Kategoriarkiv: Communication

George Lakoff on Big Lies and Truth

George Lakoff

George Lakoff is Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley. He is a longtime researcher in linguistics and cognitive science. Here is an article on American politics, in which he gives advice on how to deal with Big Lies, and how to communicate Truth. George Lakoff writes:

Direct vs. systemic causation
“Direct causation is easy to understand, and appears to be represented in the grammars of all languages … Systematic causation is more complex and is not represented in the grammar of any language.”

Worldviews vs. languages
“Language that fits that worldview activates that worldview, strengthening it, while turning off the other worldview and weakening it.”

Unconscious vs. conscious thought
“… most of thought … is unconscious. Conscious thought is the tip of the iceberg.”

Manipulation of unconscious thought
“… unconscious normal brain mechanisms are manipulated by …

  1. Repetition …
  2. Framing …
  3. Well-known examples …
  4. Grammar …
  5. Conventional metaphorical thought …
  6. … metaphor and metonymy …”

Big Lies
“… Big Lies repeated over and over are being believed …”

“… unconscious thought … shapes conscious thought via unconscious framing and commonplace conceptual metaphors.”

Communicating Truths
“Understanding how people really think can be used to communicate truths, not Big Lies …”

“First, don’t think of an elephant. Remember not to repeat false … claims and then rebut them with … facts. Instead, go positive. Give a truthful framing to undermine claims to the contrary. Use … facts to support positively-framed truth. Use repetition.”

“Second, start with values, not policies and facts and numbers. Say what you believe, but haven’t been saying.”

“Third, keep out of nasty exchanges and attacks. … Calmness and empathy in the face of fury are powerful. … Be prepared. You have to … stand calmly …”

Related post:
Organizing retrospective 16

Integral Management

Integral Management is a management model which addresses the question: ”What does it take to have everyone in a company wholeheartedly join forces and take on challenges that, to most companies, would seem quite impossible?” The model has grown organically for more than 25 years. It’s based on a learning dialog involving tens of thousands of managers and co-workers from around the world. There is a book in Swedish, Manöverbarhet (maneuverability), by Lasse Ramquist and Mats Eriksson, which describes the management model and its development since the early 1980s in detail. There’s also a shorter English version of the book, Integral Management (see the picture), which describes the model and how to make a company come together as One Team.

Related post:
Analysis of Integral Management

Mae-Wan Ho on the autonomy of organisms


Mae-Wan Ho, is best known for her pioneering work on the physics of organisms and sustainable systems. Here’s what she writes on the autonomy of organisms in her book The Rainbow and the Worm: The Physics of Organisms (in italics, my emphasis in bold):

Organisms are never simply at the mercy of their environments on account of the coherent energy stored. More to the point, we don’t have to eat constantly, leaving plenty of time for other useful, pleasurable activities. The other consequences are that, the organism is exquisitely sensitive and free from mechanical constraints; and satisfies, at least, some of the basic conditions for quantum coherence. 1

Do take note of the radically anti-mechanistic nature of organisms. Mechanical systems work by a hierarchy of controllers and the controlled that returns the systems to set points. One can recognize such mechanistic systems in the predominant institutions of our society. They are undemocratic and non-participatory. Bosses make decisions and workers work, and in between the top and the bottom are “line-managers’’ relaying the unidirectional “chain of command”. Organic systems, by contrast, are truly democratic, they work by intercommunication and total participation. Everyone works and pays attention to everyone else. Everyone is simultaneously boss and worker, choreography and dancer. Each is ultimately in control to the extent that she is sensitive and responsive. There are no predetermined set points to which the systems have to return. Instead, organisms live and develop from moment to moment, freely and spontaneously. 2

It must be stressed that the ‘single degree of freedom’ of organisms is a very special one due to quantum coherence which maximizes both local autonomy and global correlation 3

Notes:
1 Mae-Wan Ho, The Rainbow and the Worm: The Physics of Organisms, 2nd Edition, p. 91.
2 Ibid., p. 92.
3 Ibid., p. 152.

Generous listening

In generous listening you don’t even listen in order to understand why the other person feels the way they do. It doesn’t matter. What matters is what’s true for this person, and you simply receive it and respect it. And in that safe interaction something can happen which is larger than before. And that’s all you need. You already are enough. You are enough.
— Rachel Naomi Remen

Notes:
Generous Listening: Rachel Naomi Remen shares how to use generous listening.

Ralph Stacey on rule-following

Ralph Stacey writes that we have to think of global organizational order as continually emerging in myriad local interactions,1 and that it is highly simplistic to think of human beings as rule-following beings.2 In our acting, we may take account of rules but can hardly be said to blindly follow them.3

The essential and distinctive characteristic of human beings is that we are conscious and self-conscious beings capable of emotion, spontaneity, imagination, fantasy and creative action. We are essentially reflexive and reflective.4 We do not interact blindly according to mechanistic rules, but engage in meaningful communicative interaction with each other.5 We establish power relations between ourselves.6 And we also exercise at least some degree of choice as to how we will respond to the actions of others.7 In addition, we use tools and technologies to accomplish what we choose to do.8

This means that consciousness, self-consciousness, reflection and reflexivity, creativity, imagination and fantasy, communication, meaning, power, choice, evaluation, tool use and sociality should explicitly be brought to any interpretation, as regards human beings.9

Notes:
1 Patricia Shaw and Ralph Stacey (editors), Experiencing Risk, Spontaneity and Improvisation in Organizational Change: Working live, (Routledge, 2006), p. 125.
2 Ibid., p. 126.
3 Ibid..
4 Ibid..
5 Ibid..
6 Ibid..
7 Ibid..
8 Ibid..
9 Ibid..

Related post:
Ralph Stacey on beliefs

Book Review: Team of Teams

Teams of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World by Stanley McChrystal, with Tantum Collins, David Silverman, and Chris Fussell, is a book about the restructuring of the Joint Special Operations Task Force from the ground up. The book is built upon the authors ”personal experiences”, together with their ”reviews” of ”published studies” and ”interviews” with ”experts in a wide variety of fields” (p. 5). The authors ”lay out the symptoms”, the ”root causes”, and the ”approaches” that they and others have found effective (p. 5). I think the book contains a useful blend of practical and theoretical knowledge.

Volatililty
The authors describe in detail throughout the book how they restructured the Task Force ”from the ground up on principles of extremely transparent information sharing … and decentralized decision-making authority”. In short, how the Task Force became ”a team of teams” (p. 20). The Task Force was an ”awesome machine”, but it was ”too slow, too static, and too specialized” to deal with its volatile environment (p. 81). Key to the necessary transformation was to understand what made the ”constituent teams adaptable, and how this differed from the structure and culture” of the Task Force at large (p. 92).

Trust & Purpose
The teams in the Task Force are forged ”methodically and deliberately” (p. 94). The purpose of the training is to ”build superteams” (p. 96). The training is all about ”developing trust and the ability to adapt within a small group” (p. 97). This is done because ”teams whose members know one another deeply perform better” (p. 98). Teams which are ”fused by trust and purpose” are much more potent, and ”can improvise a coordinated response to dynamic, real-time developments” (p. 98). ”Team members tackling complex environments must all grasp the team’s situation and overarching purpose” (p. 99). The physical hardship during the training “is a test, not of strength, but of commitment” (p. 99). Furthermore, “failure is always punished” (p. 97). The trainees who make it through the training ”believe in the cause” (p. 100), and are prepared “placing their lives at risk … alongside committed patriots” (p. 100).

Oneness & Adaptivity
The competitive advantage of teams is “their ability to think and act as a seamless unit” (p. 105). This is sometimes called “joint cognition” (p. 105). The point is that “a thorough integration of minds … can unlock far more complex solutions than a set of individual thinkers” (p. 105). Great teams are more like “awesome organisms” than “awesome machines” (p. 120). However, the challenge is that the larger the organization gets, the “harder it is for it to think and act as one” (p. 124). Team dynamics are “powerful but delicate” (p. 127), and teams are “much trickier to build and maintain than we like to think” (p. 127). Accomplishing a true “team of teams” involved “a complete reversal of the conventional approach to information sharing, delineation of roles, decision-making authority, and leadership” (p. 131).

Information Sharing
The transformation of the Task Force “demanded the adoption of extreme transparency” in order to provide “every team with an unobstructed, constantly up-to-date view of the rest of the organization” (p. 163). The critical first step was to share the “information widely” and be generous with “people and resources” (p. 167). The thinking was that the value of the “information and the power that came with it were greater the more it was shared” (p. 167). The “Operations & Intelligence brief” became the “heart muscle of the organism” and the “pulse by which it would live or die” (p. 164). The O&I, as it was commonly called, was a daily meeting “held by the leadership … to integrate everything the command is doing with everything it knows” (p. 164). Over time, the O&I began to “develop its own gravitational pull as more and more groups recognized what the speed and transparency … could offer” (p. 167). Individual and organizational “arrogance manifested itself in subtle ways as people tried to assert or maintain their preeminence”, but “eventually people either produced or faded in importance” (p. 166).

Relationships
Information sharing was just a start. The next step was to strengthen the relationships “among the Task Force’s internal teams”, and between “the Task Force and the partner agencies” (p. 180). Slowly, “personal relationships” and “bonds of trust” grew between the teams (pp. 175—177). “Bonds of trust began to form” and “began to overcome internal competition and barriers to cooperation” (p. 180). The “new architecture” consisted of “extreme participatory transparency” and the “creation of strong internal connectivity across teams” (p. 197). Paradoxically, the “seemingly instantaneous communications … slowed rather than accelerated decision making” (p. 202).

Decision-making
The practice of relaying decision up and down the chain of command is based on “the assumption … that the cost of the delay is less than the cost of the errors produced by removing a supervisor” (p. 209). In reality, “the risks of acting too slowly were higher than the risks of letting competent people make judgment calls” (p. 209). Authority was pushed down “until it made us uncomfortable” (p. 214). On the whole, this initiative “met with tremendous success” (p. 214). “More important, and more surprising, we found that, even as speed increased and we pushed authority further down, the quality of decisions actually went up” (p. 214). One reason for this was that “an individual who makes a decision becomes more invested in its outcome” (p. 215). Another reason was that “leadership simply did not understand what was happening on the ground as thoroughly as the people who were there” (p. 215). “Individuals and teams closest to the problem, armed with unprecedented levels of insights from across the network, offer the best ability to decide and act decisively” (p. 219).

Leadership
The role of the senior leader changed. The role “was no longer that of [a] controlling puppet master, but rather that of an empathetic crafter of culture” (p. 222). The focus shifted to “shaping the ecosystem” (p. 226). “Thinking out loud” and openly admitting “I don’t know” was “accepted, even appreciated” (p. 229). “Asking for opinions and advice showed respect”. The “overall message reinforced by the O&I was that we have a problem that only we can understand and solve” (p. 229). “A leader’s words matter, but actions ultimately do more to reinforce or undermine the implementation of a team of teams” (p. 232).

Conclusions
The authors emphasize that “there is no such thing as an organizational panacea—the details will always be different for different people, places, and objectives—but” they ”believe that” their ”model provides a good blueprint” (p. 249). I think something really important has to be at stake in order to be able to turn an organization into a team of teams. I also think you need to have true teams in place, and not just teams in name. The way of forging teams described in the book is extreme to say the least. And I think the role of senior leadership can be both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing if senior leadership really understands—and accepts—the central tenets outlined in the book. It’s a curse if senior leadership doesn’t, because then the team of teams will be turned into a “command of teams”, or just an old-fashioned “command” (p. 129). The book is well worth reading!

S. McChrystal, T. Collins, D. Silverman, & C. Fussell, Team of Teams, p. 129.

Related book review:
The Art of Action by Stephen Bungay

Become a now-ist

JoiItoFocus on being connected, always learning, fully aware and super present. In this talk Joi Ito, the head of the MIT Media Lab, shares an approach to creating in the moment. Build quickly and improve constantly, without waiting for permission or proof that you have the right idea. It starts, he says, with being open and alert to what’s going on around you right now.

Joi Ito outlines three principles for bottom-up innovation:

  1. Pull over Push: Seek the resources you need when you need it.
  2. Learning over Education: Learning is what you do. Education is what others do to you.
  3. Compass over Maps: You can’t map out everything. If you know the direction, a compass helps.

What is Dialogue?

The following quotes are from posts by Susan Taylor at What Is Dialogue (emphasis mine).

The process of Dialogue is designed to create opportunities for new understandings — a space where new knowledge can be born. Through active listening, treating people equally, balancing opinions with inquiry and suspending judgement — by speaking honestly, noticing your internal reactions to what others say and examining your own beliefs – and in slowing things down and permitting moments for pause and silence, you are creating an environment where people are in conversation, creating new realities in a way that is meaningful and significant.
— Susan Taylor, The Magic in Dialogue

Holding space comes with profound responsibility and the capacity to be present, operating with neutrality, providing grounding for individuals and the group to simply be where they are – without judgment, criticism and blame. This requires you to be mindful. It necessitates that you open your heart and at the same time make a commitment to the unfoldment of what is occurring, allowing each person to have whatever experience he or she is having.
— Susan Taylor, Be Mindful Be Attentive

When a group is in “true Dialogue”, you are developing your collective knowledge, actively seeking information via empathetic listening and inquiry. In this, you are able to tolerate ambiguity. You are mindful of your basic assumptions and avoid negative judgments. You become creatively flexible through a desire to learn about the worldview of others in a way to fully understand them. You reduce uncertainty by asking questions from a place of authentic curiosity, merging all aspects of the worldviews in the room in an effort to develop shared meaning. In Dialogue, you take your time, slowing the cadence. Uncertainty is expected and you embrace differences, rather than ignoring them, learning as you interact, adjusting your behavior as appropriate.
— Susan Taylor, The Platinum Rule

One of the key principles of Generative Dialogue is that of natural rhythm. This can be quite challenging to achieve as many of us are accustomed to using checklists and agendas in our meetings. With these checklists and agendas comes structure and within that structure, we tend to get attached to specific outcomes. If you are looking for Synchronicity or have interest in attaining Flow, you will need to let go of any connection you may have to any specific result. It is as simple and as difficult as that!
— Susan Taylor, The Natural Rhythm of Synchronicity

The uncovering of the U-process

TAI Presents Joseph Jaworski who tells the story about the uncovering of the U-process. The presentation is divided into the seven videos:

Related videos:
ZIN monastry for meaning and work invites Joseph Jaworski
Joseph Jaworski speaks to the to the staff of Berrett-Koehler about his history, perspective, and new book Source

The Elements

The Elements with Joseph Jaworski is an interesting series of short videos on:

How will companies approach the management challenge?

Here is a visionary tweet by Kenneth Mikkelsen on how companies in the future will approach the management challenge. The businesses will:

  • Have a higher purpose beyond making profit
  • Hire people who are passionate about this higher purpose
  • See all shareholders as equally important
  • Cultivate long-term relationships with suppliers
  • Have open doors and be transparent with information
  • Encourage decision-making and autonomy all the way down
  • Pay well, provide excellent benefits and be generous with training/development
  • Volunteer services to the community
  • Narrow the gap in pay

Principles of conversation

The following principles of conversation are from The Art of Convening by Craig & Patricia Neal with Cynthia Wold:

Listen

  • … with respect for all the voices.
  • …  without fixing, problem-solving, advice-giving.

Speak from Your Own Experience

  • Speak from the “l,”from your own experience.
  • What is on your mind/heart?

Slow Down the Conversation

  • Allow pauses between speakers.

Suspend Certainty

  • Notice your assumptions.
  • Look for the surprises.

Allow Space for Difference

  • Be aware of your judgments.
  • Honor the questions and the inquiry.
  • … and, you can always take back what you said.

Nio grundläggande mänskliga behov

Här är nio grundläggande mänskliga behov från Marshall Rosenbergs kurs i Nonviolent Communication:

  • Försörjning (grundläggande fysiska behov, mat, luft, vatten, tak över huvudet)
  • Trygghet (skydd)
  • Kärlek
  • Empati
  • Vila (rekreation, lek)
  • Gemenskap
  • Kreativitet
  • Autonomi (starkt behov av att välja vår egen väg i livet, finns vid liv i oss från tidig ålder)
  • Mening (leva livet fullt ut, bidrar till livet, att se hur vårt arbete har gjort människors liv rikare och livet på planeten rikare)

Nine basic human needs

Marshall Rosenberg mentions nine basic human needs in his NVC training course Session #3 (22 minutes from start):

  • Sustenance (basic physical needs, food, air, water, shelter)
  • Safety (protection)
  • Love
  • Empathy
  • Rest (recreation, play)
  • Community (warm)
  • Creativity
  • Autonomy (strong need to choose our own way in life, is alive in us from an early age)
  • Meaning (living life fully, purpose, need to contribute to life, to see how our efforts have made people’s lives richer and the life on the planet richer)

These needs are in turn based on Manfred Max-Neef’s classification of fundamental human needs.