Some of you will recognize me for the simple reason that we have spoken, not just on social media but in person.
This Tuesday 10 of us were on the call with Julie Arts, and yesterday over 180 people from all over the globe were together on the call with Otto, Adam & Kelvi
In this post I would like to pay attention on the common voice from many of you, that I have heard emerging not just in the conversations from the last week, but has been repeating perhaps for as long as we started the #Ulab no1 last year.
This voice is about integrating other models and practices with the “U”.
While I was researching for my book Diamond leadership, the key question that brought me in contact with the U Theory (and many of you) was How do we transform and align our system/s?
I was looking historically at what were the models that leaders and consultants were using in the past to actually do that – (a wonderful book to learn about the history of organizational change models is Large Group Interventions by Bunker & Alban). The book shows the early steps in the 1930s and 1940s and the works of Kurt Lewin, Wilfred Bion & Von Bartalanffy, up to the 1990s models, Search conference, Future search, Real time strategic change, ICA strategic planning process, Work design, Sumu-Real, Work-Out, Open space technology, Large scale interactive events. The book documents the period up to the 1990s.
As I was approaching the modern days, I am talking about the last decade, I noticed a pattern. It was obvious to me that many current thought leaders, like Bill Issacss, Otto Scharmer, Nick Udal, Edgar Schein (please check their latest books below) talk about the same thing while using slightly different words. In this group of authors I will also add someone who is more focused on the spiritual side of the development, the founder of the Diamond Approach – A.H.Almaas.
It seamed to me that they all agree that what the organizations and the society needs today in order to transform are 3 core practices.
3. U process
When it comes to the practice of presence, their vocabulary is not that different, presence is named as mindfulness, presencing or simply presence.
When it comes to dialogue, there is more variety. In the Diamond Approach the process of dialogue is named as inquiry. In his latest books, Edgar Schein also calls it inquiry. Nick Udall calls it Creative Dialogue.
The U Process is called Creative roller coaster by Nick.
picture from the book riding the creative rollercoaster
So here I am (or we are), at what in my opinion are the 2 most interesting models that we need to integrate with the U model. And I must correct my self, its not so much a matter of integrating the models, since in my experience (tried them all) at the core they are almost identical, but rather integrating the different practices that each model brings.
From the Creative Rollercoaster we can learn how to pay more attention in the preparatory phase especially how to build the container, and choose Key Questions before we start the U dive.
From the Diamond Approach we need to borrow the practice of presence and how they are using it to prepare for the deep dive. In the Diamond Approach, before each journey (they call it inquiry) the practice of presence is never compromised, which in my experience makes incredible difference. Diamond Approach is also masterful about what unfolds in the NOW (In the U Theory, this is named as emerging future).
I am wondering what are your thoughts and experiences on integrating the U model?
Please write on the discussion bellow.
RELATED & RECOMMENDED READING
Large group Interventions, Engaging the Whole System for Rapid Change, Barbara Benedict Bunker
Riding the creative rollercoaster – How leaders evoke creativity, productivity and innovation, by Nick Udal, Kogan Page 2014
Humble Inquiry, by Edgar H Schein, Paperback 2013
Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together – A Pioneering Approach to Communicating in Business and in Life, by William Isaacs, Doubleday 1999
Theory U – Leading from the Future as It Emerges, C. Otto Scharmer
The Unfolding Now: Realizing Your True Nature through the Practice of Presence, A.H. Almaas