Maps/Gear | Palette of Possibilities | Tips for Lens Use
A Palette of Possibilities a robust collection of lenses and design principles.  

A Palette of Possibilities
Artwork Credit: Jennifer Landau

Inventing generative approaches to organizational change and people development requires an artist's vision, discernment and touch — the ability to see the highest possibilities in any given challenge/opportunity. Designing and implementing developmental work in a way that is enlivening and self-improving can be a high form of creative expression.

Leaders and practitioners committed to transformational change can learn to work with these principles and lenses in the same way artist learns to master her medium. In both instances achieving mastery necessarily requires that it be a labor of love — where the discovery process itself can be its own reward.

Design Principles for Generative Initiatives —

10 pragmatic out-of-box guidelines for organizational leaders and practitioners committed to taking the work of development and change to a new level of relevance and effectiveness.

Wholeness Lenses

  • Rainbow Lenses help expand horizons and discern the quality of invisible essentials. They can be used to multiply the effectiveness of the design principles and the other lenses.
  • The Stakeholder Lens helps us visualize the potential for organizations as infinite games. It provides a worldview-shifting alternate to our traditional hierarchical way of seeing organizations.
  • The Yin-Yang Lens suggests that we haven't been playing with a full deck and offers us the rest of the cards. Developing both Yin and Yang strengths is crucial to the work of transformation.
  • The ABC Lens provides a way of looking at the work of development that challenges leaders to see developmental work, especially developing the organization's capacity-building capacity, offering as much of a strategic opportunity as marketing, R&D, engineering, manufacturing and finance.
  • The 3-Span Bridge Lens helps distinguish between developing organizational capacities and individual capabilities.
  • The Evolutionary Zoom Lens brings all levels of system, from inner work to world work, into sharp focus. The bottom line: As within, so without. As without, so within — wholeness is essential to sustainability.

How do we achieve mastery at any form of creative expression?
We do it the same way we learned to master walking and talking: through trial and error — observation, practice, reflection, coaching, practice, and more practice. It's very helpful to approach this action-learning process in a way that ensures some early successes and becomes increasingly self-motivating.

The more of these principles and lenses you practice with, the more opportunities you will discover for multiplying the lasting contribution you are able to make within the system(s) you serve.

Below are a couple of illustrative ways committed players can begin to discover the potential offered by this Palette of Possibilities:

Transformational Leaders and Practitioners — Try This:
  1. Respond to these questions —
    • If your organization, team, process, etc. were ideal, what would be different?
    • What would these differences look like in terms of specific shifts in patterns (of thinking, performance, communicating, collaborating, etc.)?
    • Why is it important to catalyze these shifts? What's at Stake?
  2. Find and engage allies —
    Who else has a stake in achieving this shift? Who would make great partners in this venture? Who would bring relevant perspectives and/or special resources to this initiative? Invite them to join you in this action- learning experiment.
  3. Study the Palette of Possibilities with your initiative in mind. Together with your allies, design a next step intervention that has a high probability of success. E.g., it could be as simple as further expanding the circle of allies/stakeholders who might also have a stake in achieving this shift.
  4. If your first step works, learn from the experience. Acknowledge and appreciate those involved. If it doesn't work, learn from the experience. Acknowledge and appreciate those who risked with you.
  5. Take another step.
  6. And another...
  7. And another...
For Those Committed to Developing Leaders, Try This:
  1. Go through the exercise, Reinventing Leadership Development — How Big Is Your Leadership Development Box? If your score on Box #2 is high it suggests that this Palette of Possibilities could be an important resource to you in transforming your approach to leadership development.
  2. Study the 10 Design Principles and the Wholeness Lenses and look for specific connections with the particular leadership challenges and opportunities that your organization is facing today.
  3. Find and engage allies, leaders and practitioners who are both innovators and early adopters, and are passionate about developing leadership within their sphere of influence. Guide them through the steps you went through.
  4. Together, design a next step intervention that has a high probability of success, e.g., you might find an existing learning or change initiative that's in its formative stages. Offer to help support it and use this Palette of Possibilities with a commitment to discover ways to multiply its effectiveness.
  5. Learn from this experiment and continue your explorations in a way that will make these experiments increasingly rewarding.