Change has begun. It is ours to build. That is the spirit behind the KOAN concept: if we can stay in the discomfort of uncertainty and not-knowing long enough, and with enough curiosity, breakthroughs will find us.
No “great” solutions work for only some of the people, some of the time. The JEDI mantra keeps us present to places where inequity might interfere with optimal outcomes and helps us explore what real breakthroughs require.
During the third in a series of KOAN Conversations, Jennifer talked with best-selling author and changemaker Seth Godin about collaborative projects that call on us to experiment and reimagine systems and models, and how the KOAN method supports collective breakthroughs.
In their decades of work with entrepreneurs and other innovative business leaders, Jennifer and Vicki have seen up close how conventional leadership methods often fail to work in our new ever-shifting reality, and aren’t suited to produce the systemic shifts we need to create in the world. As Vicki said, “All of our systems and structures are designed for another time and place, and no longer serve us.”
Jennifer recently experienced systemic failure up close when she and her family were evacuated just ahead of the deadliest wildfire in the U.S. in more than a century in Lahaina, Hawaii. As the tragedy unfolded, Jennifer witnessed the terrifying and tragic results of rigid, non-adaptive systems — and deepened her belief in the importance of the principles of the KOAN method. Here, she shares an account of their experience and ways to support the real and immediate needs of Maui residents.
In a dynamic world, when both the challenges and their potential solutions shift and change much faster than any good policy manual can keep up with, it’s much more effective to have a clear direction and guidelines that allow people who are close to the work to make smart choices in the face of dynamic conditions.
How does opening ourselves to connections with natural and human networks help us unlock breakthroughs and creativity? That question was at the heart of a recent KOAN Conversation between Integrated Work CEO and the KOAN method author Jennifer Simpson and Center for Nature and Leadership founder Beverly Winterscheid.
While cultivating (K)ind cultures creates the conditions in which bravery can occur, fostering truly Open systems requires a sufficient foundation of trust for team members to take personal risks and build common-good solutions. However, many organizations can’t shake the longstanding habit of withholding critical information, which mutes creativity and disempowers team members. Creating an environment of mutual trust opens people up to want to do their best work and gives them the tools to do so.