LEARNING & APPLYING
THE THEORY OF PROCESS
SEVEN SELF-PACED ONLINE SESSIONS
Guided by David Sibbet, GLEN Co-Director and Founder of The Grove Consultants International
David Sibbet studied with Arthur M. Young from 1976-1982.
Much of The Grove Consultants International’s process work is based on Young's Theory of Process (TOP). This series is for people who would like to both understand the theory as a model for evolutionary process as well as dig under it to appreciate its various applications in organizational work and change leadership. (Group Graphic Keyboard®; Drexler/Sibbet Team Performance Model®; Seven Challenges of Change; Sibbet/LeSaget Sustainable Organizations Model).
The TOP is one of the most powerful integrative languages for process design, and potentially the basis of a new paradigm where consciousness and matter are appreciated as tightly linked.
Arthur called the TOP the Yoga of Thinking. David likes to think of it as the discipline behind conceptual jazz.
Young's motivation to articulate a new scientific paradigm based on process was a response to the US dropping an atomic bomb on Japan, and Arthur’s feeling, as a physicist and mathematician, that the materialistically oriented paradigm of traditional science needed to be upgraded to prevent annihilating ourselves.Young deduced his theory from first principles and corroborated his insights with the inductive evidence from science, mythology, and his students cross disciplinary expertise. He aimed his work at the scientific community, so the metaphors and generalizations are in that domain.
My, David Sibbet's, intention is to provide process leaders, process designers, facilitators and change agents a self-paced learning context to see how these archetypal patterns relate to contemporary challenges of facilitating group process, teaming, strategy, organization and social change.
Young was, in addition to being a physicist and mathematician was an inventor. He solved the problem of multi-directional flight with the Bell Helicopter in the 1930s, seeing it become the world’s first commercially licensed helicopter. As an inventor Young wanted his students to understand and evolve the TOP by applying it to what they knew well and telling him about what worked and what to improve. I, David, applied it to visual thinking and generated the Group Graphics Keyboard in 1976 (and then to many other topics like teams, communities of practice, cross culture work, strategy, and change).
My hope in this course is to engage you in applying the TOP to what you know well, and exploring the ways it can be explained and used in process consulting, coaching, and other kinds of transformational work.
In many ways, the TOP is the science under Theory U and the only truly integrative theory that has tight links to current science. Arthur wrote his seminal books before the literature on complexity theory and living systems emerged, and didn’t have a grounding in social constructionism and dialogic practice, even though he was a master teacher in the Socratic style with a truly cosmological perspective. Part of my intention here is to push into even more contemporary ways to explain and share Young’s thinking, where spirit, soul, mind and body are all seen as integral parts of a dynamic, evolving universe.
Key Orientation Questions
1. How can seeing process as fundamental in the structure of the universe help you be a more sophisticated designer of group processes, more inclusive and integrative in your work with diverse groups and cultures?
2. Are there stable patterns under contemporary chaos that can help provide some coherence and inspiration? What are they?
3. What are the practices that will help you develop process awareness and mobile attention in action?
4. How can you best reintroduce the importance of purpose and consciousness into a work world dominated by a materialistic paradigm?
This Theory of Process course consists of seven self-paced online sessions. They include videos, text overviews, and practice exercises. You are guided to go through the course in the order presented—a sequence that has been designed for accessible understanding.