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Emerging Insights, 23 September 2020

“Shifting your culture from a forced mechanically driven paradigm to its innate self-organising nature is like releasing a captive animal back into the wild … it’s a gentle process best facilitated with lots of patience, kindness and care!” Mike Schwarzer

Read, as best as you can, with an empty mind. There is nothing to do, but there is something to see! Explore for yourself what I am about to share!

I recently heard of a senior manager in a construction related manufacturing firm advising their sales staff, via email and unempathetically, that they needed to up their game and increase sales. Otherwise jobs could be on the line.

Not sure about you but, given that we are in the middle of a pandemic that has significantly affected and stressed communities and economies around the world, this strategy or should I say NON-INSPIRING attitude hardly lifts people’s spirits. Rather than that, it rubs further salt in people’s wounds, instils fear, and alienates them. A great state to be in to go out and meet clients who are in the same boat … NOT! Neither does it stimulate an environment that fosters collaboration, creativity and innovation in navigating the organisation through the treacherous waters and beyond.

Be aware of the matrix!

“How are you going to wake up from the matrix, if you don’t know that you are in the matrix?” Tristan Harris

This is probably quite typical in organisations and for managers that play to the hierarchical command and control rule book, either subtly or very openly. And its not necessarily that they do this intentionally. For many who do, it is simply a style of thinking and behaving that they are familiar with and what they used to. They are stuck in the embodiment of their ‘truth of reality’ or as Tristan Harris, Co-founder, Center for Humane Technology, refers to in the above quote as stuck in the matrix.

How do we wake up from the matrix if we don’t know that we are in one?

Well, it takes a good dose of self-awareness, insight and willingness to step out of and above our truth of reality, explore that truth with fresh eyes and shift one’s approach.

Now, why would anyone want to do that?

All eyes required, not just a few!

“We need to depend on diversity. It’s not about respecting difference for ethical reasons. It’s recognising that none of us can ever see the situation clearly enough to act well on our own. Working with diversity is a life-saving capacity as well as an honouring of one another.” Margaret Wheatley

As many of us know, the world has changed! Doing business as usual might not get us over the line. What got us here today, may not get us to tomorrow! Running an organisation from a hierarchical and mechanical mindset is heavily reliant on the ability of a few individuals to come up with ideas and to make decisions. It mostly under-utilises the diversity, potential and wisdom of its community. As scholars like Margaret Wheatly in her book ‘Who do we choose to be’ highlights, there is a need to depend on diversity beyond ethical reasons. In a complex world, we need all eyes not just a few. Furthermore, she states that diversity is a life-saving capacity as well as honouring of one another. Think about that …!

Now might be a good to time to transform our organisations into entities that are grounded in community and the deeper wisdom that lies within that community.

In a previous article I wrote about drawing on our self-organising nature to navigate a complex world. If you missed it, you can read it here!

The article stresses the limitations of seeing and navigating the world and the complexity of its problems through a ‘hierarchical and linear thinking’ paradigm. Instead, as a living system, it points your eyes to explore the world and its challenges through our self-organising nature and the deeper intelligence from which it arises.

When we come together as a community that is grounded in the understanding of our deeper intelligence or deeper mind, there is a distinct shift on how we show up in the world and the energy that we emanate. One that touches and uplifts people with a subtle gentleness. We interact and treat each other with respect, with honour and with integrity. We complement and extend one another with each other’s ideas and views. We see beyond our biases and assumptions that we bring to the world. We create and hold the space for each other to allow for deeper insights to emerge from beyond the confinements of intellectual realm.

The position of the wise leader!

Hence, the position of the wise leader is not to manage, dictate and control the individual nor the community. But as part of the community to create the conditions that enable ‘community to function’ and to transform! To self-organise, to self-regulate, and to draw out the talent and wisdom that lies within and beyond human capacity.

So how can we create the conditions and tap into this wisdom?

“Do not seek the truth; only cease to cherish opinions.” Seng-ts’an

We do that by creating the space for quiet conversation. Conversation that quietens our minds, holds the energy in the present moment and invites fresh thought to emerge.

One of the challenges that we are facing in a busy, complex and data driven world is too much noise from thinking and over thinking. On top of that we have to do more with less such as do more work with less people. More work with less people means less time for conversation and reflection. Less time for conversation and reflection puts us at risk to make decisions and take actions that are rushed and misguided. Our attention tends to be heavily locked in task mode which hinders our capacity to step back and see with fresh eyes.

Insights and new ideas are hard to find when our minds are busy. They generally emerge when our minds are quiet.

Paying attention to where you are pointing and the depth of your listening!

Through quiet conversation we point each other’s awareness beyond the boundaries of intellectual thinking and towards the boundlessness of higher-level consciousness, that’s where the insights and answers are! When we point from and to higher level awareness, it shows up in the quietness we hear in our voices, stillness that we see in our behaviours and calmness we feel in our energy.

A key quality in creating and holding the space is to listen deeply. Listening deeply with nothing on our minds, allows us to see each other from beyond intellectual preconceptions and to connect at a much deeper level.

To get a sense of this, read the following quote carefully, “Do not seek the truth; only cease to cherish opinions.” Seng-ts’an. Now sit with those words for a moment with nothing on your mind and notice where they are pointing …?

When our awareness is pointing away from seeking the truth and holding on to our biases, judgements and opinions, we open our minds to see something new, an insight or realisation of the true nature of how life or aspects of life work. An insight of that nature can be profound and transformative as it changes our way of being in the world!

In your next interaction with others, as best as you can, quieten your mind and point your awareness beyond the content of the conversation, beyond any intellectual interference. Just listen deeply and allow what needs to emerge, emerge!

Lead the way and hold the space … with love, with patience, with humility, with kindness and with compassion … where others can become alive!

I trust that what you have read has intrigued you and aroused your curiosity! To further explore how you can create the space for quiet conversation or simply to reach out to start a conversation contact Mike at mi**@mi***********.com or visit www.mikeschwarzer.com.

I look forward to serving you with my next reflection!

to your highest learning and growth



About Mike Schwarzer

Mike is a Transformation Professional and Learning Leader who is passionate about helping leaders and organisations to solve the problems that they have not been able to solve elsewhere.

He works with the underlying mental, behavioural and deeper innate dynamics that drive people’s and organisations’ thinking and actions. He creates and holds the space where they learn how to tap into their inner and outer capabilities in transformational ways and lift their perceptual abilities to see their world, its problems and emerging solutions with fresh eyes.

At the organisational level, Mike’s approach challenges the status quo and hierarchical thinking. He takes you into the world of living ‘open & adaptive’ systems and their self-organising nature. From there you will be able to create a workplace culture that naturally draws from the collective wisdom of all its people and that is highly adaptable to the changing winds of a complex world.

For more information about Mike visit www.mikeschwarzer.com.