At Metagnosis we are in the business of facilitating and creating change. We understand our clients can feel stuck, overwhelmed and cautious —unable to redirect the course of events in either a significant or constructive way.
On May 29th, Jackelien Barelds, a Vancouver based Theory U expert facilitated a workshop for METAGNOSIS Associates outlining how to use Theory U as a change management tool.
Part of change management’s challenge is the way we approach what we “know” and do, especially in today’s fast moving world where agility is necessary. We need a new way of seeing, learning and doing. With Theory U, Otto Scharmer has taken well-known ideas and combined them in a profound way. He asks, “How do we learn from the future as it emerges?”
In complex environments, analytical or traditional-based change management and leadership often doesn’t provide the outcomes we expect or need, but they do bring up questions on how to discover change in ways that have impact and last.
Our actions often come into the world from what is going on inside of us or from our past patterns or experience. Theory U helps us postpone our judgement, open up our awareness and expand our understanding of the opportunities for change waiting to emerge.
At the METAGNOSIS workshop, Theory U was presented as a high-level overview in the three phases: Exploring, Experiencing, and Discovering.
Exploring: Co-initiating and Co-sensing with open mind, heart and body
Instead of starting a project with putting our expert knowledge in a plan, we start with letting go of our previous experiences, patterns, assumptions, judgement and, in some cases, our knowledge. Instead, we connect with our stakeholders. Change is initiated in connection and facilitated by deep listening and making the whole system heard.
With “Sensing” we redirect our attention from objects to source. To experience the world through our stakeholders’ eyes. That doesn’t mean we go on a site visit and ask people to tell us about what they do, but to go into the field and sense what is happening there. Instead of looking for proof or confirmation of what we already think, we experience another view on the system we work in to spark the desire for change.
Experiencing: Presencing, looking for what want is going to happen
With letting go of past patterns and taking in all we have freshly seen, heard, experienced and felt, we can now dive deep into ourselves and let the possible future emerge from within. We ask ourselves ‘what wants to happen or is about to emerge’ instead of figuring out how to fix it. This is “Presencing”, and it functions as a gateway to a field of future possibilities.
Practices such as mindfulness, meditation, journaling and body work are more and more common in personal development journeys or in private settings, but not yet in work projects or places. However, the effects of such practices have been proven to be positive, and with practical tools it will support the next step for change to be facilitated.
Discovering: Co-creating and co-evolving – creating the change vision
Having reached within, having seen the opportunities of the future and having shared our insights it is now possible to create a clear vision and intention by linking the intelligence of the head, heart and body.
“Crystalizing” is when we begin to envision the future that seeks to emerge from a deep connection to the source, rather than from our ego, and brings clarity of where we need to go.
“Prototyping” then explores the future by doing. Quick small actions of exploring will speed up the process of creating the change that is envisioned. In a safe space with trial, error and adapting you will become ready to bring it into the world!
As change facilitators in complex environments we are like gardeners; we cannot make a flower grow and we can’t support detailed predictions, plans and confirmed outcomes. But we can tend to the garden, we know what the right conditions for growth are and we can create the right circumstances for the change to actually happen.
Theory U supports and offers an organic process that flows by opening up senses, creating awareness of stakeholders and helps us to see the possibilities and opportunities that are often just waiting to emerge … or in three words: form follows consciousness.
Our guest workshop facilitator and blog writer, Jackelien Barelds, is the Principal at En Route Consulting (hyperlink to www.enrouteconsulting.org). She partners with METAGNOSIS to offer change facilitation, leadership development and coaching that focusses on the head, heart and body.