[Springboard] Junaluska Gathering

R Williams rcwmbw at yahoo.com
Mon Oct 1 05:51:53 EDT 2007

  I like this dialogue too.  Thanks for your thoughtful reflections.  I have been influenced over the years by several of the same people Gilles uses in his TLL like Peter Senge and Margaret Wheatley.  As I'm sure you know, they both are about understanding organizations as living systems that are more than the composite of the individuals that staff them, and about their functioning synergistically and effectively relative to their mission.
  A statement or question which I once heard raised regarding the church, but which could be adapted to apply to any organization--is the church just a bunch of individuals whom Jesus loves or is it the body of Christ?  There's a substantial and radical difference.
  To focus on the organization as more than just a composite of individuals is to be concerned about how people know, do and be together, rather than just how they be committed, effective individuals.  This acknowledges and leverages, for example, the value of diversity and comes to celebrate it rather than just tolerate it.  
  Surely organizations die as do all living entities.  Therefore, all organizations are temporary.  We waste our time and energy when we try to preserve them past their time.  The long term goal, for people and organizations, is not to keep them/us alive for as long as possible, but to keep them effective relative to their stated mission for as long as they are alive.  If their mission is too reduced, or otherwise less than viable, organizations will likely die sooner rather than later.
  I think this conversation has genuine relevance as we strive to care for those who care.

"M. George Walters" <m.george.walters at verizon.net> wrote:
        v\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);}  o\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);}  w\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);}  .shape {behavior:url(#default#VML);}        st1\:*{behavior:url(#default#ieooui) }                I like this dialogue and had the following reflections:
  Watching several 100 organizations rise and crumble over the years, I am fairly sure it has a great deal to do with the green pill principle in achieving the initial change. However, I still believe all things pass away and must either be reborn or replaced. The structure may be there but it becomes a lifeless and meatless skeleton and no matter how much you rattle it around, it no longer lives. It was, as described by Larry, dependent upon a “presence” and when the presence is gone, the organization is dead.
  The most durable structures seem to be those that put in place “deep” (not surface) principals. For instance, “care for the earth” vs care for the environment or global warming or even less deep, “let’s all recycle.” If you grasp fundamentally what care for the earth is all about, the care for the environment and recycling may flow from it, but if the latter are the only basis for your structure, it will be short lived. So will many other things – care for all cultures and people of the earth to just name a couple.
  So when global warming is over (and yes it will be someday whether or not we are here to see it) and global freezing sets in, one needs a deeper principle or the structure dies.
  Founding temporary structures that you know are temporary and that you expect to go out of being when their job is done is another approach I have come to appreciate. Another approach that makes sense to me is creating movements or campaigns that are focused on immediate concerns (and by immediate I actually mean those that last 100 years or less like creating public education for all children).  You know after you get the structure, it is going to have problems and you move on to the next thing important to that structure or you take it out of being and replace it. 
  Fundamentally, I believe, all organizations are learning organizations, like all children learn. For them to be viable for “care for the earth” it takes a radical force from within that guides and focuses what they learn – puts the depth into the learning – that makes the difference in whether they are transformational to creation, or just meteoric blips. The issue is not learning organizations, but what they learn and who is teaching them.
  As Neil Vance used to like to say, our village development projects are not about creating little groups of happy poor people; they are about transforming the society that allows poverty and degradation to exist. You might say learning organizations are not about happy little organizations, but building the earth. And it will take a hell of a lot of them to create a change in Baghdad, Somalia, Kosovo, Cyprus, Tampa and Junaluska. 
  To maintain our sanity and to be effective, we all must focus, but the focus is transient and only meaningful when it flows from something much deeper.
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  From: springboard-bounces at wedgeblade.net [mailto:springboard-bounces at wedgeblade.net] On Behalf Of R Williams
Sent: Sunday, September 30, 2007 18:51
To: Springboard Dialogue
Subject: Re: [Springboard] Junaluska Gathering

    Dear Larry,


    Certainly individual transformation is at the heart of all permanent change.  Given that fact, two thoughts come to mind.  One, I remember that we identified the three major contradictions of society as economic domination, political powerless and cultural disenfranchisement.  The "master" strategies with which we sought to resolve the contradictions were contextual reeducation, structural reformulation and spiritual remotivation.  My question has to do with structural reformulation.


    Second, some years ago Peter Senge and his colleagues at MIT began to talk about "learning organizations," suggesting that not just individuals in an organization learn, but the organization itself, as a living, organic, systematic entity, also learns.  What he means is that organizations undergo the same sort of transformation, or conversion of heart and mind if you will, that individuals do.


    Hence my question was what are the programs or approaches that are aimed at organizational learning, i.e. the transformation of the organizational culture itself.  What this acknowledges is, I believe, that it's not just the thinking and actions of individuals that shape organizations, but the organization, for better or worse, shapes the thinking and actions of the people who are part of it.


    Thanks for asking for clarification.  I hope this helps.



Lawrence Philbrook <icalarry at ms69.hinet.net> wrote:

    Dear Randy

We have been working in several areas in working with individuals especially in the Facilitation Certification Program and in organizations through leadership training and leadership mentoring.  Part of our task it bring awareness of the authentic struggles and successes that each person brings to their task and vocation of leadership. What is your specific question?

Last week I was meeting with the Generative Change Community in Manila and they asked what made the community of facilitators different in Taiwan and the spirit different.  One of the people with who is an old colleague and facilitator answered that the key has been having the Wests and the Philbrooks the ICA in Taiwan, the methods or processes can be transformative but the key is the willingness of our colleagues to share their own lives in humility and to invite others to do so as well. This vulnerability demonstrates service and spirit.  

I was speechless and did not know what to say. Now a week later my interpretation is  living a life of spirit is not about perfection but the reality of continuous work on the discipline of living as authentically as I can at every moment and inviting others to do the same.

With respect, Larry

R Williams wrote: 
    Jack and all,


    I am reading with interest of the various offerings that have, I assume, spun off from RS-1, like the Courage to Lead and Cock's weekend that calls forth spirit giants.  These are apparently geared to individual transformation and development, as was RS-1.  I am wondering if anyone has developed program approaches aimed at the transformation and development of organizations?



Jack Gilles <icabombay at igc.org> wrote:


I have always thought that Courage to Lead was a fine way to present 
our historical spirit work. Thanks for reminding us. I would love 
to hear more on just how people are responding to it; what do they 
find most helpful, have you added any "twists" to it etc. Do you 
think it might be the basic component in a larger program that could 
include other methods and work and do you think it would work on-line?


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