Society for Organizational Learning
May 15, 2007
When confronted with the complexity, magnitude, and in many cases the horror of current reality, many of us feel a mighty movement of the kind never before enacted would be required to make real change – that the magnitude of the response must be equal to the magnitude of the challenge. Our habit is thus to create big institutions – governments, businesses, agencies – that by virtue of the volume of the resources and sophistication of their policies, processes, technologies, and systems might somehow be up to the challenge. But, as we can easily observe, bigger messes aren’t being solved by bigger efforts. In fact, profound transformation of the kind that allows individuals and groups to perform extraordinary acts seems to arise from an invisible space, often outside of the prevailing structures and systems.
It’s always there, this invisible power within us – and appear suddenly, often unexpectedly, and then retreats again. But it’s there. We’ve all experienced times of crisis when we and others have tapped into the source to do and be in ways we never thought possible. What’s more, the source somehow allows us to take significant collective action in the absence of any structure, authority, rules and preordained rules. In these types of events, it is not external forms of power, organization, and process that guide, but rather an invisible yet powerful force that comes from inside us.
The Presencing Institute, just forming at the time of this writing, has set out to explore ways to create a “holding space,” the time and place and people and practices, strong enough to deal with both the current realities and co-creation of a better future. This group is intended to function as an action research network, a living lab, that could effect profound transformation across the many dimensions of our global and local systems – the web of relationships that sustain our lives through education and healthcare, government and business, environment and economies, societies and the local communities which reflect the whole.
Tracy Huston works with leaders from business, education, healthcare, and local communities in developing the capacities and practices needed to enact systemic transformation. As a consultant and coach in support of large system change initiatives, her work focuses on the integration of personal, relational, and systemic conditions that enable both individual and collective to achieve the results they want. She continues to collaborate with others and developing new social technologies needed to generate social innovation.
Tracy is the founder of the Menlo Lab, and an active member of the Presencing Institute and the Society for Organizational Learning.