Fear is natural in organizations. Because it is natural, people expect us to live without integrity. When we comply, we always have an excuse. Remember Andrea’s refrain from the movie The Devil Wears Prada: “I had no choice.” People have numerous defense mechanisms that automatically kick in when they silence their conscience. This makes it difficult to teach people to acquire increased moral power and operate from the fundamental state of leadership.
I have a friend named Larry who works hard to teach people to live in the fundamental state of leadership. How does he do it? Instead of playing the expert, he asks his students, “Can you identify deep change experiences in your lives or in the lives of other people you know?” By asking people to share their stories instead of telling them what to do, Larry transforms the classroom from profane to sacred space.
What does this mean? A sacred space is a place where people can share their most authentic feelings and thoughts. In authentic conversations, trust grows. The group pays attention, adapts, learns, discovers, and generates knowledge. When we participate in such a group, we feel consciousness expand and we gain more faith in our own potential.
When has someone in the organization sacrificed conscience because they had no choice?
What was the individual and organizational consequence?
How can we help people acquire moral power?