The Emergence of Intimacy

We attended the annual leadership meeting of a company. Over the last eight years they have become increasingly positive. In the last year, there has been a particular emphasis on becoming a company of higher purpose. At the meeting there was a new pattern that we often observe as a company turns to purpose. Senior people begin to become more intimate, vulnerable and authentic.

In this company the annual meeting is scripted from start to finish. On the first day, after someone made a presentation on purpose, the CEO stood up and left the script. He told a personal story and then spoke about the importance of families. His presentation was unexpected but deeply appreciated by the audience.

On the final day the CEO again spoke from his most intimate experiences. He told of John, his uncle and a man of extraordinary, worldly accomplishments and great recognition.   John had a heart attack and was dying. The CEO said he went to visit John. He asked John what he had been thinking about. John replied that he had been thinking about all the people in his life. He told a story about his sons who recently visited. During the visit the two sons hugged each other. John said, “It was beautiful.”

In the entire conversation John never mentioned any of his great achievements or the rewards they brought. The CEO was very moved, he said, “For me, it was a message from the future. What really matters, what bring us our greatest meaning, is our relationships.”

The CEO began to speak about the difference between leading a successful life verses leading a significant life. Success tends to be about personal achievement. Significance tends to be about contributing to the good of others. He spoke of the cumulative effect of making many small contributions to the people around us.

Then he said, “Investing in relationships does not come to me naturally, so I have decided to work at it.” I was quite taken by this sentence. I looked around the room and it was clear that everyone was captured by this revelation. Vulnerability garners attention.

The CEO then told another personal story. He spoke of a lower level employee who was retiring after forty years. The person who brought him the news wondered if the CEO might be able to drop in on the retirement party for a few minutes. When the CEO checked his calendar it was the day the board meets. He would be having lunch with the board, so he declined the invitation.

The experience, nevertheless, stayed in his mind. He kept thinking about how much his presence might mean to the employee. He began to think that leaving the board for a few minutes might not be such a big deal. He eventually decided to make the visit.

When the CEO walked into the retirement celebration, the person who made the invitation simply “lit up.” The retiring employee was “dumbfounded.” He could not imagine the CEO attending at his retirement party. Everyone was delighted. The interesting thing was the impact on the CEO. He said he also felt “lit up.” He returned to the board filled with positive energy.

The small experience was so positive, that the CEO began to ask himself how he could more regularly make such small but positive investments. So he asked the people who surround him to look for and notify him of such opportunities. He closed by asking the audience to imagine a company where all 150 top leaders were regularly making similar small, positive investments.

His remarks were well received. At the conclusion of the meeting, I chatted with one of the participants. I asked her to assess her three-day experience. She said, “This is so different. Of all of these meetings that I have attended, this is the best by far. I am so looking forward to what happens to this company.”

Why is it, that when a company begins to orient to higher purpose, senior people begin to become more intimate, vulnerable and authentic? One reason is that as senior people try to explain personal and organizational purpose, it becomes necessary to illustrate. It is difficult to explain our personal purpose without sharing the experiences from which our purpose and understanding stem. It is difficult to speak of the link between our personal purpose and the organizational purpose without sharing meaningful experiences.

As we do, we make another discovery. Sharing who we really are is not a weakness. It is an act of strength. The expression of vulnerability is a demonstration of power that mature leaders understand. It is an invitation to trust, learning and collective development. Those who fear self-revelation, have yet to enter the realm of transformational influence.

Reflection

As leaders change their cultures to be more positive, they also become more positive, why?

How can vulnerability be a source of power?

How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?

 

Advertisements

Purpose and Appreciation

We have talked to many leaders about their attempts to create organizations of higher purpose. One of them told us the following.

Building a positive organization is a challenge. I spent years trying to create one. One day I received a call reporting that one of my people had made a major mistake. I had just given intensive training on the very issue. My first thought was this, “He is a problem.”

At that instant I had an unusual experience. I was stopped in my tracks. I knew I had just done something wrong but I had no idea what it was. I sat down and examined the brief incident. A clear message came to my mind. “None of your people can ever be seen as a problem.”

The notion was so strong that it transformed me. From then on I refused to define any one as a problem. A problem is something you solve and make go away. A human being is someone you cherish and develop.

With this change I began to observe other administrative situations. Many administrators define people who violate their expectations as problems. Most people who are defined as problems detect the negative orientation of the senior person and they see only two choices; disengage or rebel. With either choice, the organizational culture begins to turn negative.

The conventional mental map suggests that an administrator is a person of power and expertise who fixes problems by acting upon others. The authority figure is separate from the system and acts upon it. Good management is a function of a brilliant mind.

The positive mental map suggests that authority and expertise, taken alone, make us ineffective. The leader is actually a part of the human system that the leader seeks to change. Our ability to elevate human systems is a function of our ability to love and learn with others.

Andy Hoffman understands this connected, dynamic, and reciprocal perspective. He argues that to bring sustainable change, one might draw inspiration from the world one is trying to change (2016:22). He cites E.B. White, the author of Charlotte’s Web:

“Every morning I awake torn between a desire to save the world and an inclination to savor it. This makes it hard to plan the day. But if we forget to savor the world, what possible reason do we have for saving it? In a way savoring must come first.

To savor is to enjoy, relish, appreciate, cherish, treasure, value, and delight in. When we authentically appreciate the people we work with we orient to them with love, particularly when they make mistakes. If we do not, we see them as problems and we promote fear.

It is said that students do not care how much a teacher knows, until they know how much a teacher cares. It is trust that leads to learning and authenticity that leads to trust.

In the end, the leader is part of the system the leader is trying to change. In that system everyone is interdependent and success is predicated on the collective ability to learn. Success is a function of the leader’s integrity and virtuousness. Courage, sensitivity, caring, forgiveness, and authenticity are just of a few of the virtues that make a leader effective. Such a leader is oriented to appreciation and not to depreciation.

Reflection

Why is it natural to define people as problems?

Why does objectification destroy a positive culture?

How can we use this passage to create a more positive organization?

Purpose and Meetings

Occasionally something simple occurs and causes us to see something profoundly important. This happened recently.

We were visiting a friend and her husband. They were committed to attend a meeting. They invited us, but our friend warned that she did not think it would be very engaging. We asked why. She said she was part of the planning group, and despite her inputs on how to run the meeting, the speakers were all likely to stand and present information. She predicted that the audience would become disengaged within the first few minutes.

We went to the meeting. It unfolded exactly as predicted. After five minutes we glanced around the room and most people had their heads down. Most were viewing their screens.

Close to the end of the meeting our friend’s husband had five minutes on the agenda. Instead of presenting he asked an engaging question, listened to the answers, shaped them into a core message, made one strong statement and sat down. During his five minutes everyone was engaged. The next person stood up and people soon returned to their screens.

This is not a story about a meeting. It is a story about most meetings, in most places, most of time. Every day there are millions of meetings in which billions of hours of human time are wasted. The scenario is so common we accept and expect it to occur. Think about it; before we went to the above meeting, our friend correctly predicted what would happen. Even the speakers could have predicted what would happen. If this is true, why did it happen?

It happened because of a lack of purpose. Authority figures are not leaders. Authority figures only become leaders when they fully commit to a higher purpose. The moment they do, their every act becomes a conscious effort in emotionally connecting their people to the collective purpose and creating a culture of excellence. Every moment of every meeting becomes a precious resource. The leader refuses to let anyone become the expert – pouring information on an unengaged audience.

In a positive organization, people are less likely to fall into conventional roles, like the expert, information dispenser. Instead they ask, what must be done now to clarify the purpose, promote learning, and increase commitment? Like the husband in the story above, they step out of the expert role. They make themselves equal and vulnerable as they ask genuine questions and listen sincerely. They allow an honest conversation to emerge. They integrate what has been shared, then close by making their own most authentic points. As they sit down, they do so knowing that everyone was engaged and the collective purpose was furthered.

Reflection

When you are asked to share information, what assumptions do you immediately make?

Why is what the husband did so uncommon?

How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?

Purpose and Accelerated Learning

We spent a day with a group of experienced, senior executives. It was a day of introduction to a week we would soon spend together. We spoke of leadership from the perspective of mastery. The participants were engaged because what we were saying was not what they usually hear. We were helping them explore the notion of the mastery of leadership.

At the end a woman approached us. She was excited. She explained that she is a world-class musician. She said that when she listened to what we were saying from the perspective of music, it all made sense. She knew that to produce great music she had to integrate opposites. She gave examples such as combining discipline and structure with freedom and creative expression. A great musician does both. Structure makes creative expression possible.

She said that she believes that she is a good leader but she knows that she does not lead at the same level that she plays music. Our discussion led her to hope that by keeping her music in mind, in our week together, she might be able to learn language and concepts that would allow her to understand and enact her own leadership the way she understands and plays her instrument.

Her words excited us. We told her she was exactly right. Her ability to produce great music and to simultaneously think about the process by which she produces great music allows her to learn and grow from her own experience.

When people master a domain they usually have this capacity. They push themselves to the edge where they do new things, as the experiences unfold in the short or the long term, they reflect deeply on the experience and this leads to adjustments and new initiatives. They become self-aware and gain the capacity to become their own coach.

This unusual suggestion is consistent with research. People of authentic influence have four characteristics (Avolio, Griffith, Wernsing, Walumbawa, 2010). They are not defensive but are open to information. They are guided by internal moral standards as opposed to situational pressures. They are transparent and openly share appropriate thoughts and feelings. They are self-aware in that they understand their strengths, weaknesses and how their patterns impact others.

This research suggests that the process of learning from one’s own experience is important. People who become authentic leaders tend to believe that personal growth and change is possible so they are more likely to invest in learning about their own strengths and biases. A person who operates at a higher level of self-awareness can more effectively adapt to changing situations. A person who is confident in their ability to learn and adapt is more willing to leave prevailing expectations and try new approaches. This creates new experiences upon which the person can further reflect. People with a purpose and a desire to pursue the purpose are less defensive and more likely to embrace surprises, disruptions and even traumas as learning experiences. Instead of defending their values, beliefs and behaviors they are willing to challenge them and grow.

This process of deep learning through self-coaching is at the heart of mastery. Learning to become a self-coach is important. Here is an illustration of the process.

Brian Townsend played football for the University of Michigan and then went on to the NFL. Later he became a high school basketball coach. When he first secured the basketball job many criticized the hiring because Townsend had never coached basketball. In a short time he won the Michigan state championship and was recognized as a gifted basketball coach. How is this possible?

Once we got into a discussion with Brian about the notion of being a self-coach with the capacity to learn from experience. He told two interesting stories.

He said that when he first arrived at Michigan the football experience was incredibly competitive. He worked intensely to please the coach and get playing time. This went on for four years. In his fifth year he had an insight: He had to play for something other than the coach. He stopped worrying about what the coach thought. He said this was a defining moment in his life. From then on he began to learn in a new way. If he was with the team watching game films and the coach complemented him, but he felt he did not execute perfectly, he noted what he had to do better. If he was criticized, but he felt he did well, then he gave himself a pat on the back. He became his own coach. He was now being internally and not externally driven. He described it as one of the biggest breakthroughs in his life. It was a point of high joy. Through such learning he was regularly finding ways to create his best self. He opened the path to mastery.

Brian’s second story links this kind of learning with purpose.   After a couple of years in the pros, Brian was grinding it out in practice one day. He suddenly noted that his pro experience had been joyless. He asked himself why he was there. The answer was clear–money!   Without realizing it, he had made an invisible shift. By becoming money-driven he had moved from being internally driven to being externally driven.

He said, “I grew up in an African-American family of six boys, and to survive it was always family first. When I went to Michigan, the thing that made Michigan special was that it was team first. In the pros, everyone was playing for himself. I realized that a critical value was missing. In the pros my motivation had changed. I try to take that lesson to what I do now. In basketball, that is what I am about–building a real team, a real family, moving them from self-interest to a higher level of motivation. That gives me joy because it allows the boys to experience joy.”

As a coach, Brian was a masterful leader. He created belief and gave people capacity to grow and perform. One explanation of his ability to lead is that he had a big personal breakthrough, and he learned how to become increasingly authentic by learning how to reflect on his own experiences. It is a hallmark of mastery in music, in leadership and in many other areas of endeavor.

Reflection

When have I seen or experienced mastery?

How is learning music like learning leadership?

How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?

 

 

 

The Power of Purpose

My colleague, Victor Stretcher, recently published a book called Life On Purpose: How Living What Matters Most Changes Everything (2016:16). In the first chapter Vic reviews the scientific literature on the benefits of purpose. The research suggests that having a life purpose will:

  • Add years to your life
  • Reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke
  • Cut your risk of Alzheimer’s disease by more than half
  • Help you relax during the day and sleep better at night
  • Double your chances of staying drug – or alcohol free after treatment
  • Activate your natural killer cells
  • Diminish your inflammatory cells
  • Increase your good cholesterol
  • Give you better sex
  • Give you more friends
  • Give you more happiness
  • Give you deeper engagement in life

Vic asks what would happen if a company produced a drug that could do these things? He suggests that the company would be worth billions. People would flock to buy such a drug.

What the list suggests to me is that we are designed to be purpose seeking beings. When we have and pursue a life purpose we live a proactive life and we function at a higher level.

This raises a question about organizations. Why wouldn’t every organization assist every employee in discovering and recording their life purpose? I know of one organization that considered this alternative but the executives expressed a fear, “If they clarified their life purpose, wouldn’t they all leave the company?”

Stop for a moment and think about this question. It is natural or conventional question. Yet the question exposes many terrible assumptions about the nature of people, work, organizations and management.

In my experience I have observed that executives have many fears about trying to create a purpose driven organization. Thankfully, despite their many fears, the executives in the above organization determined to go ahead. They made an extensive effort to help people clarify their purpose and then helped them link their purpose to the purpose of the company. The result was a dramatic increase in engagement and an increase in financial performance.

Today those same executives are transformed. They are not only fully committed to the notion of having a purpose driven workforce, they continue to learn from the successful process they created. As a result these transformed executives desire to do more.

Reflection

Do the people in my organization know their personal life purpose?

Do the people in my organization see the link between their purpose and the purpose of the organization?

How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?

 

The Transformative Power of Purpose

There is a movie called Everest. It is about climbing the world’s highest mountain. At the outset the guide explains to the climbers that when they get to the highest regions of Everest the conditions will be so adverse to life that they will actually be in the process of dying. The challenge will be to reach the peak and leave as quickly as possible, to get to a lower region that better supports survival.

As the movie unfolds the many extraordinary challenges of climbing Everest become clear. The climbers actually note that the process is characterized by suffering and agony. At certain points it appears that it is impossible for a given person to go on, yet, in the face of great danger, the person pushes forward. This hunger gets one exhausted man to the crest and a short time later he dies because of his loss of energy. Shortly thereafter some of the others also die.

Climbing the mountain is a choice. None of the climbers are being paid. Indeed they are paying a very large sum to make the torturous journey. They are there because they want to be there. They are intrinsically motivated and they are giving their all.

At one point, a participant asks the others why they seek to climb Everest. The answers are very general, such as “because it is there.” One mailman explains that he wants to show what an “every day” person can do and says that he has promised a class of public school children that he will plant the flag they gave him at the summit. Later, in a private conversation, one of the climbers says that when he is home in Texas he is often depressed but when he is on the mountain he feels fully alive.

The last sentence is important. When people are authentically pursuing a meaningful purpose, they indeed are more fully alive.

Researchers tell us that to be engaged is to be fully present, which means the people bring their whole self to the task (Rothbard and Patil, 2012: 56-69). They feel challenged by what they are doing. They become absorbed and fully concentrate. They experience extra energy and the energy gives them the ability to persist and move forward. They feel more alive and their unique experiences give rise to learning and growth.

The research also suggests when people are fully engaged they feel more invested, proactive, adaptive, creative and authentic. As they act, get feedback and adapt, they are developing into a new version of themselves. The emerging self feels more genuine. They are not “on stage” they are doing what they are doing because they love what they are doing. In the process they tend to express their most central thoughts, feelings and beliefs.

The above are impacts on the individual. The pursuit of purpose often has collective impacts. When people pursue a challenging purpose together, as did the mountain climbers, the sense of ego driven isolation begins to dissolve. As they pursue their purpose, they recognize their interdependence. They cannot get to the top alone. As they begin to authentically communicate and collaborate they discover that they not only are more fully human but so are the others. Whole people begin to see and relate to whole people. Others are no longer transactional objects to be used for our own purposes. Instead they become inherently valuable people. When this happens people see immense potential in others. As this happens the people begin to sacrifice not only for the goal, but for the needs of the other people. In the movie we see an increasing willingness of people to risk their lives to help one another. We see the emergence of a network of high quality relationships, a network of love.

Here there is much to learn. In the conventional mindset we expect senior people to be self-interested and partially engaged managers of a technical-political hierarchy. In the positive mindset we recognize that the senior person can also transcend self-interest and pursue the common good. The primary task of any leader is to be purpose driven, to constantly rediscover and communicate the collective purpose and inspire people to willingly engage it. In the positive mindset the leader is a dynamic whole. He or she nurtures a network of dynamic and whole beings. In that network the people are doing what they do because they want to do it. The organization becomes capable of doing things it cannot do conventionally.

Reflection

What do you believe about purpose and engagement?

What differentiates a purpose driven organization?

How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?

 

Changing Your Focus

When Delsa and I were first married, I was in graduate school and had a very heavy course load.  Yet I needed to earn enough money for your mother and me to survive.  I knew I could not do it on the minimum-wage jobs available in a college town.  I decided that I would work for the Fuller Brush Company.  This meant going door to door and selling brushes and other home care products.  Selling door to door is difficult because it means experiencing rejection many times a day.  Each night I would leave the apartment at five, drive to the neighborhood, and sit in the car.  Hating what I was about to force myself to do, I would drag myself to the first door.  I would usually do about ten doors and get ten negative responses.  Finally I would stop and tell myself that I was wasting my time.

It was tempting to tell myself that I had been assigned a bad neighborhood.  But I was also experienced enough to know the problem was not the people.  I was the problem.  I was following a normal script and getting normal results.  I was not willing to step out of that normal script.  I needed to make a big change.

In that situation I had a trick I would use to help me make such a change.  I would stand on my toes, close my eyes, squeeze my fists, and bounce up and down until I could feel the energy flowing.  Then I would run, not walk, up to the door and knock.  (Sounds silly, but it always worked.) When people came to the door, I would bowl them over with positive emotion.  With great enthusiasm I would hand them the free sample of the month and tell them how glad I was to be of service and ask how I could help them most.  Most nights I would make sales at seven of the next ten doors.  No matter how many times I tried this, I was always amazed at how well it worked.

Why did it work?  Why did the same kind of people who had been rejecting me suddenly become good customers?  What was different, the people or me?  Obviously, it was me.  If it was me, then there is an important implication.  I was in control.  The normal assumption to make is that the people in the houses are in control.  They can choose to slam the door or invite me in and let me demonstrate products.  An ordinary person in an extraordinary being state alters the routines of the people encountered.  The choice to call forth our best self changes the external world in which we exist.

Now there is one thing I do not like about the preceding example.  The example is about sales.  In sales, people often talk about techniques for manipulating people to buy.  This tendency leads to a false conclusion that goes something like this: “We need to be positive thinkers so we can manipulate people to do the things we want.”

When I was selling Fuller brushes, I had one motive in mind — to make money.  I was there to sell and earn a living.  Now notice that as long as this was the primary motive, I failed in my intention.  I did not make money.  I did not sell very much.  I was an ordinary salesperson generating ordinary or predictable outcomes.  When I took control and went outside my comfort zone, I became more inner-directed.  That’s the being state where something else happens.  We become more other-focused.  We become more concerned about the needs of others.  The person who answered my knock was no longer a neutral object who was going to buy my products and pay me money for them.  Rather, I was now glad to see this person and was there to “serve.”  When my purpose (making a living) was supplemented by a focus on others (love), things changed.

(Letters to Garrett, pgs. 39-41)

A Higher Purpose

We were at my son’s house caring for our four grandchildren.  At 5:45 music practice starts.  Many routines then quickly unfold and it becomes a morning beehive.  I was typing in my journal when my wife asked me to drive my grandson to an early morning class he attends.  I gladly did so.  I returned and was about to start typing again when the phone rang.  Delsa informed me that Mason had left his snack in the car and asked if I would take it to him.  The second interruption brought a surge of frustration.  Then I had a strong impression that overrode and transformed the frustration. “This is why you are here.”

The impression seemed to extend beyond the second trip to Mason’s class.  It seemed to extend to all of life.  It is natural for me to become self-focused.  Yet when I am reminded that service and contribution are my very purpose on this planet, I shift out of my self-interested inclinations.  I do things for a higher purpose and I do them with cheer.  I am grateful for the interruption of a higher purpose that overrode and transformed my frustration.

Work as a Calling

As we become more internally directed, it changes how we see our work. Many people have jobs. Fewer people have careers. Still fewer people have callings.

A person with a calling is doing what they are doing because they are intrinsically motivated. They are doing what they are doing because they love what they are doing. They love what they are doing because they have made a commitment to make a contribution that matters. They have committed to create a result that does not exist. To make this commitment is to connect oneself to a higher purpose, something larger than self. Once we commit to create a result that does not yet exist, we begin to pursue something that is precious to us. Our purpose becomes our calling. We become more fully engaged, less discouraged by resistance. As we move to fulfill our calling we become more than we are. Our conscious, analytic mind and our unconscious, intuitive mind begin to work as one. We find more ways to integrate our inner world and our outer world. As we move forward we find joy in the process of contribution.

 

Reflection

When have I had a calling?

How do I turn my work into a calling?

How can we use this passage to create a more positive organization?

Generative Organizing

My close friend and colleague, Jane Dutton, loves to talk about the topic of “generative organizing.”  She speaks of the moments when people become aware of resources that they could not previously imagine or tap.  She argues that these resources are always available and if we employ the positive mental map, we can become skilled in tapping them.  Many people just shake their heads, wondering what she is talking about.

She tells a story that illustrates the process.  One day there was a school-wide faculty meeting.  The topic was very challenging and heavy.  Jane and her colleagues left that meeting on a low note and then went directly to a meeting of the management and organization faculty.  The objective was to consider the next few years and involved a discussion of strengths, weakness, threats and opportunities.  Several new threats were articulated and the discussion seemed to spiral downward.  Again the feeling was heavy.

At that point a question was posed, “In thinking about the next few years, what if we asked a new question – What is the very best thing we could do to serve the students?”

This was a purpose-clarifying question.  What followed was dramatic.  Here is the account  captured in the words of the department chair, Sue Ashford.  She wrote this email shortly after the meeting:

“If you happened to miss the MO area faculty meeting today, whether you are on sabbatical and far away or just had other commitments, I have to say, you missed a great one! We processed inputs about our strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities, both from our own listings and based on what we had heard in the preceding faculty meeting and then we turned to vision. And then we decided (yes, decided!) on a vision about which all in the room had a great deal of energy. I wanted to share it and the thinking about it with you and then I will look for ways to share it with the PhD student community down the line.

If you think about our vision generally, we all want to create a vibrant intellectual group that serves our various stakeholders well and makes a difference in the world. That is great at a general level. What we decided on, though, is a next year vision, a vision centered around better understanding what some of our group are calling the “new world of work.” The vision is to talk together about what the new world of work might mean for how we prepare students (teaching), what we study (research), and how we orient our department’s future.

In other words, we committed ourselves to a year of inquiry and exploration about this topic with the aim of thinking through the implications of it for our hiring, teaching, and scholarship.  The end result, we hope, is teaching we are excited about and that is oriented towards this new world of work; and also the ability to package and tell our story better regarding what we do.

We committed to a “one-year listening tour” on this topic. (Here Sue lists many ideas that were generated in the meeting. Most were specific, inspiring and doable. Sue then goes on.)

People were excited –

  • Excited that this perspective gets us out of rigidity in our thinking about things that are inherent in organizations (such as hierarchy) to thinking about what it means to be a member of community and organizations now.
  • Excited that this moves us into a position of proactivity and agency rather than being threatened by some of the challenges we face.
  • Excited that it just seems right – like the right perspective to have now.

The topic is general enough that we all can grab hold of it no matter what our perspective and relevant enough that it has important for a lot of our different activities. This one doesn’t seem like it’s going away (e.g., I don’t think it’s the e-commerce issue of the late 90s) – but rather one where we as a department could organize around and make a difference for.

For those of you were there, thanks for your participation in the discussion and your enthusiasm. For those of you were not there, we hope you will be excited about going through the next year with a vision to learn and develop around this topic. You will be seeing it on future agendas for sure! For all, let me know your thoughts, ways you’d like to participate and aspects you might want to lead. This will only work if we collectively own it!”

So what is “generative organizing?” It is a time when a group begins to function according to the positive mindset. Purpose, trust, energy, optimism, and creativity are usually manifest. People feel like they are part of the vibrant whole. They become more engaged. They offer more resources and the resources become recombined in creative ways. The people begin to “repurpose” current programs and routines in real time.  The more they give to the whole the more they feel rewarded by being part of the whole.

Reflection

When have I seen a group clarify purpose and become energized?

What do I believe about the concept of generative organizing?

How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?