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OpenSourceOD

Use of Self GPT

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Aligning Head, Heart, and Hands

What is Use of Self?

"Use of Self" is a foundational concept in Organization Development (OD) that emphasizes the deliberate application of one’s values, emotions, and cognitive processes in professional settings. It's about being fully aware of who you are, including your strengths, weaknesses, biases, and emotional triggers, and using this self-awareness to interact effectively with others and navigate complex situations. The practice of Use of Self helps OD practitioners, change agents, and consultants to bring their whole selves to their work, enhancing their ability to facilitate positive organizational change.

The Use of Self GPT is a cutting-edge tool designed to help you deepen your self-awareness and apply your core values in service of positive change. Trained extensively on Use of Self research and practice, this GPT helps you recognize and overcome the self-talk, worries, and triggers that hinder your ability to act in alignment with your values. It supports reflection on real-life scenarios and offers strategies to embody your values effectively.

Why Should I Practice?

Navigating the complexities of leading and consulting in today's world requires a deep understanding of self and others. Here are seven reasons why Use of Self is so helpful.

Be Your Best Self: Chris Argyris’s work on "Espoused Theories vs. Theory in Use" shows how often there is a gap between what we say we value and how we actually behave. Espoused theories are what we claim to follow, while theories in use are the ones we actually practice. For example, a consultant might espouse the value of teamwork but in practice might micromanage, undermining team collaboration. Use of Self helps bridge this gap by making us more aware of our true actions and underlying motivations. It's about aligning our behaviors with our core values, ensuring that we don't just talk the talk but also walk the walk.
 

Embrace Complexity: Use of Self is also a practice that enables individuals to to handle the complexities of modern life. Bob Kegan's research on adult development shows that increasing our cognitive complexity helps us make sense of and respond to the world in more sophisticated ways. Kegan’s theory describes how adults progress through stages of mental complexity, from seeing the world in black and white to understanding and integrating multiple perspectives. For example, a change agent dealing with impostor syndrome might initially see their self-doubt as a debilitating barrier. However, with increased cognitive complexity, they can think dialectically about themselves, recognizing both their strengths and areas for growth, which can build their confidence and resilience.
 

Navigate Resistance to Change: One major challenge leaders and consultants face on a regular basis is resistance to change, which Peter Block reminds us is a natural and informative reaction, often rooted in underlying fears and concerns. Understanding our own emotional triggers and biases when encountering resistance in invaluable. For example, a consultant might feel frustrated when team members resist a new initiative. By using self-awareness, they can recognize this frustration as a trigger and explore the underlying concerns driving the resistance, fostering a more empathetic and effective response.
 

Flow With the Unexpected: In our rapidly changing and increasingly complex world, the ability to navigate uncertainty and adaptive challenges is crucial. Ron Heifetz's work on adaptive leadership highlights the need for those who steward positive change to address problems that require new learning and approaches. Heifetz emphasizes the importance of distinguishing between technical challenges, which can be solved with existing knowledge, and adaptive challenges, which require new learning and changes in values, beliefs, and behaviors. For instance, imagine a client asking a consultant to undertake a task that borders on the unethical. This situation requires not only a technical understanding of ethical guidelines but also an adaptive capacity to address the underlying values and pressures that lead to such requests. Use of Self helps the consultant recognize their own ethical boundaries and respond in a way that aligns with their core values while addressing the client's needs.
 

Cultivate Psychological Safety: Another significant challenge is fostering psychological safety, as explored by Amy Edmondson. Psychological safety involves creating an environment where people feel safe to express their ideas and take risks without fear of retribution. Edmondson's research shows that when psychological safety is lacking, teams struggle to innovate and collaborate effectively. For change agents, understanding their own responses to perceived threats or criticism is crucial. For instance, a facilitator might feel defensive when their ideas are questioned. By reflecting on this reaction, they can choose to respond in a way that encourages open dialogue and builds trust, rather than shutting down communication.
 

Model Vulnerability: Vulnerability is another area where those who steward positive change often struggle, yet it is essential for building trust and authenticity. Brene' Brown's research highlights that embracing vulnerability allows for deeper connections and greater courage. Brown argues that recognizing and sharing our vulnerabilities can transform how we lead and influence others. For instance, a project manager might fear appearing weak if they admit uncertainty about a project's direction. By acknowledging this fear and choosing to be open about their uncertainties, they can foster a culture of transparency and collaboration, inviting others to contribute their insights and strengths.
 

Recognize Biases: Leaders and consultants also need to be aware of and manage the various cognitive biases that can distort decision-making. Biases such as confirmation bias, negativity bias, and the sunk cost fallacy can lead to flawed judgments and actions. For example, confirmation bias might lead a consultant to favor information that supports their existing beliefs, ignoring contrary evidence. Recognizing these biases and actively seeking diverse perspectives can help mitigate their impact. Change agents who practice Use of Self become more mindful of these internal biases and work towards making more balanced and informed decisions.
 

Maintain Mindful Attitudes: Maintaining mindfulness amidst the demands of driving change is also crucial. Jon Kabat-Zinn’s work on mindfulness, including the nine attitudes of mindfulness (non-judging, patience, beginner's mind, trust, non-striving, acceptance, letting go, gratitude, and generosity), provides a framework for cultivating presence and balance. For example, a consultant facing a high-stakes presentation might feel overwhelmed and anxious. Practicing mindfulness helps them stay grounded, reduce stress, and improve focus. By integrating these attitudes, they can approach their work with greater clarity and calm, enhancing their effectiveness and well-being.

Training the Use of Self GPT

In addition to the key concepts noted above, this Use of Self GPT has been trained on an expansive body of Use of Self Research as well as:

  • OD Values: Research on the values of future Organization Development practitioners published in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science reveals 9 core  values that guide OD practitioners and how these values can be applied in practice to foster positive organizational change.
     

  • Psychology of triggers, context, and self-talk: Deep dives into how our internal dialogues and external environments shape our actions. This includes understanding how triggers can lead to reactive behaviors and how developing self-awareness can help manage these reactions.
     

  • Use of Self Practices: Detailed processes for developing self-awareness, managing emotional triggers, and aligning actions with values. This includes techniques for self-reflection, mindfulness practices, and strategies for engaging with accountability partners.
     

  • Exercises and Reflection Prompts: To help users apply these principles in their daily work this GPT  provides scenarios for users to practice identifying and managing their emotional triggers, as well as exercises for reflecting on their values and how these guide their actions.

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