I spent two weeks in South Africa where I was invited to provide my Culture Change Leadership Workshop to South African consultants and HR managers.
South Africa is a beautiful “rainbow” nation (24 years since they freed themselves from apartheid): a fascinating mixture of people with 11 different languages, many beliefs, cultures and different recipes. It’s like a patchwork blanket: they are English, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Zulu, Venda, Tswana, Tsonga, Swazi, South- and North Sotho and South Ndebele. How’s that for diversity?
Why are you a leader, a change-maker or a professional in your field? It’s a question that becomes en vogue. Or, should I say, a certain type of answer becomes the standard. The answer that refers to your higher purpose, or Work (as opposed to your job: your work).
Fear and courage are incredibly important in our lives: Joseph Campbell captured the archetypical “journey of the hero” as the central theme in human storytelling around the world. This tale of personal development and discovering WHO you are, starts with the calling or the challenge (the hero’s purpose) and evolves around fear and courage... passing through all the stages of learning, leading and change - until the hero returns home with renewed wisdom. It fascinates because it resonates with us: to want something - and yet - not to want it, because it might take us out of our comfort zones. Fear and courage are central in leadership, culture and change.
“A case for optimism” is an inspiring video by Tiffany Shlain. Opticism is optimism with a healthy dose of skepticism: a “questioning attitude towards knowledge, facts, or opinions/beliefs stated as facts, or doubt regarding claims that are taken for granted elsewhere.” Let’s become an “opticist”: Let’s not be naive, but let’s focus consciously on the half full glass and see how we can fill it even further...
Are you moving boxes around? Several authors on leadership and change pose this important question in Leadership and Change magazine #2. Are we working on changes that matter? Do we make a difference as change-makers, leaders, consultants, HR professionals, or coaches?
“The duty of a leader is to help create a virtuous, kind organization”
Kim Cameron, professor and associate dean at the Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship from the University of Michigan, just published a new book: Practicing Positive Leadership. Time for an interview.
Last June, I guided the Culture, Change & Leadership workshop in Zwolle, the Netherlands. We shared 3 inspirational days while we practiced with the WHAT, the HOW and the WHO of change... What struck me again is our tendency to cling to control. Even as conscious consultants, it is not always easy to be fully present in the moment and to respond to what is emerging - if that differs from your own “WHAT”: your pre-suppositions, goals and expectations. While the real magic in change happens when you go with the flow...and trust the process: the HOW. But for that to happen, you need to be WHO you are.
Mid-Summer in the Northern hemisphere. It seems a natural point to take a break - to relax and reflect on the first half of the year. Just before summer recess, I attended one of the bi-annual conferences of the International Society of Organizational Development & Change (ISODC). Approximately fifty OD professionals traveled to Amsterdam from all over the world for a conference with pre- and post-conference workshops. The program covered a wide array of topics (by different presenters) such as global leadership development, e-learning, women development in Rwanda, global OD, management on the mat (yoga and management), trans-cultural competence, cultural dilemmas, servant leadership, innovation, fostering cultures of creativity, health and vitality in organizations, change programs in the digital age, open space for societal change - and whatnot.
Last week, we did the Culture, Change & Leadership workshop in Zwolle, the Netherlands. We shared 3 intense days in a group of 14 people from 8 countries. It was awesome and amazing. Did we encounter cultural diversity? Yes - but in an inspirational way, showing different variations or angles to the same challenge. We learned a great deal from exchanging our cases. What stood our for me is how alike we humans really are. No one likes to be ordered about. People don't like top-down imposed, "command and control change" everywhere around the globe, but they will respond to the pressure in different ways.