Thinking about how to reinvent your organization? Frederic Laloux’s book “Reinventing Organizations” is rapidly gaining critical acclaim as an in-depth commentary on how radically soulful, pioneering organizations are beginning to emerge all across the planet. In this ground-breaking work he outlines the three major breakthroughs shared by these organizations: self-management, striving for wholeness, and listening to evolutionary purpose.
One of the organizations that Frederic researched was Dutch healthcare non-profit Buurtzorg. Founded in 2006 by Jos de Blok and a team of 4 nurses as a new nursing care delivery model, Buurtzorg has become the largest neighbourhood nursing organization in the Netherlands, with over 9,000 employees. There is no management structure and a head office with just 40 people. The results are: highest quality, lowest cost and best employer of the Netherlands.
If you’d like to explore Frederic Laloux’s work further then check this talk
on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcS04BI2sbk.
Like many of us at this time of the year, I’ve spent some time recently reflecting on the past, gathering lessons from my various experiences, and considering what the future might hold. Actually, to be more specific, I’m currently at Day 38 in what I describe as a ’40 Days and 40 Nights in the Desert’ process. What madness is this? You may well ask……
Well, to cut a long story short, I decided to spend 40 days introspectively focusing on creating a vision for what my soul is calling me to do over the next 3-4 years. To that end I’ve spent most of this period alone variously reading, reflecting, meditating, relaxing, walking my dog (Buttons) and generally getting in touch with the potential that wants to emerge through me in my life and my work.
So, I hear you say, what’s the upshot of all this Chris? Well, the main change is that I’ve decided to focus primarily on supporting leaders and coaches to make a positive difference in our world. Not entirely new for me admittedly….instead more of a new emphasis on leadership development in my work. And my own personal mission through this work is to ‘enable leaders to discover their unique, authentic, brilliant selves’. Supporting leaders in this process, of course, involves me doing the same! (Authenticity in all things is, I believe, one of the most important values for coaches to demonstrate in their lives……..)
I wonder what Days 39 and 40 will hold for me?
The idea of ‘paradox’ is one of those concepts that’s been on my mind for a while now, although I’d say that it’s an area that I’ve only really started to learn about in the past year or so.
Those of you that have read some of my earlier work may remember that I learned some major life lessons in the area of ‘perspective’ after the passing of my 24 year old son, Paul, several years ago. Well, to me anyway, paradox and perspective seem to be inextricably linked (isn’t everything?).
What does paradox actually mean? To give one perspective on paradox, I’ll draw on the ancient Egyptian wisdom recorded in the Hermetic Principles: the principle of Polarity. This principle describes everything as ‘dual’, i.e. everything has it’s pair of opposites, with many shades of grey in between. It goes on to say that ‘opposites are the same, differing only in degree’. So, for example, hot and cold, although ‘opposites’, are really the same thing (the differences consisting of degrees of the same thing). Look at your thermometer and see if you can discover where ‘Hot’ terminates and ‘Cold’ begins…. The same applies to ‘Love’ and ‘Hate’… ‘Light’ and ‘Darkness’…
The key lesson for me in all this (and those of you who know me will understand that I like to keep it simple and practical) is that apparent opposites can co-exist quite happily! So, black and white thinking (or judgements) that propose ‘It’s either got to be like this, or it’s got to be like that’ might be missing something quite important……..i.e. that there may be many, many alternatives available (that incorporate paradox)… The paradoxical approach can start to loosen the restrictions of black and white thinking…..and start liberating our thinking instead…..
My Australian CTT trainer colleague, Sally-Anne Cotton, recently compiled a beautiful collection of poems and pictures provided by many other CTT trainers for one of our own colleagues who tragically lost her husband in a road traffic accident.
Sally-Anne has kindly edited the collection so that it can now be downloaded, read and shared by anyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one. Click here to download ‘Inspirational Poems for the Passing of a Loved One‘.
If you know anyone who you think might benefit from this collection of poems then please feel free to pass it on.
Following on from her amazing TEDTalk last year on ‘Vulnerability’, Brene Brown has recently given another entitled ‘Listening to Shame’. Brene tells us that ‘shame’ drives two big tapes – ‘never good enough’ and ‘who do you think you are?’ It’s an amazing talk…… and she’s a brilliant role-model! I’d recommend checking it out – see http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_listening_to_shame.html.
My own experiences have shown me that dealing with deep loss can be extremely painful – and, at the same time, can lead to a whole new perspective on life that gives freedom from a dependance on ‘things and people’ to provide happiness and fulfilment. When my 24 year old son, Paul, died unexpectedly 3 years ago today while travelling in Kenya, I – and many others around me – were confronted with the loss of someone that transcended anything that my worst nightmares could have conjured up.
Three years later though and, while still saddened by his passing, after much reflection I now feel very differently about the whole issue of life and death (and loss in general). For me personally I have challenged and, to a large extent, moved beyond the ‘black and white’ permanent nature of death as we generally view it in the Western world today; and instead view it as a ‘temporary separation’. If you’re interested in finding out more then you can download an article that I’ve written called ‘A Father’s Story’ at http://www.values-in-business.com/life-experiences-learning-forum/.
I was reflecting recently on the beautiful metaphor used in Marshall Rosenberg’s ‘Non-Violent Communication’ of the ‘Giraffe’ and ‘Jackal’ Ears. Essentially, when we use Giraffe Ears we’re open for all the opportunities in a conversation – for all the possibilities that could emerge! Conversely, when we put on our Jackal Ears we close down and look for all the threats and hurt that the conversation could convey. In the former we listen from a place of ‘love’ and, in the latter, we listen from a place of ‘fear’. Personally I’ve found that the same principles apply to reading as well (hence ‘Giraffe Eyes’). Either way, it simply comes down to the choice that we make on how to perceive (and, therefore, receive) the message. Unfortunately many times this choice is made unconsciously……and too often the Jackal wins through. Only the light of rising awareness can illuminate this situation. May all our awarenesses continue to rise!
Earlier today I again read the well-known Marcel Proust quote, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes”. As someone who has the core value of ‘adventure’, it struck me that travelling to far-off places to climb mountains (as I’ll be doing this summer) is only one of many ways that we can use to get a different perspective on things. Indeed, the real work happens on the inside (‘it’s an inside job guv’). When we’re able to take a different perspective on something that may perhaps be troubling us, then we can experience real shift….and, as I discovered yesterday, this can happen very quickly! Taking a different perspective shifts the energy and allows us to create a different vision and intent from those that were perhaps triggering our fears previously.