You are previewing The Power of Spirit.
O'Reilly logo
The Power of Spirit

Book Description

Forms and transforms in people, they become strong, focused, and vibrant-and wonderful things can happen. But when the spirit is down, nothing else seems to make a difference-because not too much happens. Many of us today find ourselves trapped in just such organizations. The spirit in our workplace, to say nothing of our own spirit, is getting a little tattered, showing the early stages of what Harrison Owen calls "Soul Pollution." Those in the advanced stages may find themselves plagued by exhaustion, high levels of stress, and the abuse of just about anything in sight, including spouses, substances, and fellow workers. So what is the secret to transforming organizations? The answer, says Owen, is simple: we must consciously be what we already are-natural, open, self-organizing systems. In The Power of Spirit, Owen examines the world of Spirit/Consciousness in organizations and offers help to those who find themselves dreading another day on the job in an organization seemingly bent on its own destruction, as well as the destruction of its members. He draws from what we are now learning about self-organizing systems to provides a practical application to the world of organizations, revealing the ways in which Spirit shows up in new, emergent organizational forms. Widely known for his Open Space Technology-a broadly used meeting management tool-Owen now pushes well beyond that surface appreciation and suggests deeper applications and implications, showing how what has been experienced in a typical "great meeting" with Open Space can actually be a 365-day-a-year reality. For all those interested in Spirit and spirituality, particularly in the workplace, individuals who are feeling down and out and buried by Soul Pollution in the workplace, and for current practitioners of Open Space Technology who are wondering what comes after a "great meeting"-The Power of Spirit will offer a pathway to positive transformation.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover Page
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Preface
  5. Prologue: Spirit Is the Most Important Thing
  6. part I: Chaos, Order, and Self-Organizing Systems
    1. chapter 1: Chaos and the End of Control As We Knew It
      1. SOMEDAY WILL NEVER COME
      2. GUESS WHAT? THIS IS NORMAL. CHAOS IS A NATURAL PART OF LIFE
      3. A WORD FROM THE PAST
      4. A WORD FROM THE PRESENT
      5. WHAT EARTHLY GOOD IS CHAOS?
    2. chapter 2: Chaos and Learning
      1. MUST WE GO ALL THE WAY TO CHAOS?
      2. NORMAL LEARNING AND HIGH LEARNING
      3. THE GIFT OF CHAOS: INNOVATION
      4. CHAOS, INSPIRATION, AND SPIRIT
    3. chapter 3: Chaos, Order, and the Creative Process
      1. THE LIMITATIONS OF LANGUAGE AND THE USE OF DIALECTIC
      2. CHAOS, ORDER, AND THE CREATIVE PROCESS
      3. THE OPEN SPACE EXPERIMENT: SELF-ORGANIZATION IN HUMAN SYSTEMS
      4. PASSION AND RESPONSIBILITY
      5. THE PRINCIPLES AND THE LAW OF OPEN SPACE
      6. ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN OPEN SPACE
      7. THE “WHY” OF OPEN SPACE
  7. part II: Transformation
    1. chapter 4: The Standard Business Curve Revisited
      1. A NEW LINE ON THE CHART: THE SPIRIT LINE
      2. RAISING SPIRIT: A NEW STANDARD BUSINESS CURVE
    2. chapter 5: Grief at Work
      1. The Journey of Transformation
    3. chapter 6: Organization Development in Four Acts
      1. A NOTE ON “OD” AND “OT”
      2. BLISS
      3. TIGHT QUARTERS
      4. THE TOXIC SYSTEM
      5. DOWN THE TUBES
      6. IS THIS TRIP NECESSARY?
      7. THE STAKES OF THE GAME ARE RISING
  8. part III: The Stages of Transformation
    1. chapter 7: Stages Along Spirit’s Way
      1. THE ORGANIZATIONAL ANALOGUE
      2. WHERE ARE WE NOW?
    2. chapter 8: Over the Edge
      1. THE ATTITUDE TOWARDS CHAOS
      2. THE NATURE OF LEARNING
      3. THE QUALITY OF WORK AND PLAY
      4. STRUCTURE AND CONTROLS: ONE RIGHT WAY
      5. A DESPERATE SEARCH FOR COMMUNITY
      6. AND/OR: THE MOMENT OF TRANSFORMATION
      7. BEHAVIORAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE INTERACTIVE ORGANIZATION
      8. WE ARE ALREADY THERE (ALMOST)
  9. part IV: Cultivating Spirit
    1. chapter 9: A New Way
      1. Creating Space for Emergent Order
    2. chapter 10: Optimization
      1. A Practical Way of Keeping in Touch
    3. chapter 11: Sustaining the Integrity of Spirit
      1. INTO THE REALM OF CULTURE AND MYTH
      2. TIME TO TELL THE TALE
      3. MYTH AT WORK
      4. MYTH: THE DNA OF ORGANIZATIONS
    4. chapter 12: Healing a Broken Spirit
      1. TRUTH TIME
      2. KEEPING THE TRUTH ON THE TABLE: THE DEAD MOOSE SOCIETY
    5. chapter 13: Everyday Life in the InterActive Organization
      1. TAKE CARE OF THE “GIVENS”
      2. TELL THE STORY
      3. KEEP GRIEF WORKING
    6. chapter 14: Ethics in the InterActive Organization
      1. AN AMORAL UNIVERSE?
      2. ETHICS AND SPIRIT
      3. HAVE WE FINALLY GOTTEN RID OF EVIL?
  10. Epilogue
  11. APPENDIX: COLLECTING THE STORIES
    1. INTERVIEW FORMAT
    2. PERCEIVING THE SPIRIT
  12. NOTES
  13. SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY
  14. INDEX
  15. ABOUT THE AUTHOR