Moving from Me to We

WIIFM or “what’s in it for me?” is a strategy for facilitators of change everywhere.  It taps into that American culture of rugged individualism.  It taps into individual motivation.  I’m not saying that is a bad thing – it’s real and pragmatic and it works.  Many podcasters, journalists, and bloggers are expressing a sense of optimism for the future after they witnessed individual compliance with world-wide pandemic measures.  It has been pretty incredible to witness!  Several of those same publications cautioned that the pandemic was simply a dress rehearsal for global climate change.  If we can do what we have done for the pandemic then surely we could do the hard work necessary to combat the looming climate crisis.

And yet, I do not share their optimism about this behavior we are seeing and participating in.  Because it is tied to WIFFM.  It is tied to a “me” motivation not a “we” motivation.  Our individual behavior has had to change in order to maintain our personal health and the health of those we love.  And that is strong motivation to be sure.  Now we are seeing the push back on the stringent quarantine measures when some people decided that their WIIFM was more important that the WIIFA or the “what’s in it for all?”

How do we make the journey from ME to WE?  Who are our guides and where are our maps?  As an American citizen and a person of faith, I have some maps available to me. Our Constitution is one map. As an American citizen I have rights and privileges granted to me.  And those rights and privileges are granted to EVERY citizen.  My rights are to be exercised in communion with my fellow citizens because it is TOGETHER that we create the nation.

This is advanced human interaction – that is what a democracy is.  It’s an advanced way of governance.  It, by its very nature, confers respect and responsibility to individuals to work together for the common good.  This social construct breaks down when we try to take what was intended to serve the common good and subvert it to an exercise of individual preferences.   Revisit our Constitution and enjoy the beautiful language of the Preamble.  The Preamble creates a framework within which the Bill of Rights and subsequent Amendments are to work and live in concert with one another.  Consider using it as a map to guide us from our small, me to the big WE.

The Bible, and for me, Jesus, provides another map.  The teachings of Jesus, and many wisdom teachers, task us to serve one another.  It’s stronger than that, right?  We are tasked to LOVE one another.  There is nothing “me-ish” about that.  That is a big WE thing we are called to do.  Me loving you makes a WE.  And like most of the teachings of Jesus, they are easier said than done.  Because that neighbor I am called to love may not look like me, sound like me, think like me, or value the same things I do.  Hard work.  Worthy work.

We as a society, as a nation, as the human race have some tough challenges ahead of us.  We do have the capacity, the ingenuity, the grit and the determination to meet those challenges.  And many of the biggest challenges will require big changes in how we conduct ourselves in the world.  Expanding our sense of responsibility beyond our ME to the WE, valuing and respecting the WIIFA, being not simply compliant but committed to WIIFA is what it will take for us to move into a future that encompasses all.

We are in new territory. Do you or your organization need some guidance to find your way forward? Contact me and let’s talk about it.

Integrity – Inward Orientation – Outward Manifestation

Integrity is an inward orientation that demands congruency between our closely held values and our thoughts, words and action. 

You can’t fake integrity.  We’ve all heard the breezy sayings that give us a sense of what integrity means behaviorally; “walk the talk,” “say what you mean, mean what you say,” “do what you say you are going to do,” and my personal favorite, “do the right thing even if no one is looking!” Having integrity is a positive attribute often associated with honesty, trustworthiness and soundness of moral character.

To live and lead with integrity is a choice.  Once integrity is chosen there is a cascade of other behaviors that will naturally follow such as accountability, transparency, and consistency.  So, it’s easy to see how having integrity is foundational to all your relationships and daily life transactions.

What may be a somewhat unexpected behavior is the willingness to be vulnerable.  When someone says, “I don’t know” or “I was wrong and don’t know how to make it right,” they are also exhibiting integrity.  They may have totally messed up or are afraid they are about to mess up and are raising their own red flag of distress.  There is a kind of courage found in vulnerability which is rooted in the virtue of integrity.

And because one of the hallmarks of integrity is consistency, it demands practice.  You can get better at it; here’s how.  Start with your primary relationship – the one you have with yourself.  Cultivate self-knowledge so you can create trust with yourself.  Question your own motivations, fears, aspirations and beliefs.  Be fearless in your self-interrogatory.  That said, also approach it with self-compassion.  Then take the next step.

Review your behavior.  Have you ever done or said something that didn’t align with your personal beliefs or values?  Let’s face it, most of us have at one time or another.  And when we do, we are, in that moment, lacking integrity.  We regain our integrity when we dig in and figure out why and then take steps to remediate the situation.

Sounds like a lot of work?  Maybe.  But over time you will find that you know yourself better and better.  You will learn what triggers cause you to behave without integrity and can create strategies to avoid them.

It is a choice to live and lead with integrity.  It is a choice not everyone makes.  Know that people of integrity contribute mightily to our society.  In an era, fraught with trust issues, living and leading with integrity is needed more than ever.

Need some help?  This is what I love to do!  I work to help people understand their core values and facilitate the necessary alignment to create integrity and ultimately… success.   My mission is to empower individuals and groups to work with joy and intention.  Let’s get started!


 

The Gift of Time

Listen to any podcast that pulls the veil back on how a business got started and you will hear about the practice of iteration.  You’ll hear how these big brands that are now household names started on someone’s laptop, how they worked out of their garage for years, had doors shut in their faces, created countless prototypes before hitting on the design, the business plan the right combination of factors to trigger their success.  How I admire them and their tenacity.

I think many of us want to believe in the myth of the overnight success but it is just that a myth.  If we want to move forward and create something new or even simply re-engineer what we have it’s going to take some time… and iteration.

Iteration.  Oh, it may go by other names like persistence, resilience, tenacity and commitment but it speaks with the same voice.  And when the voice of iteration speaks it is telling us:

“Anything worth doing is worth doing over and over again until you get it right!”

              “What lesson did you just learn?  Use it!” 

                                “Don’t give up, try again”

                                             “What if we tweaked this a little bit? What if …” 

                                                “Give it time”

Let me re-iterate – we hear and read about iteration because it is an important practice for any practice.  Do it, do it again, and again… repeat as needed.  It is a cycle but not a circle.  I’d say it is more like a spiral.  With each iteration, you hope to progress towards your goal, spiraling upward.  It would be so nice if our progress had a more linear path like a nice little chart with all the arrows pointing in a positive direction.  In reality that rarely happens.  Reality can be a bummer sometimes!

As you practice, curiosity, audacity and discernment know that you will spiral back to curiosity, audacity and discernment again and again.  You will ask, you will act and then you will assess.  With each assessment, you will be encouraged to ask more questions which will spur more action and in turn, require more assessment.  With each iteration, each cycle, you will learn, deepen your understanding and increase your ability to respond successfully.  It just never ends, because just when you think you have arrived you need to get curious about sustainability!

Can these practices become overwhelming?  Yes, they can and that is why having a supportive community is so important.  As a Facilitative Consultant, I work with individuals and groups to empower them to work with intention and joy.  Let me know how I can help you move forward.

 

Let’s talk about creating conversation

We are surrounded by noise, internal and external.  After a while it just seems like a cacophony of sound and it becomes harder and harder to discern what I need to listen to.  At the same time, it seems like it is more important than ever to figure out how to listen to one another and come to some sort of mutual understanding.  How do we do that?

As a facilitator it’s my job to make sure that everyone in the room knows what we are trying to accomplish, that everyone has a voice and that we have some ground rules in place to keep the lines of communication open while honoring our intention.

Sounds easy enough, right?  Where this breaks down is often due to a lack of transparency in any given process or conversation.  If the participants come to the table with different expectations, opposing agendas and with a defensive mind-set they are set up to fail.  Creating a safe space is the first task of the facilitator in such a situation.

My personal cocktail for these types of situations is a blend of vulnerability and humor.  Start with the easy, less personal questions that create some laughter, releases tension and helps to pave some common ground.  Momentum is built and used to propel the group to a deeper place, holding that vulnerability and transparency that is required for authentic communication.

When this type of authentic communication can be achieved – things change.  A discerning process creates a container for movement from the surface, where our differences separate us, to a deeper place of unity. The individual stories are told and woven together into a new story that is bigger, more open and able to hold it all.

Have some high stakes conversations in your future?  Let me help you create a safe space for you and your team to gather and discern, together, the next steps for your organization.