The unfoldment of the calling


A Releasing Your Unlimited Creativity discussion topic

Copyright 2005 by K. Ferlic,   All Rights Reserved

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The author was hired by the US Department of Energy (DOE) in 1987 after accepting the position offered him as a result of the calling.

From the professional path perspective and from the perspective of the outside world,. he was hired based on his diverse background and organization insights as part of the DOE response to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report on its nuclear facilities. This report concluded the Department was not technically competent to oversee its contractors. He was hired specifically by the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Safety to address the management structure and organizational issues of DOE and its Contractors which under lied the finding of the National Academy of Science Report. The goal was to (1) improve technical performance of both the DOE and its contractors and (2) improve the DOE ability to oversee its contractors.

From the mystical path perspective, he was hired to undergo an education to protect “the children,” in response to the calling he had which asked, “Who will protect my children?” Yet, the calling was only course correction to the direction of his life. The course correction was necessary to get the author into certain the types and kinds of experiences. These experiences were required by the author for him to be able to understand and communicate what lies within each individual and symbolized by the heart. It is what lies symbolized in the heart that provides the understanding as to how we create the experiences we have and the reality of those experiences. To obtain those experiences and address the concern of the NAS, over a period of the next ten years the author found himself changing career positions in DOE to address specific weak links in the organization structure. Each change addressing a deeper aspect of the issue of technical competency and moving deeper and deeper into the world of creativity and how we create the experiences we have.

From the author’s mental perspective and understanding he had at the time, he was hired to protect workers and the public from the hazards of nuclear radiation associated with the operation of the Department of Energy’s nuclear facilities. It was as simple as that. The logic was that fixing what the National Academy of Sciences revealed about how the Department of Energy managed its nuclear facilities would protect the children as he understood the children to be. Having been called to the task by whom he thought and understood to be God, he entered the effort with the zeal and fire of an evangelist and courage of the most fiercest warrior. He was out to conquer the potentially unsafe practices of the Department wherever they lied. Of course, he did not share the fact he understood he was on a mission from whom he understood to be God with individuals in the Department. That would have been too much for most to understand yet accept.

If it is not clear, an important note needs to be made. There are two interpretations of “protecting the children.” There is the interpretation given to that phrase by the author at the time he heard the voice calling him based on what the author understood at the time. He understood the children to be simply the workers and members of the public who needed to be protected from the hazards associated with the nuclear operations at the Department of Energy. Here the word “children” was simply interpreted within the concept that each and every human is a child of God such that we are all children of God. That was the author’s interpretation of that phrase from the time he heard the calling until he experienced the Ultimate Accident seven years later.

The Ultimate Accident changed his whole understanding of exactly who and what the “children” were. The simple answer as to who and what the children are which need to be protected is that they are our creative spirit which lie in what is symbolized by the heart. But it is not quite that simple. The intention of the Releasing Your Unlimited Creativity understanding has been an attempt to communicate who and what these children are. The Releasing Your Unlimited Creativity Technology and its applications is the parallel attempt to provide the understanding to adequately protect these children. The discussion provided here provides the essential evolution in the change in perspective as to who and what the children are.

To understand the path he traveled for the next ten years in the Department of Energy it is important to note the author did not see himself as taking a new job. As a result of the calling he did not take the position which was offered to him as a job. He did not see himself as being expected just to perform based on his supervisor’s desires or the position's description within the organization. Rather, he took the position with the understanding that wherever he was placed, it was only the starting position from which he would work to fix the root issue of the National Academy of Sciences report. Fortunately for the author, in many ways the author’s perspective fully aligned with the desire of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Safety. Consequently, the two worked very well together for quite some time.

The author was placed in a position within the existing safety organization where he had direct access to the Deputy Assistant Secretary. But organizationally, he did not work directly for him. Even though the Deputy Assistant Secretary ran the safety organization, the safety organization was part of the Department of Energy. The Department as a whole was very rigid and bureaucratic in it thinking. It can be said it was outright fossilized and frozen. The safety organization needed to have a certain structure that represented the desired department organizational flow and lines of organizational responsibilities logical or illogical they may be. Organizationally, the Department could not think outside the box created by its own thinking created. It was organizationally uncreative in the extreme. So, the effort had to start where the organization would allow them to start.

The author was not allowed by the Department to be hired and placed in a position that would have allowed the Deputy Assistant Secretary to perform the desired safety function in a way that could readily address the issues found in the National Academy of Sciences report. If it was possible, the National Academy of Sciences report would never have been written the way it was for the problems would not exist as they did. The organizational structure did not permit a direct report to the Deputy Assistance Secretary in the way that needed to be done. So a position was found within the existing organization for the author to function in a way that would allow him to address the issues in the National Academy of Sciences report. Fortunately for the author, he was taught by the intervention of his High School teacher and subsequently his first college chemistry professor how to work creatively outside any system. In many unexpected ways, he was well versed at ferreting out the root issue and fixing it no matter what obstacles presented themselves.

This first issue faced in being hired was only the tip of the iceberg and set the tone for much of the next four years. The Department was not structured to think safety, or truly incorporate safety into its thinking. This fact only revealed itself in time as the string was pulled on the root issue. Two quirks of fate over time caused the ability for the Department to become unable to manage itself with a corporate safety mentality. One was laid when the Department was first created. The second was laid when the Atomic Energy Commission was separated into the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Department of Energy. Ultimately, the Department could not save itself. In the end the Department would have to be rescued from itself - which in many ways it was. Unfortunately, this fact only revealed itself in time and the full implications not really seen for what they were for years.

The story of the Department of Energy is a most interesting case study for its lack of organizational creativity and how it evolved to become organizationally uncreative. However that is not the focus of this discussion. In essence, from a creativity perspective, what the author came to find is that the Department was given the equivalent of a free will and never taught how to properly use it. Yet the story of the Department only reflects on a collective scale the issue we each face individually. This realization only came in time. The author tried to capture that understanding in creating the concept of orchestrating the organization and his attempts to address the root issue through organizational creativity just before he left government to write about the organizational creativity lessons learned.

In following this story, it needs to be remembered there are two parallel sets of events occurring. One set of events was to address the National Academy of Sciences Report. This set of events is reflected in the actions of the external world. The other set of event was those reflected in the author’s experience to “protect the children” and address the voice which called him to the Department. Both stories parallel each other and use the same set of circumstances. But the conclusions that are drawn from each are quite different as are their solutions. The two stories track the same events for a while and then the two stories split. When the split occurs, the organizational issues and associated discussion are picked up and addressed in the Origins and occasion for creating Organizational Creativity. The evolution and unfoldment of the calling and the “children” referenced in the calling will continue in the discussion provided here.

As stated above, the author did not see working at the Department of Energy as a job. Rather, he saw it more as a mission to “protect the children” as he understood them to be. Yet, in reality, much of the time at the Department of Energy was only to gain the experience to understand what must be done to protect the children as he came to understand who the children really were. Creating effective and adequate action to “protect the children” required moving through four organizational components. It wasn’t so much of what he was able to accomplish in each position as much as it was an education for the author to understand exactly how complicated the issue of “protecting the children” was. Each organization move addressed a different aspect of the root issue and what it would take to “protect the children” as seen as protecting the children from nuclear radiation. However, each organizational stop is a metaphor for the deeper issue of “protecting the children” to which the calling really referred.

The starting point and first organization stop to address the issues of the National Academy of Sciences Report was the Office of Safety Policy. This Office was responsible for developing the safety requirements for the Department of Energy. Others were eventually brought on board to fix the problem but it started with establishing the correct policy. There were known design issues but the effort had to start were it was found. The effort started with addressing control of the hazards associated with the nuclear operations and the mitigation of any incidents of accidents that could occur in operations within the existing system. So the question on the table was, “What should the safety policy be for the operations as they currently exist?” The only way to answer the question was to realize an effective and adequate safety policy could only be established by an awareness of exactly what was happening in the field. One needed to go and find out what people were ,or were not, doing. That is what was done.

So began a series of field appraisals to identify what needed to be fixed. The goal was to identify exactly what it was that caused the National Academy of Science conclude the Depart of Energy did not provide for adequate safety and that the Department was not technically competent to oversee its contractors. By all existing Department standards, qualified personnel and individuals with adequate credentials were hired by DOE and its contractors. Yet an aspect of technical competency was missing. To start, the best operational nuclear safety practices that could be found were used as the criteria and the Departments performance compared and assessed in relation to them. Areas where the operations were found lacking were identified as areas to be upgraded. Where there were no criteria to assess the unique Department of Energy operations, existing established criteria were used as guidelines to see how effective the same kind of intent was met.

Once the issues in the field were identified, operational standards and requirements, and training and qualification criteria could be changed to correct deficiencies and either (1) individuals qualified to implement those standards and requirements could be hired or (2) the existing staff could be retrained to implement those new standards and requirements. What was clearly understood was that it would be necessary to educate the staff on the problem and how to fix the problem. If they truly understood the problem in the first place, the problem in question would never have existed. Changing standards and requirements without providing the essential and accompanying cultural change, which understood what needed to be done would not provide adequate corrective action.

After finding the problem and correcting the standards, a cultural change needed to occur. The necessary cultural change was best accomplished through creating a new training organization and developing the experiential training to go with the new requirements. Next began a program to educate and indoctrinate the existing Department technical staff at all levels on the new standards and requirements. But the effort was not simply teaching them the requirements. There was the need to change the culture and way of thinking that went with the new requirements.

In addition to teaching the Field the new requirements, the Field was taught to teach themselves. In this way they were ultimately able to take ownership of the culture. Since culture is something that must be lived and shared, it could not be imposed from the outside. All that could be done was to live it with them. This was achieved through a train the trainer program where the primary teachers came from the operational groups - those who had to implement the changes.

It is here this discussion between addressing the issues in the National Academy of Sciences Report and “protecting the children” begins to split. It is around this time frame the control of addressing the issues was being taken away from the Department. Additionally, with a changing world situation, the mission of the Department was changing radically with the demise of the Russian Empire. But as for the author, he continued on what he perceived as his mission to address the safety issues from within the Department. He received no “marching orders” so to speak to go and do something else until seven years after this point in time.

After having taught the field to teach itself and the standards and policy changes or either implement or being revised to implement, the author felt it would me appropriate to become part of the line organization. From within the line perspective, he could help implement the necessary changes and to “lead the way.” The line is that part of the organization that is responsible for getting the job done and making things work as opposed to a staff function which only supports doing the job. The line has the author to act and make things happen. The safety organization, personnel organization, legal organization, training organizations and the like advises the line as to what they, as experts in an area or aspect, recommend. However it is the individual in the line that makes the decision and causes the consequences for the organization. Sometimes it is appropriate to split the line into programmatic and functional responsibilities but that depends on what one is attempting to accomplish in an organization.

It was here, as a line manager, that the issue of individual creativity surfaced as the arrow pointing to the root cause of what drove the need for the National Academy of Science’s Report. As a line manager, as the Acting Director of the Office of Research, Development and Testing Facilities, the issue the author ultimately came to face was how does one get individuals to freely play with the situation they face to find those creative solutions that go to the depth of the situation and address the root of the issue they face. It was clear individuals seemed to lack the creative ability to solve the problem they faced at the root level. What he began to observe, that no matter how creative and/or intelligent individuals claimed to be unless the issues lied in their particular area of expertise, they usually tended to look to someone else to solve their problem. Individuals seemed to be creatively blocked outside their direct area of expertise.

The author began to wonder why individuals could not step out of their current thinking to find alternatives that would work. He was working with some of the best scientific and engineering minds in the world. He initially could not understand how and why these often brilliant minds were unable to be sufficiently creative to address the problem as it existed at the root level. They were creative in so many other ways. Why was their creativity blinded? He found that he often had to resort to "management by embarrassment" before these brilliant minds would step out of their limited thinking to see other options.

Over the years, while watching people in the work place lose enthusiasm for their work, the question kept coming back, “Why do so many people loose their creativity and enthusiasm for life by the time they reach middle age?” Where was that spontaneity of childhood to explore. Young children, in general, seemed to have such a great capacity for creativity and were so free to try new things. They engage life with an enthusiasm that is so quickly lost. Where did the willingness to approach life in that child-like enthusiasm go?

As a line manager he was faced with a very unusual situation. The Directors of the three of the most prestigious government laboratories in the United Stated went to the Department of Energy Assistant Secretary for Defense Programs and said they could not do everything on their plate with the money that was given. They said they could not do all the safety upgrades and do the Weapons Program for the Department of Energy. No speculation on their real motives are made here but within a matter of hours, the author, as the Acting Director of the Research, Development and Testing Facilities was sitting in the office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Defense Programs for Safety and told, “You and I are going to Albuquerque and meet with the three laboratory directors. We are going to fix this problem and it is your responsibility to make it happen.”

The solution to the problem is another story and resulted in the Laboratory Integration and Prioritization System that did have the potential to adequately and effectively fix the problem. The proof and the evidence were there. But something unexpected was revealed in the process that no one wanted to directly face. This issue is discussed in the discussion on “The Essential Finding Within the Calling.” Fortunately or unfortunately, external events took a sudden turn that removed the Departments options. Quite simply the Laws of the Land began to change and the Department was losing its ability to make its own choices. This required significant internal organizational restructuring to meet the new external demands. It is at this point in time the opportunity began to consciously take a journey into creativity.

The restructuring provided an opportunity arose for the author to being to actively look at organizational creativity. The situation arranges itself such that the author found himself in a very unique position to coaching the organization on implementing and maintaining the safety fixes and grades. In moving from the Acting Director, for the Research, Development and Testing Facilities to a Senior Technical Advisor to the Director of a newly formed engineering support office in response to the external changes, it allowed him to explore what was known about organizational creativity and accelerated learning techniques.

The new position also gave him more time in his private life. Given his previous medical background, this free time became occupied by a physician friend asking him to create a mind body foundation implementing conventional and alternative medical techniques. For several years the author was free to both explore organizational creativity within the Department and health related creativity outside the department. In essence the author become free to explore what was known about creativity and how to become creative both professionally and privately.

In this journey of exploring creativity, he listened to what the experts said and read what they wrote it. However, there was a synchronicity which occurred outside the workplace that allowed him to look deeply into the creative desire of another and from where our creativity actually arose. That experience was the key to understanding creativity, the creative spirit, and the issues he faced in the workplace. That experience also caused a new phase of the journey into exploring creativity to occur.

As part of developing awareness of creativity there came a unique bridge point where he was able to apply what was being learned externally with the physician to what was being learned internally with organizational creativity. Only available in hindsight, the author was unconsciously putting together the pieces of a critical mass. The pieces were the pieces to create a critical mass of enlightenment.

As discussed in ”A Foolish Thing,” there came an opportunity which helped create the occasion for the Ultimate Accident. That then changed the whole picture as to what the journey into creativity was all about. The author metaphorically created a critical mass and exploded it. It provided a brilliant flash of insight to light his life in a way he could never imagine. It is in the creation of the Releasing Your Unlimited Creativity Technology and the associated applications that the pieces are reassembled from that critical moment. Yet they are reassembled in a completely different way than as blown apart. It was in that brilliant flash of insight what he knew and understood about Creation and the source/Source of our creative energy was shattered and he saw what the children really are and how and why they needed to be protected.

This journey through the organization began to reveal something else. Although effective correction actions were implemented, the traditional management methods were still lacking at resolving the basic issues. Something was still missing. The solution was given to those who needed it but the individuals could not seem to find the solution themselves. Without the ability to find the solution and modify them as the situation changes themselves, a long term solution would not be sustainable. Another, or others, seemed to be almost always needed to point out what was lacking. Quite simply, the organization lacked the ability to create the ability it needed to find a solution. It lack the ability to be organizationally creative to be able to respond to the changing demands being placed on it. What became clear was that National Academy of Science’s Report was only a snapshot in time. Everyone assumed the snapshot was accurate over time. So we fixed what the snapshot revealed in the moment but we were not addressing what the snapshot revealed over time and why there was a lack or organizational creativity relative to the identified issues. The effort did not address the reason why the snapshot existed as it did which lied inherent within the organization.

It is interesting to note that one of the observations that made corrective action so difficult was not because the problem was insolvable or difficult. Rather the difficulty arose as a result of the lack of an organizational single point focus for the effort, a short term, “quick fix” mentality and the continual changes in Department priorities as each Secretary of Energy, or their primary appointees, changed. Few realized the depth and breadth of the problem that existed and what needed to be done. Few had the ability to remain focus and not be distracted for as long as was necessary. Yet it was this experience that helped give rise to the information discussed on this and related web sites, and in particular and, surprisingly, “Meditation Concepts and Principles for Creativity.” Creating cultural change and effectively managing any change within an organization whether it be for safety, quality, production or even profit requires a focus of the organizations attention and awareness as deep as meditation of an individual.

The Next Step  .
The Conscious (Elective) Journey into Creativity

An Alternative step 
The recovery of a creative spirit - a soul retrieval

Index of topics related to the origins of the Releasing Your Unlimited Creativity Technology and applications
The pieces of the puzzle

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Index of origins and occasion topics

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