My journey with grow2glow self-organization

A few weeks ago I had a discussion with two experienced systematic constellation and U journey facilitators of a U process for the Grow2glow network.  The conversation was enlightening as I was attracted to their way of being as they embody a sense of presencing and deep listening. This discussion also brought me some new light on Grow2glow – a group of Siemens professionals who are also qualified coaches. We support the Siemens diversity and change journey by offering coaching and other interventions.

Although I started the journey with grow2glow on the coaching front. What I learnt most was actually about innovative organizational design. Because we’re self-organized, we foster distributed power across the group, and we’re inspired by holacracy. We regularly turn the lenses inwards to adapt. I serve as Lead Link in the UK, part of my effort is to bring awareness to self-organization and start the conversations and further experiments among many change agents.

During our conversation, when Sarah and Ali were exploring where we are and what wants to be born in this U process. I started to turn my lenses towards grow2glow and began to appreciate how grow2glow serves as a pioneer for the whole business.

As disruptive changes are happening at an accelerated rate, the speed of changes and the traditional German engineering environment formed a “perfect paradox”. As change waves are spreading, many people are suffering in the “valleys” of change curves. Exactly at this point, a number of passionate employees got together with the strong purpose to bring coaching to the wider organization. I would say we didn’t really have a grand vision or a 5-year plan. We really just took actions so that we work towards serving our individual purpose while contributing to something greater. As a result of such passion, we grow from a handful of coaches to more than 140 within 2 years and won a major award, a hosting organization and annual budget.

Looking back, I believe much of the growth is due to our open mindset and fluid structure. Started off as a grassroot initiative, we soon realized the limitations of growth as everyone of us has a “day-job”. There is no way we could run a full-fledged program within the existing hierarchical structure. So experiments started with adopting a form of Holacracy, the framework gave us a starting point. When I started the UK hub, there is rarely awareness of self-organization or Teal models. But people did feel the freedom to contribute. The space that we’re allowed simply enabled people’s individual passion to flourish and grow2glow benefited greatly from the individual sparks that are shining across the organization.

Perhaps you need to be idealistic to be a change agent. When I had tensions within grow2glow that could not be proceed, I looked inwards and realized that this was probably due to the rigid mindset creeping in while people not having awareness of self-organization. I started some experiments simply as a form of forum, social media articles etc. These are just ripples. But for me, that’s the first step. I believe that all ripples have some effect, perhaps not visible immediately, perhaps being despised by the existing power. But ripples will move, and if the ripple is infected with true purpose and belief, it will become a wave when we keep on nurturing it. I guess in grow2glow, we have many such idealists who are resilient enough to start ripples continuously.

So here we are, a group of passionate coaches who have the open minds to try new structures, new ways of working. It wasn’t until I heard grow2glow was named as a successful example of self-organization by a colleague in the Middle East that I realized, all our ripples are starting to show effect! In a way, grow2glow is a pioneer, an embodiment of agile organizational culture. Oftentimes, organizations spend big budget on top down programs. While to make change happen, we need to touch hearts, one person at a time! Grow2glow is exactly such an example, that we show the world, we’re living the change we want to see!