What if there’s a simple, easy, clear answer to why so many attempts to move an organization into Teal or Next-Stage organizational practices fail? And what if acting on that answer is challenging, sometimes painful, and always satisfying and joyful? Do you want to know the answer? And would you act on it?
That’s my main takeaway from my recent 2 1/2 day introductory immersion into the Language of Spaces program offered by Evolution at Work. E@W is a small, new, self-organized enterprise with Partners who include some of the pioneers of Holacracy® and of encode.org.
Oh, you want to know the answer? The answer is that structures, procedures, and processes are one thing, and people are another. People with all their old and current values, beliefs, habits, motives, hangups, resistances, fears, and triggers, are supposed to carry out new, unfamiliar prescribed/described structures, procedures, and processes. Guess what? It doesn’t all work out as predicted.
Who gets the blame? Often the structures, processes and procedures “failed.” “They aren’t workable.” “They’re just hype or bandwagon.”
Maybe nothing failed. Maybe there was just a mismatch. Maybe functioning well in certain structures, processes, and procedures requires certain values, skills, and capacities that some of the people there don’t have enough of yet.
For example, if a person hasn’t developed self-responsibility, self-starting, and teamwork, then self-management isn’t a system that will “work” for them.
How is it that such a mismatch can arise? Structures, processes, and procedures are developed within and for a worldview, and worldviews go through stages of maturation/development. Very often, some of the people asked to engage in and use those structures, processes, and procedure don’t have that worldview, including its capacities. The people are less mature, if you will.
The good news is that those who are ready can grow/mature/develop into it. Not learn, not choose. Maturation is built from experience and inner work.
That’s where I see Language of Spaces coming into the Next-Stage/Teal Organizations scene. LOS is not unique in addressing the need for certain personal and interpersonal skills and capacities in Teal settings; I estimate fully a third or more of the 830 articles EE Magazine has ever published, mention or address that need.
LOS is however, uniquely addressing the need, with powerful, deceptively simple (beyond complexity, built on it) capacity-developing programs, both introductory and coaching-certification levels (as well as one-on-one coaching, single or multi-day public or in-house workshops.)
The first of the four core capacities for functioning well, for thriving, in the environment of a Teal or next-stage organization, that E@W has identified, they call “Differentiation and Integration.” It’s explained in this article. The other three—Aligning Personal and Organization Purpose, Developing Inner Leadership, and Self-Realization (accessing inner wisdom)—are planned future articles.
The introductory workshop included powerful experiential exercises, obviously carefully chosen and designed, to give us a taste of what each capacity feels like in operation and also while it’s developing. The associated knowledge-frameworks were described in ways easy to relate to and understand, and clearly the tip of the iceberg of what could be learned in longer studies, such as the coaching-certification program.
For the introductory workshop I attended, there was also a rich, amazing “conference in the hallways.” Participants were generously sharing their wisdom and experiences around each others’ challenges, integrating with the learnings of the day. Clarity, inspiration, and breakthroughs abounded. Participants were in touch with their colleagues at work who implemented suggestions that very day, and we heard reports of satisfying, encouraging progress and results. Many of us were absorbing the consciousness-expansion going on, and were significantly re-orienting and revising our approaches to our situations in innovating next-stage organizations.
If news about this approach feels like a breath of fresh air in your situation, I can recommend exploring further, evolutionatwork.org. The effects of even this short exposure to their insights are going to continue to unfold and enliven my own work.