Our watchwords at Ecstasis are “Attend, Imagine, Move.” These words challenge us to begin and sustain a process of inquiry that is vital for real change to occur.
If our tendency is download and to race quickly from here >> to here, then pausing to dialogue with self or others is a first step toward becoming more reflective, less impulsive, and more aligned with both our individual purpose and organizational expectations. By utilizing the A I M Model (as we call it) we develop and strengthen our capacity to enable positive transformation (the most important work of leaders) and to lead rather than react to change.
The A I M process moves an individual, a team, an organization through a ‘U” shaped process of reflection, dialogue, and action. In Theory U (Scharmer, 2007), Otto describes the five aspects of the ‘U’ movement as extensions of what happens in all learning processes: Seeing, Sensing, Presencing, Crystallizing, and Realizing. Spurred on by Brian Arthur’s perspective on Theory U, we’ve condensed Otto’s five steps into three.
Step One of the A I M Model – Attend – is an experience of Seeing and Sensing. We observe where we want to go and where we are. The process encourages us to be consciously phenomenological, inviting inquiry and suspension of pre-conceived notions. Step Two – Imagine – is an experience of Presencing, and again, the process invites intentional curiosity, the chief characteristic of the phenomenological mindset. With Step Three – Move – we experience Crystallizing and Realizing; the process enables us to act swiftly and with confidence that we have explored the situation as deeply as possible and chosen a course of action that arose from a powerful meeting in the “in-between” of our deepest selves and our individual and collective experience of the here and now and what may be.
The A I M Model follows the U in the respect it is a learning process. However, it is also a way of focusing and directing action. The action undertaken as one emerges from the ‘U’ is the result of a process of inquiry, reflection, and dialogue. The A I M Model supports the shift from impulsivity or analysis paralysis to deep thinking, generative dialogue, and purposeful action.