David Sibbet | Cognition & Communications
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My struggle to make sense of this new era of Trump has sent me back to my journals to look for longer threads and themes. I’m having an old feeling. It’s one I associate with the time of the assassinations in the 1960s, the lying during the Nixon and Johnson years, and the warmongering of the Bush years. In such times of disruption in my mental model of a world that progresses—carefully inculcated by my post-war teachers—I am thrown into questions.

Finding myself back in the questions again, I came across a journal entry from December 1994, recounting a talk with my friend Bob Horn about postmodernism. Our talk began with a review of Walter Truett Anderson’s schematic of the postmodern challenge:

postmodernchallenge-94

As Bob drew the boxes, I had wondered at the casualness with which he could lay down a box and label it “postmodernism”, as if all the perceptions and theorizing and turmoil of the times could be neatly packaged in a historian’s bow. “I won’t say anything,” I thought. “I’ll listen past it to the meaning.” Meanwhile, in my own mind I began to frame a story of fragmentation and return, of choices and confusion.

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trump_clinton_vote“This is what our democracy stands for, the smooth transition of power.” Obama’s words came in the deliberate, stately cadence that we’ve all heard so many times over the last eight years. “I’ve asked my team to do everything possible to ensure that the new President elect can hit the ground running” he said. “George Bush’s team did that for us when we took office.”

We are going to miss this intelligent, civilized man and his family. Riding waves of populist anger, the quintessential infotainment tongue surfer is our next President. And where will this take us all?

As a student and practitioner of change, I hold a few assumptions as I think about all this.

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I am preparing to write a new book called Visual Consulting: Designing & Leading Change, potentially as a fourth in the Wiley visual leadership series. This one will be co-authored by The Grove’s VP of Global Learning, Gisela Wendling, Ph.D., an expert on personal and organizational transformation. It seems right that after so many changes in our own lives, that we focus now on our learning about change, and engage the exploding global network of visual practitioners about how to become skilled consultants with this orientation. Our leading of The Grove’s new Designing & Leading Change workshop the past two years is fueling this new project.

WileySeriesCovers - Preparing to Write—Visual Consulting

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I’m just back from Amsterdam doing some workshops with our Grove partners, Business Models, Inc. Gisela Wendling, The Grove’s Director of Global Learning, and I conducted a public workshop on Visualizing Change for 25 consultants and an internal workshop on Mental Models & Mindsets for BMI as the kickoff to their International Week. I want to share this experience of teaching systems thinking through drawing practice, which echoed my first meeting with Patrick Van Der Pijl, BMI’s founder, at a VizThink conference in Berlin 3-4 years ago.
MentalModelsChart - Business Models & Mental Models

 

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