Breaking through to new levels of understanding, cultural competence, synergy, skills, performance and results is a manageable development. The diagram above shows the process and how we can embrace and pursue it to achieve its benefits.
We start out doing what we do, thinking the way we do, until something comes along and a breakdown occurs. It may be that something fails to work, has reached its limits of applicability, or, someone alerts us, challenges, calls into question what we think or do. It can also be the awareness of an unworkable bias. Our own mind, heart and hands may become dissatisfied in some way. Breakdowns are a gift, because they force us to look into more closely at the components of what we are doing and thinking, the interaction between elements, what fits and doesn't fit, the bigger picture emerges from the details. Breakdown really means breakopen!
At the moment of breakdown, we are forced to examine closely, look at our tools, reflect on our processes, listen to others' perspectives, hear other people's stories about what they see going on or has happened, as well as share our own. We ask and tell what each of us listens and is listening to. We have prepared a downloadable set of helpful suggestions for you about how to ask and tell effectively.
If we listen well, from the richness of this experience, we begin to reframe, change frames, create larger frames from which we can then commit anew to ourselves and to each other and act in a fresh synergy that will bring us closer to the results we desire.
But, be warned. This is not the end of the story, but only a cycle that we should not fear but hope will repeat itself, as we drive our new framework and commitments to their limits, where more is needed and the blessing of a new breakdown invites us to learn more, to connect more insightfully, construct fresh or larger frames and invite each other to new synergy.
I have adopted this refrain sung by Leonard Cohen as a theme song for my life:
"Ring the bells that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything
—that’s how the light gets in."
You can listen to the song here:
Image: With gratitude to the thinking of Fernando Flores
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