Source: The Inner Path of Knowledge Creation
by Joseph Jaworski (Berrett-Koehler, 2012)
What are the big take-aways?
Jaworski, author of Synchronicity and co-author of Presence – both of which are best-sellers – takes his exploration of leadership creativity and complexity to a new level in this difficult yet rewarding book.
Using examples from personal experience, powerful stories from others, and cutting-edge research from a variety of fields including quantum physics, Jaworski asserts that profoundly creative, “shockingly effective” leadership stems from a recognition of – and an ongoing type of dialogue with – what he calls Source. Declining to attempt to define Source, Jaworksi focuses on how to connect with it. He does, however, offer these clarifying Four Principles in these words:
Why do I like it?
I like it when my mind is stretched and my beliefs are challenged by smart contemporary philosophers of leadership, especially when their ideas are tantalizing and their aim is positive global transformation. I also like to explore the multiple intersections between Eastern and Western philosophy, psychology, body-mind connection, spirituality, and the mysteries of extraordinary human performance. If this combination is your cup of tea, too, I recommend Source.
In what situations would this be useful?
Source: The Inner Path of Knowledge Creation tells the story of the author’s sophisticated search to comprehend the hidden dynamics of how high-functioning individuals reach incredible heights of innovation, insight and foresight. This book would be useful to any leader who is interested in others’ intellectual journeys, and who is open to at least considering the mystical discoveries the author describes.
One of the key conclusions Jaworksi offers is that there may be a developmental level of leadership beyond the already-very-mature stage of “servant leadership” as posited by Robert Greenleaf (see “The Servant as Leader,” previously reviewed here in the Leadership Library). Jaworski suggests that there may be a further class of “Renewing Leaders” who “embody the characteristics and values of servant leaders but have matured to a more comprehensive and subtle level of development” (p. 55). He continues:
They exhibit a capacity for extraordinary functioning and performance. At the heart of this kind of performance is a capacity for tacit knowing that can be used for breakthrough thinking, strategy formation, operational excellence, and innovation, including envisioning and creating the kind of organization or society we desire….[They] hold the conviction that there is an underlying intelligence in the universe that is capable of guiding us and preparing us for the futures we must create.
If this profile of “Renewing Leaders” intrigues or describes you, Source would likely be of use.
What other resources might “pair” well with it?
I would start by looking at Jaworki’s bibliography to follow up on the leads which provoke your curiosity the most. Beyond that, if the spiritual aspect of human development explored this book is what engages you, you might take a look at Richard Rohr’s intense Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life (Jossey-Bass, 2011), and/or the classic practice guide to meditation by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go, There You Are (Hyperion, 1994). If the psychology-of-leadership dimension of Source is what grabs you, a good pragmatic choice would be Leadership Agility: Five Levels of Mastery for Anticipating and Initiating Change by Joiner and Josephs (previously reviewed in the Leadership Library).