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Learning Journal Summary & Practice Point of View

Marco Cassone MSOD 618 Dr Julie Chesley

Growing up a TCK (trans-culture kid), I carry in me a capacity to be comfortable with change.
Where others of more regimented backgrounds might shy away from experiences they nd
emergent, ambiguous, uncertain, or unfolding at the edge of chaos, I tend to lean into such
circumstances, curious to know more. I am growing to value structure, clarity, and planning tight,
yet can easily live with the natural messiness and unpredictability of human behavior.

I also value my educational background in psychology, philosophy, and comparative religions,
which gave my mind a theoretical foundation for understanding dichotomy, paradox, complexity,
and constructionist paradigms of reality. International travel further helped me appreciate
diversity and honed my capacity to negotiate cultures and perspectives different than my own.

Music and a lifelong passion for the creative arts have also taught me to observe the ebb and
ow of energy, attention, and care in systems. I am excited to use narration and metaphor to
inspire transformation, designing interventions that take future clients on experiential journeys.
Just as music and many of the dramatic arts are temporal art forms that unfold and make sense
through time, I see OD interventions guiding change readiness in a similar relationship to time.

Im currently fascinated in a few areas and on a few levels. One is the push-pull between
structure and the emergent. Within my learning group, I notice a slow, but consistent, collective
swing between these (and other) polarities. At times we problem-solve with structure and insert
it into our processes past a point of diminishing returns; at other times, structure occurs like
over-thinking and constriction, and we let things unfold haphazardlyuntil, that is, the anxiety
caused by messiness creates a new swing towards structure. In this way, Ive noticed that
systems can tend to oscillate between polaritiesespecially in problem-solving, which can
become circular and feel stuck. A break from oscillation requires transformation to a new
perspective. This is inspiring to contemplate as a musician: like sound, oscillation has properties
of frequency and amplitude. Its interesting for me to detect and tune into these metaphoric
tonessubtle push-pull oscillationswithin individuals, groups, and organizations. More on this
one day when I research, discover, and write about it.

Looking back over my MSOD studies, my view is growing more panoramic in reach, and Im
coming to deeply appreciate our inside-out exploration of systems, from individuals to teams/
groups, small systems, large organizations, and soon trans-org systems. Recently, this has me
fascinated by the hologram-like nature of human systemsmany systems, sub-systems, and
super-systems display parallel patterns, and what is true for parts is often true for the whole.
This also lead me to explore the concept of holons, a term coined by Arthur Koestler in his book,
The Ghost in the Machine. A holon describes anything that is simultaneously a whole and a
part. The value for me of the MSOD program design has been the slow realization that although
its easy to identify them, wholes and parts in complex human systems do not independently
exist in an absolute senseliving systems are always self-contained wholes in relation to their
parts and simultaneously dependent parts of larger wholes.

How this has become useful for me in particular is that I realize Im continuously learning on
multiple levels. At the individual level, for example, personality can be explored using the
Discovery Insights instrument; by the same token, the OCAI gives us similar access to
understanding corporate cultures in organizations. What is learned at one system level sheds
light on another; I can learn about myself as I learn about teams and organizations and vice
versa. Another example: in Mindsight, Siegel illustrated how individual mental development is
essentially a function of integration and adaptation. As Dr Terri shared in Pajaro, unconscious
lack of capacity to integrate can give rise to new inner committee members. Extrapolating this
to organizations, businesses must similarly balance attention between ongoing internal
processes and adjusting to the external environment; and as Dr Chris shared in Costa Rica,
when integration grows too intensive for leadership, a comparable mechanism for lateral
integration is creating a new line organization unit. Each parallel I draw makes the OD world a
little smaller; its all starting to come together. Im very appreciative of the thoughtful design of
the education Im receiving and delighted with the Practice Point of View slowly emerging in me.