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Transformation Paradigm
Perception—to become aware of, know, or identify by means of the senses
The paradigm we (Face The Music) operate by in our work is that on the basic level, we perceive the world around us through our senses—raw data—photons bouncing off objects, concussive waves travelling through the air, smelling, touching, and also other more subtle channels. Then we process the data mentally and emotionally. We create mental models to interpret the data; to give meaning and inform action. Our mental model is a constructed frame of reference into which the information goes and we interpret and assign meaning to what we perceived.
The construction materials come from our teachers—our fellow humans mostly—who have received their materials in their turn, and created their own constructions. In the mixture the ideas go back and forth and some form of agreement is made, the paradigm is in constant evolution for individuals, groups, tribes, organizations, cultures and societies in a dance of movement, resistance, assumption, disagreement, new ideas, old ones making resurgences, etc.
Our personal mental model is our current best interpretation of what we consider Reality. The nature of perception is that we are compelled to construct this paradigm—an inventory of the combined elements of our worldview that acts as a set of filters and mirrors that determine what enters consciousness. There are each person's personal worldviews, which are in a subset of the family, tribal, cultural, and societal worldviews of the time.
Whatever its current version is, it is still ultimately wrong. Well, "wrong" is perhaps not the best word, but any "model" is a limited representation of the reality that it seeks to represent. I believe that it is useful to have this awareness that can create a detachment where our frame of reference is not doggedly held onto as "what it is", or "The Truth", but as a tool that is constantly under development—we're on version 12.6, and 13.0 is under development...
As children we are taught how to interpret our awareness; first being taught words and their meaning, and then the meaning behind the meaning. We learn that a dog is not merely any 4-legged animal, and that many different things qualify as "food". We learn what a smile means, and later, what it might hide.
Transformation is the evolution or revolution of an operating paradigm to one that is more encompassing of realities not allowed, considered, accounted for, or contained in the previous frame of reference. It generally occurs when we bump up against the limitations of our current frame of reference. Things are happening that we can't explain, or we see that we are consistently re-creating events and situations that we don't like because of the decisions we make.
In organizations it can be when a business goes from successful operations in a marketplace to hard times; not adjusting to changes, and hoping that doing more of what we have done before will bring back the good times. It is a business advantage to have a culture that accepts change as a norm of doing business, and despite all the effort that was put in to create what we have now, we know that we have to reinvent ourselves over and over again over time.
The information that is taken in and the way it is processed and interpreted—the frame of reference that we use—is today's lens, and the mental model and assumptions will be revisited either by intention and design, or by the forces of change in the marketplace and the world at large.
Words Build Worlds Part 1 of 3
Michael Gold, PhD, Jazz Impact
Jazz and Leadership
Language is always at the center of change. Like jazz, words are the notes, conversations the improvisations that invent the future. Words ask the questions and the moment we ask a question, we create a change. Words direct our attention and the focus of our attention creates reality.
There's a word that is creating a lot of uncertainty, confusion and paradox these days.
The word is Leadership. Many of us are unconsciously bound by the notion of the romance of leadership, which causes us to "inaccurately attribute all of an organization's success and failure to its leader, ignoring its legions of followers."* In reality, unilateral leadership has always been a myth. The figurehead may get the credit but it's the real people that make the cars. Mary Follett, one of the pioneers of management science, understood this when she wrote in The Creative Experience (1924!!!) "I can never influence you, because you have already influenced me."
Leadership is a two-sided coin. Robert Kelley, a professor of management and organizational behavior, defined the term "followership" in a 1988 Harvard Business Review article as: "being committed to a purpose, principle or person outside themselves" and being "courageous, honest and credible."
We are living in a world where predictability, stability, and homogeneity are receding into the past very quickly. Structured hierarchy, top down command and control management, status quo thinking and benchmarking the past as the only way to navigate the future is not only antiquated, it is dangerous. Think of it as the difference between these two systems: The symphony orchestra, where everyone plays their written part, not changing or improving anything but replicating the music to the best of their ability while being conducted by one charismatic individual who is also reading every note from a score. In this system, input and output are absolutely constrained. (In 1998, a study was done that seemed to demonstrate prison guards (Yes, prison guards) had greater job satisfaction in their profession than orchestral musicians.)
Now contrast that system with the jazz ensemble, an evolution of the symphony using some of the same instruments, the same language, and the same theoretical rules of design. There is one basic difference. In the jazz ensemble, we ARE expected to change things, to improve things, and to do it in collaboration with each other. In this system the organizing structure has been immensely simplified to allow for individual and collective improvisation. This is a system of the controlled release of ideas as opposed to the absolute constraint of ideas.
No wonder the jazz ensemble was, and is, the crucible that spawned the multibillion-dollar industry of rock and pop music worldwide.
(Continued next month...)
What event, initiative or challenge do you have coming up that Face The Music can add value to?
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