Transformation Reformers

This site is written for Landmark grads who are open to the possibility of transforming Landmark Education from what it is today into a newly open and amazing engine of transformation. To follow the flow of discussion, please read this blog from bottom up (from oldest post to newest). If you are intrigued by what you see here, please join our Yahoo group and be part of the conversation:

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Powerful vs. Pitfall when Introducing Reform

Here are some notes on reactions to be aware of when sharing the reform conversation.

As the reform conversation is outside of many agreements that are commonly held in the active Landmark community, a reform advocate will sometimes find themselves in communication with someone who is upset about the conversation.

Be aware of the following features of some of the agreement around Landmark:

1) The agreement is unconscious.
Those in agreement believe the agreement is “what is so” and do not get that it’s just their story about what is so.

2) There is emotional attachment to the agreement.
Many people are in love with the Landmark that they have created inside the story of their agreement, and people often fall out of possibility when their loved ones are called into question (even when you both want what’s best for them). Even if you do nothing to “challenge” anyone, some people will feel that their views have been challenged.

3) Agreement is always backed up by a plausible story. As such, demonstrating that the agreement does not necessarily reflect reality requires dialog and a degree of openness from the person in agreement.

4) Because skeptics and questioners tend to drop out over time, the deeper the level of involvement in Landmark, the greater the level of agreement that is likely to be present. By the nature of the program, ILP participants overall seem to have a higher degree of attachment to Landmark story and agreement.

People often fall out of possibility and react negatively when something they are attached to is called into question. A “something is wrong” feeling is triggered in the person with attachment to their agreement, and coming from “something is wrong” has them outside of power and possibility. The person then seeks to restore the agreement by neutralizing that which is out of agreement. This shows up as people questioning you personally or making you wrong and/or feeling compelled to counter with nice stories about Landmark.

Here is an example from a dialog that I once had.
A former introduction leader had read one of my essays on reform and we began a dialog. As the conversation continued with little progress, I was informed that all questioning or resistance to Landmark (not just mine, but everyone’s, every time) is being right with an already always listening, frequently exacerbated by a strong suit. I was also informed that the entire Reformers Yahoo Group (maybe 60 members at that time) was machinery, operating entirely in blind spot and inauthenticity, not from power and possibility. My counterpart was completely out of possibility in the conversation, made all the grads wrong, and had no listening for the possibilities of reform.

Among those immersed in the Landmark community, there is an observable pattern of otherwise generous and powerful people dropping completely out of possibility upon exposure to the reform conversation.

Common out-of-possibility reactions to reform include:
1) Citing unsubstantiated stories to back up the agreement.
2) Making the reformer wrong through question or accusation.
3) Citing superior inside knowledge (i.e. if you knew or did X, you would not support reform)
4) Dismissing reform as "fixing" or "changing" or "making Landmark wrong."
5) Dismissing the graduate-led aspect of reform (i.e. that one must rely on Landmark leadership to get anything done or that Landmark is already dealing powerfully with every issue of concern).
6) Dismissing reform as something that many people have tried before and failed.
7) A last resort of those out of possibility in terms of reform is to simply say that the conversation is not inspiring and to discontinue the dialog.

Patience is a virtue in a reformer, for we have many years of machinery and many layers of defense to break through. Do not be attached to the outcome of introducing reform or hold expectations that everything will go smoothly, for this is a recipe for upset.

Powerful and positive communication of reform requires that we not follow others out of possibility. If someone makes you wrong for suggesting reform or attempts to change the conversation with story, ask if you can return the conversation to the substance of reform.

Please share your experiences of where you see out-of-possibility resistance to the reform conversation as well as what works for powerfully communicating our possibilities.