One of my take-aways from last week’s CultureCon2012 in Philadelphia was deepened understanding in the stance needed for influencers in a transformation. This post will give you a summary—depending on feedback and energy I’ll go deeper in later posts.
A stance I’ve learned about from Siraj Sirajuddin, practiced for a few months and fully understood in a retreat with him a few days before the CultureCon:
How to influence a transformation:
- Supplicate to the system.
- Go in and sacrifice yourself.
- Be transformed and inspire transformation around you.
Supplication requires you to give up yourself. Fully appreciate the system as it is and immerse yourself. Forgiving is not enough. As long as you think you know (or are) better, you’re done before you started.
Transformation is Positive Disintegration
Transformation will only happen if the system (mindset, culture, structure…) disintegrates to allow a new self to emerge. In a hierarchical organisation, this transformation cannot start when it doesn’t include the top. It will not be considered an option without a sense of urgency.
As an influencer, you will need to go first. Senior leadership (and situational leaders in the organisation, non-regarding their “position”) need to follow if there is any hope of success.
Influencers are On The Edge
Priests have two options whom to face during prayer. Facing the people, they are in danger of being the center of attention. Aligning with the people, standing in front of them, they show clearly to everybody that whatever might hit the people will hit them first.
As influencers, we do not want to preach. We want to inspire a system to improve and act as an attractor. We do not want to scare the system, or any of its people. So we need to make very clear that we face the same risks as everyone else, and first. We need to show vulnerability and fear.
When we observe vulnerability, dysfunction and pain, many of us have the need to look away. Our empathy would break us were we to really pay attention. Influencers don’t look away, they need to change the world for the better. On the edge, facing what’s not bearable for most, we need hope and connection to give us sustenance. On the edge, we’re always on our own. Knowing that others do the same, on other edges, is essential to go on.
Tribal Leadership defines
- Level 3: “I am great and you are not.”
- Level 4: “We are great and they are not.”
- Level 5: “We are great and so are they.”
Thank you Michael Sahota for helping develop and refine these ideas in 10 days of intensive and caring conversation.
Thank you Samir Selmanovic for joining Michael Sahota’s and my session on “Heart of Transformation” at CultureCon2012 in Philadelphia and for our conversation on the bus the next day, gifting me with the priest and on-the-edge stories.