Potential is realized through perspectives that activate and enable performance
Each of us has a fluid kaleidoscope of capacities, strategies, and stories that can be recombined in infinite ways. Too often, usually, due to overwhelming and numbing circumstances, we freeze our capacities -- and our identity -- into repetitive patterns and then demand that the world change.
Over time, we defend these patterns, confusing them with our identity, and confusing the survival of our identity with our actual survival. At this point, we have narrowed and sidelined our potential.
More times than not, we need to change.
We do this by first questioning our assumptions about how the world works and who we are -- a process of stepping back and freeing ourselves from the power of our patterns. Next, we learn new ways to think, act, connect, and reflect. As we continuously learn, we become more fluid, flexible, and generative leading to new insights and better outcomes. We apply new learning, pay attention to feedback, and refine our strategies.
While the stories we carry around can help or hinder us, our relationships to these stories are often the key to adapting to changing circumstances. These relationships often include detachment, discipline, reflection, humility, curiosity, and courage. Fundamentally, though, we help you and your organization, reconnect to the agility you need to create and perform.
1. Imagine holding wisdom, not as the accumulation of knowledge, nor as the embracement of inclusive, high-minded values, but, rather as the absence of illusion. What will this view, allow you to observe? How does it reorganize your worldview and the meaning you ascribe to certain aspects of life? How might it affect your actions? (Scope Model: 1)
2. Side with life, not your preferences: Life rewards a broad buffet of preferences, traits, and other differences blended together in different geometries, ratios, nuances, and inconsistencies. It allows for many paths. Humans have survived by learning from and mimicking others. Each of those very human paths has tools, mindsets, and behaviors you can adopt and adapt for success when yours aren't working. Since you are biologically capable of thinking and behaving like anyone else, what stops you from adopting their strategies? Usually, it's your 'identity': I can't do that they are different/the 'other', that's just not me, etc. Your conditioned mind is in the driver's seat and you have mistaken it for you. How's that working? (Scope Model: 1)
3. Existential Agency is our actionable awareness of our capacities, responsibility, and freedom to choose how we relate to self, story, and situation. This can be both individual and collective awareness. Leadership – often through power and privilege -- defines a group’s social reality. Meta-leadership creates a space and interacts so that people become aware of their capacities, responsibility, agency, and freedom to create and choose together, their social reality. (Scope Model: 1-6)
4. Processes, models, beliefs, and points-of-view are, like stories, useful tools – not ‘truths’. ‘Truths,’ especially the ardent, oppositional ones, are best held agnostically -- as partial truths. All of these notions exist as part of the social reality we share (and negotiate). Whether they are assets, resources, and tools that provide perspective and insight depends on 1. our relationship to them and 2. the function they perform in a specific context. As adaptive beings, we are most agile when we focus on the function and application of our perceptions rather than right and wrong. This agility is available when we create a flexible relationship to our identity, thoughts, and beliefs. (Scope Model: 2-3 (below)
5. A story is like a game we live within. The game is a construct of roles, rules, relationships, and logics that can be changed as we interact with our experience and situational factors. The “me” I bring to the game – enact within the story – is also part of the construct; "me" is also a story. It is not immutable; I can change it by changing my relationship to it and other elements of my experience, for example, my reference points, my framing of the situation, what I notice and do not, my need to confirm my beliefs, etc. These are all dynamic variables I bring to situations. Of all these, the most complex and dynamic variable I can bring to a situation is me -- when I relate to myself and my experience as constructed. One way I accomplish this is by asking 'what is the function of this identity and story in my life right now; what might I choose to use instead?' (Scope Model: 2-3)
6. The identities, stories, and other assumptions we bring to a situation determine much of the situation’s outcome and its meaning. We facilitate personal and/or collective agency enabling you to choose the stories and identities you bring to your situations and the times we live in. These relationships allow us to use our identities and stories as assets, resources, and tools to be disassembled and reassembled – while creating new ones as needed. We then apply this learning in a continuous cycle of engage, assess, expand. (Scope Model: 3)
7. We confuse how we experience something with the attributes we (usually unconsciously) assigned to it. As if the essence, meaning and experience of that thing or person resides 'out there'. We say the situation is complex, rather than, that is how I experience it based on the self and story I am using right now to relate to a suite of dynamic and contingent variables. When we forget we are the authors of our experience we locate the possibility of change outside ourselves, pretend we are beholden to the situation changing, abdicate our agency, and absolve ourselves of the responsibility to change. We may need to change our language -- as it is a construction that can give and take power. Rather than say this situation IS complex, we can say I am experiencing this situation AS complex. And I can change that. (Scope Model: 1-3)
8. We act as if our inherited stories and the stories we made about various life situations are real when they are actually fabrications -- therefore, they can be changed. We change this through our capacities to relate to our experience differently, to relate to self and story as fabrications we can deconstruct and recombine. These processes and positions are tools for changing our experience and relating to situations with agency and choice. (Scope Model: 2-3)
9. Resistance as a request for respect. During change, it is rarely the loss of forms and rituals people oppose. Rather, it is the function those forms play or symbolize in their lives. When we explore what these represent, we find people are afraid of losing a valued essence and do not know how to re-form it into a new and changing world. Identify the essence, facilitate its new expression, and you both will have protected its value. (Scope Model: 2/3, 4/5)
10. It is not the subject, its purpose, or its meaning, that yield deep information. These are all part of the same story. Explore instead, its function. Why does it exist at all? What is its function in the life of the person or community, what does it do for that entity? The story/belief/mindset has a frame of reference and a focus. It also has an identity that it feeds. These are in a perpetual loop. Identify the whole loop if you want to understand its function. Then integrate, apply or discard elements as needed. (Scope Model: 2-6)
11. We all walk around with a primary and defining question in our lives. Perhaps, it’s ‘Am I safe or will I be safe?’ Perhaps, it's 'Am I a good person; Am I being a good ancestor?' Perhaps, it’s ‘Do I know enough’? Our primary question focuses our attention and shapes our thinking, relationships, and actions. What we rarely ask is 'What is this question trying to solve or salve?' Take knowledge. What is the function of knowledge in your life? The answer defines how you relate to it and the degree to which you have agency. (Scope Model: 2-3)
12. Few of us were taught the deeper disciplines for managing our capacities. We were taught the capacities our societies, families, and organizations valued and how they should be applied to be a good member of that 'tribe'. We come to see ourselves then, through the lens of these expectations, harnessing our potential and promise, to the agenda of a group of people in a moment in time. In normal times, this seems sufficient. Yet, when disruptive change threatens the well-being of ourselves and others we are often required to be present and act beyond these boundaries. We are rarely equipped to divine where we can go, what we are capable of, and how to succeed. We must reclaim ourselves, reconsider our assumptions, reconstruct our perspectives, re-ground our sense of what matters and what is possible, and then engage, assess, and expand. (Scope Model: 5)
13. Recombining our experiences means deconstructing, detaching/reconsidering, and then integrating old and new into a hybrid strategy. It's how we adapt.
14. Too often, we focus on having and doing rather than being. We acquire, analyze, anticipate, and act – mostly in the near-present-future. We give less credence and value to reflecting, and sense-making (except to act more quickly) and sometimes, we do not gain enough perspective to form the problem well -- wasting time and other precious resources. We develop a doing habit; we rarely touch being, and its powerful, emergent, interactive, and connected aspects of our capacities. It is in this weakened condition, where we have the least developed acumen and skills, that we try to bring creative energy and transformative power to disruptive change. (Scope Model: 1)
15. When people join organizations, they enter into a pre-negotiated, social contract that is usually an extension of the organization's social context. Changing this contract requires assessing the risk-benefit ratio for the organization. Organizations exist to perpetuate themselves: The well-being of its members is important to the organization only to the point where it serves the entity's continuance. Membership and advancement are granted and maintained to fulfill this imperative. It is the core of the organizational system. Leadership in most large organizations is actually maintenance and administration based on power and privilege embedded in the social contract. Therefore, disruptive innovation -- especially if it impacts the privileges and power embedded in the social contract -- while formally lauded as vital -- will often be treated as an existential threat. (Scope Model: 2, 4-5)