Presentation at the Changehackers Wework Meetup in Amsterdam
Invited by Jeremy Nathaniel Akers, I was asked to share my views on systemic culture change in business. I focused on the emotional layer of "the systemic iceberg model" I've developed. It was an intimite session with lots of spontaneous questions. Too bad there was only so much time! We'll do a follow-up session.
Culture – it's always personal!
On the meetup page, Jeremy writes in the announcement of the topic: Whether you want to innovate, shake up a team, or just overcome yourself this one is for you! Culture is the secret sauce that empowers people to show up at work as their whole selves. Professional personas are out. These dull, responsible, impersonal versions of ourselves, are simply no longer good enough to rise to the challenges of the new tomorrow. Different is better than better, so in place of these one dimensional shadows of ourselves, we require the vibrant, passionate, and, dare I say, flawed people to be fully present. This is how we engage and leverage the creativity to solve problems that no one knows the answers to and make products that have never before existed. Right? Damned right! So how do we push ourselves and those around us to bring those different parts of ourselves to work and make them productive? Come to the meetup and find out! We'll be learning about an excellent way to get to the bottom of the iceberg so we can integrate all the hidden patterns that get in the way of our designs! Bust blocks and empower being human again!
Emotional Landscape Mapping
Since you are always part of the (business or family) culture you're in, its perception is always subjective. Key is to learn to read the signals and symptoms of the social system at the micro-level, level "you". Where do you feel that family secret in your body? Where does it tense up? If you do this, at some point you'll start to recognise body parts related to emotional scenes in your inner landscape. Though some things may be familiair to you (e.g. men or women that treat you with violence), this is may not be healthy for you. We often mistake familiair with "good for us". Only when we are in touch with our physical sensation, when we use the wisdom of the body, we can start to visit other parts or widen our emotional landscapes with new, nurturing experiences. Life becomes richer again, it opens up, like a flower unfolding – slowly, but steadily.
Sorry, it's true: no pain, no gain.
In life, even pre-natal, we have all experienced pain. Some imprints stay with us for the rest of our lives, think of accidents, a sudden loss of a loved one, ilness, violence, unsuccessful attempts of suicide, etc. As human beings we develop ways, not knowing about the bigger context, especially when we were younger, mechanisms to avoid feeling that pain again. Though it is useful in the moment (we survive), later, we've got to unlearn these defence mechanisms, as they stop us in processing and healing our deepest trauma's. How do we open up our emotional realm? After all, pleasure and pain go through the same nervous system canals. This means that when we suppress the pain, the ups we will not be able to experience either. Life then becomes pretty dull. As soon as we know all the steps that we take between being highly emotional (in the hyper state, for example being aggressive, in a lot of pain, or very sad) and being zoomed out (fainting, tuned out, tired, not feeling any energy), we can start to learn to take ourselves back each time we climb up or down that ladder. When we are not aware, for sure we will be triggered and in a high up or down, without knowing why. With consciousness we can, however, start shaping our lives around what nurtures us. And when we are authentically egoistic, we will be good to be with, and we may find ourselves invited to be the companion of others on that road to more awareness, radical honesty, and integrity. That's how you build cultures. One by one. Step by step. You show others the way by doing "the emotional work" yourself.
I was really surprised to learn about how we carry our parents with us at all times. The nurture we (should have) received from our parents leaves an imprint in our own psychological development, and I never actually realized how much my own behaviour was affected by something from a so distant past. This was some serious stuff and very confrontational in a good way. The topic of 'emotional expansionism' brought me something to work with. I have some serious growing to do!
I found it very interesting to apply these family dynamics to the workplace. I was surprised that you can do something like that in a business, and that businesses (some) actually want to do that. It was a good surprise, more psychology and less business.
Although I'm familiar with the concept, it made me rethink my personal topics - I'm very satisfied.