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post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Here's an article that I thought might be of interest: Transitions

I think the author (whom I do not know--I got this at a meeting a few years ago as a handout) is right on about the scariness of letting go of the known and leaping across the void to the next learning experience that beckons you.

[ June 01, 2003, 06:38 AM: Message edited by: nolo ]
post #2 of 28
I have three reactions;

1) The header states the passage is being passed around in boardrooms. I don't see those folks being particularly concerned about taking a leap across any void. If the CEO brought in the consultant everyone will behave. I bet some will go home and have a chuckle.

2) The author has an anxiety disorder and needs counseling.

3) The piece is fairly esoteric and such silliness gives management consultants a bad name.
post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 
post #4 of 28
Interesting, I like the referance to the need to "let go" for there to be progress and grow or learn beyond the old or known.

Maybe this discussion of transition gives insite to some of the appeal of skydiving, which extends and prolongs the transition zone between safety of the plane and safety of the chute.

In skiing (or trapeezing or skydiving) the transition is also the weightlessness. Hucking big air extends that feeling. In skiing from arc to arc it is also the point that offers the most options (opportunity to change, experiment, learn and grow).

Deepak Chopra speaks of the "gap" in between one thought and the next as when we have infinite possibilities avaliable for what we think or say or do next.

Thanks for the seed Nolo.

[ May 31, 2003, 01:25 PM: Message edited by: Arcmeister ]
post #5 of 28
I spent 15 years in management, doing every bit of management training available. Some of it was a bit like this stuff, and I have never yet observed managers leaping into voids buoyed only by their faith. The odd aspirant manager-to-be might have. Rusty and I are headed out to the pub for wings and beer at this point.
post #6 of 28
I can see this idea of breaching the fear of change barrier having great relevance in both business and skiing. A sure fire way for a company to falter is for its managers to become complacent and not continue to innovate and evolve.

Same goes for skiing. The sport is in a continuous state of technical evolution and to stay ahead of the curve, or better yet have a hand in shaping that new curve, one must have the desire to seek out and explore new ideas, and the courage to look beyond what seems to work and what the majority currently believes.
post #7 of 28
It might work in Boulder. I can't imagine the division heads at GE sitting around in the old days talking about the subject. Can you imagine a Jack Welch turning to a Jim McNearney and saying, "Jim, you guys are about to start production on a new okay, it's a little scary isn't it?"

I know both have moved on. I just picked two guys I consider quintesential business types.

[ May 31, 2003, 10:53 PM: Message edited by: Rusty Guy ]
post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 
Forget that this paper ever entered a boardroom--I do not think it was born in a boardroom, but by an educator. As the hard-shelled among us have noted, it could hardly have been written by a typical alpha-male with his eye on the ball. No, I think it was written by someone who speaks from experience about wrenching your self away from the familiar comforts of home base to enter the void of uncertainty as to where you will land.

The void, to me, is the most important concept in the piece--that to become bigger as a person you have to abandon the old in order to have the new. This could be keeping your feet plastered together--after many years it feels comfortable and you've gotten quite skilled at it--but to advance as a skier it's gotta go. The immediate response when "something's gotta go" is to say, "but how can I ski (live) without it?"

I bring the article up to suggest why it is so hard for people to change what has been incorporated. The metaphor of the trapeze is apt, I think, because in order to move to the next bar, you must completely let go of the last bar. Most people are a bit uncomfortable with "completely." Most of us prefer our changes in increments rather than going for the wholesale makeover, but as I know, incremental change is just a way of letting myself have one foot in the old and one foot in the new, where I am free to vacillate between the two.

This article may seem ridiculously simple to you, but sometimes articles like this are like a mirror.

[ June 01, 2003, 07:12 AM: Message edited by: nolo ]
post #9 of 28
Good points nolo. It reminds me of every snowboard lesson that I have taken. A total of three over the course of ten years by the way! I want to learn I simply have gotten worse every time I have "strapped on".

My last experience two years ago (I took a year off from learning last year). I would stand up on the heel side and lock up. That is the only way to describe it.

I clearly wasn't letting go of the bar.

I guess my confusion involves the fact that I really wanted to let go and "do it". My body simply refused.
post #10 of 28
I think in simple terms it comes under the heading of being afraid to step outside of our 'Comfort' zone?

[ June 01, 2003, 12:33 AM: Message edited by: Colin-uk ]
post #11 of 28

I find these 2 articles that you have referenced from Paragon Coaching absolutely hillarious. Not because of concepts, or the way you wish to use them, but the writing style of the articles themselves. The author has clearly missed his target audience in his writing style. Business men don't talk and think like that.

By the way, that guy in the other article needs to find a thesaurus. Wicked is just a terrible word for human interaction problems. I don't care what he wants to denote, what that word connotes is terrible for his point.

So, even though I find the articles funny, this one here is actually very apt. I personally know some CEO types, and they think this way. They don't go with the 'scary' theme, but rather the themes of 'chaos' and 'uncertainty' reign- all aiming towards the same place. As far as I can tell their mentality is not one of fear, but of opportunity. That is what separates them from those who associate it with fear.

Anyway Nolo, this is definently not a Gonzo-type reply. I think it is important to have some sort of source material to start with, and evaluate it. Determining that something is drivel and discarding it is not legitimate. An attempt needs to be made to find the disconnect in the work, the false premises, etc. in order to have some sort of intellectual footing. Negation in itself is nihilism.

I could use this opportunity to poke fun at Rusty for our competing systems of thought on ski transitions, ie those willing to take the leap of faith and those that aren't, but I guess I just did.

[ June 01, 2003, 08:14 PM: Message edited by: sanchez ]
post #12 of 28
Thread Starter 

Come again?

Since you got such a charge out of the first articles, here's the companion piece to Age of Design, Wicked Problems

Maybe it's amusing, maybe it's profound--I guess it depends on your point of view and your appetite for this kind of writing.

Personally, I get my yuks from references to pole plants.
post #13 of 28
Hi Ya Nolo!

Contrary to some of the posted replys, this is exactly
the type thing that's being bantered around corporate
board rooms today. I know, I live it and have for
the past 30 years.

Reminds me of my favorite quote from Robert De Castella,
"If you do today what you did yesterday, you'll be beaten." "If
you do what others are doing now, you'll be competitive." To win, you must seek to do what others will do tomorrow."
post #14 of 28
Originally posted by Sitzmark:
...quote from Robert De Castella,
"If you do today what you did yesterday, you'll be beaten."
"If you do what others are doing now, you'll be competitive."
"To win, you must seek to do what others will do tomorrow."
I agree with his first point. That's about all.
I disagree with his second point because if you are only doing the same as your competitors, then you are still behind them. This may seem like Irish logic, but if all you are doing is copying your competitors, and using their ideas, then you have no edge to keep you competitive, you only have the ability to catch up, and stay level with them until they move forward, then you are playing catch up again. It is not a good business model, as it stifles growth due to the internal abilities of your company in a bid to make you like the others.
In my opinion, to be competitive, you need to seek to do what others will do tomorrow.
If you really want to win in business, you need to do today what others aspire to tomorrow
If you are two steps ahead of your competitors, then you are more likely to win.

post #15 of 28
Thread Starter 
Fox said,

do today what others aspire to tomorrow
For a person I'd amend that: Do TODAY what you aspire to do tomorrow and you'll always be on a growth curve.
post #16 of 28
"We move forward when the delights of growth and the anxieties of safety are greater than the anxieties of growth and the delights of safety." (Maslow, 1968)
post #17 of 28
I appreciate the transitions piece, Nolo and thanks for sharing it. Not only apt for skiing and business, but for living life.
In my off-season work at OB, we offer 8-day courses for people over 35 called Life/Career Renewal - and transition is the focal point. People use a variety of wilderness-based experiences as "mirrors" for reflection about personal decision-making, perceived v. actual risk, values, trust, commitment, etc.
This piece will be a great reading to share with them.
post #18 of 28
My point is: I think the ideas are good, but the presentation thereof is innapropriate. This just doesn't seem to be business fodder for me.

The profundity is not an issue here. I just think you don't tell big boys "its ok to be scared". Particularly in business, but generally in society your masculinity is established by late adolescence, give or take a few years. In the male dominated business world, managers aren't going to be receptive to this kind of approach. Has nothing to do with the ideas.

That next piece really helps me understand what he is getting at. I just couldn't understand why he used the term 'wicked'. I still don't like it, and just because Horst Ritter used it doesn't mean that it needs to be perpetuated.

Look, I'm there with the man. I know what he is getting at. I've read Kuhn. I'm not maligning the ideas. I'm just saying he is no rhetorician. I think the tendency to mix operational efficiency and emotional words like 'pain', and this whole 'wicked' thing works against him.

Kuhn is legit. However, I'm a bigger Foucault fan. Birth of the Clinic really gets at some of the questions that Kuhn asks, but goes deeper into society as well.
post #19 of 28
I am dissapointed however that I didn't get a peep out of rusty.
post #20 of 28
That's because we are still in the pub and just ordered a second round of wings.

btw, you lot know that Deek (Robert de Castella) lost his home in the Canberra bushfires? He tried to sell the cleared block last week but it didn't meet the reserve, so now he's reconsidering and might rebuild on it.
post #21 of 28
Thread Starter 

I find it interesting that you do not think much of Jeff Conklin's (author of Age of Design and Wicked Problems) rhetoric. He invented a software product called Questmap, a dialog mapping tool that is intended to help solve the problem of fragmented team memory. I attended his dialog mapping workshop a couple of years ago at Santa Clara. He's obviously a disciple of Rittel's, but that doesn't diminish my belief that the subject of group intelligence (and lack thereof--sometimes in the form of "skilled incompetence") is one of the most important things to understand and delve into for the future of our planet. Among those in the dialog mapping workshop at Santa Clara was Doug Engelbart. You might find his spin on the subject interesting: The Bootstrap Alliance.

[ June 05, 2003, 09:35 PM: Message edited by: nolo ]
post #22 of 28
Thread Starter 
Vera, thanks for the second. On this forum we get deeply into what to learn but we tend to gloss over conversations about how to learn. I think most of us pros here follow the teach them to fish school of thought, and certainly acknowledging and understanding the likelihood of us putting up some form of resistance to the new is helpful to any self-directed learner. It's kind of zen, but once you acknowledge a wall it starts to fall away.

Yesterday I took my first-ever golf lesson, after about 12 years of playing golf about 14 days a year. It was a great lesson, with absolutely nothing not on task. When I had absorbed enough, according to the pro, the lesson was over. At the end we went back to the shop and he wrote out a card with a practice routine/summary of the lesson, gave it to me, and said he'd see me again when I had the five things down.

I showed that I could do the five things during the lesson, picked up some cues to tell when I was doing them right or wrong, and got an idea of how much change I needed to anchor before returning. I thought that was an excellent outcome.

The point I'd like to make about the golf lesson re transition is that I haven't learned anything yet. It takes a lot of reps to groove the movement into muscle memory. Transition isn't just letting go of my old way of gripping, standing, swinging, and hitting, it's doing the work to get the new movements ingrained. The golf pro doesn't want to see me again until I have both hands on the next bar.

Seems simple enough, but how many people take essentially the same lesson I did and never make the transition to the next bar? My guess is plenty. Why? Because it's HARD and requires one to summon up and use WILL POWER. Of course, will power is usually paired with denial--I use will power to not smoke, drink, overeat, have sex with strangers, etc. As a nation, evidently, we are a little short on will.

We have to will a change into being, just as the people who take the first golf lesson and never satisfy the requirements to take the second WON'T change. You either will it or you won't. In other words, it's not just taking the risk, it's covering the bet.
post #23 of 28
Nolo- that bootstrap link is 404.

I'm actually a little intrigued by his dialogue mapping thingy. Could be quite interesting.

I just don't like his style, thats all. While normally that kind of thing doesn't bother me, in this situation what he is trying to get across at the end of the day has little to do with how good his ideas are (and they are good) and much more to do with his presentation thereof. Its his job to be a good rhetorician. I don't feel that he was. I could go into more detail, but that would require me reading it again and doing some analysis, and I really don't want to do that.

Hearing someone else's opinion could have been cool. If you find a working link to that lemme know.
post #24 of 28

Sorry....I missed this thread for a few days. In terms of a peep I have to say your comment went right over my head. In all honesty don't be so subtle!
post #25 of 28

First of all I want to suggest you grab a copy of Harvey Penick's text, "The Little Red Book". He was Tom Kite and Ben Crenshaws teacher among others and I think you will enjoy his writings. In addition, I would suggest Ben Hogans book "Five Lessons". This is the text that served as the basis for Larry Nelson's meteoric rise in golf. He did not take up the game until a very late age and won two majors. The illustrations are magical and very famous.

Why do you say you did not learn anything?

You stated you had played a little golf before. What bars did you need to release?

I guess this cuts to the chase in my mind. We are talking about games. Is fear involved in changing a golf grip? Isn't it more about faith? A golf grip may be the most difficult thing for any golfer to change. At some point you decided you needed a lesson. You sought the service of a professinal. I presume you listened to what he/she said. You then either accept the wisdom and make the prescibed changes or go back to your old habits.

I'll tell one of my favorite golf stories. As a child I was lucky enough to be helped by two former US Open champions in Sam Parks and Lew Worsham. Their help put me thru college playing golf. One day, I was standing on the practice tee having hit hundreds of horrible duck hooks. One after another. Panic was setting in. I was lost. Sam Parks came walking by and stood and watched these horrible shots. I was about in tears. I said, "Mr me, what do I do"

He walked away and in a quiet, calm voice he said, "I'd slice the ball for a while"

A very wise lesson, that I did not understand at the time, and quite frankly it made me mad. It was along the lines of something a Harvey Penick would say, akin to Penick's legendary "take dead aim".

[ June 06, 2003, 06:52 AM: Message edited by: Rusty Guy ]
post #26 of 28
Thread Starter 
Sanchez, the link works now. You also might look at (Jeff Conklin's site) and

Rusty, my point is that learning happens after the lesson on the practice range. I think sometimes we confuse teaching with learning. Just because someone taught doesn't mean anyone learned. That remains to be seen.
post #27 of 28
Okay, I would hope that on occasion it's more of a "real time" experience and that something clicks right away, however I certainly won't argue that sometimes the student has to go off and practice or absorb the days content in order to learn.
post #28 of 28


    Thanks for posting the article.  I think its wonderful!  Life is full of transitions.  One of the reasons I love to ski is because the parallels between life and skiing are amazing. 

    I really appreciate the attempt to get to the core of what helps people to learn/to make changes.  The focus on helping people to be able to know how to teach themselves is a really great focus.  It says quite a bit about you that you would choose to post this article on epic with the intent of trying to go beyond the "gloss/surface level" to the much deeper/darker depths that a lot of people are highly uncomfortable looking at.  Hanging out in the void can be extremely uncomfortable but if you're too scared/stuck to go into the void, you won't move foreward.  Thanks Nolo!

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