Zaid Hassan: sensing, and connecting to a whole reality
January 8, 2014
I am came across this lovely insight by Zaid Hassan, in The U: A Language of Regeneration. As Russ Ackoff said a hole is spelt with a W. In my journey this reality that others cannot see the whole, happens 99% of the time in organizations, as Deming points to the 94/6 rule, where 94% of problems can be traced to the process and only 6% to the person – when systems are fixed. Therefore sensing the entire system is key.
The failure to see is often the biggest barrier towards tackling our challenges. The dilemma we’re faced with in coping with the modern world is that things are so complex and so fast moving that it’s very difficult to get a picture of the whole, it’s very difficult to see. When we don’t have a picture of the whole, when we’re not even questioning what part of the picture we’re seeing, we end up arguing strenuously from our position of “truth”. We’re willing to invest massive amounts of time and energy on solutions based on the assumption that what we’re “seeing” is a whole, when in fact it may well be a very small part of the whole. We stand in these positions and fight from them, typically unable to understand why other people are not seeing what we are. The essence of this problem is one of perception. The purpose of the Sensing phase is to open ourselves up to reality, to uncover reality and to try and see the whole system we’re a part of.
The position of personal “truth” that Hassan speaks of, has an alternative that there is outside of ourselves a reality which does exist. And the problem is that the philosophy of a mechanistic, numbers led society is reductive, increasingly so in its quest for efficiency – seeing the world as inanimate and not as Lee Smolin, or Tøke Moller, or Deming as wholes – as complex dynamic systems.
Seeing together: it is when this personal truth falls away when a group can see together collectively that extraordinary things happen. I am not saying that from a position of theory, but from being part of and witness to this process. It is for many people an impossible idea yet it is part of this philosophy of how we can meaningfully approach the challenges of transformation.
- High performance organizations through respect for people
- Russ Ackoff, a system is a hole with a W
- True knowledge exists in a network
- Participatory Leadership and transformational change in Scotland
- Exploring the future potential of Scotland
- Lee Smolin and Robert MacFarlane seeing the power and potential of a chaotic world