Leadership Emerging

Russ Volckmann

John Marshall Roberts. Igniting Inspiration: A Persuasion Manual for Visionaries. Self-published, 2008.

roberts coverFirst, I am surprised that this book has been out so long and only recently showing up on my radar screen. Why? Because I think it is an important book, particularly for those who wish to go beyond theory and model into the world of implementation. We have reported numerous items about application of integral and adult developmental approaches to cultures, organizations and individuals. One of the challenges that has persisted in my mind has been how do we get our arms around implementation. This has been particularly true of adult development frameworks such as Spiral Dynamics.

Nowhere has this been more true than for us who have been reading about the activities of individuals associated with Don Beck in places such as Palestine and the Middle East, The Netherlands, Iceland and the United Kingdom. Much of what we read about are the activities of Don Beck, THE SDi (Spiral Dynamics integral) wizard. We are able to watch brief videos on line and listen to his presentations. But these are but snapshots of what is a more complex process. We read about Meshworks, although I doubt many can describe what, exactly, that is or how it can be used as an approach in any given context.

There are exceptions. It seems that Don Beck has been developing others who can carry forward the projects that have been started and initiate new ones. Names like Marilyn Ferguson, Elza Maalouf, Neri Barron, Peter Merry and his Dutch colleagues, Bjarni Jonsson and others. So there is this growing cadre who have learned something that makes it possible for them to implement SDi strategies. Other than Don Beck’s SDi 1 and 2 certification programs that are held in various parts of the world, there have been few places to go to learn about these skills.

John Roberts has put a dent in that need.

Roberts links the notion of inspiration to the waves of development within the spiral, particularly blue, red, orange, green and yellow. If you are not familiar with Spiral Dynamics, there is a lot of material online and we recommend the book, Don Beck and Chris Cowan, Spiral Dynamics, 1996. Roberts lays a good foundation that includes the idea of filters, sensory, mental and spiritual. For the latter he indicates that the spiritual filter is “a survival strategy invented by the mind to keep us from pain and suffering.” (55) Such a strategy is our source of a sense of separateness.

There is a causal relationship between inspiration and transformation, physical, mental and spiritual transformation. The latter delivers a “permanent shift in the way one experiences the world.”[60] Roberts offers ten universal principles of transformation:

  1. Inspiration is our natural state but we are usually unaware of it.
  2. Lies kill inspiration. Truth ignites it.
  3. Inspiration originates from neither the body nor the mind. It arises from a deeper dimension than perception.
  4. A message’s authenticity and perceived personal relevance are the two critical factors that determine its inspirational potency.
  5. Inspiration cannot be forced. The best one can do is to create proper conditions by being authentic and by strategically removing barriers to its emergence.
  6. Inspired actions are intrinsically enjoyable, breeding repetition and a sense of ownership. All sustainable behaviors derive from inspiration (rather than from force or persuasion).
  7. Inspiration must ultimately lead to measurable real-world results or it will backfire, over time, crating a deepened sense of cynicism and resignation.
  8. A sender’s own intentions infuse the message with a quality that calls for a similar matching frequency in the receiver.
  9. When the guiding intention behind a message stems from the sender’s identification with self as source (spiritual dimension) rather than effect (body and mind), the receiver will generally perceive the message as authentic.
  10. Sustained inspiration adds constant creative energy to a person’s mental system, which ultimately produces a wholesale transformation of their worldview. This process is the ongoing basis for mankind’s mental and spiritual evolution on both a micro (personal) and macro (global) level.

Part 2 of this book is huge value added. In it, the author outlines the characteristics of the developmental levels (blue through yellow) and the communication tactics likely to be most successful with each. This analysis is worth the price of the book. Keep in mind that this material is suggestive and that further development is a challenge for each of us.

Part 3 offers a Transformational Design Map™. People are multi-dimension beings who differ from each other on how they use sense making and meaning making to define their world and their existence in it. The result is a model that can be thought of as an equation for a transformational design fractal.

Central Energy Bank + Inspiration → Mental and Spiritual Evolution

The section on transformational media emphasizes the importance of practicing the suggestions offered here. Why is this important? Because we live in perilous, challenging times and dealing with them in a life-affirming, generative way means shifting from old habits into using new perspectives and skills.

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