Rope Sight

The ‘Ringing of Changes’ is an English system of ringing church bells. Advances in bell technology in the 17th century, along with a certain obsessiveness, inspired a rich, complex and popular folk art described charmingly by Richard Duckworth and Fabian Stedman in Tintinnalogia, or The Art of Ringing, in 1671. For some reason, it’s an English thing.   Depending on the number of bells and their tuning, a course of ‘changes’ could take a few minutes or, in theory, years.

The various permutations of rhythm and intensity require years of practise with a group.   To stay with the program, bell ringers have to be focused and committed – there’s a complex rhythm and complex rules – but they also need what’s called ‘rope sight’, which is seeing (and hearing) sideways, attuned and adapting to the smallest changes in the system.   Rope sight in business and in life is a sensitivity to change in the complex patterns and feedback surrounding us, a sensitivity which is not confined to periods called ‘reflection’ or ‘planning’ but carried on through the day. This is a foundation for creativity and innovation, the occasional glimpses over the horizon, sideways, which rope sight allows. Ideas, solutions, angles. It’s about keeping focus on the future, the Desired Outcome, but remaining sensitive to the here and now, and the rich potential embedded in the here and now.

You can work on building rope sight. You don’t have to be a genius and you don’t have to wait for inspiration. It’s work.   That’s often the effect of our training work at Edgeware – simple skills and tools, and also an expanding sensitivity which makes opportunities and insights (that were there already) visible. Together, the skills and the sensitivities inspire success, and the changes ring around again as a positive feedback loop. ‘Life’ and ‘work’ become the same project.

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