Interview with George Pór conducted by Gertraud Wegst as part of the Unity in Diversity Appreciative Inquiry project of the May 2016 Integral European Conference. Transcribed by Jeff Aitken and Ben Roberts, with a few post-interview edits by George. The project is a collaborative inquiry into midwifing a system of influence that nurtures, celebrates and energizes work that matters and enlivens. The inquiry runs through the end of May 2016, including sessions at the Integral European Conference, plus you are invited to take part via many options for virtual participation.
George Por is the founder of Enlivening Edge, an online magazine of next-stage organizations, a Teal Mentor of Future Considerations and the Unleash Network, and co-developer of the Teal Organizations track at the May 2016 Integral European Conference in Siófok, Hungary.
Let’s start with qualities that you appreciate most regarding yourself and the movement for work that matters and enlivens… What do you appreciate most about yourself, e.g. as a human being, a friend, a citizen of this world?
Maybe that I’m just like you or any of us: I like to feel whole and connected with Life, and I love to learn and evolve; I care about family and friends, this beautiful planet, and the generations coming after us. I’m probably not that unique in that respect.
What do you appreciate about yourself?
All of the above, and maybe being a sucker for learning—my passion for learning, also noticing the changes in the kind of learning that makes me enthused over the decades—a lot of appreciation of intellectual learning that morphed into more spiritual deepening—and nowadays, more like the integration of our different ways of knowing and learning. That is very juicy for me!
Look into your everyday life: what is the enlivening quality or value that moves your heart most—and why?
Love, definitely love. Love and gratitude—I have received so many gifts on my life’s journey, I enjoy giving back as much as I can.
By what means do you gain vitality, power, and energy?
What energizes me the most is when I manage to get out of the way, and become just an empty flute for the evolutionary urge to play on me. Not my energy but something that is coming through me, and makes my personal self vibrant—that’s how I experience it.
Outstanding Positive Experiences and Success Stories
We want to collect personal stories of success, so that we can start from your experience. We know how hard it is to be in the vanguard, and how often changes fail to take hold even when they show great promise. Yet we also know that there are jewels of experience we can build upon—powerful fractals of the larger systemic change we know to be necessary. You might consider two different realms as you think about a specific story…
Was there a time when you helped in—or were a witness to—the emergence of a “system of influence” that provided new power and synergy to what had previously been separate or only loosely-connected people and initiatives? It might have been on a very small scale, or limited context, or it might have been part of a large movement or culture shift. It might relate directly to “going Teal,” or it might be an example from a different domain, but point to what you know has worked really well in the past to catalyze such emergence. Perhaps you can find inspiration in George Por’s three step flow: 1) developing networks with a distinctive focus, 2) aligning of parts within the ecosystem of transformational initiatives, and 3) appreciating the distinctive and complementary gifts of those parts.
Alternatively, perhaps you are involved with, or can tell a story about something that might be a part of the emerging system for reinventing organizations. Is there a story that captures the distinctive gifts of that part, or that points to how those gifts might be powerfully synergistic with the emerging whole?
Tell me that story that inspires you, and that informs us in some way, small or large, as we midwife a system of influence that nurtures, celebrates and energizes work that matters and enlivens…
The first thing that pops in my mind is the network of Teal activists who are galvanized by Frederic Laloux’s work. I did my bit by originating Enlivening Edge, the online magazine of the movement, as well as originating a Teal Practice Group in London, and now, with some friends, planning to launch an evolutionary learning community of practitioners, who aspire to facilitate Teal-inspired transformations in self, systems, and society. It is in a very early stage. We may be able to say more about it in the workshop that I will co-facilitate with Jackie Thoms, on May 4, at the Conference, about Teal Mentoring.
All that doesn’t feel like that I am doing anything. It’s more like being in the center of one of the vortices of social creativity that is taking off from many like-minded groups and projects.
Is there one story that inspired you—something that has already happened—and go into that event?
Every day so much is happening for all of us living on the edge. For me, what’s the most inspiring is the now, what is happening now—we are in the midst of the preparations for the Teal Organizations track at IEC.
It’s a story with many streams that are like independent initiatives led by different friends—and they are yet somehow harmonious or coming together into something more interesting than any of it by itself.
For example, we’ve built an alpha version of an interactive map of next-stage organizations and initiatives. We are going to share its first public beta version at the conference, and attendees will be able to play with it on three occasions: in the Teal Mentoring workshop; in the What’s Next? workshop, and the Surfing our Enlivening Edge workshop.
Another stream of preparations is a participatory action research, led by Bjørn Uldall, the research lead of Enlivening Edge. It has some resonance with your Unity-in-Diversity project. Bjørn suggested us that we go to the conference with two questions:
A personal question: what do I want to learn, what I am the most interested in at the conference? A collective question: What is it that we, as a team, want to learn together?
He explained the whole approach and we started engaging with it in our EE internal communication forum.
The third stream that’s been happening is the design of the Teal mentoring workshop that we envision as the beginning of a learning journey, complete with “hyper-trails”. Aspiring mentors can create a trail of what events they want to attend during the conference, and will be supported by challenge questions related to it.
Interesting surprises [are in store from] the combined effects of all these streams—the emerging—that which we don’t know.
How does this feel for you?
Totally uplifting—in my youth as a student revolutionary, my life was feverish—the big difference is that now I can do it with no anxiety or anger along an us/them divide.
We live in a fascinating moment of history, when the tide comes to lift all boats, ready to leave the harbor.
It’s an exhilarating personal experience. Thinking of factors, I can distinguish personal, interpersonal, and transpersonal.
The most important personal factor is that there are more and more people at a Teal altitude of consciousness. I define that as
being able to sense, think, and act beyond our ‘small self,’ with increasing frequency. When such people meet, they can create magic together because their work is play, and their collaboration is not hampered by ego concerns.
The interpersonal factors are friendships, trust, mutual curiosity and support, a culture of appreciation, caring about each others’ well-being and development.
The presence of those qualities is strengthened by the transpersonal factor, our evolutionary journey to higher-order complexity, collective wisdom, and collective sentience. It’s useful to remember that the personal and and interpersonal factors are playing out in the context of the transpersonal.
Is there anything else you want to add?
The essence of our epic story is still unfolding and needs to be discovered before it can be told. However, I am very much appreciative of your work on capturing stories because it takes the sharing of them and the underlying mental models and collective sensing to discover that.
That’s because we, each of us humans, are sensors of something much larger that is happening now. It’s only through sharing our stories that we can connect the dots and discover larger patterns of meaning.
Needless to say, I’m very curious about this…
Imagine it’s 2020. You wake up and recognize that, out of this Appreciative Inquiry process and the whole Integral European Conference, a system of influence has emerged—something that really nurtures, celebrates and energizes work that matters and enlivens for all people. What would it look like, and what would be different? What’s happening in the world? What does it look like for you?
2020, so four years from now… the biggest difference is that, of course, Teal has gone mainstream; self-management is not fringe anymore. The world is even more complex than now because new- and old-paradigm organizations need to learn how to work together, and that is not easy.
To clarify, Teal having gone mainstream doesn’t mean that every organization in the world is Teal, but a significant chunk of the economy including some large organizations in the private, public and social sectors went Teal, and now siphon resources out from the old economy, into the new one. Some of those resources are human talents. More and more people, particularly the younger ones, refuse to work for traditional hierarchies, and only want to work for self-managing companies. That’s very encouraging to see and experience.
Enlivening Edge morphed from a modest online magazine to a Teal media enterprise, embodying the practices we have been writing about for 5 years, but at a much more expanded scale. With a daily show on YouTube, for example.
We also have a very active Teal PARC, where P, A, R, and C stand for Participatory Action Research Center. It is led by Bjørn Uldall who used the 2nd IEC, back in 2016, as the launchpad of his action research initiative.
Getting ready for the fourth IEC, we have already done many of the presentations via holograms and VR, so when we meet in a few weeks, it will be mostly an unconference. With lots of spontaneous happenings and partying. I can hardly wait to see you guys there!
For me personally, it is a refreshingly relaxed time. The third IEC in 2018, when the Teal Org track alone attracted more than 1000 people, was the time when I announced that I was stepping back from being a Lead Link of Enlivening Edge, and from the coordination of all other projects. Of course, it was not a time of stepping back from Life, but fulfilling my calling to do more of the kind of work I’ve been long waiting for and now finally doing. More mentoring of seasoned and emerging visionary leaders. Writing and reflecting. More time with my family and nature. I shifted into that age that some call “eldering.” I’m not as busy as I have always been, and don’t have to juggle so many projects. I’m very happy that we’re in 2020.
I also realize that Teal movement has become more of a system of influence than just a movement. Its influence comes from its success.
Self-managing next-stage organizations are consistently outperforming old-style organizations. So that’s the source of the influence of this ecosystem.
And the nodes in the ecosystem are collaborating more. They have developed by now the beginning of a collective consciousness. So they see themselves not just as isolated initiatives but as part of this huge tidal wave of evolutionary emergence taking us into a sustainable civilization.
On the horizon, we can already see the looming Turquoise consciousness and worldview, the stage beyond Teal. It’s in its very early stage of unfolding, but there are already people on that edge, who are supporting the move at every previous altitude of the Spiral.
[A comment by George, made during our brief post-interview conversation]
The pivotal role of communities, which are between “networks” and “systems of influence.” People need to come together in co-creative, democratic, self-organizing communities before that web can become a system of Influence. It’s true that communities emerge, but that is never totally spontaneous. You can’t design emergence, but you can design the conditions for it, for example, a structure of engagement that is offered to participate in this process. They have something to do together, and have means, processes, tools for communication, collaboration, and coordination, so that they can do what they need to.
Thank you SO much, George, for making time in your super-busy pre-Siofok schedule to do this interview with us!