Organizing retrospective 43

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 finished reading Luc Ferry’s A Brief History of Thought this week. It’s a well-written book which provides a great overview of different philosophical systems.  I mentioned in this retrospective that reading Whitehead gave me insights into my own metaphysics. Similarly, reading Ferry gave me insights into my own thinking. Here is my review of A Brief History of Thought.

Jones, Artful Leadership (left), and Ferry, A Brief History of Thought (right).

This week, I also finished my review of Michael Jones’ book Artful Leadership. It has taken me quite some time to write this review. It’s such a wonderful book that I decided to provide an extensive summary together with my conclusions. Here is my review of Artful Leadership.

If my review of Artful Leadership is unusually long, then my review of A Brief History of Thought is unusually short. I have the habit of putting a yellow index on text which I find interesting (the more interesting, the more visible), while I mark text where I have questions with the corner of an index. The picture below shows how different my impressions are of the two books.

Ferry, A Brief History of Thought (top), and Jones, Artful Leadership (bottom).

There’s much in Luc Ferry’s book which I question, but not necessarily disagree with. After having read Ferry, I realize that I’m much more of a scepticist than a dogmatist philosophically. And I find it fascinating that I hardly found anything in Michael Jones’ book with which I disagree. It’s a powerful experience to encounter someone (Jones) who can express your own thoughts more eloquently than you can yourself.

It’s also interesting to note that I can’t put Jones’ thinking into any of the philosophical systems described by Luc Ferry. One reason for this is that Jones’ thinking goes beyond pure reason. I agree with Jones that the invisible structures of wholeness lies in the spaces between our thoughts and concepts.1 This means that we need to bring our focus ‘upstream’ to where reason and heart may work in common.2 And here lies a paradox: How do you make what’s invisible apparent in language? The deeper generative orders for organizing lie in the invisible structures of wholeness.

What was good? What can be improved?
I’m active in this discussion group on sociocracy.  John Schinnerer wrote something very interesting this as a reply to one of my own mails to the group. John wrote:

… note that process and outcome live at opposite ends.
The more we want a particular (our “perfect”) outcome, the farther we
are from getting to have some particular process, and vice versa.

… if we want to use only this particular process,
we better be open to what the outcome is.
And, if we want this one particular outcome,
we better be open to what process(es) will get us there.

I find this interesting since it’s often assumed that you can control the outcome by controlling the process. It’s, for example, one of the ISO 9000 series quality management principles.3 John clarified his thinking in a second mail where he writes:

I think if we are talking about relatively simple, purely deterministic
systems, that is possible. … [i.e., to control the output by controlling the process]

Any time we have humans involved, I think this [Erik Stolterman’s] model comes
into play, at least in part, or in some aspects of the system. …

I’m now searching for more information about the model which John mentions. The model is developed by Erik Stolterman. Here is Erik’s blog where he writes:

My goal is to be able to formulate a deeper understanding of the relation between technological and societal development.

I can paraphrase Erik Stolterman by saying that:

My goal is to be able to formulate a deeper understanding of the relation between humans and organizational development.

And this deeper understanding has very much to do with what Michael Jones writes about in Artful Leadership.

1 Michael Jones, Artful Leadership: Awakening the Commons of Imagination (Pianoscapes, 2006), p. xi.
2 Ibid..
3 See ISO 9000 – Wikipedia (accessed 2017-05-27).

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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