Learning communities: aligning learning circles

Learning communities: aligning learning circles

Learning communities and multi-system collaborative initiatives are quite common at both social and business environment. For the last three years, at the Global Association of SOL Communities (GASC), we have been organising a European Learning Journey and Conference. In this post, I explore resistances appearing at this sort of community learning process.

The three learning circles

The first hypothesis sets there are three relevant learning circles in this form of community learning journey:

 

  1. Co-creation: People involved at this stage can learn from virtual meetings, experiences, previous debriefings, books and articles shared among members. All the valuable information is stored in shared folders on the Drive.
  2. Co-facilitation: Because there is not enough space for all co-creators to play a visible facilitator role, some co-creators have to collaborate as a shadow facilitator. The conference enables regular debriefings between visible and shadow facilitators.
  3. Co-dissemination: These are either members of learning networks (ex.: SOL community members) and participants attending to the conference.

Aligning learning circles

The second hypothesis sets that we should pay attention to potential imbalances among the three learning circles:

  1. Imbalance among co-creators: some co-creators believe they can influence on colleagues much more than colleagues can influence on them; some co-creators show uneven energy and commitment throughout the co-creation process, which usually last for few months; as the conference deadline approaches, co-creators become more sensitive to the agenda than to the learning process; finally, quite often co-creators sell their approach as one man shop, loosing the collaborative vision of the journey.
  2. Imbalance between visible and shadow facilitators: visible facilitators get more credit from participants than shadow ones; both visible and shadow facilitators get more credit for the learning journey than participants, however the latter play a relevant role during the learning journey; facilitators tend to believe the learning process ends up with the feedback process.
  3. Imbalance between circles 1, 2 and 3: the success of the conference is too much credited to visible facilitators and not enough to participants; also, co-creators and facilitators leave the conference very enthusiastic but there is little follow up of the co-dissemination process.

La descompensación en el trabajo

La descompensación en el trabajo

La descompensación es un sentimiento que está al origen de numerosos conflictos en el trabajo. Las relaciones profesionales acumulan cientos de descompensaciones. Cada acción descompensada es como un nudo en la relación con el otro.

Yo doy más que recibo.

Ella es la preferida…no hace lo que debería hacer.

Vale más hacerlo que pedirlo.

Si no lo hago yo, no lo hace nadie.

Esta te la guardo, esta te la devuelvo, esta me la vas a pagar.

La descompensación es un sentimiento de quien siente que pone más en el juego de lo que se lleva, a menudo porque siente que alguien se lleva más de lo que pone. O de quien siente que tiene que hacer algo que corresponde al otro. O también de quien esperaba algo de alguien y no llegó, o de quien obtuvo una promesa de alguien que luego no cumplió.

Desde su incompetencia relacional o desde la fantasía de que para ellos no existen límites, los propios líderes son generadores de descompensaciones en sus equipos.

Lo cierto es que la descompensación puede ser más excitante que la misión asignada al rol:

  • Permite quejarse, haciendo valer el poder del sacrificio e incluso del martirio, el poder del impotente que dice sacrificarse por el otro.
  • Permite poner al compañero como la barrera que le impide a uno hacer las cosas bien, el otro como obstáculo activo al trabajo bien hecho.
  • Permite vender como un favor personal lo que debería abordarse desde el plano profesional.
  • Permite reivindicar mayor reconocimiento ante los jefes como moneda de cambio por la descompensación sufrida.
  • Permite no ocuparse de lo importante porque uno está muy liado con sacar adelante lo urgente, que suele ser porque otro no hace su trabajo correctamente.
  • Permite mostrarse como salvador del otro (“yo soy quien le saca las castañas del fuego”) y también como perseguido por el otro (“me hace esto a mí, después de lo que he hecho por ella”).
  • Permite construir argumentos para despedir, para humillar, para controlar, para hacerse imprescindible, etc.
  • Permite hablar de fortalezas o de debilidades del otro, según donde se sitúe uno en la rueda.

La interdependencia conlleva mayor conciencia sobre el límite propio, conlleva aceptar la vulnerabilidad, es decir, la posibilidad de ser ayudado por el otro, y aceptar también la generosidad para ayudar al otro. En la dependencia, la contradependencia o la independencia suelen darse numerosos casos de descompensación.

2017 GASC European Conference

2017 GASC European Conference

As current Chairman for the Global Association of SOL Communities (GASC), I´m very proud to share with you the program for the 2017 GASC European Conference.

The empowered society: Transforming cities, citizens and organizations for resilience and prosperity.

Participation is free, registration is compulsory: https://www.weezevent.com/2017-gasc-european-conference .

Venue

  • May 25: Porto, Sala de Atos do Politécnico do Porto, Rua Dr. Roberto Frias, 712.
  • May 26: Braga, Campo da Vinha, Praça Conde do Agrolongo 123,  (www.gnration.pt).
  • May 27: Porto, Politécnico do Porto, Praça do Marquês, 94.

Schedule

  • May 25: 9:30 am to 6:00 pm.
  • May 26: 9:30 am to 6:00 pm
  • May 27: 9:30 am to 1:00 pm.

Tags

Developing effective collaboration, activating people, connecting people, inspiring change makers, women gaining equity, collaborative innovation, collaboration instruments/methodologies, collaborative citizens, emotional intelligence, context for a collaboration to emerge, sense of pride, leaving no one behind, leaving a legacy, touch the soul, inspiring collaboration by examples, dreams and visions.

Conference questions

What conversations shall we have in Portugal to move beyond “desenrascar”? What would it take for Portugal to lead the way in Europe? What would it take to improve business collaboration? What would it take for Portugal to lead the way again in the world? What would it look like if Portugal were to become a world leader in collaboration? What would it look like for women to launch their own business? What would it look like Portugal XXI century sailors and for what “descobrimentos”? What would it look like for people in Portugal to adopt a positive mindset about risk and entrepreneurship? What would it look like for Portugal to be a place where bright young people can make their way in the world and feel both challenged and fulfilled while improving the employment situation? What this country strategic direction should look like for collaboration to become a competitive trend? What would it take to raise women’s self-esteem and changing social expectations?

Conference drivers

The conference is organized around eight drivers grouped into three clusters:

Places 

  1. Smart citizenship: enabling change in each citizen.
  2. The aware citizen: shifting our relationship from ego to eco.
  3. Happy healthy cities: core competences and supporting players.
  4. Smart cities: for residents and/or users?

Processes

  1. Developing organizational behavior towards social progres.
  2. Enabling people and organizations for change: Providing instruments and tools for a successful set of processes.

People

  1. From ideas to projects, from projects to businesses.
  2. Economy and success, leaving no-one behind.

SOL communities facilitators

  • Annika Bergenheim, Sweden.
  • Camila Amaya Castro, France.
  • Paulo Ferreira do Amaral, Portugal.
  • Sofia Rodrigues, Portugal.
  • Martijn Meima, The Netherlands.
  • Natalia Blagoeva, Bulgaria- Switzerland.
  • Alexandre de Azevedo Campos, Portugal.
  • Ken Homer, US.
  • Marion Chapsal, France.
  • Konstantin Yordanov, Bulgaria.
  • Esther Liska, Portugal.
  • Simeon Ries, Germany.
  • Heidi Sparkes-Guber, US.
  • Antonio Linares-Güemes, Spain.
  • Ágota Eva Ruzsa, Hungary.

Conference steps

Step Purpose
1. Sharing understanding conversation (plenary). Generating inclusion, setting the individual intention for the conference, expected outputs and outcomes.
2. Exploring opportunities conversation (plenary and parallel combined). Letting go…of what doesn’t serve us anymore to make room for what inspires us.

Activities/habits we should stop doing.

Co-creation process, new ideas, new ways, new opportunities, new possibilities.
Good initiatives in the region and elsewhere.
3. Converging conversation (plenary and parallel combined). Letting come, connecting the drivers into a systemic framework, passion to move ahead.
4. Action conversation (plenary and parallel combined). What can I integrate in my life, what methodologies can help me, what are my commitments to move forward, what is my new intention to move forward.
5. Learning conversation (plenary, morning of 27). Learning conversation with participants and SOL communities’ members. Also conference debriefing.

 

GASC is a not-for-profit, global membership society, whose members are SoL communities, dedicated to the SoL principles and the SoL brand. The purpose of Society for Organizational Learning (SOL) is to discover, integrate and implement theories and practices for the interdependent development of people and their institutions.

Facebook: @GASC2017

Systemic Diagnosis

Systemic diagnosis

In my newly issued book, El Liderazgo Colaborativo, I introduce four interdependent systemic approaches to carry out diagnosis and five system containers to facilitate organizational learning and collaboration.

Systemic diagnosis assumptions

Classical diagnosis approaches set that “causes” precede “symptoms”; therefore, they have  different status. Causes are usually part of “evidence”, while symptoms are usually part of “interpretation” of the evidence according to a model; interpretation is a kind of explanation.

Systemic diagnosis sets four assumptions:

  • The first assumption sets that system adaptation is an ongoing opening up and learning process happening at individual, teams and large system levels. This process is strongly connected to a closing up process happening at the same three levels.
  • The second one sets that learning (opening up) and resistance (closing up) to learn and adapt go together, also at the three levels. Both are system active processes: although people may feel not so satisfied/happy with current business culture, they are more resistant to losing this reference than to co-create a new business vision that increases their future utility. Systems culture is antagonistic to systems vision.
  • The third assumption sets that individual and team learning should happen within a number of system containers or platforms that set collective direction and subsequently provide shared purpose or shared meaning to them. Aligning people to brand values, as a business container, doesn’t mean building an obliged hierarchy but a commited network.
  • The fourth one sets that any emergent agent should pay attention to learning and to resistances at the same time. This dual or ambivalent focus falls under the adaptive complexity, a sort of empirical term many use without a clear understanding about the meaning.

Many system leaders end up by adopting linear approaches, very disruptive for people and teams.

 

The full identity systemic model

The full identity systemic model

Seven years ago, in my book Identidad Completa (2010), I introduced a systemic model named the Full Identity (FI), applied to organizational learning and transformation. Full identity sets that any human system –individual, team and large system- behaves under the influence of feminine-matriarchal patterns and masculine-patriarchal ones; whether system members are conscious or not this is another story.

FI model is based on a combination of field experience and bibliographic research. The field comes from years of executive coaching, team coaching an intercultural experience. The bibliography comes from imaginary anthropology and gender studies. FI is also my singular way to explore the collective intelligence, a sort of phantom concept we hear about a lot in business…but never see. I have to say that according to imaginary and gender research, there is a difference between gender and sex. Many people either reject or do not understand this hypothesis about differentiating gender and sex…maybe another phantom idea…maybe a resistance due to our mental model.

The FI model assumptions

The first assumption sets the antagonistic relationship between the two patterns: feminine-matriarchal and masculine-patriarchal. When a pattern becomes official (dominant) in the system in terms of influencing attitudes, behaviours, habits or corporate policies, the antagonistic pattern can be observed as symptom. As an example, when an organization becomes too much competitive, demanding, performance oriented, oppressive and vertical (masculine-patriarchal), people show symptoms in form of rumors, stress, boycott and relationship violence (i.e. humiliation, harassment, threat). On the opposite side, when the organization becomes too much social, friendly, caring, protective, easy going, inclusive, tolerant, mystic, patient, slow driven (feminine-matriarchal), people show symptoms of annoy, sadness, mysticism, dispersion and a sort of frustration due to lack of challenge.

The second assumption sets the importance for people to access to shared purpose or shared meaning. Both require inclusion and co-creation, both reduce people anxiety and uncertainty, and increase people commitment. System change implies building a shared understanding and exploration about what behaviours and mental models require to be re-assessed (i.e. which ones need to be abandon and which ones to be reinforced). Systemic crisis may happen when the dominant pattern is unable to provide, not just shared meaning to system members, but also sustainable results for teams and for the large system. As an example, the recent economic crisis represents the failure of the neo-liberal ideology to provide shared purpose to millions of citizens. On the antagonistic side, the collaborative or social economy represents a pattern reversion; digital collaborative technology behaves here as enabler.

The third assumption sets the importance of combining patterns, which means combining combative and collaborative leadership processes or, as Adam Kahane says, combining power and love, vertical execution and horizontal coordination, individual performance and team cohesion, divergent scenario exploration and convergent operating decisions, etc. Adaptive complexity derives from this assumption; adaptive complexity is connected to the way the system learns whether at individual, team or large system level, but also connected to the way the system deploys natural resistance to most of the learning initiatives.

I´m very glad my SOL colleagues, Marion Chapsal and Ken Homer, are exploring the gender field to support system learning and transformation. They will apply their model at the Madrid Collaborative Leadership Workshop this May.