Mindful Change – a modern framework that supports and aligns personnel to effectively embrace organisational transformation.
What is Mindfulness? Mindful awareness is a technology which enhances our choice of what phenomena we attend to and how we act, and involves bringing non-judgmental awareness to the external and internal experiences occurring in the present moment. Being mindful allows for a clearer understanding of how our state of mind impacts our performance. Mindfulness enables us to recognise and overcome the many ways that we get caught in blind spots, distractions and resistance.
Mindful Change is a powerful practical integration of mindful awareness with an innovation framework based on the work of Otto Scharmer, Adam Kahane and other thought leaders. The participants first reflect on the question posed – Does it reach into the core of the issue? – Is it the question on which to focus?
Mindful Change introduces a process of truly immersing in the context of the issue and question. Participants go through the practice of uncovering and setting aside assumptions, deep listening, and mindful dialogue. The group applies this quality of attention to stakeholder interviews, and learning journeys to gain new collective insights into the present. This is the crucible of generative change. It is generally half thoughts and a felt sense of possibilities that emerges but there may also be profound clarity about radical shifts for the future. For further reflection we enter into a phase of “acting in an instant” where we guide the process of prototyping, iterating and reiterating, and finally implementing the change more fully within and outside of the organisation.
Mindful Change recognises that what counts in leadership is not primarily what leaders do or how they do it, but the “source” dimension, the quality and state of awareness that they bring to a situation.
The practical application of mindfulness is the capacity to bring a new quality of attention and presence to the demands of any change process. Mindfulness invites a disciplined and sustained orientation to the emerging life of the present moment, and is highly effective in precipitating radical and transformative insight. Rather than analysing or “working through” past performance, mindfulness allows a deep receptivity to new information, which reveals itself through a process of observation and reflection that is entirely present-moment-based.
The Approach - Influenced by 150 of the world's thought leaders
“I went to MIT some 15 years ago. Since then I have been immersed in many large systems change projects and also in research that allowed me to interview 150 of the world’s thought leaders and innovators on profound innovation and change. What I learned from these years is that there are two fundamentally different sources of learning. The first is learning from the past. The second is learning from the future as it emerges."
Sometimes the past is not very helpful. Sometimes the experiences of the past are themselves obstacles to coming up with new ideas. So I set out on a 15 year path that led me to the conclusion that real innovators operate using that second type of learning process. They learn from the future as it emerges. The economist Brian Arthur explained how to gain access to this second type of knowing using a three step process.
• observe, observe, observe.
• retreat and reflect
• act in an instant
The first step he called observe, observe, observe. What does it mean? It means stop downloading and totally immerse yourself in the places of most potential, in the place that matters most to the situation you are dealing with.
Second, retreat and reflect, allow the inner knowing to emerge. He also said to go to the places of stillness where knowing comes to the surface. Here you share and reflect on everything that you have learned from, a deep place of listening, asking “what wants to emerge here?” and “how does that relate to my and our journey forward? So the key question is: How can we become part of the story of the future rather than holding on to and embodying the story of the past?”
And third, when a spark or two appears, act in an instant. Explore the future by doing. Develop a prototype. A prototype explores the future by doing something small and quickly that generates feedback from all the key stakeholders and allows you to evolve the idea.”
Three step Mindfulness approach:
Observe, observe, observe
Retreat and reflect
Act in an instant
"Real innovators learn from the future as it emerges."
My research at MIT allowed me to interview 150 of the world’s thought leaders and innovators on profound innovation and change.
What I discovered on this 15 year path is that they learn from the future as it emerges.
Sometimes the past is not very helpful. Sometimes the experiences of the past are themselves obstacles to coming up with new ideas.
Otto Scharmer, Author of Theory U