Team & Leadership Excellence

Why we do, what we do – Part 2

We examined why we do what we do from the Action Logic framework Introduced by Greuter Cooke (Cooke 2002) where we discussed the four pre-conventional action logics; opportunist, diplomat, expert and achiever. Click here to read the previous blog. This paper takes us to the post-conventional action logics; Individualist, Strategist, Alchemist and Ironist.

We need to remember that only about 15% of adult population, based on research done on a sample of adults in the United States, operate with post-conventional action logics. I suspect the percentage may not be too different in other parts of the world, but I feel the percentage may be higher in the east (countries around India and China) due to the long history of mindfulness practices such as meditation, yoga etc. that we adopt. It is also important to note that those in lower action logics may find it difficult to relate to and practice higher action logics, but those operating in higher action logics, finds it easy to relate to and operate in lower action logics as required.

Since the transition from pre-conventional action logic, let’s go back to the example of Sara, I wrote about in my earlier blog, who transitioned from a ‘expert’ action logic and learnt how to listen, take feedback and discuss different options presented by her colleagues. This approach not only helped her to make better decisions, as she is richer in perspectives, it has also strengthened her relationships with her colleagues.

As Sara expands her perspectives and as a result knowledge, she gets more and more interested in diverse viewpoints that takes her to the ‘individualist’ action logic mode. About 11.3% of the sample researched operates from this action logic. Her horizon expands to a long-term (5 to 20) year perspective and perceives systems theory where everything is connected to everything. She accepts that people are conditioned by their cultures and therefore each person can have different viewpoints, valid from their cultural conditioning and therefore she feels ‘truth’ can never be found. Given this paradigm, she relish experiences in the here and now, knowing that each experiences will make her relish life and grow with the universal energy system.

Being in the earlier action logic, Sara starts to expand her horizon and start taking a perspective of her own life time and becomes a systems thinker, where she perceives, understands, decides and acts towards a balanced body/mind integration growing in a balanced way and enriching her self-esteem. She is now in ‘Strategist’ action logic and feels that ‘truth’ can be approximated. She starts to include others with similar convictions (her approximated truth) to her in her social circles. She believes that she is autonomous and she can direct her life towards a higher purpose and in this pursuit change any attitudes, belief and behaviours that are not of service to her or her environment. About 4.9% of the sample researched, operate from this action logic.

After dwelling in this action logic for some time, that cannot be specified as it depends on many aspects from the individual to cosmic forces, Sara starts to beyond her own life time and beyond her own culture. She finds it interesting and easy to look at the same issue from multiple paradigms (cross-paradigmatic) and relish on the resulting paradoxes and accepts the tension that is created as healthy and has developed the intellect and the skills to deal with the tension. She sees the truth elsewhere, not necessarily in the realities of the various paradigms that are in conflict, thereby helping to transform others to rise above the conflict and tension, as would a magician would do. Therefore this action logic is named ‘Alchemist’ and is seen in 1.5% of the sample researched.

After further dwelling in the earlier action logic a very few people, less than 0.5% as per the sample surveyed would transition to the ‘Ironist’ action logic. As indicated by this title the ironist would not only see things from different paradigms, but would also know how to help people from conflicting paradigms to see from the other paradigm. The understanding of eternity and the awareness of a time/space continuum of the universe facilitate this. This level of intellect helps see ‘truth’ as the interconnectedness and separateness within timeless spirit. This approach helps people from conflicting paradigms rise to a higher level, where the differences get blurred and results in uniting people. Ironists therefore are unitive, have an unassuming presence, they are fully empathetic and non-interfering, helping in facilitating peace in our lives, and making a contribution to peace in the universe.

While only a very small percentage would act in the post-conventional action logics and even a smaller percentage would go all the way to being an Ironist, being aware of these ways of being, helps us start moving towards these higher levels. According to my life, I believe I operate from early post-conventional action logics, and I am dwelling there, while understanding higher action logics. I find this journey, making my life more meaningful, as I help guide leaders, people and organisations to operate from a higher purpose in a manner that is beneficial to the planet. It provides a sense of inner peace to me and I wish the same for you.

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