The Fourth Paradigm in Leadership – Part V (Final Part)

Implications for the Future of Leadership Development

If this is an idea of leadership whose time is coming, what implications are there for the practice of leadership development? What will leadership development mean? What will it include? How will it be carried out?

Definitive answers to these questions are not in view, because the Paradigm in Leadership I am describing is just appearing. What is needed now are ideas of how to move from leadership development as it is practiced today toward the future – a transitional way to work with people who think of themselves as leaders in the traditional sense while opening up the possibility that in the not-too-distant future these very same people will begin to see themselves in a significantly different light.

 Transitional Ideas

Three changes in approaching leadership development are useful in making this transition.

Develop the Individual’s  Ability to Take part. Moving the source of leadership beyond the leader and into the reciprocal relations of people working together means seeing the leader as a participant in a process, as an incomplete, interdependent part rather than a more or less autonomous initiator; motivation and evaluator.

Leadership development, then, will eventually move away from developing those personal characteristics that prepare people to act in an autonomous, tale-charge mode. It will move away from being about how to develop people who can stand alone and make the tough call (take responsibility alone) and move toward developing the capacity of people to maintain themselves as responsible, active agents within a context of interdependence (take responsibility individually and with others). The curriculum will slowly evolve toward being more about taking part than taking charge, more about interdependence than independence.

The design of such a curriculum needs to take into account People’s relative readiness to embrace interdependence, and provide supports for the challenge of stretching beyond existing concepts of authority and leadership. A related curricular change is that of developing what is considered the “leader” type of person. As the idea of leadership itself gradually changes, the idea that some people are “natural” leaders is called increasingly into question. As people gain more experience in making decisions, solving problems, and setting direction in an interdependent mode, leadership development activities geared toward bringing out the natural-leader qualities of certain leaderlike people are sure to become increasingly irrelevant. As people work more interdependently and begin to take responsibility individually and together, rather than “delegating responsibility” to a leader, they are invited to conclude that leadership is effective or ineffective more in relation to their collective ability to interrelate and less to characteristics of any one of them.

Develop People in context. Leadership development professionals will thus be invited to see individuals in context. Relationships are of more central concern, not just thinking more about how people enter into and conduct themselves in relationships (interpersonal skills) but significantly shifting the focus of concern from individuals to the interrelationship of individuals. In other words, to see individuals in context, to usefully take account of the interrelatedness of people so as to view leadership as a reciprocal meaning making process, it is useful to shift the way the individual is viewed (Gergen, 1994). Instead of thinking that my relationship with you is conflicted because I am argumentative and you are rigid in your thinking (our characteristics and qualities are “causing the relationship” to be what it is,) we are invited to see in addition how our interrelatedness brings my argumentativeness and your rigidity into being (our interaction makes us who we are).

This view of relationships as the ground of personal qualities and behavior in turn opens the way to understanding how something like leadership-direction giving, value creating, inspirational-can arise not “in” an individual but in the joint action, the reciprocal relatedness, of individuals.

As I said before, new ideas about leadership suggest that leadership development is less and less about enhancing generalizable abilities of individuals. The leadership development curriculum will move toward being about taking part, not taking charge. with a shift in viewpoint toward the interrelational nature of the individual, the leadership development professional is invited to think more about leadership development as the enhancement of interrelating in specific contexts.

As leadership becomes more an idea of shared meaning making, leadership development activities need to pay attention to the quality of interrelating its possible forms, how people can effectively participate in these various forms, and so forth. In other words, the quality of leadership is seen to be related to the vitality of interrelating; to develop leadership, we are being called on to develop the process of interrelating toward skilled, mindful, heedful forms. Recent interest in dialogue in organizations as an approach to organizational learning (Isaacs[1], 1996) is complementary to this focus.

To emphasize, this is not just interpersonal training warmed over as leadership development. Interpersonal skills training, while quite likely to remain useful in a new leadership development context, tends to make the assumption that interpersonal skill is an individual capacity exercised in a social setting. This assumption diverts attention from the reciprocal way that interrelating creates roles or parts to play, and thus the way that relatedness creates people to fill those roles and parts. It is this whole activity of reciprocating relationships that might be addressed in a revised leadership development curriculum. In a later paper, I’ll describe the Personal Creative Interchange Incentive course.

Develop the Leadership Capacity of Work Groups. With this new Paradigm in Leadership, the focus of leadership development activity shifts away from the individual and toward the interdependent work group. In the future, leadership development will be aimed at improvements in the quality of interrelating among people engaged in interdependent work.

This brings leadership development into the domain of what we have come to think of as team development (team building) or even organization development, yet with a distinct difference. Older Paradigms in Leadership see organizations and teams as objects of leadership activity; the individual leader acts on a team, workgroup, or organization. The team, workgroup, or organization is an entity outside of, and in some ways distinct from, the leader.

The new Paradigm in Leadership invites a different conception of the team and the organization: not as an entity outside the individual that the individual “joins,” but rather the sum total of all interactions. It is less a “thing” that individuals can join and upon which they can act than it is a constantly evolving and changing pattern of interrelationships that individuals create and that creates them.

But when we change the view of the organization from that of a “thing” to that of a vital pattern of reciprocal relations, what about the leaders? How can they participate in the organization as if they are a part of it and not separate from it, above it, acting on it ? The traditional view assumes that leadership is a process that rank-and-file workers can be allowed to enter into by the dispensation of leaders (who “own” the process). The emerging view sees leadership as an all-embracing process that people occupying traditional leadership roles – and thus limited by traditional expectations (their own and others’) – need to work extra hard to get in on.

The leadership development profession is therefore being called on to find ways to work in the context of these patterns of reciprocal relations. what we have thought of as team building and organization development is being called on to expand toward leadership development, while what we have thought of as leadership development is being called toward the realm of group development. Perhaps these two domains of developmental work – the individual and the organizational, individual learning and organizational learning – are bound to meet somewhere in the middle in service of a new concept of leadership: the Creative Interchange Process.



[1] Isaacs, William. Dialogue and the art of thinking together. A pioneering approach to communication in business and in life. New York: Doubleday, 1999.

Het Creatief Wisselwerkingsproces

The Process is the Leader

Een van m’n favoriete uitspraken is: “The [Creative Interchange] Process IS the Leader”. Daarmee bedoel ik dat we dringend nood hebben aan een leiderschap dat gebruik maakt van de verschillen tussen ideeën en mensen, deze omzet in duurzame oplossingen voor actuele problemen en dit op een creatieve en innovatieve manier.

Eerder dan de verschillen ‘op te lossen’ door conflict, onderdrukking (de nefaste ‘outside-in’ aanpak) of het sluiten van compromissen, dienen ze de voedingsbodem te zijn voor creatieve, innovatieve en duurzame oplossingen. De reden die wij onderkennen voor onze observatie dat ‘de lerende organisatie’,  eerst veelbelovend, nu ‘ter plaatse trappelt’, is dat wij niet ten volle hebben ingezien dat, eerder dan een persoon of een groep personen, het creatief wisselwerkingsproces de echte leider dient te zijn.

De (lerende) organisatie heeft nood aan een leiderschap dat continue aangepaste verandering als enige constante heeft. Leiders en volgers creëren daarbij niet het leiderschapsproces, ze dienen eerder gezien te worden als ‘begeleiders’ van het proces. Zij zorgen er voor dat het proces z’n leiderschapsrol kan opnemen wanneer ze samen vorm, richting en zin geven aan hun samen-werken. Kortom ze zorgen voor de condities en belichamen tijdens hun interacties de vaardigheden die nodig zijn om dit proces te optimaliseren.

Wanneer er in de organisatie geen gedeelde mening is over ‘waarheen’ en ‘de weg’, dient men niet op een leider te wachten – want dit is werkelijk wachten op Godot – integendeel, dan dient men te kijken naar de inter-relaties, naar de connecties tussen mensen en dient men voornamelijk het creatief wisselwerkingsproces z’n werk laten doen. Dus niet in de weg gaan staan van het proces en wel de condities scheppen, de vaardigheden aanreiken en dit proces zelf beleven, is de opdracht van het management.

Creatieve wisselwerking (Creative Interchange)

“Creative Interchange is not just a good idea…,it’s a business imperative”

Johan Roels

Zich inzetten voor continue verbetering (Continuous Improvement) is zich inzetten voor een transformatie door het zich engageren voor een gemeenschappelijke visie. Heel wat organisaties investeren grote sommen geld in de technische aspecten van hun veranderingen, weinige echter spannen zich in om het menselijk interactieproces ten volle te laten werken.

Creatieve wisselwerking is het natuurlijk transformatieproces waarmee we allen geboren zijn en dat duurzame verandering mogelijk maakt doordat het mensen en organisaties begeleidt bij :

  • Het ont-dekken van feiten, waarnemingen en objectieve gegevens door Authentieke Interactie;
  • Het Waarderend begrijpen van die, door de deelnemers aan het proces verschillend geïnterpreteerde, realiteit. Wanneer men van mening verschilt drukt men niet zijn waarheid door, in plaats daarvan is men verwonderd en stelt men de leiderschapsvraag bij uitstek: “Hoe komt het dat wij dezelfde werkelijkheid zo verschillend zien?” en wordt gezamenlijk een ‘gedeelde mening’ gevonden;
  • Het Creatief Integreren van die diversiteit ten einde uit te deinen wat men weet, apprecieert, zich kan voorstellen en van binnen uit kan beheersen. Op z’n best zorgt het creatief wisselwerkingsproces ervoor dat dynamische beslissingen worden genomen die worden doorgevoerd tot het uiteindelijke succes, dus:
  • Het Transformerend uitvoeren, waarbij men niet enkel uitvoert wat werd beslist, maar waarbij het proces eenieder die er aan deelneemt transformeert.

Let’s go for CI² (Continuous Improvement through Creative Interchange)! Let wel, het creatief wisselwerkingsproces is geen lineair proces waarbij voorgaande vier karakteristieken zich lineair in de tijd opvolgen. De werkelijkheid is veel complexer en chaotischer.


Toemaatje: gehanteerde definitie van Leiderschap

De echte leider is het creatief wisselwerkingsproces dat steunt op interactieve en beïnvloedende relaties tussen mensen die substantiële veranderingen nastreven die hun doelen reflecteren.

Een mondvol, maar wat betekent dit concreet?

Eerst en vooral, het leiderschap wordt belichaamd door het creatief wisselwerkingsproces. Dus niet door een persoon, noch door persoonlijke karakteristieken of gedragingen, noch door een groep personen; maar door een proces effectief te beleven door zowel de ‘leiders’ als de ‘volgers’ (sorry voor dit oubollige taalgebruik).

De essentie van leiderschap is een proces van beïnvloeding. Hiermee bedoel ik dat het creatief wisselwerkingsproces de deelnemers aan het proces zodanig beïnvloedt dat hun attitudes, aannames, waarden en gedrag worden getransformeerd. Zonder beïnvloeding, geen leiderschap!

Dit beïnvloedingsproces steunt uiteraard op de interacties tussen personen, die de beïnvloeding mogelijk maken en aanvaarden. Interactie betekent ook dat deze beïnvloedingsrelaties wederzijds, wederkerig en multi-directioneel zijn. Met andere woorden, gebruik makend van termen uit het huidig paradigma: volgers beïnvloeden leiders, leiders beïnvloeden volgers en ‘peers’ beïnvloeden elkaar.

Let wel, de begrippen ‘leiders’ en ‘volgers’ komen in mijn definitie niet voor! Ze gebruiken zou terugvallen zijn in het huidige paradigma met z’n vastgeroeste rollen en dito posities. Ik geloof vast dat in elke leiderschapsrelatie van de toekomst, volgers leiders worden en leiders volgers. En dat dit afhangt van de situatie en de werking van het creatief wisselwerkingsproces binnen die relatie. In mijn definitie heb ik het over mensen.

Het doel van Leiderschap is veranderingen te creëren en te promoten en de mensen die daarin betrokken zijn, zijn zowel voorwerp als drijvende kracht van de verandering. Hiermee wordt wel betekenisvolle verandering of transformatie bedoeld.

Tenslotte wordt in deze definitie gewag gemaakt van mutuele doelstellingen. De verandering dient in het belang te zijn van alle partijen, van alle acteurs en dus niet enkel in het belang van de zogenaamde leiders of de organisatie, nee in het belang van allen! Men kan deze ook synergetische doelstellingen noemen. Zo dient bijvoorbeeld de visie van de organisatie een synergie te zijn van de visies van de leden ervan en het zal jullie niet verbazen dat in mijn optiek die gemeenschapsvisie gevormd wordt door het creatief wisselwerkingsproces.

Het goede nieuws is dat mensen dit proces (terug) kunnen aanleren, de vaardigheden van het proces kunnen verwerven en bovendien voor de zo broodnodige condities kunnen zorgen. Hoe dit gebeurt en waarom we het proces niet meer ten volle beleven, kan je lezen in m’n volgende bijdragen.

Ik erken dankbaar het baanbrekend werk van zowel dr. Henry Nelson Wieman voor zijn formulering van het creatief transformatieproces (o.m. in diens boek ‘Man’s Ultimate Commitment’) als van mijn vriend dr. Charles Leroy (‘Charlie’) Palmgren voor het identificeren van de basiscondities nodig voor creatieve wisselwerking [o.m. in zijn boeken ‘The Chicken Conspiracy’ (met co-auteur Stacie Hagan) en ‘The Ascent of the Eagle’].

The Fourth Paradigm in Leadership – Part IV

An Example

What might this idea of leadership look like? Could it include the older ideas of leadership by dominance, influence, and shared commitment? If it is true that leadership sometimes needs to come from a strong, directive person, how can leadership as shared meaning making account for this? The answer is by thinking of a strong, directive leader’s effectiveness as a result not just of the leader’s competence but of how the whole group makes sense of (arrives at an agreement on how to understand and value) its work.

For example, take a group of learners and their teacher in the classroom. The learners do not know what the teacher knows; they need the teacher for guidance, need to be told how to do something in order to do it correctly. Theirs is a reciprocal relationship in which the teacher teaches in exchange for learning in the classroom. In light of that agreed-upon meaning, learners consider strong direction from the teacher only natural; they take it for granted.

This quality of taken-for-granted reality is a hallmark of meaning that has been made and agreed to. If strong directive leadership seems natural and people take it for granted that it simply makes good common sense, then the group, in its reciprocal relations, can be said to create its own leadership process.

But what happens as the learners learn more and gain more experience of their own? Perhaps they work with new equipment (iPhone, iPad, …) and use social media like nothing the teacher has ever done; they gain experiences the teacher has never had. At this point, the relationship of the learners to the teacher changes. The old reciprocity no longer makes good sense: the learners no longer exchange their work (now expert in its own right) for learning from the teacher. A new reciprocity evolves in which the former learners teach the master about the new tools while the teacher continues to provide them with a classroom and content. This new reciprocity brings into being a new process of leadership, a new way of making meaning of their work. It is not so much the teacher who needs to change a directive leadership style as it is a change in the whole system of making sense together. This need of a whole system to live a new leadership process is the idea of leadership development that has to operate in the future.

For now, this rather simplified example helps illustrate how leadership as shared meaning making includes the older ideas of leadership as dominance, influence, and shared commitment. It is an idea of leadership that looks at people who are called leaders and followers not as creators of the leadership process, but as those who llive the process. People make the Creative Interchange process go when they work together and also try to understand what is important or valuable about working together, and how to go forward together – in short, when they make meaning of their work together. On the other hand, when they fail to make meaning of their work together, they fail to create leadership between them, they don’t live the Creative Interchange Process.

New Possibilities

This Paradigm, while including the useful aspects of preceding Paradigms in Leadership. creates new possibilities for leadership and tries to overcome the limitations of the modern idea of common goals as discussed earlier to get a better sense of the possibilities this new Paradigm in Leadership opens up, we need to engage in a little imagination, a thought experiment.

Imagine that you live in a world where leadership has never been conceived of as coming from a person called a leader. Imagine you have always lived in a world where leadership was simply presumed to come out of the reciprocal relationships between people working together. Let’s say you live in this imaginary world (which is just like our world except for the change in assumptions about leadership) and you are a member of a company that has been having trouble deciding how to respond to some recent changes in the market for your products.

People in the company have a variety of interpretations of the ‘problem’ some people are certain it’s a manufacturing issue, and they point to a lot of evidence to support their position, others are equally certain that the problem lies in better customer education and a new marketing strategy. They too have surveys and impressive evidence to support their point of view. Still others insist that there is a very real threat from new competitors, and they have facts and figures to back this up. There are even some people who don’t see a problem at all; they point to similar periods in the past where the company has been successful by essentially staying the course.

It is a very complex situation with no easy answer. In a world where leadership is assumed to be shared meaning making, how is this situation addressed?

First of all, there is no blaming the current leader or leadership group for getting the company into the mess. No one says, “If they [meaning top management] would only listen to me. . . “ people understand without needing to say so that it is the company’s ways of talking thinking and working together that has put it where it is. If a shared sense of how to go forward together is lacking people need to look not to leaders but to interrelationships. They need to create the conditions for Creative Interchange and use the tools of Crucial dialogues.

Flapvlinder_eng The conditions for Creative Interchange (in red) and the tools if Crucial Dialogues (in green).

So the first area for inquiry is the differences of viewpoint on the cause and nature of the problem. The first leadership action is to ask: “Why do we see this differently? How have our various experiences created these different interpretations?” The goal is not to discover which interpretation is “right”, because in this imaginary world people assume that no interpretation is right in and of itself. Interpretations are all simply ways of making sense of what’s happening. The goal is to create the interpretation that is most useful in helping the company choose appropriate actions, decisions, directions, and so forth. This is done by inquiring into what assumptions, values, feelings – in short, what meaning – lies beneath the various perspectives being offered. The search for leadership is engaged by looking at what is going on between people.

In its best case, if this leadership process [i.e. the Creative Interchange Process] is effective, it leads to dynamic decisions and actions that create a period of long-term vitality for the company. In the worst case, if the leadership process fails, it could lead to paralysis, a deadlock of irresolute perspectives and values. This is a fact of life in this imaginary world, just as there are certain facts of life about effective and ineffective leadership in our real world. This is not a utopian vision of leadership; rather it is a version of leadership that can be either effective or ineffective depending on the sensitivity skill, and experience with which it is engaged.

So is everyone somehow equal in this imaginary world? Probably not. People vary in their desire for power authority, responsibility and being held accountable; they also vary in their experience, learning, and maturity. There may be people-teachers; advisors, mentors, elders — who have a powerful effect on the meanings that get made yet are not seen as making leadership itself happen. They are understood as participants in the process like anyone else. They may even be entrusted with certain power and authority that serves the meaning making of the whole, though they are not seen as causing meaning making or as initiating leadership. They are responsible though to create the conditions that are needed so that the Creative Interchange process can thrive. There may be others who are less experienced, less willing to take authority, less knowledgeable, but they are not seen as the object of leadership. Even though their role may be to carry out plans, they themselves make sense of these plans in their interrelationships, and thus they are responsible for the whole, not just their job. They are living the tools of the Creative Interchange Process.

The effectiveness of leadership, then, is determined by the vitality of the process itself, that is, by the vitality of the interactions between the people involved and by the extent to which people are willing to take responsibility for those interactions, for nurturing and improving them. People with less experience and authority improve the leadershiprocess as much as people with great experience and more authority. Improving the whole process of leadership is, in fact, how people think of leadership development.

This little imaginary excursion is intended to do nothing more than evoke the possibility that the fourth Paradigm in Leadership as a process of shared meaning making is at least conceivable, and to suggest that such an idea of leadership has profound implications for the practice of leadership development.


Bloggen over en rond het WK Voetbal.

Ik blijk niet de enige Safety freak te zijn die het WK Voetbal aangrijpt om te bloggen. Pascal Meyns heeft het ook goed vlaggen:

Onder de titel ‘Gelukkig zijn’ beschrijft hij het gevoel de dag na België – USA. Zijn kronkel van 2 juli jl. wordt gelardeerd met de songtekst met dezelfde titel van Raymond Van Het Groenewoud (die hij evenwel vergeet te vermelden). Pascal zit in hetzelfde vak als ik, hij is dus consultant Veiligheid of zoals hij het zegt: ‘Welzijn’, conform de huidige wetgeving.

Gelukkig zijn omdat onze Rode Duivels een wedstrijd gewonnen hebben en doorstoten naar de kwartfinales doet toch even m’n wenkbrauwen fronsen. Dat we blij (mogen) zijn, a-la-bonheur, maar dat het ‘gelukkig zijn’ van ‘de Belg’ afhangt van de prestaties van de Rode Duivels… kom nou!

Pascal ‘staaft’ z’n (Consciousness) mening met een Awareness gegeven: Een studie van de universiteit in Luik bewees het jaren geleden al. Na een overwinning van Standard de Liège is er tot 10% minder ziekteverzuim op maandag. Welzijn en geluk”. Het causaal verband tussen een overwinning van Standard, het gedaalde ziekteverzuim de dag daarop in het Luikse en geluk ontgaat me helemaal. Het is niet omdat ik me niet ziek meld (omdat ik een houten kop heb van het ‘napraten’ gedurende de klassieke ‘derde time’), dat ik gelukkig ben…

Dan gaat Pascal verder: “De Bruyne en Lukaku. Ver na middernacht. Gelukkig zijn.”

M’n Awareness bewustzijn ontleedt deze paragraaf. Wat bedoelt Pascal met “De Bruyne en Lukaku. Ver na middernacht. Gelukkig zijn’? Ik kan er in komen dat de ‘Kev’ en ‘Big Rom’ meer dan blij waren met hun doelpunt. Gelukkig wellicht ook wel, zie maar naar de reactie van Romelu in de camera. ‘Je t’aime, papa’. M’n Consciousness bewustzijn kleurt dit laatste als volgt in: dat Lukaku voornamelijk gelukkig is dat hij ‘iets kan terugdoen voor en vreugde geeft aan de vader waarvan hij houdt’. Maar bedoelt Pascal dat wel?

Dan komt Pascal op z’n pootjes terecht: “Vergeet die rationeel geschoolde preventieadviseurs. Fuck de proceduurtjes, Regeltjes en ander formalisme. Leve Mulder. Leve bevrijd werken. Leve emo.”

Leuk dat ook hij Jan Mulder vernoemd. Minder leuk is dat m’n ‘BS meter’ in het rood gaat. Wat bedoelt Pascal – die nota bene een opleidingscentrum voor preventieadviseurs runt [waar studenten om de oren geslagen worden met wetteksten, regels, voorschriften, de Codex (spijtig genoeg geen zangbundel) en allerhande veiligheidssystemen en dito normen] – in hemelsnaam met die paragraaf? Ik heb het er raden naar, via m’n Consciousness bewustzijn, want z’n blog stopt daar abrupt. Waarom m’n BS meter in het rood slaat, vraag je? Dit heeft uiteraard te maken met m’n Consciousness bewustzijn. Bij gebrek aan bijkomende Awareness gegevens kleur ik het plaatje dan zelf maar in. Pascal leent het, dit WK terugkerende mantra van Jan Mulder ‘Fuck the System’, misschien wel om aan te geven dat het Veiligheidssysteem op sterven na dood is. Hij zou wel eens gelijk kunnen hebben indien hij de uitspraak van Jan Mulder interpreteert zoals ik het doe, maar dat hij dat wel? Ik verdenk er Pascal van dat hij z’n kronkel en zeker z’n laatste paragraaf sarcastisch bedoelt. Vandaar dat die meter in het rood gaat. Pure perceptie, maar wat heb ik meer?

Baidewai, vanuit m’n denkkader fulmineert Jan Mulder tegen het Systeem omdat dit van buitenaf (in het geval van voetbal door een dictatoriale trainer à la Van Gaal) de spelers opgelegd wordt. Daardoor wordt de speelvreugde van de spelers gefnuikt,  stelt Jan. Indien we het vertalen naar Welzijn, is het Veiligheidssysteem opgelegd door de wetgever en werkgever met de preventieadviseur als dictatoriale ‘controlefreak’. Dit is inderdaad zo in het huidig paradigma in het werkveld. Daar wordt nog te veel van buiten naar binnen zaken opgelegd en wordt de creativiteit van de mensen daardoor gefnuikt.

Wanneer Jan Mulder ‘Fuck the System’ roept, roept hij eigenlijk om een paradigmashift, waarbij wel regels en afspraken gevolgd worden, maar dan wel van binnenuit. Hetgeen vreugde geeft. Wat ook te zien was in de achtste finale tegen de USA.

Ook Welzijn heeft nood aan een paradigma shift. Het huidige ‘van buiten naar binnen’ paradigma dient dringen vervangen te worden door het nieuwe ‘van binnen naar buiten’. Wil je echt weten hoe ik die nieuwe manier van werken in het werkveld zie, kom dan op 12 November 2014 naar A’dam voor het Symposium ‘Risk and Safety, new perspectives’. Ik spreek daar in de namiddag over “The fourth Paradigm in the workfield’.

De ‘dialoog’ rond het WK Voetbal op ‘ons aller’ VRT & ‘Twitter’, is voor mij een goed oefenterrein om het verschil tussen ‘Awareness’ en ‘Consciousness’ bewustzijn te onderkennen.


M’n vorige blog ging ook al over dit thema, en ik blijf mij gedurende deze WK periode verwonderen…

Ik geef het toe: ik heb een grenzeloze bewondering voor de manier waarop Jan Mulder de presentator Karl Vannieuwkerke tegenvoets neemt. Jan Mulder was niet alleen een begenadigd voetballer, hij is een fenomeen; onder meer een taalfenomeen. Zijn flitsende ‘dialogen’ in het verleden met z’n voorganger Johan Cruijf zijn ‘weergaloos’. Zoek ze maar eens op via Google en je begrijpt waarom Jan Mulder poneert: ‘Fuck the System’.

In Diabo en andere uitzendingen voor of na een WK match is het voor mij steeds genieten geblazen. Maar wie zegt genieten, heeft het over het ‘Consciousness’ bewustzijn. Het is een interpretatie van wat Jan zegt of doet. Natuurlijk is m’n Consciousness interpretatie gebaseerd op Awareness feiten, observaties, en dies meer.

Laat ik in deze blog een voorbeeld uitspinnen. Ik lanceer op 30 juni volgende tweet:

#14-1Let wel  ik voeg aan m’n tweet ook links toe naar de ‘Awareness’ gegevens waarop m’n ‘Consciousness’ bewustzijn steunt.

Plots krijg ik, dezelfde dag nog, ‘out of the blue’ volgende reactie tweet:


Dit komt blijkbaar (Consciousness bewustzijn) van een Nederlander (zie het Awareness gegeven – de Avatar van deze brave borst). Waarop hij z’n boude bewering (sic) ‘Mulder is een flapdrol en hier al uitgescheten’ steunt is mij een raadsel. Hij geeft wel toe dat hij m’n links niet heeft kunnen openen (dat besluit ik uit z’n eerste zin). Ik beslis dat deze tweet een antwoord verdient:


Let wel, ik geef m.i. duidelijk aan dat m’n tweet een interpretatie is. Waarop @nummertje14 repliceert:


Ik reageer op z’n vriendelijke Consciousness interpretatie ‘domme belg’:


Een pure ‘Consciousness bewustzijn’ tweet (het valt mij bovendien hoe langer hoe meer op dat ‘Consciousness bewustzijn’ wel meer hilariteit en plezier geeft dan ‘Awareness’ gegevens; dat is eigenlijk normaal, Awareness gegevens zijn droog, niet gekleurd en dus niet voor discussie vatbaar). De Consciousness link tussen nummertje 14 en Cruijf is uiteraard wel gesteund op een Awareness feit: Johan Cruijf en shirt nummer 14 zijn ‘onlosmakelijk’ met elkaar verbonden zijn. Het begrip ‘onlosmakelijk’ is uiteraard weer een Consciousness ‘slip of the tongue’.

Omdat het eerste deel van z’n tweet mij heel wat later  opvalt: ‘Hier is dat IQ’ [m’n Consciousness bewustzijn werkt wat trager dan vroeger; dat gegeven steek ik steevast op m’n leeftijd (‘Consciousness’ bewustzijn)]; reageer ik, later dus, met volgende tweet:


Het woord ‘blijkbaar’ geeft aan dat m’n ‘Consciousness’ bewustzijn aan het werk is en ook hetgeen daarop volgt heeft weinig met ‘Awareness’ en meer met ‘Consciousness’ bewustzijn te maken, tenzij de termen EQ, IQ en Denkkader.  ‘Slimme Hollander’ is inderdaad nogal Consciousness geladen, hoewel voor heel wat Nederlanders dit pleonasme en het andere, ‘domme Belg’, dan weer Awareness feiten blijken te zijn.

Natuurlijk is het gevaarlijk om zelf aldus te percipiëren, maar wat hebben we anders dan perceptie? Daarop krijg ik geen reactie meer van @nummertje14. Ben wel Consciousness geïntrigeerd en ga vandaag op zoek naar het Twitter profiel van dit heerschap (duidelijk speelt weer m’n Consciousness bewustzijn mij parten, gezien ik geen Awareness feiten heb omtrent het geslacht van @nummertje14.)

Tijdens die zoektocht vind ik wel een paar tweets, van gisterenavond, waarop ik, alweer niet kan nalaten te reageren (laatste tweet) :

#14-5Ik  ben noch met Humbarto Tan, noch met Emmerik De Vriese in een ‘Twitter conversatie gestapt; ik had ondertussen mijn les geleerd, namelijk dat:

  1. ik veel vanuit de buik reageer (Consciousness bewustzijn);
  2. Twitter verkeer nogal eens respectloos is (‘anoniem’ schelden blijkt schering en inslag);
  3. je nooit te oud bent om te leren;
  4. het al met al nuttig is een goed onderscheid te leren maken tussen Awareness en Consciousness bewustzijn;
  5. Twitter geen medium iw dat geschikt is voor diepgaande dialoog.

Dat laatste wist ik eigenlijk al. Twitter is inderdaad eerder een medium geschikt voor discussie , dan een medium geschikt voor dialoog. Dialoog heeft meer nodig dan enkel woorden. En gezien bovendien bij menselijks wezens het Consciousness bewustzijn sterker is dan het Awareness bewustzijn, en er dus op los interpreteren, is de discussie nooit ver weg.

Een avondje WK kijken is leuk om het verschil tussen Awareness en Consciousness te ont-dekken

Gisteren, 24 juni 2014 gezellig naar het episch drama Italië – Uruguay met vrouwlief gekeken. Voor het eerst in ons 44 jarig huwelijk kijkt ‘ons Rita’ dit jaar mee naar de matchen van het WK. Ze is voor 50 %  Nederlandse en voor 50 % Belgische dus supportert ze vrijuit voor twee ploegen dit WK (weet niet wat het zou geven mocht er ooit een finale Nederland-België uit de bus komen)

Zoals gezegd keken we gezapig naar de match tussen Italië en Uruguay. De eerste helft was eigenlijk niet om aan te zien, zodat ik alle tijd had om na te denken over het verschil tussen Awareness bewustzijn en Consciousness bewustzijn. Beide soorten bewustzijn zijn verschillend van elkaar en toch onlosmakelijk met elkaar verbonden. Ze komen eigenlijk overeen met twee karakteristieken van het Creatief wisselwerkingsproces (Authentieke Interactie en Waarderend Begrijpen) en dus ook met fasen een en twee van het Cruciale Dialogen model: Communicatie en Appreciatie. Bij Communicatie is de hoofdactiviteit observatie en bij Appreciatie is dat interpretatie. Dus zou je Awareness bewustzijn kunnen vertalen als ‘zwart-wit’ bewustzijn (die de naakte feiten registreert) en het Consciousness bewustzijn als het ‘gekleurde bril’ bewustzijn (die de naakte feiten aankleedt en inkleurt). Voor het eerst had ik een (voor mij) accepteerbare vertaling gevonden van de twee concepten waarover wij (Charlie’s Eagles) het dit jaar reeds uitvoerig hebben gehad tijdens onze tweewekelijkse ooVoo sessies [Charlie’s Eagles is een denktankje rond dr. Charles (‘Charlie’) Leroy Palmgren, maar dat volledig terzijde].

Awareness vs Consciousness
Awareness vs Consciousness

Dus begon ik het commentaar van de voortreffelijke Peter Vandenbempt (wat een plezier deze radiomaker op tv te mogen aanhoren) te analyseren. Z’n commentaar is in wezen een vertaling van wat er gedurende de match te zien is. Wat te zien is wordt opgepikt door de zintuigen en komt overeen met het Awareness ofte zwart-wit bewustzijn; het commentaar is dan weer het uiten van het Consciousness ofte gekleurde bewustzijn. Door constant mijn gekleurd bewustzijn te vergelijken met dat van Peter werd de match, die eigenlijk niet denderend was, toch leerrijk. Het Consciousness bewustzijn van Peter kwam, wat de kwaliteit van het geleverde spel in de eerste helft betrof, volledig overeen met dat van mij. Peter heeft heel wat meer te observeren dan ik. Hij ziet namelijk het geheel en ik maar wat op m’n beeldscherm verschijnt. Gelukkig is Peter een professioneel die af en toe belangrijke details beschrijft wat er op en naast het veld gebeurt en wat niet te zien is op m’n scherm. Dus werd de match voor mij hoe langer hoe levendiger. Soms was ik het eens met Peter’s Consciousness bewustzijn, soms ook niet, en dat maakte m’n oefening uiterst boeiend. Spijtig genoeg kon ik met Peter niet  in dialoog gaan…

Er was op het voetbalveld in het begin van de tweede helft – volgens Peter’s en mijn Consciousness bewustzijn –  eigenlijk nog niet veel te beleven. Toch bleef het spannend omdat Italië genoeg had aan een gelijk spel om door te stoten tot de achtste finales en Uruguay diende te winnen om hetzelfde doel te bereiken. Dit waren de naakte gegevens en met de brilscore op het scorebord kon het, een half uur voor het einde, nog alle kanten uit (logische deductie, dus zwart-wit).

Toen gebeurde er iets bijzonders. De Italiaanse voetballer Marchisio gaf de Uruguayaan Arevalo een doodschop (gekleurd). Het was een trap juist onder de knie (zwart-wit), de referee stond er vlak bij (gekleurd), wel op 1,98m (zwart-wit) en greep naar z’n achterzak (zwart-wit). Hij zou volgens Peter de rode kaart trekken (die wordt daar bewaard – zwart-wit – om zich niet te kunnen vergissen – gekleurd). Inderdaad de ref trok de rode kaart (hoe raar ook: zwart-wit bewustzijn ). Plots stond Italië met z’n tienen (naakt feit) en ze groeven zich in (niet letterlijk, dus gekleurd).

In de 78 minuut lagen plots twee spelers in de zestien van Italië (gekleurd, de zestien is van Brazilië, maar soit). Peters commentaar werd heel boeiend, misschien had Suarez Chiellini gebeten (feit wegens de ‘misschien’), Suarez was niet aan zijn proefstuk toe (feit, hoewel we niet weten wat hij in Nederland bij Ajax en in Engeland bij Liverpool geproefd heeft). De fase werd meerdere keren herhaald, vanuit verschillende camerastandpunten (zwart-wit feiten), maar noch Peter, noch ik konden ze ‘juist’ inkleuren. Ons Consciousness bewustzijn schoot tekort. Wel ontblootte Chiellini z’n linkerschouder (zwart-wit) en misschien was er wel een tandenafdruk te zien. In alle geval had Suarez naar z’n tanden getast (zwart wit), maar had hij ook gebeten of had Chiellini zich zelf verwond door z’n schouder tegen de tanden van Suarez te meppen? Noch Peter, noch ik kwamen er uit. We hadden te weinig feiten, onze observatie schoot te kort. Het beeld was niet scherp genoeg om de wonde correct te zien (een of twee rijen tanden en hoe dicht bij elkaar?). Bovendien werd de schouder van Chiellini vlug zedig toegedekt door een Uruguayaanse speler…

S’avonds nog even naar Diabo gekeken en de steeds scherpzinnige Jan Mulder kwam met een prachtig idee. In plaats van een psycholoog naar Brazilië te sturen (om het ‘geval’ Lukaku op te lossen – een ander verhaal van Awareness en Consciousness bewustzijn), stelde hij voor om een tandarts te sturen. En ik dacht zo dat dit zwart-wit gegeven, een tandarts die de afdrukken op Chiellini’s schouder bestudeert en ons een gekleurd uitsluitsel geeft (mbt de vraag: heeft Suarez gebeten of niet?), ons verder zou kunnen helpen. Maar dan dacht ik:  op het moment dat de tandarts in Brazilië aankomt zijn de tandafdrukken verdwenen (gekleurde mening) dus zullen we het misschien nooit echt weten…

Overigens heb ik de laatste week van Jan Mulders’ inkleuring van de werkelijkheid genoten. De manier waarop hij onze nationale Karl soms te grazen neemt met z’n Consciousness bewustzijn is ronduit hilarisch. Zo bijvoorbeeld z’n commentaar m.b.t. het ‘domme blondje’ Mathilde en, nog sterker, toen hij vroeg of Karl kandidaat is voor het voorzitterschap van de FIFA; dit net nadat Karl geponeerd had dat hij als trainer van Duitsland of de USA wel zou opteren om een draw te flikken.

De tweede match heb ik die avond niet bekeken, ik was bekaf. Toch deed ik m’n twitterdoos (volgens het consciousness bewustzijn van ‘ons Rita’) open en daar vond ik een tweet van m’n goede kennis Frank Van Massenhove en ik was weer vertrokken. FvMas1 Het Consciousness bewustzijn van Frank kwalificeert het voetbal van Italië als ‘laf’. Deze statement is inderdaad geen Awareness gegeven maar een Consciouness gegeven, gevormd in het denkkader, de mindset van Frank. Althans dit zegt mij mijn Consciousness bewustzijn. Is dat juist? De enige die mij ‘de waarheid’ kan zeggen, klaarheid kan scheppen over de feiten, is Frank zelf. Nu weet ik al jaren dat twitter niet het meest geschikte medium is voor diepgaande dialoog. Toch kon ik me niet weerhouden, omdat ik het net gezien had, om als volgt gekleurd te reageren: FvMas2 Inderdaad had ik net gezien dat Prandelli op een schitterende manier zijn ontslag aangeboden had. Ik scrolde m’n twitter tijdlijn naar boven en vond toen nog tweede tweet van Frank (hier samen met z’n eerste)FvMas3 De trainer die het laffe voetbal orkestreerde werd plots in de ogen van Frank een magnifieke nederige baas (dus via z’n Consciousness bewustzijn). Hij voegde er ‘en passant’ een dot van een Consciousness bewustzijn statement aan toe, in de vorm van een open vraag.

Ik scrollde nog verder en gaf een antwoord op een nog latere tweet van Frank, bedenkend dat twitter soms wel een heel vlug en vluchtig medium is, met tikfouten als bijkomende werkelijkheid.FvMas5 Maar ook m’n bewering dat Frank en ik op dezelfde golflengte zitten steunt niet op Awareness bewustzijn maar wel op mijn Consciusness bewustzijn. Wie zei er al weer dat je niets kunt leren door naar matchen en commentaren rond het WK te kijken? PS deze morgen las ik op dat de disciplinaire commissie van de FIFA een onderzoek geopend heeft tegen Luis Suarez. Hij riskeert minstens twee wedstrijden speelverbod, luidt het. En nieuwe foto’s van Chiellini’s schouder tonen wel degelijk ‘tandenafdrukken’. Wordt zeker vervolgd 🙂

The Fourth Paradigm in Leadership – Part III

Why a Paradigm Shift is Needed: Current Trends in Organizations

Some companies are organizing around teams and making teams responsible for their own work without management supervision. In such a situation, each team is accountable to all the other teams with which it is interdependently linked. This creates a kind of marketplace accountability in which the work of each team is appraised for its quality and timeliness by the other teams with which the team has connections. The meaning of such a system starts with satisfying the needs of the customer, both internal and external. Each person, and each team, and all the interlinked teams that make up the organization participate in this leadership.

There is often literally no one “making decisions” from a ,”higher level” in order to control the work of the teams. In many cases, the various teams are coordinating by something very close to mutual adjustment. In the past, mutual adjustment as a method for gaining coordination and shared direction has been limited to relatively small groups of tightly integrated people. The idea of expanding mutual adjustment to include larger organizational units is fostering a significantly different idea of leadership.

In a related vein, many organizations are trying to break down the strict barriers, the silos, that have separated and defined different functions. Boundaries do not go away, but our ideas about the nature of boundaries can change. In most organizations, functional boundaries are the product of coordination from above, from a level of more abstraction – the classic bureaucratic hierarchy.  As organizations try to create a context in which functions can work together more closely, coordination from the top seems to be giving way to coordination from the side-from workgroup to workgroup instead of from manager to manager. This makes the leadership task significantly more complex and requires an approach to leadership that embraces the differences within and among groups. A model of leadership that acknowledges and accommodates the need for direction and meaning between functions seems to be called for.

Increasing diversity in organizations also suggests the need for a new paradigm in leadership. If organizations are going to embrace differing cultures, they need to be able to embrace differing values, philosophies, attitudes, ideas, and feelings all at once, seeing differing values and perspectives as mutually sustaining. Older approaches to leadership depending on the idea that a leader can generate a vision to guide, motivate, or gain the commitment of others are unlikely to serve this need

very well simply because the vision of a leader – even if it is informed by the ideas of followers – is of necessity the vision of a single culture and a single worldview, because it is expressed from a single point of view. Vision in diverse organizations needs to be multifaceted, and meaning in diverse organizations needs to be reciprocal, forged in continuous interaction, An idea of leadership as shared process may be a step in this direction. This process is the Creative Interchange process.

The need to make organizations more directly responsive to customers is leading to the practice of granting increased no routine decision-making authority to operational people. This move also seems to call for a new paradigm in leadership. Making people more directly responsible for their work and the outcomes of their work puts the identity and reputation of the organization into the hands of many, rather than of a strategic few at the top. As operational employees take responsibility for making decisions in direct communication with customers, depending less on following a script and more on their own living of the Creative Interchange process, the enacted strategy of the organization unfolds in the day-to-day actions of a multitude of people. If the strategy of the organization is to be effective, people at all levels and doing all kinds of work need to be participants in the evolution of that strategy. Again, an approach to leadership as a shared process is being called forth.

Finally, the whole set of ideas implicit in what is being called the learning organization may depend upon a new idea of leadership. We wrote in part II of our book ‘Creative Interchange’[1]: “We have to make the Creative Interchange process a discipline (our way of doing business) and a daily reality. Only then will the learning organization become a flourishing reality. In other words, we are convinced that the Fifth Discipline[2] of Peter M. Senge can only become a success if it is essentially based on the ‘Sixth Discipline: Creative Interchange’.

Fundamentally, the difference between the learning organization and the traditional organization lies in the concept of open and closed systems. he traditional organization was conceived as a more or less closed system, with a goal of stability in the face of environmental change. The learning organization is being conceived  as an open system that evolves continuously as it interacts with its environment. Although the traditional organization was well served by a model of leadership that emphasized a single, controlling vision created by a leader who had a highly abstracted view of the enterprise-the leader created the leadership that kept the organization stable – the learning organization needs a model of leadership that points toward continuous adaptive change: “The [Creative Interchange] Process is the Leader”.

This suggests that somehow we have to figure out how to achieve flexible navigation that adjusts to changes as they happen, not in annual or other time-specific cycles. It’s an image of a ship on which the sailors are calling out to one another what they are doing and what they have learned about the sea in which they are sailing. Instead of regarding a sea captain as the leader; the entire ship-sailor system is seen as leadership. If companies are to steer by this kind of large-scale mutual adjustment, an approach to leadership is needed that enables direction to emerge from the reciprocity of interrelated work.

In recent years the theory of leadership has been building toward a new view in tandem with the practice of leadership. The final step in understanding how these changes in the idea of leadership affect the practice of leadership development is to describe in more detail just what such leadership might look like. How is it different from the traditional idea of influence and the modern idea of shared commitment?

Leadership as Shared Meaning Making

The idea of leadership that is emerging calls for rethinking the source of leadership. It will no longer be thought of as something initiated by the leader (or by followers) but understood to begin in the reciprocal connections of people working together. This is a significant change from even the most current ideas of leadership, which are still rooted in the idea that leadership is a product of individual initiative and action. Even in the modern idea, it is still usually presumed that the leader initiates the shared process.

The idea that leadership is initiated by interactions of people (which is the creative interchange process at work between people) instead of by people as individuals goes well beyond the idea that leadership is a personal trait. It also goes beyond the idea that anyone can be a leader. It even goes beyond the idea that leadership can and should be shared between leader and followers. It is the idea that the process is the leader.

This new idea says that leadership begins and ends in the interrelations of people working together. It is not that the process is most effective when it is shared by a leader with followers; sharing is where the process comes from. It doesn’t come from leaders and it doesn’t come from followers; it doesn’t come from any one person alone. The Creative Interchange process is the natural learning process[3]. It comes instead from what goes on between people, from people making reciprocal meaning (promises, commitments, interpretations, agreements) when they work together. This is leadership as shared meaning making.

What exactly do I mean by “shared meaning making?” Without getting too entangled in philosophy, I suggest that it refers to joint or reciprocal interpretation of experience, especially experiences that are readily open to multiple interpretations. To use the old analogy of the blind men and the elephant, I mean the synthesis of all the partial observations. This is more than a summary of the various views-the size of the leg, the length of the trunk, the feel of the tail. It means that all those who hold the various observations from differing points of reference arrive at an agreed-upon view of the whole animal. shared meaning making then, refers to the reciprocal social processes by which a group of people agree on how to understand some phenomenon and what value to place on it. I hope this becomes clearer as the paper progresses.

six wise people


[1] Roels, Johan. Creatieve Wisselwerking. op. cit.

[2] Peter Senge, M. The fifth discipline. The art and practice of the learning organization. New York: Doubleday, 1990

[3] Wieman, Henry Nelson. Man’s Ultimate Commitment. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 1958.

With all due respect, Mr. David Ducheyne: Purpose lies inside yourself

This blog is a reaction to a Blog of David Ducheyne, in which he claims that the Purpose lies outside yourself:

I gave some comments as you can see on his blog and the comment he gave on those was : “It’s always nice to see comments that are longer than the original Blog.  I think we agree.” Since I really cannot confirm this paraphrase of David I wrote this Blog.

A simple exercise to find your purpose is the Purpose Game that I have learned from my third Father Charlie Palmgren. I have played that game for almost twenty years now in very different settings . It goes as follows:

“You ask the other person, let’s call him Person A, to think of an activity he/she regularly does out of her/his free will. When he/she has found that activity you ask Person A to communicate this activity to you (Person B). The only question Person B has to use is: “What is YOUR Purpose of doing this activity?” Be aware that her/his answer is really connected to him/her. Don’t let fool you in this game, this is crucial. Person A has to stick to him-/herself and not take a flight to someone else.

Like in following exemple: “I (being A) pay bi-weekly a visit to my mother in law”. You, David (being B) asks me “Johan, what is your purpose of doing this?”. If I answer you “ Because she likes this”, I’m cheating, I take ‘a flight’ …. You (Person B) has to bring me back… Back to ME.

So the game has to continue USING the answer of Person A. You built upon or dig deeper in the purpose using those answers.  You continue the game until Person A repeats, paraphrases himself. This ‘landing point of the Eagle’ is noted on a piece of paper. This ‘final’ answer, you’ll see, does NOT ly outside yourself, it is the core Purpose of your Being.”

I’ve been playing this game with thousands of persons and mostly I pair up the people in the group. When A has finished (he got stuck, paraphrases himself)… A becomes B and B becomes A and the team of two play again. In those twenty years I’ve never got a surprise, all people found their inner PURPOSE. I must admit that once I had to dig very deep with a Catholic Priest until he said… BUT then I am selfish! No, I replied, you are a loving HUMAN! (in Flanders I call this game: ‘Mother, why do we exist?’).

And this purpose is: You want to be happy, content, fulfilled, in peace … and this lies in yourself. And how many hours you want to be that way? Indeed 24/24 and seven days a week. Those of you who have had in their lives what are called ‘White nights’, know that this is seldom because one is happy, content, fulfilled, in peace…

Of course David is right saying that we cannot be happy all this time on our own. We need other people, creatures like pets, nature,…

My fourth father, Paul de Sauvigny de Blot SJ (in short Paul de Blot) was during years, like Victor Frankl, a prisoner in a WWII concentration camp. Victor in a German one, Paul in a Japanese one. The story he often tells about surviving (he lived more than a year in a death cell where he could not see any light, so after a while he didn’t know if it was day or night), is also about friendship. He testifies that not the strongest men survived in a concentration camp, it were those men with the most friends. You’ll find easily some of the his key notes on Internet.

Among the tribes of northern Natal in South Africa, the most common greeting, equivalent to ‘hello’ in English, is the expression Sawu bona. It literally means “I am here” The order of the exchange is important: until you see me, I do not exist. It’s as if, when you see me, you bring me into existence. This meaning, implicit in the language, is part of the spirit of Ubuntu, a frame of mind prevalent among native people in Africa below the Sahara. The word ubuntu stems from the folk saying Umuntu ngumuntu nagabuntu, which, from Zulu literally translates as “A person Is a person because of other people”[i]

Let me quote David Ducheyne: “Psychology has discovered that your mental development is triggered by interaction with others. You cannot healthily exist without the other. You define yourself, based on the interactions with the other.” One of the philosophers who discovered this is the American Religious philosopher Henry Nelson Wieman. He writes extensively about “that creative good which transforms us in ways in which we cannot transform ourselves.” For Wieman our supreme devotion must be to the creative good not to the created relative goods [created by the creative good], this was an ultimate commitment to what in his later years he increasingly came to label “creative interchange.”[ii]

In 1966, Wieman met and formed a working relationship with Dr. Erle Fitz, a practicing psychiatrist, and Dr. Charles Leroy (‘Charlie’) Palmgren, my third father. Fitz, Palmgren, and Wieman met regularly in Wieman’s home (in Grinell IA I recall) until Wieman’s death in 1975 to focus on how creative interchange could be the basis for psychotherapy, applied behavioral sciences, and organizational development. After Wieman’s death, Palmgren continued to nurture the creative interchange philosophy, identifying the conditions necessary for the Creative Interchange process to occur nt, and developing tools to help people remove the barriers to those conditions while identifying the counter unproductive process ‘The Vicious Circle’.

I was lucky to meet Charlie in 1992 and since then I’m using the Creative Interchange Process in my field of expertise: Safety. In 2001 I wrote a book about my interpretation of Creative Interchange in the field of Loss Control (Safety): ‘Creatieve wisselwerking’[iii]. In 2012 followed a new book ‘Cruciale dialogen[iv]’ (‘Crucial dialogues’) which is the application of the Creative Interchange Process during tough conversations.

Indeed, you really define yourself, based on Creative Interchange with others!

Some people claim that there are two levels of Purpose:

1) Personal purpose, as in why am I here on earth? And;

2) Organisational purpose: the higher calling of an organisation. Finding deeper meaning in work that leads to a higher level of engagement, if it strikes a chord with the individual.

To me it makes sense that if an individual is well-aligned with his Purpose, he will seek out the same level of alignement professionally. If the company mission, vision and values don’t suffice, the individual will try to fill in the gaps on his own. And if there is an irreconcialbe gap between his Purpose and the company’s one he should leave the company. If not, he will become unhappy by definition, since he will be trapped in a ‘Vicious Circle’.

[i] Peter M. Senge [et al.] The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook, strategies and tools for building a learning organization.Doubleday, New York, 1994.

[ii] Wieman, Henry Nelson. Man’s Ultimate Commitment. University Press of America®, Inc., Lanham, Maryland 1991.

[iii] Roels, Johan. Creatieve Wisselwerking, Garant, Leuven-Apeldoorn, 2001

[iv] Roels, Johan. Cruciale Dialogen, Garant, Ant

The Fourth Paradigm in the Work Field

Last 20th of May  I’ve got the following e-mail from Pieter Jan Bots : “Thank you for submitting your proposal for the symposium: RISK AND SAFETY Different Perspectives , Amsterdam 11-12 November 2014. We are happy to announce that your presentation with the title: Fourth Paradigm in the Work Field has been approved for the symposium.

The next day Carsten Busch, with Pieter Jan and Nick Gardener the driving force behind the seminar, wrote me an extensive e-mail to congratulate me and to warn me: “We think that your presentation will be one of the most controversial of the seminar, therefor we have put it in the section ‘New Perspectives’. Since we understand that your presentation will be on the ‘edge of what most participants will expect’ (i.e. out of the comfort zone of most safety people), it will be important to keep it somehow concise.  He went on: “The questions that I hope you’ll answer are: Why a new paradigm is needed in the work field? Which road should we take? And How?”

Since I will only have a twenty minutes to develop my thoughts (it looks like a TED talk!), I’ll really have to be ‘concise’, and that is not one of my Core Qualities! So to prepare myself I have written this blog.

A Paradigm… it’s 20 cents isn’t?

The paradigm concept was first coined by Thomas S. Kuhn is his book ‘The structure of  scientific revolutions’[i]. A Paradigm is, according to Stephen R. Covey[ii], the way we ‘see’ the world – not in terms of our visual sense of sight, but in terms of perceiving, understanding, interpreting. As a metaphor, I like to compare our paradigms to the colored lenses in our glasses.  What we see isn’t a completely accurate reflection of reality, it is shaped by our attitudes and perceptions.

gekleurde bril

 Fig 1 Paradigm Metaphor ‘colored glasses’ (based on The Ladder of Inference of Chris Argyris[iii])

Paradigms are mental models, frames of reference, … that help us to see the reality and to solve our problems. Charlie Palmgren thought me to use the concept ‘mindset’[iv], a paradigm is a frame of reference for our body of thoughts, a model that we use in order to understand and to explain certain aspects of the reality.

The term paradigm shift was also introduced by Thomas Kuhn in the same book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Kuhn shows how almost every significant breakthrough in the field of scientific endeavor is at first a break with tradition, with old ways of thinking, with old paradigms.  A paradigm shift, then, is a change to a new game, a new set of rules. Each Paradigm Shift is more or less a reaction to a crisis. Sooner or later, every paradigm begins to develop a special set of problems that everyone in the field wants to be able to solve and no one has a clue as to how to do it. How are those special problems going to be solved? By changing paradigms, by a paradigm shift! In my ‘TED talk’ I’ll use the representation of a Paradigm and a Paradigm shift presented by Joel Barker in his book ‘Paradigms’[vi][v].


Figuur Paragdigm curve


Figure 2 The presentation of a ‘Paradigm’: the Paradigm Curve

First let’s label the axes in Figure 1: the horizontal (or x axis) represents Time; so if we move to the right, time is passing; the vertical (or y axis) represents success or ‘Problems solved’ using the prevailing paradigm. So if we moving upwards more new problems are solved at a specific time. The process starts not at zero, because problems were solved in the past without a particular set of rules (or Paradigm). Note that there is a slight slope to the A phase: problems are solved in a slow way until we fully know and have refined the problem-solving rules of the actual Paradigm. If you are successful in this then Phase B follows. The dramatic change is the angle of the curve in Phase B indicates that you fully understands the paradigm. You have become efficient in identifying problems that can be solved using the paradigm and effective at applying the rules to discover solutions. You’ll notice a break in the B segment of the line. The more powerful the paradigm, the more problems it will solve over time. Let’s take a look at the C phase of the Paradigm shown in Figure 1. We see the rate of problem solving begin to slow down and the time between problems solved increases, our solutions breed new problems. As we climb higher on the curve, the problems remaining typically increase in their difficulty.  The Paradigm Curve is a simple and useful way to depict the life span of a paradigm.

Why a paradigm shift is needed in the work field?

Simply because the actual way of dealing with work field problems doesn’t work anymore.  Workers at best ignore the slogans of top management, at worst they play along. In most companies the safety philosophy remains naïve, mechanical, fallacious, shallow and .. a century old.

A great deal of the Work Field management remains stuck in the ideas of Fredericks Taylor ‘scientific management’. I know there have been paradigm shifts in the past, because I’ve lived through them: the ‘technical paradigm’ (I call it the Heinrich Paradigm) has been followed by the Organizational one (I call it the Frank E. Bird Jr. Paradigm), which has been followed by the Human Behavior one (I call it the ‘Dupont’ or ‘dr. Krauze’ Paradigm).  Those present ‘safety organizations’, as some call them, seeks behavior manipulation or control and at the same time are killing innovation and preventing sound communication and successful ‘crucial dialogues’. Behaviorism is the ‘popular’ philosophy, unfortunately more and more problems are not solved by the actual ‘Human Behavior’ paradigm. “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” is a quote attributed to Albert Einstein and IMHO very true in this context.

What are the kind of problems that are created by the actual paradigm in the work field? Let’s keep it ‘concise’ and only look at one prevailing element of the actual paradigm: the ‘zero’ mindset. The actual buzzwords in that mindset are ‘zero accident’, ‘zero preventable accidents’, ‘zero injuries’ … and finally ‘zero harm’.

This ‘zero harm’ is indeed one of the last convulsions of the actual safety ‘frame of reference’. There is no possible way in the world for any organization to ever meet that ‘zero’ goal. The believers of the zero mindset are basically setting themselves and their subordinates ‘from the outside-in’ up to all sorts of issues to obtain ‘on paper’ what cannot be obtained in reality by using that slogan. Most CEOs and managers of the ‘zero mindset’ companies that are charged with achieving ‘zero harm’ have become like the fabled emperor with no clothes on. He was sold ‘invisible’ clothes by a persuasive consultant, and the people lied to the emperor to avoid shaming him (and to have to bear the consequences of their ‘authentic interacting’).

There are at least two guaranteed strategies for achieving a ‘zero accident goal’ in this paradigm: 1) creative use of statistics and definitions (classification of accidents!) and 2) a massive dose of good luck over an extended period of time. Being who I am, I won’t recommend either one to you, even though the first has ‘success guaranteed’ after implementation. It’s all about whether you want to like yourself upon seeing your reflection in the mirror. I do like myself, and I’d like to keep things that way.

There is this third method that may get you close, eventually, but it costs a lot of hard work, disappointment and patience: good safety management. And without a certain dose of luck it won’t bring you down to ‘zero’ and keep you there. Because you simply cannot control everything, and “entropy will get us in the end”, so accidents do happen, no matter how good you are.

My experience has taught me that the “zero” talk leads to under reporting and misleading information about the safety reality. Zero harm is a great vision. But is it necessary to say this? The purpose of safety is in line with the core purpose of every human being (Play the ‘Purpose Game’ and you’ll find out if you don’t know it by now). The focus should be not on the end result but on what is being done to prevent accidents. What proactive measures are in place? Are they working? Are we focusing on the right things (looking solely at the human behavior and not at all the causes why incidents are occurring)? And more important: ‘are those measures lived from the inside-out, because people believe in them or are they just doing it – or worse making the right ‘movements’ – because we have to do it, from the ‘outside-in’.

I have always received the same comment from ‘zero harm’ disciples from many industries: “They believe that if you don’t buy into the zero mindset that you advocate or endorse incidents and injuries!” Or, you are willing to accept less than zero. Accepting that someone may come to harm is a different thing from planning to have someone harmed. I think it’s very transparent if you manage to communicate that you cannot provide 100% safety, even if you would like to. There is of course a major nuance between not endorsing a “zero goal” and “planning to injure”. My response has always been this – wanting something and getting something are two different things. A plan to improve the process is the only logical way I know I can influence the probability of incidents occurring. If I have a zero injury goal but do nothing different, how can I expect different or improved results?

The desire that everyone in a company does their work without injury and goes home in the same state of health as they came to work in is NOT the same as a Zero Injury target. The longer I thought about it, the more disgusting the whole idea of ‘Zero Accidents’ became. It’s not only a thing that involves mostly fear, blaming or statistical lying. One of the worst things about it is that the concept of risk acceptance, which is an essential part of safety management, is neglected or even denied by it. Don’t get me wrong, by far most accidents can be prevented, and in hindsight probably all of them. But in reality not everything can be prevented. Firstly because we’re never capable of controlling all the variables. Secondly because we don’t even want to reduce risk to ‘zero’, and thirdly, if we wanted to we, – like the ‘zero mindset’ CEO’s – don’t have the resources to do so.

So we badly need the fourth paradigm in Safety!

Which road should we take?

As in the poem of Frost[vi] ‘the road not taken’! Until now we’ve taken the ‘outside-in’ road. The working population were forced to have continuous improvement from the ‘outside-in’. The had to perform safely and follow the procedures, instructions, rules and regulations, if they believed in them or not.

In order to take the road less travelled, first of all our safety slogans need to be focused more toward the everyday working population so that they accept the basic principles (be safe, think smart, be alert, do dialogue, etc.) from the ‘inside-out’.

Safety consists of a plan and a process. The plan is usually your policies, procedures, activities, etc. that will prevent accidents (What you have to do). The safety process is how the plan is implemented and run (How this is done). Better than a ‘zero’ mindset, I believe the focus should be on how to improve the process in the fourth paradigm in the work field. The process should be observed, audited, and scrutinized from the ‘inside-out’ to find where expectation and reality have gaps. The wider the gap and the bigger the risk, the more focus and resources should be brought to bear to fix it.

During my life I understood an inherent issue with the human condition: we want to take risk but not acknowledge the taking of risk. We act in an unsafe manner but we justify it in many ways. Most of all, we prefer ignorance of the risk over uncovering and addressing the issue. Until we can change the acceptance that risk is out there and must be controlled from the ‘inside-out’, we can’t move forward. This is not easy. Because you can’t control risk if you can’t acknowledge it!

In the actual paradigm many in our business claim to know and live by continuous improvement cycles and the lessons learned by quality management and then ignore Deming’s 14 points. Outcome measurements alone won’t get us to 100% safety, they need to be linked to input measures. Measure and react to the inputs and the resulting outputs will take care of themselves. Process Control holds the secret not reclassifying the true information for a statistical lie .

In the new paradigm we will move the zero accident target to a vision. Then the whole community, including workers, put together strategies and plans (that include actions) on how accidents can be prevented from the ‘inside-out’. In the new paradigm the positive inputs (conditions, behaviors, activities) will be controlled by all from the ‘inside-out’ to ensure they are both being done and they are helping to actually prevent accidents from happening. I can guarantee if you do this, the outputs (accidents) will be reduced over time. As you make gains, fine tune your approach until your current state meets your ‘end’ state (or at least a state that contains an acceptable amount of risk, level that will be lowered over time).

And how will we take that road?

We need a (safety) culture change that allows the ‘inside-out’ control at all levels of the input measures. That, in my opinion, is a huge issue and one that must be addressed in order to allow the flow of information. And for this trust and openness are everything. The companies that live in the fourth paradigm – I call them Creative Interchange companies – certainly have an easier time of managing EHS issues. So the answer is very simply. We have to re-install the Creative Interchange Process in the Work Field.

I’m working with clients to help them to create the needed paradigm shift. We start with building trust and openness and learning to have ‘crucial dialogues’ (which are based on that natural transformation process, called Creative Interchange) about issues. Not only safety issues since we’re working on a culture change in the work-field, not only in the safety-field. This culture change is in fact a paradigm shift. The challenge in the new paradigm is to consistently demonstrate that the truth is valued… even when it’s not good news. In this new culture, the ‘Emperor has no clothes’ story becomes real: everybody is empowered to tell everybody (including the CEO and the managers) they aren’t doing a good job. In the present paradigm employees aren’t really empowered to do that and sometimes a consultant is (more often than not, at the cost of his contract – since the paradigm shift has not taken place yet).

A “zero vision” is not the same as a “zero target”. A ‘zero vision’ is what you really, really, want. But you know that you’re not there yet and that it will cost you a lot to get there. If you get there at all. But to me, it is the journey that is important, not the destination. You are convinced that it is worthwhile to strive for it. In order to get there you’ll probably have to put some shorter term goals – milestones – (realistic and motivating) where you’ll have to get first. The real discussion should be about lowering risk, prevention of incidents and to what lengths we are prepared to go to achieve these things, from the ‘inside-out’. And as James Reason once said “Safety is a guerrilla war that you will probably lose (since entropy gets us all in the end), but you can still do the best you can.”

Re-installing the Creative Interchange process will Drive out fear, so that everyone may work effectively for the company. (See Ch. 3 of “Out of the Crisis”[vii] W. Edwards Deming). Why because the energy of that transformation will slow down the ‘Vicious Circle’[viii]. In the actual paradigm the Vicious Circle is very much alive which lead to Organizational Mediocrity

cover chicken

[i] Kuhn, Thomas S. The structure of scientific revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970.

[ii] Covey, Stephen R. The seven habits of highly effective people. New York: Fireside (Simon & Schuster), 1990

[iii] Argyris, Chris. Overcoming Organizational Defenses. Needham, Mass.: Allyn and Bacon, 1990

[iv] Palmgren, Charles L. Oral statement, Stone Mountain, Ga, Summer 1994

[v] Barker, Joel A. Paradigms. The Business of Discovering the Future. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1993

[vii] Deming, W. Edwards. Out of the crisis. Cambridge, Mass. Cambridge University Press, 14th printing, 1991

[viii] Stacie Hagan and Charlie Palmgren, The Chicken Conspiracy. Breaking the cycle of Personal Stress and Organizational Mediocrity. Recovery Communications, Inc. Baltimore, Maryland 1999

The Fourth Paradigm in Leadership – Part II

The different Paradigms in Leadership

Developing leaders has been a concern since antiquity. From ancient Egypt there is evidence that preparing the pharaohs for leadership was a matter of importance to which great thought and analysis were devoted. Aristotle was responsible for the development of Alexander the Great, the future leader of an empire. But this age-old approach is one of developing leaders – people assumed by birth to be leaders – which is different from the idea of developing leadership.

More recent ideas hold that learned abilities and circumstances make the main difference in leadership: the quality of leadership emerges in a person in a certain context. This is usually what we have in mind when we think about developing leadership today: developing the general human capacity of most people to act as leaders when needed. This is quite different from the old idea of training and developing someone presumed  to be born as a leader.

Thus the first Paradigm in Leadership was about nurturing and educating preconceived leaders, preparing people of “obvious” leadership potential to discharge their duty. As assumptions that Leadership was purely inborn were replaced by ideas of leadership as something that a person could learn to do, something that could emerge if circumstances required it, the approach to leadership development changed from one of teaching people in general how to become leaders; this was a Paradigm Shift!

During this Paradigm shift the ideas of leadership itself and of leadership development have changed in tandem. When thinking about how to develop leadership, it matters a great deal what leadership is assumed to be. Which brings us to the subject of this paper. How might the idea of leadership be changing again, and how might these changes affect the practice of leadership development in the coming years?

Changes in leadership are not only about how leadership is defined but also about how people practice leadership, that is, what people in workgroups, teams, and organizations actually do. What people actually do depends a lot on what they think; ideas and definitions provide frameworks for action. Changes in leadership thus reflect changes both in action and in action.

 “In an increasingly dynamic, interdependent and unpredictable world, it is simply no longer possible for anyone to figure it out at the top.

The old model ‘the top thinks, the local acts’ must now give away to integrate thinking and acting at all levels.”

Peter M. Senge[



Fig 2 The Lemniscate depicts the different phases of thinking and doing

Leadership might seem to be something that hasn’t changed much down through the centuries. As becomes clear in this paper, I believe the practice of leadership has changed a great deal. What hasn’t changed is the need for leadership. People have always appeared to need some force within their various groups, communities, tribes, and organizations to help them create direction, avoid disorder, and respond to changes in their surroundings. Humans survive on this planet by pulling together, and leadership is a name we give to whatever it is that gets us going in a common direction. The goals of creating direction and responding to external changes remain as much alive today as ever before. But what does seem to change constantly throughout history is the means by which humans try to create this leadership force.

In the ancient world, the idea of leadership seems to have been that of domination, ruling over followers; there were kings and there were subjects. Kings led, subjects followed, as by natural law. This idea of leadership prevailed for thousands of years.


Fig 3 First Paradigm – Leaders as Rulers

But by the time of the French and American Revolution a distinctly different idea of leadership began to surface, one in line with a more enlightened approach that included the rise of democracy. This is an idea of leadership as social influence, where a leader sees the need to respect and understand followers and tries to motivate them through rational and emotional appeals. This has been termed transactional leadership (Bass, 1985.)


Fig 4 Second Paradigm – Transactional Leadership

In the twentieth century, the evolution of a modern idea of leadership reflected an understanding of humanity as having inner psychological motives as well as outer social concerns. The modern idea of leadership is one of creating in people an inner commitment to social goals, of transforming a person’s self-interest into a larger social concern. This has been called transformational leadership (Bass, 1995) and represents a sophisticated and well-researched understanding of leadership.


Fig 5 Third Paradigm: Transformational Leadership

In each of these paradigm shifts in the idea and practice of leadership, there seems to have been a consistent tendency to increase the equality between the leader and followers. From the ancient idea that the leader was the absolute ruler, to the idea that the leader’s job was to influence people to do what the leader saw as needing to be done, to the idea that leaders and followers must share an inner sense of commitment to a larger purpose, the gap between the power and role of the leader and that of the follower has narrowed.

“In life, the issue is not control, but dynamic connectedness”


 We see some indications today that the idea and practice of leadership are undergoing yet another change. This new form has become, in my eyes, crystal clear, the change in leadership this time involves erasing altogether the distinction between leaders and followers. Our interpretation (consciousness) of these facts (awareness) is an erasing altogether of the distinctions between leaders and followers. We, Charlie’s Eagles, understand leadership as a process that plays out in reciprocal actions. By this we mean all members of a society or an organization, who work together, in whatever roles of authority and power they may have, are appreciated as reciprocating partners in determining what makes sense, how to adapt to change, what is a useful direction – the guiding vision.

What formerly was provided by an individual leader, will be provided by the process, the Creative Interchange Process. We call this the Creative Interchange Leadership: “The [Creative Interchange] Process IS the Leader!”


Figure 6 Fourth Paradigm: The Creative Interchange Leadership

As the idea of leadership evolves, nothing useful is left behind. This means, for example, that the “ancient” idea of leadership (dominance) is still alive and well today, but only to the extent that it still serves useful purposes. Instead of thinking that each paradigm in leadership ceases to exist as it is completely replaced by the next one, it is more helpful to think of every new paradigm contains some of the elements of the previous one and building something new on them, using the older elements as a base.

Table 1 summarizes this picture of leadership as an evolving set of ideas.


tabel 1

Figure 7 summarizes these evolving sets of ideas:


Figure 7 : The distance between Leader and Followers

As been said a new paradigm tend to come along because of some limitation in the actual paradigm, this means that the actual idea. has outlived its usefulness, not solves the actual problems any more.

“Every paradigm will, in the process of encountering new problems find problems it cannot solve. And those unsolvable problems provide the catalyst for triggering the paradigm shift.”

Joel A. Barker

In the case of leadership, for example, the idea of domination, as many a would-be tyrant has discovered, is limited in its power to truly motivate people. Followers often merely comply to avoid punishment, and the quality of their work suffers greatly as a result. To address this limitation, the idea of influence is developed. It builds on dominance, keeping what is useful (such as the leader as a focal point of decision making to avoid confusion and conflict) but trying to overcome its limitations, using positive motivation to gain a better quality of effort.

In the same way, the actual paradigm in leadership – creating inner commitment to common goals – addresses the limitations in the idea of influence. Influence is limited by the leader’s capacity to create true motivation through appealing to external needs and rewards alone. The notion of common goals adds the idea that motivation is strengthened if people work toward a common goal that includes their own goals; internal, intrinsic motivation is called into play. The role of the leader becomes that of managing a process of fashioning and articulating common goals and gaining commitment to them.

The idea of influence is not thrown out, because the leader often uses influence appeals to reason and feelings in the process, but influence is put in service of a larger idea. The idea of influence is thus augmented and its limitations addressed.

The actual paradigm in leadership, then, is a complex and layered construction that has built up over the course of history This layered meaning makes it complex and hard to define, but it also makes it a versatile, useful tool that can be employed in a variety of forms.

 “Our current problems cannot be solved by using the same way of thinking

that has created them”

Albert Einstein

In time, those forms wear out; old solutions become problems themselves as the world changes. If we wish to think about how leadership might be changing now and in the near future, we need to ask in what way modern leadership – the idea of gaining internal commitment to common goals – might be outliving its usefulness. As we learn more about the diversity of ideas among people who are increasingly entrenched in special interests, the limitations of modern leadership may be found in the very idea of common goals.

As the world becomes more connected through global transportation and communication and a greater diversity of cultures and points of view are being brought to bear as people work together, common goals are becoming increasingly difficult to fashion and articulate from a single, unified point of view. But more than difficulty is involved. Perhaps it is less useful and effective to define goals from a unified, common perspective.

As the idea of leadership has evolved to include wider diversity of voice (especially with the modern idea of creating inner commitment), it has also created the potential for confusion as voices don’t seem to be speaking the same language. This often results in much more than heated arguments at business meetings and a polarizing of sides; it also results in a sense of not even being in the same community,

and it can breed paralysis. If people turn to the leader (the CEO) and expect this person to create visions of the future that somehow take all the points of view into account, they are usually disappointed and decry the lack of good leadership.

If the views of individuals who see the world in significantly different ways are to be transformed from self-interest to a concern for a larger social good, as the modern idea calls for, then the larger social good must be conceived in highly differentiated, not highly unified, terms. It is just this kind of situation I have in mind when I suggest that limitations in the idea of common goals may be calling forth a new way to think about leadership.

In a world (or organization) operating with multiple ways of understanding the world, common goals need to be expressed in multiple forms of thought and value, multiple forms of meaning. The individual leader is not well equipped to do this. Any model of leadership in which a person is understood to be the leader and others are understood as followers may not be adequate to the complex demands of a such a world. What seems to be needed is a form of leadership that actually engages differences and sustains them in creative and useful ways rather than seeking their resolution through conflict, suppressing, or compromise. The only way to do this and make the outcome synergistic (1+1>3) is, in my humble opinion, living Creative Interchange[2] during Crucial Dialogues[3]

Is there evidence in the practice of leadership that such an approach is actually being called for? In the following section, I offer some examples of organizational practice that seem to do so. These are examples of people in organizations acting as if they think about and understand leadership in a new light.

[1] Senge, Peter M. The leader’s new work: building learning organizations. In: Sloan Management review, 12, 1, 1990, pp. 7-13

[2] Roels Johan. Creative wisselwerking New business paradigma als hoeksteen van veiligheidszorg en de lerende organisatie. Leuven-Apeldoorn: Garant, 2001.

[3] Roels, Johan. Cruciale dialogen. Het dagdagelijks beleven van ‘creatieve wisselwerking’. Antwerpen-Apeldoorn: Garant, 2012



Johan Roels