Today I had the rare luxury of being alone, some thoughts feel like emerging. Naturally after some time of transition, to a different country, a different organizational culture and a different way of working since I started my own adventure (ich-AG as said in German), and now back in the office again. I’ve learnt something new about myself in this transition.
The art and the craft of a change agent is indeed a complex topic. For me, the word “change agent” does not symbolize all I stand for. I set out to foster “wholeness” in the workplace, by being an OD practitioner, a trainer, a consultant…creating change of cultural elements, influencing people to take a fresh look on themselves, make connections with their true self. Ultimately by having an authentic, mindful and purpose driven culture, I’m a firm believer that profit margin will not be an issue.
For me, it very much shows as being human at work. Bringing humanity back to often times ego-driven corporate culture. As humans, we are not perfect. We make mistakes; we have emotions; we have vulnerabilities. Only when we embrace who we truly are, can we be brave enough to try time and time again. I believe that we are most creative when we’re connected with our mind, heart and soul, having the intension of working towards a purpose that is higher than our ego-self, we could do wonders in creating new things. And it is ok if we fail. Often times, being too much attached to an outcome may block our creative life force. For me, the art is important, the intension is important, the hard working is important, and following the flow is important too.
I guess this is where my curiosity comes in. If I use one word to summarize my character, the first word comes to mind is curious. Already as a young girl growing up in the post cultural revolution age of China, I longed for going abroad to see the world. I can honestly say that I met some true genius people; I’ve worked big and small deals. And in the end, it is humanity and compassion that intrigues me. As we collectively walk in to the future, I don’t even want to use the VUCA in my own words, because we already live in it. I find the most meaningful work is to create a sustainable future by bringing humanity back to the workplace. So that we turn up as a whole and make conscious decisions.
So what have I learnt so far?
- Making heart connection is the first step of real change
In my view, only when we start to open up our hearts, to allow heart connection to be built, can we embark on real change journeys. Without this step, so much is only on paper. This in my view, is also the hardest part for any OD practitioner’s journey. Here is where lots of craft will come in, to create a safe space for such a connection; to have the trust when communicating; and to Be is much more effective than to tell.
- Systematic approach is important
Inevitably when talking about systematic approach, the two consciousness levels always come to my mind. Namely, the existing “orange” and sometimes “green” organizations as categorized in spiral dynamics; and the “Teal” way of self-organization. I fully recognize that we need to meet people where they are. The change programs, transformations, are largely built on the existing command and control culture; systematically manage the change process. If managed well, we may see more systematic change management; clear communication along the way, there might be more people engaged. If not managed well, you might create a big stagnation, where people just wait it out, or even actively resist the change. I think the majority of resources so far is going in this direction.
However, when I look at the intension of such transformation, I immediately realize that the outcome of agile can only be achieved if there is a safe space for close collaboration and perhaps rapid failure. A complete big bang type of “Teal” organization will not work for everyone. But the element of “Teal” is in urgent need, especially in big corporations.
- Grassroots grassroots grassroots!
I learnt this lesson from my journey, perhaps the 5-10% resources spent on fostering grassroot movements in a transformation journey, actually yielded the most remarkable results. Again, I believe we’re all inspired by intrinsic motivation. This is the beauty of grassroots, because it pulls us together. When we bring more wholeness to work, we have the energy and creativity to work on something that pulls us.
- There is already so much about leadership, for me, I can only emphasis again and again, servant leadership
I used to use a game in an agile team building, where we quickly realized, in a fast changing environment, a hieratical leader can be the biggest bottle neck of the team’s creativity. With all the complexity we’re facing, there is no way that the hieratical mindset can create an agile culture. So servant leadership is a must, at least in those industries that are facing dynamic complex challenges.
- From a personal level, mindfulness is a door way to make the consciousness shift
There are so many many forms of mindfulness. Please don’t be dragged into the hype and start to be syndical about it. Last week I went in a discussion about mindfulness, when I mentioned that I like diving; I like hiking in nature; I also like to go on silent retreat. These are all forms of mindfulness. It is being aware of our moment-to-moment experience. With such training, I not only benefited from wellbeing aspect of this practice, but most importantly, it trained my focus and clarity so that I can create space for creativity and compassion in my surroundings and enlarge the ripple. For me, mindfulness is the beginning of the journey of awakening.
Inevitably it became a list (not my intension to make it too seriously), these are thoughts that came with the flow. More to come as I swing with it?