Leadership = Powerful Narratives LO21671

Winfried Dressler (winfried.dressler@voith.de)
Wed, 19 May 1999 14:01:35 +0100

Replying to LO21660 --

At de Lange wrote:

>Thus I view leadership as the facilitation of the followers'
>creativity. The initial step in helping any follower to become more
>creative, is to encourage that person to participate in at least one
>of the five elementary sustainers of creativity if it is not already
>the case. The next step is to improve on the dynamics of creativity --
>all which is concerned with the content of creativity (entropy
>production). The last step is to improve is on the mechanics of
>creativity -- all which is concerned with the form of creativity
>(seven essentialities).

Wonderful. I already understood before, what you write here, but I didn't
recognise it yet. At, to support your point but also disturbing it, let me
connect it with the analogy of the airplane (exemplar studying) I
introduced a few mails ago, which gave me the chance to understand
(recognise) what you have written now.

>Let's imagine an airplane. The content, that what we want, is flying. The
>according dynamic is the force-flux-pair of a delta in pressure (force) and
>flow of air (flux). In order to get an airplane, which is by definition
>that form
>which allows flying, it's mechanics must be adjusted/designed to the
>dynamics of flying and it's contingencies in such a way, that it can fly.

Step one: sustainer of creativity.

They all played a role in different degrees for different participants.
Narratives (art expressing) of flying from e.g. greek myths to early
science fiction for example. Or exemplar studying by watching birds. A
combination of game playing, problem solving and exemplar studying lead to
those impressive first contests of mechanical objects designed to fly but
didn't, which coincides with the development of movie cameras, so that we
have movies of them. Such contest were of course a great opportunity for

Step two: improve knowledge on the dynamics.

What is the dynamic behind flying? Put it in terms of force-flux-pairs.
What is needed to establish the force? What obstacles have to be removed
in order to make the flux flow? Is there a way to control the intensity of
the force or the quantity of flux in order to control the dynamics? It is
an interessant variant in the development of flying, that the creative
idea was to establish a flux (flow of air by a propeller) as a cause to
get the force (delta in pressure) needed to lift the plane and hold it in
the air.

Step three: Provide and improve the mechanics that actually can drive the

Design an airplane, that allows to control the dynamics. Jumping out of
the window an waving ones arms like a bird won't do it. The bifurcation to
immergence will be reached immediately after jumping. Other immergences
follow when you arrive at the ground.

But historically, in the creative course of time, there was in this
example also a reversal of step two and three: Someone (do you know who?
may be a good candidate to study creativity at work) noticed, that a
special mechanical profile (which became the wing of an airplane) lifts
when it is in a flow of air. Then he succeeded in making the fruitful
connection (the traditional meaning of a creative idea) that this
mechanics may be used to arrive at flying. With the mechanics and the
flow, the force was given. The development of the propeller was nothing
else then the solution to the obstacle of how to get the flow-provider on
the plane. Meanwhile we have another solution, the turbines.

Isn't it incredible, how IMPOSSIBILITIES like tons of steel flying in the
air, crossing the oceans become possible, when following the path of
leadership? Who cares, that living entities like humans are at least as

What has this to do with PROBABILITY - an old argument of Darwinean
evolutionists (development of DNA is very unprobable by trail and error -
but the millions of year must have been sufficient. Look, humans are
there.)? If something is unprobable, don't expect or wait for it. It won't
appear (unless it is Murphy - the sum of the probabilities of all unlikely
but unfavourable events usually add up to a considerable probability -
thats where Deming et.al. attacks).

If something is impossible, just go ahead and do it. That's revolutionary
leadership. Getting Murphy (Msys) and the resulting growth (mSYS) under
control is evolutionary leadership.

In the course of the exemplar studying on the development of airplanes
above, I arrived at a statement, which is worth to be thought of further:

"With the mechanics and the flow, the force was given."

I take this statement as questioning some assumptions behind leadership.

What does it say to following examples? How would the example respond to
such questioning?

1.) "Structure follows strategy" is a somewhat rude abreviation of At's
order of step two before step three. Structure corresponds with mechanics,
strategy with dynamics - force-flux-pairs.

2.) The first of the five disciplines of Peter Senge is personal mastery.
It is about setting up and maintaining creative tension - the personal
force. The second discipline is about mental models - flexibility in
removing obstacles which inhibit the personal flow. Shared vision is about
the force of a group, team learning about the flow of a group. The final,
fifth discipline is about the mechanics of that all: systems thinking (I
would add: mainly using CEL - cause-effect-logic).

3.) Vision, mission, values - we have discussed this in another thread.
Vision and mission is about force, values about the control of flow. When
we say, the organization has to (be able to) walk the talk, we are talking
about the mechanics.

4.) Coaches usually need to set up a goal with a client and coaches him on
how to achieve that goal. In ones personal life, the mechanics is "I", my
body, my way of thinking and feeling, my abilities, my disabilities but
also my social environment. The flow is the sum of my actions, physically
and mentally. The force is the sum of my motives.

The approach of behaviour therapy would be (Jon Krispin, are you
listening?) Set up an attractive goal, answer the question: "What do I
want to achieve?" Then change the behaviour as if you would strive for
that goal. Two things will happen: First, immediately the force of the
goal becomes concrete. That's a great feeling. But shortly afterwards, the
mechanics (body, soul, mind but also friends and relatives) drive out of
their "comfort zone". That's pure pain. Fortunately the mechanics of a
human is, unlike a plane, a complex adaptive system. After leaving the
comfort zone, the struggle for coach and client starts. Will the client be
successful in maintaining the new behaviour until his mechanics have
adapted, setting up a new comfort zone, from which the goal can easily be
achieved? (What should be the next change?)

5.) Did any of you ever experienced the non judging, appreciative,
accepting approach: "Be what you are, do what you do, feel the force."? Of
course, this is not all. We are allowed to start and maintain a dialogue.
It can be of the type: Observe, speculate, falsify.

Liebe Gruesse,


P.S.: At, do you notice, how this and my other recent mails are all
outflows of the one emergent experience "reverse p and q"? John Gunkler,
can you understand, why it made me HAPPY that "I missed your point
completely"? I hope, that in all I produced since Monday there is
something in it also for you, the readers.


"Winfried Dressler" <winfried.dressler@voith.de>

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