COCREATING A SPECIFIC ENVIRONMENT FOR FERTILIZED NEW LEARNING
Cocreation and higher-order learning in international organizations offer specific environments for SOD architectures (Lenglachner & Madl, 2011). They create a unique learning culture with specific relationship rules and fertilizers to try out, experimenting with, jumping into other perspectives.
For large-scale learning the use of the architecture of systemic solution-oriented cocreation is quite helpful. In this process a very special learning space is created that differentiates between the client's and the consultant's home systems and cocreates the consulting system (Lenglachner, 2012). This construction of at least three possible landscapes—client landscape, consultant landscape, and the temporary cocreative landscape of the consulting system—makes learning and unlearning in different contexts more easily successful.
Moving back and forth between the three different landscapes provides a unique environment for exploring and learning. Developing openness and trust in the cocreated space is a central aspect in the solution-oriented systemic change process (Foerster & Porksen, 1998).
Cocreation also means taking risks, being willing to challenge one's own as well as the others' perspectives and perceptions and using one's personal ability for dialogue.
Experiential Learning—Leadership and Team Learning in Nature
As an important method of the solution-oriented systemic approach, settings should be created where experiential learning (Lenglachner & Madl, 2011) can take place. In a simulated learning exercise the team experiences itself (Lenglachner, 2007), shares assumptions before starting the exercise, discusses the outcome and reflects on the difference between the assumptions and the actual result.
In practice, we also use nature-climbing experiments together with alpinists, or invite for an experiment to learn and find out team-potentials by setting a specific frame for early morning hikes, or offer a number of specific exercises for indoor experiments. Consequently their emotional potentials become accessible; as do many other aspects of what participants thought they had already lost in everyday corporate life.
With each of these specific invitations for experiences the frequent discrepancy between our assumptions and the real experiences become visible and are exchanged and discussed in the team. Team members and their leader often consider the team ability a lot worse and are surprised by the result of each experiment and how "good they can be." They become curious. New interest and trust in each other and the leader evolve and reshape the team culture, bringing back fun and creativity.
As a result team members feel relieved and encouraged, become enthusiastic and curious to focus on goals, and they increasingly start to believe in their own success again.
Leading for the Future Means Proactively Unfolding Employee's Potential
In our cocreated management seminars we develop specific needs-related architectures and often experience a special pattern, namely that lower-level managers frequently have a clear inner film of their superiors including their behavior and leadership style. The lower-level managers are "completely in love" with "their solution" how the superior should change or do better and never realize that they are in fact objectifying her or him. The superior knows nothing of this at all—yet simultaneously this strongly influences her or his relationship with the lower-order manager.
As a result, both are in a "mental and emotional behavioral prison" that initially leads to rejection, which then creates chronic dissatisfaction, demotivates and makes it virtually impossible to be satisfied with one's work and this culture of work relationship. In this situation, creativity, curiosity and engagement are all "on holiday" and are not activated.
In order to facilitate learning in the here and now it is necessary to create contexts in which "flickering" in the brain would become possible. We invite participants for instance into a group experience and ask them to choose one person they really did not get along with in the past and to tell one participant other than that person about their situation. In a second step, the two conversation partners would encourage and inspire each other to discover together how they could become curious about their respective rejected person. At the beginning the group hesitated and there was a completely foreign feeling of crossing an emotional river and "getting wet" together. After a while they checked if they felt safe in this group and realized that greater trust and openness would be necessary. Soon they became curious about each other and started to support each other, thus beginning to develop a new communication culture of exchange and learning in their top executive management team. This change in attitude electrified the group and inspired them to use this tool to find solutions for many other situations in their daily business as well.
Sharing their different experiences, they became so curious that they found some other cultural aspects, which they wished to move away from, for instance
• working without being given an assignment
• know-it-all behavior
• avoiding relationships by switching topics
• offering solutions for someone else without being invited to do so
• imagining oneself in a higher position without any connection to reality
• putting oneself down without paying attention to the real situation
• destroying relationships in staying a loser, being stuck in an auto-hypnotic problem state
• going from one problem to the next and focusing only on negative aspects.
In all these situations they found that they were constructing themselves as disqualified objects and participated in the game. This is typical but strange behavior for a relationship pattern of successful cooperation. It costs a lot of strength and may even lead to burnout in the long run. We call these ways of cooperation "misleading" instead of leading—one of many temptations in leadership.
Once a person has decided to participate actively, they need to be aware that in order to embark on this process with others it is necessary to start with one's own relationship to oneself and get inspired and encouraged oneself before inviting others to an inspiring cooperation. Searching, interest in each other, gratitude and respect are basic attitudes for this learning experience.
Confidence, trust, and sense of belonging are basic attitudes for real deep learning. If you are invited or inspired by your leader to try something again in a new way and find a solution, and then it builds up your confidence, this creates trust. Another option is to find out that you are not alone, that there is someone helping you, someone believes in you and is interested in your creative questions and solutions. And that is still not enough. There is also a big area of trust, which we have the greatest difficulty to understand in our current societies, the trust that what we do makes sense. Whatever you want to call this, religion or spirituality, there is a deeper purpose. It is almost impossible to work in a company where you do not know what the deeper reason for your work is.