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triaxiom9 is our invitation to
step into a new way of organizational life that is already transforming our workplaces from being merely instruments of capital production to being life-affirming centers of social, political and economic change that is necessary for the planet to thrive and for all people to flourish.

 

Coaction / Participatory Framework

The seer and the looker as one process towards generative care for the parts and the wholes at, from the and, in play

Performance Inquiry™ is a comprehensive inquiry practice. One might say that it is conception-aware and object-oriented. There are six interdependent components. The aspect design is illustrated below:

Praxis 2.0 - The Six Components

The following presentation guides the inquirer through all the components as one process.


The first component ( EFC) is complete on its own and include both an insight and foresight dimension. Evolving Functional Complexity (EFC) is introduced as a critical success factor (CSF) to the domain of strategic management and the various tools enabling strategy into action.

Praxis 2.0 - Hybrid Praxis



The second component EFCx) integrates the concept of dynamic equilibrium. It is most useful, relevant and meaningful for those that appreciate a systems view in their strategic management process.

Praxis 2.0 - The Six Components2

The second component moves from static to a stasis. In other words, dynamics are introduced by making ‘loop learning’ and the ‘depth of response’ objects of interest.

Thus, these additional elements influences the story one has on self/other’s perception and response. The view holds the story which includes heuristics as a constructs, narratives as interpretations and metaphors as preferences.

The graph define a view. In the context of Performance Inquiry this is signified as system awareness. It is a significant leap in complexity.


Evolution, ecology, ecosystems, and habitats are introduced in the third component (EFCx). In the context of Performance Inquiry, this component develops our capacity for context-awareness. In other words, this awareness of the ‘structure of the lens’ generates parallel viewing of multiple habitats.

Praxis 2.0 - The Six Components3


The fourth component ( EFCx) introduces an autopoietic aspect to the system.

Equasion

In other words, the ‘structure of the lens’ is made explicit. The seer is now looking and seeing his own view. Construct-awareness allows this component to enable a convergence of one’s own realization that perspectives, interpretations, and preferences veils the whole. Inquiring about, from, and in views that aren’t our own becomes an advantage for integrating diversity, creativity, and innovation.


The fifth component introduces object-orientation. The dynamics that enables these six elemental objects to be rendered explicit, enables the process of pointing to our tendency of making abstractions concrete. The illustration below provides a depiction of the fifth component.

The fifth component (EFC8 ) further refines a context-aware view of the object of interest.

Praxis 2.0 - The Six Components4


The sixth and final component ( EFCx) introduces six generative processes. This component completes the Performance Inquiry methodology. The sixth component makes this methodology an aspect based view. Performance Inquiry refers to this dynamic as ‘conception-aware’.

When the whole system (in this case signified as Performance Inquiry) is integrated as, from and in the inquiry, the conception can become an object of the inquiry.

Six Generative Drivers

 


 

“The future ain’t what it used to be.”

Introducing Performance Inquiry as a tool for performance excellence

Adapted from: Leading the 21st Century : The Conception-Aware, Object-Oriented Organization

Yogi Berra was right

As Yogi Berra and others before him have stated: “The future ain’t what it used to be.” Today, the knowledge and technology at the disposal of human societies and organizations changes at a rate which is greater than it has been at any other point in recorded history. This is profound in at least two ways:

  • Human technology is transforming the planet so rapidly we act with unknowable consequences.
  • The idea of building a “body of knowledge” to be passed on for the future has become an image of limited value in such a dynamic context, rather we must prioritize learning how to build capacities to face unknowable futures.

downloadAt this level of complexity, leaders can no longer expect to be able to hold onto a static knowledge base from which to sustain an organization, act toward a resolution, or design a strategy for real-world decision-making. Rather, leaders need to be able to view an enormous amount of complexity, in ways that are both conceptually aware to comprehend all the categories, structures, processes, and systems that our current view of the world entails, as well as intentionally constructed in ways that are meaningful, relevant and useful.

 Our frames of interpretation breed our tools… and vice-versa

Human beings have a tendency to assume that what they “see” is in fact “what is”. When they consider how what they see influences their understanding of a situation or of reality in general, they tend to envision the process as a one-way street. However, our understanding of reality can have an important influence on what we “see”, not only as individuals but as groups as well. For example, in the first century, the Greek astronomer Ptolemy was able to put together a complex map of the variant and invariant epicycles of the planets and stars as they revolved around the earth. Because Ptolemy was a systems thinker way ahead of any other, he had succeeded in devising an ingenious explanation for the observation of retrograde movement, that is to say when the planets could be seen to move “backwards” in relation to each other. Ptolemy’s systemic genius notwithstanding, his interpretation of his observations was constrained by the fact that he was only able to imagine the view from the earth. In other words, his understanding of reality was influencing what he was able to “see”.

Armillary.jpgIt took over a thousand years before someone presented a serious challenge to this view. Knowing the type of opposition this new interpretation of the data would inspire, Nicolaus Copernicus published the book which explained it just before his death in 1543. He had re-imagined the heavens from a heliocentric view, one where the planets revolved around the sun —which explained all the celestial movements observable at that time, in a simpler and much more elegant manner. Years later, in 1925, Edwin Hubble informed the world that our universe was vastly larger than our galaxy, the Milky Way. The questions he was asking, his inquiry, led him to a new interpretation of the data, including some “pesky” data most of his contemporaries deemed irrelevant. Yet even with the truth and elegance of the new model he put forward, many fiercely held onto an understanding of our universe with the earth at its centre. There was a resistance, an immunity . What we perceive influences our perception of reality, but our perception of reality also influences our ability to perceive it. To be conscious of such a continuity between subject and object, of what some term “non-duality”, is an important part of what it is to be Conception-Aware (conceptually aware?).

What does it look like when leaders apply this notion to their field of action? What does it look like when a leader practices “conception-awareness”?

One first step would be found in their consideration of the possibility that the limitation of one’s view (including their own),is responsible, at least in part, for the perceived hyper-complexity of our situation.  This could open the way to an inquiry into what is our view—what are the hidden assumptions, boundaries and constraints that are on the one hand, creating all this hyper-complexity around us and, on the other hand, impeding our ability to “see” from a higher, more inclusive, more systematic yet more elegant vantage point? How is it possible to acquire a vantage point of being able to see the concept-based value stream embedded in all the salient features and objects of a system, as well as sufficient meta-design skills for building coherent and synergistic systems?

Six Generative Drivers

What if, through a set of rigorous rules, we can define these features and aspects as multiple objects of inquiry, we can make them accessible to inquiry? 

What if in turn we can make these objects of inquiry specifiable, then we can make them assess-able and we can begin to work with them in more conventional ways?

This is the work of Performance Inquiry.

From the Implicit to the Explicit

When the mathematician Benoît Mandelbrot coined the term “fractal” in 1975, he was inventing a word to name a type of detailed pattern which could be described as repeating itself within itself – which is not the same thing as saying that Mandelbrot invented that downloadtype of pattern. Fractals were everywhere before Mandelbrot expressed the nature of the pattern explicitly, but we just not seeing them. It is true that Mandelbrot pointed to the work of people like the 18th-century Japanese artist Hokusai to show that there have been individuals through the ages had understood or were using fractals in varying degrees of intellectual abstraction.  They may not have had a word to capture the idea of fractals, but some nevertheless perceived aspects of the pattern form and used them. However, it appears that these were few and far between.

When Mandelbrot described fractals, the pattern and its qualities, he was finding order in what appeared to be chaos, and by doing so, he was making the invisible visible. By making the implicit explicit, he would help countless others to suddenly perceive forms that previously had been invisible to them. Critics reduced Mandelbrot’s work by claiming his only true contribution was to help computers draw pretty patterns. Others came to understand he had found a way to mathematically express a fundamental type of pattern found in nature and that using these ideas was powerful in helping them to perceive specific patterns whose existence they had never suspected or to design new solutions to problems in their field. Performance Inquiry seeks to build on this principle of making the implicit explicit in such a way that leaders can build a more complete and comprehensive view of their operations and design.

The Generative Systems Model: The G5 and Performance Inquiry

Our interpretations guide the narratives we build for meaning-making. Therefore the quality and complexity of our narratives depend on the quality and complexity of our interpretations which are also related to the quality and complexity of the data we are able to gather and consider. The genesis of Performance Inquiry stems from the experience of the difficulties that come from trying to fit observations into views which cannot properly account for or accommodate them. The need for a more comprehensive framework for meaning-making was making itself felt. A fruitful collaboration between Jean Trudel and Bonnitta Roy resulted in a new framing of data from organizations in terms of one or more of five generative processes, the G5. These are development, construction, evolution, emergence, and autopoietic enactment. To think in terms of generative process means to see structural parts as arising from processural wholes. Each of these generative processes are discrete and non-reducible and entail unique internal dynamics, give rise to unique types of structural organization, and operate in fundamentally different ways. Together, Trudel and Roy began to envision a view of organizations and human action that has the capacity to work with, through, and across multiple process narratives.

Performance Inquiry switches back and forth between calling the G5 generative processes and, alternately, human narratives. This is intentional, because we do not want to privilege either the subjective aspect of the G5 as only a human narrative nor do we want to privilege the objective aspect of the G5 as only an objective phenomenon. Rather, we want the leader to understand the G5 as generative processes in which the subjective and objective interpenetrate. In this sense we might say that generative processes autopoietically enact both their subjective and objective aspects or, alternately, we can say Inquiringthat we choose to see the G5 through an autopoietic narrative in which subjects and objects mutually enact each other. It is important that the leader be able to stretch both ways in order to understand fully what we mean by the G5 and generative process. This is another key feature of the new view we are proposing. This both/and orientation integrates the objective bias of conventional enterprise architecture with the subjective bias of developmental models popular within the integral community. We want to extend this integration to both the “constructive” narrative/process—which is primarily relied upon by objectivist “enterprise architects”, as well as to the “developmental” narrative/process—which is primarily relied upon by subjectivist organizational consultants. In addition, we most certainly do not want to introduce either an objectivist nor subjectivist bias onto the notions of evolutionary, emergent, or autopoietic processes. This notion of the interpenetration of process and narrative is crucial to understanding the innovative view which has given rise to Performance Inquiry.

This new view of organization and human action is based on two fundamental working hypotheses:

  1. The 21st Century Organization is a complex hybrid (human and non-human) organism that enacts multiple hybrid objects through five generative processes.
  2. The ability to align a particular “organizational” process with one or more of these fundamental five generative processes and to synchronize with their characteristic set of imperatives is key to creating a self-sustaining, ever-advancing, boundlessly innovative enterprise.

By re-framing each of the organization’s problematic situations in terms of each of the G5, we can begin to build a platform in which the multiple streams that are compelling the situation will reveal their relevant features and key aspects. Performance Inquiry employs a re-framing methodology to achieve this in a manner which can be specified by rules thereby becoming specific objects of inquiry, objects that can be assessed, creating a continuous feedback-feedforward cycle that is generative of human understanding and can also inform action.

The framework’s purpose is for creating capacity in the process for being generative. Its “technology” enables coherence in context, which is how Performance Inquiry defines generativity.

grow … make contact

​A new zeitgeist is emerging in the workplace. People want more freedom and more connection, more autonomy and more relatedness, more responsibility and more collaboration. We want to exercise our own unique gifts in participation with others. This brings out a new kind of excellence in the human spirit. We see that work can be  life-affirming, helping people to flourish while also enabling the planet to thrive. Authentic participation perfects work, by integrating personhood with professionalism, aligning personal values with collective aspirations. The participatory attitude is reflected in the ways that our collaborative culture is changing. We are turning away from authority, and towards legitimacy; less concerned with social obligation and reciprocity and instead emphasizing universal access to the common wealth. We are more interested in open, opt-in/out ways of getting together, rather than committed, consistent ones. We value social reputation over statutory proof, and open networks of connectivity over private clubs and social “liking.” Mostly, this is an attitude of abundance, that recognizes the tremendous wealth in nature and in human ingenuity. We have come to realize that scarcity is a false construct maintained by societies that have organized themselves to benefit the few at the expense of the many. This shift in attitude represents a reckoning with old power and its established ways of institutionalizing and bureaucratizing human activity. We are committed to this new attitude by cultivating authentic participation in our organizations.

get an attitude

Organizational culture is shifting from fixed hierarchical structures to fluid adaptive architectures that mimic the natural order of living systems. We want to accelerate this shift with practical software and hands-on consulting and coaching services. We call this whole new way of understanding the participatory attitude which is concerned with access over reciprocity, legitimacy over authority, participation over power, reputation over proof, connectivity over liking, and abundance over scarcity.
Old power, with its reliance on centralization, managerialism, secrecy, exclusivity, and competition, is depleted by wasted energy and overburdened with top-heavy infrastructures and is losing to new forms of power that can lead more effectively.

New power is distributed through agile, and smart responsive teams, collaborative enterprises, transparent communications platforms, open information technologies, and fully networked operations.

To all of our we say a big yes!

play & other virtues

 

Every vision and mission imply a unique value-set in an organization. The fundamental ones are the organization’s virtues.  At triaxiom9 our value-set is

 

  • Play. Our natural enthusiasm for participation, the energy that frees us to do this work.
  • Bold curiosity. More than just curious. We are probing the unknown and going there. Like fools going after love, we just can’t help ourselves.
  • Possibilitarity. A word we coined that captures our gut feelings that there are possibilities waiting to be imagined into existence. It means we probe the darkest regions of the sky looking for the stars nobody expects.
  • Unconditional regard. Because we trust in human nature, and delight in all these unique gifts people bring with them on an adventure.
  • Theory of practice awareness. A big phrase which points to the special relationship between the aircraft inventor and the test pilot. It means we fly our own airplanes first, under extreme conditions. It means we make sure that we don’t preach anything that we don’t practice ourselves;  and we continually align what we have to say with   what is real in our own  lived experience.

 

 

Change is Inevitable

Organizations are experiencing intense pressures to change the status quo. The old structures are becoming obsolete, and new ways of understanding organizational life are emerging. Successful companies will adopt practices that release complexity, employ lean and agile processes, give people more autonomy and open up to full participation. They will adapt to the changes in the global economy that are already underway, including zero-margin cost production, alternative currencies, and the expansion of smart machines, robotics and artificial intelligence in all sectors of our lives. Decisions  will be made by distributed intelligence, and successful leadership will be defined as the greater capacity to understand the nature of change. The ability to navigate process flows becomes more important as futures become less predictable.

As organizations become more open and participatory, the notion of “individual leader” also changes. A new understanding of distributed intelligence and participatory leadership is emerging, which releases the escalating task demands on the leader-as-individual. By adopting open participatory practices, successful organizations can rely on multiple diverse perspectives of many participants  making decisions at local levels and designing interventions that are sensitive to crucial conditions and subtle contexts that are operating there.