I really like the word learning nuggets, after all, what’s better than learning from all the interactions and drawing sparks of insights? I’ll pick up this blog seris, which will also serve as my own learning journal.
During the recent transformation work that involved complex adaptive systems change, I felt a lot of triggers for growth. This is meanwhile an exciting period in my career experiencing the most Teal-like large scale organizational transformation. My team happens to be in the “eye” of the tornado because in the transformation office we’re literally in the hub of the major information flows. In many ways, we’re doing the systems sensing consciously or subconsciously.
Embodying enterprise mindset
There are 2 nuggets for this blog. One about the enterprise mindset of leaders and frankly speaking any individual working in a collaborative environment. The enterprise mindset invites us to embody a vast mindset, the view of the whole system. It can be the view of the whole company, and also the benefit of it’s external ecosystem as well. I noticed this as the first necessary thing starting my role as an enterprise coach. Typically during times of change, our brains amygdala often get triggered, people easily may go into the mode of fight flight and freeze. And people’s psychological safety level drops. Especially during such times, the vast motivation coming from an enterprise mindset is of critical importance. In my case, I find that I cannot do this work if I slip away from the constant awareness of the enterprise mindset. Because only when we stand on the level of benefiting the whole system, can we find the most beneficial system intervention. Otherwise there could be a lot of pain, struggling at a level of low frequency energy. This is the level that triggers behaviors of competition, self interest.
I noticed in myself that it is easy to utter the words enterprise mindset, yet, to live and embody this during all the interactions on a daily basis is not that easy. We all have certain ego. Now working as a catalyst and a coach one obvious requirement is to have our own ego in check. The most effective method that works with me is always asking “what is my intention for this work?” “From what perspective do I contribute? The system? Or a limited part of the system?” This is the most direct way that I can check my motivation whether I’m embodying the enterprise mindset or not. Of course i only have limited knowledge and experience, but at least when the motivation and intention is coming from the vast system view. Then the energy of the intervention will include the trait of expansive and inclusive energy.
Compassion in organizational context
Another nugget is about compassion for self and for the system. This thought was triggered by a community call. Compassion as a powerful path and valuable skill to promote resilience, and personal and societal well being. There are also social research linking compassion with the organization’s capability for collaboration. In the research paper “The Transformative Potential of Compassion at Work” the authors argue that interpersonal acts of compassion build resources, strengthen values and beliefs and cultivate critical skills thus building the organizational capability of collaboration.
“Compassion is a relational process that involves noticing another person’s pain, experiencing an emotional reaction to his or her pain, and acting in some way to help ease or alleviate the pain (Kanov, Maitlis, Worline, Dutton, Frost & Lilius, 2004). While the healing potential of compassion plays an important role in organizations, compassion also contributes in important ways to organizations’ social fabric.”
Speeding up by slowing down and create compassionate space
In complex transformative changes, people might fall into the tendency of pushing harder and evolve faster. If the narrative of such transformative change is not sufficiently understood and embodied, fast adoption may fuel into negative energy of the system.
For this situation, instead of accelerating and pushing, it might be the moment to create space and invite compassionate dialogues. Shining light on the unspoken and letting the “white elephant” emerge. This can release the stagnated energy that is needed to regain the momentum of movement. There is a delicate balance, creating space for surfacing issues does not mean tolerating resistance.
I very much like what a change agent wrote in her blog: Compassionate action start with self-reflection. Do your change interventions start from a place of trust in the good? Do they rightfully address how you would like to be treated yourself?
Some ideas to conclude:
- Invite change agents or ambassadors to embody enterprise mindset, by asking reflective questions on their intention and motivation.
- Sensing into the system and acknowledging the reality. The intermediate stations of change are usually imperfect.
- Give yourself and the system compassionate space to surface any unspoken concerns; share learnings.
- It all starts with self awareness and system awareness