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9. Learning Hard Lessons

Jaworski, Joseph Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

HOW DO WE FILL THE WORLD WITH CONTEMPORARY SAGES AND KICK-ASS SAINTS, WHO ARE AS ADEPT AT SURRENDERING THEMSELVES TO THE SILENCE AS THEY ARE AT INNOVATING INITIATIVES OF BREATHTAKING POWER?
– Robert Rabbin

After my encounter with the mountain lion, I began an intense period of reflection, looking back at all that had occurred since that moment of commitment in Baja, especially my founding of GLI and the demonstration projects. I came away with two core lessons. First, I learned about the power of sudden illumination: when strong intimations arise, as they did on that high bluff in Baja, go with them. Don’t get caught up in thinking about them, but be open and allow yourself to be used “as a force of nature,” as George Bernard Shaw put it. Second, and most important, I learned that the conscious development of facilitators is paramount.

My sensitivity to this crucial element was raised by reading a memorandum sent to Zaid Hassan, a colleague of mine in Generon with whom I closely worked during the years of the demonstration projects. It came from Robert Rabbin, an acquaintance of Zaid and a recognized authority on personal development and self-awareness:

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27. Group Entrainment

Jaworski, Joseph Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

REGULAR INTERACTION WITHIN A COHERENT GROUP SHOULD AMPLIFY THE HARMONIC RESONANCE OF THE GROUP’S ENERGETIC FIELD WITH THE ENERGETIC FIELD OF AN OBJECT OF ATTENTIONAL INTEREST.
– Bruce Cryer

In May, 2008, during a workshop we conducted for a senior leadership team, I spent a day in further conversation with Bruce. In addition to describing to the group HeartMath’s research on future knowing, he spoke at some length to them about a series of studies that are yielding interesting findings that confirm our own experience in Innovation Labs. Their research teams have studied the amplifying effect of working in teams that are highly aligned or “entrained.”

Entrainment is the scientific term for the synchronization of systems. Flocks of birds, schools of fish, and the pacemaker cells in the human heart are all examples of entrainment. Teams that are entrained function smoothly, capitalizing on the creativity and intelligence of the individual members with minimal distortion or static. Examples, Bruce told the group, are sports teams, music groups, and dance troupes who perform “in the zone,” who achieve a high level of entrainment and move effortlessly as one coherent whole without sacrificing individual excellence and uniqueness.

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1. The Source of the Entrepreneurial Impulse – The Quest Begins

Jaworski, Joseph Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

WHAT IS THE SOURCE OF THE ENTREPRENEURIAL IMPULSE? WHAT IS THE SOURCE OF OUR CAPACITY TO ACCESS THE KNOWLEDGE FOR ACTION WE NEED AT THE MOMENT?

In the spring of 1998, I was sitting in the back row of a large auditorium in the Shell Learning Center at the Woodlands just north of Houston. Eighteen months earlier, Shell Oil Company (the then-autonomous unit of the Royal Dutch Shell Group of Companies), Texaco, Inc., and Saudi Aramco had announced their intention to form an alliance of all their refining, distribution, and marketing (their “downstream” operations) in the United States. The “Alliance” would be the largest downstream organization in the world, with annual revenues approaching $40 billion. The Alliance hired Generon, a firm I had cofounded, to help develop its senior leadership and to assist in the integration of the units into a cohesive whole.

On that spring day, about 250 senior officers, who were members of the transition team, had gathered for the kickoff of the new venture. The chief operating officer of Texaco, Glenn Tilton, gave the opening remarks. In those remarks, Tilton identified the greatest challenge facing the Alliance – how to compete effectively with the newer and more nimble entrepreneurial downstream operators that had appeared in the marketplace in the last five years.

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6. Baja: The Birth of the Global Leadership Initiative

Jaworski, Joseph Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

TOGETHER – WORKING FROM THAT “PLACE OF DEEPER KNOWING” – WE CAN BEGIN TO ADDRESS THE MAJOR PROBLEMS OF OUR TIME.

The first four days and the final two days of the Sacred Passage with John Milton were spent in awareness training at the base camp with a half-dozen other participants, including Brian. We would begin early every morning and work through until dinner time, alternating between formal teaching sessions sitting around a beautifully carved log table under a large palm hut, or palapa, and practice sessions in the garden next to the palapa.

The focus of the training was on six core sacred principles John had learned over decades of study with Taoist masters and refined by subsequent study with teachers and mentors from many different traditions representing the world’s most respected ancient lineages. John possessed a remarkable capacity to translate this wisdom into highly accessible language and daily practices.

By this time, Brian had studied with John about ten years and had participated in over twenty such passages, some lasting a month or more. Brian acted as my personal coach and guide during the days of training.

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32. Sudden Illumination

Jaworski, Joseph Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

HE BELIEVES THAT HIS INVENTIONS COME THROUGH HIM FROM THE INFINITE FORCES OF THE UNIVERSE – AND NEVER SO WELL AS WHEN HE IS RELAXED.
Mina Miller Edison, talking about Thomas Edison

In his book, Cosmic Law: Patterns in the Universe, Dean Brown wrote that Polanyi’s “sudden illumination” was an invariant law of the universe. He said that what is presently concealed will eventually be revealed and that revelation comes through grace alone. Revelations can be progressive and can take place in science, self-knowledge, and learning. One knows one is on the right track if the revelation is progressively more beautiful.

Brown uses the word metanoia to describe the experience of sudden illumination or revelation. “For the Greeks, it meant a fundamental shift or change, or more literally transcendence (‘meta’ – above or beyond, as in ‘metaphysics’) of mind (‘noia,’ from the root ‘nous,’ of mind). In the early (Gnostic) Christian tradition, it took on a special meaning of awakening shared intuition and direct knowing of the highest of God.”

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