Kategoriarkiv: People

Managing without soul

Henry Mintzberg writes about the epidemic of managing without soul

Managing without soul has become an epidemic in society: managers who specialize in killing cultures, at the expense of human engagement.

I’ve been in the business of studying organizations for so long that I can often walk into a place and sense soul, or no soul, in an instant.

… and asks …

Why do we build so many great institutions only to let them wither under the control of people who should never have been allowed to manage anything?

Yes, why?

The Elements

The Elements with Joseph Jaworski is an interesting series of short videos on:

How will companies approach the management challenge?

Here is a visionary tweet by Kenneth Mikkelsen on how companies in the future will approach the management challenge. The businesses will:

  • Have a higher purpose beyond making profit
  • Hire people who are passionate about this higher purpose
  • See all shareholders as equally important
  • Cultivate long-term relationships with suppliers
  • Have open doors and be transparent with information
  • Encourage decision-making and autonomy all the way down
  • Pay well, provide excellent benefits and be generous with training/development
  • Volunteer services to the community
  • Narrow the gap in pay

Original wisdom

Robert Wolff has spent a lifetime with indigenous people from many parts of the world. He lived with the aboriginal Sng’oi of Malaysia during the years he spent in Malaysia as a government psychologist. He fell in love with this people and their immense inner dignity, humanity, and sense of connection to all creation. His book Original Wisdom: Stories of an Ancient Way of Knowing takes us back to an older and wiser human time:

”Our being together was not like other social situations I had experienced. We talked—but softly. They did not know how to compete for attention. A few words now and then were all that were spoken—a question, or a comment, a simple answer. Long silences.”

”I remember all our discussions as slowly paced, thoughtful, and strangely orderly, as though people took turns. I cannot remember ever hearing two people speak at the same time. There was always that little pause when everyone looks in the middle distance, then one person will speak as if he or she were the designated speaker, though nobody had said anything. I thought about this new way of talking for many years; I could not let it go. I could not imagine that they were telepathic, but they certainly seemed to know each other’s thoughts.”

”But like learning to ride a bicycle, once one knows how to let go and be—observing form within, as I thought of it, and listening without judging, categorizing, or analyzing—once one knows, it is not difficult to get back there.”

”I was now beginning to realize that the difference among peoples is not a difference of language, but rather how they experience what is real. That is what is important.”

Robert Wolff, Original Wisdom: Stories of an Ancient Way of Knowing, pages 87, 116, 123, 145.

Beliefs influence results

Peggy Holman writes in Open Space Technology: A User’s NON-Guide, pp. 48—50, that different methods can work in a given situation but what matters most are the beliefs of the facilitator.

My belief (and I don’t have sufficient empirical evidence for it to be more than an opinion) is that while method may be one factor in success or failure the beliefs of the facilitator are an even greater factor.

The core beliefs of the facilitator influence their actions and the unspoken cues they send. Are there methods that are better fits in different circumstances? You bet. And yet, I can take the similar circumstances and put different facilitators in them using the same method and get results with widely differing impact. Further, I believe I could take the same facilitator, use different methods and get similar results. I don’t have empirical evidence for this. It is an opinion reached by observation of, discussion with, and reading of comments from a variety of people using a variety of methods. I think what started me down this path was the deep conviction of virtually every expert that their way was the most effective.

My untested theory is the factors involved in success include sponsor beliefs (particularly around their passion for and audaciousness of the desired future, sense of invitation to participate, generosity of spirit), facilitator beliefs (particularly around people’s capacity to act wisely for the good of the whole as well as themselves), and method.

When there is a perception that people need to be led, then they will prove that out. If the perception is that participants will figure things out for themselves, they somehow do.

Wild Mind

Bill Plotkin introduces in his book Wild Mind—A Field Guide to the Human Psyche a way to understand the human psyche. While acknowledging that reality is always more complex and nuanced than any map, he provides two diagrams in the book: One on how we relate to ourselves, and the other on how others see us.

The main messages in the book are that:

  1. The key to healing and growing is cultivating our wholeness.
  2. There’s a vital relationship between cultivating personal wholeness and building life-enhancing cultures.
  3. There are three imperatives of any healthy culture: To protect and nurture the vitality and diversity of its environment, to create and revitalize cultural practices for the well-being and fulfillment of its people, and to protect and foster the wholeness of its individual members.

The book is full of experiential practices. Additional experiential practices can be found here.

Principles for our journey from self to Self, from we to We

As human beings, we are on an open-ended life journey full of breakdowns and breakthroughs. It’s a journey that is about becoming who we really are. This journey requires us to move although we cannot fully see. It takes courage to leap into the unknown.

Here is a summary of twelve principles and practices that can help help us in our individual journey ”from self to Self, from me to We”. They are from the book Leading from the Emerging Future by Otto Scharmer and Katrin Kaufer, pp. 169—172:

  1. Practice, don’t preach. Start by listening. Listen to others, to yourself, and to the whole. Listen to what life calls you to do.
  2. Observe, observe, observe. Let the ”data” talk to you—through your open mind, heart, and will. The impact of this deep observation is profound.
  3. Connect to your intention as an instrument. The more you can connect to what is essential for you, and clarify what you want to be in service of, the better you can act to bring the future into being.
  4. When the crack opens up, stay with it—connect and act from the now. When opportunity presents itself, act from what wants to emerge. Say yes, then do it, before asking whether it’s possible.
  5. Follow your heart—do what you love, love what you do. It’s the only reliable way to connect to your way, your emerging future path. Otherwise you are in danger of living someone else’s life.
  6. Always be in dialogue with the universe. The larger context that surrounds you always provides useful feedback. Listen and evolve your idea based on the feedback.
  7. Create a holding space of deep listening that supports your journey. The most important leadership tool is your Self. Filter out all the noise and focus on what’s essential for you. Do it every day.
  8. Iterate, iterate, iterate. Practice and adapt what’s emerging. Explore the new by doing.
  9. Notice the crack to the field of the future. All change takes place in a context. Explore the edges of the system and the self at these edges. Sense the emerging future.
  10. Use different language with different stakeholders. Be multilingual. Single-focus approaches are almost certain to fail. Involve all who are needed.
  11. If you want to change others, you need to be open to changing yourself first. Build and strengthen your relationship with others. Be open to change yourself first.
  12. Never give up. Never give up. You are not alone. Always learn from failure. Getting discouraged by failed efforts is a waste of energy. Don’t get trapped in judgment, cynicism, and fear.  Courage connects you with who you really are. Go to the edge and leap into the unknown. You are not alone.

Edward Deci

Edward Deci är en intressant motivationsforskare som tydliggjort skillnaden mellan inre och yttre motivation. Han lyfter fram vikten av inre motivation och beskriver i sin bok hur denna kan förstöras genom t ex yttre kontroll. Det viktiga är inte hur motiverad du är, utan hur du är motiverad!

Carl Rogers

Carl Rogers är upphovsman till den klient-centrerade terapin. Han har ett person-centrerat synsätt som jag finner tilltalande. Hans förhållningssätt har konsekvenser inte bara för terapi utan även för ledarskap generellt. Carl gav ut många böcker under sitt långa liv. En bra sammanställning finns i The Carl Rogers Reader.