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7. Demonstration Projects

Jaworski, Joseph Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

WHAT IS LACKING IS ANY WAY FOR ALL OF THESE GROUPS TO THINK TOGETHER ON BEHALF OF THE LONG TERM AND THEIR COMMON INTERESTS.
Hal Hamilton

At the conclusion of the solo and the following awareness training, I met with John and Brian to share my insight. We talked for several hours and then agreed to meet the following August at John’s place in Crestone, Colorado.

That August, John, Brian, and several of our colleagues from Generon and MIT crystallized the vision to undertake a global and regional effort dedicated to the testing and developing of the U-process as an advanced method for multi-stakeholder problem-solving and leadership development. We all felt a high sense of urgency. And the destruction of the twin towers at the World Trade Center just ten days later served to deepen our commitment. The formal organizing meeting for the initiative took place in New York City, less than a half mile from Ground Zero, exactly thirty days after the towers went down.

Through our network of associates, we began with a round of deep dialogue interviews in seven regions worldwide – our way of “observing” globally to gain insights about which projects to target. We spoke with leaders from multinational business, national governments, multilateral institutions, and civil society as well as from activist organizations from across the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

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4. A Laboratory for Creative Discovery

Jaworski, Joseph Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

THESE PAST TWO YEARS WE COULDN’T MAKE A WRONG DECISION. IT WAS EFFORTLESS. OUR PREMONITIONS WERE CONSISTENTLY CORRECT.
– Gary Wilson

We had allotted four months for the interview and research phase of the project. With the U-process Brian had shared with us, the balance of the interview phase flew by. During these months collaborating with Gary and his deputies, we created a design team consisting of managers from key business units across the Alliance. Meeting with the design team regularly over several weeks, we cocreated the learning process for the project. This was seen as an Action Learning program, engaging operating people, working on real Alliance issues in real time. The design team named the program “The Leadership Lab for Competing in the Digital Economy.” In the Alliance, it became known simply as the “Lab.” Twenty-three managers from twenty-one business units were selected to participate in this Innovation Lab. These managers represented a microcosm of the whole system.

In a memo to those selected for the Lab, the design team said that they saw the Lab as an opportunity to “create a new paradigm for executive learning.” It was designed to “model the concept of leader as teacher” and “leverage the learning of the twenty-three participants to all fourteen thousand employees, through acting as role models and creating subsequent living examples of profound innovation and change in their respective business units.”

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38. Scaffolding Stage IV Organizations

Jaworski, Joseph Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

AS THE ORGANIZATION ADVANCES AND GROWS, CERTAIN CORE PRACTICES BEGIN TO DEFINE THE CULTURE OF THE ENTERPRISE, BECOMING ITS “WAY OF BEING.”

Our institutions are facing profound change and rising complexity, accelerating at a scale, intensity, and speed never experienced before. As the economic foundations of our world are transformed from more stable to dynamic patterns, the nature of leadership must change as well. To succeed in this new environment, institutional leadership must pay attention to the tacit Source of knowledge, the deep Source from which profound innovation occurs.

Organizations led by people with this quality of knowing, from line leaders to the very top, will flourish in the decades to come. Because of their success, they will become “living examples” of what is possible in the face of accelerating complexity and high turbulence. These Stage IV organizations will play a leading role in establishing a more comprehensive worldview, a belief system adequate for civilization to rise above the challenges of our time.

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15. The Wilderness Experience: A Gateway to Dialogue

Jaworski, Joseph Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

To venture causes anxiety, but not to venture is to lose one’s self. … And
to venture in the highest is precisely to be conscious of one’s self.

—Søren Kierkegaard

By early 1982 we had raised sufficient capital for the start-up phase; we had our trustees, advisors, and staff all in place; and we had designed the organizational structure for the delivery of the program. The plan was to bring together twenty to twenty-five leaders from each of several communities nationwide, including corporate executives, public officials, and leaders in education, labor, religion, art, the media, and the professions. These individuals would constitute a class, which would be administered and supported by a local chapter. Annual classes out of each community would convene beginning in June of each year.

Our biggest challenge at this point was to design the specific program segments within the very tight constraints that were given: it must be a world-class program; it must meet the objectives set forth in the trustees’ guiding principles; it must be deliverable simultaneously in multiple communities; and it must meet tight budgetary guidelines. After running a pilot program in Houston that tested many of the specific program segments under design, I began pursuing one of my earliest and strongest hunches. From the beginning, I had known that our curriculum must include a segment to foster an intense engagement that would not only get the fellows past the blocks Bohm talked about, but that would also alter the way they experienced one another.

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40. The Advent of Stage IV Organizations

Jaworski, Joseph Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

STAGE IV ORGANIZATIONS HOLD THE PROMISE OF BEING THE MOST ADAPTIVE INSTITUTIONS HUMANKIND HAS EVER DEVISED.

Developing the capacity to sense and actualize emerging futures constitutes a new form of knowledge creation. Learning to reliably apply the principles and practices expressed in this book, particularly in large organizations and institutions, is a high challenge. That challenge has been met by only a handful of exemplary enterprises. If even a small number of others begin to join them, we could stand on the edge of an epochal transformation. A small number of people in higher states of consciousness can have a disproportionately positive effect on the rest of society, because of the nonlocal effect of human intentions.

Rising Stage IV organizations can become living examples for others to follow. They have the capacity to respond promptly and effectively to accelerating change in the business environment.

Stage IV organizations hold the promise of being the most adaptive institutions humankind has ever devised. If even a small number of these institutions were global in scope, it would have an even more profound effect. Leaders of global organizations are true planetary citizens. Because their business units transcend national boundaries, their decisions affect not just economies, but societies – not just the direct concerns of business, but global issues of poverty, the environment, and security. These rising Stage IV executives and their organizations constitute an economic network whose operating philosophy can bind the planet in a common destiny.

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