Summer reading book tips

I know. Not everyone likes to read non-fiction on vacation. It's great to read an adventure story, a detective, or a novel. However, if you feel you'd like to catch…

Rituals To Jazz the Culture

Guest post by Kartik Shah Have you ever noticed how pilgrims mentally, spiritually and/or physically prepare themselves for a pilgrimage by engaging in some customary rituals? For example, the Muslims…

Letting go for leaders

Letting go is vital for cultures, leaders, employees, and organizations. Without letting go, organizations whither away due to micro-management. Too much control stifles engagement, agility, innovation, collaboration, responsibility, and so…

Positive Communication

“Every professional context is created by the conversations that people have. (..) Every moment of interaction is important. Positive communication can help create positive organizational climates, high-quality relationships, and affect…

Being Positive

Guest post by Graham Williams. “The frames our minds create define – and confine – what we perceive to be possible. Every problem, every dilemma, every dead end we find…

Meetings Matter

Is it true that men are from Mars and women are from Venus? It’s not, of course, but men and women speak a different language—figuratively speaking. Women are often misunderstood…

Interview with Terrence Seamon

Terrence Seamon is a seasoned Organization Development consultant, based in New Jersey, USA. He is passionate about change and loves to write. After he published his book Change for the Better,…

Are you feeling thankful?

Thanksgiving. It’s an invitation to be thankful and to find the positive sparks in life even though the news headlines may be negative. It’s a great reminder to practice gratitude…

How Provocative dare you be?

Provocative coaching and change: Can you make things better by making them worse? It is analogous to making a donkey move forward by pulling his tail. The approach of “Provocative…

Yoga and Leadership: How do you treat yourself?

Guest post by Margo Boster. Practicing yoga and leadership are both ways of being – preferably with compassion and truthfulness. An essence of yoga are the ten ethical guidelines which are defined as the Yamas and Niyamas. Great guidelines for leaders. Today, let’s talk about the Niyamas (pronounced nee-yuh-muh): our internal self-restraints or how we care for ourselves.

Yoga and Leadership: How do you treat others?

Guest post by Margo Boster. Practicing yoga isn’t about doing poses on a mat or in a class; just as leading isn’t about being in charge of other people. Practicing yoga and leadership are simply ways of being – preferably with compassion and truthfulness. An essence of yoga are the ten ethical guidelines which are defined as the Yamas and Niyamas. How do the Yamas apply to leadership?

Holacracy: a new way of organizing

What are the challenges of organizational life? Your answer may contain silos, lack of trust, lack of decision making, politics, bureaucracy, communication issues, overwhelm, difficulty with change, rigidity and more… “Organizations are designed to produce these painful results!” That’s why Brian Robertson invented “Holacracy”. Does that work any better? I checked in with Ruben Timmerman of Springest to find out.

What is undiscussable in your culture?

Guest post by Terri Kruzan. Undiscussable cultureWhat are the “undiscussables” in your workplace? Is there something that almost everyone knows but no one mentions…? Welcome to the heart of organizational culture! Undiscussables can help to better understand your culture and change it for the better.

Interview Otto Scharmer: "Change on many levels"

Otto Scharmer’s work is a great inspiration for me and many others. I’m excited to share this interview with him about his work and specifically the book “Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-system to Eco-system Economies”. The subtitle explains its great ambition: Applying Theory U to transforming business, society and self. Here’s a framework that can help leaders, consultants, coaches and employees understand how they can make a difference. Ready? Start here!

Positive leadership starts with one uplifting person. Will that be you?

What is Positive Leadership and why does it matter? Does "positive" mean that you can't be critical? Of course not. By all means, keep thinking critically. "Positive" refers to a positive mindset while you stay grounded in reality and keep checking the facts, also those that don't fit the story you tell yourself! Let's explore the topic of positive leadership: what is it, why does it matter and how can you and your organization or clients benefit from it?

Are you a giver or a taker?

Success and satisfaction depend on who you are but also on how you treat others... According to Adam Grant’s research, you could be one of three types in the workplace: a Taker, a Giver, or a Matcher. How do you behave at work? And what is your workplace culture like?

"Whole Person" Organizational Culture makes people and organizations thrive

Guest post by Gerald Wagner. What if you'd wake up on Monday excited to go back to work? Organizations with "Whole Person Cultures" make this a reality. Not because they offer happiness courses and wellness perks - but because they create organizational cultures in which people thrive. Eliminate fear, add creativity. No need for office politics, if there's openness. Bye professional masks, hello authenticity. Why use key performance indicators and stretched targets, if you get it done through enthusiasm and work-life balance. It's a magic mix so let's meet some organizations that walk this talk!

How to Upgrade the Industrial Organization to the Age of Ideas?

Do you suffer from corporate obedience? Are you wealthier but not healthier and happier than your parents? Does your employer demand your “all” without guaranteeing a continuity of employment in return? Are you stressed, anxious, disengaged or frustrated? Fair chance that you are trapped in an old-style steam-engine organization, custom-built to suppress collaborating, problem-solving, innovating and socializing. Perfect for repetitive tasks, standardization, and efficiency. Disastrous for inspiration, purpose, trust, innovation and making a difference to the greater good. So, what can you do to upgrade your industrial organization?

Would you lead a virtuous organization?

Guest post by Graham Williams. Would you like to lead yourself, others, and organizations to practice virtuous, positive leadership? Let me share some stories to inspire you. Huge wisdom may be contained in a small story. There’s a reason Jesus taught the people by using parables. The parable of the good Samaritan carries lessons for today’s leaders, professionals and organizations.

Engaging Emergence - a new story of Change

“The old story of change, called change management, no longer functions well. Fortunately, a new story is arising that works creatively with complexity, conflict, and upheaval.” Speaking is Peggy Holman, who has been working in and shaping the field of change since the Mid-70’s. She’s an author and consultant who co-authored the indispensable Change Handbook (an inspiring and pragmatic compilation of 61 group methods to engage in change). Her latest book (2010) is “Engaging Emergence - Turning upheaval into opportunity”.

Dare you engage with "emergence"?

What happens if you engage with emergence - instead of imposing your pre-designed plans onto reality? (Emergence?! You know what that is: anything that happens while you are making other plans, as John Lennon defined life). Interesting question. Anything could happen if you engage emergence. Whatever the outcome, you could not have predicted it. Emergence evolves organically, and you can choose to suppress it, ignore it, or engage with it – aware or not. Those are the responses that Peggy Holman identifies in her book “Engaging Emergence – Turning upheaval into opportunity”. Let’s look at this change approach from a personal point of view. What is your default attitude toward emergence?

Stewardship and Organization Development

Guest post by Peter Block. There have been two ways technology and organizational culture have evolved that make the ideas and practices of stewardship more relevant for OD practitioners than ever. As used here, stewardship means a choice to (1) act in service of the long run, and (2) act in service to those with little power. For organization development and change in today’s world, stewardship translates into creating accountable and committed workplaces without resorting to increased control or compliance as governing strategies.

Ready for Nexus4Change?

Guest post by John Spalding and Steven Cady. While most people would say they want change—in their organizations and communities, their schools, their health care, their government—they don’t often act on their desire because they don’t know where to begin. That’s why NEXUS4change provides a roadmap for initiating collaborative change in a changing world. NEXUS is both a curator for this emerging field of scholarship and practice, as well as a movement and gathering place for people with a passion to support “whole systems” to thrive in our world.

Courage and Culture

What does it mean to be courageous...? Does it differ across cultures? Becky Robinson, founder and social media expert for authors at Weaving Influence, organized a webinar to explore the different cultural expressions of Courageous Leadership and Followership between the United States and Asia. “We want to create a world that works for all.” Dare you speak truth to power? A conversation with Bill Treasurer, Ira Chaleff, John Graham and Robert Yeo. A cross-cultural exploration.

Edgar Schein on the topic of Culture

Guest post by Tim Kuppler. Culture is a hot topic and remains a tremendous opportunity for most organizations to further support their purpose, solve problems, and improve performance. Surveys highlight the importance of culture but also an inability to translate that awareness into results.

Inspired Organizational Cultures

Guest post by Gerald Wagner. The Institute for Inspired Organizational Cultures (IOC) aims to develop a global community of leaders who are advocates for organizational cultures of wellbeing and happiness. We created a self-paced program to teach new generations the importance of providing positive leadership and transforming workplaces for a new, inspired era of business growth.

Are you an uplifting leader?

Lead With Giants is an online community with the vision of raising up 10,000 UpLifting Leaders. There is enough so-called “leadership” that disempowers, discourages, and disappoints. UpLifting Leadership is inspirational,…

Are we working on changes that matter?

Are we working on changes that matter? Or are we moving boxes around? That’s what consultant Terrence Seamon asks himself when guiding organizational change. Powerful, legitimate questions that shouldn’t scare you and that you should ask yourself.

Cynicism or Opticism?

“A case for optimism” is an inspiring video by Tiffany Shlain. She pleas for optimism with a healthy dose of skepticism: which is a “questioning attitude towards knowledge, facts, or opinions/beliefs stated as facts,or doubt regarding claims that are taken for granted elsewhere.” Thus, she argues, let’s become an “opticist”. Let’s not be naïve, but let’s focus consciously on the half full glass and see how we can fill it up even further.

Do you have the courage to contribute?

Fear and courage. It’s an incredibly important theme in our lives: Joseph Campbell captured the archetypical “journey of the hero” as the central theme in human storytelling around the world. The journey starts with the calling of the challenge (the hero’s purpose) and revolves around fear and courage. Passing through all the stages of learning, leading and change - until the hero returns home with renewed wisdom.

Why do you do your work?

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). Why do you do your line of work? What is your Work?

Reinventing Organizations

Guest post by Frederic Laloux. There’s something broken in how we run organizations today. Institutes that poll thousands of people about happiness at work show that up to 60-75% are disengaged at work! They show up with their bodies, but that’s it - just to make a living. This is the case not only at lower levels of organizations, where people have routine jobs and feel powerless. Even at the highest levels, senior leaders feel tired of email overload, meetings, the rat race, the silos, the political games they have to play, the tedious budget circles. This growing sense of tiredness - hints that there must be something more.

Dare you be Authentic?

Who you are, has become more important since our economies deliver numerous services, and we are knowledge workers in varying projects while our societies ride the waves of global change. It is not just what you do, and how you do it, but WHO you are that makes the difference in all this volatility. Being precedes doing.

Position Power Over Others versus Personal Power With Others

A few recent experiences with large corporations made me think about power. I had to comply and adjust to one organization’s procedures - or they weren’t allowed to hire me. In another case, my contact insisted on a late-night Skype meeting even though it was very inconvenient for my schedule, and I had repeatedly told them I couldn’t make it. In all cases, my contacts were a bit indignant that I did not comply. Even though I tend to be flexible, I also have to manage my time and energy to deliver good work. Sometimes this means saying “No” - even when I thus miss out on earning their money. My prospects were stunned, to say the least. With the corporate power and money behind them, they were used to getting their way.

Do you want to make a Positive Difference?

kim-cameron-quote2Do you want a positive difference? If your answer is yes, positive leadership is your starting point. Positive leadership aims for the highest potential of an organization - instead of returning to “normal” after solving a problem it inspires people to go even further, into the realm of “positive deviance”. It often supports people to deliver beyond and above expectations.

Positive Leadership toward Reinventing Organizations

kleiner-Q-kim-urlPositive Leadership, based on positive psychology, makes a tremendous difference in any workplace no matter how hierarchical its structure may be, or how plain the tasks at hand. Because you can't reinvent your organization overnight to become one of those self-organizing, vibrant, fulfilling and energizing workplaces doesn't mean you are powerless! You can always apply positive leadership.

Reinventing Organizations at Eye-level?

“Leaving the 20th century behind, I think we are ready and hungry to feel aliveness and connectedness - at work and at home”, said the German consultant Ulf Brandes during our interview. Together with four others, he created the documentary film Augenhöhe (German for eye-level) to show that it is possible to work at “eye-level” in organizations, instead of at different levels in an organizational pyramid: looking down on direct reports, looking up to your boss and, maybe, looking suspicious at the co-workers next to you…

Webinar: Dialogue, Organization Development and Culture

Or: why Information & Energy need to flow freely...

Do you know those few, famous examples of extraordinary workplaces where people thrive… versus the Dilbert-like top-down hierarchies where people suffer or survive? I bet you do! But how to turn such an energy-depleting hierarchy into a thriving, dynamic workplace? And, why would you even try? Well, most organizations must become more innovative, agile and change-responsive - if they want to survive, let alone thrive. And that is where dialog, organization development and culture come in. 

Are you Separated or Connected?

Are you a change practitioner or an activist? Are you a leader or a learner? Interesting enough, these labels are starting to look like synonyms. You are a leader and a learner and a change maker and an activist. There’s a new spirit wandering the hallways of large office buildings, interfering in online discussion forums, hiding under the desk in prestigious board rooms, inspiring rebels and leaders, coaches and consultants alike. Consultants are spreading tolerance like wise men. Wise men are doing business, enhancing connection and collaboration where they can. The new spirit smiles silently...

Webinar: Reinventing Organizations with Frederic Laloux

Can we create organizations free of the pathologies that show up all too often in the workplace? Free of politics, bureaucracy, and infighting; free of stress and burnout; free of resignation, resentment, and apathy; free of the posturing at the top and the drudgery at the bottom? Is it possible to reinvent organizations, to devise a new model that makes work productive, fulfilling, and meaningful? We organized a wonderful webinar with Frederic Laloux to find out how....

How to increase your impact in change projects?

As a seasoned change practitioner, do you have assignments where everything seems to go naturally and you really have an impact? As opposed to those where your client keeps misunderstanding you and the change projects stalls…? Daryl Conner, a long-time change professional, wondered why some change practitioners get it done - and others - with the same toolkit and experience - don’t accomplish much. He found an answer in our character and presence - WHO we are - that defines our unique contribution and whether or not we can impact this particular (client) organization. Practitioners themselves are part of the intervention with clients. Ready to raise your game? 

Do you lose Energy?

How are you? In a hurry, scanning this text for news? Are you hunting for stimuli? Do you notice restlessness when you’re already tired? Maybe you live by a schedule that doesn’t leave space to slow down and to be mindfully aware of what happens. But why would you bother to be mindfully present? Because you'll waste your precious energy if you don't...

Are you awake?

How are you? Busy? Relaxed? Energized? Tired? I notice a pattern in modern life. I’m going too fast and packing too much in my days. I’m hunting for stimuli – or at least I'm distracted by them. I notice restlessness when I’m already tired. I see most people around me living by schedules that don’t leave space to slow down and to be mindfully aware of what really happens. How do you wake up to the present?

Can you lead with mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the practice of placing your attention where you'd like it to go and cultivating the ability to hold it there. This placement of attention is quite a skill because in today’s world anything can take your attention. It’s constantly scanning for new stimuli and creates a jumpy habit. It makes you busy but it doesn’t necessarily mean you are productive. This jumpy habit also promotes fear and doubt – says Susan Piver. How can leaders become better by practicing mindfulness?

Dare you time-space-matter?

As the year is drawing to a close, and we’re looking forward to a winter or summer break (depending on your part of the world) - it’s time to reflect on our experiences so far and explore our intentions for next year. I’m not talking about New Year’s resolutions. I’m talking intentions. What do you intend to create, or let happen, next year? Intentions set the direction of your attention and your actions - and their energy. Dare you time-space-matter?

Are you working with idiots?

Guest post by Margo Boster. I recently presented a workshop to a group of fellow coaches at an International Coaching Federation meeting. I realized that my style, my approach, and my very message were not consistent with what most people did. Afterward, I had a moment of questioning myself: “Should I have been more of what they were expecting?” Are you good enough? Compared to whom? Or are you the one who's working with idiots? How do you value yourself in the workplace?

Reinventing Organizations: a case study

There’s a new way of organizing and collaborating emerging around the globe – as Frederic Laloux shows in his book Reinventing Organizations. Let’s take a closer look at “new organizations” with a case study – and examine the three key things that they do differently: self-management, wholeness, and purpose.

Organizational Evolution: Are you ready?

There’s something broken in how we run organizations today. Polls about happiness at work show that 60-75% of people are disengaged. Many professionals are tired of the rat race, tedious budget circles, office politics, cubicles, being controlled and feeling limited. They wonder: how’s what I’m doing serving a better world? Or: how’s my job helping me develop my unique talents? Well, at least it pays the rent... but I’m so tired/stressed/bored... (fill in the blanks). Isn't it time for Organizational Evolution? That’s why I left lifetime employment with golden handcuffs (wonderful salary and perks) seventeen years ago. I left a steady 40 hours a week to start working 60-80 hours with no guaranteed outcomes whatsoever. At the start, I sometimes lay awake at night, worrying about money - but I was never bored again - and I enjoyed everything I learned during my fascinating journey. I extended my development, creativity, autonomy, purpose, freedom - even though I always worked my *** off and it wasn't always a walk in the park. But I was alive and in charge! I was not just making a living, but making a difference.

Do you Judge or Join?

The biggest constraint to shine and become happy and successful (to your own standards) is very often the inner critic. It’s the little voice in your head, saying: “Nah, you can’t do that. It won’t be good enough. They’ll see you’re a fraud. They’ll judge. Better stay away from this endeavor.” It’s the little voice weakening you; it’s self-doubt and fear. With the best of intentions, this little voice tries to keep you safe and away from hurtful comments and harsh critics in the outer world.

Beware of OD - Be Present

OD might stand for OverDose instead of Organization Development. Beware of the overdose...! If you want to make a difference, you need focus and presence. Because WHO you are, defines HOW you practice your expertise: the WHAT. If you are mindfully present, you’ll engage people. Nothing can make a difference but being present and connecting from who you are. So: don’t spread yourself too thin! Don’t major in minor things… Focus on essentials and BE there – to lead and guide change. Beware of OD – BE YOU!

Are you a team player?

How well do you collaborate? Are you a team player? People have a natural tendency to work together and collaborate - as research shows. Cooperation is the basic driver of human civilization, explains Dirk Messner. Collaboration needs feedback, now and then. Not everyone does everything right all the time. But how do you give feedback? Here's my reflection on intentions, feedback, kindness, and humble inquiry. According to Schein, the awareness of interdependency is often missing in individualistic cultures: you need the others! You need to collaborate which means in my opinion: you need to be kind, have good intentions, and give your feedback "with love". Schein stresses that we need to be humble and ask more.

Unwrap Your Gift and Make a Difference

You’re working hard – making a living, but are you making a difference? That’s the question that bugged me early in my career as a change guide and leader. At times, I felt discouraged and disappointed trying to create positive change at work. I let reality and the critics get me down. “Change is hard. Leaders are greedy for power and money. It’s a dog-eat-dog world. Work is about making money.” Since then, 25 years have passed, and I’m still working on my positive impact. But I’ve changed my perspective – and my results. I have more positive impact nowadays! Before you raise your brows and think: “Whoa, who does she think she is?”, let me tell you that you, too, make a difference by being WHO you are. However, to amplify your impact you have to unwrap your unique gift to the world. I hope to inspire you to do so with this blog about Positive Leadership, Culture, Change and New Organizations. We don't need to suffer anymore as our ancestors did from their hard factory or farm labor. We can go beyond surviving at work like our grandparents and parents did in those harsh hierarchies with strict bosses. It's time for us to thrive at work and make a positive contribution to the world. Welcome to the 21st century.

Are you full of and & and?

We ideally want to have it all. But going after everything might lead to nothing. Choosing isn’t easy. When you choose, you immediately lose the other options. And when you make a wrong decision, you could lose in one instant. Do you really have to choose? Yes, you have to choose. It’s either/or. You can’t do everything at the same time. When you like both results and innovation, for example, you have to choose. A results-orientation hinders innovation since creativity needs space – not production pressure. Multitasking is not as productive as focusing on one task and pouring your undivided attention into that one task. Ultimately, not-choosing leads to losing. Meddling through mediocrity. Choosing gives space, focus and leads to making more difference. Choose wisely!