+61 (0)419 866 427 mike@mikeschwarzer.com

Emerging Insights, 18 January 2023


Picture your leadership journey as a grand adventure, each decision and challenge a plot twist in the unfolding narrative of your organisation.

As we embark on a new chapter, let’s dive into the power of metaphor – a beacon that illuminates the path to profound self-discovery and leadership transformation.

Just as the captain relies on the North Star, your guiding metaphor shapes the course for you, your team, and your organisation. Envision your organisation as an unexplored novel, its crisp pages filled with the ink of untold adventures and endless possibilities. Each leader and employee is a wordsmith wielding a pen to craft the next chapter.

What narrative sets the sails for your journey in the sea of possibilities? Is it a wind of inspiration, propelling you forward, or a stagnant breeze that leaves the sails slack? Does your narrative ride the gusts of inspiration, or is it stuck in the doldrums of complacency?

Join me on a journey into the captivating world of metaphor – a guiding wind beneath your leadership wings in the adventure that lies ahead.



So, what’s in a metaphor?

Metaphors play a profound role in running and leading organisations by serving as powerful tools for communication, shaping identity, and influencing various aspects of organisational culture.

In the realm of organisational alignment, a metaphor is a masterful weaver, crafting a tapestry that threads through every facet of a thriving community.

Let’s explore how this creative force shapes the very essence of organisational life, and like a subtle magician, weaves through the layers of identity, vision, values, principles, and behaviours:


1. Identity:

  • Metaphors breathe life into the identity of an organisation, painting a vibrant portrait that tells the story of its essence. They forge a collective language, binding individuals in a dance of shared understanding, fostering not just unity, but a sense of belonging that transcends the ordinary.

In the tapestry of our metaphor, each thread whispers, ‘This is who we are.’

2. Vision/Purpose:

  • As the metaphor swirls and dances, it encapsulates the vision and purpose with vivid strokes, transforming abstract aspirations into a tangible masterpiece. It becomes the guiding star, illuminating the path for every member to align with the lofty goals that define the organisation’s journey.

The metaphorical compass points, ‘This is where we’re headed, together.’

3. Values/Beliefs:

  • Metaphors breathe soul into values and beliefs, infusing them with symbolic resonance. Each metaphorical brushstroke creates a living canvas of ethical standards and principles, turning values from mere ink on paper into a vivid spectrum of shared emotions and convictions.

In the brushstroke, the metaphor whispers, ‘This is what we stand for, deep within.’

4. Core Principles of Operation (Rules of Engagement):

  • The metaphor, akin to a cultural compass, navigates the waters of core principles. It unfolds a narrative framework, a treasure map of sorts, guiding engagement, decision-making, and problem-solving. It becomes the shorthand language, ensuring that every action harmonises with the symphony of organisational values.

The metaphorical map declares, ‘This is how we journey together.’

5. Behaviours:

  • In the grand gallery of organisational culture, metaphors influence behaviours, moulding a mental model that individuals seamlessly internalise. It paints a shared understanding, a dynamic choreography where each movement aligns with the rhythm of the metaphor, fostering interactions, collaborations, and contributions.

The metaphorical dance whispers, ‘This is how we express ourselves in the culture we create.’


When metaphors are embodied or lived within an organisation:

1. Energy and Dynamics:

  • Metaphors, when embodied, infuse the organisation with a sense of purpose and direction, energising individuals to work towards a common goal.
  • They create a dynamic environment where employees feel connected to a shared narrative, fostering enthusiasm and commitment.

2. Organisational Culture:

  • Metaphors contribute to shaping the organisational culture by influencing the way people think, communicate, and relate to each other.
  • They provide a cultural anchor, helping to define the norms, rituals, and traditions that characterize the organization.

3. Creativity and Innovation:

  • Metaphors stimulate creativity and innovation by encouraging individuals to think beyond literal boundaries.
  • They inspire novel approaches to problem-solving and decision-making, fostering a culture of continuous improvement.

When metaphors arise from deeper wisdom:

1. Alignment with Higher Purpose:

  • Metaphors rooted in deeper wisdom align the organisation with a higher purpose, transcending immediate challenges and promoting a sense of meaning.
  • They guide individuals toward a collective understanding of their role in contributing to a greater good.

2. Elevated Consciousness:

  • Metaphors arising from deeper wisdom elevate the consciousness of individuals within the organisation, encouraging them to reflect on the broader implications of their actions.
  • They promote self-awareness and a shared responsibility for the organisation’s impact on individuals, communities, and the world.

3. Transformational Change:

  • Metaphors from deeper wisdom facilitate transformational change by challenging existing paradigms and inviting individuals to embrace a new way of thinking.
  • They create a mindset shift that fosters adaptability, resilience, and openness to change.

In the dance of metaphors, organisational alignment emerges as a masterpiece, a living work of art where every brushstroke weaves a story, and every thread connects the hearts and minds of those who call it home.

In Chapter 9 of my book ‘VANTAGE POINT: cutting through the bullsh*t of a complex world’, I share a profound metaphorical exploration – an iceberg metaphor that transcends the surface of conventional wisdom. Just as leaders emerge from a universal source, interconnected by shared qualities, this metaphor plunges into the depths of our collective consciousness.

This metaphor beckons leaders to recognise their interconnectedness, urging them to rise above misconceptions and tap into a higher vantage point of consciousness. It vividly paints the picture of our shared origins and untapped wisdom, inviting leaders to navigate the waters of insight.

Explore how it transforms perspectives on life, leadership, organisational alignment, and the profound impact each leader can have on the world:


Iceberg Metaphor: Navigating the Waters of Wisdom

“Imagine that each of us, you and I are icebergs. We arise from and are made of the same water, with the same qualities and properties. As such we are tentacles, an extension of the very same substance. Our purpose is to be an outpost for the water. To continue to explore, learn, and grow. And to use our creativity to sculpt into shape what we see and learn.

This water we come from is the source of universal wisdom. It is filled with innate health, well-being, kindness, compassion, and humility.

Although we share this source, when we transitioned into solid form at birth, we forgot our origins and arrived with a blank canvas.

We thought we were separate, disconnected entities, left to fight for ourselves on the high seas of life, dependent on the best thinking we could come up with.

The problem was that we always kept looking on the outside for answers. Seeing other icebergs doing their stuff and just copying what they did. And seeing our reflection in the water and thinking that we are a solid and rigid thing drifting along at the mercy of the sea.

Then, one day, by a stroke of luck, we looked inward and had a realisation: what we had believed to be true was merely an illusion. We discovered that we are, in fact, made from the very water we are floating in.And that through this water we are inherently connected.

As we woke to this understanding, we also came to realise, the wisdom that the water carried and that we had access to.

We no longer thought of ourselves as solid and rigid entities. That the only thing that kept us in that place was the rigidity of our rational thinking.

The more we saw this wisdom within us, the more insightful we became and the more our thinking transformed into being flexible and fluid.

We could thaw back into the sea as water or turn ourselves into steam and reshape our appearance as needed with ease from there.

Connecting with others became second nature as after all, we were principally the same.

As we now walked the Path of the Soul, we could see right through the ‘bullsh*t’ that we created based on the misunderstandings we had about life.

As more of us became awake to our true nature, it raised our community’s level of consciousness from which we saw the flaws in our gloriously fallible humanness and the problems we created.

From a higher vantage point and guided by our innate wisdom, the ‘bullsh*t’ problems we had were no more. As we could see, with the power of many fresh eyes the true nature of how life and the world worked.

Problems we still had but those were genuine and not produced by the stupidity of disconnected and immature thinking. They provided the opportunity to grow and to use our innate creativity to do things better.

We saw the genius in all icebergs, even the ones that didn’t know it yet. And we held the space for each other to bring out our best and in our own time.

Although we had free will, we knew to use it wisely. Aligned with the ecology of our higher-level order, it induced diversity of thought and creativity into our lives and communities.

And it challenged and stretched our sense of reality, as a complex system thrives and expands on the balance of chaos and order.

No longer did we have to fight or force our thinking, but effortlessly we paved our way in harmony with the rhythm of complexity. Co-existing in harmony with the elements and each other.

Let’s face it, being an iceberg is great. We never go under. We are always in the buoyancy of that which gives us life, which makes us possible to exist, the formless water. And it keeps us afloat, even in the roughest of weather.”



The essence of this tale lies in the revelation that true wisdom and solutions reside not in the visible challenges of life (the iceberg) but in the formless, creative intelligence of our shared source (the water). Shifting our focus from external struggles to the inherent wisdom within allows us to navigate life’s complexities with resilience, creativity, and a harmonious balance between chaos and order.


In summary, metaphors are potent tools for shaping organisational elements. When rooted in deeper wisdom, they have the capacity to profoundly impact the energy, dynamics, and culture of an organisation. They transcend mere language, becoming a lived experience that guides individuals toward a collective and meaningful journey.

What tale does your organisation long to narrate in the coming year?

Let’s not just read the story; let’s create the space from which the narrative of your organisation can emerge.

With gratitude



P.S. Ready to explore the depth of wisdom that shapes the narrative of your organization and elevates consciousness? Uncover profound insights in my book, VANTAGE POINT. Discover the secrets to transformative leadership by accessing your copy below and embarking on a journey of profound transformation.

“Mike Schwarzer’s book, ‘VANTAGE POINT: cutting through the bullsh*t of a complex world,’ serves as both the torch and compass that illuminate the way and guide us as we step into uncharted territory, embark on new explorations, and pioneer innovative paths.
Gabriella Sprott, Director & Co-Founder @ ShowMe Exchange, Australia


VANTAGE POINT’s essence lies in preparing leaders for the unfolding challenges and future developments, not just in the realm of AI, but also in all the contributing factors that shape our complex world. It’s about elevating human consciousness, transcending the limitations of our ego-minds, and giving us hope to make our world a better place.


🚀 Elevate Your Leadership: Get VANTAGE POINT at 50% Off!

Grab your “VANTAGE POINT” from the digital shelves. Secure your eBook copy at a 50% discount for a limited time or get the paperback. Seize the opportunity to gain access to insights that will transform your approach to leadership.

To delve deeper and secure your copy, click here!



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.