This is the second article on a series covering Flight Levels. In case you haven’t read the first post yet, it’s totally worth reading. Learn more about What Flight Levels are and its five activities.
As stated in the previous article, Flight Levels are based on five key activities to accomplish in each of the 3 Flight Levels:
- Visualize the situation
- Create a focus
- Establish agile interactions
- Measure progress
- Operate and improve
In this text, we will cover the “Visualize the situation” step.
Visualizing the situation is not…
If you heard someone describing “visualizing the situation” as a synonym to running an Assessment, this person either misused the word “assessment” or wrongly performed one.
An assessment, according to the Oxford dictionary, means an evaluation. The Portuguese dictionary Aurélio defines Evaluation as “the act or effect of evaluating (oneself),” and evaluating means “determining the worth or value of; have an idea about; assume.”
Possibly unaware of such definitions, many people mistake the act of visualizing a situation with performing an assessment. Visualizing a situation doesn’t mean raising a hypothesis, making assumptions on ideas or items, nor evaluating people and processes.
Visualizing the situation is an observational activity
Yes, observational. Think about birdwatchers. They observe birds to learn about where they live, where and how they behave, and their realities. Afterward, they go on and document such learnings.
For us to actually be able to observe, first and foremost, we need simply to stop. We need to silence our judgments and observe how things are. We need to know how our companies really work. It’s all about watching while refraining from consulting any documents, flowcharts, written rules, or organograms.
We must focus on how the company actually operates before rebuilding the organizational structure.
Calming your mind and thoughts is also crucial so that you don’t feel tempted to solve the “problems” that you start to see. This will be your main challenge because all humans have a natural tendency always to judge others’ behaviors and processes.
According to Richard Bandler and John Grinder, as we observe, read, or hear, we gather information and process it according to our mental filters.
Such filters are our experiences/metaprogramming, values, and beliefs, which generate our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
Understanding this internal process helps us control our judgment during observation. Unlike birdwatchers, who cannot ask the birds directly, we can and must ask people questions. The goal is always to understand how things are, putting our judgments aside regarding the answers provided.
Thanks to this process, we get to visualize the situation as it is. When we judge an existing situation without envisaging how it should be, we achieve a deep understanding of how the company really operates!
Understanding that and conquering such learnings is vital to improving your knowledge, understanding, and development processes. Therefore, using visualization techniques is a highly documented practice. It means to visually record the learnings about your company’s actual being, and not about how it should be, in your opinion.
Within the Flight Levels System Architecture, we use topology to register the observational result. This helps us understand key points and where and how Flight Levels are and operate within the company.
Once this is done efficiently, we can focus on what must change in the organization. Topology helps us truly understand how the company operates and not only how it organizes itself.
When we understand how an organization works in terms of its operations, we know the items’ workflow pathways, the existing dependencies, interdependencies, and how people truly communicate.
With that at hand, we can make more strategic decisions and create the necessary focus to chase after the expected results.
In the upcoming articles of this dedicated series, we will discuss Flight Levels’ other four activities. Stay tuned!