An Invitation To Contribute And Share

An Invitation To Contribute And Share

Invitation

I would like to invite you all to join with me in creating a new global intervention and treatment specialty. I’m presently naming this specialty “Organisational Psychotherapy” – although I see this as a working title, and like most else in prospect, open for discussion.

The Pitch

Organisations of every kind are struggling to cope with the many challenges thrust upon them – by rapid technological and social change, changing markets, and changing stakeholder demands. Organisations which better engage their staff, suppliers and others in meeting these challenges will do better than those which do not.

Crucial to creating better engagement are the assumptions, ideas and expectations by which these organisations operate. How might organisations better adjust their prevailing assumptions, ideas and expectations – their collective mindset – to create conditions in which e.g. innovation can thrive and folks can better contribute – even unto the utmost of their abilities, enthusiasms and potentials?

Few organisations are well-served, in themselves, in regard to making these kinds of adjustment to their collective assumptions, ideas and expectations. Unless and until they grow their internal capabilities, external partners can serve to provide the necessary skills and expertise.

The Invitation

Are your needs for effective workplaces going unmet? Are you frustrated and dispirited by the kinds of workplaces we so often see – and suffer – today? Are you feeling concerned, outraged, even, by the things people have to tolerate at work?Do you want to contribute in a meaningful and positive way, with the support and encouragement of a community of other like-minded souls, towards doing something about it?

Can we together get something inspiring and worthwhile off the ground? I have some ideas, knowledge and experiences to bring to the party, and I’m sure many of you out there do too. Would you be willing to play an active role in a community dedicated to learning and sharing and to making this happen?

Community Based

I’ve see too many transaction-oriented initiatives fail to want to make “finding work” the foundation of this endeavour. On the contrary, in the early days I predict there will be lots in the way of work to be done, and little in the way of (monetary) recompense. If you’re looking for another revenue channel to backfill your spare capacity, this is very likely not for you. Maybe one day we can look to become self-funding – God knows there’s enough value in the proposition – but I’d suggest that choosing to regard this as a calling or vocation is much more in keeping with our implicit ethos of helping people.

Note: The word “community”, for me, means things like self-organisation, equality, diversity, joy, shared purpose, fellowship and the paramountcy of social connections. Forging and maintaining meaningful social connections can be hard in an online world without e. g frequent face to face meetings. Yet without the social dimension, I foresee an early bath. Maybe we can cross that hurdle when and if we get to it?

Aside: The notion of Communities of Practice seems widely understood. I propose our community might better serve our needs – individually and collectively – as a Community of Principle. Just which principle(s) we choose to adopt I invite you to consider, and share.

Ethos

I have learned over the years that proposing solutions to people – with or without understanding their needs – offers little in the way of benefit. Better by far to hold a space and invite them to explore their own needs and (maybe, in time) find their own solutions. In this vein, I see our new specialty not as a solution to anything, but as a kind of social service. I accept this may not be popular until understood.

Open To All

For those of you that decide you’d like to contribute, learn and share in bringing a gloriously bright new specialism into the world, please join us. I’m willing to handle the limited admin of keeping track of fellows (non gender-specific term) – at least until it needs more time than I have available. Maybe some others might like to share in that.

I propose that the only criterion for joining our community is that you subscribe to the idea, and are in principle willing to put some non-negligible effort into making it happen.

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

~ Alan Kay

To get started, for those of you wanting to know more, to share ideas, and to put your hat in the ring, simply post a comment, below. And please, please tell your friends.

Stakeholders

I presently envisage three kinds of participants in this endeavour: Fellows, Sponsors, and Clients. More may come later.

Community Members

Community members, also known as fellows, are you and me. We contribute ideas and efforts into the community, with the aim of establishing our new specialty as a viable and beneficial option for clients, and an attractive proposition for sponsors.

Sponsors

Sponsors, whether individuals or organisations, may wish to contribute to our aims, in the manner of a charitable trust or similar. I anticipate we have some work to do to understand such sponsors’ needs – and attend to them.

Clients

Clients are those organisations, or more exactly people in organisations, that wish to benefit from our capabilities to help them better get their own needs – collective and individual – met. With a nod to Lean Startup, I propose there is NO MANIFEST DEMAND for our new specialty at this time. I personally have no doubt as to the latent need for our new specialty, so anticipate much work ahead in seeing that demand become manifest.

Don’t Worry

No matter whether you’re feeling intrigued, puzzled, casually interested or enthusiastic, don’t worry about making a commitment. I hope our community can thrive on the ideas of ‘do nothing that is not play’, and non-violence. I for one will not be obliging fellows to do anything beyond the things we freely choose to do.

And don’t worry about choosing to get involved and wanting to start doing things right off the bat. I can coordinate, and maybe act as a tie-breaker on occasion, but I propose we take advantage of the Advice Process, and adopt a motto, from the wonderful Grace Hopper, that i learned during my time at Sun Microsystems:

“it’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.”

~ Grace Hopper

I look forward to us all creating, sharing, learning and playing together – and making an amazing difference to the world of work. How about you?

– Bob

Next Steps

My next post will summarise your feedback and set out some common themes and next steps to get this show on the road.

Afterword

Following on from my previous post “I Have Nothing Left To Say”, I am resolved to abjure saying anything more here on this blog – and in life – in favour of actually doing something. And that something is the bringing of a new thing into the world – the specialty of Organisational Psychotherapy. Look to this mission to be the common theme of future posts.

Further Reading

The Advantage ~ Patrick Lencioni
Joy, Inc. ~ Richard Sheridan
Reinventing Organizations ~ Frederic Laloux

 

 

71 comments
  1. mverzilli said:

    What a stimulating call to action! I’m definitely in🙂. I’m not sure what kind of feedback or ideas you’d like to see here, so I’ll just try with something that aches on my everyday work, and leave it up to you to moderate. The conversation goes like this:

    Me: Isn’t this a terrible amount of overhead?
    Client: We’re doing as defined by policy ZXV2372.
    Me: But what if we do this other thing, wouldn’t we hit the same goals with substantially less pain?
    Client: (sigh) Probably, but this is a requirement from Legal.
    Me: Got it. Beer later?

    • Hi Martin (guessing at your first name, here),

      Thanks for stepping up.🙂 Do you have any preferences on how you might like to contribute, or where to start? If no, then no worries – keep reading future posts and some ideas may come up?

      It would help me greatly if you would be willing to express how you feel about the whole idea of organisational psychotherapy (e.g. as defined across many previous posts on this blog).

      – Bob

      • mverzilli said:

        Your guess is correct, I’m Martin🙂. Thank your for such a kind and quick response.

        I’d like to contribute as a fellow. I have a chance to influence deeply on the organisation I work for and I’m in a position to try novel ideas arising from a community of practice like this could one day be. At the same time I work with different sorts of clients, with whom my chances of effecting change are much more modest, unless I can see through their “organisational mind”.

        I often find myself having to choose between two (I hope) artificially antagonistic kinds of projects/clients/initiatives:

        Kind 1. The light side: these projects/clients/initiatives are small, nimble, grassroots level. There’s a lot of freedom to make stuff and willingness to learn from mistakes. The dark side: relatively small impact, rare long term sustainability, excessive dependence on one or two individuals. I love these projects in a micro sense: I enjoy my day-to-day work on them. I’m frustrated by these projects because I often find their foundations end up being flaky, and there’s little chance they will become something lasting in the long run for a number of environmental constraints.

        Kind 2. The light side: projects/clients/initiatives with the backing resources necessary to make a real dent in the world. The dark side: these projects/clients/initiatives tend to involve enough people that politics, bureaucracy and organisational rottenness become the drivers for decisions and actions. I love these projects in a macro sense: they give me the chance of helping the world move in a direction that feels better! I’m frustrated by these projects because eventually I realise I’m wrestling with all that organisational inertia and what really motivated me since the beginning gets diluted.

        I see “organisational psychotherapy” as a discipline which could specially help Kind 2. I feel like the key to Kind 1 challenges is to sort out the constraints imposed by the external environment, while the key to Kind 2 challenges is to sort the internal organisational conflicts which arise from generation after generation of doing things in a certain way.

        I find “Kind 2” incredibly more wicked and difficult to address! The word psychotherapy makes me think of going to the root of issues, understanding their ultimate origins and causes to deconstruct them and clearly separate them into two classes:

        -Intrinsic problems: the essence of what the organisation tries to solve, that is, it’s raison d’être.
        -Illusion: self infringed damage and suffering arising from accidentally complex processes, policies, relationships, hierarchies, assumptions and believes that accumulated throughout the years.

        I apologise for the length of this reply, I hope it answers at least in part your questions.

        – Martin

  2. stephenoakman said:

    I would like to help, to be involved, as a fellow. How effective I will be is debatable. I hope to learn.

    • Hi Stephen,

      Thanks for stepping up.🙂 My response to Martin (above) seems to represent a common pattern forming:

      Do you have any preferences on how you might like to contribute, or where to start? If no, then no worries – keep reading future posts and some ideas may come up?

      It would help me greatly if you would be willing to express how you feel about the whole idea of organisational psychotherapy (e.g. as defined across many previous posts on this blog).

      – Bob

    • Hi Charles,

      Thanks for your suggestion – and for your regular interaction via Twitter. Would you be willing to expand on your suggestion, for example by providing some context, rationale, or feelings about cultural transformations in companies?

      – Bob

  3. Philip Schönholzer said:

    I would love to contribute to this purpose.

    • Hi Philip,

      Thanks for stepping up.🙂 My responses to Martin and Stephen (above) seems to represent a common pattern forming:

      Do you have any preferences on how you might like to contribute, or where to start? If no, then no worries – keep reading future posts and some ideas may come up?

      It would help me greatly if you would be willing to express how you feel about the whole idea of organisational psychotherapy (e.g. as defined across many previous posts on this blog).

      – Bob

  4. Michael Arnoldus said:

    I’m intrigued, excited and definitely in. I’m currently working as an agile coach (whatever that means) and very conscious of the fact that so much could be done in organisations. I’m incidentally also a trained psychotherapist and clearly see the connection (although not sure if “organisational psychotherapy” is too scary – but wonderful as a working title).

    I’m based in Copenhagen and willing to come to London after some initial work. I agree that face to face communication is necessary to make this happen.

    • Hi Michael,

      Thanks for stepping up.🙂 I share your reservations about the term “organisational psychotherapy” but despite long deliberations have found myself unable to come up with anything obviously better, so far. Looking forward to chatting with you, and eventually face to face, too, when the opportunity presents.

      My responses to Martin, Stephen and Philip (see above) seems to represent a common pattern forming:

      Do you have any preferences on how you might like to contribute, or where to start? If no, then no worries – keep reading future posts and some ideas may come up?

      It would help me greatly if you would be willing to express how you feel about the premise that we “treat” organisations who are themselves seeking to e.g. remediate some of their pathogenic beliefs – and more generally about whole idea of organisational psychotherapy (e.g. as defined across many previous posts on this blog).

      – Bob

      • Michael Arnoldus said:

        Hi Bob,

        Reading your post I was noting my own unwillingness to follow your suggestion and involve my friends. The reason is clearly that as soon I involve my friends I asking them to spend time on something based on my recommendation. And while actually really excited about the idea of doing this I know too little about what going to happen. You could say that the level of trust is still too low. Not that I have any particular reason to distrust you or anyone else who’s a potential fellow, but simply because I’ve participated in initiatives before where the words were perfect and actual doing was not quote at the same level.

        So I think we need to start with building trust. We need to start “dating” before we get into a “closer relationship” and start to ask friends to meet – metaphorically speaking🙂

        I’m currently aware of two effective ways to build trust – one is sharing food, which is somewhat difficult remotely and the other is doing a small piece of work together. Maybe that’s a way to start. Solving a small problem related to either this effort or some other thing around organisational psychotherapy.

        Using comment threads on your blog feels somewhat suboptimal, but I trust you’ll switch platform when needed.

        When doing personal psychotherapy I’m generally not happy about the idea that I’m “treating” anyone. I much prefer the view that it’s about creating a common space and establishing presence and that is the primary foundation on which healing can start to happen. Treating someone suggest to me a kind of asymmetry in which I know better than the other person what’s right for that person. This can become either a powerplay or creating a new unhealthy dependency. Now if I work as psychotherapist there clearly is some kind of asymmetry, but I like to think of to as me having training and practice in things like holding a space, staying present with high levels of anxiety, having some experience with common problems and ability to provide _suggestions_ – not answers etc.

        It’s not clear how to transfer this to organisations – especially as I share your belief that there actually are some principles I believe are beneficial for organisations. However I’m finding as I work with organisations, it’s still actually people I’m working with and sharing the basic respect about the other (Bubber: I-Thou rather than I-It) seem to be only truly functional way of working – and actually also provides good example for leaders on how to work with other people.

        I probably haven’t read all your posts on organisational psychotherapy, but the ones I have read have left me excited and wanting to go deeper. A few weeks I suggested a talk with the title “Organisational Psychotherapy” for a union here in Denmark where I’ve done talks before. Unfortunately it wasn’t accepted, but I do have another venue which have accepted a talk around that subject in the spring ’16.

        Lot’s more to say, but now seems a good time to stop talking and start to listen.

        Michael

      • Hi again,

        Thanks for your extended comment. I feel I’d like to respond with a full post – coming soon.🙂

        – Bob

      • I suspect my recent post didn’t address your comment to the extent I – or you – might have wished. So here’s a more direct response:

        Trust: Agreed and understood. This may take some time, not just for you and me but for all involved. I too would like to engage in some (smallish) collaborative actions with various folks – yourself included. You may have noticed I have already planted some seeds in that regard?

        Treatment as a term: Agreed and understood. I too feel uncomfortable with many of the words prevalent in the spheres of change, consulting, interventions, therapy, etc.. Yet using other words risks the lay person’s incomprehension or miscomprehension. I predict our community will have many a tussle over words before we settle down with a comfortable – or at least, common – vocabulary. Please take me to task any time you find my tenor or choice of terms disconcerting or discongruent. I’m now wondering how often and in what context Carl Rogers ever used the term “treat”.

        Aside: Javelin postulates a common glossary as one of its artefacts.

        Organisations vs people: Agreed, to some extent. Yes we have to work through people, and with people. But in building a relationship with the collective psyche, and helping that self-actualise, people are in some ways the channel, rather than the end-point. Although more influenced by e.g. Bohm, I welcome your mentioning Buber.

        – Bob

      • Michael Arnoldus said:

        Hi Bob,

        Thank you for the response.

        Yes, a common glossary seems to be a good idea and will gladly participate in the work of creating such a beast. I’m also aware how discussion about words and meanings seem to have a tendency to move me and the people I talk to further and further into abstract domains. While that is indeed a wonderful playful exercise for engaged minds, I’m leaning more and more towards creating a grounding of words and meanings in actual experience.

        Treatment as a term: Ok, so an important word in the future vocabulary (and I do hope others than you Bob will choose to comment). I’m not a native english speaker, so there’s a fair chance that I misunderstand some words. Please correct me if what I say is wrong. Treatment carries for me the subtext of fixing something that is wrong. But in my view it’s not about fixing something that’s wrong – it’s about helping organisations that want to grow. You don’t “treat” a 5 year old to become a “mature” 6-year old. You help and support him or her by removing any obstacles to learning and growth and creating options and spaces that can let our natural drive actualize. I’m not sure how you (Bob) think laymen might misunderstood, but I’d rather explain a term than walk into a subtext that makes the actual work even harder.

        That said, I see how I might engage myself in the abstract word games I was scared of in the previous paragraph – so the most important thing for me is a common understanding of the possible trap in using that word.

        Organisation vs. people: Now this is really interesting. You seem to talk about the organisational psyche as something that’s really existing, not just a reification of a shorthand way to point to a group of individuals. I’ll buy that tentatively – seeing how it relates to the metaphor from “The Neuroscience of Human Relationships” about people being neurons in the collective mind/psyche. And it’s not a way I’m used to thinking so I’m also finding myself on thin ice here. Would anyone (Bob? Others?) who has views on this care to say more?

        I’d love to get some links/title or similar on the parts of Bohm that’s relevant in this context.

        Michael

  5. Yeu Wen said:

    Please include me. I am living in Melbourne, Australia at the moment. Virtual collaboration would be best. I am very passionate about the need for enterprises to keep improving their ability to transform themselves to adapt to the ever changing ecosystem they are operating in – what to change and how?

    • Hi there. I’d like to address you by your first name, but am unsure as to what that might be. How would you like me to address you?

      In any case, thanks for stepping up.🙂 I share your observation that virtual communication may be the best we can do, over such a distance, and for the time being, at least.

      Do you have any preferences on how you might like to contribute, or where to start? If no, then no worries – keep reading future posts and some ideas may come up?

      It would help me greatly if you would be willing to express how you feel about the premise that we “treat” organisations who are themselves seeking to e.g. remediate some of their pathogenic beliefs – and more generally about whole idea of organisational psychotherapy (e.g. as defined across many previous posts on this blog).

      – Bob

      • yeuwen said:

        As mentioned in my response to your “Making Contact” post, I have been re-reading your previous posts on Organisational Psychotherapy.
        I guess a bit more about my background is useful here. I have been attempting to architect enterprises as enterprise architect for past 10 years or so with little success.
        In terms of the 3 foci as you wrote them,
        – Shifting the collective mindset of the organisation
        – Improving the organisation’s health
        – Improving the collective cognitive function of the organisation,
        my evolving thoughts now flow along the lines of emergent architecture (self-organisation). If we take an emergent approach such that it focuses on a sufficient and shared description of the vision, context and current state, and articulates key, strategic possibilities and only the most critical high-level constraints (such as security standards) to allow the creation of interventions or probes that drive and influence self-organisation iteratively, the impact of which can be monitored to allow the emergence of a beneficial future state, then we have essentially facilitated the achievements of your 3 goals above.
        If organisation is a garden on a piece of land, each plant, tree or weed is an organisational resource, be it human or otherwise, each goes through its own independent cycle of germination, maturation and death but each support the others around it and the garden lives on.
        We as gardeners architect this emergent behaviour or business agility by not architecting in the traditional sense of the word and getting out of the way as much as possible so that the garden outlasts the gardener. We can plan for changes and pay attention to the ecosystem watching for signals from the environment inside and out, so that change can be made without disruption of the garden. As areas of the garden become overgrown and weedy, we trim them back.
        I am also exploring the use of Lego blocks to achieve your 3 foci of rightshifting mindset, organisational health and improved collective cognitive function – see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lego_Serious_Play.
        Does the above clarify the context from where I come from?
        Your thoughts?

      • Hi Yeu Wen,

        I’ve not overlooked your kind comments, although I can understand that you might by now be wondering if I had. :}

        I intent to respond more fully when my subconscious has had more time to process. I’m presently still “at the bottom of the U”.

        Hope this isn’t too vexing.

        – Bob

      • Michael Arnoldus said:

        Yeu Wen,

        I like your thinking on an emergent approach. I appreciate your use of a nature as a metaphor for what we’re trying to do. I’m also thinking that maybe we can look for something – I don’t know, stronger or more healthy than a garden. Maybe we have differences in culture, but for me gardens is something culturally created that might be beautiful to some, but it’s also something that can only exist with constant interventions by some kind of overlord – the gardner.

        I’m guessing that’s not the image you where trying to convey.

        Maybe we could find a way to trim weeds, partly by seeing they not really weeds but useful in some sense – and/or by making sure the rest of the plants are strong enough to keep weeds in natural control. Supporting the ecosystem rather that strengthening the need for a gardner?

        I too love to play with lego and and use lego for agile training.

  6. I’m looking forward to be a fellow. Lately I’m getting into personal coaching and see strong connection between psyche, creativity and the collective mindset/consciousness. Although I’m very much following my intuition when it comes to this kind of endeavors, my contribution will most likely be around organizing collaboration and defining quality (identifying folks needs).

    It seems reasonable that this initiative will raise interest seeing recent attempts to “scale” self organization, sociocracy,…

    I like the idea of organizational therapy I hope it will succeed in making people in organizations conscious about their collective needs facilitating them to make decisions. I’m not sure whether it’s the best name but fail to come up with anything better as well.

    I look forward to collaborate on this.

    • Hi Davy,

      Thanks for stepping up.🙂

      Do you have any preferences for something specific and concrete on which you might like to start? IOW, what do you feel we might all choose to prioritise as our (collective) number one action? What needs doing first?

      – Bob

      • Hi Bob,

        I think we have to give our group a home, a very flexible one where we can exchange ideas etc… We wlll also need a direct communication platform to get in touch with each other and setup a video call to get to know each other and have a short introduction chat. Probably Skype is best to start assuming most of us use this already, it supports up to 10 participants.

      • Hi Davy,

        I suspect these things may become useful in due course. If you feel they’re the most important thing to be spending our time on right now, maybe you might like to follow the Advice Process and pursue making them happen? I wonder how others feel about these things? And about priorities? Is what we have now ‘good enough’ to be getting on with priority things, at least for the time being?

        I have myself given some thought over the past few years. Twitter works for me as a low-friction communication channel. And WordPress.com with i.e. the P2 theme may serve us as a starting point re: a home, platform, etc. (I already have a P2 site set up and ready to go, but have held off because we might just choose to pursue other priorities.)

        Love to hear your views, preferences. I remain very open to other ideas, options, especially as I feel luke warm about me owning this particular issue.

        – Bob

      • Michael Arnoldus said:

        This is not the most important priority for me at the moment, however I’m sure it will be soon. As per the advice process, it works for me if you Davy would like to create some kind of home/communication infrastructure.

  7. fivebaldwin said:

    Hello Bob,

    Thank you for the invitation. Organisational psychotherapy as a concept is highly intriguing to me as I have used similar terms to express the need for fundamental change in organizations. Many disciplines of organisational improvement touch on identifying root cause as the primary step to sound improvement. This however is usually tied to a Theory X view of root cause (if you people would just work harder!). Recognizing an organisational psyche is a step beyond. I truly believe culture grows in an environment. Organizational environments are comprised of many facets with the primary influence being relationship and conversation. I guess this is all my way of saying, I’m in.

    As far as a contribution what I have so far are questions. Is this going to be the preferred forum for communication or is there a more conducive environment for exchange/discussion? What are the main themes/topics for discussion to help us define this community?

    Looking forward to exploring with you.

    -Paul

    • Hi Paul

      Thanks for stepping up.🙂 I share your interest in e.g. organisational environments and how they are shaped by, and shape, the organisational psyche.

      I’m keen to hear your questions, and also hear the other fellows’ responses (btw not necessarily answers) to them.

      Please see my response to Davy Benoot’s comment, above, re: forums, channels, etc.

      Would you be willing to share (here, for starters) your own preferences as to main themes/topics for discussion to help us define this community?

      It would help me greatly if you would be willing to express how you feel generally about the whole idea of organisational psychotherapy (e.g. as defined across many previous posts on this blog).

      – Bob

      • fivebaldwin said:

        Bob –
        Yes I would agree that the current space is adequate to get started until momentum dictates otherwise.

        My feelings are very positive on the idea as it is for me a unifying theory from several domains of my own interests. Reading through the comments I can see how many others are struck by the topic as well. This area of thought really touches on a theme felt by many who strive for the better yet can’t see what is holding their groups back. From a personal standpoint I have read your blog for a couple years and welcomed the invitation to action.

        I went back and thoughtfully read previous posts on therapy. It is interesting to see how your thoughts have grown on this subject and are really woven into most of your other posts as well.

        Is this the definition we will use as a community?
        “Organisational Therapy offers a non-directive approach to addressing some of the dysfunctions present in any organisation. It allows the organisation to grow in self-awareness and capability by seeing itself more clearly, and then finding its own solutions to some of its more pressing issues.” -Bob

        I feel it is a pretty solid statement at least to begin the discussion. The concept of self-awareness (organisational self-awareness) is the central concept to me. Is lack of self-awareness itself really the main dysfunction of an organisation? We could spend some time on this topic in support of firming up the definition and providing an anchor for the community.

      • Michael Arnoldus said:

        While I don’t believe in finding an exact definition (too limiting, easily creates conflict around ridiculous details, …) I think discussing what we want to do here – and maybe also what we do not want to do have merits. It’s just that I’d rather see alignment in action than artificial agreement (or worse – compromise) in words.

      • Paul, Michael,

        I’m guessing our fellows (and ourselves) have differing interpretations of what Organisational Psychotherapy means. I enjoy discussion, so long as I can find meaning in it. I also guess there might be some value in coming closer together on a common understanding (AFAIC the one you quote may serve as a ‘starter for ten’). Yet diversity (divergence) might also offer some benefits? May be a tricky balance to find. Even assuming balance helps us help our stakeholders (the key criterion, for me).

        I guess some folks will discuss, some think, some act, and others again find other ways to move forward. That all sounds so woolly to me, yet I have faith that great things will emerge.

        – Bob

  8. Hi Bob,

    Another inspirational reading and thank you for the invitation. I have been inspired by yours and late Gran Rule on right shifting and Marshall’s model. Also the Anti-Matter principle lead me to resign from my past job in a big bank and joined a smaller tech company (almost a startup).
    “Are your needs for effective workplaces going unmet? Are you frustrated and dispirited by the kinds of workplaces we so often see – and suffer – today? Are you feeling concerned, outraged, even, by the things people have to tolerate at work”

    These words so resonated with me when I made the call to quit the big enterprise, they express my feelings very well.

    I would love to be part of this community and learn and share from the others.

    Thanks also for introducing the NVC to me.

    – Alidad

  9. Hi Alidad,

    Thanks for stepping up.🙂 And welcome!

    Maybe you might like to get involved in the early discussions already emerging re: priorities i.e just where might we choose to start and what might be most valuable to do first? What, even, might we choose as criteria for evaluating relative priorities of proposed actions?

    It would help me greatly if you would be willing to express how you feel generally about the whole idea of organisational psychotherapy (e.g. as defined across many previous posts on this blog).

    – Bob

  10. Hi Bob,

    You can count me in. I’m not sure what I can do to help in the early stages. Other than contribute ideas or offer experiences. I can also happily organise a space in London for an early stages meet up if we think that would be helpful.

    Wondering if a Slack channel might help to give a sense of community and allow more ad-hoc communication? Only downside is that it’s not public

    In terms of organisation psychotherapy, I find the term problematic – but fully understand the need for a working title at this stage.

    Psychotherapy (for me at least) conjures images of normal vs abnormal behaviour (who sets those boundaries and for what ends?)

    It also is likely to cause a fear response in many people (due to the connotations above) as it suggests revealing aspects of ourselves that we may not wish to. This when used in environments where there is low trust is likely to act as a major roadblock to engagement.

    Finally there is also the notion of ethics and professional accreditation. To use the word psychotherapy may cause a boundary blurring between work and personal issues that should raise some serious ethical concerns (particularly if appointed by a organisation that has power relation with the people in the organisation). These ethical concerns also extend into the label of psychotherapy and what it may conjure in people’s minds. That of regulation and a high level of professional training (wether this is true or otherwise in terms of actual psychotherapy).

    There is much to discuss but as I have said when we have met, I’m firmly of the opinion that there is much we can do to help teams and organisations get to a better place.

    Tim

  11. Michele Stacks said:

    I would love to partner on this initiative and participate in the conversation. This sounds intriguing and exciting.

  12. Hi Bob,
    Although the term might be trademarked by the Demand Driven Institute (cf. http://thoughtwarepeople.com), I love the idea that after Hardware and Software, a new industry of Thoughtware is forming.
    Paul Merino @SEUILS

  13. Hi Bob

    This is a slightly late holding comment to simply say; “I’m in”.

    What I’m now going to do is re-read all the “I’m in” comments above and formulate a response that expresses my needs, thoughts and, more importantly, how I believe I can contribute.

    As someone famous once said; ” I shall return”.

    Dave

  14. Hi Bob,
    Thanks for the invite. I would love to be involved. Like others I am unsure what I can offer. Ideas. War stories certainly. Tales of hope too. As you likely know I am on a mission at the moment to raise awareness of the need for better support for neuro-diversity in our workspaces. And more kindness and tolerance of our diversity in general.

  15. Count me in! Let’s find effective ways to improve organizations to be better places for everyone and produce what people want!

    Cheers,
    Paul

  16. Andrew Rolph said:

    This sounds very much like what I do workwise. I’m involved in continuous improvement at HM Revenue & Customs – my role is titled PaceSetter Advocate. It’s about helping teams identify and address things that are holding them back and hindering them. Often this is related to poor organisation or wasteful processes. Rather than a quick fix or a “hit and run” consultancy, it involves being with the people on their journey.
    @AndrewRolph

    • Hi Andrew,

      Thanks for joining the conversation. I’d love to hear more about the principles and practices you use in working with the organisational psyche, the kinds of results you see, and any advice you may have for us. Do you have any documents you would be willing and able to share with us?

      – Bob

  17. antlerboy said:

    This sounds interesting – I’d like to be involved please!🙂

    • Hi Benjamin (or do you prefer ‘Ben’?),

      Thanks for stepping up – and welcome.🙂

      Do you have any preferences on how you might like to contribute, or where to start? If no, then no worries – keep reading future posts and some ideas may come to mind?

      It would help me greatly if you would be willing to express how you feel about the general idea of organisational psychotherapy (e.g. as defined across many previous posts on this blog).

      – Bob

      • antlerboy said:

        Hi Bob!
        I prefer Benjamin, thanks for asking🙂
        To be honest, I’d prefer to lurk for a while as I’m frantically busy, and see how I can jump in and add. My work has been moving from responding to operational needs to helping with the ‘health’ of the whole organisation, and along with this I have been on a long learning loop for at least ten years regarding systems thinking, and also leadership in general, and am part of several relevant networks, including particularly I suppose http://www.scio.org.uk, online networks across LinkedIn, facebook and http://model.report, and a group we’re calling the practice of system leadership.
        So I’d love to comment and contribute to an initial synthesis of the inputs you’re gathering?
        cheers
        Benjamin

  18. yeuwen said:

    Thanks, Michael.
    As you said, finding a way to trim weeds, and/or making sure the rest of the plants are strong enough to keep the weeds in natural control is exactly the kind of interventions or probes a gardener can do to drive or influence desirable emergent behaviour. Indeed, the role of the gardener is to support the ecosystem, not be the “overlord” in control of every element in the garden.
    Does it make sense?

  19. Hi Bob,

    Interesting and timely idea. I’d like to help where I can. I’ve been addressing organisational needs specifically for 2 years now (and did so on and off for a few years before that) so at the very least I can share my experience (20+ organisations).

    Matthew

    • Hi Matthew,

      Thanks for stepping up.🙂 I welcome your offer to share your experiences.

      It would help me greatly if you would be willing to express how you feel about the whole idea of organisational psychotherapy (e.g. as defined across many previous posts on this blog).

      – Bob

      • It’s clear to me from first-hand experience that many organisations (?most?) would benefit hugely from the practices and approaches that you’ve been advocating for ages. I like the idea of treating an organisation as a single ‘organism’ capable of thinking and feeling (even though many currently do very little of either). I also like the idea of characterising a malaise and proposing therapies.

  20. wivani said:

    I want to participate as well. As with many people who commented before me, I’m not sure where my contributions will be situated, if any. But I’ll try to rise to the occasion.

    • Hi Wim,

      Thanks for stepping up.🙂 Do you have any preferences on how you might like to contribute, or where to start? If no, then no worries – keep reading future posts and some ideas may come up?

      It would help me greatly if you would be willing to express how you feel about the whole idea of organisational psychotherapy (e.g. as defined across many previous posts on this blog).

      – Bob

  21. Hey bob, I think this is a great idea, please count me in

    • Hi Darryn,

      Thanks for stepping up. Do you have any preferences on how you might like to contribute, or where to start? If no, then no worries – keep reading future posts (via the new site now at https://organisationalpsychotherapy.wordpress.com ) and some ideas may come up?

      It would help me greatly if you would be willing to express how you feel about the whole idea of organisational psychotherapy (e.g. as defined across many previous posts on this blog).

      – Bob

  22. Count me in, Bob.

    I’ve been doing “organizational therapy” for most of my career, but would not get far if I called it that. I’m experiencing increasing interest in transformational work among my clients, both in coaching and in organizational development. But it is nothing a company does for its own sake, and so is also not a product one can “sell.”

    I am curious to learn about how people feel about the idea of treating organizations for their pathogenic beliefs. The ability to do so strikes me as part of what a particular kind of top coach and consultant bring to his tasks in any case, and applies where appropriate.

    I can contribute my knowledge and experience, for any who are curious about them.

    Cheers,

    Tom

    • Hi Tom,

      Thanks for stepping up. Do you have any preferences on how you might like to contribute, or where to start? If no, then no worries – keep reading future posts (via the new site now at https://organisationalpsychotherapy.wordpress.com ) and some ideas may come up?

      It would help me greatly if you would be willing to express how you feel about the whole idea of organisational psychotherapy (e.g. as defined across many previous posts on this blog), and how you might define it?

      – Bob

  23. This definitely resonates with me and I would like to tag along for a while to see if there’s a ‘there here.’ My experience has been predominately in the non-profit/public sector, specifically with agencies and coalitions working in human/social services. I won’t list here the varied organizational and system dysfunctions that have had the collective result of what is now, I believe, a predictable failure within this sector to ‘move the needle’ significantly on a variety of social indicators.
    I refer one to the following article that lays out quite well some of the problem: http://philasocialinnovations.org/journal/articles/what-works-and-what-doesnt/36-the-end-of-charity-how-to-fix-the-nonprofit-sector-through-effective-social-investing?showall=1&limitstart=

    • Hi Edwin,

      Thanks for stepping up.🙂 Do you have any preferences on how you might like to contribute, or where to start? If no, then no worries – keep reading future posts (at our new home: https://organisationalpsychotherapy.wordpress.com )and some ideas may come up?

      It would help me greatly if you would be willing to express how you feel about the whole idea of organisational psychotherapy (e.g. as defined across many previous posts on this blog).

      – Bob

  24. I get where you are coming from and the journey this may take. It really way overdue, and I am in. I admire your initiative and courage in starting what could become a ripple effect for the good. Love it already.

    • Hi Olimpia,

      Thanks for stepping up.🙂 Do you have any preferences on how you might like to contribute, or where to start? If no, then no worries – keep reading future posts (at our new home: https://organisationalpsychotherapy.wordpress.com )and some ideas may come up?

      It would help me greatly if you would be willing to express how you feel about the whole idea of organisational psychotherapy (e.g. as defined across many previous posts on this blog).

      – Bob

  25. May I humbly offer my recent book as a contribution to the debate. The Science of Organizational Change – brings into play the latest from the behavioral sciences – cognitive biases, choice architecture, habit formation, neo-behaviorism, psychology of risk, leadership as a science, complexity theory, change agility, and anti-fragility. Very interested to hear commentary from expert practitioners.

  26. Alison Cannell said:

    interested to hear/contribute more as a community member

    • Hi Alison,

      Thanks for stepping up.🙂 Do you have any preferences on how you might like to contribute, or where to start? If no, then no worries – keep reading future posts (at our new home: https://organisationalpsychotherapy.wordpress.com )and some ideas may come up?

      It would help me greatly if you would be willing to express how you feel about the whole idea of organisational psychotherapy (e.g. as defined across many previous posts on this blog).

      – Bob

  27. Thanks for the opportunity. I love the name. In fact, when asked what “organizational development” is, I often say it’s like organizational therapy.

    • Hi Julie,

      Thanks for stepping up.🙂 Do you have any preferences on how you might like to contribute, or where to start? If no, then no worries – keep reading future posts (at our new home: https://organisationalpsychotherapy.wordpress.com )and some ideas may come up?

      It would help me greatly if you would be willing to express how you feel about the whole idea of organisational psychotherapy (e.g. as defined across many previous posts on this blog).

      – Bob

  28. I would like to contribute! Thank you for the invitation🙂 I am not sure how I can contribute, but we’ll figure that out as we go along I guess….

    • Hi Christina,

      Thanks for stepping up.🙂 Do you have any preferences on how you might like to contribute, or where to start? If no, then no worries – keep reading future posts (at our new home: https://organisationalpsychotherapy.wordpress.com – you might like to subscribe there, too so as to not miss any of the conversation) and some ideas may come up?

      It would help me greatly if you would be willing to express how you feel about the whole idea of organisational psychotherapy (e.g. as defined across many previous posts on this blog).

      Also, if you’d like to Skype with other Mirrormere fellows from time to time, would you be willing to share your Skype id?

      – Bob

      • Hi Bob,

        I don’t really know yet. I need to familiarize myself with previous comments, discussions etc. My background is an Agile and Lean enthusiast – currently working as an Agile Coach. I have worked with / been interested in organizational change for a while now and would really like to share ideas, challenges etc with others.

        I saw Slack mentioned in an earlier comment. To get the discussions going I would also recommend to use Slack as collaboration tool. Works beautifully with distributed teams🙂

        I am of course also on Skype, feel free to add me: christinaseime

        I am situated in Norway btw.

  29. Helping organizations – Finding our focus

    For the past month, I have been thinking about Bob’s initial invitation and reading all the comments that have been posted above. Picking up Bob quoting Grace Hopper, I am taking this opportunity to summarize what I have read and organized everything within some structure that seems to make some sense (to me anyway). To help organize my thoughts, I centered my summation around three questions.

    Who is our target audience?
    What comprises the “essence” of what we desire to change?
    How do we approach delivering upon our vision?

    What I am hearing others say is summarized in a discussion posted on LinkedIn so those involved can easily share their profile and contact information in addition to posting their comments. https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8428096 (Learning about who is involved is part of building trust, an issue that arose above in a couple places.)

    A copy has also been posted on the Mirrormere (WordPress) site for continuity there. https://organisationalpsychotherapy.wordpress.com/

    I will take it upon myself to coordinate and align the key discussion points until a consensus builds on where people would like to call “home” for this discussion. At some point, I would like to suggest that the core group switch to Slack with the wider follower list remaining connected via a public discussion.

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