Guest post — Emerging Ecosynomics Tool Box — Body Experience of Harmonic Vibrancy

Guest post by Eyal Drimmer, Certified Vibrancy Guide

In a second online, collaborative process (find the first one here), several members of the global Vibrancy network enriched an initial draft of the tool ‘Body Experience of Harmonic Vibrancy’  with their own experiences and thoughts.  I have finalized the first version of the tool, which you can download here.

The tool is part of the emerging ‘Ecosynomics Tool Box’ (see also the Perceived Reality Check-In and Handbook Agreement Evidence Map.)

I want to thank Annabel Membrillo, Christoph Hinske, Jim Ritchie-Dunham, and several anonymous collaborators for their contributions to the process.

Guest post — Creating a “Handbook on the Agreements Evidence Map”

Guest post by Eyal Drimmer, Certified Vibrancy Guide

I want to share an innovation to the introduction of the harmonic vibrancy experience.  After collaborative reflections with Annabel Membrillo and Christoph Hinske and my own experience of trying it in a workshop, I documented the method (see Google Doc).  This builds on what Annabel posted earlier.  The tool is part of the emerging “Ecosynomics Tool Box” (see also ‘Perceived Reality Check-In’ and ‘Handbook Agreement Evidence Map’).

I invite you to collaborate on enriching the document through adding your own experiences and in the Google Doc until the end of September.  I will publish the updated version in the beginning of October.

Agreements — What They Are, Why They Are Important, and How People Work with Them — A Dialog with Orland Bishop

Agreements are a fundamental element of being human — it is how we interact with our own self, each other, groups, nature, and spirit.  In this dialog, our colleague Orland Bishop describes the deeper nature of agreements and why they are so critical to the human experience.  Click here to listen to this dialog.

For an in-depth look at how agreements influence your experience, and how to see those agreements, check out the Ecosynomics book-course.

Guest post — Introducing the Experience of Harmonic Vibrancy in Mexico

Guest post by Annabel Membrillo, ISC Fellow 

When I was designing an Introductory Experience of Harmonic Vibrancy, some questions came to my mind: can I find a real experience for the group? An experience that talks not just to their mind, but makes them feel it in their body and will?  I did not want to start with their mind in the very beginning, and that was a bit difficult for me, since I am so accustomed to work with my mind. Then an inspiring moment gave me some ideas of how to do this.

Feeling each relationship in the body. I believe there is a way to get people to feel Harmonic Vibrancy. I did this body experience in about an hour and a half. The I, Other, and Group relationships were easier to experience in the physical. I still need a good form of body experience for the relationships to Nature and Spirit. For each one of the relationships, I ask the participants to put themselves in one of the postures for a minute, and then write down on a post-it what they feel and think. I do not have pictures of people doing the postures; however, the I and Other are pretty straightforward. In the case of the relationship to the Group, the lower level was very interesting. The image below can help to make sense of the posture I asked them to do as a group. People said things like they could not see more than the person in front of them. They felt static. Some of them said they did not have feelings, and were uninterested, with their minds going to a different place.  Some wanted to touch the person in front, and turn to see the person behind; so, it was a very nice way to make them feel the lower level of the relationship to the Group.

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In the case of the relationship to Nature, I gave them an object (the carton at the end of a roll of toilet paper works very nicely).  I told them what it was, and then asked the group what was the purpose of the object. At first everyone answer what I told them, that is the Things level of perceived reality.  Then, in the case of toilet paper roll, they told me they have garbage in their hands. When I asked them about what could they do with the object, a lot of ideas came in, that is the development-verb level. Finally, some ideas that were beyond the object helped explain what we can imagine when we are in the light level. I linked this same exercise to the relationship to Spirit, to discover how to experience this through the body.

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The first experience of Naming. Language is so important for the process of experiencing harmonic vibrancy, and sometimes we find it difficult to listen to ourselves and to others in the collectives we are part of. So, what I did is to give the group famous phrases from philosophers, singers, popular sayings from Mexico. Some of these are in the Ecosynomics book, and some are not.  Some are long; some are short. Some examples of the short ones include: “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in” from Leonard Cohen; “Tree that is born crooked, his trunk never straightens,” a popular saying; “We only see what we animate, and we animate what we see” from Emerson. I asked the group to identify the primary relationship(s) and the level of each phrase. I emphasized that they could sense the level of perceived reality just by listening to the language they used.

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The first 4-5 hours of the 12-hour workshop were dedicated to these two activities. After that we worked more and more with the mind, learning what agreements are, understanding the three paths through the three levels of perceived reality, analyzing their responses to the harmonic vibrancy survey, and analyzing Agreements Maps for different groups. I believe that the success of these other exercises rested on the two exercises of the first 4 hours.

At the end I did a small exercise of “mindfully eating chocolate,” to close the workshop reminding them that the more mindful we are, the more we can really help collectives to name agreements and realize what to do next.

I look forward to learning what you and others have found useful in engaging people with their mind, heart and will from the very beginning of the harmonic vibrancy experience.  I know that we will continue to improve and innovate from this point forward to make this introduction a real experience of what Harmonic Vibrancy is.

Annabel Membrillo Jimenez, ISC Fellow, is the Vibrancy Ins. representative for Harmonic Vibrancy and Ecosynomics in Mexico.  Through her consulting, coaching, and teaching, Annabel has brought harmonic vibrancy, and strategic clarity to individuals, organizations, and communities in Mexico since 1995.  A graduate with honors of the ITAM, she has co-authored articles you can find at ISC.

Radio Interview on HV Survey Research

Past-cast Series — Seeing relevance in earlier publications

ISC President Jim Ritchie-Dunham was interviewed on the radio today (March 14, 2011) about the harmonic vibrancy survey research by John Schmidt, of the Global Transforming Ensemble.  You can download the 57-minute interview from John’s Internet-radio talk show ZOOM’D Leadership at (http://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/52588/harmonic-vibrancy).

Guest post — Is My Company Vibrant? A Case Study

Guest post by Maureen Metcalf

I met Jim Ritchie-Dunham and learned about Harmonic Vibrancy research when a highly regarded colleague, Terri O’Fallon, asked me to participate in a study. Terri is one of those people who is always involved in something interesting so I responded. Additionally, the request came as part of a research study Jim was doing on vibrancy and I personally love to participate in leading research to contribute to and learn about the latest thinking in organizational effectiveness.

Taking the Assessment

I took an individual assessment with Metcalf & Associates as the company I was evaluating. I found the assessment and results interesting, and because of our scores I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Jim, the lead researcher. After our conversation, I was committed to learning more—and support his research— as it seemed as if he was making a unique and important contribution to the field of organizational effectiveness and organizational leadership.

Creating a Vibrant MBA Class

My next step was to require that my graduate students take the assessment for multiple organizations to both build the database and to help them begin to get a feel for which organizations are most effective and which are least. We also tried an experiment in which students evaluated the class environment at the end of the semester (after grades were finalized). My personal research question was: Could we create a vibrant organization in an MBA class in the relatively limited length of a semester? Interestingly, the answer was yes. While we needed to refine a few of the questions, overall, we could all participate in a process to build a vibrant organization in a short period of time. I love the idea that the class could not learn only the theory; they could also have the actual experience of being in a vibrant organization during the class. Then the question was what they could do to create this for themselves. We asked some students with particularly high scores to participate in the research.

Improving Our Organizational Vibrancy

My next challenge was to see if I had created a vibrant organization within my own company. I certainly thought it was vibrant—but what did others think? Again, we were a company that did not perfectly fit the profile, but I decided to test us before going out to our clients. I have committed us to being a learning lab, a company that tests new ideas on ourselves, and proves them valid and useful before going to our clients. As the owner of the company this was intriguing because while the feedback was about the company it was also very personal—it was about the company I had created and about me as a leader.

So, the moment of truth; I selected my key team members and invited them to complete the survey. Like those in most organizations, some people responded immediately and others required several reminders. The end result was seven responses from our core team.

Metcalf Survey Results

Our scores were high in six of the seven categories. In the seventh, “process of innovation” we scored a four on a scale of one to five. This would not seem terrible except that our company tag line is Inspiring Leadership Innovation. What were we doing wrong? What was I doing wrong? I thought we were very innovative. We had published a very well-received book about innovative leadership that won an International Book Award in 2012 for Best Business Reference Book and we were in the process of writing several workbooks that also won multiple awards. How could we possibly be lacking innovation? What I learned was that we balanced innovation with meeting client goals. We are both innovative and focused on client results. As a company with limited resources, we were balancing the very real limitations of our resources including the time we had to commit to innovating versus the time we had to deliver impeccable results every day to our clients.

This helped me see that we were on the right track—and while I will still strive for a higher score, I understand our results and envision our opportunities to grow. One of the best outcomes of this assessment was the very candid conversation I had with this group. I learned that I held some assumptions about how we were working that were not true; specifically, I assumed people did not want to get together regularly because of their busy schedules. I learned that they did want to spend more time together as a group (which we have now done). Some of our gatherings are social in nature and allow for people to informally incubate ideas that will move us forward. Additionally, the team is deepening their relationships with one another.

I have appreciated the insight from this assessment. We have implemented changes and in other areas it validated that we are on the right track. Each participant had the opportunity to express an individual perspective as well as hear perspectives from others, building our shared sense of what we want from our organization. Round two of the assessment is in the plan for 2014. For now, we are using this assessment with our clients and getting great results. In an upcoming blog, I’ll share the results working with a client.

Maureen Metcalf, the CEO of Metcalf & Associates, is author of Innovative Leadership Fieldbookan award-winner in the 2012 International Book Awards for Business: Reference Book.  Partnering with the Institute for Strategic Clarity, she brings the work of organizational vibrancy to groups in Ohio.

Guest post — Invitation to Organizational Vibrancy with Maureen Metcalf

Guest post by Maureen Metcalf

[Note from Jim R-D.  ISC’s network of colleagues from around the world is finding many ways to engage you in the experience of vibrancy and outcomes of abundance.  This invitation comes from our colleague Maureen in Ohio.]

In this post, we invite you to experience greater organizational vibrancy and business results. We define organizational vibrancy and invite you to get involved by taking a vibrancy assessment. An understanding of vibrancy along with your assessment scores will support you in choosing agreements that allow you to flourish.

Mike runs a highly successful organization that has made significant progress against its strategic goals over the past 18 months. Now, the leadership team is looking forward to determine what they need to put in place organizationally (and what barriers they need to remove) to accomplish some very aggressive goals. To support this process, Mike asked the leadership team to take the organizational vibrancy assessment. Each leader provided an individual response and the data were synthesized to create an organizational picture from which he determined recommended organizational changes. These results are part of the next leadership off-site to plan for the upcoming year. The information gathered was very helpful in identifying very specific actions and will also help leaders revise how they look at organizational change. One of the most valuable elements of the vibrancy assessment is helping leaders change their paradigm about leading change to be more comprehensive.

Organizational Vibrancy – We know the positive feeling we experience in places we love to go, homes we enjoy visiting, conversations we relish. We call this experience of vitality “exuberance and flourishing community vibrancy.” People feel it and seek greater vibrancy, whether consciously or subconsciously, to guide their interactions with others. To enable organizations to attract and retain the best talent, and engage in the most effective business practices,  Jim Ritchie-Dunham, President and researcher at the Institute for Strategic Clarity and an adjunct researcher at Harvard, created a study to identify key factors that could help us improve our overall organizational vibrancy and outcomes. You can use the survey findings to guide your actions in improving your organizational vibrancy. This study is part of Dr. Ritchie-Dunham’s ongoing research, and is being offered at no cost to you, your organization, or participants in your organization.

Why Care? By understanding where your organization excels and where it falls short, you will be able to address challenges and build on your strengths to create more vibrancy and greater success. Our goal is to support vibrant, sustainable organizations that will attract and retain the best talent, and continue to build a sustainable community that will renew itself for the next 100 years and beyond.

Questions. If people care about the vibrancy they experience in an organization, and it is an attractor for business and talent, what are its characteristics? Can people discern higher and lower levels of it? What is the role of leadership in the experience of vibrancy in a group? Do all groups within an organization have access to this higher vibrancy or does it depend on the resources the group has?  Does this higher vibrancy lead to stronger, more sustainable outcomes?

What We See. Jim Ritchie-Dunham and the research team from the Institute for Strategic Clarity, including leaders from diverse disciplines, have surveyed over 1,400 individuals about the groups in which they participate. The survey participants and the data told an interesting story. In some of the groups, the survey participants experienced total scarcity, in others some scarcity and some vibrancy, and in still others they experienced deep vibrancy. They told us that in the groups where they experienced greater vibrancy, they also experienced a higher quality in the group’s leadership. They also shared that where they experienced greater overall vibrancy, they experienced a greater connection to five key elements:

  1. self
  2. others
  3. the group
  4. process of innovation
  5. source of creativity

The interesting and counter-intuitive finding is that these relationships are experienced at similar levels of health: when any relationship is strong, the others are also relatively strong, and when any relationship is weak, the other relationships are also relatively weak.

Implications. These findings fly directly in the face of prevailing theories of economics, where one relationship (e.g., the self, the other, the group, nature, spirit) prevails over all relationships. If there are, indeed, groups where people experience a deeper vibrancy, and these groups seem to have similar characteristics, what does this mean for how we engage in groups together? Can we, as an organization, identify these characteristics and the organizations that have them? How do we share best practices with other groups within the community to raise the overall community vibrancy measure? How do we create tools to help organizations within our community increase their vibrancy, as the drive to improved vibrancy will happen with one organization at a time?

How Will We Do This in the Long Term? We are just undertaking the data-gathering phase of this plan. After we have a comprehensive picture of the organizational vibrancy experienced across seven key dimensions, we will create a more concrete action plan with our clients. Our initial plan includes the following:

  • Gather data using the vibrancy assessment
  • Identify top performing organizations across multiple sectors (city and state government, business and nonprofit)
  • Create approaches for top performing organizations to share their best practices and tools
  • Create tools for medium and lower performing organizations that will allow them to become high performing organizations (the nature of the tools and method of sharing will depend on the survey results and interest among participants). We will ask for your input to determine what will best support your success.

Next Steps.  Invest 10 to 15 minutes to take the free survey.  If you are unable to click the link from this document, please cut and paste http://instituteforstrategicclarity.org/take-the-survey/ into your browser.

What You Get Back Personally.  For everyone who takes the online assessment, you will receive an online response that contains a spider chart of five key dimensions (relationship to self, other, group, process of innovation, source of creativity).

Follow-up Actions upon Study Completion. Jim Ritchie-Dunham has agreed to do the initial data collection and feedback at no charge to the participants. He will use this data to build his research database. Should you choose to take action after the data collection, we will formulate a proposal for next steps based on the survey findings and report feedback. There is no obligation to engage in follow-up work.

Maureen Metcalf, the CEO of Metcalf & Associates, is author of Innovative Leadership Fieldbook, an award-winner in the 2012 International Book Awards for Business: Reference Book.  Partnering with the Institute for Strategic Clarity, she brings the work of organizational vibrancy to groups in Ohio.

Guest post — 17 European Groups Living Into the Ecosynomic Paradigm – Initial Insights (#1 in a 4-part series)

Guest blog by Christoph Hinske, ISC Senior Fellow

In this series of 4 posts, I will share initial insights from research with 17 groups in Europe.  Covering seemingly different sectors (5 in business, 7 in civil society, 4 in global networks, 1 in academia), I find similar underlying patterns, innovations and dynamics in all of them.  My main diagnostic tool was the “Ecosynomics Survey of Harmonic Vibrancy” from the Institute for Strategic Clarity.  I was able to follow up on the survey with some of the groups, interviewing individuals, observing group processes, and offering workshops with selected members.  To protect their confidentiality, I changed the names of the groups.  While they are not all high-vibrancy groups, they all present interesting insights from an Ecosynomic perspective.

Figure 1 shows the general level of perceived Harmonic Vibrancy in each of the 17 different groups, using a scale of 1 to 5 for seven dimensions – the five primary relationships, the quality of leadership, and the group’s overall outcomes (group well-being).  These ratings are outputs from the 57-item Ecosynomics Survey of Harmonic Vibrancy, which you can take for free online.

Figure 1: Overview of diagnostic results from 17 European groups

Figure 1: Overview of diagnostic results from 17 European groups

As captured in Figure 1, some of the groups describe their reality as very vibrant and collaborative (depicted by the outer lines). Others describe their reality as more scarce and competitive (depicted by the inner lines).  While the results might seem very similar, since the lines are all very close and no group has very low levels of harmonic vibrancy, the practices, agreements, and outcomes are very different between low and high vibrancy groups.

In the early stage of this research, the similarities I have found have led to three initial insights: 

1) Similar outcomes and experiences

While the groups come from different sectors and cultures, they describe similar experiences and outcomes in their work.  When describing experiences of low harmonic vibrancy, the group members showed how the outcomes of their value-creation processes mostly met the industry standards. And, when describing experiences of high levels of harmonic vibrancy, they showed how their value-creation processes led to outcomes that exceeded industry standards.

2) Similar processes and structures

I started to find and identify reoccurring practices in groups describing similar levels of harmonic vibrancy. They range from having a radically different understanding of recruiting to innovative ways of organizing to letting go of standard leadership models, as well as structures that engage customers and employees at a very high rate.

3) Similar fundamental assumptions

Finally, I found that groups with higher levels of harmonic vibrancy start their interactions from a different set of fundamental assumptions. A friend and colleague of mine just teased me and said, “So do you propose that they are better or more advanced human beings? You know you should be careful with such an assumption, especially in the German context.” No, I am not proposing that. What I observe is that they are ordinary people, like you and me, doing very ordinary things – like writing project proposals to get funding. And, I observed that they start from assumptions of possibility and abundance rather than from scarcity and limitation.

I will frame each of these three insights and illustrate them with one of these cases in my subsequent blog posts.

Harmonic Vibrancy — Conceptos Principales

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Nuestros compañeros en Mexico compartieron los conceptos principales de la experiencia de vibración armónica.

Our colleagues in Mexico have posted a brief, in Spanish, on the basic concepts of harmonic vibrancy.

My Personal Vision

In the formative days of the field of ecosynomics, there is one thing of which I am very clear.  Those who have come before us faced difficult questions, and through their deep work arrived at extraordinary insights.  They gained insights into different perspectives on how people meet their own selves and each other as they grow, on their own and together.  This has been a long journey many have taken, for which I am eternally grateful.  On the foundation they laid, my contemporaries and I are able to build a stronger future.  Specifically, this mean that I believe that everyone that has come before and is working now has provided insights into the human experience.  The task is to tease out the gems from each of these earlier contributions.  Humanity will see further because of them, not in spite of them.  This gesture has been characterized by others as one of “transcending and including.”  Transcending, or moving beyond, while including the best of what has been seen before.  We could not have arrived at this point without those experiences, insights, and the will they had to address them.  For that we are grateful.

I believe that naming the emerging field, making it visible and understandable, can support the movement to higher harmonic vibrancy that is happening globally, raising it to a higher level of momentum.  Said more boldly, I believe everyone deserves the opportunity to experience a higher level of harmonic vibrancy and abundance in their life.  Said another way, it is not okay that much of humanity experiences deep scarcity because of the agreements in which they live.  They can shift those agreements.  It is this generation’s work to provide the space where more people can connect to and benefit from what is being learned.  This is our contribution to a much freer world and more people experiencing that.