Sunday, August 6, 2017

My Way - Three Stories - Part 3

Part 2 focused on the largest of three stories - namely, the one about creation and the creative impulse.  In Part 3, I'll try to focus more on the medium and small stories: finding "my way" at Sage Garden Ecovillas (the medium story), and what that way is (the small story).  Before I continue, I remind myself 1) the way I'm describing is not necessarily the way for anyone else, and 2) my knowledge of whatever way I call mine is colored and limited by whatever reference I compare it to - in this story, that reference is the prevailing theory and practice of business, or "business as usual."

Here's where I left off in Part 1.  The white nodes represent ideas important to business as usual, and the green nodes are the corresponding alternatives in my way.  When I continued to "pull" the green nodes away from the white nodes, some new differences emerged along the fissure between how / why, inclusive / exclusive, and all / self.

Development: Growing vs Building
The next difference to emerge was development by growing vs building.  Because growing fosters stronger connections to the surroundings and stronger connections across scales, growing and inclusivity are mutually supporting.

Time Frame: Long vs Short
Development by building and making decisions for the benefit of self encourage focusing on a shorter term than development by growing and working for the benefit of all.

Organizational Changes: Evolve vs Evaluate
This difference has to do with the way organizations change over time.  The standard business as usual way to direct organizational changes is by evaluations, which in some cases occur at fixed intervals, or in others, at the completions of a building cycles.  The guidelines for evaluation focus more on how than why.  Development by growing allows an organization to evolve continuously under the direction of the why.

Abundance vs Scarcity
The self-fulfilling belief in scarcity - the idea that there is not enough to go around - supports the attitude of competition, while the belief in abundance facilitates cooperation.

Convenience vs Mindfulness
Continuing to "pull," one result of focusing on the "how" is placing a high value on expedience and convenience, whereas focus on the "why" leads to valuing mindfulness.

Accounting: Owning vs Tending
The series about Making and Taking describes the standard approach of financial accounting, which naturally results from the idea of scarcity and benefiting self.  That series has just started to scratch the surface of an alternative accounting approach based on material well-being.  Standard financial accounting is based on owning, and because its fundamental metrics are in currency or derivatives of currency (whose value is in trade advantage) it favors taking over making.  But this emerging alternative approach is based on tending, and its metrics favor instead the creation of material well-being.

Guidance: Purpose vs Rules
In standard business culture, driven by the ideas of scarcity and expedience, you take as much for yourself as you are allowed under the applicable rules.  Individuals are expected to subjugate or channel their own avarice to the rules and the chain of command.  The ideas of abundance and mindfulness give you the latitude to be guided instead by your purpose.

Deliberations: Sincere vs Convincing
How do people behave while making collective decisions?  In Business As Usual cultures, where the "how" and convenience are emphasized and people are guided by what they can get away with under the applicable rules, deliberations are characterized by convincing arguments.  You co-opt the operational agreements - such as company rules, or de facto patterns, or quarterly objectives that everyone agreed to, or the shallow vision statement that everyone pays lip service to - as leverage to convince the other stakeholders to support your desired outcome.  So your interests are first projected if you will onto an outcome that you think will meet them, which is then projected onto these co-opted operational agreements, which is projected onto the decision makers' responses, and so on until action and actual results.  And each of these projections introduces distortion.  My conjecture (I haven't tested this yet) is that in cultures that value the "why" and mindfulness,  people can sincerely express their interests, which makes it possible to negotiate directly on how to fulfill those interests.

All of which brings us to this:

What's next?

I hope these three stories have demonstrated what can be done - that with a little patience, persistence, and self-examination, you can develop your own insights, your own "hey, wait a minute" ideas (whether they're attitudes, values, beliefs, perspectives, or practices) into a coherent, self-sustaining system.  And I hope it has inspired you to do so.  If it has, I hope I get to hear about your ideas and learn from your experience.

I'm sure I'll continue to develop and critique the system in the "small story," and some of the singular ideas (like the accounting system based on tending instead of owning) will develop into their own systems.

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