Saturday, April 25, 2009

Roland Sullivan: Spirituality and Whole System Transformation

In the past months I've looked under many rocks for stories of deep transformation within large organizations. I hadn't come up with many stories--until I interviewed Roland Sullivan this week. Roland has worked on "whole system transformation" with more than 1,000 organizations since the 1960s. He's been one of the pioneers in the field of Organizational Development. He's also been practicing yoga for 45 years, and he has an amazing amount of energy. You might want to fasten your seat belts as you watch some of these video clips from my conversation with Roland:

The value of self-transformation / Continually grow towards the love of God by changing to become more according to his will / Every time I work with a client I tell them "please help me change"

More video clips:

A challenge to YOU to stay in step with the pace of change in the world

Spirit is truth / I try to get organizations to find their truth in a safe way. I have all kinds of tricks. / Getting to organizational intelligence

Everyone is using the word "transformation" / Very few know how to create it

Competencies of a change agent: Being, Skill, Knowledge

How I transform an organization:
1. Transform a leadership team
2. Transform a critical mass of the organization
3.Transfers to an internal change agent, who is able to sustain the change work long term

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Seven doors into the spiritual development of organizations

I believe that every organization has the possibility of engaging spiritual depth as a part of the organization's development. However, my experience has been that each organization has its own unique language and ideas that are doors into that spiritual opening I'm looking for. The doors to spiritual development in one agency might not work in another group. When I talk about the "spiritual development of organizations," I mean finding ways of relaxing our attachments to our individual and organizational egos and connecting with a purpose and meaning greater than ourselves. Here are seven doors that I've seen organizations use to enter into spiritual development:

Deep Partnerships and Collaborations: Most organizations that I know are strongly driven by a desire for self-preservation and expansion. In some organizations, I've seen deep partnerships with other organizations help people transcend narrow self-preservation with broader purposes that serve the community. Even though this path can be hard and include plenty of conflict, external factors like reductions in funding are pushing many groups in this direction.

Creativity and innovation: An openness to creativity in product and project development can develop an atmosphere of openness. Playfulness and experimentation can get us unstuck from habitual patterns and open us to deep guidance.

Shared values and/or vision: Collectively developing and agreeing on shared values and/or a vision has been a foundation for many groups. The discipline of continuing to return to these values and vision for grounding can certainly bring depth.

Community: Trusting, close working relationships within an organization can lead to an openness and honesty that contributes to the collective spiritual development of the organization.

Crisis or conflict: Whether intended or not, the tensions and unexpectedness of crisis and conflict can throw us out of our typical ways of operating. Some groups are able to use this for deepening.

Systems thinking: Peter Senge's books on systems thinking have popularized methods for seeing individual actions as part of larger flows that we can influence but not control. I think the shift into systems thinking can parallel and cultivate spiritual development.

Discernment: I've seen secular methods for strategic planning tap into just as much depth as faith communities seeking to discern and follow divine guidance. Future planning can be a way of listening for calling--where the deep joy of the organization meets the pressing needs of the broader community.

These are preliminary thoughts about doors into spiritual development for organizations. I welcome your feedback and dialogue!

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