Otto Scharmer (lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and co-founder of the Presencing Institute) wondered about the nature of change and developed Theory U based on his research, together with Peter Senge and Joseph Jaworski.
One of the research questions was: Why do some tools work well in the hands of some change practitioners, while in other cases no significant change occurs?
The answer he found: the quality of results achieved by any system depends on the quality of awareness from which people in the system operate.
If you don’t increase your awareness you are bound to repeat old patterns. Just like the activists who repeat the power patterns from the patriarchs they abdicated – if those activists don’t personally embody the change they wish to see. They use the same repressive methods to create a new hierarchy instead of personally changing to oppress nothing and no one.
How would you respond to a power-prone hierarchy?
If you would accept all thoughts, ideas, and people – how would you respond to a power-prone hierarchy? How could you change it from the inside out? By asking relevant questions? By understanding the current leaders but prodding for a better division of balanced power? By enticing others to think for themselves?
One consultant or leader or co-worker can make change happen because of who he or she is – while the other doesn’t have much impact in spite of using the same techniques and asking the same line of questions.
The difference is your unique presence and your awareness. That’s what leverages energy, engagement, and empowerment. People respond to your presence – and they know instantly whether you are authentic and whether you are to be trusted or looking after your own interests. And whether you are competent and strong enough to lead them – or not.
Making a positive difference isn’t only WHAT you do – it’s HOW you do it, and that depends on WHO you are.
That means it is essential and valid to start with yourself first if you want to contribute to positive change.
Otherwise, you’ll run the risk of repeating the things you want to change and only going through the motions, ticking the boxes of this or that method, but not really influencing the people around you – which means that your small acts may not ripple further.
This is book post # 17 – level: ME
Copyright © Marcella Bremer 2017. All rights reserved.
Leaders, employees, consultants, citizens – everyone can make a positive difference from any position, without needing permission or resources from others. This blog will help you see positive possibilities and (re)claim your positive agency. Unstuck yourself and engage others via your interaction and actions. Transform into a positive organization where people and performance thrive.
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