Genuine Contact Way Blog

Can’t We Just Keep It Simple?

One of the five beliefs that govern our work with Genuine Contact is the belief in ‘keeping it simple’. Leadership today requires success in complex situations and complex systems. ‘Keeping it simple’ does not ignore this complexity. Ignoring the complexity could be fatal. Rather, for me ‘keeping it simple’ has other meanings.

Keeping it simple means that when figuring out how to handle the complexity, I approach the complexity with simple frameworks to comprehend the complexity, sometimes using the frameworks to map what is known and what is unknown to the degree that this information is available.

Keeping it simple means that I pay attention to the processes I use to engage people in conversations designed to make a difference. The simpler the process with the least amount of facilitator intrusion, the more likely the people involved in the complexity of their situation can find solutions.

Keeping it simple means that there is an important simplicity on the other side of the complexity from which traction can occur for implementing the right actions at the right time for the best results.

Keeping it simple means that any sustainable change must begin from the inside of an organization and cannot be externally driven.

One of my favorite quotes is from Oliver Wendell Holmes “I wouldn’t give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity but I’d give my life for simplicity on the far side of complexity”

Personally, I think he goes a little far in giving his life for this simplicity. And yet this quote conveys the vital importance for simplicity that takes the complexity into consideration.


Genuine Contact Way Blog

Do You Experience Yourself or Another as a Victim?

Years ago working in Abuja, Nigeria, the organization we were working with Management Strategies for Africa, provided us with the services of a driver. His name is Monday and he left a lasting impression on our lives. Monday grew up in a village, oldest son of eight children. Growing up in a village meant very little income and thus a challenging life. He was fortunate, and also very driven, to get a job in the city. Although his dream was to be in the profession of accounting, he was grateful to get a job as a driver, to be given responsibility for a car, and for the people he was to drive around and to protect.

Monday, as most workers, did not live in the city, but in what is known as a satellite town. There, he shared a room with four other young men to save costs. Monday sent 80% of his paycheck back to his mom and dad so that there would be more money to take care of them and of his siblings. He felt it was a privilege to be able to do so, and he was grateful that he could. Nigeria is a country of many challenges as it is the largest black nation in the world, with a population of about 186 million, most under the age of 40 (40 is considered a long life), and about 80% of young men unemployed.

Monday, despite his own challenges, was nicely dressed and with a tie on, showing respect for his work. As we drove along, one of the lessons we learned from Monday was about attitude. He pointed out some people who were clearly homeless. He asked us ‘do you know what makes them poor?’. We did not know. He said ‘what makes them poor is that they think they are poor, they think that they have no power, they think they are victims.’ He went on to say that one is only poor if one thinks of themselves this way. I felt very humble at his words. When I met him, I thought he was poor and  I felt sadness and sympathy.

When he spoke, I realized my error. What right did I have to think of  him as poor when he did not perceive himself this way? What right did I have to align myself with the energy field, the morphic field of pity and sympathy…of the morphic field of perceiving him as a victim…when he did not see himself this way. I teach and write about morphic fields and I take care what morphic fields I align myself with. And yet, I fell into a trap of aligning myself with perceiving someone as a victim and thus as someone powerless to do something about their own situation. Monday taught me that he did have the power, and how important it is to see ourselves and our fellow humans as powerful, and not as victims.

I have thought about this quite a bit lately as I listen to the news and hear people take up causes for ‘victims’. And I wonder if this harms the people that might need our help just until they regain their own power. I wonder what difference could be made if we first and foremost perceived our fellow humans as having power to do something to help themselves. And did our supporting and helping from that perspective instead of the perspective of seeing them as victims.

I write about the power of morphic fields in The Genuine Contact Way: Nourishing a Culture of Leadership. Have you read this book yet?

Genuine Contact Way Blog

Approaching Life and Leadership Development Learning as an Adventure

Do you have the courage to think about embracing the new leadership paradigm of ‘Leading So People Will Lead’? Do you have the courage to embrace something radically different? When my children were young and I took them on trips and couldn’t find our destination, they had learned not to ask ‘are we lost’ but rather to ask ‘are we having an adventure yet?’ As adults, they still ask me this question when I am driving, and when I say ‘yes’, I look out of the corner of my eye and see a big smile.

When you learn about Nourishing a Culture of Leadership with us, you are encouraged to question, experiment, play and explore with the ideas and concepts that are shared with you. We consider that you are on a learning adventure, that you are learning all of the time, and that you are curious. This combination puts you clearly in the picture of your learning, connecting more deeply to who you are, while taking in some information that is intended to be useful to you. In the end, it is you with your own deep connection to yourself and where the learning fits into ‘you’ that will take responsibility for applying the learning.

Anything to do with Leadership itself and with Nourishing a Culture of Leadership cannot succeed if it is not coming from a deeply rooted place in you. We refer to this deeply rooted place as Genuine Contact.

Surprisingly, being in genuine contact with self and thus with learning integration and application feels scary to a lot of people.

Maybe it is just the right time in your life to accept that learning a system that is designed by someone, and being expected to religiously follow it might be too limiting. Learning something, and being invited to make it yours  in your own unique way, to expand on it, to be curious and to make adjustments might be something you are now ready for. It is scary because you venture into the unknown and because there might be a feeling that you might fail. However, think of the limitations you leave behind as you open up a path forward for yourself and your leadership to greater possibilities.

Do consider joining us in the Extraordinary Leadership Network to develop yourself and your world of possibilities