3RDMovement: See Beyond
Barriers, constraints, and limitations often arise as real and substantive changes are contemplated. From time to time, adding to your stock of knowledge – what you know – or changing who you know, may help to overcome these constraints. But most often, it is only by Thinking Differently while Thinking Together, that the barriers, constraints, and limitations that block transformative change are overcome.
The first step in the 3rdMovement is to identify the future state that you and your organization prefer and the real and substantive changes you intend. The intended future state, rather than being dictated by a single individual or small group of individuals, reflects the mutual purposes of all involved: the “ we”. This conceptualization of the future is not edited through a filter of reasonableness, possibility, or likelihood. It is important that you and your organization establish a preferred intended future state that is not limited or constrained by your previous ways of thinking and decision-making.
The next step is to identify the barriers that would prevent the realization of your preferred intended future state. Rather than looking to the external environment for barriers, to See Beyond, you must first become aware of the habits of mind that you and your organization hold. While external barriers certainly exist and need to be dealt with, the first task is to identify the barriers that you impose upon yourself that are distorting your thinking and limiting and constraining the possibilities you can envision for your future.
The future that you desire and the transformational changes that you can envision are likely to be constrained and limited by your patterns of thought, your habits of mind. In order to See Beyond, we work with you to uncover and reveal the habits of mind that are insidiously preventing you from achieving the changes you desire. While these habits of mind are unique to each individual, organization, situation, and context, the following examples should help to clarify the how the way we think constrains and limits what can be seen.
Distorted Thinking that Limits and Constrains – The Nine-Dot Problem
Imagine for a moment that the nine-dot matrix shown in Figure 1 represents the problem that you and your organization face. Further imagine that through Thinking Together, you and your organization’s preferred intended future state requires you to connect all nine dots with four straight lines without removing your pen from the paper.
If you are not aware of the habits of mind that are distorting your thinking, your attempt at creating your future might look something like Figure 2 and your attempt at transformational change will have failed.
What habits of mind were constraining and limiting your ability to create real and substantive change? In this simple example, perhaps you had a habit of mind that prevented you from thinking laterally. Perhaps your habit of mind was constrained by the psychological borders created by the dots. Perhaps if you searched deeply enough, you might find that your constraining habit of mind comes from being taught as a child to always stay within the lines.
The point is that had you been aware of your constraining habits of mind, it would have been more likely that you would have created the changes you desired. In fact, you might have become aware of another habit of mind that prevented you from creating a solution that is just as effective and is more efficient. Perhaps you have a habit of mind of following the rules. The “rules” suggested by your preferred intended future asked you to connect the nine dots by four straight lines. Did you even consider a three-line solution like that shown in Figure 4?
Distorted Thinking that Limits and Constrains – The Pretty Girl or the Old Hag?
Recall that in the discussion on Thinking Differently, we learned that habits of mind are sets of specific expectations, beliefs, feelings, attitudes, and judgments that dictate how we see the world: habits of mind influence the decisions we make, the actions we take, and what we see. What do you see ? Do you see the pretty girl or the old hag?
This illusion is quite popular and has been around for many years. It is likely that you have seen this illusion many times and it is likely that you may now be able to shift back and forth so that you can, at will, see either the pretty girl or the old hag. But there is another point to be made that is relevant to Seeing Beyond. The picture shown in Figure 5 is really just a composition of pixels of different shades of color. Our minds, or the way we think, assemble the pixels into a representation that is meaningful. The way that some of us think causes us to first see the pretty girl. The way that others of us think causes us to first see the old hag. I now ask you to consider that it is your habits of mind that are dictating whether you first see the pretty girl or the old hag. Yet the underlying “reality” of the pixels is exactly the same no matter which woman you see. The point this illusion makes is different people can experience the same “reality” (the composition of pixels) yet they see “reality” very differently (the pretty girl vs. the old hag).
How powerful would it be for you and your organization to develop the capability to see the “reality” of your situation in multiple ways? How powerful would it be for you to tap into the power of others who think differently and thus, see differently? How powerful would it be to expand your awareness, to See Beyond the constraints of your habits of mind, and thus create multiple possibilities? How powerful would it be for you to be able to choose the “reality” that best fits the context, structure, and meaning of the situation in which you find yourself? We can teach you to See Beyond and put this power within your grasp.