Scientists, psychologists and philosophers alike agree that the key to global harmony is a dramatic shift of mind, from seeing the “other” as a threatening enemy to recognizing the universal oneness of all living beings. Yet a miniscule number of people on earth, say the researchers, consistently see the world from that enlightened and elevated perspective.1 The urgency of conflicts and divisions around the world require the creation of contexts in which ordinary human beings can travel an accelerated developmental path to a more whole and harmonious perspective.
In our book, The Transformative Workplace: Growing People, Purpose, Prosperity and Peace (2015), we make the case that workplaces, where most of us spend most of our time, must become essential contexts in which we can grow into the fullness of our humanity. Based on dozens of interviews with organization and community leaders from 14 countries on 4 continents, our conclusion is that we can already point to examples of workplaces that pay as much attention to the growth of their people as they do to their bottom line. What is needed, of course, is far more leaders who act from the knowledge that the continuous growth of their people is what drives the performance of their organizations in the marketplace.
These ideas are reinforced by other recent books and white papers including Robert Kegan’s An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberatively Developmental Organization, Frederic Laloux’s Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human Consciousness, and a series of white papers, authored by Nick Petrie of the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) on vertical (vs. horizontal) leadership development. Petrie’s research amplifies that of CCL colleagues John McGuire and Gary Rhodes, who wrote Transforming Your Leadership Culture. McGuire and Rhodes argued that “Organizations have grown skilled at developing individual leader competencies, but have mostly ignored the challenge of transforming their leader’s mindset from one level to the next.”2
This challenge is currently being met through offerings from a few private consulting groups; however, as Petrie points out in his research, “There are no simple, existing models or programs, which will be sufficient to develop the levels of collective leadership required to meet an increasingly complex future. Instead, an era of rapid innovation will be needed in which organizations experiment with new approaches that combine diverse ideas in new ways and share these with others.”3 Our own experimental approach to vertical development, called Act As If, offers a highly accessible model for engaging leaders and their teams in a set of practices intended to increase self-awareness, strengthen relationships and heighten perspectives. These practices include, among others, presence, courage, integrity, compassion, generosity, humility, unity and equanimity.
Act As If is meant to be used in any environment where there is a recognition that developing more highly conscious people who can work together to find innovative solutions to increasingly complex problems is the key to creating a world that works for all. It is an approach that is based on the idea that it is possible to advance one’s capacity for more complex and conscious ways of thinking and being by acting as if one has already become more highly developed. In other words, the focus is on engaging in practices that are already the hallmark of highly conscious people.
The concept of acting as if as a strategy for shifting one’s beliefs and assumptions originated with the philosopher William James, who is universally considered to be the father of modern psychology. James is famously quoted as saying that, “If you want a quality, act as if you already have it.”4 James’ ideas were sidelined for over fifty years, particularly by those who believed strongly and solely that it is the mind that controls behavior. Late in the 1960’s, however, researchers picked up on the James’ idea and have conducted thousands of experiments around the idea ever since. This is not to suggest that intervening in how people think, rather than how they behave, is the wrong approach. What we are suggesting is that one road to becoming a more highly conscious leader is to practice being one – to actively use the behaviors that highly conscious leaders exhibit, and to integrate them into one’s actions and interactions when working with others until they become an essential part of one’s nature.
Given the challenges and complexities we are facing at every level of society and around the world, the need for leaders who are consciously and actively growing toward wholeness is not limited to the business environment. While organizations need people who are capable of facing the challenges of an uncertain global economy, communities also need people who can participate in strengthening educational, social and economic institutions in the places they live. Societies need people who understand and address the complexity of problems we face, and the world needs people whose wisdom and insight give them the capacity for bringing about a world of peace and prosperity. The time to begin is now.
2. McGuire, J. B., & Rhodes, G. B. (2009). Transforming your leadership culture. California: Jossey-Bass. p.12
3. Developing Leaders: Today’s Methods vs. Tomorrow’s Problems. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ccl.org/articles/leading-effectively-articles/developing-leaders-todays-methods-vs-tomorrows-problems-2/
4. (n.d.). BrainyQuote.com. Retrieved August 28, 2017, from BrainyQuote.com Web site: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/w/williamjam163787.html
Like most Americans, along with concerned people from all over the world who are dismayed by the outcome of our election, I am spending this day trying to understand what happened and reflecting on what it means for me and for the world. As a part of that process, I have probably been spending way too much time listening to the news and paying attention to social media, but here is some of what I’m hearing about what happened:
· Both parties chose flawed candidates and Americans were faced with choosing the lesser of two evils
· America was not ready for a female President
· The outcome is the fault of over-zealous coverage of Trump by the media
· This is a part of a global movement against demographic changes and towards authoritarianism
· The election was won by the votes of an uneducated, racist, homophobic, xenophobic and misogynist populace
· This was the last stand of the American white male, or what CNN’s Van Jones called a “whitelash against a changing country”
And so on. What I’m also picking up on is reflections on what the outcome of the election means in people’s lives, including:
· Parents and teachers who are anguishing about what to say to and how to help the children and young people in their lives make sense of the election
· People of color, the LGBTQ community, Muslims, immigrants and others who are fearful about safety and repercussions
· Those who are angry, in despair, frustrated, and depressed about the outcome vowing to either fight back or hunker down for the duration
· Calls to make contributions, volunteer or organize in support of a variety of causes including human rights and the environment
· Reminders to take time in nature, to meditate, or engage in other activities designed to restore inner stability
My own take on what happened and what it means is captured in the title of this piece and is, of course, a reflection of my own point of view. To me, this election is a perfectly understandable, if highly disturbing, manifestation of what has been called a “crisis of perception.” Simply put, that crisis is our inability to shift our view of the world as an unrelated collection of independent parts to one that sees the world as one unified and interconnected whole. It is not necessary to understand how these worldviews evolved or a lot about what they entail to see how our failure to make this shift plays out in the real world. If ever we needed proof of our potential leaders’ inability to understand the complexity and interrelationships among the problems we face as a nation and as a world, that reality has come through loud and clear over the many agonizing months of this year’s political season.
But even more disturbing to me than that is the degree to which evidence of a completely outdated and destructive view of the world has taken center stage in our personal and political discourse. It is easy to see how a fragmented worldview could lead to the fear and anger among some people that growing minority or immigrant populations might be stealing scarce jobs and resources. It is perhaps more difficult for the privileged, including myself, to see that putting those who are weary of being forgotten or disenfranchised into a “basket of deplorables” is based on the same fear of the "other" or losing what we have.
As the title of this piece suggests, the way forward to me is to see this moment as an opportunity for transformation from an outmoded view of the world to one that is more whole and inclusive. This process of shifting worldviews has been described in many ways, but Carol Gilligan’s explanation may be the easiest to understand. Gilligan, a psychologist who has spent her life studying moral development, claimed that, as adults, we all go through common stages of “growing up,” from selfishness (being concerned solely about our own needs; to care (or extending our concern to others that we consider to be “our people”); to universal care (or moving our care from “us” to “all of us” – treating all people fairly); and, finally, to integrated (or, expanding our moral care from all humans to all sentient beings and all life). In my husband, David’s and my 2015 book, The Transformative Workplace, we simply called this a movement from Selfness to Otherness to Wholeness.
The problem, according to integral theorist, Ken Wilbur, is that large proportions of the population everywhere are stuck at Gilligan’s care stage of development. The world today, he says, “is undergoing something of an explosion of identity at this level, with a vast number of people seeing themselves as being a special and good group, and virtually everybody else—or certainly various other select groups— as being totally alien, different, problematic, to be avoided or denied, even being evil. We care enormously for our group; we do not care at all for those other groups; in fact, we’re usually frightened by them and we often loathe them. And social media doesn’t help with this. But worldwide, this is a direct result of arrested development at this essentially low level of Growing Up—and an alarming 60 or 70 percent of the world’s population is today at this ethnocentric or lower level of development.”
While I recognize that adult development is a lifelong process, I don’t personally think that our culture or the planet has the time to wait for sufficient numbers of people to shift their minds to a wholeness perspective. In the meantime, however, I absolutely believe that anyone in search of a better way to live, to get along with others, and to keep the planet an amenable place for all of us can begin to act as if we see the world from a more inclusive perspective. We can take it upon ourselves to join with others in making a conscious commitment to practicing some of the ways of being that people with a universal care or integrated worldview exhibit. Those ways of being include presence, courage, authenticity, truthfulness, forgiveness, compassion, generosity, humility and unity. David and I call that “Practicing Wholeness,” and we’ll have a whole lot more to say about that in the near future.
If you’ve read this far, thank you! It’s over 1000 words long and I am aware that it’s way too long for a blog. Writing it, though, has gotten me through a tough day! I have once again restored my belief in the possibility that we will grow our way into earning back our once cherished reputation as a “beacon of liberty and justice” for the rest of the world. And to all my friends and family who work every day on behalf of life, thank you. Keep on keeping on.
To read more about Ken Wilbur’s work, go to http://integral-life-home.s3.amazonaws.com/Wilber-WakeUpGrowUp-TheEdgeOfTheUnknown.pdf
To learn more about our book, The Transformative Workplace, go to www.transformativeworkplace.com.
If you’re interested in knowing more about Practicing Wholeness, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When David was diagnosed with prostate cancer in October 2000, we promptly put the word out to family, friends, neighbors and colleagues, asking them to send their prayers and positive energy our way. We heard back from nearly all of them, pledging their caring love and support, along with a few offers of back rubs and hot meals!
One individual, however, a consultant friend, advised David to keep quiet about his predicament, as colleagues, co-workers and clients would perceive him as weak and potentially ineffectual. We were both appalled by this advice, thinking that it was simply human nature to reach out with care and compassion, rather than judgment or rejection when learning about the plight of another. Imagine how shocked we were when David was fired from a plant manager job he held at the time, with some lame excuse about cutting back on costs!
This issue is deeply related to our May 10, 2016 blog titled, “What Are We Hiding – Or Hiding From?” In that piece, we referenced a study by the Deloitte University Leadership Center for Inclusion that looked at the degree to which individuals engage in covering at work, along four axes: Appearance, Affiliation, Advocacy, and Association. That research also highlighted the huge costs - monetary, as well as personal and societal – associated with the failure to show up as who we are in the workplace.
What this research failed to identify as another costly covering up issue is that of hiding our suffering. According to recent research by Ireland’s National Disability Authority (NDA), many people “do not disclose chronic medical conditions and hidden disabilities to employers for fear they will be labelled, treated differently or jeopardise their future career prospects.” Their research shows that people fear disclosing all kinds of conditions including “diabetes, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary illness, dementia and mental health problems, asthma and muscoloskeletal diseases such as arthritis as examples. Other chronic illnesses that people try to hide in the workplace include migraine, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, cancer, glaucoma and Crohn’s disease.” This, say the researchers, “is not purely an Irish phenomenon, it’s worldwide. They are worried about stigma and concerned that they will not be considered promotable.”
There are obviously huge losses associated with covering up suffering to those experiencing illnesses, as well as those going through the illness or loss of family members and friends. Workplaces, of course, incur the costs associated with lost time, productivity and healthcare costs, some related to the stress and anxiety that goes along with individuals trying to hide what is really going on in their lives.
It may be, however, that the greatest cost is the lost opportunity to create a caring and compassionate workplace where people can show up in the fullness of their humanity. As researcher Jane Dutton of the University of Michigan Ross School’s Center for Positive Business and her colleague, Monica Worline of Stanford University reported at the School’s recent Positive Business Conference, there are enormous benefits of creating compassionate workplaces for both the individual and the enterprise. Individuals can become more resilient, healthier and happier, as well as enjoying strengthened connections to each other, to co-workers and to humanity as a whole. Organizations benefit from:
· Greater capacity to deliver on service quality
· Heightened innovation capability
· More capable of agility and adaptability to change
· Improved capacity for recruiting & retaining talent
· Deepened engagement of both employees & clients
In a time when organizations are searching for strategic competitive advantage, Dutton and Worline suggest that creating compassionate workplaces is worth consideration.
One can only imagine what that might mean for people who feel that they are forced to leave their suffering at the door when they show up for work.
Take a look at the National Disability Authority research at:
To learn more about research by Jane Dutton and Monica Worline, go to:
To receive a copy of the “Embodying Compassion” chapter of our book, The Transformative Workplace: Growing People, Purpose, Prosperity and Peace, send us an email at email@example.com
It seems that everywhere we turn these days, we run into one more book or article that speaks to “hiding” at work, or “covering up” who we really are when we walk into the door at work. A brief exploration of this phenomenon may offer up some clues as to what we are hiding from, and how we might create organizations where we can all show up at work in the fullness of our humanity.
In his brilliant and vastly popular 2014 book, Reinventing Organizations, Frederic Laloux claims that, “Historically, organizations have always been places where people showed up wearing a mask, both in an almost literal and in a figurative sense.” He cites the many instances where people have been and are actually required to show up in a sort of disguise, wearing the robe of a bishop, the white coat of a physician, or the suit of the typical business executive. The uniform, he says, is actually “a claim the organization makes on the person: while you wear this uniform, you don’t fully belong to yourself. You are to behave and show up not as yourself, but in certain pre-determined, acceptable ways.”
In addition to modes of dress, Laloux describes the invisible professional masks that are the adornment of many in the workplace, serving to help them conform to explicit and implicit expectations. In most cases, he writes, “it means showing a masculine resolve, displaying determination and strength, hiding doubts and vulnerability. The feminine aspects of the self― the caring, questioning, inviting ― are often neglected or dismissed. Rationality is valued above all other forms of intelligence; in most workplaces the emotional, intuitive, and spiritual parts of ourselves feel unwelcome, out of place.”
In their March 2016 book, An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization, Harvard researchers Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey write about a different kind of covering up, one that they refer to as “the single biggest loss of resources that organizations suffer every day.” Most people, they say, are actually engaged in doing a “second job no one is paying them for,” one in which they “are spending time and energy covering up their weaknesses, managing other people’s impressions of them, showing themselves to their best advantage, playing politics, hiding their inadequacies, hiding their uncertainties, hiding their limitations. Hiding.”
A study by the Deloitte University Leadership Center for Inclusion recently brought the work of Kenji Yoshino to our attention. Yoshino, a Professor of Law at NYU, is also the author of a 2006 book, Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights. The book is a combination “legal manifesto and poetic memoir,” in which Yoshino draws on his own personal experiences as a gay Asian American man to make the case for a “redefinition of civil rights in our law and culture.”
The Deloitte study, co-authored by Yoshino and the Leadership Center’s Christie Smith, measured the degree to which individuals engage in covering at work, along four axes identified by Yoshino: Appearance, Affiliation, Advocacy, and Association. What they found is astounding: Fully 61% of the employees surveyed “reported covering along at least one axis at work. Eighty-three percent of LGB individuals, 79 percent of Blacks, 67 percent of women of color, 66 percent of women, and 63 percent of Hispanics cover.” Even 45 percent of straight white men reported covering of some kind.
Hiding or covering in the workplace is obviously an enormous issue that costs people and organizations dearly in monetary, as well as personal and societal terms. Fortunately, the publications above, as well as our own book, The Transformative Workplace (www.transformativeworkplace.com), are offering dozens of examples of organizations with the wisdom to invite people to be more fully human in the workplace.
There is a great deal more to be said about this topic, and we’ll be writing more about it in the near future. In the meantime, we would love to hear your views and stories!
Read a lovely new review of our book by Nancy Southern in the Integral Leadership Review at http://integralleadershipreview.com/14621-carole-and-david-schwinn/.
Leaders who aspire to create more “conscious” workplaces might well take a few lessons from Erich Fromm’s classic 1959 book, The Art of Loving. In a recent blog posting, Maria Popova (www.brainpickings.org), the brilliant and prolific curator of all things fascinating, recalled that Fromm saw love as an art like any other, “say music, painting, carpentry, or the art of medicine or engineering.” The art of love, like these others, he said, “must be learned.” Mastering the art of loving, he wrote, ”can be divided conveniently into two parts: one, the mastery of the theory; the other, the mastery of the practice.” Surely, the same might be said for the “art of becoming,” or our capacity for expressing our best selves as fully conscious and aware human beings in our lives and in our workplaces.
Mastering the theory and practice of becoming more fully human in the workplace is the subject of our 2015 book, The Transformative Workplace: Growing People, Purpose, Prosperity and Peace. The book uses a simple theoretical framework for the art of becoming, describing the process as a movement from Selfness to Otherness to Wholeness. It highlights practices or ways of being in the world that move us along the pathway to wholeness including meeting basic needs, challenging assumptions, acting autonomously, engaging in meaningful work, appreciating beauty, manifesting intention, embodying compassion, giving back and being peace.
For leaders, applying adult development theory and sponsoring practices for elevating consciousness in the workplace, however, are the relatively easy parts of creating conditions for mastering the art of becoming. As Fromm reflected on the art of loving, he added what he called “a third factor necessary to becoming a master in any art – the mastery of the art must be a matter of ultimate concern; there must be nothing else in the world more important than the art.” And therein, according to Fromm, lies the crux of why we fail so miserably in mastering the art of loving. In spite of “the deep-seated craving for love,” he writes, “almost everything else is considered to be more important than love: success, prestige, money, power — almost all our energy is used for the learning of how to achieve these aims, and almost none to learn the art of loving.”
Again, the parallels to mastering the art of becoming are striking. Creating the conditions in which all people can become more fully themselves takes a level of commitment not present in most organizations today where “success, prestige, money, power” are still the primary sought after ends. In the research for our book, however, we interviewed dozens of leaders who have a grasp of the theory, foster practices conducive to transformation, and make growing their people a priority as robust as profitability. We found that these leaders and their transformative workplaces exist all over the world in every imaginable industry and in all shapes and sizes from the smallest nonprofits to huge global conglomerates.
One case in point is Oleana, a small company in Norway that makes what may be the most stunningly beautiful knitwear in the world. Co-founders of the company, Signe Aarhus and Kolbjorn Valestrand, left management positions in Norway’s largest textile mill to start Oleana when they could no longer “agree with a great deal of what they were doing, their strategy, and how they treated people.” As Kolbjorn told us, starting a new venture at the time was risky, at best.
“People said it wasn’t possible to have a textile industry in Norway. There was also a finance crisis in 1991, so the banks were almost bankrupt, and it was difficult to get a loan to start the business. Unemployment was also at the highest level since the last world war. We decided to start an ‘ideal project,’ to create jobs, and to show that it was possible to run a textile business in Norway. We thought there was a market for good design, and that there would always be a market for good products. We said our main goal was not to be as rich as possible, but to make a beautiful product and to be nice with people.
I have been through many theories about human behavior, and we think it is not so complicated as many people think it is. We look at people as people. And we think the people want to work. Some others think that people have to be controlled all the time, that you have to make control structures because they don’t want to work. We say we don’t build up structures, we build up people. We are working for a common goal.”
The couple’s management and leadership practices are consistent with their theory about growing people. In addition to an extremely generous profit-sharing program, the company sponsors an annual trip for the entire workforce to visit the sources of their materials, as well as the inspiration for their designs. Their ventures have included a trip to the Italian Alps to visit mills where their yarns are spun; a visit to a major source of their buttons in Vienna; and, a trip to Istanbul to visit sites that offer inspiration to the company’s lead designer. “It is so interesting,” Signe told us, “for people who have this yarn through their hands every day at work. So now they have a picture in their heads of where it is spun, what was important, what did they learn there. It is a way to try to widen their perspective, because it is lots of tedious work in this industry. But we believe if you have a bigger rainbow over the whole thing, it is more interesting, and you understand more.”
The rewards are great for Oleana and other companies that embrace this level of commitment to the growth and development of their people. Our research provides evidence that fostering more conscious ways of being at work pays off in employees who are more loyal, hard-working, productive and engaged. They are more positive, mindful, self-aware, inspired, creative, confident and able to work collaboratively across difference. They save their organizations billions of dollars in healthcare and lost time costs due to illness, depression, anxiety and other stress-related costs. They help to make their organizations more profitable and they contribute to their communities and the larger society.
The premise of The Transformative Workplace is that the only way to address the complex global issues we are confronting in the world today is to shift our levels of human consciousness, and that workplaces must become contexts for growing more fully aware participants in the evolution of life on our planet. A commitment to expanding the consciousness of people, we say, enlarges the purpose of the organization, leads to its prosperity and, ultimately, creates greater possibilities of a more peaceful world for all. Thus, there is no more important leadership work to be done than to create the conditions for all people to be able to master the art of becoming. Our message to leaders: Check out the theory, actively engage in the practices, and do so as if your life – and the lives of others – depend on it. They do.
Read the Introduction to The Transformative Workplace and the chapter that features our Oleana interviews (or buy the book) at www.transformativeworkplace.com.
Read Matt Dockery’s review of the book at www.enliveningedge.org/reviews/the-transformative-workplace/.
Sign up for our March 8, 2016 Making Work that Transforms workshop at www.capitalquality.org/learning_lunch/ (scroll down for information and registration).
Recently we were drawn to a new book titled Do What You Love: And Other Lies About Success and Happiness, in which the author, art historian Miya Tokumitsu, iterates the ways in which the widespread message to “do what you love” (DWYL) actually exploits those it is meant to inspire. When the late Steve Jobs told the 2005 Stanford University graduating class, “You’ve got to find what you love,” for example, he joined Joseph Campbell, Oprah Winfrey and others in suggesting that we must all “follow our bliss.” The problem with that message, according to Tokumitsu, is that DWYL is an “essentially narcissistic schema, facilitating willful ignorance of working conditions of others (and one’s own self) by encouraging continuous self-gratification.” She goes on to say that, “DWYL exposes its adherents to exploitation, justifying unpaid or underpaid work by throwing workers’ motivations back at them; when passion becomes the socially accepted motivation for working, talk of wages or reasonable scheduling becomes crass.”
As the authors of The Transformative Workplace, in which we make the case for creating work “that transforms us as we transform it, where we can grow lives of purpose and passion, where all people may prosper, and where we can contribute to a better and more peaceful world,” and our hope that work of this kind “one day becomes the standard by which we all measure our labor,” we were more than a little challenged by Tokumitsu’s thesis. Upon reflection and conversation, we find much to agree with in the case she makes, at the same time that we would draw a (perhaps subtle) distinction between her case and ours.
At a very deep level, our intended message is not to DWYL, but rather to “love what you do” (LWYD). In the book, we make the case for not only finding work or creating work for others in which we can all grow and develop into the fullness of our humanity, but that we all have the opportunity to become more and more of who we are meant to be in the world through whatever our work might be. Surely the slum women in Mumbai who do embroidery work for Creative Handicrafts and those who sweep the planes between flights at Costa Rica’s Nature Air and those who clean up wool scraps at Norway’s prime knitwear company, Oleana, and others whose stories we tell in the book, are not necessarily following their bliss. What they are doing, however, is taking steps along the pathway from Selfness to Otherness to Wholeness that we lay out in the book. They are engaged in work through which they are taking on the developmental challenges present in all of our lives, and practicing ways of being that lead to human fulfillment: meeting basic needs; challenging assumptions; acting autonomously; appreciating beauty; embodying compassion; and, giving back.
The subtle distinction we are making here is the same one that Steve Jobs may not have realized he was making in his Stanford address when he said both, “You’ve got to find what you love,” and “the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” While we recognize that DWYL is a privilege not currently open to all, the opportunity to LWYD is open to most when done with an open mind and heart and the will to become more fully human. The following from Kahlil Gibran’s On Work says it best.
And what is it to work with love?
It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart,
even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth.
It is to build a house with affection,
even as if your beloved were to dwell in that house.
It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the harvest with joy,
even as if your beloved were to eat the fruit.
It is to charge all things you fashion with a breath of your own spirit,
And to know that all the blessed dead
are standing about you and watching.
There remains, however, a huge caveat to both DWYL and LWYD. If you find that, in your present circumstances, you are unable to do what you love and/or love what you do, or, indeed, if you are suffering at work, then you must find a way to prepare to leave. As Gibran concludes:
Work is love made visible.
And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.
For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man's hunger.
And if you grudge the crushing of the grapes, your grudge distils a poison in the wine.
And if you sing though as angels, and love not the singing, you muffle man's ears to the voices of the day and the voices of the night.
Read an interview with Miya Tokumitsu at http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/08/do-what-you-love-work-myth-culture/399599/#disqus_thread
Learn more about our book at www.transformativeworkplace.com
Read Kahlil Gibran’s On Work in full at www.katsandogz.com/onwork.html
And leave or send us a comment to tell us what you think (firstname.lastname@example.org)
One of the most moving and inspiring interviews we conducted for our book, The Transformative Workplace (http://www.transformativeworkplace.com), was with Chaeli Mycroft, along with the co-founders of The Chaeli Campaign, a South African non-profit dedicated to increasing the mobility and autonomy of disabled children. In the book, we reported that Chaeli had received the 2011 International Children's Peace Prize, as well as the Medal for Social Activism, presented to her by former South African President, F.W. deKlerk, at the 12th World Summit of the Nobel Peace Laureates in Chicago, Ill. Later we learned that she was also the winner of the 2013 World of Children Youth Award.
In just a few days, Chaeli will be taking her work to new heights - literally - when she and her team set out an adventure to scale Mount Killimanjaro! In a newsletter item titled, "The First Female Quadriplegic to Summit Kilimanjaro!," the Chaeli campaign announced:
On the 29th of August, seven climbers, including Chaeli, will embark on an incredible adventure by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. In a custom fitted ‘mountain’ wheelchair, Chaeli will ascend to the ‘top of Africa’ with the aim of showing how important it is to work together to attain a seemingly impossible goal. If successful, we believe that she will be the first female quadriplegic to summit Mount Kilimanjaro.
Chaeli and her team have a fundraising goal of R1 million (77,330.00 USD), which will support the organization's Inclusive Education, Pre-School and Enrichment Centre programs. On the second day of the climb, Chaeli will celebrate her 21st birthday! In a recent blog, Chaeli wrote about the meaning of this venture for her:
As we grow older, we become so much more judgemental and we see difference and immediately think it's negative. What we need to do is focus on our similarities because that is where amazing things become possible and can be achieved. This, I think is something that our Kilimanjaro expedition expresses through the fact that we all have different skills and needs that have to be acknowledged and supported, but at the end of the day we all want to reach the top of that mountain. And we need each other to make it happen.
You can follow Chaeli and her team's adventure on an interactive website, http://www.discoverafrica.com/teamwork/. Learn more about The Chaeli Campaign at http://chaelicampaign.co.za/. Donations can be made at either site.
During our interview with the late Dr. Imre Lövey, author of The Joyful Organization, for our own book, The Transformative Workplace, he reminded us that, "The majority of the adult population spends the majority of their life, while not sleeping, with work or with work-related activities. if you don't enjoy this part of your life, if you suffer in this part of your life, it means you suffer over your life."
This is the same suffering that Parker Palmer speaks to when he talks about the pain we feel when we are unable to show up in our lives and in our work as who we really are. We are born as whole, integral human beings, he says, but over time we learn to live "divided lives," hiding the parts of ourselves that others might ridicule, reject or find unacceptable. "We learn at some point that it's not safe to be in the world as who we truly are, that if we express our true feelings, our true identity, we're going to get marginalized, we're going to get ignored, we're going to become invisible, or we're going to be disliked or even hated." This sense of alienation from our true selves costs us - and our workplaces - dearly in absenteeism, stress, illness and lack of engagement. Watch Parker's "What is the Divided Life" below:
We must, as Parker Palmer says, find some way to "build a bridge between our own identity and integrity as adults and the work that we do in the world." Building that bridge toward wholeness and an undivided life is central to the work of Parker Palmer's Center for Courage and Renewal (www.couragerenewal.org), and it is the essence of the message in our book, The Transformative Workplace: Growing People, Purpose, Prosperity and Peace, as well. The book challenges organizations to be places where we are not only invited to show up as who we are, but where we are encouraged every day to become more and more of who we are meant to be in the world. You can read the Introduction and a sample chapter of the book at www.transformativeworkplace.com.
This is an incredibly exciting time in our lives - the launch of our first book, The Transformative Workplace: Growing People, Purpose, Prosperity and Peace, and our very first website, Transformations Unlimited! What a privilege it is to be entering what may be the most generative time of our lives - in our 70's, no less!
We hope that you'll check in with us once in a while to read our posts, to get updates on our projects, to keep track of what we're noticing in the world, and let us know what's going on with you through your comments.
In the meantime, visit Dave's "Six Sigma and More" monthly blog for PQ Systems eLIne, or read about the world tour that resulted in The Transformative Workplace at "Carole and Dave's Great Adventures!"