Mindsets & Postures

Generative Section 4

Rachel Wilcox
3:33 min video
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Key TakeawaysAccording to Otto Sharmer, there are 4 levels of listening: 

  1. Habitual listening,
  2. Ecosystem listening,
  3. Empathetic listening, 
  4. Generative listening. ⁴
Generative listening is to hear what the person is saying, accept it, then build on it. Remember, generative listening does not require us to agree with everything we hear. Rather, generative listening postures oneself as a learner, not judger, and works to build on the ideas of others. 

Just because you build on something doesn’t mean you have to do it. ###

Personal ReflectionNow that you’ve completed the series on Generativity, reflect on the following questions:

  1. Do I build on ideas of others, regardless of how silly they sound? Or do I typically shut them down because I believe they don’t work?
  2. How might I encourage generativity on my team?
  3. What level of listening do I utilize most and why? ###
Group Discussion
  1. Which one of the 4 levels of listening does my team get stuck within? 
  2. Where does our team excel: Listen Well, Defer Judgement, Consider the Possibilities, or Consistently Contribute? 
  3. Looking at your answer from Generative, section 3, how might our team create a culture that regularly suspends judgments around ideas and builds on the ideas of others? ###

ActivityIn your team’s next ideation or brainstorming session, include this one rule: for each idea that is created, three team members must build on it before you move on. ###


4.  C. Otto Scharmer, The Essentials of Theory U: Core Principles and Applications, First Edition, (Oakland, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., 2018), p. 26


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