Organizing retrospective 10

This is a post in my series on organizing “between and beyond.” Other posts are here. This is a retrospective of what has happened during the week. The purpose is to reflect on the work itself. Here is my previous retrospective. Here is my next retrospective.

What has happened? What needs to be done?
I have been reading Diane Musho Hamilton’s Everything Is Workable during the week. I am almost done with the reading and definitely recommend the book! Diane Hamilton is an experienced mediator and has much experience to share. I think constructive conflict resolution is absolutely essential for generative organizing. It’s also a way to actively identify and remove misinformation.

  • I will write a review of Diane Musho Hamilton’s book next week.

shadowsofthemind80x124I have also started reading Shadows of the Mind by Roger Penrose. It is a very different book which I find quite difficult to read. I see that it will take me several weeks to read it. What I find intriguing is that Penrose argues strongly that mind cannot be described in any kind of computational terms. Roger Penrose uses the Gödel argument to show that human understanding cannot be an algorithmic activity. Penrose shows, specifically, that mathematical understanding is something that cannot be reduced to computation. In other words, people perform non-computational actions and cannot be fully understood in terms of computational models.

Daniel Mezick contacted me during the week and wondered if I might be willing to consider reviewing The OpenSpace Agility Handbook. He sent a link to the Kindle version of the book with his compliments. Yes, I’m willing and will be glad to review the book.

  • I plan to review the OpenSpace Agility Handbook at the end of the month.
  • I need to look into the work of Harrison Owen, originator of the Open Space approach.

James Priest, one of the originators of Sociocracy 3.0, commented on my comparison between sociocracy vs. Holacracy vs. Sociocracy 3.0 this week. Here is my comparison, which I wrote almost a year ago. James claims, in short, that patterns follow flow in Sociocracy 3.0. Well, I don’t think so. Agreements guide the flow of value in Sociocracy 3.0, and patterns are agreements. Hence, patterns guide the flow. Patterns are, in a way, prescribed solutions. Here is James’ comment, and here is my answer.

Both sociocracy and Holacracy are based on cybernetic principles. Hence, they are rule-based. I think Sociocracy 3.0 is rule-based too, but is trying to change its language.  Here is a post on the difference between the language of rules & policies vs. the language of agreements. Sociocracy 3.0 is, in my view, an example of “organizing in between” sociocracy, Holacracy, Agile, and Lean. I believe it’s necessary to move to an “organizing beyond” sociocracy. Here is why I think sociocracy is both right and wrong.

Interestingly, Sociocracy 3.0 is now said to form a pattern language. The term pattern language was coined by Christopher Alexander. Here is a presentation by Christopher Alexander on patterns in architecture. Christopher Alexander emphasizes the importance of living structure in architecture. My hypothesis is that there is living structure in organizations as well. We know when we are in its presence! How do we create it?

To paraphrase Christopher Alexander (in italics): Organizations will not be able to become alive, unless they are made by all the people in the organization, and unless the pattern language is alive itself.1 Patterns, in David Bohm and F. David Peat’s terminology, are explicate orders. The difference between living and non-living patterns lies in their implicate orders. The thinking behind a pattern language is crucially important.

  • Christopher Alexander’s four volumes on “The Nature of Order” are highly relevant to my inquiry into deeper generative orders for organizing. I need to re-read them!

What was good? What can be improved?
I think James Priest’s comment is good because it surfaces our different perspectives. I met James the first time more than three years ago and I can see how disagreements are building between us. At first, James’ perspective enlarged my own, and it wasn’t too much of a struggle to yield to his perspective, but I can no longer see things the way he does.

  • I find it extremely difficult to be present, unbiased, and available to what is without imposing preconceived ideas or judgments. I need to be able to have my opinions and to maintain my values, but not grip them as the source of my security. I need to hold them lightly.

1 This is a paraphrase. See Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa, Murray Silverstein with Max Jacobson, Ingrid Fiksdahl-King and Shlomo Angel, A Pattern Language (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977), p. x.

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts

Published by Jan Höglund

Jan Höglund has over 35 years of experience in different roles as software developer, project manager, line manager, consultant, and researcher. This is his personal blog where he shares his reading, book reviews, and learning.

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