David Sibbet | Mental Models
55
archive,category,category-mental-models,category-55,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode-title-hidden,qode_grid_1300,footer_responsive_adv,hide_top_bar_on_mobile_header,qode-child-theme-ver-1.0.0,qode-theme-ver-10.0,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-4.12,vc_responsive

Every so often an idea appears that won’t let my imagination be. Like an electromagnet, it keeps pulling in material.

electromagnetIt happened this week as I was returning from Decatur, Georgia and the 22nd International Forum of Visual Practitioners. Gisela Wendling and I led a three-hour interactive keynote on “Visual Consulting: Designing & Leading Change” for some 75 visual practitioners from all over the world. Poland, Brazil, Germany, Korea, Canada, Thailand, China, Netherlands, France, Russia, Belgium, India, and Australia were all represented, along with people from all over the United States.

The idea that set us off is that there is something in common in the wave of new methods in OD—things like World Café, Open Space, Appreciative Inquiry, Theory U, the Art of Convening, Presencing, Active Facilitation, the Circle Way, and Visual Facilitation, to name only some identified by Gervase Bushe and Robert Marshak in their new book Dialogic OD: The Theory and Practice of Organizational Change. Their assertion is that all embrace three core processes that are key to their effectiveness:

  • Disrupting the traditional narratives about what is important and has meaning
  • Providing a space and process where one or more core narratives can change
  • Finding or creating a “generative image” whose compelling nature invites new thinking and action.

Read more…

I’m writing to share about a wonderful collaboration with Alan Briskin and Amy Lenzo creating a new “gyrocompass” image for their on-line, six session series on Activating Collective Wisdom, launching this June. The Five Practices of Collective Wisdom is a distillation of work Alan Briskin has been doing over many years on the subject. How this image came to be is a wonderful story of emergent creativity.

Some Context

Gyrocompassv5The collaboration began in Germany last year at the Leading as Sacred Practice (LASP) Retreat held at the Beuerhof Farm in the Vulcan Eifel region of Germany East of Cologne. Alan presented about these five practices and led a rich inquiry into what is deep listening, as well as how to suspend certainty, welcome emergence, keep the whole system in mind and prepare for the extraordinary when working with groups. I graphically recorded the session. Read more…

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.

Read more…

It’s the new year and I like to start with my messes cleaned up. Heavy winter rains carpeted oak leaves and tiny branches on the deck outside our living room in Petaluma. The acorns are surprising when you step on them in the dark. It’s better to have a clean deck when running up and down to my studio preparing for the flood of work the new year brings, so I have a priority of sweeping up after rains.

oakleaves

As I danced in the cool morning imagining sweeping being a form of maintenance Tai Chi, I thought about all the social messes that need to be cleaned up this year. A lot of promises have been made during the campaigns having to do with this or that policy or agency that is a “mess.” I wondered if people who don’t have to clean up after themselves really know very much about cleaning up messes. What happens when some try to get rid of others they consider “messy?”

Sweeping the deck seems relatively simple—or is it? Here are just a few of the things you have to think about:

1.  Over-sweeping makes some of the oak leaves dig into the wood and the cracks.

2.  Moving too quickly can result in slipping on the rain-slicked wood.

3.  Getting oak leaves out from under big ceramic pots requires crouching down and slowly poking the leaves out from their hiding places. Even so, some remain.

4.  A good sweep requires two or three passes even when the technique is masterful.

I wonder if the lessons from simple deck cleaning are understood by people who try to clean up social messes.  What constitutes over-sweeping? What special operations are needed to get leaves out from the cracks under pots? What constitute pots? Are these the special places in budgets where things hide? Do people who implement sweeps really understand how many times you have to do it in order to get good results? Who slips and breaks bones when things are done too quickly? Did Congress really think they could get away with not sweeping themselves ethically now and then?

Read more…