True Mastery; Faciltation, Collaboration and Group Leadership

Posted on by Brandon Klein


This work is difficult to master. It has successive levels of competence that do not reveal themselves easily. The process can be used to manipulate and hoodwink—but not for long.



Mastery is about continuous learning. Process, environment and team are all critical to fostering true management.

“Take great care in putting on your clothes, and then forget about them.” --Frank Lloyd Wright


· One is always somewhere on the continuum between the Sorcerer’s Apprentice (rank unknowingness) and Yoda (mastery). In between are the states of unconscious incompetence (you don’t know even that you don’t know), conscious incompetence (you don’t know, but are aware of not knowing), conscious competence (you know, but have to concentrate to make it work) and unconscious competence (you know, but apply it without thinking about how). One can never reach ‘Yoda,’ and continue learning. The moment you think you know it all, you will be proven wrong.

· Recognize that a certain amount of direct experience and immersion in the process is the only way to learn it and progress. Mastery of ASE methods and practices cannot happen by reading and studying, any more than skiing can be learned from a book. Learning is significantly enhanced by working with another person who is somewhere further along on the continuum, just as it is by skiing with a better skier.

· Recognize the potential for manipulation. It is the ‘Dark Side of the Force,’ as if Darth Vader was on the other side of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice on the continuum. Mastery is helping a group look and familiarize themselves with the landscape, chart an objective, map out several paths to achieve it and then chose and develop that path. The group must choose. You may only ask questions, help them perceive their objectives and paths they might not consider, and see them safely on their way.

· You must already be a master in something else to achieve mastery in ASE methods and practices. The experience of attaining mastery—of continually striving to better oneself and always pushing the game to your personal limits—is a critical prerequisite.

· You may at times be put in a position where a large set of the ASE principles cannot be applied or are being misused. Should this happen, immediately reject the work.

· Don’t get rote or stale. It is better to wear out than to rust out.

· Self-Destruct periodically. In order to be really creative, sometimes you have to be really radical. Challenge yourself to do the next design without . . . something you feel you need. Or take on some constraint that will force you to creatively work around. Challenge your own assumptions, so others will challenge their own.

· Operating at the edge stimulates creativity. The ‘edge’ that Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi refers to in his book Flow - The Psychology of Optimal Experience is the edge of your capabilities. When you are at your capacity—when you are stretched—is when you end up being most creative.

· You get more by letting go. We drag into this process our own notions of having to understand, control, or direct the work. You don’t. Set it in motion and expend your energy getting things going and then let it go. Like pushing a stalled car that suddenly goes downhill faster than you can run—you put your energy into the first day getting it going and gradually withdraw as the participants learn to take control.

“Even the simplest physical act becomes enjoyable when it is transformed so as to produce flow. The essential steps in this process are: (a) to set an overall goal, and as many subgoals as are realistically feasable; (b) to find ways of measuring progress in terms of the goals chosen; c) to keep concentrating on what is doing, and to keep making finer and finer distinctions in the challenges involved in the activity; (d) to develop the skills necessary to interact with the opportunities available; and (e) to keep raising the stakes if the activity becomes boring.” -- Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow


“A painting is never finished—it just stops in interesting places.” --Paul Gardner