Archive for January, 2010

social warmth sculpture: THINKING TOGETHER

Saturday, January 30th, 2010 | Uncategorized | 21 Comments

This week I facilitated a green mobility summit for a global company in Europe. Seeing how this company, which operates in a very old and traditional industry, is beginning to change really inspires me:
 it is
-moving from denial to putting green center-stage

–moving from green technology to green mobility

–and realizing, that green mobility requires new ways of working and thinking together.

When we (about 80 people across all divisions and regions) left the meeting, we all felt somehow elevated—not just because we had dealt with the right topic (green) at the right time (now), but because we had moved during our meeting from individual statements (debate) to a process of THINKING TOGETHER (dialogue). When such a process starts to happen, when a group of people starts the process of thinking together, they achieve a whole new level of collective energy that elevates and uplifts them. Everyone feels present and warm.

The feeling reminds me of a word coined by the late 20th-century avant garde artist Joseph Beuys: SOZIALE WAERMEPLASTIK–social warmth sculpture. If you connect to the deeper levels of the social field you connect to the social warmth sculpture, to a malleable medium and a sense of connection that emerges from the inner energy of people. THINKING TOGETHER, and for that matter the U process, is a movement (and a state of attention) that connects us with that deeper field of awareness…


P.S.: I am not sure that the term WAERMEPLASTIK is translated well here. Even in German most people do not understand this term (which refers to a level 3-4 experience of reality; see Theory U). And whenever I try to translate an abstract concept like that into English I often see blank stares…
 Can anyone help here? What do you think? Do you know the experience I’m talking about above?

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through the eye of the needle

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010 | Uncategorized | 16 Comments

today i had to write a paragraph on leadership for the MIT Leadership Center site. find that paragraph below. what do you think? what is your take on the essence of leadership today?

The key leadership challenge of our time is to shift the inner place from which we operate. As individuals, as teams, as institutions, and as societies we all face the same issue: that doing ‘more of the same’ won’t fix flawed and failed systems. We have to leave behind our old tools and behaviors, and immerse ourselves in the places of most potential. We have to listen with our minds and hearts wide open, and then connect with our deep sources of knowing and self. It’s only when we pass through this eye of the needle–letting go of the old and letting come the emerging self–that we can begin to step into our real power: the power to collectively sense and create the world anew. Theory U describes a social grammar and practical methods for such a transformative leadership journey.

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the fourth miracle: transforming attentional violence

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010 | Uncategorized | 5 Comments

i just posted a video that talks about three major miracles that happened in my lifetime: (1) the collapse of the berlin wall (ending the cold war system), (2) the collapse of the apartheid system (marking thepeaceful transition into the post-apartheid era), and (3) Barack Obama taking office in the White House in January 2009. Three miracles. Three defining moments in my generation. And yet, the most important one may still be ahead of us: (4) the current transformation of capitalism from the current 1.0 and 2.0 system to a possible 3.0 form of economy and society. Check out our new website on this.

What struck me is that for the fourth miracle we have to transform all three forms of violence that currently defines the relational space in society: direct violence (terrorism and war), structural violence (misery and poverty), and what in my first blog entry i started calling attentional violence. Attentional violence is to not to be seen and recognized in terms of who you really are–in terms of your highest future possibility. Instead you are only seen in terms of your journey of the past, that is, in terms of the circumstances of the past, in terms of who you happen to be today. Attentional violence is hitting hardest those of us, who live in marginalized groups.

just as the battle of the 20the century geopolitics–the cold war system–was a battle between system and system (capitalism vs. communism), we now move into a new era in which the major battlefield extends into a different theater–the theater of our inner SELF, that is, the battle between self and Self. the battle between (current) self and (emerging future or originating) Self is the central conflict of our time. unless we are waking up to that deeper (and largely invisible) battlefield, chances are that all the political fights between left and right, between progressive and conservative and so forth, will lead us pretty much nowhere–will lead us into a dead end. its the connection of the deeper personal and yet collective playing field with our everyday life and public collective action where the real power of the next transformation is coming from.

The power for pulling off the fourth miracle stems from the capacity to linking all three spheres: the battlefield of our SELF SPACE (relinking self with Self), of our SOCIAL SPACE (relinking “us” with “them”), and of our ECO SPACE (relinking human beings with our planet). its only when we succeed in linking these three spheres we wake up to our real power–our power of bringing forth the world anew.

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failed governmental governance–and then what?

Monday, January 4th, 2010 | Uncategorized | 6 Comments

copenhagen. new banking bill. new health care bill. three processes — one outcome: failure of addressing the real systemic issues. to say we only deal with the symptoms level would be overstating the positive: we clearly fail of even dealing with the symptoms (copenhagen), or we deal with them in a way that mostly benefits the well organized special interest groups (wallstreet and the health-industrial complex). ok, we knew that (and that they have been the primary campaign donors), so where’s the good news? its here:
copenhagen clearly demonstrated that the biggest crisis of all is the current crisis of leadership. the new leadership and the new global governance that we now need is not going to come from our special interest group driven governments. it can only come through new initiatives in which leaders and people from civil society organizations collaborate in new ways with partners and leaders from governmental, and multilateral institutions as well as from business organizations: cross-sector, cross-disciplinary, cross-generation, and in a way that puts deep human awareness and collective intelligence over and above the straight jacket of narrow institutional imperatives.

so the positive side is that everyone now sees that: if governments cannot pull it off, WE have to do it. we have to rise to a new global movement that is being born as we speak. a movement that is already there: between us. may this year help us to deepen this waking-up process — and to move from being awake to being connected and creative in regenerating our world.