The Ladder of Inference
Our perceptions, beliefs, and values profoundly influence how we decipher our world and our relationships. These influences become models that inform our decisions and actions. In the process of cognition, we may use these influence to arrive at and erroneous assumptions. This model shows the benefit of adding reflection, inquiry, and mindfulness into our cognitive process. Divergent and innovating thinking can have a positive affect on our environment and our behaviors.
Chris Argyris’ Ladder of Inference |Source: thehumanfactor.biz
Like an organization, the parts of the seed are discrete and interdependent. The mission, vision, and values provide essential nourishment and guidance. The staff and organizational structures make up the root structure, supporting the development of the programs and initiatives that are waiting to bloom. The success and growth of the programs, like the leaves and flowers of the plant, provide energy such as financial and emotional rewards, which in turns benefits the roots. The process consultant can use this model as a foundation for a conversation with leadership to explore the kinds of changes that the nonprofit organization needs to make to facilitate growth over time.
Seed Model - Growth Phase presents the transformation that occurs as the organization grows. Here the board is represented by three concentric dotted circles indicating the fluidity of its life cycle. As it supports all aspects of the organization, the nonprofit board must be ready to shift and change in response.
Just like a plant that responds to the seasons or the passing of time an organization may need to prune away programs that are no longer needed, or perhaps graft on a new branch of service. The organization may need to add staff and processes to respond to the expanding needs of its members. The mission, vision, and values still provide the energy to fuel all the actions.
They also form a grounding aspect, providing a place from which to identify and respond to both the internal and external situations the organization will encounter. Like any arable field these foundational components need occasional tending, weeding, and tilling.
Strength and Shadow
A mission-driven organization can become exclusive. Interdependence and close relationships can lead to unclear boundaries. Shared power and authority can lead to lack of decision-making Understanding both strength and shadow facilitates productive change