Organizational Sense of Balance — Group Equilibrium

July 25, 2007

Every person with a normal inner ear has a very fine tuned mechanism for sensing balance. Scientists have discovered a lot about how it works. We know a fair amount about how we lose our sense of balance, how it’s connected to our breath, and how we are born with a fear of falling. As Moshe Feldenkrais discusses in his book The Elusive Obvious, we come into the world wired to survive a fall. Some of this mechanism bypasses our conscious control because of direct links between the vestibular mechanism and the spine.

Work teams, departments & whole companies have a tendency to find a certain equilibrium. When a group works very well the people tend to have a highly developed sense of balance together. Where does that come from? How does it relate to each individual’s sense of balance in themselves? When changes come along that are significant enough to disrupt the equilibrium of the group, how does that register in the group as a whole? Does this sense of destabilization register viscerally with every member of the group? How can the group work through the tendency to freeze up? And what is the mechanism that makes it possible to find a new stability? How can the group work together to deal with the tendency for these things to go right past the conscious thought processes?

Awareness Through Movement® (ATM) lessons have a profound effect on the self organizing abilities of the individual. What can happen when a group of people who work together participate in a series of these lessons? Well chosen lessons related to the challenges of the day can provide opportunities for the whole group to discover new ways they can learn and solve problems dynamically. Lessons on balance/stability can help open the door to finding focus and re-centering. Or lessons about flexibility could lead to new ways of responding to the ongoing changes.

Wouldn’t you like to feel like you had at least 6 degrees of freedom at every turn of events where you work? How would it feel to be certain that in a relatively short time your organization can find new footing and move forward? What if your whole team could find a new way to breathe with ease and calm in the sea of change?

Awareness Through Movement® and Feldenkrais Method® are registered trademarks of the Feldenkrais Guild® of North America


Organizational Styles and Learning Modes

July 4, 2007

Lately I’ve been thinking about how teams and departments in business learn to work through projects, changes brought on by personnel changes, mergers, or strategic realignment of objectives. Some learn and adapt quickly while others seem to struggle endlessly for months or years. My experience of many of these growth opportunities in the major corporations I’ve worked with tells me there is a combination of elements of the working styles, personalities, hopes and fears of the individuals that influences the process. There is also a personality and style of the organization as a whole.

Moshe Feldenkrais in his book The Elusive Obvious talks about how we tend to organize our lives around actions where we feel most inept. What I see in organizations is a generalization of this principle as part of their styles. In groups we learn through various experiences that some tasks and processes are more difficult or even unpleasant or painful for us. We find ways of skirting around these or avoiding them altogether. Eventually we run into a situation where we need to learn a different way of handling them. We often enter a period of great discomfort and uncertainty as we work through very unfamiliar territory.

There are ways each of us as individuals learn to develop new learning strategies. I believe that some of the same approaches can guide organizations into new approaches for learning. Especially of interest to me is the application of the Feldenkrais Method® in business settings. This system of learning through movement has a way of gently yet powerfully leading students into significant discoveries about how they approach difficult challenges and opportunities for change.

Feldenkrais Method® is a registered trademark of the Feldenkrais Guild® of North America