Presencing Our Absencing: A Collective Reflective Practice Using Scharmer’s “U” Model

Presencing Our Absencing: A Collective Reflective Practice Using Scharmer’s “U” Model

Louis D. Cox (Independent Clinical Psychologist and Consultant, USA)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4793-0.ch003
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Abstract

This chapter raises awareness of the persistent need in the majority of group participants to avoid publicly exposing in their conversations the vulnerability generated by their profound human need for each other’s acceptance and approval. A willingness to risk this exposure is required for successfully creating the open interpersonal field critical to the effectiveness of Scharmer’s Theory U methodology. Scharmer recognizes this resistance in his description of the “Voices of Judgment, Cynicism, and Fear,” and in participants’ avoidance of exposing their vulnerability to each other. However, he does not offer an adequate methodological remedy. In this chapter, the group participants’ egos are identified as the source of all forms of avoidance of the interpersonal risks required if conversations are to be open, creative, and transformative. A collective method is presented which a group can use to diminish the negative impact of their egos on their conversations, increase interpersonal safety, and strengthen the group’s capacity to sustain “presencing conversations.” This method, called “Presencing Our Absencing” follows the format of Scharmer’s U model for group conversations.
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What Is Scharmer’S ‘Spot’?

The ‘spot’ in Scharmer’s evolutionary system of organizational development is what he calls the inner “source” dimension (p.57). This inner resource, which is a combination of both creativity and wisdom, exists in potential in every individual and, collectively, in every group. This source is the outcome of combining two different but interrelated human dimensions. Theory U recognizes the first of these: our need to access the dimensions of collective intelligence, creativity, and will. It also recognizes, however, that this alone is not sufficient. Indeed, we have seen too often in the course of human history that intelligence, creativity, and will can be used by individuals and groups for the realization of horrifyingly destructive purposes, as well as for the realization of our highest aspirations.

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