POWER – Unilateral or Mutual?

Is the new Ukranian Prime Minister’s call for NATO and UN support in a successful, non-violent defense of Ukranian independence weak or powerful? Is President Jimmy Carter’s new book A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power one more whisper unheard in the jungle of politics, or does it point to the one issue (inter-gender relations) that engages every single human being politically and personally and will therefore repay a new kind of attention from all of us for the rest of our lifetimes?

As I have written in earlier blogs, we (humankind as a whole) don’t even have a working theory of the power of mutuality, such as action inquiry provides. Nor do we imagine that actions based on mutual power can be exponentially more powerful than those based only on unilateral power. (Put briefly, this is so because only development to late action-logics founded in mutual power can non-violently transform persons, organizations, and polities, while using admixtures of unilateral power sparingly and judiciously. If we remain constrained entirely within early action-logics that imagine only unilateral forms of power, we are left as lonely triumphalist imposers of our will or as defeated victims.)

If we have no theory of mutual power, we are even less familiar with a working practice of mutual power (except from distant exemplars, who may or may not have clay feet). Fortunately, two new books offer us close-up and personal exemplars of powerful mutual practice, and just how counter-intuitive it is to unconscious capitalist and other fundamentalist -isms (one is just out by Frederic Laloux, Reinventing Organizations, the other’s forthcoming by Jennifer Garvey Berger and Keith Johnston, Simple habits for complex times: Powerful practices for leaders, University of Stanford Press).

Even more tangibly, I want to express my highest admiration for the life-work-and-presence-to-date of my long-time friend, Barry Svigals, who replaced me at left fullback on the Yale soccer team, joined me in The Theatre of Inquiry and The Gurdjieff Work, became a rock and roll band leader, architect-to-the-stars, sculptor, and most recently the designer of the new-to-be Sandy Hook Elementary School (look at the NYTimes article by googling Svigals Architects & Sandy Hook). Barry and his firm bring the human heart and collective inquiry to the mutual design of physical settings with clients like no one else.

Every team or community that wishes to be at the leading edge of learning the practice of mutually-alert, mutually-vulnerable, and mutually-transforming power must allocate ‘retreat-time’ (which is really ‘advance-time’) to come to grips with its own as-yet-under-articulated issues of vision, power, and impact… As we in the Action Inquiry Fellowship are currently doing by holding separate conference calls among the women of the fellowship and among the men. It is this kind of work among ourselves that gives us the courage and the dynamic equilibrium to offer this kind of transforming work to you.

Forthcoming Workshop
Building on our recent Action Inquiry & the Global Leadership Profile Workshops in England and Australia, we’ve planned our next one, as per this workshop flyer, near Boston, October 6-8, 2014.

For those interested in the scientific validity and efficacy of the GLP
Finally, we move all the way from what is relevant to every one of you reading this blog to what is meaningful to almost none of you (!), but which is nonetheless critical to the credibility of the Collaborative Developmental Action Inquiry (CDAI) paradigm of social science and the accuracy of the GLP measure in particular cases. Namely, we offer two articles on the validity and action efficacy of the CDAI paradigm and the GLP measure in comparison with other developmental measures – The 2013 scholarly summary CDAI appears in Torbert’s Listening into the Dark: (Integral Review April 2013) And for the latest methodological review of five different measures (2014), see Bill’s Developmental Measures Compared.

Video:
See Bill give a brief description of
1) the Action Inquiry & Global Leadership Profile Workshop

2) how the GLP can support your work

3) what Action Inquiry means

4) why action-logics matter in the work world

5) why timing is key to leadership efficacy