Seeing the big picture

In this post I share valuable concepts about the value of community that have helped me. I begin with Parker Palmer.

He introduced me to the notion of a community of truth, and also that reality emerges from a community web. It does not exist in isolation. The word community implies having something in common, in this case, reality itself. It is not forced on us as so many people claim. Our fingerprints are all over it.

The hallmark of the community of truth is in its claim that reality is a web of communal relationships, and we can know reality only by being in community with it.—Parker Palmer, The Courage to Teach

If the current reality does not suit us we can form a work party and create a new one. Along the way, everyone involved must tell the truth.

Dorothy Leonard and Walter Swap expand on Palmer’s concept. They write:

When knowledge is fragmented, it takes deep smarts to aggregate it, make sense of it, see the relevant pattern, and act on it.—Deep Smarts, How to Cultivate and Transfer Enduring Business Wisdom

Deep smarts involve intuition and wisdom, traits rarely held in high regard in the workplace.

Téa (tay-uh) and Nick are good friends, and they are launching their careers. Let's give them a warm welcome!

Téa (tay-uh) and Nick are good friends, and they are launching their careers. Nick joined the U.S. Navy, Téa will become a nurse. Let’s give them and their peers a warm welcome!

Peter Senge, in The Fifth Discipline, presents the notion of mental models. You can also call them assumptions. They represent how we think things work. People may or may not be clear on what their own assumptions are, and in a work environment these models generally operate behind the scenes.

Most executive level people assume other people operate on the same mental models, but they rarely test this assumption. That misunderstanding is a source of a great deal of friction and failure in organizations.

Palmer’s idea of our “inner landscape” is populated by Senge’s mental models.

Chris Argyris profiled two common approaches to management. The first one is basically to be bossy. The better choice is, he writes:

The governing values of Model II are valid information, informed choice, and vigilant monitoring of the implementation of the choice in order to detect and correct error.—Knowledge for Action, A Guide to Overcoming Barriers to Organizational Change

Informed choice can be informed by intuition.

It is easy to assume that reality is forced on us, that we can determine truth while in relative isolation, perhaps sitting in an ivory tower, and that the people around us see the world the same way we do.

I am grateful to these authors for what they have taught me.

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