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This is the second in my series of comparing commonly used methods and models in current human organizations (business, government, society, etc). The first reflected about Kondratiev and Close.
Today I try to compare the “U-Theory” of Otto Scharmer with my model of Human Complexities and its phases of Fear for Change, Paradigm Shift and the positioning of Sustainocracy. (Watch a short 11 minute explanation on Sustainocracy via YouTube here)
The U-Theory has become a popular tool for trainers and coaches as well as executives teams in organizations to develop new, innovative ideas in a co-creative way and bring them into practical reality.
We see a U shaped model with five key points for progress: Co-Initiation, Co-Sensing, Presencing, Co-Creation and Co-Evolving.
When I compare this with my own model of Human Complexities there are of course striking similarities but also some curious differences to think about.
The four arrows (regression, collapse, enlightenment and co-creation) in the model of Human Complexities represent the movement between four states of evolving communities (greed, chaos, awareness, wellness) using the complex psychology of people and ways of structuring organizations and communities. It is always cyclic in a clockwise manner. After ever cycle the community has gone through a learning process. When we place the cycles one after the other in history and over time we can see an evolutionary path resembling a spiral, producing a line from chaos into sustainable progress.
The representation of human complexities in a crosslike drawing has to do with our perception of progress and organization by drawing a line from left to right. Right to left meaning just the opposite, a regression. Up means an increase or growing awareness and down the decrease or disappearance thereof. In the middel we see the crissing of the lines “to be” (search for unique edity and universal ethics) and “to do” (our actions and organization). The cross shows the continuous conflict between these two issues that produce the self aware learning curve. In each of the four resulting quadrants the overall dominant human culture is different and so is the intrinsic motivation or fear for change.
Fear for Change
Inside the model of Human Complexities I use the concept of “Fear for Change”. This is needed to show people near or within the stress of a crisis that this a normal path of letting go for renewal. Once aware of this they can face a crisis with more confidence. The current global paradigm shift from economic societal collaps to sustainable human progress is my main concern. In my approach I tend to focus on the side of transformation from collapse via chaos towards renewed wellness in the model. My approach is holistic inviting the entire society to become co-creative.
Schwarmer does exactly opposite, working from with the institutionalized fragments of society.
Human Complexities (J.P. Close) & Fear for Change
Important differences between the U-Theory and Fear for Change
When we look at the U-Theory and the path of Fear for Change in the model of Humian Complexities we see that both use exactly the same processes to get people to activate their inner energy for creation and co-creation. Despite the different names the steps and significance are the same. Still there is a huge difference…..
At first sight both methods look and feel the same
In reality the creators of the U-Theory did a very smart thing. They created a sense of simulated chaos within the comfort of a running business. Getting people to step out of the running business of greed to undergo the intense process of reflection and finally reach a state of co-creation is in reality the application of the chaos theory and human psychology in exactly the same way, yet without the need of a formal crisis or fear for change.
Drawing the U-line from left to right (against the stream of human complexities) gives a sense of a deepening spiritual experience within the context of financial recovery, enhancement or growth (greed). The smart thing is that the U-Theory gives innovative meaning to economic systems that have the tendency of becoming bureaucratic an reluctant to change (seeing themselves as eternal cash cows, which they are not).
The paradigm shift and its related fear for change is known for thousands of years already. The first people to describe this intense fear and its process of freedom when one finds a new route by letting go, were intellectuals like Dante (13th century) and later the psychologists and anthropologist of the 19th and 20th century, s.a. Steiner, when the hierarchies started to grow in magnitude and with it the complexities of organizing people and emotions.
The natural process of a system to collapse into chaos, like the Roman Empire and so many other civilizations before and after, is well documented. The intense learning curve through fear, pain, letting go, etc. is also well known now and well positioned, with logic, along the modern cycle of Human Complexities. It is typically applicable in these days of pain, chaos en crises today that are affecting everyone. People start to look at two ways to address the problem:
- How to avoid collaps by applying timely renewal and innovation (U-Theory)
- What to do when inside the collaps to get back into co-creative wellness (Fear for Change)
These are the two routes of least and most resistance, as written before in a previous blog.
This blog also introduced the law of opposites and we can see many in the Human Complexities model (transition quadrants, poor and rich, complex and simple, warm and cold cultures, spiritual and possessive etc). The smart thing that was done by Otto Scharmer and his people was to turn the model of the paradigm shift, including the fear for change, around (fear avoidance).
Just observe the logic:
The model of Human Complexities follows a cyclic route clockwise. The segment on the circle that refers to the paradigm shift starts at the left hand side almost upon the line between chaos and enlightenment, when people let go of old security and become aware of the need of renewal. It continues all the way up to the state of co-creation for wellness. The shape is more line a big “n”.
When we look at the U-shape of Scharmer it starts at the same (virtual) point but travels down and to the right to end up on the line of wellness through greed. The psychological effect of visualizing this direction is that fear is eliminated by connected the process to greed (desire for unlimited prosperity). The process of the U-shape is to avoid jumping into the unknown by simulating it within the comfort of an existing organization that looks for renewed innovative or inventive success without the immediate need of a paradigm shift. It is a method for smart executives to transform an organization within its normal operations without the traditional reorganizational stress. This is brilliant.
So the method and knowledge of the Fear for Change within the need for a Paradigm Shift positions themselves essentially in left hand quadrants, the areas of poverty, chaos, illumination and experimentation with survival. The method and knowledge of the U-Theory positions itself in the rich areas of wealth and greed where enterprises want renewal, revival, inventiveness without disputing their reputation nor their original positioning. It is a protected environment for efficient creativity to enhance a competitive position.
The model of Human Complexities helps us to clarify the particular use of both models and in which situation they should be used. In fact, it is not just applicable in business, it can be applied to the entire society too. Sustainocracy is an example of jumping the state of chaos by inviting executives to co-creative renewal in a multidisciplinary setting that eventually will feed again an obsolete economy with true innovation.
The application of both theories is of interest. Sustainocracy positions itself in the wellness quadrant from a societal point of view. In most occasions the paradigm shift through chaos is needed in society due to the different power positions that try to uphold themselves at the expense of the others in the same community. Within each of the institutional pillars the U-Theory can help leadership to progress in such competitive environment. However in a multidisciplinary setting such a Sustainocracym where everyone has a co-creative mission at societal level, the combination of both can lead to remarkable results for the entire society.
So while the executives may be confronted with the own fear for change, within their own leadership, and the intense process of undergoing the risks of re-positioning a company within the context of sustainable progress of society as a whole, the organization itself may well be served through the techniques of the U-Theory that do not include this fear or risk. Knowing about the emotional difference between the two models the executive teams and participating consultants can create programs that are as effective as they can be in turbulent times, producing progress even in crisis with both societal and institutional success.
It would be very interesting to develop situations at regional level to experiment with this.
Now that Sustainocracy is positioned and put into practice as new paradigm of societal complexity, affecting everything, it becomes interesting to reflect openly on the different ways of reasoning from the different worldviews. This may be a critical view because paradigms are based on totally different values. Someone who has lived both (money driven economics and value driven sustainocracy) can distinguish by experience and choice. Yet someone active without point of comparison inside the old paradigm will consider his or her views as the only truth.
Let us take this article for instance, that has been tweeted around the world today by many people, published by Forbes on Nov. 21st, 2012, written by a SAP specialist, Ray Rivera. It is titled: 5 Myths Of Human Resource Management (even though the link to the article refers to Human Capital Management) http://www.forbes.com/sites/sap/2012/11/21/5-myths-of-human-capital-management/
The article is a valid reflection about general practices in traditional business hierarchies. Seen through my old eyes of chief executive officer in a multinational I would most certainly review our internal policies with my HRM after reading the article. I remember our internal global policy back then to provide 10 training days per year to all our personnel. It was a hell of a job to find those days and get people motivated to do something with it. From a performance point of view it was useless, cost a bucket full of money and created constant absence in departments that needed to be filled up with people doing overwork.
All other remarks in the article are also valid. Take those of the financial incentives as perceived motivators. I remember sales people that tried to trick the system by submitting fake orders at the end of the year to collect their bonus. The fake orders were cancelled early the next year. In times of a crisis taking away any of the incentives becomes a burden. People leave a company simply because another one offers a nicer car. There is no commitment nor loyalty, just self interest. In fact, that is exactly what such hierarchies and policies attract: people with an individualistic, opportunistic, selfish attitude, equivalent to that of the company itself.
In a previous lifetime these issues were indeed of my concern. That was 20 years ago and they are still being published as novel and tweeted around as of general interest. Now, after crossing over to a new paradigm, the entire article becomes a reflection on what a Dutch author called “effective keeping of human beings” in a similar way as keeping chickens, pigs or cows. A particular sentence in the article struck me especially:
“How human capital becomes transformed into business value is still a black box”
When we look at the current world of business entities, performing around financial goals, we can easily recognize the “human farming” attitude. In the traditional paradigm this is normal and even worshipped by media, trading floors and governments. Human resources is a modern way of slavery where the business value of a human being is expressed by turnover per person or something equivalent. Such organization does not get the best out of people but the worst. Surrounded by short term financials, greed and more greed one becomes greedy and selfish automatically.
In the new paradigm there are no financial goals but purpose driven objectives. It is not the workforce that is asked to take responsibility, the company does, providing some kind of true added value to society. People do not come to work, they contribute. They do not need training because they train themselves. They do not need an incentives because the work itself and the achievements are a driving force already. People do not work in a hierarchical structure, they have a functional responsibility in a result driven team. The goals of the company are measurable through external progress. New people in the group assume responsibilities but change when the balance of the group requires the repositioning of the members, even when dealing with functional leadership. Leaders step back into the pack when they are done or when the group takes another direction for the benefit of the company and the purpose in persuit. There is equality and trust, no judging departments just connecting values among professionals for effective teamwork. People correct eachother.
Now that I know that such different types of organizations exist it is my choice to decide where I feel safest. Even if a sustainocratic organization is not yet functional in my neighborhood I can still behave accordingly and become the change that I want. I can also decide that I prefer such culture of hierarchical demand on me. Important is that one has a reflective choice when one knows.
Just like the other tweet today of someone claiming that it is nice to know that he didnot know certain things. One only knows that it would be nice not to know when one knows. This phylosophical reflection in reality states that when you do not know you cannot be held responsible for your actions seen from another paradigm. When you do know you may wish you didn’t, just to avoid responsibility. Now you know that different paradigms exist. What do you do? What responsibility to you take?