In the recent months, many of us have been forced to change our routine. A routine which is often made up of tight schedules, meetings that follow one after the other, habits and demanding commitments. For some, the lockdown has pushed on the accelerator, bringing the previous rhythm and schedules almost to the point of exhaustion. For others, however, it has been an opportunity to slow down and interrupt a relentless race.
In both cases, this forced change has stimulated a different quality of reflection. The story of the fish in the aquarium comes to my mind:
A fish meets two fish and asks them: “How is the water today?”
The other two look at him perplexed and reply: “What is the water?”
So, moments of discontinuity like this one have given many of us the chance to make contact and awareness with the water around us. A water that looked much more like a hamster’s wheel, in which to run and run without ever having the time to stop and savor what deep meaning our work may have. In many cases the subsequent questions have been:
“But now that I’ve seen it…do I really want to stay in it?”
“Do I really want to be back in the hamster wheel? And… do I have to?”
My good fortune
The fortune that I personally have is to be part of a company, Peoplerise, that is first and foremost a community of people and, as such, constantly questions the meaning of the things it does and the positive impact it wants to bring to the world. Together we faced the questions that were emerging in each of us, with the desire to look at these months as an open window to unexplored issues and a future to be built.
We asked ourselves what might be a further qualitative step for us to take as individuals and as Peoplerise. We began to listen inside and listen outside, with a deep intention to connect to this moment of vital transformation. We changed organizational, strategic, and offering modes to reflect our insights.
This has truly been a great blessing. It allowed me to look inward and, in doing so, feel supported by a group of colleagues who reflected with me to bring new answers to deep questions.
Up and down the wheel
As I look around and engage with colleagues and clients, I realize that this is a time of deep introspection for many of us. There are many individuals and organizations who, for the first time, sense the water around them.
As individuals, when the water resembles a hamster wheel there are two paths that unfold in front of us:
I can act an act of fear. I feel that I would like to, and should change, but economic sustainability or status conditions prevent me from taking charge of my life and making a radical choice. The window will gradually close and I will slowly and with even less energy return to my former work life. My engagement at work will be under the radar, I will look for other areas in life where I can fulfill myself.
I can act an act of courage and try to change things. Should I not feel the necessary support around me, I may decide to change jobs and seek to express my impact and newfound potential elsewhere.
A courageous choice
The company is also facing a crossroads:
“Aligned and strong as before, we resume with new rules and procedures.”
It would be an act of fear to not care for this moment and resume to everything as if nothing had ever happened. The company will lose a few employees, engagement will drop, long-term viability will be compromised in favor of taking action with a short-term prospect for relief.
Alternatively, an organization could take an act of courage. It could create spaces and nurture meaningful conversations to explore what it means, in its new normal terms. Only in this way will it be possible to build a new future together, one of depth, impact and engagement. From this emerges innovation and transformation.
How much courage do we have to truly act out the transformation that we are called to act on?
As a company we can take control of this moment to develop meaning, engagement, innovation and performance. To act on deep transformation as a company, and therefore as a business leader, we must take a leap of eco-systemic consciousness. Bring ideals and an understanding of what the company’s role is in the larger context back to center.
If you hear this call, act on it with courage. This insight and intention will take you far!
In Peoplerise we have a passion for adventurous journeys, contact us to plan the one of your organization together!