Declaring Breakdowns Book

Declaring Breakdowns

Powerfully creating a future that matters, through 6 simple steps

Each one of us, in every area of our life, has an almost certain, probable, default future. But is this future acceptable?
What if one could create a life, an organization or a team of design, rather than that of drift, by getting skilled in creating a future of choice ? This book provides a simple 6-step framework to actively create a future of one’s choice. While this book is titled Declaring Breakdowns, it is about mastering the art and science of generating breakthroughs in each area of our lives.

Estimated India Release: June 2016

Estimated International Release: August 2016

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Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Centrality Of Conversations

Chapter 3: Transparency

Chapter 4: Interruptions That Require Coping

Chapter 5: Declaring Breakdowns

Chapter 6: Get Present To ‘What Is So’ (Assertions)

Chapter 7: Default Future

Chapter 8: Creating A New Future

Chapter 9: Identifying Missing Actions

Chapter 10: Conversation For Action

Chapter 11: Execution

Sameer-Dua-Infographics_6-Steps-update
This is a simple 6-step process that has already led many individuals and organizations to breakthrough performances. It has helped teams resolve their issues and work with commitment towards what they care about.

Declaring breakdowns is a conversational move for leaders and is an effective way of creating breakthroughs every day. Whether it is a breakdown in your car while going to office or a snag that is encountered or envisioned in the merger of two organizations, this technology is helpful in coping with change and effectively dealing with the situation in hand.

Step 1: Declare a Breakdown

To declare a breakdown is to take a stand. It is a declaration that you will take whatever action is needed to achieve any future that you may create. When you declare a breakdown, you declare that you want to exercise choice in matters of your life. Declaring a breakdown is declaring that you are taking responsibility in a particular matter of your life. And finally, you declare your own breakdown. Nobody can declare it for you.

Step 2: Get Present to ‘What Is So’ (Assertion)

The next step is to bring your attention to focus on ‘what is so’. You do so by getting present to the assertions in the matter. Assertions are claims of facts that can either be true or false. When you are looking at ‘what is so’, you look at an action that either happened or did not happen. You look at the situation objectively to establish facts that are observable or measurable or those that can be evidenced.

Most importantly, when you are looking at ‘what is so’, there are no stories, no justifications, no explanations or no reasons. There are only facts (assertions). What is observable in the world as a fact is not an opinion.

Step 3: If No New Action Is Taken, What Is the Default Future in This Area?

We briefly introduced the default future in the introduction chapter. If no new action is taken, then what is the probable, almost certain future in the matter? Your default future is not evident to you, unless you ask yourself objectively: ‘What is my probable, almost certain future in this matter given the current course of action or state of things?’

The answer to this question identifies where you will end up if no new action is taken. Each one of us has a default future in different areas of our life. Most of us are blind to our default future. Some others choose to be observers who want to lift the veil of transparency from their default future. The ones who do so may choose to take action to change this default future.

Step 4: Create a New Future

How do you create a new future? We will deal with this in Step 4 of this process. You create a new future because the default future is not acceptable to you

Step 5: Identify the Missing Action to Go from ‘What Is So’ Now to ‘Where You Want to Be

Once you have distinguished the default future and have created a new future, the missing actions may become apparent to you. These are the missing actions from ‘what is so today’ to ‘where I want to be’. These missing actions are generative conversational moves/conversational actions.

Step 6: Execution

All of the above is meaningless if you do not execute on your commitments to fill in the gap between ‘what is so today’ and the ‘new future’. At the end of the day, it is only actions that give you results. You must get skilled in order to take actions yourself, and also in calling on your network of help to coordinate actions with others so that the new future/shared future is achieved.

Old Interpretation to New Interpretation

Note: OI is Old Interpretation and NI is new interpretation

  • OI: Leaders are people with authority.

    NI: We are all leaders. The question is, ‘Are we exercising our full-blown leadership in this moment?’

  • OI: Our results come from physical activity (doing).

    NI: While for certain results, physical activity may be required, all our results have their root cause in conversations—conversations that are had, conversations that are missing, conversations that are performed poorly or conversations that are performed well.

  • OI: Action is largely about physical activity.

    NI: All action is shaped by language, and the generative acts of language are the actions that shape subsequent actions.

  • OI: We need to know how we will achieve our future before we can declare our future. Not knowing is a barrier to action (‘how’ comes before ‘what’).

    NI: We declare our future, and the how discloses itself to us through our practices for exploration, experimentation and design. Dealing with the unknown of the future is a skill that gets developed with practice (‘what’ comes first and then the ‘how’).

  • OI: The future is not in our control. We have no choice in creating our future; it comes to us.

    NI: The future is a function of our creation. We create our future through our declarations. And this declaration opens up the possibilities, conversations and actions to make it happen.

    We always have influence on our future through our choices for our external actions and internal states.

  • OI: A team is a number of persons coming together for a joint action and for working together.

    NI: A team is number of persons coming together to fulfil a shared promise.

    A team exists to make and fulfil promises that individuals cannot fulfil.

  • OI: Responsibility is the state or fact of being answerable or accountable for something within one’s power, or control.

    NI: To be responsible is to take the posture that we are the source or cause of something, we are open to be held accountable for the outcomes, we hold ourselves accountable for the outcomes and the outcomes can be shifted by our actions.

    Responsibility is a matter of our choice.

    It is making the interpretation that when we assess something is not working, we will provide what is missing to make it work. This puts us in the posture of producing action, not waiting for someone else to take action. It puts us in the posture of being a leader. We may not know what to do, but in this posture, we will find out, or invent, what is needed. If we wait for others or act only if we know what to do, we become a victim and paralyse ourselves with the reasons for our inaction and our lack of performance.

  • OI: We have opinions, judgements and assessments.

    NI: That is right. However, sometimes our opinions, judgements and assessments have gotten us. Our lives are being driven by these opinions, judgements and assessments and we may be blind to this.

    We can become aware of our automatic judgements to design ones that serve our purpose.

  • OI: Results are an outcome of the actions we take.

    NI: Indeed. Results are indeed a function of the actions we take. However, the actions we take are a function of the observer we are.

  • OI: We are who we are (you are fixed).

    NI: We are who we create ourselves to be—moment to moment. And we are doing this anyway, including when we live in the story that we are not.

  • OI: There is one way of seeing things, and it is only my way.

    We live in the world.

    NI: There are as many ways of seeing things as there are observers. We live in language. We create the world through our interpretations and how we see it.

    Our world is always a world of our interpretations.

  • OI: The world is what it is and we have no impact on it.

    NI: We create our world.

    And we are creating our world, whether or not we are aware of it; it is extremely powerful to learn how to create our worlds because awareness creates choice.

  • OI: The common-sense understanding of our culture is that the world we see is a function of what is ‘out there’.

    NI: The world we see is a function of the observer we are. We live in two worlds, one is the physical world, and the other is the linguistic world that we create and manifest. The physical world is the same for everyone. However, it is this linguistic world that we create that determines

    • how we show up in the world,
    • what actions we take and
    • what results we have.
  • OI: What we observe is a function of what we look at (the attention to the observer is absent here).

    NI: ‘The observers we are’ is a function of our language, emotion, body, history and culture and practice.

    Each person sees differently, and although some perspectives overlap, there is always a difference.

  • OI: The world we observe is the way the world is—what we see is what there is.

    NI: The world we see is a function of the observer we are. We are all caught up in our own worlds, that is, the world we observe, such that we do not even know that we do not know that there is a world beyond the one that we manifest.

    Every individual has a world that is different than anyone else’s. This provides the power and richness of diversity, culture and possibility when we begin to share our worlds.

    There is no world without an observer, and if someone tries to describe such a world, they are ‘that’ observer.

  • OI: We are pretty much aware of what is happening with us, and around us.

    NI: We all operate in some or other blindness. The unconscious performance of the body, or our habitual actions, or the way we see the world are great examples of what is transparent to us.

    What is transparent to us does not mean it is not happening. It is happening and yet is transparent to us. We are not aware of it. We do not have our attention on it.

    Every person and every tradition have their own awareness and blindness, where they put attention and where they do not.

  • OI: Language is of interest to academics, linguists, English teachers and so on.

    NI: Understanding and using the generative power of language is extremely important in the way we ‘be’ and operate.

    We are always living in language, and it is generative language where we establish how we see the world, what actions we take and how we coordinate with others.

    Language shapes our lives and the outcomes we produce.

  • OI: One way that language is understood in our current age is as a description of our world, a set of labels that we use to describe things and people, a medium for the transfer of information. Much research in language has worked in this framework—that words correspond to entities and phenomena in the world. We see that a word like ‘chair’ corresponds to an artifact by that name in the world.

    NI: While our old interpretation works, it hides that language is generative, and highly creative—not just descriptive. Language has the power, and through language, we generate

    • action,
    • outcomes of action,
    • possibilities,
    • commitments,
    • identities,
    • opinions,
    • moods and emotions and much more.
  • OI: Communication is for transmission of information.

    NI: Communication is about sharing a world, cares and creating a shared future.

    Communication is ‘changing together’, and each person brings their worldview, background and presence to each conversation—it is a place of contact where the future is always being created through interaction (and even in silence).

  • OI: The common-sense understanding of a conversation is speaking and hearing. Most people presume beyond speaking and hearing, there is not much going on in a conversation.

    NI: Conversation is the interaction of human beings that creates action, meaning, listening, moods and emotions and connection with others and the future.

    Conversations are not just words, but the whole body reactions that are provoked when we interact in language, and when we interact and language is provoked.

    Conversations include language, moods and emotions, body reactions and experiences and the listening that is based on the history of the people in the conversation. Conversations are shaped in linguistic and cultural practices.

  • OI: Practice is done by sportspersons, musicians, artists and so on. However, for leaders, once we have the knowledge, we can deliver.

    NI: Leadership is a performance art. To learn leadership, we need to know the concepts (the science), and then practice to become masterful in the art.

    One way of engaging with life and the world is through abstractions, thinking and reflections, but the mastery of action is always from embodied skill.

  • OI: Learning happens when we learn in our heads through concepts and knowledge.

    NI: Learning happens through practice. The body is a place of deep learning. In order to go beyond understanding and concepts as learning, we must learn through embodiment to achieve new skills, new perspectives and new ways to experience. Learning is happening already through practice. We are learning what we are practicing.

  • OI: Learning is knowing and understanding.

    NI: Learning means to shift embodiment (what our body can see, attend, do and experience habitually), and shift our capacity for action and outcomes.

  • OI: Breakdowns happen to us, and they are not good.

    NI: In generative language, breakdowns are created through an act of declaration. Interruptions happen to us, and we may choose to declare a breakdown. Interruptions are not good or bad. Our claim is that interruptions are nothing but a break in your transparency. An interruption disrupts the ‘established order’, and this established order was transparent till the ‘interruption’ took place. An interruption implies a change in your space of possibilities. What we assumed was possible before may no longer be possible or what we assumed may not be possible before may suddenly become a possibility. When you declare a breakdown, you actively participate in the process of designing a future of your choice.

Acceptance

  • Acceptance is acknowledging what is. Acceptance is not acknowledging your assessments as ‘the truth’.
  • Acceptance means that we are centred in the world as it is and ready for action, rather than consumed and off-centre with our assessments or preferences about the situation.
  • We are present, and can take action, rather than being in our mood and conversations.
  • We are in the mood of ‘it is the way it is—now what am I committed to, and what actions will I take to fulfil my commitments?’ rather than the mood of ‘I don’t like the way it is, and I’m going to be triggered and perturbed’.
  • Acceptance has a lot to do with letting go.
  • Acceptance does not mean agreement or approval.

In committing to the path of mastery in any domain, we can centre ourselves in acceptance by declaring acceptance that ‘we are where we are’. We have the skills we have, and do not have the ones we do not have. We learn at the rate we learn, and we do not learn at the rate we do not learn. And it does not have to be any other way, and to insist it should be is to indulge in fantasy. Then, we can accept that we are who we are, and celebrate the gift that this is—that who we are brings the possibilities that we bring*.

Action

Action is shaped by language, and the generative acts of language are the actions that shape subsequent actions. So, in effect:

Action equals generative acts in language, and also physical action that is shaped because of these generative language acts.

We interpret action not as some disembodied activity that we have to organize ‘out there’, but rather as generated by acts of commitments by people who care about some concern.

Action is shaped by commitment—by the commitments we make or do not make, the clarity of the commitment and the ownership and importance of the commitment to the person committing. This is crucial for our understanding of action in organizations, because the fundamental unit of work in organizations is the agreement, not the task. Agreements are commitments.

 Assertions

An assertion is a claim of fact, which is either true or false, to a standard established by the community.

Assertions can be substantiated or refuted through observation and evidence.

The important elements of assertions are as follows:

  • Assertions are claims of facts.
  • Assertions are either true or false.
  • Assertions are speech acts that are measurable or evidentiary and can be substantiated or refuted through observation and evidence.
  • Assertions are to a standard established by the community.

Assessments

An assessment is a statement of evaluation, opinion or judgement. Assessments are neither true nor false. Instead, assessments can be grounded (supported by evidence) or ungrounded.

The important elements of assessments are as follows:

  • Assessments are judgements, opinions or conclusions.
  • Assessments are never true or false.
  • Assessments that you make can open or close possibilities for taking care of a concern.
  • Assessments are a speech act and it always has a speaker and a listener (the speaker and the listener can be the same person when you are having an internal conversation with yourself).
  • Assessments are also most importantly a listening act, and the reason they are called listening acts is because the way you listen to an assessment will impact what action you will take, and hence will impact the result that you have.

Awareness

Awareness means that something has been distinguished in our perceptual field, giving us the potential of paying attention to it and putting it into language. Awareness is the foundation of our power to act and interact with another. To be unaware is to be blind. When we are aware of something, we have a choice in our response to it. When we are unaware, we have no choice.

The realization that awareness is the foundation of all action is behind the principle ‘awareness creates choice’. We are literally aware only of what our bodies are trained to be aware of.

*Dunham in his Leadership papers for the Generative Leadership programme.

Blindness
Blindness is a state where we do not know that we do not know. Blindness is a state of no choice.

Centred

Being centred is being in a physical, mental and emotional state of choice. We are centred when our body, mind and emotions are in a state where we can choose our actions. When we are not in a state to choose our actions, we are ‘off-centre’; our reactions and tendencies choose for us. We cannot blend when we are off-centre. In centring, we attain complete balance and focus regardless of our situations.

  • Our mind is alert, and we are connected to what we care about and we are free of distracting mental chatter.
  • Our mood is serene and open to the current situation.
  • Our physical state is dynamically relaxed, alert, balanced around our centre of gravity and ready for action.

These three aspects are mutually connected. We can centre ourselves by starting with any one; the other two will follow. Centring is the skill to put yourself in a state of choice rather than be in reaction when a challenging moment demands your leadership. The centred state is proactive and mindful.

  • From the body perspective, centre is 2 inches below the belly button.
  • From the language perspective, centre is silence.
  • From the emotion perspective, centre is acceptance.
  • Centring is an embodied commitment to self-knowing*.

Conversation

Conversation is the interaction of human beings that creates action, meaning, listening, moods and emotions and the future.

Conversations are not just words, but whole body reactions that are provoked when we interact in language or when we interact and language is provoked.

Conversations include language, moods and emotions, body reactions and experiences and the listening that is based on the history of the people in the conversation. Conversations are shaped in linguistic and cultural practices**.

Conversation for Action

We coordinate our actions towards bringing about something specific in the future by clarifying and making certain who is committed to doing what by when. We make promises for specific actions to specific people in specific time frames. We make requests of specific people for specific actions in specific time frames.

The conversation for action involves two parties, the customer and the performer, who work together to negotiate COS to which both will commit. The customer is a person who makes a request, and the performer is the one who makes a commitment. The key milestones in the conversation are as follows:

  • Request: The customer makes a request along with the COS to the performer.
  • Negotiation: The performer does one of four things: accepts, declines, counter-offers or commits to commit (defer).
  • In the event of a counter-offer that the performer makes to the customer—the customer has the same four choices of accept, decline, counter-offer or commit to commit.
  • Promise: After the negotiation, the performer makes a promise to perform.
  • Execution: Performer performs.
  • Declaration of Completion: Performer declares ‘complete’ to the customer.
  • Declaration of Satisfaction: Customer declares satisfaction (or dissatisfaction).
  • Revoke/Cancel: During this process, the customer can revoke the request, or the performer can cancel the promise.

Conversation for Possibility

Conversations for possibilities shape the way you see the future, and the actions that you take today. Conversations for possibility generate ideas for possible action. This conversation is conducted in a mood of speculation, identifying possible future actions without judging them or committing to them. Its purpose is to generate a range of possible outcomes, especially including many that are not obvious in habitual frameworks and current constraints. To maintain the mood of speculation and generate the richest set of possibilities, the speakers wilfully refrain from making feasibility assessments or commitment. An example is a ‘what if’ conversation requested by a team member to explore a proposal. Another example is a group brainstorming session that designs goals or ways around obstacles.

The structure for conversations for possibilities includes the following elements:

  1. Listen
  2. Speculate
  3. Choose
  4. Declare

Conversations for possibilities culminate with the declaration of a new future of design.

Conversation for Relationship

To get meaningful and productive results with other people, the first conversation you need to have is a conversation for relationship. Conversations for relationship create a foundation of workability in which people are free to express their concerns, make open requests and even decline requests. Participants in this conversation relate to each other as a function of their commitments, instead of relating to each other based on the assessments, interpretations and feelings they have about each other. Rather than resigning themselves to patterns of defensive behaviour, resentment or cynicism, they focus on building relationships and opening possibilities through their speaking and listening.

The objective of this conversation is to discover the basis for collaboration between individuals. For the conversation for relationship to be effective, you discover the following in your conversation:

  • Shared interest
  • Shared care or concern
  • Shared commitment

*Richard Strozzi-Heckler, The Leadership Dojo: Build Your Foundation as an Exemplary Leader (California: Frog. Ltd, 2007).

**This distinction of ‘conversation’ has been created for IGL by Bob Dunham.

Declaration

A declaration is a speech and a listening act, made by a person of authority to do so, where he or she, out of nothingness, brings forth a new possibility, a new future into existence that they own.

A declaration can begin, resolve or end things.

Default Future

Default future is the future that was going to happen unless something dramatic and unexpected happened. By default future, we do not mean the inevitable future—such as ageing and eventually dying—but rather what is going to happen in our experience, whether we give it much thought or not*.

*Steve Zaffron and Dave Logan, The Three Laws of Performance: Rewriting the future of your organization and your life (San Francisco: Jossey–Bass/Wiley/Times Group Books, 2009).

Future of Design

Future of design is the opposite of default future. A future of design is a future you create with your declarations.

Generative Conversations

Communication is considered to describe things, not generate them, to be the transfer of information, with an emphasis on good presentation rather than listening skills. However, language is generative in addition to being descriptive. We focus on the aspects of language and communication that generate action and thereby results; that generate possibilities, meaning, value and satisfaction for ourselves and others; and even generate moods and emotions in our experience.

The relevance of speaking and listening for organizations, leadership and coaching is to recognize the generative power of language. One way that language is understood in our current age is as a description of our world, a set of linguistic tokens for entities in reality, a medium for the transfer of information. Much research in language has worked in this framework—that words correspond to entities and phenomena in the world. We see that a word like ‘chair’ corresponds to an artefact by that name in the world. As I have said, this perspective hides that language is generative, not just descriptive. Language has the power to generate action, the outcomes of action, possibilities, commitment, identities, opinions and much more.

In the 1940s, Oxford philosopher John Austin pointed out that we perform acts in language that are not descriptive, but that generate commitments and the future. He discovered that when we make a promise, for example, we are not describing something in the world. Instead, we are making an act, and the act is one of commitment—showing what the speaker is committed to—for the future. A request is a similar act, in which we do not describe something but rather make an act that shifts the future through the commitment that is spoken, listened and asked for. Austin called these linguistic acts ‘speech acts’*.

Generative language has the power to create new futures, to craft vision and to eliminate the blinders that are preventing people from seeing possibilities. It does not describe how a situation occurs; it transforms how it occurs. It does this by rewriting the future*.

Generative Interpretation

At IGL, we state that for an interpretation to be generative, it must

  • be observable,
  • be executable,
  • be learnable through practice and
  • generate the desired result.

Generative Practice

A generative practice is a conscious choice to embody a behaviour that can be used in whatever situation we find ourselves in. It is a commitment to a way of being in the world. It is life affirming, creative, and it produces a reality by how we orient to our life situation.

Learning to type, on the other hand, is a specific practice; it is specific to a certain context and it takes care of a specific concern. But typing is useful only when we are typing. A generative practice we can use anytime, anyplace, even when we are learning to type*.

Grounded Assessments

Grounded assessments are assessments that have answered a set of questions that require clarification before the listener can accept the assessment. These questions concern care, standards, domain and evidence.

Grounding is a practice to make assessments about assessments. If an assessment is ‘grounded’, then it has evidence to an acceptable standard, and is more likely to be effective in producing a desired outcome than an assessment that is ‘ungrounded’—lacking clear standards, evidence or specification of the domain of concern. Grounding does not make an assessment true; it only provides evidence and argument that it is a good assessment for our purpose. And ungrounded assessments only mean the assessments lack relevant evidence to trust the assessment. In grounding, we recommend that you ask certain questions.

To ground assessments, we find answers to the following questions:

  • For the sake of what future action?
  • In which domain of action?
  • According to what standard?
  • What true assertions support the assessment?
  • What true assertions are against the assessment?

So in general, grounding is a way to produce more trust in an assessment.

*Extracted from the papers authored by Robert Dunham, for IGL.

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Internal Conversation

Internal conversation is the conversation that you have with yourself. It is that little voice inside of you that is rarely silent. This internal, little, voice determines how you observe the events in your life.

Interruption

Interruptions are nothing but a break in your transparency. An interruption disrupts the ‘established order’, and this established order was transparent till the ‘interruption’ took place.

If something happens that leads us to a different assessment of what it is we can expect in the future, we would call this an interruption. An interruption implies a change in our space of possibilities. What we assumed was possible before may no longer be possible or what we assumed may not be possible before may suddenly become a possibility. Whenever the observer assesses the space of possibility has changed, be it in a positive or in a negative way, that observer is facing an interruption*.

*This has been adapted from Rafael Echevarria’s (of Newfield Network) paper on ‘Moods and Emotions’. While he calls this a break in transparency, I have called this an interruption, as we do at IGL. At Newfield Network, there is no distinction between a break in transparency and a breakdown. At IGL, we distinguish a break in transparency as an interruption, and then based on the observer, she/he may declare a breakdown (or not declare a breakdown).

Leader

A Leader is someone

  • who creates an extraordinary future, given the perceived current circumstances;
  • who gets others to commit to this new, extraordinary future; and
  • who takes and generates action to achieve this new future*.

*Adapted from the works for Werner Erhard and Michael Jensen.

Missing Actions      

In the world of generative leadership, missing actions are missing conversational moves that are distinguished by the observer. If you do not have the results that you want, there are missing actions/conversations, those that you need to distinguish first and then have with others and/or with yourself.

 

Possibility

The common-sense understanding of possibility, as per the Oxford Dictionaries, is ‘A thing that may happen’*. I am not talking about this as possibility that may happen someday in the future.

The possibility that I am talking about in this book is a creation of yours, that empowers you in this moment, shapes the way you think and feel in this moment, to take new action. When you create this kind of a possibility, you impact your ‘now’. You impact your present.

For example, when I created the possibility of setting up IGL, India, it changed the way I felt in that moment. I felt a new surge of energy, a new power to take actions that were hitherto unknown to me. A possibility that excites you automatically puts you in the mood for taking action right now. You know you can make this happen, as long as you take actions in line with achieving this possibility.

Presence

To have presence is to live in this moment, in the here and now. Not in your past, and not in your future. To have presence is to be bodily alert in this moment. It is to be aware of your emotional state, its impact on how you see the world and also its impact on others around you.

To have presence is to be connected every moment with the question: ‘for the sake of what am I doing what I am doing?’ It is being connected to your purpose, and acting in fulfilling your purpose.

The above-mentioned definition is the internal aspect of presence. There is another aspect to presence, which is the external aspect of presence.

Simply put, presence is how you land on others. In others words, presence is the assessment others make of your impact on them. Even before you open your mouth to speak the first word, people may make assessments about you. This assessment is based on the body you show up in and the emotional energy you emit generally, and in particular moments. Of course, once you start to speak, what you speak and how you speak also impact the way others assess your presence.

The 3 Cs of leadership presence are

  • choice,
  • care and
  • commitment

Problem

When something happens/does not happen, and for you that should not ‘be’, then ‘it’ is a problem. Problems are all about ‘what I make of what is so’. Problems do not exist in reality—they exist in the seeing of the observer.

*Oxford Dictionary, accessed 18 February 2016.

Relationship

A relationship is a promise.

I am the father of my children. While my children are my own, it is not that because they were born through me that I have a relationship with them of being a father. I am their father because I choose to be in this relationship with them and honour the promise of this relationship. There is a certain set of expectations that my children, my wife, my parents, my children’s school and the society have of me as a father. And when I honour their expectations, I do truly become a father in their eyes.

My brother on the other hand has two adopted sons. They were not born through him, and yet, his promise as a father is by no means any less than mine. There are biological fathers, who do not keep the promise of being fathers. So, my claim is that being a father is not about blood, but about a promise.

Similarly, all other relationships are promises. A relationship between a client and the vendor company, a relationship between a subordinate and his line manager, a relationship between a husband and wife and so forth.

Responsibility

Responsibility is being willing to be the cause in the matter. It is taking the posture that you are the source or the cause of something, and that outcomes can be shifted by your actions.

Somatics

The term ‘somatics’ derives from the Greek word somatikos, which signifies the living, aware, bodily person. It posits that neither mind nor body is separate from the other; both being a part of a living process called the soma.

The soma is often referred to as the living body in its wholeness; somatics, then is the art and science of the soma*.

Speculation

‘A speculation is a conversation in which the participants create new possibilities for future action, and set a context in which those actions make sense.’ Speculative conversations relate to what could exist or might be done in the future. The key questions to be asked are ‘What is it possible to do?’ ‘What future would we like to create?’ or ‘What new can we achieve or create?’**

*Richard Strozzi-Heckler, The Art of Somatic Coaching: Embodying Skillful Action, Wisdom, and Compassion (Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 2014).

**Peter J. Denning and Robert Dunham, The Innovator’s Way (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2010).

Team

A team is a group of people with a shared promise. A team is constituted in a promise. Without a shared promise, the team is not a team; it is just a group of people together.

Transparency

Transparency is the functioning of a process without the user being aware of its presence*.

*Oxford Dictionary, accessed 18 February 2016.

What Is So?

‘What is so?’ are assertions, claims of facts, which are either true or false, when compared to a standard established by the community.

What I Make of What Is So?

‘What I make of what is so?’ are assessments, statements of evaluation, opinion or judgement. Assessments are neither true nor false. Instead, they can be grounded (supported by evidence) or ungrounded.

z content

Quote Future of choice

Future of your choice

When you declare a breakdown, you actively participate in your life. In the process create and designs a future of your choice.

Quote

Victims of circumstances

People often lead their lives as victims of circumstances. Are you one of them?

Quote Declaring Breakdown

Creating a breakthrough

Declaring a breakdown is your success to creating a breakthrough in your life.

Quote Awareness

Choice for new action

When you have new awareness, you have new choice – a choice for new action.

Quote Responsibility Life

Responsibility in life

To declare a breakdown is to declare that you take responsibility in that matter of your life.

Quote Disharmony

Sensing disharmony?

When you sense a certain disharmony, you have a choice to declare a breakdown.

Quote source or cause

Outcomes shifted by actions

To take responsibility is to take the posture that you are the source or cause of something and the outcomes can be shifted by your actions.

06_Quote Successful

Transparent flow of life

Every person who is even remotely successful by their own standard is successful because at some point in time he or she chose to declare a breakdown, thereby causing an interruption to his/her transparent flow of life.

Quote Declare Breakdowns Organisation

Declare a breakdown

If you want a breakthrough in your life/organizations, declare a breakdown.

Quote responsibility

Take responsibility

To declare a breakdown is to take responsibility.

Quote Skill

Breakdowns is a skill

Creating breakdowns is a skill that gets developed as you practice

Quote Question status quo

Questioning status quo

Questioning status quo means to intentionally declare breakdowns, to achieve a future of choice rather than one dictated by fate.

Quote Take a stand

Declare a breakdown

To declare a breakdown is to take a stand. It is a declaration that you will take whatever action is needed to achieve any future that you create.

Quote Cause

Be at the cause

One major pre-condition to declare a breakdown is to be at the cause not at the effect

Quote Being Present

Being present

Being present is essential for dealing with breakdowns.

Quote Declaring Breakdowns for Breakthrough

Declaring Breakdowns

Declaring breakdowns is a conversational move for leaders and is an effective way of creating breakthroughs every day.

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Awareness creates choice

Awareness creates choice, and hence becoming aware of the default future is critical to declaring breakdowns.

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One conversation away

Irrespective of the way you have lived your life – you are always only one conversation away from creating a new future.

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Conversation creates action

Conversation creates action.

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Conversations are not words

Conversations are not just words, but the whole body reactions that are provoked when we interact in language and when we interact and language is provoked.

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Learning with regular practice

Learning is a function of regular practices that allow us to embody new skills and to act in new ways.

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World of possibilities

If you are out looking for possibilities, the world that will get disclosed to you will be a world with these possibilities.

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Victims of circumstances

People often lead their lives as victims of circumstance. Are you one of them?

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Choice in your future

As long as you have breath, you have a choice in ordering your future.

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1 conversation away

You are always only one conversation away from creating a new future.

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