One of USB-ED’s new Change Leadership & Management division’s members, Patricia Bastani wrote a profile draft (assisted by Keith R. Schlesinger) a few years back about process work and organisational education at the University of Stellenbosch Business School in near Cape Town, South Africa.
“One of CLM’s (Change and Leadership Management’s) foundational methodologies is “Process Work,” a mode of facilitated conflict resolution and change dynamics developed over the past two decades by Arnold and Amy Mindell. USB-ED and Dr. Mindell’s Process Work Institute in the USA are currently negotiating to establish the Arnold Mindell Process Work Institute in South Africa, as part of the consultancy’s strategy to develop strategic partnerships and associations with institutions worldwide.
A key premise of Process Work is that, “Most organisational and world leaders … have little training in understanding people or helping groups to change”. (All quotes by Mindell are from The Deep Democracy of Open Forums ). Habits, traditions, and even some so-called best practises “unwittingly marginalize ‘irregular’ people, feelings and emotions while supporting the communication style of one culture over others. … [N]onmajority feelings … [are] simply ruled ‘out of order’”. The most capable people often create the most serious obstacles to progress. “[T]yrannical leaders still flourish everywhere, and most go unseen in every corner of even the ‘nicest’ organisations. … Any one of us can unwittingly hurt others simply by being unaware of the powers we have and how we use them. If we are not careful, the very attempt to ‘raise consciousness’ can simply recycle the very abusive behaviour we hope to correct”.
The path to effective organisational change lies in the Deep Democracy of Open Forums. Process Work transcends the limits of procedural governance and bureaucracy. “The Open Forum shows how to stop abuse taking place in a given moment on a person-to-person level”. CLM supports and extends the benefits of Open Forums with a variety of state-of-the-art learning and consulting interventions, including Governance Assessment”.