column, active inclusion
- Peter, Lavinia, Gary, Joshua and others just enjoying being here!  

And what LEARNING has this left me with?
- A clearer sense of the value both of connecting with self (private
journaling) and connecting with others (social/corporate/online
journaling)
- The problem of trusting that a private jounral will remain private
- The great possibilities for social journaling in companies to build
knowledge base/community and between individuals like this
- Confirmation of how personal reflection and corporate change are
interdependent
- The challenge of including the activity junkies: reflectors get active!  

So that's where I've got to. I would be really interested in knowing from
others:
1. When you read through this Chautauqua what is most
MEMORABLE/MEANINGFUL?
2. When you reflect on that, what LEARNING are you left with?
3. So what? How can you USE/APPLY apply that learning in your work/life?  

I haven't got to question 3 yet but I'll work on it and let you know.  

Meanwhile I'd like to comment on a few loose strands from previous
postings.  

Sankayhu asked about "learn to TRUST". Was this a reference back to one
of Susan's earlier postings? I do not know the steps. Perhaps Susan does
but I would comment that trust is about knowing you won't be hurt, about
being sure you are SAFE or that you will benefit from what is happening.
Such conditions are unusual in companies in 1997.  

Our Flow Theory described the conditions I believe we need to create for
trust, and therfore learning and change. They are conditions in which we
engage with others, we open ourselves, making ourselves VULNERABLE,
knowing we do not need to be defensive. In a sense we have been creating
these conditions in this dialogue.  

The learning part  of "learn to trust" probably means trying, making
yourself vulnerable, getting it wrong, reflecting, learning then trying
again until it starts to work.  

I see this as less to do with "steps", implying a linear path, and more
to do with evolving together, creating an environment that is TRUSTWORTHY
for people who enter it.  

I said earlier I wanted to comment further on  PASSION. As a consultant
early on I was taught the CHANGE EQUATION as follows:  

EC = AxBxD > c.  

Which reads "Effective Change is possible of the combination of A Vision,
B Dissatisfaction and D Knoew First Steps is greater than the perceived
costs". It has been difficult tracking down the origins of this but so
far I have found that it beuild from Kurt Lewin's Force Field Analysis,
Beckhard and Harris published a similar equation, it has been linked to 2
other names, from MIT? David Gleicher and Milon Tribus. If anyone knows
more please tell me.  

Anyway, when I first came across this equation it seemed to express in a
curious way something quite powerful that is often neglected. It was a
sort of clue about where to look for passion.  

Now building from common sense and ideas by Robert Fritz and Lou Tice, I
think PASSION for change comes from a combination of two forces,
REPULSION (desire to leave here) and ATTRACTION (desire to go there). The
repulsion piece is about PAIN, hurting so badly now, or anticipated pain,
expecting to hurt badly soon. The attraction part, I can get to most
meaningfully through What Really Matters questions and through
Appreciative Inquiry.  

So, and this brings me Joshua to a fast dialogue method called CASE FOR
CHANGE. Making meaning for any of us involved in change requires us to
seek meaning, connecting ourselves into the forces/sources of passion
that operate with and between us.  

The Case for Change route to fast dialogue is based around these simple
questions wihch derives from the thoughts I've just been through:  

1. What is the current state? And what is wrong with it? (ie. what pisses
you off? What is giving you pain or will give you pain?)  

2. What is the desired future state (ie. what really matters to you, what
would you like to create/bring about, what moments from the past that
made you feel alive do you want to live again in the future?)  

3. How to move forward? What are the first steps? (ie what can you do to
make this happen?)  

4. Looking at this whole thing, what will it cost you? and is it worth it?  

I suggest working these questions individually, with a trusted partner,
between stakeholders, in groups/teams/organisations to align personal
with organisational change and multiply the energy.  

As the critical mass starts to develop I believe it is important not to
encourage people to cut themselves of from their hearts through fear and
to support individuals in their decision-making, with fair and
non-punitive options about whether they want to continue here or exit
into other worlds. I'm talking here Lavinia about PARTING, which you
referred to earlier.  

Well, it's time for me to continue with other work now.  

Let's keep the ball rolling this week. I love the way the learning sort
of builds. So please keep joining in and reacting to each other. And
perhaps reacting to my own conclusions. I wonder if you agree??  

If any of you do feel inspired to reflect on those 3 questions please
share your insights here.....  

Byeeee!!!


  39:73) 23-JUN-97 9:31 Mike Coulson
Just wanted to jump in here and say that I've been lurking for the past
couple of weeks, REALLY enjoying the discussion!! And joshua, I love the
concept that participants here are laying little eggs once in a while.
With conferencing, there is a different level of engagement that changes
between groups, but this one can definitely be described as the laying of
eggs (ie each one took a lot of effort and could be the birth of a
thought).  

On your three questions Tony - I have to say that the one thing i'm going
to take away from this is something that has been a budding thought (a
gestating egg?) in my mind for a while:  

I feel from time to time that my mind too easily slips into neutral.  I
go about my business - work and pleasure - in a state of disengagement,
knowing what's going on but not really taking part or being a real
participant in the occurances around me (like maybe lurking in this
chautauqua?).  

But then once in a while something happens and suddenly the NOW is very
real - I feel strongly aware of my surroundings, of my feelings, of who I
am and what I want and all my thoughts are clear.  

On one level, this happens to me on a daily basis (too much coffee, or
just a great debate or a very awake state) and on another, it is a
life-long thing. I felt very alive and awake and aware for instance when
I was travelling throughout Europe - and strangely enough, it was when I
was writing daily in a journal.  

In this case I think the journal was more an effect of the level of
engagement, but I can really see how the journal can be a way of
increasing the level of engagement - of *waking people up* and making
them really THINK about their surroundings and their role within them.  

thanks Tony et al.!!


  39:74) 23-JUN-97 11:17 Joshua Gofman
WOW! I need time to digest this before I dare put my thoughts down. This
is pretty powerful stuff. In the mean time some light commentary follows
{afte all, its not like I can just shut this computer off and get to my
real job. In any case, everyone thinks I am working when I am in
Chautauqua, I look so pensive and focused :-)}  

Tony, 60 miles on the bike in wind and rain. I used to know how that
feels, having done many a century. Once in Japan participated in a 300 km
time trial. A long, grueling ride though morning cold, mid day sweltering
heat, and then evening cold again. There is nothing to challenge the
brain like a long, solitary, difficult activity. It is amazing just to be
aware of one's thoughts, and how the body reacts to them. From the pain,
feelings of why am I subjecting myself to this, to feelings of amazement
at one's will, the exultation of digging really deep and finding stuff
there.  

Tony I will have to review the material in this conference to consolidate
the impact. It will be interesting to trace the thread of the
conversation. Your FAST DIALOGUE on the methodology / process of actively
nurturing change is so incredibly timely for me. As I was reading and
rereading it I kept walking thought the steps in the context of my
current challenge. This may indeed help me see things clearer.  

Mike, thank you for your comments. I am glad that we collectively brought
you out of your meditation into a brief moment of out-of-body experience.
Perhaps your method is better!  Isn't your way the very essense of Zen?  

As Arnold Swartznegger threateningly said in Terminator 1: "I will be
backkkk!"


  39:75) 23-JUN-97 17:14 Lavinia Weissman
Tony, et al.  Last week I printed out the entire dialogue and my how it
has grown since then.  I am now out the door to travel for most of the
week and will try to print out what I did not capture.  This conversation
has grown in depth and breadth in a very short-while.  

For me to come to closure here, I feel I really want to have opportunity
to connect by next weekend my thoughts before Lisa or Tony say this
conversation with this group in this space and time has come to a close.  

I will also look forward to what others bring here in terms of reflection.


  39:76) 23-JUN-97 17:24 Sheila Lendman
Just happened to be looking over daily journels I kept 15 years ago which
I had not seen for years.  In them I recorded only my emotional reactions
to daily occurances.  Quite narcistic and self absorbed, I think. This
observation had me reflecting on past literary figures and how interesting
their journels can be and how ballanced the writing is between inner
revalations and outer occurances.  Not that one writes for publication.
But, it wuld be nice to return to one's past in all its full color
spectrum.  

Tony, and everyone I am curious if you there are favorite published
journals you have read
.


  39:77) 23-JUN-97 19:18 Antony Coyle
Temperatures greater than 90F here in New Jersey-hot and humid and I
thought I was doing well by cycling 4 miles on my stationary bicycle
trainer!  

Some great learning for me here,not least the way you have facilitated
the conversation Tony and brought your own reflective and authentic
presence to this space and to all of us here.  

The thing that keeps coming up for me has to do with centering,feeling
centered,returning to my centre...I spend too much time being
off-centre,being away from my centre,living in my head not my body,and
missing my presence in the moment.From an energetic perspective,my energy
tends to concentrate around my head in this wonderful expression of
blooming,buzzing confusion.The energy is not in my feet,there is a lack
of contact with the ground or earth,and it is not in my tan tien or hara
or stomach.I am so tuned into whatever I'm thinking about that I lose
awareness of myself and my centre.More and more I feel this as a loss,as
a self-inflicted "fall from grace".And more and more I'm trying out
different ways to return,to re-center myself-and even to avoid leaving
center in the first place.Journalling does and doesn't work for me.It
does work because it brings me back to my deeper self,it slows me down,it
faces me with the blooming and the buzzing.It doesn't work because it
keeps me in my head,it puts even more energy into my head as if I needed
or wanted any more than I already have!I want to move the energy down,to
rebalance between heaven and earth,as the Taoists would describe it,and
to give up the belief that I can think my way into a state of vibrantly
alive being,here right now.This is where other modalities become
important for me-practising chi kung or meditation.  

So what?So,I'm wondering what for me is the best way of combining these
practices...?I know that journalling is very necessary for me and that by
itself it is insufficient.I would be glad to hear of your thoughts on
this.


  39:78) 24-JUN-97 3:10 Bob Stilger
WOW
    WOW
          WOW
  39:79) 24-JUN-97 3:19 Bob Stilger
Okay, having gotten that off my chest....  

Just checked in here tonight after an e-mail from lisa.  I can see I am
going to want to keep track of these Chautauqua's more regularly.  

Just a couple of smattering thoughts.  I too think that vunerability and
authenticity go hand in hand.  At least I don't think it's possible to
get to the later, without the former.  And, of course, as someone
mentioned sometime ago, this is all heavily culturally based -- very
different standards and norms in Japan.  

For the last two years I have been in an on-line doctoral program, now
housed here on Metanet and the text based dialogue in these conferences
within a learning community isn't exactly the same as journaling -- but
it is the same, only more powerful because of the force and depth of the
dialogue -- at least at times.  It has been a transformative experience
for me.  

For some months now I have been locked in my own sets of polarization in
an organizational reinvention process for a 25 year old nonprofit which I
co-founded and which I have served, since the beginning, as Executive
Director.  A month ago, I received a birthday gift from the universe
(yes, actually on my birthday) when I realized that the way for us to
move ahead was for me to recommend that the position of Executive
Director be abolished within about six months and that the organization
reconstitute itself as a partnership nonprofit.  Doing this, as an
internal change agenct, is certainly calling on all of my capacities
including heavy doses of authenticity -- and I could not have done it
without the journalling/dialogue which has changed my consciousness and I
doubt that I would be able to stay the course without that same support.  

I've ordered your book Tony, it looks excellent.  I'll now follow this
discussion until it runs out next week!


  39:80) 24-JUN-97 6:37 Harrison Owen
Lisa invited me to join, and thanks to you Lisa for doing that. Superb
conversation! And more than one can possible digest in a quick read
through... to say the least. Storytelling has always been a facination of
mine, and I am convinced we are the stories we tell. The critical thing
is the authenticity of those stories. Not just that they are true, but
that they are truly ours and that they go to the core of our truth... to
that which has heart and meaning. When all of that occurs, I think we are
really there --- in the Now, so to speak.
  39:81) 24-JUN-97 9:12 Hope O'Keeffe
Sheila, I had a somewhat negative reaction to your reaction to looking
through old journals; I think it ties to my notion of the purpose of
journaling, as opposed to writing.  For me, it's a safe place to be
narcissistic and self-absorbed; this is where I work things out, a form
of solitary brainstorming.  That's why it's important, at least for me,
to separate from any potential audience, even my 15-year-older self.  

I'm sure that those lovely published journals were carefully edited.  

One of my most recent favorites it "Operating Instructions: A Journal of
My Son's First Year," by Anne LaMott.  It's whiny, self-absorbed, and
narcissistic, and quite wonderful in part for precisely those reasons.  


  39:82) 24-JUN-97 13:22 Susan Frady
I'm not sure you realise what you've asked for here - a group of
reflective people to reflect on their reflections over the past month -
whew  

First I'd like to say that I've ordered Diary of a Change Agent and I
can't wait to consume it!!  

The most meaningful part of this dialogue for me has been seeing how Tony
has woven all of the input into the fabric of the discussion as a whole -
this is a fine example of ACTIVE INCLUSION - that, in and of itself (for
me anyway) has served to reduce the vulnerability felt with contributing,
it adds authenticity to the input, identifies it as valued and deserving
to be said (and recognised)  

Here are a few other reflections that struck me:  

- I really liked the concept of jouraling as a record of distance
traveled.  Sometimes we forget from where we've come and therefore fail
to fully appreciate where we are.  

- The chop wood, carry water example as a pathway to meditation helped me
to put into context why I enjoy my 1 1/2 hour commute (each way - DC -
Lisa will appreciate that) and why I dislike group commuting (too many
people in my space, getting in the way of my thoughts and reflection)
I've tried to explain this to people before, they think I'm nuts.  

- I was quite intrigued by Joshua's comments in 39:27 about wishing for a
process for automatically recording these  PACKETS OF ENERGY swirling
around in our heads.  He touched on pictures and colors as recording
mechanisms, and I think this (swirling packets of energy) is the essence
of creativity -of innovation - of art - art as a manifestation of
thought.  For example, I weave baskets.  Do I have a dialogue with myself
about the basket before I weave it?  No.  It's energy, it just emerges,
it unfolds.  

- Referring to item 39:39, if possible, I'd like to get a reference for
the article "Getting the Turkeys to Vote for Christmas" - that's great!
It reminds me of a quote from a member of an organisation going through
massive (budget driven) restructuring.  This is how she explained the
state of the orgnisation to her staff - "Santa quit, they've outsourced
the reindeer, and the sleigh is empty"  Step out of this mutually
supportive environment, and frequently that is what we are working with -
and we've got to make it work.  

- Another thing that struck me was how much "went by" without comment,
that deserved comment, but for one reason or another, the dialogue took
another path . . . so much fertile soil . . . any number of branches
could have evolved.  It was interesting to observe the evolution of the
dialogue.  

- Finally, I'd like to comment on LEARNING TO TRUST.  I view trust as a
gut thing, not a head thing - you trust in trust - have faith in the
process.  I see the benefits of outcomes (or consequences), both good and
not so good.  I trust by knowing, really knowing, that whatever happens,
it is part of the process, it's developmental.  Trust is about passion,
about generating faith, mobilising a following (disciples of development
- if you will) it's about forward movement, lasting growth and deep
learning.  For me, trust is not something you learn, it's just something
you do, you just do it.  

That's what I've taken away from this forum, and for me, it has daily
application - it's life.  

Looking forward to crossing paths again.  

Sue


  39:83) 24-JUN-97 13:29 Tony Page
Edit
Hi everyone! It's Tuesday, 5.45pm. I'll just take 15 mins here before I
leave the office.  

Great to read your responses. There's lots of Wow! Positive energy here.
I love it!  

Glad you joined us Mike. And thanks for giving us your gestating egg!
Yes, I share your view that a journal can WAKE YOU UP, make life more
vivid, stir the desire to participate more fully in events.  

Joshua. 60 miles felt like enough for me last Sunday. 300km timed. Wow! A
killer. Glad its powerful. Looking forward to your return!  

Hi Lavinia. I feel that we're rushing you here which is not what I
intended. It's just that the month is up on Monday. Please TAKE THE TIME
you need. Is that OK Lisa?  

Sheila. Thanks for joining in. It must feel weird looking back at what
you experienced so long ago. And is there a sense of GUILT, that your
diaries were slanted to inner events? I think that's OK, that's how it
was. Many published diaries are the reverse, focused on events in the
outer world aren't they?  

You;ve reminded me. When my book was in draft form I gave a copy to my
Dad to read. He had just had a stroke so was very slow and found it
difficult to communicate his response, but he did tell me a BIG SURPRISE,
that he had kept a diary throughout his adult life! I had no previous
knowledge of this. And I've known him for over 40 years!  

When I asked him to tell me more, he said his diary was different. More
an account of where he went, events and details of his life, OUTER LIFE
rather than feelings/inner. I asked him waht he intended to do with them.
He said he expected they would be burned when he dies. I wanted to say
SHOW ME THEM, let me read them! But this did not seem appropriate somehow
and the man remains an enigma to me. Oh well!  

I read Diary of Anne Frank years ago. It gripped me at the time but I do
not remember it well now. I dipped a little into Samuel Pepys but mine
was an abridged version without the spicey bits! Really interesting to
gain a sense of history from the detail he records of his life. The Alan
Clark Diaries are a best seller here. AC was defense minister and
philanderer in Thatcher government - apparently very candid, acute and at
times cruel  observations of colleagues ...but I have not read it myself.  

Antony/Tony. Reading your posting what sprang to mind was the slogan on
the NIKE advert for trainers "mind in the stratosphere - feet on the
ground".  Your role, like mine can be a difficult one, challenging, using
our heads, bringing abstract knowledge down to a pragmatic level for
others?? We do this with and on behalf of others.  

Tony, I'd like to respond spontaneously now, without thinking too deeply
on this. I'm wondering if there is a paradox here?? The harder you try,
the more keenly you seek that centred/grounded state, the more elusive it
may be?? The critic/scorekeeper can engage and perversely prevent what
you are seeking. That the state you seek might arise from a LESS KEEN,
LESS EAGER FOCUS. From relaxing, giving yourself permission, believing it
might emerge spontaneously, in its own time, through a lesser more
ambient attention.  

Might this state arise more easily for you in MOVING MEDITATION, chop
wood/carry water, etc  as Diana, Lisa and Hope referred to earlier (items
12, 14 & 15) or in conversation/dialogue rather than in journaling ?  

One additional remark Tony. In a dialogue today the word PLEXUS came up.
So I looked up Solar Plexus in the dictionary. It said a sort of complex
nerve centre, in the PIT OF THE STOMACH. Why do I say this? For me the
practice of recording what I was feeling in the pit of my stomach was
part of the diary practice. I also am quite unaware of this until I ask
myself or someone asks me. It is ELUSIVE for me also, and something I am
still keen to develop.  

Bob, thanks for giving us your WOWs! and for telling us about your gift
from the universe. Hope you enjoy the book!  

Thanks for joining us Harrison, for making the link with storytelling and
for your encouragement. I'm interested in your work. Is there anything
more you'd like to share with us here?  

And Hope. Good to hear from you again!  

Got to go now. That was 45 mins not the 15 I intended. You can get sort
of carried away here can't you!  

Adios, Tony  

 

 

 


  39:84) 24-JUN-97 18:23 Lisa Kimball
It's getting toward 6:30pm here at Meta HQ (i like getting those
grounding cues from others to sense where you all "are").  You can see
what's going on in our living room here in Virginia by clicking on
http://www.tmn.com/~shawnn/camera/  

I'm in random thoughts mode as i'm getting ready to head home tho i know
it's horrible humid hot out there so i'm not hurrying ...  

Yes, it sure is OK to take advantage of the medium's asynchronous quality
rather than feel pressed to get in under some arbitrary deadline ...it's
not over til it's over ...  Time does provide a container for energy.
We've found it useful to design time-based pulses into the abstract
online environment to create a little positive tension but the choice to
ignore boundaries is always possible!  

One of the positive aspects of journaling may be quite subtle. I find
that the possibility that i MIGHT take a stab at expressing something
online focuses my thinking about my experience ... I often find myself
driving along rehearsing how i could express a feeling or a thought in
one or another virtual communities ... and, then it doesn't really matter
whether i actually get around to writing the response or not in terms of
the value to ME.  I imagine writing in a journal .. or thinking about
writing in a journal might have the same effect.  

But I realize that i probably have some resistance around journaling i
don't generally admit to.  An entry in Tony's diary is about going to a
rather edgy-sounding training in Scotland about some forms of meditation
and the slight tension (which got resolved) with Helen when he returned.
It reminded me of a danger i associate with journaling ... (or perhaps
this is just a personal fear of mine) which is that a deep reflective
process can get you out of synch with others in your life - partners,
colleagues, friends, family ..who for whatever reason don't or don't care
to explore chakra attunement or whatver are the subjects of your own
reflection ... I don't really have any need to evangelize to others yet i
do feel a loss of connection to people in my life who think a lot of what
i'm into is pretty weird.  I think maybe i am afraid to jump down the
rabbit hole because i could imagine it leading me to some very different
places and it feels like there could be consequences i don't want to
think about.  There are a lot of reasons change can feel scary ...  

Well, now i had to change the time at the top of this note several times
as i'm here longer than i expected ... carried away ... I'm imagining
each of you around this "room" and glad to be here with you.  

 

 


  39:85) 24-JUN-97 20:15 Susan Frady
I am glad to be here too.  

 

Since my last entry, I received the book - I love it!! I was actually
reading it while I was driving home.  Shame on me.  I was sitting in
traffic -honest.  I read some more on the NordicTrack and I'll pick up
again after I put the kids to bed.


  39:86) 24-JUN-97 21:27 Sheila Lendman
Felt no guilt what so ever.  Just shock at my self absorbtion and over
emotional reactions to events and how disballancing an act that is.
Actually when I ask about diaries, I forgot about Thomas Merton's. I have
read 3 of his and liked them for their dispassion which is not exactly
what you all have been talking about.  My own personal experience is too
much emotion gums up the motor and entangles you more instead of making
you freer even though you think it entangles you less. I am only speaking
for myself and quite in the minority here, I know. But not a problem for
me and I hope it is not for you all.
.
  39:87) 24-JUN-97 22:45 Douglass Carmichael, MDG
I am enjoying all this. The diary seems to me wonderful as that place in
between the inner and the outer, and which is which sometimes reverses:
our dreams are our most inner experiences, but made up of images of "out
there", and what we see out there is so often projections from "inside".  

One thing that strikes me about diaries (logs, journals)[and now I have
ordered Tony's so I can be legit here]is their lack of freedom to explore
the messier side of life. they stay coherent, conventional. I have always
been fascinated by how Freud really did free association around his own
dreams but always had to tell us there were parts he couldn't reveal. but
he knew it. It amazes me how many analysts have never (dared? Bored?
Lazy?)covered a single page with real free associations. In a few seconds
we could strangle a child rape a dog kiss a friends mother and then go to
the icebox for some ice cream. But we settle for TV and then the ice
cream.  

Ice box? Does anyone call it that any more?


  39:88) 25-JUN-97 8:15 Diana Wright
Maybe there are still a few analysts out there to whom the thought of
strangling a child or raping a dog has never occurred.  

Your point is?


  39:89) 25-JUN-97 8:52 Lisa Kimball
Well, while those particular thoughts might not have occurred, i expect
most analysts would be like the rest of us in that taboo thoughts DO
occur all the time (or am i too many standard deviations off the mean?)
So to what extent are diaries a place to speak the unspeakable?  To speak
about that which it's too dangerous to speak aloud?  Would it be healthy
to push our journaling selves to recognize such thoughts or is it
healthier to push them out of consciousness?  

 

 


  39:90) 25-JUN-97 9:04 Diana Wright
1.  The function of a [private] diary is to make sure some things remain
private.  There has developed in this item an unquestioned assumption
that the expression of any & all thoughts is somehow 'good' and to be
encouraged.  And that such expression is appropriate within what is
traditionally called a 'work place.'  

2.  Without repression there is no art.  

3.  The work place is not generally the place where art is committed.
With this in mind, perhaps such expression might be acceptable.  

4.  With this in mind, who wants to work there?  There are different
individual tolerances for the expression of others' emotions, & it seems
more than a tad like a police state to suggest that everyone has to be
receptive to everyone else's productions.  We have flush toilets so as
not to be on the receiving end of all physical productions: surely there
is a non-physical parallel here.


  39:91) 25-JUN-97 9:13 Hope O'Keeffe
I don't disagree with you, Diana, but I do think you're creating
something of a straw man.  I don't think anyone here is advocating that
workplace journaling, or communal journaling, would or should have the
same content -- and particularly the same emotional content -- as private
journaling.  My vision is more along the lines of a written, longterm
brainstorming session relating to workplace issues, and particularly
issues of change and od.
  39:92) 25-JUN-97 9:18 Sheila Lendman
Great point, lisa.  People go to their analyst and write in diaries to
speak the unspeakable.  Analysis has shown that for the most part it is
inaffectual.  From my exerience the way I kept my diary was inaffectual
for me. Yet both work in the right environment.  My problem is what is
the right environment and method for me--expressing my emotions did not
work. It appears one has to find one's own and it is extrodinarily
difficult given the complexity of the mind and enviromental circumstances.
.
  39:93) 25-JUN-97 9:18 Mike Coulson
Of the few people that I have known in my life that had psychological
problems, every one of them I would classify as extremely intelligent,
and most importantly - unable to shut off the "thinking valve".
Sometimes I pride myself in my ability to avoid those thoughts which, if
concentrated on, could cause extreme inner harm.  I believe.
  39:94) 25-JUN-97 12:20 Bob Olson, IAF
At Lisa's suggestion, I looked into this conversation this morning.  Two
hours later, I've come to the response box!  This wonderful dialogue is
an important example for me of the quality of conversation that can (but
often does not) take place in this medium.  Tony's really paying
attention to what people say and giving thoughtful, personal responses to
everyone and everything is a model for us all.  Got to digest all this a
bit... it was a BIG byte!  Thanks, Lisa.
  39:95) 25-JUN-97 12:50 Lisa Kimball
As i was doing the various other things i was doing this morning this conversation was echoing in my mind. i just wanted to note that i found it interesting to notice that when "unspeakables" came up - and even referring to unspeakables as a generic thing - it felt to me like it got kind of t e n s e in here in contrast to a sort of high comfort-level kind of feeling before. Did anyone else sense that? Perhaps a high comfort-level is needed to make room for the less comfortable? so how can we acknowledge discomfort (both in our personal reflections and our social ones) and turn it into learning?

  39:96) 25-JUN-97 12:58 Tony Page
Edit
Well, it's 4.45pm, I've returned from a highly stimulating meeting at
ENFOLD in London (sort of European equivalent of Society for
Organisational Learning), and entered here to find a rather SPARKY STRAND
of conversation!!!  

I sense some heat on this one and as a somewhat repressed,
conflict-avoiding and over polite Brit, I would like to comment.  

I find the themes of EXPRESSION VS REPRESSION very interesting, or,
should I try to put that in a Viennese accent, zat is verrry
iiiiiinterestiiiing!  

Recently I attended a talk by Jean Hutton from The Grubb Institute on the
subject "Organisation in the Mind", and it might have been called THE
WORKPLACE WITHIN.  

She noted that 2 people from the same organisation often have very
different views of it, in other words different internal maps of it. She
drew from the work of Melanie Klein to explain this. The argument goes
like this:  

When I work in an organisation, I INTROJECT, or take into myself aspects
of what is happening to me from people and events to form internal
OBJECTS or symbols. These objects whilst "real" to me are not the same as
the "real people and things" in my environment. OK so far?  

Next step: some of these objects give me PLEASURE, and I tend to keep
these front of mind, others give me discomfort or PAIN and I tend to
suppress them into unconsciousness. But, if I suppress them, they are
still objects in my inner world and they still affect my behaviour. How?  

Wellll, we are taken SURPRISE sometimes when we find ourselves suddenly
angry, guilty, pleased or excited and we may not know why. We also
trigger unexpected reactions in others which can either be constructive
or destructive. This is leakage.  

Klein explains that suppressing stuff can lead to dissonance, anxiety,
tension between the things we love and those we fear or hate. This can
then lead to a polarised view of our environment, in which we idealise
some "good" things and despise other "bad" things, which Klein calls
SPLITTING.  

Anyway, that's enough of that theory for the moment. The reason for
stating it is that it provides a context for the expression vs repression
issue. I find that I have no concerns at all that ART might disappear
because we express too much! I think life is tough, the temperature is
high, we all have the experience at times of cooking in the heat.
(Charles Handy spoke about boiled frogs!). So like it or not, plenty will
get repressed and lots of creative art will come from that I have no
doubt....  

But what bothers me.. oh sorry I feel stroonnngly about this...I'll quote
from  my book:  

"We now live in an era of unprecendented turbulence which constantly
triggers our inner emotions. Yet our awareness of inner change is lo hs,
mid-life crises, divorce, violence, crime, drug abuse...it is
very easy to list the signs of problems in people's lives. In the US the
huge cost of stress-related illenss is starting to be quantified. In the
UK doctors and hospitals are beginning to realise just how much of their
workload is due to stress and psychological factors....."  

..and it continues..."we have been naive, applying first aid to people
through the health service after their predictable life crises instead of
teaching them to anticipate and adjust in advance. We give no lifelines -
no learning about how to digest life experiences, how to deal with
emotion, how to reframe and transform problems. Tragically people are
both afraid of, and are being denied the liberating benefits of
transformation."  

"We need to discover for ourselves, then develop and teach a new
competence, empowering individuals to digest their own life experience,
regularly readjusting and recovering quality of life in the face of
external turbulence...we can start to feel good about our new found
ability to reframe, adapt, evolve and learn."  

Well that's a personal viewpoint I know. Is it all that crazy? Does it
help to explain why I have argued for the diary practice?  

I am saying that if I note slight feelings of discomfort, not only does
this make me FEEL BETTER at the time, but in looking back I notice THEMES
that give me clues to deeply held beliefs and values that I have a CHOICE
about: observe them or challenge them. I don't think I am the only person
who can gain these benefits!  

The interesting thing is that the more you do of this diary stuff, the
more you experience a sort of strength to cope better with what life
throws at you...and a willingness to bring into awareness the stuff you
were suppressing from earlier in life, which is itself part of becoming
more proactive and gaining choice about the direction of your life.  

So yes, I see the diary as a place to think the unthinkable etc...but
like Freud, there are LIMITS to what I write even in my private diary and
I know what they are. It just gives me space to express (much) MORE THAN
I USUALLY WOULD and I do feel the benefits of this. It brings the smile
to my face more easily and the spring back into my step!  

And yes, there is a difference between where these LIMITS are set if I'm
doing private or public journaling. And I don't think anyone else can
tell you WHERE TO SET YOUR LIMITS..this is part of the usualy set of
judgements you make as an adult, a function perhaps of your hunger for
development, you needs for social approval, privacy, etc...  

By the way, if I were speaking this, there would be a TREMOR in my
voice,.... I can feel my heart beating slightly FASTER which tells me I'm
expressing something that connects deeply inside me!!!!  

That's all for now.  Time for tea. Bye for now.  

Tony  

 

 

 

 

 


  39:97) 25-JUN-97 14:30 Tony Page
Edit
Hello again.  

Just read your last posting Lisa. YES! I agree with comfort making room
for the less comfortable.  

Do you notice the tension in my last posting. I lost my facilitator cool!
I must have been picking up the same T E N S E feelings. It's interesting
to notice how tension spreads. I wonder what's coming next???!!  

Until then,  

Tony  

Oh, and hello Bob, thanks for joining us!


  39:98) 25-JUN-97 17:18 Barry Bluestein
Soothing thoughts of calmness. . .



  39:99) 25-JUN-97 17:21 Barry Bluestein
For those not coming in off of the Web that was a peaceful leaping
dolphin above.
  39:100) 25-JUN-97 18:29 Susan Frady
Lisa,  Yes, I sensed the tension and Tony, thank you for framing that in a
digestable manner and Barry, thank you for the dolphin - I appreciated
that.  Something interesting just happened -as I was responding, I erased
and typed over my intial (gut) response that "we needed that" but then I
thought it was presumptuious of me to speak for the group - although, like
Lisa and Tony, I sensed tension.  Is this sensorship - is it good - is it
bad - does it have quality properties of its own, or is it just there?
Food for thought.  Hey, I thought we were reflecting here?
  39:101) 26-JUN-97 0:38 Netiva Caftori
I think there is here material for another book...Lisa, are you going to
put this together?  Sorry for taking so long to come back...  Lisa, yes,
both my parents and i keep all of our respective letters.  I have boxes
and boxes of their letters.  My father is a great artist and my mother is
an unrecognized poet.  I always thought that maybe one day if they are
ever famous, i could publish their letters...Many good pearls in them...  

Thanks Barry for pointing out to the societal or group change.  I was
only thinking about individual change which needs a trauma in order to
occur.
But you are right. People can grow and blossom if surrounded w/ certain
people or can be stifled by others.  Society can be changed by different
groupings of people, or by one person alone...  

Thanks so much Tony for fostering such a great discussion in here.
Didn't get to read most of it, but looking forward to doing so on my next
long trip next week...I think you will make a great radio show host...


  39:102) 26-JUN-97 4:55 Tony Page
Edit
Thursday morning 8.45am. There's plenty of "CHOP WOOD carry water" today!
This morning I'm writing a trainer guide, making sure soft skills get
built into a technical course on supply chain/Year2000 systems
enhancements.  

Later I'm off to Binder Hamlyn Fry (part of Arthur Andersen) to discuss a
prof dev course they want for their consultants, and this evening to the
Civil Service College to run a one hour session on "Experiences of a
Change Agent" (I'm planning to use the Case for Change fast dialogue
tool) followed by dinner.  

But before I start on chopping wood I want to do my radio show host bit
here! I'm aware that we've run past alot of RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS without
comment and each one of them tends to gerenate some kind of reaction in
me that I like to share if I can as part of building something together
that is interesting and meaningful. I really enjoy doing this, and I
suppose that is why I'm putting off chopping wood!  

Susan. I did enjoy your REFLECTIONS on this dialogue (item 82). Thanks
for noticing the active inclusion work I have been doing here. I like the
PACKETS OF ENERGY also. When I was writing my book my musician brother
told me that while he was making a CD (long slow job), he reminded
himself that even if the CD remained unsold on the shelf for years, his
creative energy was stored safely in it, and whenever anyone played it,
his energy would be released. This made him relax and not worry about
commercial success...which with hindsight (low sales achieved!) was
probably very wise!  

Sorry Susan I've looked for that "Getting TURKEYS to Vote for Christmas"
article and can't find it. I think it was in the glossy journal
Management Today in 1994 but the title was more interesting than the
article itself which sort of went over that ground about why BPR is hard
to implement because its fundamental work redesign stuff and in the end
its people who have to want to do the implementing.  

YES LOTS GOES BY! Each time I re-read this stuff more leaps out at me.
More reactions come up, more new thoughts and possibilites arise.  

Lisa, thanks for sharing some of your deeper RESERVATIONS about
journaling.  And yes I recognise the risk of getting OUT OF SYNCH with
others in our lives. We are into some pretty wierd stratospheric stuff
aren't we!  

And there is distance even between people who are very close, that used
to worry me, but now less so. I was VERY WORRIED at first about
publishing Diary of a Change Agent and it was important to me that Helen
was the first to read it in edited form. Her initial reactions were
something like relief and reassurance. She said she was surprised I
thought so much of her and I suppose in some way she was less concerned
after reading it that I was flying off to another planet....if that makes
sense?!  

My father pursued some PRETTY WIERD late 60s personal growth stuff which
my mother was not into. He felt he had to evangelize and include her.
This undoubtedly put a huge strain onto their relationship. I prefer that
I have permission to follow my heart with regard to development/career
etc and so does Helen and that we inquire alot, share, seek to understand
one another without stopping each other from growing for finding
equilibrium. Sounds easy doesn't it....and its not!!!!  

I like the idea of imagining us in a room together. It stretches my
preconceptions of time and space! But this conversation IS to me about
energy flow, that happens beyond the usual constraints of clock and
geography thanks to this technolgy.  

Drive carefully Susan! Read the book when you get home!  

Sheila, Douglass, Diana, Hope and Mike. Reflecting on yesterday's heated
strand, I suppose I did not feel this was complete for me yet and I
picked Goleman's Emotional Intelligence book off the shelf this morning.
It opens with Aristotles challenge:  

"Anyone can become angry - that is easy. But to be angry with the right
person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose,
and in the right way - that is not easy."  

I felt we were all allowing a little anger to break to the surface, sort
of gently, with a degree of self-control without shouting at each other.
But it's interesting doing it in this medium isn't it, robbed of the
usual confirmatory or interpretive cues...so this is just a wild
unsupported hypothesis on my part... but I'm choosing to go more with my
intuition these days!  

Then as I flip through the chapter headings I feel this book has so much
to teach us: What are emotions for? Emotional hijacking. When smart is
dumb...Managing with Heart etc.  

On your point Mike about extremely intelligent people with psychological
problems..it's that narrow definition of intelligence that we've been
brought up with, seduced into by our education, that left brain,
rational, critical reasoning, analytical, unbalanced, fragmentalist,
reductionist, devil's advocate, partial, one-sided, adversarial,
emotions-in-denial viewpoint. That's bound to be unhealthy isn't it???
You can see why I like the Goleman book.  

...but on a more constructive note perhaps...Mike I think it is worth
understanding the nature of the "shut-off thinking valve". This can if it
exists in one form be suppressing, holding emotion down,
stress/anxiety/unhappiness building, leading to psychological problems
later....and in another form... Goleman describes emotionally intelligent
shut-off valves and education programmes that are balance/happiness
building and sustainable. WHICH FORM OF SHUT-OFF VALVE it is may be
critical!  

Sheila, I also use Goleman's EQ as context for understanding your comment
that "expressing my emotions did not work". That finding the right
environment IS what we each need to do, and that what appears COMPLEX is
not necessarily so when we can find the simple organising principles, or
see the wider, whole system.  

I suppose I'm always looking for these organising principles and where I
think I find them I'm keen to use and share them! Ultimately perhaps we
all have to find our own, but I'm sure we can help each other through
these kinds of explorations.  

Barry thanks for your DOLPHIN. I love the remarkable soothing effect!  

Susan, I was afraid after your reflection in an earlier item that was
your big finale so I'M GLAD you keep dipping in here...  

And Netiva, perhaps a VIRTUAL radio show host??? Yes, you'd better keep
those letters. Maybe publish them even if they NEVER become famous! I
wonder what Lisa thinks about the book idea? It makes me think about how
to provide other people I work with access to this or a similar forum and
what follows from this...  

Time to chop wood now!  

Tony  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


  39:103) 26-JUN-97 22:39 Lisa Kimball
 

Well by now, Tony, you're probably fast asleep after a long day of chop
wood carry water!   It's kind of fun thinking of you in dreamland while
we're experiencing what you've written and integrating it with whatever
is going on in our waking life.  

I'm thinking about the book idea ... and it made me think of something
from the "reflection on the reflections" part of the book about the
transforming conversation - "a way of reaching deeper-level needs and
arousing higher level hopes, aspirations and expectations."  That's a
pretty good description of what we hope to achieve in a dialogue like
this one.  

From what I could tell of your coaching style from reading your book i
could see it as developing transforming conversations with your clients.
What makes a transforming conversation possible?  What would we need to
do here to create the conditions which would support transforming
conversations.  

I'm reflecting on conversations I've been a part of which were
transforming for me ... As I recall, most of them were a surprise in that
i didn't enter into them expecting a transformative experience so i'm
thinking the key may be in letting rather than making them happen ...


  39:104) 27-JUN-97 12:00 Tony Page
Edit
Hi Lisa and all.  

Friday 3.40pm. It's still raining here. We had weeks of drought in April
and May with hosepipe banns threatened and now it's Wimbledon tennis time
again the weather's cold, wet, miserable! Sorry to go on about the
weather but we do that here!  

Really busy day yesterday. Interesting session at Civil Service College.
Consultants on course are somewhat CHANGE FATIGUED and insecure due to
downsizing - realising that cost-cutting will not magically stop under
the new government. Also they are used to writing reports but unused to
implementing recommendations therefore unhappy/inexperienced with notions
of motivating, aligning people around change.  

Interesting moment when we inquired about how change fatigued staff might
react if their managers announced that they were PUTTING CHANGE ON HOLD
and initiating a period of stability/consolidation. Answer came clearly
from the group that management would not be believed and staff would be
concerned that not changing would leave them even more vulnerable. Tough
old world isn't it!  

One of the course tutors sketched cartoons throughout my session and gave
them to me afterwards! Speaking to her over dinner she has an image of
the change process as a JAPANESE CLOCK in which a bucket balanced on a
bamboo pole fills slowly with water. When full the pole tilts and bucket
empties WHOOOOOSH! She thinks of change as gradually filling the HEAD
like the bucket but nothing visible happening for ages until eventually
the discomfort/pressure becomes too great to maintain and whoosh, the
pole tilts, the bucket spills and the water rushes downward and fills the
HEART!  

On the way to Civil Service College call on my mobile from BBC asking if
I would be interested to appear on evening Newsnight porgramme about
management consultancy. Please understand, this has NEVER happened to me
before and may never again! So big thrill at first.  

Then finding out more... they had someone representing one of the big
consultancy firms saying how great they were and needed me to put the
other side and criticise the profession. I felt suddenly cautious. I had
just come from a meeting at Binder Hamlyn/Arthur Andersen after all, and
I did not want to criticise my client in public. INTEGRITY issue but what
would be AUTHENTIC for me here?? So I was forced to look inside and
express what I do really think on this issue. This I discovered was:  

The WORST side of consulting is something like this:
- client and consultant can get into a sort of continuing COLLUSIVE
co-dependency relationship in which the client needs the consultant for
complex reasons and the consultant needs the fees
- in a big firm this worst situation can be amplified because the
consultant has a REVENUE TARGET to make, which clouds their judgement,
motivating them to plan extensions to the work and bring more and more
consultants in
- important LEARNING (knowledge base) that is gained through solving
today's most pressing problems tends to accumulate in the consultant
rather than in the client....spiral downwards!  

In the BEST case:
- the consultant helps the client to WAKE-UP, prevents them from living
in denial
- helps ACCELERATE their learning about what is happening around them,
helps them find the positive energy to move forward and align with
others...client spirals upwards, consultant moves along
- most likely to happen if consultant values learning and service ahead
of growing their business revenues.  

Anyway, that's where I got to in a split second last night!!!.. but it
was probally too balanced and not SEXY or ANGRY enough so they phoned me
back later to say thanks but no thanks. Oh well!  

Transforming conversations, hmmmmm...like you Lisa, the ones I wrote
about in Diary of a Change Agent sort of JUST HAPPENED, and when they did
the feeling was WOWWWW! But they do seem to happen with a GREATER
REGUALRITY now and I do agree it is something to do with LETTING THEM
happen, removing the obstacles to their happening....or to put it another
way, opening the space in which they can happen and HOLDING THAT SPACE
OPEN.  

I think the conditions we don't need are....I have the image of an animal
in defensive mode, in fight, or flight, ... rabbits freeze, hedgehogs
roll-up in a ball, humans go foetal, and I think these are good metaphors
for what we do as humans when an adversarial debate or skillful
discussion is going on: we close ourselves, protect, withdraw and attack
the other side when we see a chance to win a point.  

What we do need for creativity, generativity, dialogue and transformation
are conditions in which we are able to reach down DEEP INSIDE ourselves
and then express, sharing with others what we find, knowing with some
confidence that what we have expressed has been listened to, taken in by
others, inhaled deeply by them.  

We seek to create conditions under which we OPEN ourselves, share
deeply-held values, assumptions and beliefs, WITHOUT THE FEAR of being
wrong or challenged, knowing we are trusted to speak what is the truth
and what holds real meaning for us, making ourselves vulnerable to attack
because we know we will not be attacked.  

These conversations at the time tend to be GRIPPING, and deeply
PLEASURABLE... but a "fly of the wall" or someone walking in and
listening might wonder why it seems a little SLOW, rather INTENSE and why
the pattern of concentration is not more regularly broken by jokes and
banter.  

After a while, WEIRD THINGS can start to happen, like other people in the
group saying what you were going to say,...and trust and confidence can
start to build so you feel very close to the others, you become less
eager to shove your point of view across because you know the time and
space will become available....you get blissful moments...and you get
deep learning, exciting creativity, lasting change.  

But I feel that instead of EAGERLY CHASING these kind of experiences, and
they will not be the same every time, what you are doing is just what you
say Lisa, letting it happen, allowing people to come together, to relax,
to open, ENCOURAGING THE ENERGY GENTLY to move, APPRECIATING what is
happening NOT EXPECTING anything specific to happen and as Susan said
TRUSTING THE PROCESS to produce whatever it will....but later relfecting
on this, noticing the product of the conversation, the feelings and the
process that seemed to produce it.  

I'm getting a little carried away here with fond memories of these kind
of conversations!..., and time is getting on. I'll go now.  

If any of you do want to come back with reflections on the dialogue we
have been having here during the month of June, I think it will be
interesting for all of us. Like Lisa said a few items ago, WE WILL NOT
RUSH closure here, we'll just see what comes over the next few days or
so...and I hope the process will round itself out nicely.  

B ythe way I feel divided here, knowing we'll come to a close,that this
feels necessary, but at the same time not really wanting to...  

Bye for now,  

Tony  


  39:105) 27-JUN-97 12:18 Lavinia Weissman
Goodness, it's 3:40 p.m. in England and 9:17 a.m. here in California.  I
got in late yesterday afternoon, in a very reflective mode.  For the last
two weeks, I have been focused on building links for our activity with
Sweden, Germany and Israel.  

This has involved both some preparation, face to face meeting time and
some fast action activity.  It also involved an adjustment on my part to
be careful to differentiate how to approach some new relationships in
consideration of the culture, possible language barriers and visionary
hopes and dreams.  

It was intersting as I reflect now how I brought myself to this activity
as a result of this inquiry.  

Last night when I returned home, I did catchup and read the entire
dialogue as a way to quiet myself before retiring for the night.  The
mood that has been created for me is an example of "restful thinking".  

I have really valued from this conversation in two ways.  One just by
being part of the inquiry.  Two, by letting this inquiry further deepen
both the inquiry that has built the company I founded (WorkEcology) and
opening a series of questions to be with .....and dialogue with.  For me,
this means I am building a link between this inquiry and my life passage
for which I can feel forward progress, relevance and application.


  39:106) 27-JUN-97 12:25 Lavinia Weissman
Earlier, I mentioned that before I could come to closure here, I needed
to read the dialogue in its entirety and thoughtfully schedule time to
absorb, observe and reflect.  

In rereading this journal, I returned to the purpose that Tony observed
emerging in Response 50.  

    "Our emerging puprose as I experience it seems to be to explore
REFLECTIVE PRACTICE(diary, journaling, online etc.): its relevance and
various forms/methods that we have experienced.  This purpose is evolving
in more recent entries to explore CHANGE in both a personal and
organizational context."  


  39:107) 27-JUN-97 12:43 Lavinia Weissman
I then thought about what does closure mean for me and how deceptive this
word is .....closure is often confused with final and I do not view this
living document as final.  When this conversation stops living and
becomes part of the past, at that moment, the inquiry for me will be an
opening to new passages.  

What are these new passages for me?  

   1.  One relates to my vocabulary and the opportunities that others
   here have opened for me.  The words I thought about were reflection,
   narcissism, private, self-involved and what they imply.  

        Tony, Hope, Sheila, Amy spoke about private versus open
        journalling.  Brought into this conversation were threads
        about narcissim and self-involved thinking.  

        It made me think about the distinctions between reflection
        versus the style of communication we have built in t-group
        activity or other modalities of communication where we
        inviting people to express their "feelings."  

        I have discovered that to me "reflection" implies active
        listening and a commitment to include observation that links
        your internal thinking with your external world so that you
        can link relevance.  When I chose to reflect, I chose to be
        with information or experience that is relevant to gain clarity
        or define a strategy that will move to a mode of creativity
        (to build into activity that builds into creativity).  

        Often I find what others view as self-involved or narcissistic
        or private is a closed door.  It is much like the myth of
         Narcissus....where the boy can only see his own image and not
          connect with any other reality.  

        A good reality check is to find out if the person is willing
        to open the horizon to include others in his/her picture.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


  39:108) 27-JUN-97 12:54 Lavinia Weissman
Joshua mentioned a desire to be able to record one's own internal
dialogue.
This is a very precious gift to me...when I think how I take the time to
find the quiet  to do this and be aware of this.  It made me think about
what would happen if there was permission for this in the workplace.   I
once visited an office for a investment firm where there was absolute
quiet, but people could view activity as constant.  Once you walked
behind the reception area, there were offices and workspaces created with
walls of soundproof glass. Everyone could observe each other and link
using telephone and still have the experience of chatting with a person
as if in a meeting.  This certainly positioned video conferencing to me
as an opportunity for peaking and linking quietly.  Then if work
environments are supported to be quiet, would there not be more time for
connecting to one's internal dialogue and respectfully reflecting on its
impact to organization, work and productivity.
  39:109) 27-JUN-97 12:59 Lavinia Weissman
Susan spoke of organizational journalling and raised for me observation
about who would participate in this activity?  The second question
followed about what to do with regard to activity driven people in this
mode who do not reflect?  This then raised questions about trust and how
to build trust?  (Amare, Lisa, Tony, and others).  

I think here I am now thinking about the play between activity and
reflection?  Years ago, I remember in an open space meeting provoking a
lot of anger out of my desire for what others viewed as activity.  In
fact, I did not communicate my frustration tied more to relevance than
inactivity?  

I did not see as how a group of OD professionals could benefit by talking
on and on about philosophy and process if we did not build in our
practice
opportunity to build activity that would help us apply what we learned
through our reflection.  There was no not in the open space forums of
purpose of gathering./.....the purpose could have merely been to chat, to
collect information....I was unable somehow to surface the importance to
me of relevance and application and desire to build learning laboratories
of application.  

This is why often I find talking or dialogue to give me an experience
where my mood or internal conversation becomes a broken record that
repeats, "this is useless."


  39:110) 27-JUN-97 13:02 Lavinia Weissman
This leads me to reflect more on issues of privacy and needs for privacy
and cultural impact I often observe.  I think privacy and secrecy become
very important when people fear consequences that lead to loss,
subtraction or punishment?  This leads me to the question and reality
test as follows:  

What type of environment is appropriate for the design of organizational
journalling and what is the role of the leader and od specialist
supporting this evolution?


  39:111) 27-JUN-97 13:10 Lavinia Weissman
I sometimes think that privacy and secrecy imply a need for control that
assume no trust and or lack of concern with other's welfare.  Which leads
me to my own closure here  

Tony, in item 96, summed a quote from his book......that begins with "We
now live in era of unprecedented turbulence .......We need to discover
for ourselfes, then develop and teach a new competence, empoewring
infividuals to direct their own life experience.......to reframe, adapt,
evolve and learn."  

This in fact sums the purpose and journey of WorkEcology and all of what
is being created by those who have joined in this inquiry.  So Tony I
welcome your partnership to this inquiry from your corner of the world.  

I have experienced great convergence and synergy here in what is actually
a very short time.  Because of a commitment to relfection I have linked
to a
community of knowledge that has forward my personla productivity and the
productivy of the organization I lead to discover new depth to our
purpose that implies a discovery for tools that will empower greater
results.  

God bless all.....thank you for your stories, the time you gave this and
the shared learning.  


  39:112) 27-JUN-97 17:43 Netiva Caftori
Lavinia, if you need any assistance w/ hebrew, Israel etc, please don't
hesitate (I'm leaving for Israel on the 6th).  As to closure, I see it
very positively.  When you close a door, it means you are now in a
differnt place (how exciting!).  It doesn't mean you cannot go back.
Also for me closure means completion, something I'm not very good at and
have been working on completing things in my life before starting too
many others.
  39:113) 29-JUN-97 1:39 Lisa Kimball
Lavinia, thanks so much for sharing all your thoughts (and i'm looking
forward to SEEING you f-t-f this week!)  

I had a long plane trip today and it gave me an opportunity to reflect on
this conversation and I was thinking a lot about the notion of turning
what we learn from reflection into some kind of activity .. applying it
to life in some way. That led me to think about Peter Vaill's recent book
about "learning as a way of being" and i'm wondering if there's something
in that to change our perspective on what we mean by application.  Are
doing and being both ways of applying learning?  


  39:114) 29-JUN-97 20:38 Sheila Lendman
doing and being is living.  Its what life is about whether its done
consciously or unconsciously and from that we learn, I believe. We learn
what we want to learn or we learn what we open ourelves up to learn or
we have no preference and learn.
.
  39:115) 30-JUN-97 17:33 Donna Gold
I come to this rich conversation on its last day.  I discovered it last
week and was very absorbed, wanting to engage with many of the things
that people offered.  Unfortunately my Netscape browser failed me.  So I
have returned today and am quite "full up" from reading peoples comments,
questions and reflections.  

I forget who said "the unexamined life" is not worth living (Descartes?).
I certainly agree with that sentiment.  The journals I have kept over
the years have been like friends to me.  Curling up with my journal, my
cat and a cup of hot tea was a source of great comfort. I'm reminded by
this conversation that taking the time to put things down is committing
to an examined life.  There are other methods that I find to do this
(meditation, spiritual practice) but none that helps me as much to
articulate my inner journey and the issues it raises for living
AUTHENTICALLY (to add a yes, yes! to Tony's oft-repeated desire) in the
world.  I have let this practice wane in the past couple of years and now
have food for thought about why that is.  

Many, many thanks to Tony and Lisa and the others who have contributed
here.  Wish I'd been able to join you sooner.  But it is fortifying to
know, about compadres seeking to understand how to connect personal
transformation with organizational transformation.  The latter cannot
take place without the former, in my view.  But the former needs the
space and nourishment of transformed organizations to fully and
constructively build outward into the world.  Hope to catch many of you
on this journey in other venues.


  39:116) 30-JUN-97 23:19 Lisa Kimball
I'm tuning in from California where this day still has some hours to go
...  

It's time to at least pause and take a breath and notice that today is
the scheduled "last" day of this Chautauqua.  But i just have this
feeling that it will linger on in this form and in our other
conversations in other places both on the net and off.  

THANK YOU TONY for taking on this wonderful journey.  Your attention and
generosity have made a difference to us.  I imagine that our learning
will continue long after we're finished here.  

One of the lovely things about the asynchronous medium is that the door
is still open and others who want to comment more ... or those who come
along later ...are welcome to do so any time ...  

Til then ..  

 

 


  39:117) 01-JUL-97 4:13 Tony Page
Edit
Well, Lisa said it's not over till it's over so.....and there may be some
of you like Donna (thanks Donna!) who still want to add your comments, so
I'll come back from time to time to look and respond to what you say.  

Thanks to you ALL for participating to make June 97 a truly memorable
month and thanks also to all you LURKERS there for being interested.  

I was describing yesterday to a group of consultants what this experience
(online conferencing) had been like and well...I was full of ENTHUSIASM
about it, describing the sharing of experience, my learning about the
potential of this medium, the wows, the comfort, the tension, the
dolphin...  

The others were surprised to find this was as ENERGETIC in its own way as
face to face..and so much easier to find time and space to participate.
So we've planned our own little on-line exchange over the next 3 months
before our next meeting. We're going to conference on the "role of
FEELINGS in today's workplace".  

Thanks Lavinia for your last few postings - they have a very spontaneous
feel and there are some really interesting thoughts in there... and well
they made me think even more about some of your earlier comments about
RELEVANCE. I don't always know what is relevant until I have had the
chance to express an issue, thought or question and explore views with
others...but then the point comes and a strong desire to GET ON AND DO
SOMETHING. Which brings me to WHAT NEXT?  

I was pondering over the weekend WHAT IS THE JOURNEY I'm on, what with
being a consultant, writing Diary of a Change Agent, running sessions at
conferences, now this Chautauqua...where is this leading me?  

With hindsight I notice some phases in this:  

1. Consulting in a "hostile-to-people" business world, but learning the
language and culture of that world  

2. Reflecting, writing my diary and the book, to sort of find myself and
probe for ways forward  

3. Exploring and building networks (= the phase I'm now in)  

But in phase 3 I feel sort of unfocused, thinly spread, talking to lots
of people in diverse worlds but in a way wasting my energy, hanging
loose, exploring possibilites rather than taking commited action. This
develops my earlier point about "Reflectors get active"!  

So I think phase 4 will be about FOCUS, COMMITMENT and LINKAGE.  

My commitment now is about OFFERING MY ENERGY TO MAKE THIS WORLD A PLACE
WE (& OUR CHILDREN) WANT TO LIVE IN AND TO MAKE WORKPLACES PLACES WE WANT
TO WORK IN. And so far my plans towards this are:  

CLOSE THE GAP between my corporate consulting work and my interest in
powerful personal learning/reflection by  

- developing PRACTICAL CONVERSATION/DIALOGUE TOOLS, methods, spaces and
cases to inspire and enable companies  

- developing a WEBSITE that inspires companies and colleagues and
provides generous links  

- spending a high proportion of my time, FACE-TO-FACE using these
powerful methods in a corporate context  

- continue to explore and participate in ONLINE conferencing and
inquiries to push the edges of possibility including Lavinia's
Appreciative Inquiry...  

And that's about all for today. I remain open to questions and discussion
on any/all of the ground we have covered here.  

I cannot leave today without thanking Lisa for her very astute and
empathetic questions which got the ball rolling and for her steady
attention and care throughout. Thanks Lisa!  

And thank you all.  

Tony  

 

 

 

 

 

 


  39:118) 02-JUL-97 10:38 Mike Coulson
Thanks Tony!
  39:119) 02-JUL-97 20:50 Lavinia Weissman
I enjoyed sharing this experience with you.
  39:120) 27-DEC-97 11:16 Carrie Larson
Tony, I wish I had known this topic was here much sooner.  I just joined
the Metanet in Oct.  Journaling has been an off and on thing with me
becasue it was manditory in a religion that I belonged to for many years.
I didn't want to dwell on the negative but it was not a happy time in my
life either.  Now journaling is a good and powerful source of insight and
comfort.
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