As we both individually and collectively navigate our current challenges, the theme of play came up during the past week.
Play in terms of holding the world and what is going on as lightly as possible whilst reimagining what could be possible, playing with and challenging our beliefs, playing games as a family during lockdown etc
This week was also an enriching week from the point of view of another interview for the book being carried out with the always-wonderful inclusion branding specialist Debra Ruh, taking me up to 20 completed primary research interviews.
On reviewing my research to date (I have 3 more to go to be up to date!) Samantha Suppiah shared this playful, yet deeply profound reflection when I asked her what her one invitation would be to anybody listening back to our conversation, or reading a transcript of it going forward:
“I would ask them to mentally destroy the planet and place themselves in the universe to try and understand who you are without anything backing you up”
I am laughing at myself as I write this update as my goodness, I and we take ourselves seriously at times don’t we?! 🙂
This reminds me of a beautiful podcast between Deepak Chopra and the first Iranian women in space, Anousheh Ansari, when she shared that when she looked back at the Earth from the space station, she could see no borders, no division.
Just think about that for a second.
Book writing progress
As more interviews are carried out, I have 10-15 more to go, the experiences shared offer both razor-sharp clarity that change is indeed an inside job, so getting this triangulated across many people’s lived experience has been rewarding, yet at the same time, a wonderful, diverse kaleidoscope of human experience is emerging for readers to see themselves in the conversation and exploration, as you move throughout the book.
As a reminder, my book, Change Is An Inside Job, will be a collective exploration of shared lived experience. It is not about being right or offering ‘the best way’ to be or do anything, but it is pointing to the fact that we all have way more capacity to realise an interconnected, more humane world.
Tom van der Lubbe, I feel, leads with one of the most simple yet effective mantras at Viisi, the mortgage-company that he helped co-found and that is the number one place to work in the Netherlands:
My starting point is The Golden Rule, treat others how you want to be treated and it doesn’t matter in what context you do this. It doesn’t matter if you move from one company to another, there is no difference in how you treat your own people or your business partners, or how you treat society”
How easily is the above forgotten in the hyper-busy world that we have allowed ourselves to fall into? This forced pause offers the opportunity to re-assess all of that.
Why not have a play with reimagining what life can look like as we re-emerge?
Tom kindly contributed to the book-writing process and remains a real inspiration as he seeks to enrol organisations to sign up to a voluntary code of more humane leadership.
A playful podcast with friends
The theme of play was a common one as we touched on culture, change, vulnerability, leadership and so much more.
I could not resist sharing this pic of us chatting and heather’s gorgeous new puppy!
This podcast will be published on 31st May 2020 on the Value through Vulnerability podcats boosted by HumansFirst.
Moving to self-management with Doug Kirkpatrick
I will let this mic-drop quote from Doug summarise the journey of travel during our wide-ranging 30 mins conversation:
“We started collecting observations. One of the observations was that people drive into the parking lot, park their car and come into work. We realised that every one of these individuals is a manager already in his or her own personal life so every one of those individuals is making gigantic life-altering decisions on their own without a boss. Their deciding who to date, who to marry, what to do for a living whether to take out a mortgage or have kids or whatever”
This was back in 1990, a full generation ago, that Doug and his team at Morningstar, a tomato processing company, were curious enough to observe their colleagues and realised that people do not need rigid, often fear-based structures and practices to get them to ‘work.’
Given autonomy, space, and minimal direction, people will be and achieve more than any leader could ever imagine.
Change really is an inside job, we can achieve greatness from the inside-out individually and collectively, yet many of our organisations still prize top-down control, whether literal or implied.
It is often accidental, not intentionally malicious, however often dysfunctional.
The shift is coming and I truly hope this book offers one small way to hold the mirror up to our thinking such that we can get out of our own way and all thrive.
Finally, alongside my corporate job, I now have my first coaching client and as of this week, I shall become an advisor to tech start-up Aequip.
Aequip is developing some really innovative tech to help make the previously immeasurable, measurable.
Imagine if we were able to predict, based on human connection, conversation, and data, which individuals and teams may be at risk of harassment, burnout or exclusion and in addition, had data to help build more human-centered, collaborative cultures from the bottom-up as well as top-down?
The business benefits for all of getting this right is significant, as I have evidenced through this team culture change alone.
With chronic disengagement globally, access to opportunity still being exclusive and widespread mental health diagnosis on the rise, the massive transformational purpose of Aequp aligns all but perfectly with my values and the difference I want to see on the world, so do look out over the next critical 30 days as we see if this startup can build the foundation, momentum, and MVP to start changing the world of work for the better.
I truly believe in the co-founders and their vision and look forward to supporting them in any way I can.
If you work for, with, or know of any organisations that may be interested in solving some of the above problems outlined, please do hit reply and let me know so that we can set up a conversation as version one of the product is designed and released.
As always, I welcome any thoughts, challenges, or reflections as to what you have read here and I hope that you are gaining some value from the updates.
Wising one and all an enjoyable weekend.