- Take the Right Action to Build Collaboration: Fourth Path in the 8-Fold Path
By Joe Giordano
In this article, the fourth in this series (see links below), we examine how Right Action can help you, your team, and your organization foster collaboration and agility.
Right Action is part of the Fourth Path – Ethical Conduct – in the Noble 8-Fold Path of the teachings of the historical Buddha. Ethical Conduct speaks to taking wholesome actions, because wholesome actions lead to sound states of mind, verses unwholesome actions which lead to unsound states of mind.
When looking at Right Action, we must be aware that our state of mind is controlling our body language. In the practice of Synectics, we focus early on in learning new behaviors that include communicating for collaboration, and how body language speaks volumes to those around us and has profound implications on how we communicate.
In the language of Synectics, our state of mind is known as our internal climate. Our internal climate is about where we are putting our mental energy. If we focus on the unsound, we expend our mental energy on protecting ourselves and keeping ourselves safe. This is compounded by acting in an unsound way, which has profound effects on those around us. This negative effect can have a lingering effect if we continue to operate in an unsound (or negative) space. In a collaborative setting, the maximum amount of everyone’s mental energy needs to be focused on the task at hand, and this requires Right Action.
Our founder, George Prince, early on used Quantum Mechanics to describe climate, what referred to as Field:
In Quantum Mechanics everything happens because of the field. In the sub-atomic world, matter exists as pure energy. You know it is there because it has an electromagnetic field, but it is not visible. When two of these fields come into contact, each one becomes both a particle and a wave. The wave represents information about the ‘individual’ and the particle is physical matter.
The combination of the two fields generates a third field—I think of this as a relationship. I believe that each of us is sort of like a giant particle/wave. The wave aspect of me is information and the particle is my physical presence. I am surrounded by the field or energy generated by me. When I operate with you, my behavior is determined by the combination of your field and mine. The valence of that field—the positive or negative of it—brings out the best, or less than the best in each of us.
We are all governed by the field we, together, generate.
If we all think of positive field generation as a core skill area, and developing positive everyday relationships as our goal, I believe it would clarify the kind of awareness, experimenting and development we need to be doing. The ability to do this depends upon our becoming emotionally aware. Source: “Your Life is A Series of Meetings.. Get Good At Life” George M. Prince with Kathleen Logan-Prince.
George also said that Field has memory— Where we leave others, whether in our negative wake or positive wake, is where we will be starting off with those around us the next time.
In the Buddhist sense Right Action means:
- Abstain from harming sentient beings, especially from taking life (including suicide) and doing harm intentionally or delinquently.
- Abstain from taking what is not given, which includes stealing, robbery, fraud, deceitfulness, and dishonesty.
- Take right action means to act kindly and compassionately, to be honest, and to respect the belongings of others.
To evaluate whether you are taking Right Action in business meetings, try the following:
Too often, in group settings, there are those who like to play the role of devil’s advocate—which is a role that is best left un-played. Nothing good can come from this behavior. The idea of the devil’s advocate is to be contrary, to challenge and to ultimately discount others. This is an intentional action; an intentional action to harm others, no matter how pure the purpose. Be the angel’s advocate – Turn your heat seeking missiles into supportive structures; turn them into builds and ideas that contribute positively to the purpose of the gathering.
Actively (and passionately) listen approximately and open-mindedly to make connections. Many suggestions in meetings may not be a precise fit to the problem.
Exercise your listening skills in 3 steps:
Step 1: Listen for flaws.
Step 2: Listen to overcome any flaws.
Step 3: Listen to get an idea without flaws.
Use the errors you find with other thoughts and ideas as an impetus to offer an idea that you feel has fewer flaws. Remember, it is easy to find a hundred reasons why an idea will not work. It takes real effort to find one reason why a seemingly erroneous or irrelevant idea will work. Make that your mission.
Pay intense attention to yourself and your impulses.
Use your energy in following the thoughts stimulated by the conversation—even when your images and thoughts seem irrelevant to the problem, note them and attempt to connect them.
Relieve yourself of the impulse to jump to conclusions before hearing what is behind an idea that you may not agree with.
If you can follow these recommendations, you will have taken a few of the right actions to ensure that field and climate remain positive. You will have a lasting impact on those around you, and build the capacity of you, your team, and your organization to fully employ your people as an agile team, with the power create change.
This is the fourth article in this series