Excerpted from Leadership and the New Science, by Margaret Wheatley
I am constantly creating the world – evoking it, not discovering it – as I participate in its many interactions.
We cannot know anything about what is happening to something if we are not looking at it and, stranger yet, nothing has happened until we observe it.
Reality emerges from our processes of observation, from decisions we, the observers, make about what we see. It does not exist independent of these activities.
Nothing is independent of the relationships that occur. This is a world of process, not a world of things.
*We need a broad distribution of information, viewpoints and interpretations if we are to make sense out of the world.
Participation by many produces a multiplicity of interpretations to organize and build from.
It would seem that the more participants we engage in this participative universe, the more we can access its potentials and the wiser we can become.
When the wave of information spreads out broadly, the multiplicity of interactions can elicit many potentials; giving a richness to the data.
The multiplicity of interactions can elicit many of those potentials, giving a genuine richness to the data that is lost when we restrict information access to only a few people.
Participation, seriously done, is a way out of the uncertainties and ghostly qualities of this nonobjective world we live in.
To banish the ghosts in this ghostly universe, we need a different pattern – one in which more and more of us engage freely, evoking multiple meanings through our powers of observation.
An organization swimming in many interpretations can then discuss them, combine them and build on them.
*We know that the best way to build ownership is to give over the creation process to those who will be charged with implementation.
A tried and true maxim of my field of organizational behaviour is that “people support what they create.”
Active participation creates an emotion driven change in the participant, which is the basis of ownership in the organization.
People can only become aware of the reality of the plan by interacting with it, by creating different possibilities through their personal process of observation.
It is the participation process that generates the reality to which they then make a commitment.
There is an urgent challenge to create organizations that respond to this new world of relationships in which we act as the grand evocateurs of reality.