A Psychiatrist Who Survived The Holocaust Explains Why Meaningfulness Matters More Than Happiness

The Atlantic

  • OCT. 22, 2014, 2:55 PM
viktor franklReutersViktor Frankl, the renowned Viennese psychiatrist and author of “Man’s Search for Meaning.”

“It is the very pursuit of happiness that thwarts happiness.”

In September 1942, Viktor Frankl, a prominent Jewish psychiatrist and neurologist in Vienna, was arrested and transported to a Nazi concentration camp with his wife and parents.

Three years later, when his camp was liberated, most of his family, including his pregnant wife, had perished — but he, prisoner number 119104, had lived. In his bestselling 1946 book, Man’s Search for Meaning, which he wrote in nine days about his experiences in the camps, Frankl concluded that the difference between those who had lived and those who had died came down to one thing: Meaning, an insight he came to early in life. When he was a high school student, one of his science teachers declared to the class, “Life is nothing more than a combustion process, a process of oxidation.” Frankl jumped out of his chair and responded, “Sir, if this is so, then what can be the meaning of life?”

As he saw in the camps, those who found meaning even in the most horrendous circumstances were far more resilient to suffering than those who did not. “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing,” Frankl wrote in Man’s Search for Meaning, “the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Frankl worked as a therapist in the camps, and in his book, he gives the example of two suicidal inmates he encountered there. Like many others in the camps, these two men were hopeless and thought that there was nothing more to expect from life, nothing to live for. “In both cases,” Frankl writes, “it was a question of getting them to realize that life was still expecting something from them; something in the future was expected of them.” For one man, it was his young child, who was then living in a foreign country. For the other, a scientist, it was a series of books that he needed to finish. Frankl writes:

This uniqueness and singleness which distinguishes each individual and gives a meaning to his existence has a bearing on creative work as much as it does on human love. When the impossibility of replacing a person is realized, it allows the responsibility which a man has for his existence and its continuance to appear in all its magnitude. A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the “why” for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any “how.”

In 1991, the Library of Congress and Book-of-the-Month Club listed Man’s Search for Meaning as one of the 10 most influential books in the United States. It has sold millions of copies worldwide. Now, over twenty years later, the book’s ethos — its emphasis on meaning, the value of suffering, and responsibility to something greater than the self — seems to be at odds with our culture, which is more interested in the pursuit of individual happiness than in the search for meaning. “To the European,” Frankl wrote, “it is a characteristic of the American culture that, again and again, one is commanded and ordered to ‘be happy.’ But happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue. One must have a reason to ‘be happy.'”

Flickr/Christian HaughenEven though American happiness levels are at a four-year high, 4 out of 10 Americans have not discovered a satisfying life purpose.

According to Gallup, the happiness levels of Americans are at a four-year high — as is, it seems, the number of best-selling books with the word “happiness” in their titles. At this writing, Gallup also reports that nearly 60 percent all Americans today feel happy, without a lot of stress or worry. On the other hand, according to the Center for Disease Control, about 4 out of 10 Americans have not discovered a satisfying life purpose. Forty percent either do not think their lives have a clear sense of purpose or are neutral about whether their lives have purpose. Nearly a quarter of Americans feel neutral or do not have a strong sense of what makes their lives meaningful. Research has shown that having purpose and meaning in life increases overall well-being and life satisfaction, improves mental and physical health, enhances resiliency, enhances self-esteem, and decreases the chances of depression. On top of that, the single-minded pursuit of happiness is ironically leaving people less happy, according to recent research. “It is the very pursuit of happiness,” Frankl knew, “that thwarts happiness.”

***

This is why some researchers are cautioning against the pursuit of mere happiness. In a new study, which will be published this year in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Positive Psychology, psychological scientists asked nearly 400 Americans aged 18 to 78 whether they thought their lives were meaningful and/or happy. Examining their self-reported attitudes toward meaning, happiness, and many other variables — like stress levels, spending patterns, and having children — over a month-long period, the researchers found that a meaningful life and happy life overlap in certain ways, but are ultimately very different. Leading a happy life, the psychologists found, is associated with being a “taker” while leading a meaningful life corresponds with being a “giver.”

“Happiness without meaning characterizes a relatively shallow, self-absorbed or even selfish life, in which things go well, needs and desire are easily satisfied, and difficult or taxing entanglements are avoided,” the authors write.

How do the happy life and the meaningful life differ? Happiness, they found, is about feeling good. Specifically, the researchers found that people who are happy tend to think that life is easy, they are in good physical health, and they are able to buy the things that they need and want. While not having enough money decreases how happy and meaningful you consider your life to be, it has a much greater impact on happiness. The happy life is also defined by a lack of stress or worry.

Most importantly from a social perspective, the pursuit of happiness is associated with selfish behavior—being, as mentioned, a “taker” rather than a “giver.”

The pursuit of happiness is associated with selfish behavior—being, as mentioned, a “taker” rather than a “giver.”

The psychologists give an evolutionary explanation for this: happiness is about drive reduction. If you have a need or a desire — like hunger — you satisfy it, and that makes you happy. People become happy, in other words, when they get what they want. Humans, then, are not the only ones who can feel happy. Animals have needs and drives, too, and when those drives are satisfied, animals also feel happy, the researchers point out.

“Happy people get a lot of joy from receiving benefits from others while people leading meaningful lives get a lot of joy from giving to others,” explained Kathleen Vohs, one of the authors of the study, in a recent presentation at the University of Pennsylvania. In other words, meaning transcends the self while happiness is all about giving the self what it wants. People who have high meaning in their lives are more likely to help others in need. “If anything, pure happiness is linked to not helping others in need,” the researchers, which include Stanford University’s Jennifer Aaker and Emily Garbinsky, write.

What sets human beings apart from animals is not the pursuit of happiness, which occurs all across the natural world, but the pursuit of meaning, which is unique to humans, according to Roy Baumeister, the lead researcher of the study and author, with John Tierney, of the recent book Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength. Baumeister, a social psychologists at Florida State University, was named an ISI highly cited scientific researcher in 2003.

The study participants reported deriving meaning from giving a part of themselves away to others and making a sacrifice on behalf of the overall group. In the words of Martin E. P. Seligman, one of the leading psychological scientists alive today, in the meaningful life “you use your highest strengths and talents to belong to and serve something you believe is larger than the self.” For instance, having more meaning in one’s life was associated with activities like buying presents for others, taking care of kids, and arguing. People whose lives have high levels of meaning often actively seek meaning out even when they know it will come at the expense of happiness. Because they have invested themselves in something bigger than themselves, they also worry more and have higher levels of stress and anxiety in their lives than happy people. Having children, for example, is associated with the meaningful life and requires self-sacrifice, but it has been famously associated with low happiness among parents, including the ones in this study. In fact, according to Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert, research shows that parents are less happy interacting with their children than they are exercising, eating, and watching television.

“Partly what we do as human beings is to take care of others and contribute to others. This makes life meaningful but it does not necessarily make us happy,” Baumeister told me in an interview.

Meaning is not only about transcending the self, but also about transcending the present moment — which is perhaps the most important finding of the study, according to the researchers. While happiness is an emotion felt in the here and now, it ultimately fades away, just as all emotions do; positive affect and feelings of pleasure are fleeting. The amount of time people report feeling good or bad correlates with happiness but not at all with meaning.

Meaning, on the other hand, is enduring. It connects the past to the present to the future. “Thinking beyond the present moment, into the past or future, was a sign of the relatively meaningful but unhappy life,” the researchers write. “Happiness is not generally found in contemplating the past or future.” That is, people who thought more about the present were happier, but people who spent more time thinking about the future or about past struggles and sufferings felt more meaning in their lives, though they were less happy.

Having negative events happen to you, the study found, decreases your happiness but increases the amount of meaning you have in life.

Having negative events happen to you, the study found, decreases your happiness but increases the amount of meaning you have in life.

Another study from 2011 confirmed this, finding that people who have meaning in their lives, in the form of a clearly defined purpose, rate their satisfaction with life higher even when they were feeling bad than those who did not have a clearly defined purpose. “If there is meaning in life at all,” Frankl wrote, “then there must be meaning in suffering.”

***

Which brings us back to Frankl’s life and, specifically, a decisive experience he had before he was sent to the concentration camps. It was an incident that emphasizes the difference between the pursuit of meaning and the pursuit of happiness in life.

In his early adulthood, before he and his family were taken away to the camps, Frankl had established himself as one of the leading psychiatrists in Vienna and the world. As a 16-year-old boy, for example, he struck up a correspondence with Sigmund Freud and one day sent Freud a two-page paper he had written. Freud, impressed by Frankl’s talent, sent the paper to the International Journal of Psychoanalysis for publication. “I hope you don’t object,” Freud wrote the teenager.

While he was in medical school, Frankl distinguished himself even further. Not only did he establish suicide-prevention centers for teenagers — a precursor to his work in the camps — but he was also developing his signature contribution to the field of clinical psychology: logotherapy, which is meant to help people overcome depression and achieve well-being by finding their unique meaning in life. By 1941, his theories had received international attention and he was working as the chief of neurology at Vienna’s Rothschild Hospital, where he risked his life and career by making false diagnoses of mentally ill patients so that they would not, per Nazi orders, be euthanized.

That was the same year when he had a decision to make, a decision that would change his life. With his career on the rise and the threat of the Nazis looming over him, Frankl had applied for a visa to America, which he was granted in 1941. By then, the Nazis had already started rounding up the Jews and taking them away to concentration camps, focusing on the elderly first. Frankl knew that it would only be time before the Nazis came to take his parents away. He also knew that once they did, he had a responsibility to be there with his parents to help them through the trauma of adjusting to camp life. On the other hand, as a newly married man with his visa in hand, he was tempted to leave for America and flee to safety, where he could distinguish himself even further in his field.

As Anna S. Redsand recounts in her biography of Frankl, he was at a loss for what to do, so he set out for St. Stephan’s Cathedral in Vienna to clear his head. Listening to the organ music, he repeatedly asked himself, “Should I leave my parents behind?… Should I say goodbye and leave them to their fate?” Where did his responsibility lie? He was looking for a “hint from heaven.”

When he returned home, he found it. A piece of marble was lying on the table. His father explained that it was from the rubble of one of the nearby synagogues that the Nazis had destroyed. The marble contained the fragment of one of the Ten Commandments — the one about honoring your father and your mother. With that, Frankl decided to stay in Vienna and forgo whatever opportunities for safety and career advancement awaited him in the United States. He decided to put aside his individual pursuits to serve his family and, later, other inmates in the camps.

The wisdom that Frankl derived from his experiences there, in the middle of unimaginable human suffering, is just as relevant now as it was then: “Being human always points, and is directed, to something or someone, other than oneself — be it a meaning to fulfill or another human being to encounter. The more one forgets himself — by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love — the more human he is.”

Baumeister and his colleagues would agree that the pursuit of meaning is what makes human beings uniquely human. By putting aside our selfish interests to serve someone or something larger than ourselves — by devoting our lives to “giving” rather than “taking” — we are not only expressing our fundamental humanity, but are also acknowledging that that there is more to the good life than the pursuit of simple happiness.

Read more: http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/01/theres-more-to-life-than-being-happy/266805/?single_page=true#ixzz3GzF2IMLx

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5 Conditions for Sifting Social Fields by Otto Scharmer

(note:  photos were removed; graphics were retained)

Last week at MIT I hosted a group of leaders and change makers from Indonesia. With its 17,000 islands and 250 million inhabitants, Indonesia is the third largest democracy and the biggest Muslim country in the world. Several members of the visiting group are key players in CTI, the Coral Triangle Initiative, a multi-stakeholder initiative focusing on sustainable fisheries and marine stewardship in the world’s second most important biodiversity region (second only to the Amazon region).

The MIT IDEAS program, which they embarked on last week, is a 15-month journey of profound individual and institutional innovation and change. All participants remain in their existing jobs and organizations, but over the next 15 months they will meet regularly in small coaching circles, as well as in five whole-group workshops for 3-5 days each, progressing on a journey from total immersion to e deep reflection andlearning by doing.

Last week we took our first total-immersion journey. The participants engaged in intense discussions with key thought leaders in global finance (Simon Johnson), systems thinking (Peter Senge), data-driven societies (Sandy Pentland), urban transformation (Phil Thompson), mindful systems change (Dayna Cunningham), and system dynamics (John Sterman). In addition, we threw them into highly experiential learning environments. On campus they visited the Media Lab, practiced the IDEO method of design thinking, and explored Boston’s hotspots of social innovation through small-group learning journeys.

We also taught them deep reflection practices to help them be receptive not only to the new ideas that emerged from the MIT eco-system but also to the new ideas that emerged from within: who they are now, and who they want to be going forward. Many found it to be a profound, moving, and in some cases even life-changing experience. As one of them said on the final day: I have been born twice. The first time in Indonesia, the second time here in Boston. He explained that he felt he had come closer to his deepest human capacity to create.

One half-day workshop during the middle of the week offered them a window onto the current conditions and changes that we deal with in just about every larger process of systems change on the planet. Picture this: they entered the workshop room at 8.30 a.m. and saw that the room was set with six tables, one each for the U.S. delegation, the EU, other developed countries, China, India, and other developing countries. They were greeted by the facilitator, a person playing the role of Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General (SG) of the UN.

The SG welcomed the delegates and asked them to take seats at their respective tables (each participant had been assigned to one of the teams and had received a country briefing the night before). Then he provided the delegates with an update on the urgent current situation related to global climate change. He gave each delegation half an hour to develop a proposal for addressing the pressing climate challenges, in order to mitigate and perhaps halt the crisis by the year 2100. Each delegation was asked to present binding commitments its country or region would make on the following variables:

1. in what year it would stop increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
2. in what year it would start reducing GHG emissions
3. the annual rate of emissions reduction it would undertake
4. action on de- or re-forestation
5. its projected financial contributions for all of the above (through payments into a global fund)

The delegates quickly realized that they were not all equal. While the tables of the delegations from the U.S., the EU, and other OECD countries were set with delicious food, China and India had no food on their tables. The delegates from “other developing countries” were even asked to sit on the floor, with their chairs and a table being removed.

Last week at MIT I hosted a group of leaders and change makers from Indonesia. With its 17,000 islands and 250 million inhabitants, Indonesia is the third largest democracy and the biggest Muslim country in the world. Several members of the visiting group are key players in CTI, the Coral Triangle Initiative, a multi-stakeholder initiative focusing on sustainable fisheries and marine stewardship in the world’s second most important biodiversity region (second only to the Amazon region).

The MIT IDEAS program, which they embarked on last week, is a 15-month journey of profound individual and institutional innovation and change. All participants remain in their existing jobs and organizations, but over the next 15 months they will meet regularly in small coaching circles, as well as in five whole-group workshops for 3-5 days each, progressing on a journey from total immersion to e deep reflection andlearning by doing.

Last week we took our first total-immersion journey. The participants engaged in intense discussions with key thought leaders in global finance (Simon Johnson), systems thinking (Peter Senge), data-driven societies (Sandy Pentland), urban transformation (Phil Thompson), mindful systems change (Dayna Cunningham), and system dynamics (John Sterman). In addition, we threw them into highly experiential learning environments. On campus they visited the Media Lab, practiced the IDEO method of design thinking, and explored Boston’s hotspots of social innovation through small-group learning journeys.

We also taught them deep reflection practices to help them be receptive not only to the new ideas that emerged from the MIT eco-system but also to the new ideas that emerged from within: who they are now, and who they want to be going forward. Many found it to be a profound, moving, and in some cases even life-changing experience. As one of them said on the final day: I have been born twice. The first time in Indonesia, the second time here in Boston. He explained that he felt he had come closer to his deepest human capacity to create.

One half-day workshop during the middle of the week offered them a window onto the current conditions and changes that we deal with in just about every larger process of systems change on the planet. Picture this: they entered the workshop room at 8.30 a.m. and saw that the room was set with six tables, one each for the U.S. delegation, the EU, other developed countries, China, India, and other developing countries. They were greeted by the facilitator, a person playing the role of Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General (SG) of the UN.

The SG welcomed the delegates and asked them to take seats at their respective tables (each participant had been assigned to one of the teams and had received a country briefing the night before). Then he provided the delegates with an update on the urgent current situation related to global climate change. He gave each delegation half an hour to develop a proposal for addressing the pressing climate challenges, in order to mitigate and perhaps halt the crisis by the year 2100. Each delegation was asked to present binding commitments its country or region would make on the following variables:

1. in what year it would stop increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
2. in what year it would start reducing GHG emissions
3. the annual rate of emissions reduction it would undertake
4. action on de- or re-forestation
5. its projected financial contributions for all of the above (through payments into a global fund)

The delegates quickly realized that they were not all equal. While the tables of the delegations from the U.S., the EU, and other OECD countries were set with delicious food, China and India had no food on their tables. The delegates from “other developing countries” were even asked to sit on the floor, with their chairs and a table being removed (see team pictures below)

n the SG asked the delegates to rework their commitments in a second round of negotiations. But first he gave them a tutorial on visualizing the potential impact for each region in the year 2100.

Having seen the results of their collective decision-making in round 1, in round 2 the delegates developed commitments of a whole different order of magnitude. They were much more courageous, collaborative, and determined. But still, the projected scenario for 2100 was devastating, although no longer as catastrophic as the round 1 scenario. It took a full third round for them to come up with an almost-final set of commitments and decisions, which, according to the model, would result in a scenario that was close to being acceptable.

2014-10-07-pict5.jpg
Picture 5: Climate change briefing by Prof. J. Sterman (graphic created by Kelvy Bird)

Having seen this process a number of times with different groups, I would make a few observations:

1. The behavior we saw in round 1 is exactly the same as what we have seen from our actual delegations in most international negotiations on climate change over the past decade.

2. Note that the delegates in our simulation game were well-informed (for example, they all watched a “disruption video” before beginning their work) and well-intentioned. Yet, as a group, they acted just as dysfunctionally as our politicians do.

3. In rounds 2 and 3, they abandoned their silo perspective (“this is all that we can do–and by the way, the real polluters are sitting at that other table…”) and adopted a perspective of “seeing the whole.” Their mindsets shifted from an ego-system awareness (me) to an eco-system awareness (we)–that is, an awareness of the whole.

4. The big question on the table in almost every real-world case of large systems change is how to make that shift. What happened in that half-day climate simulation game is often missing on the larger, real-world scene.

5. Five conditions are required to shift the center of gravity in a system from ego to eco:

i. A container: You need to bring all key stakeholders together in a single room, and then create a container–that is, a holding space–in which they can interact and learn with each other.

ii. Science: You need good science in order to let the data talk to you–that is, in order to get beyond everyone’s currently favored opinion.

iii. Dialogue: You need to close the feedback loop between collective action and awareness; you need to make the system see itself (which is the essence of dialogue).

iv. Aesthetics. The origin of the term aesthetics lies in the Greek word aisthesis, which means perception through the senses. In the workshop, it was key to feel the impact of sea-level rise through the map visualization, the oversupply and non-supply of food to the delegate tables, and other inequities.

v. Facilitation: an “SG” to hold the transformative space. When the shift happens between round 1 and rounds 2 and 3, participants let go of their ego-system view (‘look at what they are doing to us!’) and begin to operate from an eco-system view (‘look at what we are doing to ourselves!’).

2014-10-07-pict6.jpg
Picture 6: The Iceberg Model: Turning the Lens Back onto Ourselves, graphic created by Kelvy Bird

The above graphic drawn by my colleague Kelvy Bird depicts this basic point on the upper right: turning the lens back on ourselves and planet earth. It captures the ecological, social, and spiritual divides above the iceberg’s waterline, and all the deeper root issues and sources below the waterline.

What does it take to address the current crises of our time at the level of the source (as opposed to the level of the symptoms)? What it takes, we believe, is a journey–a journey on which the social field shifts from ego-system awareness (silo view) to eco-system awareness (seeing from the whole). That was the shift the Indonesian participants made in the climate change workshop–and in other key experiences during the week. It was that shift that resonated most deeply within their own beings, with who they wanted to be. It’s that shift that they will be able to prototype in the context of their own systems throughout their action learning projects in 2015.

2014-10-07-pict7.jpg
Picture 7: Shifting the Social Field (Theory U).

How can we create these five conditions not only in small workshops, but in society as a whole? How can we reframe our public conversation on climate change by putting these conditions in place? Where have you seen similar shifts? And what conditions did you see that enabled such shifts to occur?

Here are a few links to the climate change simulation model that you can use in your own work:
For World Climate 
For World Energy

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/otto-scharmer/five-conditions-for-sifti_b_5943120.html?utm_source=Alert-blogger&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Email%2BNotifications

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A Mighty Girl

17-year-old Mighty Girl Cynthia Lam of Melbourne, Australia wants to help people living without access to clean water and electricity — and this ingenious young inventor has developed a device that can purify water and generate electricity using only the power of the sun! Cynthia is now bringing her potentially life-changing invention, which she calls H2Pro, to a global stage as one of the 2014 Google Science Fair’s 15 global finalists.

Cynthia’s H2Pro device is made up of two parts — an upper unit for photocatalytic water-purification and hydrogen-generation and a bottom unit where additional water filtration takes place. Dirty water enters the top of the device and it passes through a titanium mesh which, when activated by the sun, sterilizes the water. This photocatalytic reaction also splits the water into oxygen and hydrogen — the latter of which is used by a hydrogen fuel cell to generate power. Impurities in the water such as detergents also provide more hydrogen; thus, allowing the device to generate more power.

In her testing, Cynthia found that H2prO could decompose 90% of organic pollutants in the water in the space of two hours. While the theory shows that the reaction should produce enough hydrogen to generate electricity, in practice, H2prO’s energy generation is still erratic. As she wrote in her Google Science Fair brief, “the removal of organic pollutant was examined to be excellent”; however, she was unsatisfied with its energy generation and plans to “keep searching for economical approach to ‘practicalize’ the electricity-generation unit.”

Ultimately, Cynthia told CoExist, “I think people around the world don’t really understand how serious water pollution and the energy crisis is. I’d really like to finalize the design, because it could potentially help people in developing countries. It would be great to have clean water and electricity supplied sustainably, without needing any outside help. It would be awesome.”

Kudos to Cynthia for her inventiveness and interest in helping others! We wish you the best of luck in the Google Science Fair!

To read more about Cynthia’s project, visit the Google Science Fair site athttp://bit.ly/1vRYqTh

For a new parenting book full of ideas to encourage kids to tap into their natural curiosity and excitement in discovery, check out “Tinkerlab: A Hands-On Guide for Little Inventors” at http://www.amightygirl.com/tinkerlab

For an excellent book about real-life female inventors throughout history, we highly recommend “Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women,” for ages 8 and up at http://www.amightygirl.com/girls-think-of-everything

For another fantastic book about an inventive young Mighty Girl, we highly recommend “Rosie Revere, Engineer,” for ages 4 to 9, athttp://www.amightygirl.com/rosie-revere-engineer

And, for more ways to encourage your Mighty Girl’s interest in invention and engineering, check out our Mighty Careers blog post “I Want To Be An Engineer!” filled with our recommendations for girl-empowering books, toys, and clothing, athttp://www.amightygirl.com/blog?p=6640

 

 

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How This Residential Care Home Bumped Employee Engagement Into Overdrive

Sarah Lozanova | Wednesday July 9th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Editor’s Note: This is the second post in a three-part series on dynamic governance, a new way to run either for-profit companies or nonprofit organizations. In case you missed it, you can read the first post here.  http://www.triplepundit.com/2014/07/residential-care-home-sees-jump-employee-engagement-dynamic-governance/

employee engagementMealtime at Living Well Care Home and the Ethan Allen Residence includes farm-to-table foods made from scratch, with a chalkboard list of which farms provided the ingredients. A naturopathic physician is the medical director, and yoga and Tai Chi classes are available to residents. Inspired by Feng-shui, the rooms have warm and inviting colors. Essential oils are used as cleaning products, all of which are nontoxic. What might sound like a high-end spa are two innovative senior care facilities in Bristol and Burlington, Vermont.

When Dee DeLuca and a small group of like minded folks acquired Living Well, a 15-bed residence, 1o years ago, and Ethan Allen, a 34-bed home, last year, she had a vision of transforming these senior care facilities into loving and supportive environments where elders could thrive with few or no medications, natural foods and holistic treatments. This vision, along with a dynamic framework to govern the organization, was instrumental in the shift from business-as-usual, in an industry where high employee turnover, isolated residents and processed food are common.

“With dynamic governance, we are working with creativity,” explains DeLuca, executive director and co-founder of Living Well. “The typical bureaucratic structure [with top-down decision-making] leaves a lot of unmet needs on the table. With dynamic governance, the needs in the organization get met in a much more efficient way – and we have more fun!”

Employees who have a say in how they work are engaged employees, with a high level of commitment to the decisions they make. Many studies have shown a strong relationship between employees’ workplace engagement and a company’s overall performance. A 2013 Gallup poll estimates that only 13 percent of workers worldwide are engaged, resulting in $300 billion in lost productivity annually in the U.S. alone, as well as higher rates of absenteeism, safety incidents and turnover. To put it simply: Disengaged employees erode the bottom line.

DeLuca believes dynamic governance has helped create a fundamental shift, impacting staff and residents alike. “When people know they have control over how decisions are made in the place where they work and live, they behave differently,” says DeLuca.

“There’s a kindness, gentleness and compassion that has become the personality of [Living Well]. We have had some irritable people here over the years, on the staff, resident and family side. Over time, they relax. When there is compassion and love all around, it is difficult to be mean and upset.”

Living Well went from operating in the red before the acquisition to being in the black. The failing senior care facility was transformed into an award-winning home that embraces holistic health, a transition that DeLuca believes was made smoother through the use of dynamic governance. Importantly, this initiative has helped save the organization money, while boosting quality of life. The facilities buy food in bulk directly from local farms, preserving the food for off-season. DeLuca says that their average meal costs are lower than the industry average, while offering higher quality food. She credits serving whole foods and offering holistic health options with lowering medication costs.

dynamic governance

In dynamic governance, authority for policy decisions is delegated to small groups of members (M) called circles with distinct aims and domains. Each circle is connected to the next higher circle by two people – an operational leader (L, in red), and a delegate (D, in green) elected by the lower circle – who are full members of both circles. The result is to link the circles for flow of policies, information, and feedback, bottom-up as well as top-down. Functional circles may have sub-circles; the number of circles and of levels depends on the size and complexity of the organization.

Dynamic governance – also called sociocracy – is a system for decision-making, organizational and corporate governance, and project management that creates more inclusive and effective organizations. Employees at all levels make policy decisions that govern their work; the levels are linked for flow of policies, information, and feedback, bottom-up as well as top-down.

“The people at the top of a company generally have a broader perspective, more long-range and strategic,” explains Sheella Mierson, a consultant for the Sociocracy Consulting Group. “People at lower levels tend to focus on more concrete specific issues based on their perspective of actually doing the work. Good decisions need both perspectives.”

The staff, residents and family members at Living Well and Ethan Allen are all part of the governance and decision-making structure. Both facilities have formal and informal practices that allow elders to have a voice in making decisions. An elder council meets monthly to discuss their needs and concerns. A council member then sits at the head of the table at the monthly staff meeting to present a report. This perspective is invaluable for continuously improving the home.

DeLuca was impressed by the concepts of dynamic governance when she took her first workshop with John Buck, also a consultant for The Sociocracy Consulting Group. “I spent several decades of my adult life owning, creating, buying and selling small businesses [before acquiring Living Well]. I was tired of having it all sit on my shoulders. I did it alone and I was done being a worker bee…. [With dynamic governance,] my job is to steer the creativity, which is exhilarating, instead of being a policewoman and disciplinarian most of the time.”

DeLuca sees Living Well staff unfolding rugs that may be a tripping hazard, or tidying common spaces – regardless of who is officially responsible. When staff takes responsibility for the betterment of the whole, it creates a safe and happy home, and she attributes this shift to using dynamic governance.

“If some of the employees that have to carry out a decision are not committed to it, they may drag their feet or even sabotage it,” says Mierson. “If they are 100 percent committed to a decision, it’s a completely different ball game because everybody is giving it their best thinking and effort. When there are difficulties, everyone is going to put their mind to solving it and putting together whatever resources are needed.”

DeLuca found the expertise of the Sociocracy Consulting Group invaluable in learning the dynamic governance processes. Consultants led a training session at Ethan Allen within a week of the acquisition to begin reaping the benefits immediately. “Generally, once people understand that they have a voice and it has weight and they can use it anytime, folks don’t hesitate to speak right up because they can,” says DeLuca. “There is a safe container for that to happen always. The level of participation from residents, staff, families, and the community is really high.”

Image credit: Compliments of Martha Loving (upper photo) and Sheella Mierson (lower graphic)

Sarah Lozanova is a regular contributor to environmental and energy publications and websites, including Mother Earth Living, Green Building & Design, Triple Pundit, Urban Farm, and Solar Today. Her experience includes work with small-scale solar energy installations and utility-scale wind farms. She earned an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio Graduate School and she resides in Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage in Midcoast Maine with her husband and two children.

 

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A Better Way to Save Jobs: Employee Stock Ownership Plans

ESOPs give employees part ownership of their companies and prevent major job losses when owners retire. But only two states support them.

BY MARK FUNKHOUSER JUNE 2014
Do you recall the single word of advice for achieving prosperity that Dustin Hoffman was given in The Graduate? “Plastics.” Well, Chris Mackin has a one-word prescription for public officials looking to reduce economic inequality and increase prosperity: “Assets.” Mackin, who for eight years ran a program for the state of Massachusetts focused on employee ownership, calls assets “a seemingly magical set of resources that work for anyone who owns them.” A powerful way to get assets into the hands of workers is through employee ownership.

A look at the data confirms the power of employee ownership, the dominant form of which is through employee stock ownership plans (ESOP). During the Great Recession, the average job loss for U.S. companies was 12 percent. For ESOP companies, it was only 2.5 percent. ESOP companies grow about 2.5 percent a year faster than the average company, and employees get two and a half times as much in retirement assets as other employees. In 2013, while 7.3 million private-sector workers belonged to unions, more than 12 million were employee-owners.

ESOPs are qualified retirement plans that are invested primarily in the common stock of the sponsoring company. The mechanics of creating an ESOP can be intimidating for employees and owners. The capital needed for an ESOP is generally supplied through debt, and the owner has to pay for an independent appraisal of the value of the business. Then the legal trustees of the employees have to sign off on these valuations.

This is where important roles for public policy come into play. State and local governments could start by surveying businesses to find out their succession plans, seeking healthy companies with owners who will soon retire and explaining the process to them.

They could offer to pay a portion of the cost of an appraisal, which would be a small fraction of the billions that governments now pay in tax and other incentives aimed at job creation and business retention.

Thousands of baby boomers are turning 65 every day, and many of them are business owners looking to sell out and retire. When the sale is to a competitor, a larger corporation or an out-of-state company, there is usually job loss. With conversion to employee ownership, the workers keep their jobs and the community keeps the company. Therefore, it’s surprising that only two states, Ohio and Vermont, currently have programs focused on supporting conversion to employee ownership.

But interest seems to be picking up, according to the Center for Employee Ownership, which has model language for states to adopt. The center is working closely with Oregon’s business development department, and legislation supporting ESOPs is under consideration in Iowa and Connecticut.

Employee ownership is hardly a new concept. It was a favorite of the late U.S. Sen. Russell Long of Louisiana, who explained his enthusiasm for it this way: “The problem with capitalism is that there are not enough capitalists.” Long was a public official who understood the power of assets.

Mark Funkhouser  |  Director, GOVERNING Institute   http://www.governing.com/gov-institute/funkhouser/gov-a-better-way-to-save-jobs.html  
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Why Shouldn’t Employees Own More Of The Companies They Work For?

By John Hofffmire & Tom Steele, Deseret News  April 2014

Dr. Steven Freeman of the University  of Pennsylvania describes that granting ownership rights in corporations to employees has a profound effect on the employees´ commitment to the firms. A higher amount of employee commitment enables companies to perform better in critical areas. In many cases, the original owners’ shares can be worth more, even though they gave up part of the ownership, because employee-owners worked better than they did before receiving shares.

Employees who own shares of a company feel that they have more influence in the organization, especially when they are encouraged to participate more fully. This leads to higher organizational commitment. Professors Joseph Lampel, Ajay Bhalla and Pushkar Jha from City University in London report that those organizations that grant company shares to their employees obtain improved company performance in product development, market expansion and sales.

To increase employee commitment, businesses may choose from various strategies related to employee ownership plans. Among the options are: encouraging employees to purchase stock, giving it to them as a bonus or granting them stock through a profit-sharing plan. However, the most popular strategy in the United States for building employee ownership is called the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).

Through this type of employee benefit plan, a business sets up a trust and puts in it shares of its stock (or cash to buy shares). All company contributions to the trust are tax-deductible, and selling shareholders often receive capital gains tax forgiveness. The shares are then allocated, over time, to individual employees, and within a short period an employee gradually obtains full vesting of the shares in his or her account. When employees leave the company, the firm buys back their shares at fair market value, providing extra retirement assets.

When employees are granted partial ownership of a company, many positive changes can occur. According to the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO), in the economic downturn that started in 2008, ESOP companies laid off employees at a rate less than 3 percent, while non-ESOP companies laid off employees at a rate higher than 12 percent. A study in Washington state found that employees at ESOP companies made 5 percent to 12 percent more in wages and earned nearly three times the amount of retirement assets of non-ESOP employees, calming possible apprehension about investing employees´ pensions in the same place where they are employed. A network of over 1,500 ESOP companies found that after implementing Employee Stock Ownership Plans, 84 percent of firms reported an increase in both employee motivation and productivity.

A number of well-known companies in the West and Midwest are ESOPs. These include popular companies such as WinCo Foods and Schreiber. According to the NCEO, both of these companies advertise the fact that they are ESOP companies. Proud to have an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, these corporations use their identity as ESOPs for positive marketing purposes. Lampel, Bhalla and Jha found that, if a company has an ESOP, the public’s view of that firm is positively influenced. In the study, ESOP companies reported that their firms have greater positive images than others. That positive public view comes directly from the fact of a company being an ESOP.

In his research, Freeman combines 29 different studies of ESOP companies. He reports that ownership plans often work best when they come along with increases in the regularity with which employees participate in decisions that influence their jobs. Freeman’s review of the studies shows that, co-existent with this increased involvement in company decisions, employees reported a rise in job satisfaction, motivation and organizational commitment. Not a bad set of outcomes.

John Hoffmire is director of the Impact Bond Fund at Saïd Business School at Oxford University and directs the School of Business and Poverty at the Wisconsin School of Business at UW-Madison. He runs Progress Through Business, a nonprofit group promoting economic development.

Tom Steele, Hoffmire’s colleague at Progress Through Business, did the research for this article.

Center on Business and Poverty ​ ​​An Initiative of the Puelicher Center for Banking Education at the Wisconsin School of Business  https://www.cobap.org/current-news.html

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A MORE BEAUTIFUL QUESTION: THE POWER OF INQUIRY TO SPARK BREAKTHROUGH IDEAS by Warren Berger

KIRKUS REVIEW

How the art of the inquiry can transform ideas into action.

Journalist and advertising guru Berger (Glimmer: How Design Can Transform Your Life, and Maybe Even the World, 2009) examines the science of questioning and the ways in which the world’s top innovators have used it to their advantage. Establishing a “culture of inquiry” is a prudent move for both producer and consumer, writes the author, who cleverly examines the impact the “Whys, What Ifs, and Hows” have on the development of products like snow shovels, baby carrots and Crackerjack, among many others. Berger explores how, in asking “the question that defined the problem,” struggling entrepreneurs have moved from product conception to profitable execution. Begun as a website assisted by volunteers and researchers, Berger’s book expands further on questioning as a skilled art form that can be polished to gain its maximum benefits, even though the author finds its usage underutilized in today’s electronic multimedia age. Berger makes great use of both historical and contemporary examples of educators, innovators and business moguls who, by taking time to ask pointed questions of themselves and their respective industries, have both broadened their understandings of challenging situations and expanded the range of positive possibilities. Rhetorically (and hypothetically) asking the right questions also enabled entrepreneurs to establish wildly successful businesses like Netflix (“What if the video-rental business were run like a health club?”) or game-changing inventions like the microwave oven (“Could the energy from the radio waves be used to actually cook food?”). The author also touches on the reasons why we stop asking pertinent questions as we age and the ways parents can inspire inquisitiveness in children. If asking questions demonstrates an open willingness to know, Berger writes, the answers have the power to dispel ignorance.

A practical testament to the significance of the questioning mind.

a Kirkus book review at https://www.kirkusreviews.com/search/?q=beautiful+question&t=title

the book’s website http://amorebeautifulquestion.com/

 

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Well-treated employees give more of themselves of the business.

OPINION

Doug Rauch: Profit begins with people

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/culture-602805-conscious-people.html? utm_source=CC+2014+News+3.7.14&utm_campaign=Culture&utm_medium=email

Published: Feb. 21, 2014 Updated: 2:33 p.m.

Many consider culture to be soft, squishy and, hence, a secondary concern for business leaders. In reality, culture is probably the most powerful contributor to a company’s competitive advantage. Culture is the unique DNA of a company; no two companies have identical cultures, the same way that no two people have the same fingerprints.

Your competitors can copy your products or your trade dress or your promotional strategy, but they can never replicate your culture. The most sustaining competitive advantage a company has is a deep, rich, powerful, values-driven culture.

The late Peter Drucker, regarded as the father of modern management theory (with whom I had the pleasure of studying), observed, “Culture eats strategy for lunch.” As leaders, we often spend too much time focused solely on strategy and not nearly enough paying attention to culture.

Culture is simply “the way things are really done” in an organization. It is the whole array of behaviors, from how emails are written to how job promotions are really given. It is the way we treat each other and others within our company’s ecosystem.

Congruence in a culture is critical. When the people in a company reflect the values, intentions and commitments in their actions, there is congruence. People know what to expect, and they get what they expect, which builds trust. Without trust, relationships – personal or business – can’t be secure. And if relationships are not secure, it’s reflected in the marketplace.

Not surprisingly, in the Conscious Capitalism community we talk a lot about Conscious Culture, and we celebrate companies that cultivate Conscious Culture. We recognize the essential role culture plays in supporting successful businesses. (As a result, “Building Fully Human Organizations” is the focus of our upcoming Conscious Capitalism event, CC 2014, in San Diego, April 9-11.) A Conscious Culture embodies the understanding that we are not simply economic agents or units of production, but fully human beings with multiple dimensions, all of which we bring with us to the workplace.

Contrary to the belief that people are “human resources” to be leveraged for productivity, or “used,” in Conscious Cultures we recognize that people are sources of creativity, initiative and success. When we acknowledge the full spectrum of their humanity, and treat them with respect, care and love, when we invest in their ongoing learning, growth and development, people come alive and give their very best. This is true whether they are employees, vendors, customers or investors.

When a business has a clearly articulated greater purpose that informs decisions and actions, and when it orients to creating value for all of its stakeholders, people are inspired and deeply engaged in creating value for themselves and others.

Engaged employees are simply more creative and productive. They show up for work and stay with a company for a longer time, reducing turnover costs and building valuable knowledge, experience and social capital. They bring more of their discretionary effort to the job, giving a company more than it “paid for.” They treat customers, vendors and others with respect and care for the well-being of the company.

A study, reported by Zeynep Ton, an MIT professor, in her recent book “The Good Jobs Strategy,” reveals that every $1 of salary increase for employees generated $4 to $28 in increased revenue for a major national company. Rather than looking to cut costs by squeezing employees, smart companies look to increase revenue by paying their people fairly and treating them with care and respect.

This all sounds good, but some may wonder if a Conscious Culture is soft and squishy. Does love and care take precedent over productivity and performance? On the contrary! Conscious Businesses tend to be led and populated by highly motivated, passionate people, who recognize that results are the key to bringing their purpose to life and sustaining their commitment to creating value. Conscious Businesses are meritocracies and deeply results-oriented.

In addition to their inspiring sense of purpose and Conscious Culture, they also set high expectations and standards for each other. And if performance lags, people and partner companies are given clear indications that they have to elevate their games, and if they don’t, they are removed or replaced.

But this is always a result of a shared standard of high achievement, not from cost cutting or “Top Grading” arbitrary procedures.

Leaders play a key role in establishing a Conscious Culture. As Ann Rhoades, former chief people officer at Southwest Airlines and JetBlue Airways, observes, “Leaders drive culture, culture drives behavior, behavior drives performance, and performance drives results.” How leaders treat others, how they live the values and commitments of a company, and how they hold the company’s purpose and focus on creating value for its stakeholders, sets the tone for everyone else in the organization. From there, everyone in an organization plays a role in bringing the culture to life, every day, through their words and actions.

If business is going to fulfill its potential to elevate humanity and avoid social scorn, business leaders have to build more fully human organizations. Conscious Capitalism can provide a framework and foundation for doing so.

Doug Rauch is CEO, Conscious Capitalism Inc.; founder, The Daily Table; former president, Trader Joe’s.

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Capitalism 4.0 & Neuroplasticity of the Collective Brain

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/otto-scharmer/capitalism-40-and-neuropl_b_4839429.html

Posted: 02/22/2014 5:43 pm EST Updated: 02/23/2014 12:59 am EST

Otto Scharmer Senior Lecturer, MIT; Founding chair, Presencing Institute

 

I have just returned from an interesting experience in Washington. D.C.: a panel discussion with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The event was sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a leading neo-conservative think tank responsible for much of the intellectual core and agenda of the Bush-Cheney administration. So why would I go to a place that co-engineered much of the thinking that led us into the disaster of the Iraq War and the financial crisis of 2008, costing us trillions of dollars, and causing massive waves of human suffering across cultures?

Three reasons. One, I was invited by my friends at the Mind and Life Institute, which hosted one of the panels at the event. Two, because I am annoyed by the collective paralysis that we are witnessing in Washington and that is creating such huge problems both domestically and globally. I am more than happy to contribute anything I can to creating spaces for dialogue across intellectual and political divides. And three, because Arthur Brooks, who took the leadership at the AEI in 2009, is breaking away from many taboos of the old thinking and trying to do something new. It’s that kind of spirit that we need in many more places today.

That being said, I don’t agree with many of the official AEI talking points. But I did discover, particularly in informal conversations, a lot more common ground than I imagined I would–including a thought-provoking conversation with Paul Wolfowitz (former U.S. defense secretary and former president of the World Bank). Here are three observations from my trip to Washington last week: discovering common ground, capitalism 4.0, and searching for neuroplasticity of the collective brain.

Common ground: There is surprisingly significant common ground between the value-based part of the conservative movement on the one hand and people (like me) who believe that we are living in a moment of profound disruption that requires us to evolve and profoundly transform all our institutions of business, government, and education. What is that common ground? Three points: entrepreneurship; individual creativity; and mindfulness. Together these forces represent the power of business and social entrepreneurship and the power of civil society.

But what’s missing? One thing is the environment. What could possibly be more conservative than environmental conservation? There is nothing inherently left or right in addressing environmental issues. As we see in the rise of the green parties in other parts of the world, they often are quite independent of the left-right axis of traditional political thought. But in the United States the far right has done everything to deny the environmental challenges that we’re dealing with today. You could sense the ripple effect of this denial in parts of the audience when the Dalai Lama and Diana Chapman Walsh, former president of Wellesley College, talked about environmental challenges like climate change. There was a bit of an awkward silence. It reminded me of the reaction I experienced in Davos at the World Economic Forum after suggesting that we break up all the banks that are too big to fail. An awkward moment like this happens when people hear truths that are obvious but unpleasant. Yes, they are uncomfortable, but those are exactly the moments when cracks to the future can open up.

So my first takeaway is this: Traditional right-left polarization keeps the political discourse locked into false dichotomies of the past. Finding common concerns with many people at the AEI event reconfirmed my intuition that we need a completely different force field in politics today–not necessarily a new political party, but something very different from what we have now.

Searching for Capitalism 4.0

During the first panel of the event, Jonathan Haidt of NYU suggested that today’s capitalism has three different story lines: (1) capitalism as heartless exploitation, (2) capitalism as the greatest discovery of mankind, and (3) a “more ethical capitalism” that relinks morals and markets, including a constructive role for religion and ethics.

Haidt suggested that His Holiness believes in story 1 (“I am a Marxist,” the Dalai Lama occasionally likes to point out with a smile). Haidt said that his co-panelist Glenn Hubbard, Dean of the Columbia Business School, believes in story 2. Hubbard was previously the chief economic adviser to George W. Bush, oversaw the tax cuts, and became well known for his interview in Charles Ferguson’s Oscar-winning documentary film Inside Job (2010), in which the 2008 economic crisis is linked to the deregulation that Hubbard and many others (including Democrats) advocated for.

Jonathan Haidt then said that he sees the emergence of story 3. That story begins with capitalism as one of the “greatest human achievements” (see story 2), but unlike story 2 also focuses on the externalities that we are facing now.

Reflecting on Haidt’s point of view, which seemed to resonate with many in the room, I would like to point out two issues that time constraints prevented me from raising during the panel discussion on Thursday.

First, the framing of the three stories misses a story that matters even more: a story of profound institutional transformation–story number 4. And second: the framing of the three stories lacks a structural analysis that gets at the deeper core of our institutional transformation challenges today. Just bringing in religion, morality, and some other good wishes will not do the trick.

So here is another view that frames our current situation in the context of four logics and paradigms of economic thought. They all respond to the basic coordination problem of our modern economies, but in a different way.
1.0: Organizing around centralized power: state and central planning
→ giving rise to socialist and mercantilist economies (single sector)
2.0: Organizing around decentralized power: markets and competition → giving rise to entrepreneurs and the private sector (two sectors: public, private)
3.0: Organizing around special interest groups: negotiation and dialogue → giving rise to the NGO sector (three sectors, conflicting: public, private, civic)
4.0: Organizing around shared awareness and cultivating our commons → giving rise to co-creative relationships among the three sectors (government, business, civil society) in order to innovate at the scale of the whole system.

 

These four logics mirror four different stages of economic development. Each earlier stage is included in the later ones. As economies move from 1.0 to 2.0, 3.0, and now possibly to 4.0, the consciousness of the human economic actors also evolves from traditional (1.0), to ego-system awareness (2.0), to stakeholder awareness (3.0), and to an eco-system awareness (4.0) that we see beginning today.

The problem of our current economic debate is that we are trying to solve 21st -century problems with 19th- and 20th- century economic thought. That is: our discourse is stuck between “more markets and free enterprise” (2.0) and “more regulation and government” (3.0). In reality, neither of these approaches will suffice. Trying to solve 21st-century problems with 19th- and 20th-century economic thought is like driving a car at high speed while only looking into the rear mirror. That is what the economic debate looked like while it drove us into the crisis of 2008. As Einstein famously reminded us, we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking that created them.

The present economic discourse does have three major views: 1.0–the authoritarian solution (à la Putin); 2.0–the free-market capitalism solution (the neo-liberal view); and 3.0, the stakeholder capitalism solution, which basically advocates “more of the same” in terms of the 20th century welfare state (the progressive view). But the problem with these three views–and the problem with Haidt’s three stories–is this: they all look backward, they all drive into the future while using frameworks of the past. What we need is a 4.0 framework and narrative that is based on transforming the patterns of economic action and thought from ego-system to eco-system awareness, in order to innovate at the scale of the whole (as I have laid out here).

Neuroplasticity of the Collective Brain

A panel moderated by Arthur Zajonc, president of the Mind and Life Institute, started off with remarks by Richard Davidson, one of the leading neuroscientists of our time.

Davidson talked about the neuroplasticity of the brain, a concept that has replaced the older static view of the brain. Neuroplasticity is based on the discovery that the structure (anatomy) and function (physiology) of the brain are much more malleable by our behavior and the environment than previously thought. For example, recent advances in epigenetics suggest that our behavior can alter the expression of the genes. According to a recent study, even a single day of mindfulness practices can change the epigenetics of your brain. What follows from this is that well-being and its key drivers, such as generosity and conscientiousness, can be learned. Says Davidson, “There is absolutely no doubt that these factors can be learned.”

Listening to Richard Davidson’s intriguing presentation, I thought: Boy, the plasticity of the human brain is an unbelievable leverage point that points us to our ultimate leverage points as human beings: paying attention to our attention. It calls for a new type of leadership work that focuses on the cultivation of our inner instruments of knowing. But what would it mean to cultivate the neuroplasticity of the collective brain at the level of a whole system? That would seem to require a new type of leadership work that we all need to learn to engage in.

I followed that train of thought by structuring my own remarks around four major points.

One, that there are two sources of learning: learning from reflecting on the past, and learning from sensing and actualizing emerging future possibilities.

Two, that in order to activate the future-based learning cycle, leaders and change-makers have to go through a three-stage process:
Observe, observe, observe: Go the places of most places of most potential and listen with your mind and heart wide open.
Retreat and reflect: Allow the inner knowing to emerge. Share, reflect, and go to an inner place of stillness to connect with your deeper sources of knowing. Contemplate Who is my Self? What is my Work?
Act in an instant: Explore the future by doing. Co-create rapid-cycle prototypes that generate feedback from stakeholders, which then helps to further evolve your idea.

Three, that in order to activate that deeper cycle of innovation and future-inspired learning, leaders have to engage in a new leadership work that focuses on cultivating three deeper capacities of knowing:
• The open mind–the capacity to suspend old habits of judgment by paying attention to our attention (mindfulness);
• The open heart–the capacity to empathize, to experience a problem from the viewpoint of another stakeholder, not your own view (compassion);
• And open will–the capacity to awaken and activate the deeper creative, entrepreneurial core that is dormant in each and every human being.

There are many examples of exceptional business leaders who embody these deeper capacities in different ways. Steve Jobs is famous for his claim that the only way to do your best work is by following your heart. Do what you love, and love what you do.

Another one is Bill O’Brien, the late CEO of Hanover Insurance. Summarizing his experience as a successful leader of transformative change, he told me,

“The success of an intervention depends on the interior condition of the intervenor.”

What he meant is that what matters most is not just What leaders do or How they do it–the process they use–but the Inner Place from which a leader operates, the quality of awareness and attention that they bring to a situation.

An example of acting from this deeper place is Eileen Fisher, the founder and CEO ofEileen Fisher Inc., a highly successful women’s clothing company. She not only uses mindfulness practices for herself, as Steve Jobs did; she also introduced mindfulness moments in her company, just as Twitter co-founder Evan Williams has done in his company. For example, at Eileen Fisher, every meeting begins with a moment of stillness.

My fourth point related to the pressing societal challenges that we face across societies today. The number one leadership challenge in today’s major systems and sectors of society is the same. Leaders need to change how their key stakeholder systems interact. Instead of interacting based on a narrow ego-system awareness, they need to collaborate based on a shared eco-system awareness–that is, an awareness that focuses on the well-being of all.

What does it take to move stakeholder systems from ego-system to eco-system awareness? It takes a journey. A journey that we are seeing in many successful stakeholder projects in many cultures that moves them through the stages of “observe observe,” to listening with their minds and hearts wide open, to accessing their “deeper sources of knowing,” and finally to learning by rapid-cycle “prototyping,” by connecting head, heart, and hand.

I ended by asking the Dalai Lama how we can apply the power of mindfulness and compassion not only to individuals but to evolving the system as whole. He gave two responses. The first one: “I think you know better [than I do] (laughter). You already have the experience…” He then continued: “My thinking is to emphasize the education. That’s the fundamental approach.” That approach is part of a major initiative to renew the foundation of education worldwide that the Mind and Life Institute is about to launch.

So here are my three reflection questions of this week: (1) Considering the collective paralysis in Washington DC, what would it take to shift the public discourse to a true dialogue? (2) Considering the evolution of capitalism: What would it take to take the eye off the rear mirror and onto the real challenges that we face in terms of Economy 4.0? (3) Considering the power of neuroplasticity, what would it take to unlock the neuroplasticity for our collective brain–that is, the sum total of our social, economic, and spiritual relationships?

Useful links:
Here is the link to the session: opening remarks by Arthur Zajonc, Richard Davidson, the Dalai Lama, etc.: go to Panel II link
The framework of Capitalism 4.0.

I will expand on these topics in my weekly blog posts here (bookmark this blog).

Follow Otto Scharmer on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ottoscharmer1

 

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Reinventing Organizations

FOREWORD TO REINVENTING ORGANIZATIONS

by Ken Wilber

This is a very important book, deeply significant in many ways, as much for the pioneering research, insights, guidelines, and suggestions that it makes as for the many equally important questions and issues that it raises. It is, without doubt, on the leading-edge of a type of work we are seeing more and more of at this time: namely, that concerned with the extremely profound changes in consciousness, culture, and social systems that we are seeing emerge, in increasing numbers, at this point in human (and, indeed, cosmic) evolution. Frederic Laloux’s work focuses specifically on the values, practices, and structures of organizations—large and small—that seem to be driven by this extraordinary transformation in consciousness occurring around the world. He offers a very detailed and practical account—what amounts to a handbook, really—for people who feel that the current management paradigm is deeply limiting and yearn to bring more consciousness to the way we run organizations but wonder if it is possible and how to do it.

The book is highly practical, but don’t be mistaken: it is solidly grounded in evolutionary and developmental theory. Books describing the broader transformation of consciousness, not just in organizations but in society, have appeared for at least three decades now, going back to such pioneering works as The Aquarian Conspiracy, The Turning Point, The Greening of America, and so on. But there is a major, indeed profound, difference: development studies continue to indicate, with increasing certainty, that what has generally been thought of as a single major transformation in consciousness and culture in the last four or five decades actually contains two major transformations, emerging successively, and known variously as pluralistic and integral, individualistic and autonomous, relativistic and systemic, HumanBond and Flexflow, green and teal, and order 4.5 and order 5.0, among many others. And, as developmentalists are increasingly discovering, these two transformations are simply the latest two in a long line of consciousness transformations that, slightly modifying the terms of Jean Gebser, for example, are called Archaic, Magic (Tribal), Mythic (Traditional), Rational (Modern), Pluralistic (Postmodern), and Integral (Post-postmodern).

Each of these stages of development occurred to humanity as a whole, and repeats itself in essentially basic ways in individuals today, with everybody starting at stage one and proceeding essentially up to the average level of development in his or her culture (with some individuals lower, some higher). Each of these general stages has a different set of values, needs, motivations, morals, worldviews, ego structures, societal types, cultural networks, and other fundamental characteristics. The two basic transformations that I referred to above are the last two in the series: the Pluralistic stage, emerging in the 1960s and marking the beginning of Postmodernism, and more recently (and still much more rarely) the Integral stage, newly emerging, and marking the beginning of the phase—whatever it may turn out to be—that is moving beyond Postmodernism and its basic tenets.

The profound difference I was alluding to is this: most earlier books heralding a transformation of society speak from a Postmodern perspective, and have a rather simplistic view of human evolution. Laloux’s book speaks from an Integral perspective and is grounded in a sophisticated understanding of evolutionary and developmental theory and what in Integral theory is called AQAL (all quadrants, all levels).

Postmodernism, as the name suggests, is that general phase of human development that came after, and in many cases strongly criticized, the previous general phase of Modernism, which began in the West with the Renaissance and then fully blossomed with the Enlightenment—the “Age of Reason and Revolution.” What Enlightenment’s modernity brought to the scene was a move beyond the previous mythic-literal, religious, traditional era of development—where the Bible was the one source of literal, uncontested truth; humanity had one, and only one, savior; and “no one comes to salvation save by through the Mother Church,” whose dogmas delivered truth on all subjects, artistic to normative to scientific to religious. With the Enlightenment, representative democracy replaced monarchy; freedom replaced slavery (in a 100-year period, roughly 1770-1870, every rational-industrial society on the planet outlawed slavery, the first time this had ever happened to any societal type in human history); the experimental modern sciences replaced the revelatory mythic religions (as sources of serious truth); and what Weber called “the differentiation of the value spheres” (the differentiation of art, morals, and science, so that each could pursue its own logic and its own truths outside of their fusion in the dogma of the Church; where the Churchmen refused to even look through Galileo’s telescope, researchers by the hundreds and eventually thousands began to do so, with an explosion in all of what are now referred to as the “modern sciences”—geology, physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, sociology).

So successful were the modern sciences that the other major domains of human existence and knowledge—from artistic to moral—began to be invaded and colonized by scientism (the belief that science, and science alone, can deliver any valuable truth). The “dignity of modernity” (the differentiation of the value spheres) soon collapsed into the “disaster of modernity” (the dissociation of the value spheres), resulting in what Weber also famously called “the disenchanted universe.”

Such was the state of affairs for some 300 years—a mixture of great advance and stunning discoveries in the scientific arena, accompanied with a reductionism and scientific materialism that rendered all other fields and areas as defunct, outmoded, childish, archaic. “Social Darwinism”—the notion of the survival of the fittest applied to all aspects of human existence as well—began to insidiously invade all the humanities, ethics, and politics of humans, including the two major new economic systems, capitalism and socialism. Scientific materialism—the idea that all phenomena in the universe (including consciousness, culture, and creativity) could be reduced to material atoms and their interactions, which could be known only by the scientific method—and the generally liberal politics that accompanied such beliefs, set the stage for the next three centuries.

Until the 1960s, when not only the reign of scientific materialism was challenged (as being itself largely a cultural construction, not some deified access to universal truths), but also all of the remaining indignities of the Mythic-religious era (some of which were addressed by Modernism, and some of which were exacerbated by it)—indignities such as, overall, the oppression of women and other minorities, the toxic despoliation of nature and the environment, the lack of evenly applied civil rights, the general reign of materialism itself—all were aggressively attacked, and attempted to be remedied, by Postmodernism. What developmentalists have discovered about this new emergence is that it was driven, in large measure, by the emergence of a new and more developed stage of human unfolding (variously referred to as pluralistic, individualistic, relativistic, postmodern). This is not to say that everything Postmodernism pronounced was therefore true, only that it was based on a mode of thinking that was more complex, more sophisticated, more inclusive, and included more perspectives than the typical formal rational structure of the Modern era (and the Modern stage in today’s individual development).

This new, more inclusive stage of development drove the first wave of books maintaining that “there’s-a-great-new-paradigm-and-major-consciousness-transformation” now underway. These books, which began to emerge in the 1970s and 1980s, and a few of which I already named, usually had a very conspicuous diagram with two columns—one was the “Old Paradigm,” which was “analytic-divisive,” “Newtonian-Cartesian,” “abstract-intellectual,” “fragmented,” “masculine,” and which was the cause of literally all of humanities’ problems, from nuclear war to tooth decay, and then another column, the “New Paradigm,” which was “organic,” “holistic,” “systemic,” “inclusive,” and “feminine,” and which was the source of a radical salvation and paradisiacal freedom from virtually all of humanity’s ills. What’s more, these two choices—old paradigm and new paradigm—were the only basic choices humanity had. Its earlier stages (e.g., tribal) were simply earlier versions of the new paradigm, which was repressed and destroyed by the aggressive Modern version of the old paradigm.

In large measure, these books were simply boomer writers documenting the transformation that they had just been a part of—namely, where, to the remains of the Magic, Mythic, and Rational paradigms still in existence to varying degrees, was added the possibility of the newly emergent Post-Rational or Postmodern paradigm, to which the boomers were the first major generation to have access (today in Western cultures, the Pluralistic/Postmodern stage makes up around 20 percent of the population, with 30 to 40 percent still Modern/Rational, 40 to 50 percent Mythic, and 10 percent Magic).

All of these early books had several things in common. By dividing humanity’s choices into just two major ones—old and new paradigms—they blamed all of humanity’s ills on nothing but Modernity and the Enlightenment paradigm, severely distorting the actual situation, which is that a majority of the really nasty cultural problems faced by humanity are the result of the Mythic-literal structure—from ethnocentric “chosen peoples,” to female oppression, to slavery, to most warfare, to environmental destruction. In some cases, Modern technology was added to those Mythic motivations, thus making them more deadly (e.g., Auschwitz—which was not the product of Modern worldcentric morals, which treat all people fairly, regardless of race, color, sex, or creed, but Mythic ethnocentrism, which believes in out-groups of infidels and in-groups of “chosen peoples,” and in which infidels, lacking souls, can be murdered or killed, and jihad in one form or another—from missionary converting to outright crusades—is the order of the day). In many cases, Modernity was in the process of ending these Mythic ethnocentric insults (such as slavery, and using a specific Modern attitude of tolerance, a previously quite rare value), but Postmodernity blamed Modernity (and rational Enlightenment values) for all of it, thus, in many cases, making matters considerably worse.

But in other ways, Postmodernity, with its own higher perspectives, brought not only advances in the sciences, but gave equal emphasis to virtually all other disciplines as well (sometimes going overboard, and claiming that no truth at all was possible, only various interpretations, so of course all disciplines should be included). And in its drives for civil rights and environmentalism and gay/lesbian rights and rights for the disabled, the higher moral fabric at least possible with a higher stage of development came clearly to the foreground. It was these advances that all the “new paradigm” books were celebrating. Who can blame them for getting carried away, and assuming the whole world was headed into this Pluralistic phase, this “new paradigm,” instead of seeing that that phase was simply the fourth or fifth major transformation in human history and would simply take its place alongside the others, not completely replace them? It still shared many characteristics with its predecessors—all of which, together, Maslow would say were driven by “deficiency needs” and Clare Graves’ followers would call “first tier.”

But developmentalists of the time began noticing something initially perplexing, and then outright astonishing: among those that developed to the Postmodern/Pluralistic stage, a small percentage (two or three percent) began to show characteristics that were literally unprecedented in human history. Graves called the emergence of this even newer level “a monumental leap in meaning,” and Maslow referred to it as the emergence of “Being values.” Where all the previous stages (Magic, Mythic, Rational, and Pluralistic) had operated out of a sense of lack, scarcity, and deficiency, this new level—which various researchers began calling “integrated,” “integral,” “autonomous,” “second tier,” “inclusive,” “systemic”—acted out of a sense of radical abundance, as if it were overflowing with goodness, truth, and beauty. It was as if somebody put a billion dollars in its psychological account, and all it wanted to do was share it, so full it was.

And there was something else about it, too. Where all the first-tier stages felt that their truth and values were the only real truth and values in existence—all the others were mistaken, wrong, infantile, or just goofy—this new Integral stage somehow intuited that all of the previous value structures were true and important in their own ways, that all of them had something to offer, that all of them were “true but partial.” And thus, as much as the Postmodern/Pluralistic stage wanted to see itself as being “all-inclusive,” it still essentially abhorred Rational and Mythic values; but the Integral stage actually did include them, or embrace them, or make room for them in its overall worldview. It was the emergence, for the first time in history, of a truly inclusive and non-marginalizing level of human consciousness. And this, indeed, would change everything.

Slowly, but with increasing speed, a whole second generation of “new paradigm” books began to emerge. These included such early pioneers as James Mark Baldwin and Jean Gebser, but then, more recently, books by philosophers, psychologists, and theologians such as Jürgen Habermas, Abe Maslow, Bede Griffiths, Wayne Teasdale, Allan Combs, and my own work, to barely scratch the surface. Unlike the first wave of new paradigm books, this second wave had a much more sophisticated psychological component, including at least four or five stages of development, sometimes nine or 10 (but certainly more than two, the “old” and “new paradigm,” as the earlier wave had it); and—in addition to those developmental levels, a series of developmental lines, or multiple intelligences that moved through those levels (such as cognitive intelligence, emotional intelligence, moral intelligence, kinesthetic intelligence, spiritual intelligence, and so on). They also found room for an integration of science and spirituality—not reducing one to the other (nor seeing all spirituality as explainable by quantum mechanics or brain neuroplasticity; nor seeing all science as reducible to a mystical ground; but both science and spirituality being irreducible domains of major importance). And they all saw the first wave of “new paradigm” books as describing essentially the Postmodern/Pluralistic stage, and not a genuine Integral/Systemic stage.

Frederic Laloux’s book belongs clearly to this second wave of books. But that is not its major claim to significance. We have been seeing, for the last decade or two, books increasingly focusing on business and some sort of “new paradigm” (mostly still first-wave books, but increasingly some second-wave books as well). But more than any other book that I am aware of, Laloux’s work covers all four quadrants (to be explained later), at least five levels of consciousness and culture, several multiple lines or intelligences, and various types of organizational structures, moving from Magic to Mythic to Rational to Pluralistic to Integral—and, of course, focusing on the last and most recent emergent, that of the Integral stage, and a sophisticated and fairly detailed description of the business organizations that seem built around Integral-level characteristics, including individual worldviews, cultural values, individual and collective behavior, and social structures, processes, and practices. This makes it a truly pioneering work.

A brief explanation of “quadrants, levels, and lines” is perhaps in order. As Laloux indicates, these technical aspects are taken from my own Integral Theory, which, as the result of a cross-cultural search through hundreds of premodern, modern, and postmodern cultures and the various maps of human consciousness and culture that they have offered, has come up with what might be thought of as a “Comprehensive Map” of human makeup, which was arrived at by putting all of the known maps together on the table, and then using each one to fill in any gaps in the others, resulting in a comprehensive map that is genuinely inclusive of the basic dimensions, levels, and lines that are the major potentials of all humans. There are five basic dimensions in this Framework—quadrants, levels of development, lines of development, states of consciousness, and types.

Quadrants refer to four major perspectives through which any phenomenon can be looked at: the interior and the exterior in the individual and the collective. These can introductorily be indicated by the pronouns often used to describe them: the interior of the individual is an “I” space (and includes all the subjective thoughts, feelings, emotions, ideas, visions, and experiences that you might have as you introspect); the interior of a collective is a “we” space (or the intersubjective shared values, semantics, norms, ethics, and understandings that any group has—its “cultures” and “sub-cultures”); the exterior of an individual is an “it” space (and includes all the “objective” or “scientific” facts and data about your individual organism—one limbic system, two lungs, two kidneys, one heart, this much dopamine, this much serotonin, this much glucose, and so on—and includes not only “objective” ingredients but behaviors); and the exterior of a collective, which is an “its” space (and includes all the interobjective systems, processes, syntax, rules, external relationships, techno-economic modes, ecological systems, social practices, and so on).

Not only all human beings, but all their activities, disciplines, and organizations can be looked at through this four-quadrant lens, and the results are always illuminating. According to Integral Theory, any comprehensive account of anything requires a look at all of these perspectives—the first-person (“I”), second-person (“you” and “we”), and third-person (“it” and “its”) perspectives. Most human disciplines acknowledge only one or two of these quadrants and either ignore or deny any real existence to the others. Thus, in consciousness studies, for example, the field is fairly evenly divided between those who believe consciousness is solely the product of Upper-Right or objective “it” processes (namely, the human brain and its activities); while the other half of the field believes consciousness itself (the Upper-Left or subjective “I” space) is primary, and all objects (such as the brain) arise in that consciousness field. Integral Theory maintains that both of those views are right; that is, both of those quadrants (and the other two quadrants) all arise together, simultaneously, and mutually influence each other as correlative aspects of the Whole. Trying to reduce all of the quadrants to one quadrant is “quadrant absolutism,” a wretched form of reductionism that obscures much more than it clarifies; while seeing all of the quadrants mutually arise and “tetra-evolve” sheds enormous light on perpetually puzzling problems (from the body/mind problem to the relation of science and spirituality to the mechanism of evolution itself).

Laloux carefully includes all four quadrants and a detailed description of each as it appears in different organizational types, focusing, again, on the pioneering or Integral stage. As he puts it, “The four-quadrant model shows how deeply mindsets [Upper-Left or “I”], culture [Lower-Left or “we”], behaviors [Upper-Right or “it”], and systems [Lower-Right or “its”] are intertwined. A change in any one dimension will ripple through all the others.” He goes on to point out that Mythic and Modern theories of organization focus on “hard” exterior facts (the two Right-hand quadrants), and the Postmodern introduced the interiors of mindsets and culture (the two Left-hand quadrants)—while often going overboard, as Postmodernism in general did, and claimed that only culture was important. Only Integral organizations deliberately and consciously include all four quadrants (as Laloux’s book itself is one of the very few to include all four quadrants in its research). Many Integral writers, while fully aware of all the quadrants, focus on the Left-hand quadrants of levels of consciousness and worldviews, and leave out the Right-hand quadrants of behaviors, processes, and practices necessary to help the emergence of Integral Left-hand dimensions. Laloux points out, for example, that Integral organizational culture (Lower-Left “we”) is enacted particularly by Integral role-modeling from those in the organization with moral authority (from the Upper quadrant), and, from the Lower-Right or “its” quadrant, supportive structures, processes, and practices.

As for levels and lines, Laloux states that “In their exploration, [many researchers] found consistently that humanity evolves in stages. Our knowledge about the stages of human development is now extremely robust. Two thinkers in particular—Ken Wilber and Jenny Wade—have done remarkable work comparing and contrasting all the major stage models, and have discovered strong convergence. … The way I portray the stages borrows mostly from Wade’s and Wilber’s meta-analysis, touching briefly upon different facets of every stage—the worldview, the needs, the cognitive development, the moral development.”

Laloux rightly invites us to be extremely careful what we mean by “a stage.” As Howard Gardner made popular, and virtually every developmentalist agrees, there is not just one line of development with its stages or levels, but multiple lines or multiple intelligences, and each of those lines are quite different, with different characteristics and different stage structures. But what’s so interesting is that although the various lines are quite different, they all develop through the same basic levels of consciousness. For the moment, let’s simply number the levels; or, as Integral Theory often does, you can give them a color name (for example, red, orange, or green). But let’s say that there are, in this example, seven major developmental levels through which move, say, a dozen different developmental lines (cognitive, emotional, moral, values, needs, and spirituality, among others). Each line—say cognitive, moral, emotional—evolves through each of the levels, so we can talk about red cognition, red morals, red values (red being level 3). But somebody at orange (level 5) cognition can also be at a red (level 3) conventional moral development. So talking about levels without lines is dangerous.

All of the multiple intelligences in humans develop through actualization hierarchies. Cognition, for example, moves from sensorimotor intelligence, to images, then symbols, then concepts, then schema, then rules, then meta-rules, then systemic networks. This is a point worth emphasizing, because Laloux’s book shows that organizations operating at the Integral or teal stage no longer work with dominator hierarchies, the boss-subordinate relationships that are pervasive in organizations today. But the absence of dominator hierarchy is not the same thing as the absence of any hierarchy. Even if we look at Graves’ work, for example, one of the major defining characteristics of Integral or teal is the return of nested hierarchies, after their almost complete removal at green Postmodern pluralism. (The Postmodernists utterly fail to distinguish between dominator hierarchies, which are indeed nasty, and actualization hierarchies, which are the primary form of natural growth, development, and evolution in the world—atoms to molecules to cells to organisms, for example. Postmodernists toss out all hierarchies as being sheer evil. This is a characteristic of the egalitarian Pluralistic stage and is one of its shadow sides.)

But with the emergence of the teal altitude, hierarchies are all over the place—they’re literally everywhere. As Elliott Jacques’ works have empirically demonstrated, the way most organizations are structured, those at the lower levels of this hierarchy usually work on the floor or assembly line; those at the intermediate levels mostly work middle management; and those at the upper levels work upper management (including CEO, CFO, COO). What these newer organizations do is move all of those levels—the entire hierarchy itself—into teams of usually 10 to 15 people. Any person, in any team, can make literally any decision for the company—and, in fact, virtually all the major decisions in the organizations are made by team members—including sales, marketing, hiring and recruitment, research and development, salary decisions, dismissals, HR functions, equipment purchases, community relations, and so on. This makes each team, and each person in the team, much more Integral—they can operate on any level in the hierarchy they are capable of, as long as they consult with those who will be affected by the decision (although they don’t have to follow the advice), where previously they had been constrained by their place in the pyramid. One of the great findings of Laloux’s work is that actualization hierarchies can flourish when dominator hierarchies are removed. A company of 500 individuals thus has, not one but 500 CEO, any one of whom might have a breakthrough idea and be able to implement it, a true self-management move that is one of the major reasons for the astonishing success of so many of these organizations. What happens to middle and much of upper management? Mostly, it doesn’t exist. Those hierarchies have been relocated.

This work is, as I said, one of the most important books in the entire second wave of “new paradigm” books. As Laloux is the first to admit, we don’t know if all the characteristics, processes, and practices that he describes will end up actually describing the structure and form that teal organizations will take. But this research deserves to be taken seriously by every Integral, indeed every conventional, student of organizations and organizational development. In terms of AQAL (all-quadrant, all-level) sophistication, there is simply nothing like it out there. My congratulations to Frederic Laloux on a spectacular treatise. May it help many readers gather inspiration to create businesses, schools, hospitals, or nonprofits inspired by this emerging new wave of consciousness that is starting to transform the world.

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PRAISE FOR REINVENTING ORGANIZATIONS

“This is a very important book, deeply significant in many ways, for the pioneering research, insights, guidelines, and suggestions that it makes, as well as for the many equally important questions and issues that it raises. This is truly pioneering work.” -Ken Wilber, from the Foreword

“People have long asked me what a ‘5th order,’ or ‘high stage’ organization would look like in the flesh. Frederic Laloux’s richly researched book is the closest anyone has come, as yet, to answering this question. This is a stimulating and inspiring read!” –Robert Kegan, Harvard University’s Meehan Professor of Adult Learning, and author of In Over Our Heads

“A book like Reinventing Organizations only comes along once in a decade. Sweeping and brilliant in scope, it is the Good To Great for a more enlightened age. What it reveals about the organizational model of the future is exhilarating and deeply hopeful.” -Norman Wolfe, Author of The Living Organization

“Ground-breaker! Game-changer! Brilliant! The most exciting book I’ve read in years on organization design and leadership models. Sustainability? Employee engagement? Innovation? This elegant, parsimonious way of working realizes those aspirations effortlessly while exceeding traditional bottom-line measures and infusing heart and spirit into work without gimmicks. Like a Zen practice, learning to do less takes discipline, and this book shows how letting go gives back–to you, your organization, your stakeholders, and the world.” –Jenny Wade, Author of Changes of Mind

“Frederic Laloux has done business people and professionals everywhere a signal service. He has discovered a better future for organizations by describing, in useful detail, the unusual best practices of today.” -Bill Torbert, Author of Action Inquiry: The Secret of Timely and Transforming Leadership

“A comprehensive, highly practical account of the emergent worldview in business. Everything you need to know about building a new paradigm organization!” -Richard Barrett, Chairman and Founder of the Barrett Values Centre

“Frederic Laloux’s ‘Teal Organization’ is as close a model to what I call a ‘conscious organization’ as I have seen – an organization and a culture that not only thrives in the unfolding paradigm of collective thought but helps in the unfolding. It could serve as the mid-wife for a new worldview that will allow humankind to consciously evolve to a level where the world works for everyone.” -John Renesch, futurist, author of The Great Growing Up

“As the rate of change escalates exponentially, the old ways of organizing and educating, which were designed for efficiency and repetition, are dying. Frederic Laloux is one of the few management leaders exploring what comes next. It’s deeply different.” -Bill Drayton,
Founder, Ashoka: Innovators for the Public

 

 

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