Full Circle POV

Nurturing a holistic, integral point of view for greater leader and team effectiveness and member well-being.

Archive for the tag “consciousness”

Team Differentials

As if there isn’t enough complexity in teams, given the diversity of personalities. Consider the potential dynamic differences, or differentials, that can cause conflict and disruption among team members, one-on-one and collectively. Differentials are differences with the potential to generate misunderstandings, trigger biases, envy, rivalry, and sometimes lead to bullying behaviors. Team leaders need to be conscious of their own reactions and biases related to the differentials which often translate into power conflicts. Although the following list is incomplete and not all relate to you and your team, consciousness matters.

There is a myriad of potential differentials at play: knowledge, skills and experience; social class and culture; philosophical and religious beliefs; polarities; professional philosophy and approach; economic status; demographics (age, gender, generation, race, culture, sexual orientation); personality; motivation and purpose; power; work contexts; horizontal and vertical relationships; and more. And, clearly, many come bundled.

These differential gaps can make or break the effectiveness of the team or organization. Solid leaders anticipate, without assumptions, that the differentials present among team members have the potential to be corrosive and address that potential openly, and as matter-of-fact. The point isn’t that leaders need to surface all the potential differentials and work them through, but to raise team openness to and anticipation of how “otherness” plays out dynamically among team members in the workplace.

My Bridging Differences-Minding the Gap team process seeks to name and make dynamics around differentials explicit (Mind the Gap), address the wounds caused by those differentials (Mend the Gap), and leverage the positive potentials the differentials offer the team going forward toward an agreed upon higher team purpose (Mine the Gap). The team moves beyond a narrow concept of unity to a truer, richer “multiplicity in unity” mindset.

Architectural Abstract 3r

An I Ching Reading to Live By

Heng/Endurance, Hexagram 32 of the I Ching, the Chinese Book of Changes, offered up sage advice when I threw the coins with no particular question in mind. As always, I take heed.

Enduring. Success. No blame.
It is beneficial to persevere.
It is beneficial to have somewhere to go.

To endure means to keep going despite obstacles. Endurance is neither stagnation nor a state of rest. It progresses forward, unlike stagnation, and it keeps moving and growing, unlike rest. What endures renews itself and its effects through continuous activity. What endures does so through change, not in spite of change. Its effects are understood against the experience of change. We see this in the cycle of the seasons that continually renew themselves as the earth moves around the sun. The cycle of the seasons repeats perpetually because its underlying causes continue. Plants and animals grow and change as they endure over time. When they cease to grow, they die, and then they cease to endure.

So it is in life. All life is change. But in order to make change intelligible, there must be things that persist, against which change can be understood. To give your life meeting, you must have something that endures: your identity, your relationships with others, and your principles. If you surrender what is enduring within you, then you surrender to the flux of events and become indistinguishable from them. Then there is nothing left of you.

The lesson of Heng is that you must learn to be consistent and persevere in the face of a changing world. Circumstances around you are changing, but you must maintain your integrity. Be consistent. Do not allow yourself to be blown about by a momentary alteration in fortunes. Do not let concerns about what others might think or how well others are doing by comparison lead you to take drastic or reckless action. Instead, focus on what is and should be enduring in your life: your relationships, your character, and your principles.

The situation that you face now requires you to persevere even though you face adversity and obstacles. Choose a path and stick to it. Keep your long-term goals firmly in mind and progress slowly but surely toward them. Employ routines, practices, and cycles of activity that you can engage in over the long haul that will bring you closer and closer to your goal. Be content to make progress step by step through time-tested methods. Attend to the little things. If you neglect them, they will cause problems in the long run. But if you take care of every day tasks, you’ll head off a lot of problems before they can become large.

The secret to endurance is character. Stick to your principles. Maintain your vision. This will see you through difficult times. You will inevitably have to adjust to your strategy as times change, but do not give up its essential features. Don’t be tempted to make radical alterations out of fear or anxiety. Slow and steady will win this particular race. When things go well, keep going and do not become lazy. When things go badly, keep going and do not become disheartened or afraid. But whether things go well or badly, you must keep going. Never give up. Through endurance and continuous practice, advantages will slowly but surely accumulate, and the situation will eventually move toward your desired goal.

Balkin, J. (2002), p. 352. (See Bookshelf for full citation).

zen-stepsZen Steps




Revisiting Plato’s Cave

The cave of Plato; in a cavernous room are two groups of philosophers separated by a wall; atop the wall is a row of figurines including Cupid and Bacchus and a light casts a shadow of them against the wall; at l, a group of philosophers stand together debating; at r, in a darker portion of the space is a crowded group of philosophers in animated discussion  Engraving

Think about the sheer volume of messages we receive every day in the media, in our work lives, meant to sway our perceptions and beliefs. More and more the purveyors of “truth” are able to micro-target us to shape how we perceive our realities and to influence us to act, or not act, in accord with the messengers’ goals. They are sophists.

Frederick Copleston, SJ, in A History of Philosophy, Vol. 1 tells us of Plato’s allegory of the cave [bracketed additions are mine]:

Plato [in The Republic] asks us to imagine an underground cave which has an opening toward the light. In this cave are living human beings, with their legs and necks chained from childhood in such a way that they face the inside wall of the cave and have never seen the light of the sun. Above and behind them, i.e. between the prisoners and the mouth of the cave, is a fire, and between them and the fire is a raised way and a low wall, like a screen. Along this raised way there pass men carrying statues and figures of animals and other objects, in such a manner that the objects they carry appear over the top of the low wall or screen. The prisoners facing the inside of the cave, cannot see one another nor the objects carried behind them, but they see the shadows of themselves and of these objects thrown on to the wall they are facing. They see only shadows.

These prisoners represent the majority of mankind, that multitude of people who remain all their lives in a state of eikasia [the lowest state of knowing], beholding only shadows of reality and hearing only echoes of the truth. Their view of the world is most inadequate, distorted by “their own passions and prejudices, and by the passions and prejudices of other people as conveyed to them by language and rhetoric” [and, in our age, images]. And though they are in no better case than children, they cling to their distorted views with all the tenacity of adults, and have no wish to escape from their prison-house. Moreover, if they were suddenly freed and told to look at the realities of which they had formerly seen the shadows, they would be blinded by the glare of the light, and would imagine that the shadows were far more real than the realities.

However, if one of the prisoners who has escaped grows accustomed to the light, he will after a time be able to look at the concrete sensible objects [the broader realities], of which he had formerly seen but shadows. The man beholds his fellows in the light of the fire…He sees the prisoners for what they are, namely prisoners, prisoners in the bonds of passion and sophistry….

[Sophistry is commonly thought of as the use of messaging [word and/or image] intended to create false or, at best, partial truths; those shadows on the wall, that the prisoners take to be reality. The intended effects are to keep people mesmerized, manipulated and bound to the pseudo-realities being projected by the shadow masters]

This allegory makes it clear that the “ascent” of the line [consciousness] was regarded by Plato as a progress, though this progress is not a continuous and automatic process: it needs effort and mental discipline [in my thinking, not becoming cynical, but examining cherished assumptions, entertaining contrary perspectives and expanding our critical thinking].

Copleston, F. (1946, 1993), p. 160. (See Bookshelf for full citation).

Interesting image, isn’t it?

And this from William Deresiewicz’s (2014) book, Excellent Sheep:

Society is a conspiracy to keep itself from the truth. We pass our lives submerged in propaganda: advertising messages; political rhetoric; the journalistic affirmation of the status quo; the platitudes of popular culture; the axioms of party, sect, and class; the bromides we exchange every day on Facebook; the comforting lies our parents tell us and the sociable ones our friends do; the steady stream of falsehoods that we each tell ourselves all the time, to stave off the threat of self-knowledge. Plato called this doxa, opinion, and it is as powerful a force among progressives as among conservatives, in Massachusetts as in Mississippi, for atheists as for fundamentalists. The first purpose of a real education (a “liberal arts” education) [or at the least an on-going “self-study”], is to liberate us from doxa by teaching us to recognize it, to question it, and to think our way around it.

Excerpt From: William Deresiewicz. “Excellent Sheep.” iBooks.


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