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Biomimetics for Teams


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The ultimate how-to handbook for businesses of all sizes.

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Biomimetics for Teams

  2. 2. AA JJ OO II NN TT PP UU BB LL II CC AA TT II OO NN OO FF :: GNOSIS BOOKS A NON-PROFIT PUBLISHER NEVADA USA & BOOK HUB PUBLISHINGTM AN INDEPENDENT PUBLISHING HOUSE GALWAY, IRELAND © 2016, LEWIS E. GRAHAM, Ph.D. D.D. All Rights Reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means without the written permission of the author. Published 29 October 2016 by Gnosis BooksSM and Book Hub PublishingTM ISBN-13: 978-0-9981994-0-5 The printed version of this volume is produced on acid-free paper. The eBook versions of this volume initially remain unpublished due to precise display requirements. Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publishers, and the publishers hereby disclaim any responsibility for them. Lyrics from “Under African Skies” on the Paul Simon album Graceland are Copyright © 1986 Paul Simon. Used by permission of the Publisher: Paul Simon Music. ≈ ≈ Printed copies of this book can be ordered worldwide via (®). Also, the author’s website offers complete ordering details—with all proceeds donated to charitable causes. Visit
  4. 4. ABOUT THE AUTHOR’S PREVIOUS BOOKS: THE ACCLAIMED GNOSIS SERIES AND APOTHEOSIS: The First Edition of the GNOSIS series was published in July 2009 as “GNOSIS: The Story of How We Begin To Remember” by Book Hub Publishing and Edge Publishers, LLC. The revised 2nd Edition initially was published in April 2010 as a Kindle eBook on® [“GNOSIS FOR 2012: Weaving Science, Spirituality and New History into the Fabric of Your Future”]. Anonymous feedback from Kindle customers aided the original publishers in releasing a re-formatted print version [ISBN: 978-0-9562801-1-4] to gain even further input from readers and reviewers. Meditation materials that now appear in Volume III were provided by the publishers at no charge to interested readers of the 1st and 2nd Editions. A revised 3rd Edition, entitled “GNOSIS FOR 2012 ONWARD” was next released in April 2012 as a three-part series. The dramatic design shift responded to reviewers’ feedback on enhancing storyline and content clarity. Volume I was subtitled “The Story of How We Begin To Remember” [ISBN: 978-1-935991-52-6], Volume II was subtitled “Weaving Science, Spirituality and Hidden History into the Fabric of Your Future“ [ISBN: 978-1-935991-54-0], and Volume III was subtitled The Ancient Atlantean Meditation [ISBN: 978-1-935991-75-5]. The currently available 4th Edition was updated in deference to ongoing science findings, esoteric reviews, research reports, and –again– readers’ feedback. Voluntary participants in the extraordinary online message board Forum at the Official Graham Hancock website [], which had publicised the 3rd Edition and honoured Dr. Graham as October 2012 Author of the Month, aided greatly via postings and private messages. Most importantly, Volume III in the series provides interested readers with clear specifics and how-to materials on the ancient meditation discussed in Volumes I, II and IV. Volume III is a lower-cost booklet that is available worldwide from any Internet bookseller, bookstore or library. The volume is entitled GNOSIS ONWARD—The Ancient Atlantean Meditation. Its introduction and
  5. 5. Chapters 1-3 succinctly recap Volumes I and II, yet reading those two preceding works is extremely helpful for fully understanding Volume III. All are encouraged to gain relevant context by doing so. There is also a companion, meditation soundtrack called The Ancient Atlantean Meditation. The entire album can be downloaded at low cost ($2.97 / £2.37 / €2,67) from all major MP3 music sites, including iTunes, eMusic, and AmazonMP3. The main purpose of Volumes I-III in this series was to openly broadcast astonishing findings from 4+ decades of meandering, global esoteric research involving visits to most of Earth’s continents. Initially, another aim of the books had been to reassure some frightened readers that our world would survive the Winter Solstice of 2012. And since the planet and humanity did indeed survive, as all editions of the series had clearly foretold, the main goal survived as the key aim of the June 2013 4th Edition of the GNOSIS ONWARD volumes. Later, in December 2013, Volume IV was added due to readers’ many post-2012 queries. That book recounts how –over a period of decades– Dr. Graham’s international business team of multi-talented, multidisciplinary individuals patiently investigated scores of traditional and unorthodox tools for assessing and unleashing human potential. The models and methods ultimately validated were rooted in a fusion of ancient wisdom and modern insights— supported greatly by technology. Years of curious, agenda-free sleuthing yielded a proprietary model of human potential that was based on predictive success rather than professional bias. Indeed, systematic, case-study methods were boosted by real-world testing with regard to Volume IV in particular. However, complete findings were known only to a few scores of business clients. So disseminating largely unknown ideas was therefore a primary aim of the fourth publication in the GNOSIS ONWARD series, whose overarching purpose was simple:
  6. 6. Namely, to openly broadcast astonishing findings from 4+ decades of meandering, global exoteric and esoteric research. In January 2016, Dr. Graham released his 10th non-fiction book APOTHEOSIS: Last Lap in the Human Race – A SPIRITUAL AUTOBIOGRAPHY [ISBN: 978-0- 9932256-7-3]. It is a no-holds-barred back-story of how the acclaimed Gnosis Onward series came to fruition. All eBook suppliers offer each of these unique books. All works: © Copyright Lewis E. Graham, Ph.D., D.D., who asserts the moral right to be identified as their author and creator. Final Cover design by author with generous, skilled editorial and graphics support from IT Professional David Lazarus. Other relevant information appears at: This book was written in UK English to honour the late Alan H. Brooks of England. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of these publications may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photography, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Publishers. The books are sold subject to the condition that they shall not, by way of trade, or otherwise, be lent, resold, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition, including this condition, being imposed on the subsequent purchaser. In closing, all volumes authored by Dr. Graham are published on behalf of the author strictly for non-commercial, educational purposes. All book and music proceeds will be donated in perpetuity for charitable, philanthropic and humanitarian endeavours.
  7. 7. AACCKKNNOOWWLLEEDDGGEEMMEENNTTSS First and foremost, I affirm my wonderful parents, who lived traditional, small- town values — always selfless in their aid to others while deflecting any recognition for a lifetime of compassionate deeds. I likewise express gratitude to my younger brother, Tom, whose 1986 death provided a priceless path reminder. In the same spirit I thank my youngest brother, Harry. His 2014 passing underscored that each lifetime is finite, which catalysed this book as well as several others. And, I also gratefully acknowledge… Serena Kuleana Vit, our immensely talented multilingual teammate for the better part of a decade, who contributed immeasurably to grooming Flow Team Animators as well as the codified wisdom herein, Dr. Martin Gerber whose practical brilliance and curious perseverance were priceless in creating Flow Team Dynamics, Dr. Sally J. Goerner whose fusion of knowledge in animated presentations thrilled business team members, Marina M. Dervan for tireless support and a lively Irish-English style that energised teams and mesmerised corporate clients, Dr. Richard J. Kapash, an uncannily perceptive executive, whom we worked with synergistically in several global companies, and, Notable gratitude to reviewers David Lazarus, Jennifer P. Mitchell, Christopher Hay, Ken Parsons, and Mark Grant. The late Alan H. Brooks of England, whose promising career as a Flow Team Animator was abruptly ended by fatal pancreatic cancer. This book is published in UK English in enduring honour of Alan’s life.
  8. 8. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lewis E. Graham, Ph.D., D.D. was raised in a small, East Coast (USA) town that faced industrial decline due to globalization. As the son of a successful entrepreneur, he was relentlessly curious and achievement-focused—with ardent pro-civil rights beliefs and broad spiritual interests from an early age. He was a natural learner and successful student. He earned a B.S. degree in Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University. He then earned an M.S. from the University of Georgia, where he also was awarded a Ph.D. degree in Clinical Psychology with a co-major in Psychophysiology. This unusual path of study aimed to pursue his interest in the mind-body connection at an early point in scientific focus upon that area of emerging research. It later would become known as psychoneuroimmunology. After graduation, Dr. Graham pursued a three-year postdoctoral training curriculum as a US Public Health Service Fellow and served as an adjunct faculty member at the Stanford University School of Medicine, Department of Medicine. In 1981 he was granted a completion certificate in Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Behavioural (Preventive) Medicine before entering a business career. Having been a marathoner and amateur triathlete at Stanford, he competed in the World Championship Triathlon in Nice, France in 1983. He also undertook community service as a Planning Commissioner and later was elected to the City Council in Brisbane, California, serving one term as Mayor. In the early 1980’s, he founded and managed (for nearly 20 years) a successful international consulting firm with offices in San Francisco, London, Zürich, and Oslo--living primarily in London during the 1990’s to better serve European clients. In 1998, he focused on making a life transition to a path of authentic service, including select charitable giving and esoteric contributions. By 2001, he had succeeded in selling his company’s IP (intellectual property) on a nonexclusive basis to various international buyers. He was therefore free to disclose decades of discoveries. Already, he has published two books that aim to do just this. The first two books were GNOSIS Onward (Volume III): The Ancient Atlantean Meditation and GNOSIS Onward (Volume IV): Seeking A Sage Spiritual Psychology, which is an informed sequel to M. Scott Peck’s 1983 classic: People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil. This Biomimetics volume is the third such work. Starting in 1987, Dr. Graham began a 13-year program of divinity studies. Ultimately he was ordained as a minister by both the Temple of Knowledge and the Huna Heiau, which also awarded him its Doctorate of Divinity degree (D.D.) in 2000 after years of dedicated learning and wide-ranging Gnostic immersion as his work has adapted this term. Dr. Graham’s in-depth exposure to multiple areas of orthodox research has been valuable. He has applied that knowledge in fusions of science and spirituality while integrating findings from his decades of research, travel, inquiry, and sincere seeking to obtain clarity on clues to many puzzling riddles.
  9. 9. “HIS PATH WAS MARKED BY THE STARS IN THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE…. THIS IS THE STORY OF HOW WE BEGIN TO REMEMBER.” -PAUL SIMON (FR O M “UN D E R AF R I C A N SK I E S ” O N T H E GR A C E L A N D A L B U M ) [ C O P Y R I G H T © 1 9 8 6 P A U L S I M O N | U S E D B Y P E R M I S S I O N O F T H E P U B L I S H E R : P A U L S I M O N M U S I C ] “There are two ways of living your life. One is that nothing is a miracle. The other is that everything is.” -ALBERT EINSTEIN (TH E O R E T I C A L PH Y S I C I S T , 1879-1955)
  10. 10. 1 TThhee 1122 FFllooww TTeeaamm DDyynnaammiiccss In/Out Communication Dissipation Transformation Meta-Generation Visioning Fusion Genius Profiling Signal Processing Integration Remote Interaction Awareness/Priorities ?
  11. 11. 2 BIOMIMETICS Table of Contents Flow Team Guidelines—Ideas & How-To’s CCHHAAPPTTEERR PPAAGGEE II EEXXEECCUUTTIIVVEE SSUUMMMMAARRYY OOFF ‘‘FFLLOOWW TTEEAAMM DDYYNNAAMMIICCSS’’ 77 The Rules in the Game of Commerce Have Changed! A brief description of this approach to teambuilding IIII AACCTTUUAALL RREESSUULLTTSS RREEPPOORRTTEEDD BBYY BBUUSSIINNEESSSS CCLLIIEENNTTSS 1155 Real life business results in 2 different industries: Banking and Information Technology (IT) IIIIII BBAACCKKGGRROOUUNNDD OONN FFLLOOWW TTEEAAMM DDYYNNAAMMIICCSS 2255 Information on the scientific bases and process of development of the Flow Dynamics Approach to teambuilding IIVV AA VVIISSUUAALL SSPPEEEEDD IINNPPUUTT:: 5511 The 12 Flow Dynamics as Manifested in 3 Organisational Stages of Functioning VV FFLLOOWW DDYYNNAAMMIICCSS TTEEAAMMBBUUIILLDDIINNGG TTOOOOLLSS 6655 ♦ 88 TTOOOOLLSS FFOORR UUSSIINNGG TTHHEE IINN//OOUUTT FFLLOOWW DDYYNNAAMMIICC:: 6666 Time Out Flip Out Welcoming the Newcomer, Latecomer or Returnee Open Topics List + Square Peg Chart Maintaining Optimal Small Groups (DISSIPATION DYNAMIC) Sit Out The Safe Area
  13. 13. 4 BIOMIMETICS Table of Contents Flow Team Guidelines—Ideas & How-To’s CCHHAAPPTTEERR PPAAGGEE VVIIII DDIISSSSEENNTT FFOORR TTHHEE SSAAKKEE OOFF TTHHEE TTAASSKK:: 113355 PPRROODDUUCCTTIIVVEELLYY && CCRREEAATTIIVVEELLYY RREESSOOLLVVIINNGG CCOONNFFLLIICCTT Defusing Power Struggles 7 STEPS FOR CONFLICT RESOLUTION 1. Agree that you wish to resolve the conflict 2. De-personalise the conflict 3. Have each person describe the conflict or problem as best they can; then seek metaphors or analogies 4. Have each person who is involved participate in creating a group drawing 5. Answer the question: “What effect does this conflict produce?” 6. Create at least three alternative solutions 7. Reach consensus on alternatives, choose one solution for implementation, implement the chosen prototype, and observe its effects VVIIIIII BBAARRRRIIEERRSS TTOO TTEEAAMMWWOORRKK,, ‘‘IISSOOMMOORRPPHHIIEESS’’ AANNDD HHIIGGHH 114455 PPEERRFFOORRMMAANNCCEE WWOORRKK TTEEAAMMSS Common Barriers to Teamwork The Systemic Analogy of Boiling Soup 9 Complex System Isomorphies Features of Flow State Organisations
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  16. 16. 7 CCHHAAPPTTEERR II EEXXEECCUUTTIIVVEE SSUUMMMMAARRYY The Rules in the Game of Commerce Have Changed! A brief description of this unique approach to peak team performance.
  17. 17. FFllooww TTeeaamm DDyynnaammiiccss:: AA SSyysstteemmiicc AApppprrooaacchh TToo PPeeaakk GGrroouupp PPeerrffoorrmmaannccee 8 The rules in the game of commerce have changed! Do you envision your organisation leading the way into the 21st century? Or will you be like raw material for a series of Dilbert comic strips? DDiillbbeerrtt:: How do you measure the I.Q. of a team? WWaallllyy:: Start with 100, and subtract 5 I.Q. points for each member! Flow Team Dynamics is a team approach that provides brilliant-yet-simple tools which are based on biology and the success principles of nature (e.g., “Biomimetics”). These easy ‘how-to’ steps will soon feel natural. In practice, their use will enable you to… 1. Identify and eliminate systemic barriers to success 2. Clarify your group’s vision and achieve business objectives 3. Unleash the collective intelligence of teams to access your most potent resources 4. Cultivate robust self-responsibility in a productive, energised environment Flow Dynamics is a set of tools for unleashing the collective intelligence of a work team. This approach enhances group productivity, innovation and problem-solving via efficient, fun teamwork and extraordinarily high morale. In Flow Team Dynamics, peak performance is realised through applying the success principles of life as derived from complexity studies in systems science. This is often done initially with the support of experienced coaches and later by the work organisation alone in a self-sufficient manner.
  18. 18. FFllooww TTeeaamm DDyynnaammiiccss:: AA SSyysstteemmiicc AApppprrooaacchh TToo PPeeaakk GGrroouupp PPeerrffoorrmmaannccee 9 Flow Dynamics Teambuilding is different from anything you’ve experienced before; it is an immensely practical approach. During your Flow Teambuilding launch, you will learn the how-to’s. Using simple, effective tools and thinking models. Moving away from the psychological and organisational development methods of the past. Experience is key to learning Flow. It is difficult to describe the process in words. The following table summarises how this unique approach differs from teambuilding-as-usual. It lists nine characteristics that differentiate this approach from others.
  19. 19. FFllooww TTeeaamm DDyynnaammiiccss:: AA SSyysstteemmiicc AApppprrooaacchh TToo PPeeaakk GGrroouupp PPeerrffoorrmmaannccee 10 99 KKEEYY FFEEAATTUURREESS DDIISSTTIINNGGUUIISSHH FFLLOOWW TTEEAAMM DDYYNNAAMMIICCSS FFRROOMM CCOOMMMMOONN TTEEAAMMWWOORRKK OORR TTEEAAMMBBUUIILLDDIINNGG MMEETTHHOODDSS:: 1. Teams focus on their real business problems—rather than upon hypothetical examples or case studies. 2. Teams learn practical methods for meeting their challenges and conducting business more efficiently and productively. These ‘prototype’ methods can be implemented upon return to the workplace and then progressively improved. 3. Teams use parallel processing to accomplish a great deal of work in a short period of time while using speed presentation techniques to quickly share information and allow everyone else to be informed and have input. 4. Thanks to #3, FLOW TEAM DYNAMICS can empower large groups quite productively. Three-day sessions often have been done with groups ranging from 70 people to 120. Still, it is suggested to keep the initial group size to 25-50 participants when this is practical. 5. Enhanced team morale comes from success, rather than the other way around. That is, improved morale is a by-product of a team becoming more effective, open and productive in confronting its challenges.
  20. 20. FFllooww TTeeaamm DDyynnaammiiccss:: AA SSyysstteemmiicc AApppprrooaacchh TToo PPeeaakk GGrroouupp PPeerrffoorrmmaannccee 11 6. FLOW TEAM DYNAMICS disregard emotional or psychological issues. Rather, teams learn how to identify and act upon leverage areas in their own business and markets. This means focusing on practical steps toward success. 7. FLOW uses metaphors from biology and physics, and applies systems science in a comprehensible way. Although theoretical mathematics is the common language of complexity scientists, FLOW illustrates principles of life with intuitively clear examples from everyday life. These examples promote creative, innovative ways of thinking about common problems. 8. FLOW TEAM ANIMATORS (group coaches) illustrate and make sense of the 9 common barriers to teamwork (see figure above). Many of which come from the counterproductive effects of commonly accepted business practices. ANIMATORS then show teams how to identify and reduce these barriers. 9. The FLOW techniques provide ’how-to’ steps that are useful for virtually any group activity: From meetings to decision-making, from conflict resolution to customer satisfaction, from internal reorganization to market shifts, from competitive pressure to the challenges of change. This results in teams becoming increasingly able to resolve the core, underlying causes of problems rather than simply addressing superficial symptoms.
  21. 21. FFllooww TTeeaamm DDyynnaammiiccss:: AA SSyysstteemmiicc AApppprrooaacchh TToo PPeeaakk GGrroouupp PPeerrffoorrmmaannccee 12 MMOOSSTT FFLLOOWW TTEEAAMM PPRROOGGRRAAMMMMEESS HHAAVVEE 33 BBAASSIICC PPRROOCCEESSSS SSTTEEPPSS:: I. An initial group presentation to communicate the approach and spell out features of the programme. This allows everyone to hear the overview in the same place and at the same time—with any questions asked and answered for all. II. Confidential, individual interviews with all participants (& other key people) so that ANIMATORS (i.e., group facilitators) can better understand team issues. This also allows them to gain perspective on team barriers and understand special business challenges. By doing so, they can customise the approach to bring the greatest gains in the shortest time. (By using two teams of interviewers, it is easy to speak individually with up to 15 people per day for an hour each. This means meeting with 75 people in a single week.) III. A 3-day (or 2.5-day) Flow Teambuilding launch. This is usually held in an off-site location, often with over-night lodging for all who wish to remain on-site. In this launch, the team focuses on three primary areas: Acquiring new ways of thinking, reducing barriers to teamwork, and learning brilliant-yet-simple tools that are applied to solving real business challenges in the session itself. This eliminates the ‘transfer problem’ in teambuilding: With FLOW TEAM DYNAMICS, ‘great meetings’ produce rapid changes in the work place and sustained high morale. Because FLOW TEAM DYNAMICS are based on the success principles that underlie life as well as the universe itself, they work for every business and in every industry. Flow has succeeded with a wide range of companies in industries ranging from health care to high technology … from financial services to manufacturing … from the service sector to public utilities.
  22. 22. FFllooww TTeeaamm DDyynnaammiiccss:: AA SSyysstteemmiicc AApppprrooaacchh TToo PPeeaakk GGrroouupp PPeerrffoorrmmaannccee 13 All have had stunning successes. Allow the Biomimetics-based insights of FLOW TEAM DYNAMICS to navigate you toward extraordinary leadership. Ensuring that your company’s rate of positive, internal change consistently exceeds the rate of change in your overall marketplace. You will work with current business issues and respond to your own unique challenges as you experience the unfolding of a remarkable system. Accept the challenge. FLOW TEAM DYNAMICS will support your organisation in having fun while being: ♦♦ Dynamic, creative, innovative, productive and efficient ♦♦ Able to use leverage areas that propel you forward ♦♦ Energised, with a common vision and clear business goals ♦♦ Consistently in the top tier of your marketplace This book is your secret to success. FLOW TEAM DYNAMICS are introduced herein and explained for proactive teams at every level of your organisation. This volume was written to be used at first in dedicated sessions with Flow Animators—who can be internal leaders or external conultants. This printed copy –particularly Chapter 5– is then returned by each group member to daily work life to serve as a Manual for high-performance teamwork. TTHHEE FFOOLLLLOOWWIINNGG RREESSUULLTTSS AARREE AACCTTUUAALL DDAATTAA CCOOLLLLEECCTTEEDD AANNDD RREEPPOORRTTEEDD BBYY BBUUSSIINNEESSSS CCLLIIEENNTTSS TTHHEEMMSSEELLVVEESS.. TTHHEEYY SSHHOOWW TTHHEE TTYYPPEE OOFF BBUUSSIINNEESSSS BBEENNEEFFIITTSS TTHHAATT FFLLOOWW TTEEAAMM DDYYNNAAMMIICCSS CCOONNSSIISSTTEENNTTLLYY BBRRIINNGGSS……
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  24. 24. 15 Ch CCHHAAPPTTEERR IIII CCLLIIEENNTTSS’’ AACCTTUUAALL RREESSUULLTTSS Real life business effects in 2 different industries. ““YYoouu ccaann oobbsseerrvvee aa lloott jjuusstt bbyy wwaattcchhiinngg..““ —Yogi Berra
  25. 25. RREESSUULLTTSS II:: FFLLOOWW TTEEAAMMBBUUIILLDDIINNGG AANNDD TTEEAAMM PPEERRFFOORRMMAANNCCEE The Software Development Group in a Global Bank 16 BBEEFFOORREE AANNDD AAFFTTEERR:: 1-Year Flow Dynamics Teambuilding Project Comprising A 3-Day Launch and 7 Follow-On Days (AS MEASURED BY THE TEAM ITSELF, ITS MANAGERS AND THE OVERSEEING EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR) CCRRIITTEERRIIAA BBEEFFOORREE TTEEAAMMBBUUIILLDDIINNGG AAFFTTEERR FFLLOOWW TTEEAAMMBBUUIILLDDIINNGG On-time performance With product deliverables 50% due dates altered 70% of product releases late 100% on-time deliverables 0% delayed or postponed Loss of time due to conflicts within the software team 20% of working time 10% of working time (and still decreasing) Loss of time because we didn't exchange our knowledge or provide support 1/2 day per week per person Sometimes 1-2 hours per week, but no more Production of "waste" – programs because of poor internal communication "We throw away whole program sequences." Waste=40% of working time. "We throw away only parts." Waste=20% of working time and is moving toward zero (but it is probably impossible to avoid waste entirely in the production of software ) Performance per person 100% 200% (doubled) Expenses for user- training 100% 50%
  26. 26. RREESSUULLTTSS II:: FFLLOOWW TTEEAAMMBBUUIILLDDIINNGG AANNDD TTEEAAMM PPEERRFFOORRMMAANNCCEE The Software Development Group in a Global Bank 17 Expenses for user- support after software introductions 100% 50% Degree of perfection reported by product users (based on customer ratings of utility and user- friendliness of software products produced by the team) 40% 90% (no plans to go higher) 1. "We know now what our users really need." 2. "Our products are self- teaching." 3. "Our users have fewer conflicts with their bosses." Total Team Payroll 100% 105% Distribution of bonuses Equal compensation Based on contribution to the team (as judged by the team) Recruitment expenses for replacing highly qualified people who had left 100% 0% (No personnel turnover) Employee Turnover (Loss of Experienced Software Engineers and Trainers) High turnover (as is typical in this industry…there are more jobs than software engineers and programmers) - An active, planned rotation program to improve quality - Internal people are now on a waiting list to join this high performance work team
  27. 27. RREESSUULLTTSS IIII:: FFLLOOWW DDYYNNAAMMIICCSS AANNDD TTEEAAMM PPEERRFFOORRMMAANNCCEE Company-Produced Description of Customer Groups Within a Multi- Country Geographical Region of a Global High-Technology Firm 18 BBEEFFOORREE AANNDD AAFFTTEERR:: A brief Flow Teambuilding intervention was requested for a multi-country Customer Services (CS) Division of a European global information technology company. This programme occurred during a period of profound market changes. For example, the CS customer base was fragmenting from a few large customers toward a far greater number of smaller ones. There was increasing competition, pressure on profit margins and the share price was falling. Historically, this customer services group had contributed disproportionately to company profitability. By doing so, it had supported corporate investments in starting up new divisions, in developing new products, and in pioneering new distribution systems. FLOW ANIMATORS worked with the CS teams during a year of fierce cost-cutting. There was therefore a relentless emphasis on using FLOW only to achieve ‘bottom-line’ business results in the shortest period of time. Within one year, CS had become the company’s most profitable division. Although the business results became clear and obvious over time, the HR department had initial concerns over the non-traditional focus in FLOW DYNAMICS Teambuilding. Accordingly, several HR professionals conducted an ongoing climate survey with the CS group. This was done in an effort to monitor whether the task-related emphasis of FLOW DYNAMICS would have a negative effect on work climate. It was feared that if people focussed too much on achieving success, they might fail to focus on sound principles of human relations and this could undermine successful teamwork. HR professionals within the company itself for internal uses produced these following paragraphs. Management gave permission to reproduce them
  28. 28. RREESSUULLTTSS IIII:: FFLLOOWW DDYYNNAAMMIICCSS AANNDD TTEEAAMM PPEERRFFOORRMMAANNCCEE Company-Produced Description of Customer Groups Within a Multi- Country Geographical Region of a Global High-Technology Firm 19 without identifying the company in writing and without disclosing some of the innovative business strategies the teams themselves developed. Hence, the material below is quoted directly and verbatim from the management report FLOW in improving work climate while boosting business success: ______________________________________________________________________ (AN INTERNAL MANAGEMENT REPORT) “FLOW DYNAMICS: THE EFFECT ON WORK CLIMATE IN CUSTOMER SERVICES” Two approaches were used to assess changes in working environment after the initial Flow Dynamics Teambuilding launch: 1. Firstly, a questionnaire designed to obtain feedback on various aspects of the team environment was administered. 2. And, secondly, individual qualitative input was requested. Feedback from the teams, as detailed below, can only be described as remarkable! Flow Dynamics Teambuilding appears to have dramatically improved several key aspects of the group’s working environment, and the results of this are much higher levels of productivity, effectiveness and creativity. I. QUESTIONNAIRE FEEDBACK: Nine (9) aspects of the management teams' working environment were targeted by the questionnaire, with shifts of 10 points viewed as significant. The nine aspects of team and organisational climate that are measured by this instrument are listed below:
  29. 29. RREESSUULLTTSS IIII:: FFLLOOWW DDYYNNAAMMIICCSS AANNDD TTEEAAMM PPEERRFFOORRMMAANNCCEE Company-Produced Description of Customer Groups Within a Multi- Country Geographical Region of a Global High-Technology Firm 20 1) CHALLENGE / INVOLVEMENT: The degree to which team members are involved in daily operations and long-term goals. 2) FREEDOM: The independence in behaviour exerted by the people in the teams. 3) TRUST / OPENNESS: The emotional safety in relationships. 4) IDEAS TIME: The amount of time people can use (and do use) for elaborating new ideas. 5) PLAYFULNESS / HUMOUR: The spontaneity and ease displayed in the workplace. 6) CONFLICTS: The presence of personal and emotional tensions in the team. 7) IDEA SUPPORT: The way new ideas are treated. 8) DEBATES: The occurrence of positive, productive encounters and disagreements between viewpoints, ideas, and differing experiences and knowledge. 9) RISK-TAKING: The tolerance of uncertainty and ambiguity exposed in the workplace. ASPECT OF WORK SCORE BEFORE SCORE AFTER ENVIRONMENT FLOW FLOW CHANGE 1) Challenge and Involvement 140 s 237 +97 = +69% 2) Freedom 133 201 +68 = +51% 3) Trust/Openness 122 132 +10 = +07% 4) Idea Time 75 163 +88 = +117% 5) Playfulness/Humour 123 219 +96 = +78% 6) Conflicts 178 105 - 73 = -41%
  30. 30. RREESSUULLTTSS IIII:: FFLLOOWW DDYYNNAAMMIICCSS AANNDD TTEEAAMM PPEERRFFOORRMMAANNCCEE Company-Produced Description of Customer Groups Within a Multi- Country Geographical Region of a Global High-Technology Firm 21 7) Idea Support 102 220 +118 = +115% 8) Debates 130 227 +97 = +74% 9) Risk-Taking 100 192 +92 = +92% This synopsis of the teams' responses to Flow Dynamics Teambuilding on their working environment was dramatic, while the area that improved least was that of ‘Trust and Openness’. In practice, trust and openness take time to build and continued positive shifts were found when the working environment was re-evaluated. However, the overall average was greatly affected by the lack of change in a single team (which reduced the overall averages). So, this feature identified as a team issue in follow-up sessions.
  31. 31. RREESSUULLTTSS IIII:: FFLLOOWW DDYYNNAAMMIICCSS AANNDD TTEEAAMM PPEERRFFOORRMMAANNCCEE Company-Produced Description of Customer Groups Within a Multi- Country Geographical Region of a Global High-Technology Firm 22 II. INDIVIDUAL QUALITATIVE INPUT: The teams also were asked to give brief written input in response to the open-ended question: "What benefits have you seen as a result of the Flow Team training?" Typical examples of the teams’ actual feedback have been grouped under four conceptual headings. Quotation marks were omitted because all the comments were verbatim written responses (except for substituting corrected word spellings): 1. ENERGETIC TEAMWORK: - Greater Teamwork - Co-operation that has impact on the business - The team seems to feel more empowered - Team approach - An acceptance of a non-rigid, non-hierarchical, non-judgmental, open, exciting, energetic team - It has turned everyone on to learning, and creative energy, resulting in improved performance. - Working in dynamic cross functional teams - Produced mega improvements in Team work - A healthier environment for team working - less traditional rules apply - A "can do" attitude - High energy in all team members - A sense of community around all the customer services teams. - A high sense of personal resource and responsibility 2. BENEFITS FROM USING FLOW TEAM DYNAMICS CONCEPTS AND TOOLS: - Learnt some new techniques & tools - Better, more productive meetings - Focused meetings - Our teams seem to work
  32. 32. RREESSUULLTTSS IIII:: FFLLOOWW DDYYNNAAMMIICCSS AANNDD TTEEAAMM PPEERRFFOORRMMAANNCCEE Company-Produced Description of Customer Groups Within a Multi- Country Geographical Region of a Global High-Technology Firm 23 - Flow team working has presented us with the opportunity to harness creative talents to solving issues. The challenge to prioritise activities remains. - Developed a prototyping mentality - Plan meetings to focus on output - De-personalise topics in discussions - Changing from linear to systemic thinking 3. PRODUCTIVITY, SPEED AND ENERGY: - Increased output from group (more energy, & enthusiasm) - Improved productivity - We come to a conclusion very quickly (work is nicer) - Productive open meetings - Dramatic increase in team productivity - Improved rate of output - Quantum leap in terms of moving initiatives forward - Increased energy flow in the teams - Increased level of output and faster - Faster solutions for Customers - (Greater) Speed and getting things moving 4. TRUST AND SHARING OF IDEAS: - More sharing of ideas - Better thought out ideas - Greater openness and trust - Openness! - Able to resolve conflict - Increased trust - Trust demonstrated - Trust and openness - Understand more about the people in the groups involved - Obtaining commitment without everyone wanting it in their words.
  33. 33. RREESSUULLTTSS IIII:: FFLLOOWW DDYYNNAAMMIICCSS AANNDD TTEEAAMM PPEERRFFOORRMMAANNCCEE Company-Produced Description of Customer Groups Within a Multi- Country Geographical Region of a Global High-Technology Firm 24 In closing, this feedback about the impact of Flow Dynamics Teambuilding was collected from several operations management teams in customer services. At the time of the initial survey, the teams had experienced a 3-day Flow launch, but only one team had experienced a one-day follow-up session. Three more one-day follow-up sessions, separated at 2-3 month intervals took place. These results show the very positive impact that Flow Dynamics Teambuilding had. Several key business improvement projects were devised and moved ahead at rates far faster than had been the case in the past. Teams in other parts of the business also engaged in the pre-launch and launch stages of Flow Teambuilding and the results were equally positive.
  34. 34. 25 Ch CCHHAAPPTTEERR IIIIII BBAACCKKGGRROOUUNNDD OONN FFLLOOWW TTEEAAMM DDYYNNAAMMIICCSS Information on the scientific bases and applied research process in developing the Flow Dynamics Approach to teambuilding ""IIff II hhaavvee sseeeenn ffuurrtthheerr,, iitt iiss bbyy ssttaannddiinngg oonn tthhee sshhoouullddeerrss ooff ggiiaannttss.."" ——SSiirr IIssaaaacc NNeewwttoonn
  35. 35. BBAACCKKGGRROOUUNNDD OONN ‘‘BBIIOOMMIIMMEETTIICCSS’’ ((OORR ‘‘AAPPPPLLIIEEDD SSYYSSTTEEMMIICCSS’’)) IINN TTEEAAMMBBUUIILLDDIINNGG 26 A FEW WORDS ABOUT THIS APPROACH. The foremost aim in Flow Team Dynamics is on rapidly boosting business performance of work groups in an abbreviated way. Speed in doing so is valued. And simplicity is sought. Such an approach was tested and proven in decades of working intensively with hundreds of companies in more than a dozen countries. This allowed “Applied Systemics” –later called “Biomimetics”– to be steadily refined to deliver maximum value in the shortest possible time period. There are several insights behind the resulting techniques for rapid teambuilding with business organisations. In particular, all such programmes assume several unusual ideas: 1. First, that each individual in the team is travelling an evolutionary path. That each person is seeking to learn and searching for meaning in life, which can guide one through the maze of choices. 2. Second, that the team itself is the expert on its challenges, and that each individual has unique contributions to make in meeting these. 3. Third, that the team is evolving in an unpredictable manner which has many opportunities for sudden transformation (and radical new solutions). 4. Fourth, that these leaps are more likely to occur through co-operation between people in a fashion that respects choice and self-organisation more than traditional hierarchical management. 5. And, fifth, that teams can progress forward in a group evolutionary journey whose potential may not be obvious in advance to the intellectual mind. ≈ ≈
  36. 36. BBAACCKKGGRROOUUNNDD OONN ‘‘BBIIOOMMIIMMEETTIICCSS’’ ((OORR ‘‘AAPPPPLLIIEEDD SSYYSSTTEEMMIICCSS’’)) IINN TTEEAAMMBBUUIILLDDIINNGG 27 TEAMBUILDING AND SYSTEMS SCIENCE. There were three revolutionary scientific advances during the 20th Century. To wit: Quantum Mechanics, Relativity, and Systems Science. The first two have had virtually no relevance for everyday life. Quantum mechanics concerns itself with things (such as atomic particles & sub-particles) that are unimaginably small. By contrast, relativity concerns itself with things that are extremely large or moving very fast (such as stars or galaxies or the speed of light). Only systems science has shown itself to have practical value at the human scale of daily activities. As the name implies, this branch of science has concerned itself with the study of ‘systems.’ A system is an interdependent collection of elements that interact with each other to function as a dynamic whole. Together the elements inter- relate in dramatic patterns that are not apparent when the elements are studied individually or are removed from the overall context of the system. Systemic thinking leads to a holistic perspective that can allow one to develop a clear view of a dynamic system, such as a marketplace, without having all the details of every subject. This way of thinking gives fundamentally different perspectives and offers deeper insights that can be translated directly to commercial enterprises and their strategies. It thereby allows business teams to tackle large challenges with a set of thinking tools that leverage their knowledge and experience. In this regard, this Biomimetics or “Applied Systemics” approach to teambuilding was developed from various sources, including the work of the International Society for Systems Science (ISSS)—an august body of individuals from many diverse fields. Until the 1970s, science had become progressively specialised to the point that even scientists in the same discipline could not communicate clearly with each other if they worked in different sub-speciality areas.
  37. 37. BBAACCKKGGRROOUUNNDD OONN ‘‘BBIIOOMMIIMMEETTIICCSS’’ ((OORR ‘‘AAPPPPLLIIEEDD SSYYSSTTEEMMIICCSS’’)) IINN TTEEAAMMBBUUIILLDDIINNGG 28 But a pioneering “chaos theory” paper appeared in 1963 by an MIT mathematician and meteorologist called Edward Norton Lorenz (1917-2008). And it became increasingly clear that the same activity patterns were being observed in virtually every area of science. ISSS is the best known of the worldwide organisations that were formed to accumulate and distribute information regarding advances in this emerging body of knowledge. 1 The rise of systems science has produced a diverse stream of insights over the period since 1970. Applied Systemics’ success in translating the insights of systems science to business and organisational issues also owes special thanks to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Sally Goerner, Linda Ackerman, Elaine Smith and Martin Gerber. All were trained scientists who applied their energies toward identifying the secrets of successful business organisations and rapidly enhancing teamwork. A BRIEF REVIEW OF SYSTEMS SCIENCE. Dr. Sally Goerner is an evolutionary theorist and biodynamicist whose writings demystified much of the arcane world of systems science. (A world that still is fully understood by only a handful of theoretical mathematicians alive today….) In particular, Dr. Goerner showed how systems science is vital for understanding the increasing inter-dependency of our lives in a global economy. And she freely shared invaluable insights and information during the development of this intellectual property. A brief précis would include the 1 From Wikipedia: “The society initiated in 1954 as Society for the Advancement of General Systems Theory started in 1955/56 as Society for General Systems Research, and became the first interdisciplinary and international co-operations in the field of systems theory and systems science. In 1988 it was renamed to the International Society for the Systems Sciences.”
  38. 38. BBAACCKKGGRROOUUNNDD OONN ‘‘BBIIOOMMIIMMEETTIICCSS’’ ((OORR ‘‘AAPPPPLLIIEEDD SSYYSSTTEEMMIICCSS’’)) IINN TTEEAAMMBBUUIILLDDIINNGG 29 fact that systems scientists have identified and studied three perspectives for studying systems in the natural world. A simple system is one in which cause and effect are closely and linearly related in time and space and also one in which only a few factors are assumed to be operating. A batted ball that flies through the air until it strikes and breaks a glass windowpane is an example of a simple system phenomenon. An observer would confidently conclude that the fracturing and shattering of the flat glass surface was caused by the ball's impact. Straightforward observations usually can confirm the key cause-effect relationships between elements viewed from a simple systems perspective. Furthermore, simple system behaviour is generally predictable. In our analogue above, if a hard ball is travelling fast enough and the windowpane it strikes is composed of breakable glass, the pane is likely to shatter. It would therefore be easy to determine what object or force broke the glass. Hence, blame seems to be a cinch. Complicated systems, by contrast, are ones in which a greater number of variables is assumed to be operating and in which cause and effect are more distantly related (but still linearly connected) in time and space. 'Complicated systems' share an essential feature with simple systems. Namely, that known changes in system variables or inputs lead to predictable changes in system behaviour or outputs. A car engine provides a good example of this principle in complicated systems.
  39. 39. BBAACCKKGGRROOUUNNDD OONN ‘‘BBIIOOMMIIMMEETTIICCSS’’ ((OORR ‘‘AAPPPPLLIIEEDD SSYYSSTTEEMMIICCSS’’)) IINN TTEEAAMMBBUUIILLDDIINNGG 30 If one had access to all relevant information on sizes, construction and assembly of an automobile engine's components, one could use a detailed mathematical equation to predict the precise horsepower output. If known changes were to be made to the sizes or assembly of various parts, the specific change in horsepower output could be accurately predicted through applying the same formula. Unfortunately, though, our understanding of machines and complicated sys- tems has led to a type of linear thinking that has confused machine behaviour with human behaviour. This is apparent in some of the metaphors that can be gleaned from many current business writings (e.g., a CEO who is sometimes avoided due to being known for “blowing off steam”). Such mental habits are an impediment to achieving the most creative, productive thinking with challenges that involve people and business issues. Complex systems represent the third major way of viewing the world around us. These systems are a collection of parts that interact with each other to function as a dynamic whole and in which cause and effect cannot be linearly connected across time and space. A virtually infinite number of variables is assumed to be operating in such systems although some are more influential than others. Now, in truth, every natural system is a complex one. The ‘simple’ and ‘complicated’ labels are merely shorthand terms for the filters that are used to reduce complex systems to the point that they can be studied efficiently. For example, when one asks what caused the glass to break in our first example above, the answer is ‘the ball.’ This is a ‘simple system perspective.’ Or, when one asks at what speed a ball of a specified size and hardness needs to travel and at what trajectory it must strike the glass in order to break it, this is a ‘complicated system perspective.’
  40. 40. BBAACCKKGGRROOUUNNDD OONN ‘‘BBIIOOMMIIMMEETTIICCSS’’ ((OORR ‘‘AAPPPPLLIIEEDD SSYYSSTTEEMMIICCSS’’)) IINN TTEEAAMMBBUUIILLDDIINNGG 31 Instead, if one were to ask how the glass shattered and where the pieces of glass fell, this would be a ‘complex system’ view in that the result is not precisely calculable in advance even if one knew all the relevant information.2 Within complex, non-linear systems, precise knowledge of starting conditions simply does not allow one to predict subsequent conditions with certainty. Known changes in inputs do not lead to stable changes in outputs—even if one had all possible information. As a result, an accurate view of complex systems initially may seem to be overwhelming. However, they do operate in everyday life according to principles that can be discovered but which simply do not permit one to make precise predictions about the consequences of changes that are introduced. In fact, accurately anticipating their future performance is most challenging when one thinks from a linear (simple or complicated system) perspective. Systemic thinking is an antidote for linear thinking. It is a set of tools for making more useful predictions about situations that matter. What complex systems might these be? For example, the global climate is a planet-wide, complex system. The world economy is a complex system with many elements, including financial markets, trading exchanges, banking systems, and industrial markets. Likewise, an individual human being is a complex system of physical, mental, emotional factors, and other unknown factors. Beyond this, groups of people —such as work teams and organisations— are complex systems in which each individual person or element is itself a complex system…. Although their threads are interwoven throughout our everyday lives, mastering the multiple nuances of inter-dependent systems will always elude 2 This is precisely the view espoused by this author in fathoming debris patterns throughout our solar system in Gnosis Onward (Volume I): The Story of How We Begin to Remember.
  41. 41. BBAACCKKGGRROOUUNNDD OONN ‘‘BBIIOOMMIIMMEETTIICCSS’’ ((OORR ‘‘AAPPPPLLIIEEDD SSYYSSTTEEMMIICCSS’’)) IINN TTEEAAMMBBUUIILLDDIINNGG 32 us. Applying systemic thinking principles is therefore useful for understanding and assisting people and their collective activities. In particular, systemic thinking recognises that when energy is directed toward key 'leverage' points, large changes in system behaviour can occur. For example, it has been mathematically demonstrated that a butterfly's wings flapping at the right time and in the right place in Mexico could produce a hurricane in the Caribbean.3 Nevertheless, no one knows how many such storms actually begin this way—although we do know that they are the result of self-reinforcing, auto-catalysing feedback loops. A converse principle in systemic thinking is that much energy can be directed into 'non-leverage' areas and system performance will not change very much at all. In fact, it can be exasperatingly true that system performance becomes even more strongly homeostatic in response to energy directed toward changing it. One example is the tendency of businesses to re-organise repeatedly as a tactic for solving complex political, product, process, co-ordination, distribution, leadership, or market problems. Each reorganisation solves some problems initially but then creates a situation in which yesterday’s solutions produce tomorrow’s problems. This irony has provided the raw material for a great many ‘Dilbert’ comic strips. However, the most astonishing aspect of living (or ‘complex adaptive’) systems is their inherent feature of self-organisation during times of turbulence. In fact, Ilya Prigogine has demonstrated that periodic instability –and apparent degeneration– in complex systems are actually part of a self-organising process that reliably can produce spontaneous evolutionary progression. (Prigogine is a renowned theoretical chemist who won the Nobel Prize in 1977 for this discovery of “dissipative structures.”) 3 Edward N. Lorenz coined the phrase “butterfly effect” in 1969.
  42. 42. BBAACCKKGGRROOUUNNDD OONN ‘‘BBIIOOMMIIMMEETTIICCSS’’ ((OORR ‘‘AAPPPPLLIIEEDD SSYYSSTTEEMMIICCSS’’)) IINN TTEEAAMMBBUUIILLDDIINNGG 33 The principle of dis-continuous shifts (or bifurcations) following periods of dissipation (or chaos) is illustrated in Figure 2. Systemic thinking recognises this potential for higher level functioning to arise from periods of turbulence is as true for business teams as it is true for any other complex system. This means that times of ‘chaos’ can be useful in making businesses more competitive rather than threatening to their survival. LINDA ACKERMAN'S VIEW OF ORGANISATIONS. One key to understanding the culture of commercial organisations can be credited to Dr. Linda Ackerman. She discovered that organisations function on a gradient that ranges from what can be called the Fear State through the Organised State to the Flow State. Fear State organisations are ones that tend to use simple system thinking to understand business issues and solve problems. They may seem to operate efficiently but they are usually politicised and lacking in creativity. They are teams or entire companies in which management tells people what to do and what not to do. Leaders usually are authoritarian in style and politics are often cantered around a powerful leader or leadership group. Fear State organisations can achieve business successes despite the fact that morale is usually low.
  43. 43. BBAACCKKGGRROOUUNNDD OONN ‘‘BBIIOOMMIIMMEETTIICCSS’’ ((OORR ‘‘AAPPPPLLIIEEDD SSYYSSTTEEMMIICCSS’’)) IINN TTEEAAMMBBUUIILLDDIINNGG 34 Some common features of Fear State organisations are listed in Figure 3. This image summarises typical patterns. Every such group has its own unique features within a fear- based context that ‘colours’ the overall culture with distinct characteristics. The next stage of organisational evolution is called the Organised State. Companies that function in the ‘organised’ stage tend to use complicated system thinking to understand business issues and solve problems. They strive to be efficient and orderly, they allocate resources clearly, and they develop effective internal controls. Their use of functional divisions, clear decision-making hierarchies, centralised resource allocation, and economies of scale produce many benefits. Of course, many benefits accrue from functional divisions, clear decision- making hierarchies, centralised resource allocation, and economies of scale. For example, business processes can be easily graphed, group responsibilities can be precisely allocated, and –for individuals– job accountabilities and the freedom-to-act can be crisply stated. Indeed, to the extent that internal operational clarity is the key factor that is rewarded by markets, these organisations will enjoy many competitive advantages.
  44. 44. BBAACCKKGGRROOUUNNDD OONN ‘‘BBIIOOMMIIMMEETTIICCSS’’ ((OORR ‘‘AAPPPPLLIIEEDD SSYYSSTTEEMMIICCSS’’)) IINN TTEEAAMMBBUUIILLDDIINNGG 35 SSttaaggeess ooff OOrrggaanniissaattiioonnaall FFuunnccttiioonniinngg Organised State Managed group activities. Control of business by functions. Performance standards objectified. Efficient, orderly teamwork. Figure 4 In the past, the organisational activities in such companies have been held up as benchmarks for emulation. Their initial formulation came from principles of scientific management developed in the 1940s—‘objective’ guidelines for operating the mechanisms of commerce through efficient, rational internal organisation, as discussed in a later chapter. By the mid-1970s, the typical business school curriculum referenced such organised- state, ‘multi-national’ companies as models for commercial success. Academics studied their commercial practices in depth. Such organisations provided examples of sound management principles, useful case studies, and evidence of how to do things ‘right’ in the modern world.
  45. 45. BBAACCKKGGRROOUUNNDD OONN ‘‘BBIIOOMMIIMMEETTIICCSS’’ ((OORR ‘‘AAPPPPLLIIEEDD SSYYSSTTEEMMIICCSS’’)) IINN TTEEAAMMBBUUIILLDDIINNGG 36 However clear the thinking of the 1970s might have seemed at the time, it lacked insight into the hidden assumptions of the organised-state paradigm. For in the span of 50 years since World War II, the vertically-managed model of large business organisation rose to its zenith only to suffer a rapid decline. It is true that after World War II, when much of the world economy was rebuilding, companies that acted on organised-state principles were quite successful. Yet it was this very absence of global competition that facilitated their success which, in turn, gradually produced a world in which the rules of the game subtly changed. Beginning in the 1970s, multi-national companies found themselves forced to adjust to the new rules of success if they wished to survive. This occurred with the growth of the world economy and the advent of international competition. Indeed, organised-state companies were managed in ways analogous to the centrally planned economies of the former Soviet Union and Eastern European countries. The very processes that had once facilitated their success also served as a brake on their ability to respond quickly to changing market conditions. These effects, even with ‘proper’ organisational structure, were harmful to the long-term health of companies operating in competitive business environments. Those who did not adapt faced the prospect of being obliterated in their markets, often by companies with an obsession for smallness, nimbleness and teamwork by (1) those who unleashed the collective intelligence of their human resources and (2) those who used speed and innovation as competitive weapons. These companies showed what Ackerman called Flow-State organisation. In the Flow State, companies tend to use complex system thinking to understand business issues and solve problems. Their work groups self-organise around
  46. 46. BBAACCKKGGRROOUUNNDD OONN ‘‘BBIIOOMMIIMMEETTIICCSS’’ ((OORR ‘‘AAPPPPLLIIEEDD SSYYSSTTEEMMIICCSS’’)) IINN TTEEAAMMBBUUIILLDDIINNGG 37 processes, operate with enhanced creativity and genius, are nimbly responsive, and achieve high performance. They also tend to have fun as they become progressively better at innovating and outpacing their competition. Their rate of change ‘inside’ is usually faster than the rate ‘outside’—first apparent in industries in which there was world-wide production over- capacity. Among the first to suffer were traditional industrial sectors producing goods such as automobiles and steel. Today evidence of the fact of ever-fiercer global competition can be found in every business sector. These range from the low-tech production of spectacle lenses to the high-tech world of semiconductor-based products and aerospace. Yet, despite the rise of Internet companies like Google and Facebook while Western manufacturing has slumped in the face of China’s growing clout, the world economy suffers from severe “VUCA” (viz,, volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity”; ). As the economy has globalised during our age of semiconductor marvels, the same increases in speed and international activity have also transformed the capital markets and financially-based businesses. For decades more than one billion US dollars a day has moved in the foreign exchange markets—usually across national boundaries, often with a mouse click or the tap of an enter key. The cost of living in cities like London, Paris, New York, Los Angeles and Tokyo fluctuates more closely with activity in the global economy rather than with local conditions. Indeed, except for the public sector (government), it seems that rapid change has become a constant and that the rate of change is accelerating along with competition. The world of commerce, it would seem, will never be the same.
  47. 47. BBAACCKKGGRROOUUNNDD OONN ‘‘BBIIOOMMIIMMEETTIICCSS’’ ((OORR ‘‘AAPPPPLLIIEEDD SSYYSSTTEEMMIICCSS’’)) IINN TTEEAAMMBBUUIILLDDIINNGG 38 SSttaaggeess ooff OOrrggaanniissaattiioonnaall FFuunnccttiioonniinngg Customer-centric, nimble, responsive. Efficient, self-directed team activities. Enhanced morale, creativity and fun. Collective intelligence unleashed. Flow State Figure 5 It would also appear that team flexibility, a customer-centric culture, and process-based operations have increasingly become keys to commercial success. This is the rationale for developing flow-state organisation. Learning how to do so in the shortest period of time is of great competitive value. The how-to steps are a unifying theme in the following sections. COMPLEX SYSTEM 'ISOMORPHIES'... As mentioned, systems scientists advanced in understanding complex systems when it was discovered that they operated according to predictable patterns regardless of the scope and size of the system involved. The same patterns of dynamic activity that could be seen in a single cell were also apparent in an entire organism. The same processes that could be seen in a pot of boiling soup could also be observed in the life cycle of a star.
  48. 48. BBAACCKKGGRROOUUNNDD OONN ‘‘BBIIOOMMIIMMEETTIICCSS’’ ((OORR ‘‘AAPPPPLLIIEEDD SSYYSSTTEEMMIICCSS’’)) IINN TTEEAAMMBBUUIILLDDIINNGG 39 The scientific name 'isomorphies' has been used to refer to these common patterns in nature. This word comes from the Greek (and later Latin) roots for ‘similar’ and ‘form.’ Systems scientists have used advanced theoretical mathematics to describe these patterns. Mathematical models are effective in that they are the purest descriptive ‘language’ available, a language which is immune to being influenced by opinions or prejudice. However, it is also true that only a limited number of theoretical mathematicians understand the underlying mathematics of systems science. …AND MARTIN GERBER’S DISCOVERIES. Martin Gerber, Ph.D., an innovative Swiss physicist, was a gifted mathematician who left an academic career in order to work in a physics supply company. As part of his job, he undertook a multi-year study of successful business organisations in a variety of industries. He kept immaculately detailed notes and records but was unable to determine why these teams were successful. He soon reckoned that he must be overlooking factors embedded in the context of teaming. But what? Eventually, by chance, a colleague in ISSS asked whether Dr. Gerber had ever analysed successful teams from the perspective of systemic thinking. Might it be that their performance could be related to systems principles, particularly to embedded success principles that can be observed in nature? Martin Gerber began to do so with the knowledge that ISSS scientists studied system patterns in great detail. He concluded that this had produced a precise mathematical understanding of 104 sub-components or 52 mirror-image pairs of patterns. He then assembled these clearly defined patterns into 19 aggregate isomorphies and discovered that these 19 precisely defined isomorphies were the key to understanding what makes some living systems more successful than others.
  49. 49. BBAACCKKGGRROOUUNNDD OONN ‘‘BBIIOOMMIIMMEETTIICCSS’’ ((OORR ‘‘AAPPPPLLIIEEDD SSYYSSTTEEMMIICCSS’’)) IINN TTEEAAMMBBUUIILLDDIINNGG 40 In non-living systems, such as the energy flow through a pot of soup, isomorphies represent ways of increasing the efficient flow of energy through the system. In living organisms (technically known as ‘complex adaptive systems’), isomorphies represent powerful patterns by which such systems can flourish and adapt in the face of rigors or challenges in their surrounding environment. Indeed, it appeared that the 19 isomorphies represented hidden success principles for evolutionary progress. By reviewing business team performance from this new point-of-view, it became clear how successful teams worked their magic. The work groups that had been studied were intuitively using some of the hidden success principles of nature—the same leverage patterns that permit all living systems to become more resilient, to better adapt, and to thrive. Furthermore, they were doing so intuitively and without formal knowledge of advanced mathematics or systems science! ≈ ≈ These facts suggested that high-performance teams could use and apply these success principles in their work without intellectual knowledge of the science behind them. However, these results sometimes occurred by chance and not every team could reproduce them at will. If these success principles worked extraordinarily well when applied intuitively, imagine their benefits if applied consciously with intention and focus…. Serena Vit worked closely with Dr. Gerber to confirm these findings. Furthermore, she recognised that high-performance teams needed simple steps to create and reproduce the success principles of nature in their work.
  50. 50. BBAACCKKGGRROOUUNNDD OONN ‘‘BBIIOOMMIIMMEETTIICCSS’’ ((OORR ‘‘AAPPPPLLIIEEDD SSYYSSTTEEMMIICCSS’’)) IINN TTEEAAMMBBUUIILLDDIINNGG 41 She accordingly worked to uncover, revise and develop exercises and powerful-yet-simple tools that would permit teams to use these principles intentionally and consistently with simple instructions. They initially called this novel approach “Applied Systemics”. MY COMPANY’S DEVELOPMENT OF FLOW TEAM DYNAMICS AS STANDARDISED TEAMBUILDING TOOLS. Members of our international business team participated in an ongoing Flow study group in Zürich over several years. It was during these monthly sessions that they discovered that they shared
  51. 51. BBAACCKKGGRROOUUNNDD OONN ‘‘BBIIOOMMIIMMEETTIICCSS’’ ((OORR ‘‘AAPPPPLLIIEEDD SSYYSSTTEEMMIICCSS’’)) IINN TTEEAAMMBBUUIILLDDIINNGG 42 values and a common vision for rapid teambuilding based upon applied systemics. And multi-lingual Serena Vit formally joined our group as a full- fledged team member in assisting client organisations that spoke any of five Western languages. We then developed simple, graphic methods for explaining the discoveries from systems science in everyday business language. These viewpoints are extremely helpful for illuminating the workings of the complex global economy of today’s world and showing teams how they can flourish in it. We next converted the knowledge of systems science into management concepts and tools for implementing these scientific discoveries. In doing so, we found useful explanatory models that can be presented simply—often with pictures and everyday examples. And we renamed “Applied Systemics”. This makes sophisticated technical findings understandable for the average person along with awareness of how to apply these to the challenges of everyday business life. As a result, we continued prototyping the work by advancing the Flow system that already had been developed. Working in teams with a range of business clients, and shifting the Flow system to a more efficient and comprehensive level, our aim was creating high-performance, Flow State teams in the shortest time possible. Of central importance are 12 Flow Team Dynamics that form the ‘DNA’ of the learning process (see Figure 7)—soon to be called “Biomimetics”. Each of these dynamics comprises a pragmatic and powerful application of two or more complex system isomorphies. They are taught along with the isomorphies themselves to groups who progressively use these as tools for evaluating and improving their own teamwork. Indeed, each Flow Team adapts at least six of the 12 dynamics to their business environment and progressively learns to apply them in their daily work life.
  52. 52. BBAACCKKGGRROOUUNNDD OONN ‘‘BBIIOOMMIIMMEETTIICCSS’’ ((OORR ‘‘AAPPPPLLIIEEDD SSYYSSTTEEMMIICCSS’’)) IINN TTEEAAMMBBUUIILLDDIINNGG 43 1. In/Out 3. Communication 4. Dissipation 5. Transformation 8. Meta-Generation 6. Visioning 7. Fusion 9. Genius Profiling 10. Signal Processing 11. Integration 12. Remote Interaction TThhee 1122 FFllooww DDyynnaammiiccss:: EEaaggllee--EEyyee VViieeww 2. Awareness/Priorities ? Figure 7 THE FLOW TEAMBUILDING PROCESS. Whenever possible, it is vital to interview all participants prior to a teambuilding session. This permits Animators to understand relevant business issues and to customise the process for the commercial needs and challenges of each group. Once this preparation phase has been completed, they are ready to begin the teambuilding event itself. We found that three minimum criteria must be met before teamwork can be improved. Accordingly, Animators may confirm that every team member is
  53. 53. BBAACCKKGGRROOUUNNDD OONN ‘‘BBIIOOMMIIMMEETTIICCSS’’ ((OORR ‘‘AAPPPPLLIIEEDD SSYYSSTTEEMMIICCSS’’)) IINN TTEEAAMMBBUUIILLDDIINNGG 44 committed to the process as illustrated in Figure 8. The three essential commitments are: 1. All team members must agree that they want good teamwork. This means teamwork that is more productive, more efficient, more fun and more commercially successful. Good team-working is easy at times but occasionally can be quite challenging. It is based upon respect for diversity, and it frequently requires effort and intensive focus. 2. All team members must agree that they will work together toward a common vision of learning new methods and achieving specific results during the teambuilding event. MMiinniimmuumm CCrriitteerriiaa ffoorr TTeeaammbbuuiillddiinngg V 11 33 22 Figure 8
  54. 54. BBAACCKKGGRROOUUNNDD OONN ‘‘BBIIOOMMIIMMEETTIICCSS’’ ((OORR ‘‘AAPPPPLLIIEEDD SSYYSSTTEEMMIICCSS’’)) IINN TTEEAAMMBBUUIILLDDIINNGG 45 3. Everyone in the group must commit to establishing a ‘manual’ of team rules and guidelines. This document then can become an ongoing, updated prototype for how you will work together and resolve problems in the future. By listing specific behavioural agreements, it serves a vital role in enhancing team performance. Unfortunately, because this third step is usually neglected in teambuilding approaches, post-event enthusiasm gradually wears off and team patterns can remain largely unimproved over time. Once all three questions have been answered in the affirmative, the formal process is ready to begin. During the initial launch, which is usually three days in length, most of the time is devoted to using the concepts and tools for solving actual business problems. Several one-day follow-up sessions are usually provided over the next year or more to assist the team in achieving a stable, high-performance mode. The initial Flow Team then serves as a resource in teaching the thinking, tools and work approach to other teams. Eventually it is possible to spread customised tools and a common language throughout an organisation. MMEEEETTIINNGG DDAAYYSS WWIITTHH AANNIIMMAATTOORRSS DDUURRIINNGG FFLLOOWW TTEEAAMM GGEENNEERRAATTIIOONN Flow Team Launch 3-Day Follow-on Flow Team Animation Days [Off Site Sessions: 12-18 Months] Figure 9
  55. 55. BBAACCKKGGRROOUUNNDD OONN ‘‘BBIIOOMMIIMMEETTIICCSS’’ ((OORR ‘‘AAPPPPLLIIEEDD SSYYSSTTEEMMIICCSS’’)) IINN TTEEAAMMBBUUIILLDDIINNGG 46 We also developed procedures for training Flow ‘Animators’ to teach Flow Dynamics to new teams, usually starting with a three-day session. And yet we found that, at a minimum, any leader who previously has been through Flow sessions can assume this role with ease—without special training. This handbook avoids a theoretical approach. Rather, it introduces some basic concepts and then provides tools and techniques that are put into use immediately during group activities that are focused on actual business problems. In this manner, the team learns through doing. Indeed, we repeatedly found that putting ideas into action is the fastest way for a team to learn. Doing so develops skills and insights that can be applied to everyday working challenges without delay. As Confucius said in 451 BCE: “What I hear, I forget. What I see, I remember. What I do, I understand.” Animators are well-served by developing a catalogue of commercial examples that allow teams to understand quickly how these principles relate to the history of business enterprises in the last 100 years. This represents a ‘sea change’ in teambuilding methods. Away from the psychological and management consulting methods of the past, and toward the elements of Flow State organisation that will be most competitive and successful in the 21st century. The goal in Flow teambuilding is to catalyse a group’s systemic progress by providing targeted coaching along with a number of specific exercises and techniques. Experience has shown that teams learn through moving into unfamiliar territory and experiencing the resultant instability. Within these periods of turbulence or chaos, self-organisation can produce spontaneous bursts of progress. This is in keeping with Prigogine’s work on dissipative structures
  56. 56. BBAACCKKGGRROOUUNNDD OONN ‘‘BBIIOOMMIIMMEETTIICCSS’’ ((OORR ‘‘AAPPPPLLIIEEDD SSYYSSTTEEMMIICCSS’’)) IINN TTEEAAMMBBUUIILLDDIINNGG 47 as described above and pictured in Figure 2. Figure 10 shows the learning principle that guides this approach with teams. Over the course of a teambuilding session, Animators progressively endeavour to guide participants into states of confusion through introducing new concepts and tools. These novelties initially destabilise group interactions, particularly in the early stages of learning each tool and insight (the phase of ‘conscious incompetence’). Then, as participants improve in applying new learning, the group becomes more (consciously competent) resilient and creative. Skills Challenges TTHHEE ''FFLLOOWW'' SSTTAATTEE AANNDD IINNCCRREEAASSEEDD CCOOMMPPLLEEXXIITTYY OOFF CCOONNSSCCIIOOUUSSNNEESSSS High Low Low High Figure 10 Complexity
  57. 57. BBAACCKKGGRROOUUNNDD OONN ‘‘BBIIOOMMIIMMEETTIICCSS’’ ((OORR ‘‘AAPPPPLLIIEEDD SSYYSSTTEEMMIICCSS’’)) IINN TTEEAAMMBBUUIILLDDIINNGG 48 As new skills become well practised and group members begin to need to be stimulated by novelty, Animators will again challenge the team. They will do so by introducing more new tools/ideas, suggesting variations on established techniques, and then practising a variety of new tools and skills. Animators thereby assist team members in navigating a course between stress and boredom throughout a teambuilding process. This produces a course of group development growth similar to the one plotted in bright blue through the yellow diagonal bandwidth in Figure 10. This yellow area is labelled the ‘flow’ channel. It represents the middle path between being overwhelmed by new challenges versus simply using ‘older’ skills that people previously have developed. One Flow Team produced a definition of the Flow Dynamics approach that is probably the best and most succinct we saw. It read as follows: "Flow Team Dynamics is a set of tools for unleashing the collective intelligence of a work team. It generates a pattern of enhanced productivity, innovation and problem-solving in a context of extraordinary teamwork and morale. 'Flow' is progressively realised through applying natural principles derived from systems science—initially with the support of experienced coaches and later by the work organisation alone in a self-sufficient manner.” ≈ ≈ IN CLOSING. This approach to teambuilding is systemic. It is vital to view every business team as a complex system that is operating with a vast array of stable, fluctuating, and unpredictable elements. It is impossible to truly separate each person from the overall business environment and the larger systems in which work activities occur. Effective teambuilding must take this greater context into account.
  58. 58. BBAACCKKGGRROOUUNNDD OONN ‘‘BBIIOOMMIIMMEETTIICCSS’’ ((OORR ‘‘AAPPPPLLIIEEDD SSYYSSTTEEMMIICCSS’’)) IINN TTEEAAMMBBUUIILLDDIINNGG 49 The underlying principle upon which Flow Team Dynamics are based is that of self- organisation. Animators assume that the team can solve its own problems and that the answers and resources needed can be created and enhanced by the group itself. That effectively handling conflicts and navigating turbulence can promote greater resilience which leads to a higher level of team success. That increasing openness and trust will allow each team member to excel. That by increasing the speed and quality of communications, decision-making and problem- solving, the team will develop commercial advantages relative to its outside competitors. That team morale will steadily grow as its members use their talents and reach a higher level of success with business challenges. For this reason, Flow Teambuilding is especially useful in self-directed work teams, process-based organisations, and companies without rigid, traditional hierarchies. It is the fastest and most potent form of teambuilding that I have ever witnessed. Although the facilitators are only temporary, teams that learn Flow Dynamics continue to improve and benefit. Indeed, experience repeatedly has shown that when new teams learn to apply the herein presented thinking and tools that support only the first six of the 12 Flow Team dynamics, their business and financial performance measurably improve.
  59. 59. 50
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  75. 75. 208 CCHHAAPPTTEERR 1133AA HHIIGGHHEERR EEDDUUCCAATTIIOONN:: OONNEE RRUUNNGG AATT AA TTIIMMEE ““EExxppeerriieennccee iiss tthhee nnaammee mmaannyy ppeeooppllee ggiivvee ttoo tthheeiirr mmiissttaakkeess..”” ——OOssccaarr WWiillddee A coin toss decided my major area of university study. Psychology and sociology were the two finalists. Heads it was…psychology won. In the last year of college, tragedy struck. A younger brother was injured in a car crash and hovered for weeks in a coma, near death. The brain surgery to remove damaged neural tissue would leave him epileptic until his sudden passing in 2013. So he lived but thereafter existed with vastly reduced quality of life. Selfishly, we lost the brilliant, light-hearted, special being we so cherished. His shocking shift led me to ponder the brain-mind connection and to seek a USA graduate school curriculum that would enable formally studying this novel area. Only one A.P.A.-accredited program with warm weather fit the bill. There I could enrol in a Psychophysiology co-major while earning both the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees (M.S. & Ph.D.) with a primary major in Clinical Psychology. So I applied and gained coveted acceptance to the graduate program in Psychology at the University of Georgia. ≈ ≈ DEGREE FOCUS. I excelled in Graduate School, atypically publishing several research papers in peer-reviewed science journals.5 I understood and could 5 Reciprocal reactivity: Response-specific changes in independent observers Anthony R. Ciminero, Lewis E. Graham and Joan L. Jackson. BEHAVIOR THERAPY. 1977; Volume 8, Number 1; Pages 48–56 Setting generality of blood pressure reductions and the psychological treatment of reactive hypertension Irving Beiman, Lewis E. Graham and Anthony R. Ciminero JOURNAL OF BEHAVIORAL MEDICINE. 1978; Volume 1, Number 4; Pages 445-453
  76. 76. 209 critique the craziness of classical statistics’ random universe assumptions. Passing all-day pre-doctoral written exams with distinction and over a year early was a breeze. Clients loved that my respectful therapy focused on empowered use of self-directed tools. And I got to digest Psychophysiology texts while performing equipment-centric lab work. When my thesis research was complete, I personally composed and typed nearly 100 pages—finishing at 9:11 a.m. one morning. And the late afternoon formal defence was a blast that day. Committee members formally accepted my thesis as “the best…ever seen”. And I was ecstatic that they voted to award the Master of Science degree. I then departed for a year-long clinical internship. The prestigious position was in the Palo Alto (Northern California) Veterans Administration Hospital system on the West Coast—a very long drive across the entire North American continent. ≈ ≈ NEW HORIZONS. Internship was mind-expanding. For the first half, I worked exclusively on a locked psychiatric ward. It was the source of a key story in GNOSIS ONWARD Volume IV—the tragic suicide of a disturbed veteran who heard voices. “Marvin” had been forced to swallow several anti-psychotic medications daily, which may have counterproductively led to his death. The second six months were eclectic. I changed hospital sites and studied with a great many teachers in the VA, Stanford, and SRI International. That is how I ‘coincidentally’ learned about many subjects, including the Enneagram, deep linguistic structure, and organisational development (OD) with leaders and teams. But with OD, disappointingly, I observed only short-lived and marginal improvement with intangible factors –which required the psychologist to return regularly.
  77. 77. 210 After internship in California, I returned to Georgia to complete doctoral studies and Ph.D. dissertation research. But at the beginning of the 4th year in graduate school, I felt a strange urge to abandon the course. Psychology was well intentioned, yet it seemed somehow distorted and incomplete. I felt confident in my outlook but confused about the profession. So I told a younger brother, Tom, that I desperately needed to gain perspective. In response, he met me for a road trip south. And we spent five awesome weeks in Key West, Florida over the December-January break. A friend got me an evening job in a Duval Street restaurant as a manual dishwasher. Beyond allowing the best brotherly bonding since childhood, it was a fabulous job for six reasons. First, work aims were simple and unambiguous. Second, it was crystal clear when the job was complete. Third, I got to move while talking to co-workers— which was bliss. Fourth, I could lift the kitchen’s mood by performing quickly to supply clean items that were urgently needed to care for customers. Fifth, I could play without job or class worries. And sixth, people related to me as a person rather than as a role (psychologist, psychotherapist). In many respects, it was energetically similar to small group work in Flow teambuilding. ≈ ≈ IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE? After returning from the Keys to finish graduate school with fresh energy and a renewed outlook, my Ph.D. study was an analysis of heart patients’ answers on a questionnaire handed out by a cardiology nurse at the Palo Alto VA Hospital. There were strict patient- privacy protections, including the secure shredding of questionnaires on which patients’ names or their writing appeared. The research methods were perfect, yet the results were unremarkable, borderline disappointing, with virtually no applied value.
  78. 78. 211 Nevertheless, the authorised committee unanimously approved my Ph.D. being awarded. I received the diploma formally at the next U.Ga. graduation ceremony in June 1979. I had played the degree game well. But, strangely, I felt there was so much more that I still needed to learn! ≈ ≈ Subsequently, a great source of inspiration and perspectives would come from Abraham Maslow (1908-1970). Regrettably, most faculty members in my primary graduate school program held Dr. Abe Maslow in low regard and never understood his viewpoints. I progressively learned, however, that Dr. Maslow’s perspectives were boldly humanistic and uncannily perceptive. He was a brilliant thinker who understood how modern science works and often malfunctions. In particular, he believed that research activities had become unhelpfully scientistic (this author’s neutral term). Maslow called the scientific trend ‘means-centeredness’ versus ‘problem-centeredness’. That was Abe Maslow’s way of describing how scientists had begun using ever-more-precise methods in studying matters of lesser importance to the human condition. In the process, he saw that research methods were becoming an end in and of themselves, with dwindling focus on the applied value that flowed from scientific results. Hence, like my dissertation research study, greater methodological rigor had been accompanied by a growing accumulation of less meaningful findings,
  79. 79. 212 which were procedurally impressive yet increasingly irrelevant to people’s genuine life issues.6 7 Due to that slow-motion shift, he felt that investigative processes had become an end in and of themselves—thereby detracting scientists from focusing on the inherent or applied value of their experimental findings. So, does this suggest that modern science is often useless? No. And although many useless studies do occur in practice, rigorous scientific observations often yield invaluable data. However, the process of interpreting and making sense of findings is problematic, and it should be understood more clearly. This requires two key insights about how research occurs in real life. First, most of us may be unaware of what we take for granted. So we may often fail to grasp that our explanations for anything always rest on core assumptions. For example, if you were to give directions to a stranger, you would expect that the other person would understand ‘left’ and ‘right’ in the same way that you do. We all implicitly assume that strangers are free from dyslexia. And that they will clearly grasp how to use ‘here-to-there’ guidance. But sometimes strangers become lost after receiving succinct directions. So it’s easy to conclude that a dyslexic person ‘just didn’t listen’ based on one’s unrecognised assumptions about ‘clear information’ being sufficient. Yet would this be unquestionably true?8 In similar fashion, unexamined scientific assumptions often guide the steps of data interpretation in research. And these can greatly colour explanations in a hidden fashion. This is one key in seeing how science actually works—regardless of whether it works well or poorly. 6 Naomi Schaffer Riley, author of The Faculty Lounges has reported speaking with one professor who said: “When I became department chair 30 years ago, people used to bring in their research in a loose leaf [binder]. Now they bring it in multiple Xerox boxes.” 7 Richard Vedder, a professor of economics at Ohio University, has written that: “…much research consists of obscure articles published in even more obscure journals on topics of trivial importance.” 8 No, of course not.
  80. 80. 213 In short, the ‘givens’ in a particular moment quietly guide the way in which ‘objective’ results are interpreted. This is true regardless of whether every underlying assumption is highlighted. Occasionally, however, something unforeseen occurs without warning. And, when ‘the assumed’ is challenged by new data, scientists face a tough choice: Must we junk familiar and accepted theories? Should we make them more complicated to include the puzzling results? Or should we simply ignore such findings for now? Second, another aspect of Maslow’s insights pertained to the basic method in most fields of modern science. Simply put, our research approach is ‘reductionistic.’ It is rooted in deductive thinking. This model of discovery uses logic and reason to analyse data and to arrive at specific factual conclusions. It also is vital for testing key aspects of particular theories. Reductionism comes from the same word as ‘reduce’. It refers to the discipline of separating, or dissecting, a phenomenon into its assumed parts. These smaller components are then studied individually. The aim, in essence, is to gain better understanding of ‘the whole’ by reassembling it piece-by-piece— but only after each part has been examined thoroughly. Scientists do this kind of work with great skill. They deserve recognition for carefully studying ever-smaller aspects in rich detail. In doing so, they have developed vast amounts of specific information. Multiple fields of knowledge have expanded to a degree to that nearly beggars belief. Indeed, many bodies of research knowledge are so large that specialists frequently address sub-areas. Yet those helpful experts are ambitious people with their own viewpoints who are deeply enmeshed in the politics and dynamics of their personal research careers. As a result, larger context is often an after-thought. And reductionism –by its very nature– veers away from integrating seemingly unrelated research outcomes in a holistic manner, particularly across disciplines. Indeed, a researcher who might do so will be judged harshly as indulging in ‘speculation’ that strays beyond the specific data at hand. Hence, inductive
  81. 81. 214 thinking about the broader meanings of results (and their potential interrelatedness to other findings) becomes a lower priority, which is therefore ignored under the widely applied ground rules of journal publication editors. So as this process pieces together fragments of information, it risks producing a grand structure that is invisibly incomplete. And internally consistent results may yield off-base interpretations. These may respect consensus while harbouring mis-assumptions from various traditions of thought. Sometimes the result is a modern ‘Tower of Babel’ of ideas. To their credit, scientists nearly always state that further research is needed. Yet the key question is: Can scientists ever reach ‘truth’ through reductionism?9 Reductionism is a bit like striving to determine how handwriting happens by cutting the hand apart and studying the anatomical parts in isolation. Specialists on muscle, bone, ligaments, blood flow, neurology, and so forth, would be asked to provide expert views. To this might be added mechanical studies on pen construction and ink flow plus analyses of the paper. Then, and only then, would segments of information be confidently re-assembled to explain how writing can occur. Yet this approach would miss the vital context: A conscious person moves the hand holding the pen while forming an intention to write. So reductionistic science would deliberately ignore any consciousness ‘variables’ since underlying perception cannot be measured objectively. Hence, the writer’s mind would be omitted from consideration in our hypothetical study. And although the objective methods would be sound, such research — despite all its well-documented conclusions— would be silly. Finally, most are unaware that late in life Dr. Abe Maslow deeply regretted ever publishing (in 1943) the visual model for which he is most famous, a 9 John Derbyshire, writing for The Wall Street Journal, has used the following metaphor in a book review of problems in scientific research: “Like other complex human enterprises, science has a ‘front’ and a ‘back.’ The model here is a restaurant. In the front, waiters in spotless uniforms glide between tables murmuring suggestions and delivering exquisitely arranged platters. Meanwhile, the kitchen —the back— is a chaos of noise, heat, haste, breakage and rancour. Now and then a gross error in the back leaks out into the front, and a case of food poisoning shows up in the newspapers. So it is with science.”
  82. 82. 215 “hierarchy” of human motivations. The idea is commonly known as Maslow’s Hierarchy, and Abe lamented its effect upon social consciousness. Dr. Abe’s regret was real because he deeply respected individuals’ uniqueness and he believed passionately in untapped human potential. Yet he came to realise that his simple explanation had been so widely misinterpreted and misapplied that he felt personally responsible for creating great confusion. First, he saw that the pyramidal model he had chosen was elitist by inadvertently implying those at the social-economic-political ‘top’ were superior to those below. Second, he saw that he had failed to clarify that individuals varied in the intensity with which they sought to satisfy each motivation. And third, he realised that he inadvertently had implied that no innate motivational aspirations exist beyond self-actualisation since that ‘need’ was the metaphorical capstone (viz., top) of his pyramid. To Maslow’s great credit, he saw this as a serious mistake.
  83. 83. 216 Maslow died in 1970, but Dr. Paul Hersey10 aimed to remedy these issues. He did so in 1980 by re- conceptualising the original hierarchical model as an open-ended, horizontal histogram (i.e., as a frequency distribution). That revised model allowed for individual variations in each need, for fluctuations in need intensities across time and/or situations, and for multiple needs to simultaneously motivate people. It also succeeded in showing that broad human desires could exist beyond mere “self-actualisation”. The nearby figure shows our adaptation of “Doc” Hersey’s revised model. My business team would later add two drives while recognising there might be many more. Namely, our team focused upon methods for enhancing one’s access to inner resources (“personal...genius”) and tools for unleashing teams’ collective intelligence (“group flow”). ≈ ≈ As Marilyn Ferguson so succinctly said: “Our past is not our potential.” 10 Dr. Paul Hersey was “internationally recognised as a leading authority on training and development in leadership and management. The Situational Leadership® Model he developed has been used to train more than 14 million managers in thousands of companies across the globe and is deployed in 70% of Fortune 500 companies.” [From his 2012 obituary: memorial/obituary.aspx?n=Paul-Hersey&lc=4234&pid=161837015&mid=5348521]
  84. 84. 217 CCHHAAPPTTEERR 1133BB GGAAMMEE CCHHAANNGGEE:: TTRRUUEE MMEENNTTOORRIINNGG “The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.” — Leonardo da Vinci My own path has been diverse with astonishing discoveries along the way. The lessons have been priceless. Yet many of these have taken years. One aim throughout my various works is enabling others to benefit from decades of groundwork. I was privileged to train as a scientist and to learn research methods from gifted mentors in 1970 through 1978. Masters and Doctoral studies in psychology and psychophysiology resulted in advanced degrees that allowed me to explore the interplay of mind and body. It was clear that consciousness was central in human experience. But it was often overlooked. And this emerging field of study did not even have a name as yet. One aspect of it is now known as Psychoneuroimmunology. After I finished the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy work, a great gift followed. It came in the form of a postdoctoral position in the broad area of preventive medicine from 1978-1981. The three years at the Stanford University School of Medicine were awesome. I worked closely with inspiring visionaries in the field of health promotion. And the experience was thrilling as I saw first-hand how seemingly unrelated scientific disciplines actually intermeshed within a larger vista.
  85. 85. 218 We had a grand time showing that the powerful tools of medical practice were too-little, too-expensive and, often, too-late. For example, the approved treatments for cancer were limited to toxic chemical medicines, surgery and radiation. And heart disease was treated with the first two. Yet simpler steps, taken proactively in advance, could alter one’s personal future. People could take charge of their lives for greater vitality and wellness. This was wonderful! And deeply inspiring. It certainly seemed to honour Abe Maslow’s articulate call for science to focus on issues of importance to the quality of human life. I mainly researched exercise, weight loss, managing stress, and reducing blood pressure. In this context, each Spring Break I attended a Vipassana (mindfulness) meditation retreat in the Mojave Desert led by Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein—two superb Buddhist teachers. That meant two weeks of strict silence without any eye contact at all while meditating 12+ hours per day. And being back in California made it easy to investigate broad interests beyond health and wellbeing. So I continued to pursue topic threads that I had ‘coincidentally’ learned about during the internship year. These included deep linguistic structure and OD approaches with leaders as well as teams. ≈ ≈ As an adjunct Stanford faculty member, I made invaluable friendships in various areas, including connections with the physics gurus at SLAC (the “Stanford Linear Accelerator Center”). And I was fortunate to learn from inspiring visionaries whose work grandly aimed to fuse science with