Agreements of Transformation — Research with 22 Leaders Across 18 Countries

This blog highlights insights from research into the agreements of transformation.  This research with 22 people across 18 countries on 3 continents was supported by the Institute for Strategic Clarity and the UBA, the German Environmental Protection Agency.

CONTEXT

Individuals and groups in different cultures face situations of change in fundamental agreements on a daily basis, addressing complex and large-scale social issues, as well as daily dysfunctional interactions.  We wanted to understand and describe why people respond to these issues by taking on societal-scale transformations, and how they do it.

THE RESEARCH

A team of interviewers at the Institute for Strategic Clarity invited 22 professionals from around the globe who met a diverse set of criteria to be interviewed for and engage in this research project.

•We asked them to “Reflect on a situation, of which you have been part, where you experienced a change at a fundamental level and basic assumptions in a group (e.g. institution, organization, network) or your area of impact (field, industry, sector, region etc.)?“

•Transformation is defined as: “Involving structural changes and shifts in systemic as well as underlying assumptions in order to change how the components in a system relate to one another, thus achieving fundamental change in relationships, systems boundaries, governing variables, actions and strategies as well as outcomes and consequences.“

METHOD

The team, led by Christoph Hinske, engaged 22 practitioners in a 60-minute, semi-structured, dialog-based, expert interview.  The interviews were then analyzed with narrative-based agreements evidence map to find agreements in a simple but robust way in the practices, structures and processes described during the interviews.

PRELIMINARY RESULTS

The interviewees indicated that they achieved transformation by starting with an assumption of abundance of resources, creating experiences of higher vibrancy, and organizing in a way that they achieved greater harmony in their interactions with others.

  • “Conversation partners shared that money and other resources were often perceived to be limited, but never as scarce.“
  • “Decisions and enforcements (un)consciously strengthen the primary relationships.“
  • “People are in such processes because they want to exponentially increase what they value most.“
  • “Societal scale transformation is a journey into the unknown, framed by a ‘psychologically safe’ support structure, in which members enable each other to find ways to walk into the future they see together.”

You can find out more about the research and its findings in the following sources: 

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Guest post — Homo lumens — Where Attention = Love = Energy

Guest post by Leslie Ritchie-Dunham, Director of Creative at Vibrancy Labs

The work of Vibrancy is to surface, understand and rethink the underlying agreements of how we, as Homo lumens, recognize and organize ourselves.

Why do we do this? Because what modern organizations are still doing for the most part; how they work, how they are structured, how they ask people to enter into and accept unhealthy agreements already set in place, isn’t working for most. So people tend to disengage, many even actively disengage (i.e., consciously hurting the organization through their lack of engagement), BUT, if you ask, anyone and everyone (at least every person I have asked) wants to be more engaged in their work and lives, wants to connect more to others and to the earth, to work more and harder on something they love, to just love more, to live more, and enjoy the ride together more.

So why don’t we? Because of Available Capacity. Just like on your iPhone. If you buy the 8G iPhone you will fill it up pretty quickly, so then you get the 16G, and then the 32G and finally the 64G, maybe even the 128G! And what happens… yup, regardless of the amount of storage you buy, they get filled up too darn quickly with all those wonderful photos of friends and family, entertaining videos, songs for every moment, seemingly infinite docs, notes and drawings, and all the interesting stuff one finds online that is really, really cool and you don’t want to forget or that just might be useful some day…

People fill their phone to its available capacity. People do the same thing in their lives, for the same reason. They shine their light to the capacity available in any and every moment (unless the impulse has been educated out of them…). Because people are Homo lumens, or beings of light, and they are all these forms of light energy: life, light, energy, color, bodies (mass) in space with movement, playfulness, thought, intelligence, joy and love (and of course potentially all the opposites as well if not engaged).

ALE Graphic

The ALE graphic, above, was my first graphic, done years ago, to demonstrate the insight that Attention = Love = Energy. They are all manifestations of the same universal energy. We as Homo lumens manifest all three through our thinking, feeling and willing.

A human being as a being of light naturally wants to fill all the available capacity they can find with their creative gesture through their own unique forms of expression. And they will look in the nooks and crannies of their lives (just like on our phones) to find those spaces of a bit more available capacity to fill. The more spaces of available capacity they find to fill, the happier they are, the more they shine and it just goes up and up and up until they hit the Available Capacity Bar.

AuraMan

Humans beings, as beings of light, shining through our thinking, feeling and willing. What is the available capacity of our cultural and organizational structures for us to shine within?

What is the Available Capacity Bar? It is the bar (or ceiling of glass, or even brick as the case may be) of available capacity set by the structures of modern culture and organizations. Overall these seemingly set structures keep the available capacity a human being can shine into shockingly low. In fact, many, if not most organizations keep the available capacity bar below the point where a being of light can function in any healthy way. So people have to medicate themselves because it is unnatural for a being of light to NOT shine. It is actually quite painful to be required to extinguish the light that wants to shine from each and every one of us.

So what if? What if we discontinue using cultural and organizational structures that by their unconscious, or perhaps even conscious design keep the available capacity so painfully low? What if we actively start to design organizational structures that, instead of continuing to foster that low bar, actually raise the available capacity bar?  And, as we change the organizational structures, we can begin to change the cultural structures as well.

This is what Vibrancy does. We do this by helping people, through their organizations, make the flip from Unconsciously Accepted Agreements to Consciously Chosen Agreements. We do this by shining a light down into the basements and foundations of our cultural and organizational structures to find the agreements we are actually working from, so they can now be seen and understood.

When the true underlying agreements are seen and understood, people can either consent to the existing agreements by choice, or take them out back and throw them in the dumpster so that we can start again. But on purpose this time. With clearly understood, agreed upon purpose this time. And, as we start to develop these new structures, learning from the organizations already forging ahead out of a similar understanding and desire, we will learn, and we will add the ability to keep raising that available capacity bar in our organizational structures so people can continue to find new ways to shine. Because, unlike our phones, we as Homo lumens can generate our own infinite available capacity.

And why? Because that is what people do. That is what Homo lumens do. They strive to shine. And they strive to shine together, each interaction capable of setting off an exponential chain reaction of energy as our lights fuse. That is why we love to come together, to ride together through this life, relishing those mega-ton moments of juicy creative explosions along the way.

When people shine together and make those creative explosions, we all benefit. As more and more people live into their consciously chosen agreements, the available capacity bar just keeps getting higher and higher and higher…. and we all get access to that increased capacity, thus raising the vibrancy/capacity level of the world.

Vibrancy is a choice. We can, individually and together, make choices for ever more conscious agreements, by doing the work to identify and understand the underlying agreements we have accepted, to examine them and choose for ourselves ever more available capacities of love, connection, experience, work, play, joy, and life. As Homo lumens it is too painful to do otherwise.