Archive for June, 2007

Pendulums and Fire

Posted in Uncategorized on June 18, 2007 by velocityvortx

Most change in organizations is 1st order change, the change of the pendulum. We seek 2nd order change, the transformation of fire. Peter Berquist, The Postmodern Organization

Growth, life development and organizational change have at least one thing in common; they all face the potential rubber band cycles of movement to the new and then reversion to the old. Each time a change forward happens it has to fight the gravitational pull backward of the old. This back and forth pendulum-like motion is labeled 1st order change. You look at almost anything in life and this initial change forward can only ‘stick’ if it gets out of the gravitational field of the old orbit. Pendulums are predictable, cyclical, and pictures of entropy. Pendulum change is essentially system tweaking, members of the system doing more or less of something they have always done before, as a result 1st order change is reversible and threatened by the pull of yesterday.

The change of fire however is quite different. This 2nd order change is transformation that occurs through being forced to do something new that has never been done before. This is the exact opposite of more of the same.  This is an effort to intentionally do something of a totally different sort.  The problem? Fire is unpredictable, chaotic, gravity defying, linear and irreversible. What is the point of this paradigm of change?

In any transformation, we are usually working with 1st order change tools when we actually need 2nd order change. We almost always prefer pendulums to fire.  Pendulums are clean, elegant, predictable and listen carefully…hypnotic.  They makes us think something is happening but slowly bring us back to a hypnotized stupor.

Evaluate how much change you make in your area of ministry or life that is 1st or 2nd order change. You will probably find the greatest changes made were almost always by fire, but most solutions you’ve explored are pendulums.


Pulled or Pushed

Posted in leadership, personal development on June 3, 2007 by velocityvortx

Change happens when we become discontent enough with the status quo to actively take steps.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter

The above stated catalyst for change is now well known. Typically, say the experts, some discomfort must be felt to move humans and organizations off the comfortability of dead center. Why would any of us spend the time and feel the pain that change brings when things are nicely coasting along?

This model of how change is initiated essentially says change happens when we are EJECTED from the present due to some crisis, pain, or discontent. This paradigm may in fact be accurate. But the question is, should it be? Should we always be PUSHED form the present as if growth is always driving us away from something or should we instead look ahead in the cool and calm of current peace and seek to be PULLED into a preferable future?

My desire is to see us create through visionizing prayer future scenarios that are so compelling and so motivating that we are pulled toward them. This seems to be a far cry from the “ejection from the present” model of most change theorists. If we can be pulled to the future instead of pushed from the present, we are setting ourselves up for significant momentum and health.

Key steps:
1.    Constantly envision your preferable future.  Are you operating from a quiet center where intuition emerges from the future?  (this is the topic of a book I am writing for release in late 08)
2.    Daily build architecture that prepares for that future. Are you constantly positioning yourself for that future when it arrives?
3.    Keep others motivated toward that future instead of motivated by crisis.
4.    Keep your pulse on “am I being pushed or pulled?”
5.    Keep fresh input in your life to prevent rut formation.   New knowledge streams stand as the single most important habit of my life.