Transforming Corporate Energy
What would it do for your business if 10% more often people in your organization would…
speak joyfully about your organization with friends, family and on social media, interact with customers in ways that make them rave about your organization, overcome differences in healthy ways and without the need for you to interfere, feel safe enough to try things with a view to learn from it? How much of these attitudes and behaviors we see is less a result of compensation plans, trainings or processes. It’s first of all a function of how people feel – the corporate energy.
Why focus on
What will we do together –
How we’ll work together –
Why focus on Corporate Energy?
Healthy attitudes and behaviours in organisations are, more than anything else, the result of a healthy corporate energy reflected in the ‘state of heart’ of your employees. They will occur more often and more naturally when people feel inspired, growing, valued, connected and safe, and less often when people feel upset, limited, judged, or anxious. Whilst our minds are powerful, precious tools, especially (but not only) on matters of human interactions, we decide with our heart much more than with our intellect, e.g. by silently asking ‘does it feel safe enough to speak-up right now?’.
Whilst intangible, people’s energy – or how people feel – is consequently by far the most important performance factor. It impacts more tangible performance factors such as employee engagement, speed and quality of execution, customer satisfaction, our capacity to innovate, organisational agility inspite of growing organisational complexity, and employer brand. And these do come with a very tangible price tag.
Whilst positive energy is always available, it is not always accessible. The role and challenge of leaders is hence less to ‘create’ or ‘bring’ energy, albeit it’s great when they do, but to serve in ways that help people awaken, replenish or transform the energy that is already available. The first guiding question for a ‘Chief Energy Officer’ is: ‘As a result of interacting with me, will people feel stronger or weaker? Will their hearts be more closed or open? Will they feel obliged or inspired?”.
And, we need to look beyond. Organisations work as part of a web of stakeholders, starting with their employees, customers and financial stakeholders of course, yet including suppliers, governments, communities and society, the environment, and partners. This is the environment our Executives and senior leaders navigate. There is significant scientific evidence that those organisations who are deliberately and systematically committed to add value to all stakeholders outperform markets by far.* Guided by a deep sense of purpose that informs their decisions when balancing seemingly conflicting business interest, the choices of these leaders expand the corporate energy beyond the confines of their organisation. As a result, stakeholders feel about their organisations in affectionate, compassionate, inspired ways and…act and talk accordingly. That collective energy goes back to the organisation…and its bottom line. Ultimately organisations need to be loving and be loved to survive. Not sure. Sounds too soft? Try the opposite.
*e.g. Firms of Endearment, Rajendra Sisodia & Jagdish N. Sheth
What will we do together – Consulting services
Action by itself is blind, reflection impotent.
I partner with senior teams to help them maximize and transform their organization’s corporate energy at an individual, team and organizational level. Organizations, including both their more tangible components such budgets, organizational charts and policies, and their less tangible elements such as mindsets and the organization’s spirit, are ultimately reflections of the deepest held beliefs of their leaders. In other words, all that’s done or not done has been thought before. Whilst we must engage many to sustainably influence the corporate energy – the journey can’t be delegated. The organization’s energy – it’s ‘state of heart’© – is a major corporate asset and hence an executive responsibility.
Whilst each journey will be completely tailored in close partnership with your team to fit the unique purpose, strategic needs, history, context and of your organization, there are principles and typical stepping stones that have proven to be helpful and effective to successfully guide the journey. At the end of our journey you will feel a higher spirit and energy throughout your organization. More importantly though, senior leaders will feel more capable and confident in their ability to awaken higher forms of energy and positively impact the ‘state of heart’ of their teams and organization.
That being said, the below offers a high-level overview of the components of a typical “energy transformation roadmap”. Whilst we will of course craft such roadmap together to help everyone involved feel clear and aligned around what we’ll do be doing and plan for success, a roadmap is what is – a map. In my experience some of most the precious opportunities to make a difference often and only reveal themselves during the journey, when we are actually travelling and working together. This is both because unpredicted things happen in business all the time, and because the journey itself changes us and what we’re able to see. It will be the evolution of ourselves and fellow travelers as well as the events occurring on the journey that will guide us as much as our plan to make and keep this journey deeply fulfilling and relevant for your business. At each stage, keeping front of mind the purpose, the ‘why’, will help us to be agile and targets around the ‘what’.
Building the Foundation Together
State of Heart in Action
Senior Team(s): Building the Foundation Together
- The corporate energy is an Executive responsibility.
- The corporate energy starts at the top. More than anyone else leaders impact state of heart of their organization, and have the capacity to transform it relatively quickly.
- There needs to be a heartfelt and intellectual commitment to the journey. It needs to connect with the organization’s purpose and strategy.
- We work in an ecosystem. Our energy is affected by and affects the people around us.
- Initial Intake: initiate dialogue with leaders to start developing meaningful relationships, and to hear their perspectives on the business, its leadership, its purpose, its state of heart, and their wishes for the work together
- Initial retreat: a uniquely experiential and inspiring team retreat laying the foundation for the journey, aiming both at transforming and galvanizing the energy in the team and align on the team’s role during the journey ahead
- Follow-up retreats (not necessarily workshops): minimum two touch-points to continue and further deepen our grounding on human energy, check-in on progress experienced so far, plus reflection on selected business challenges through the lenses of energy, ‘state of heart’ and the organization’s purpose.
- Team meetings: joint preparation, attendance and review of key meetings with a view to leverage and support the practical application of insights and
Individual Energy: Personal Transformation
- Transformation is an inside job: Further growing our capacity to positively impact and transform the energy around us is, in essence, a result of our own mindsets, awareness of the role of thought and feelings, as well as our consciousness.
- Putting energy in action: We often impact the “state of heart” of our organization in a very mundane way – on conversation at a time. The waves they create ripple through the organization.
- Integration: Building bridges between the very material aspects, needs and constraints and of leadership (budgets, hierarchy, processes) and the less materiel ones (minds and feelings) allows us to better integrate attention to the ‘state of heart’ in daily business activities.
- ‘Appreciative coaching’ to support leaders on their very personal journey in the context of nurturing and transforming corporate energy.
- Advisory with respect to hand-on business needs, challenges and opportunities that are either by the current state of energy or have potential to affect the energy in their part of the organization (e.g. events, meetings, situations).
- Developing skills to support their ability to be Chief Energy offices (e.g. mediation practice).
Organizational Energy: State of Heart in Action
- Application: Policies, procedures processes (not only but especially HR), the physical environment (in both offices and operational environments), communication (what and how), corporate events (why, what and how), training & development, and key business improvement initiatives etc. are all both a material reflections of our current or past mindsets and beliefs – they have ‘something to say’ – and impact, intentionally or not, the energy of large numbers of employers, in a very visible, tangible and memorable way. They are hence opportunities to impact and sustain the corporate energy.
- Scale: Impacting the human energy in our organizations is much more an emotional than an intellectual journey, a journey that takes place inside our hearts and minds. Information alone does not impact human behavior. If it did we’d just need to hand out a few more books, send more newsletters, or asses if ‘people live by our values’. There is hence great value in helping larger numbers of leaders in the emotional journey the senior team started. When the business size makes the investment worthwhile enabling leaders in the business to lead such interventions on their own can be a game changer.
Explore ways to allow efforts related to energy transformation support key existing business improvement initiates.
Identify opportunities to permanently integrate awareness of ‘corporate energy’ and ‘state of heart’ in existing leadership development initiatives.
Develop a plan to support internal communication initiatives to strengthen wide awareness of our work, nurture corporate wide excitement and engagement, and leverage interventions in ways that allow leaders to impact the corporate energy though their presence and humanity.
Joint review of key policies and procedures the lenses of their net impact on energy for main stakeholders, including employees, customers, community, environment
(if appropriate) training of leaders to engage wider part of the organization through “state of heart workshops”.
Co-design and delivery of next generation and truly experiential leadership development programmes.
How: Some guiding principles I believe in
- There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. Edith Wharton [read more…]
- You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him to find it within himself. Galileo [read more…]
People are not problems to be solved but mysteries to be appreciated. Anne Clancy [read more…]
- It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see. Henry David Thoreau [read more…]
- I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. Maya Angelou [read more…]
There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.
Have you ever tried to tell a friend or colleague about an inspiring journey or experience you’ve had, or a wonderful person you’ve met, or a situation that impacted the way you think or feel in some profound way? Chances are that even though you might have very eloquently and enthusiastically recounted the events, and even though the insights you gained might have ‘made sense’ to the person in front of you, the impact of your recollection was insignificant compared to what it means to you. Although profound and meaningful to you, telling each other what we had a chance to realize for ourselves, seems to dilute the depth and mystery of our realizations or somehow might even make them feel shallow or trivial. It’s your experience of the events, in the moment in time and with all that you are – your senses, your heart, your intellect, your soul – that mattered.
Whilst I happily bring all my life experience to the journey when and as needed, I see my role as creating environments where you can tap into your own wisdom and genius. Your wisdom can come forward through meaningful experiences, through the presence and experience of others, through dialogue and deep listening, as well as through self-emptying and contemplation providing space for fresh insight. On that path I am a mirror, and when needed a candle.
You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him to find it within himself.
I believe that true leadership is rooted in and nurtures the same qualities as true love. And whilst we probably all need to further nurture and grow these qualities, it occurs to me, they are already available – yet not necessarily always accessible.
We’re born with a healthy state of mind. We were born with the capacity to inspire, grow, learn, adapt, be curious, resilient, and present, to connect, give, receive, create, forgive, heal, contemplate, or be guided by intuition. When we watch young children, we can discover all these qualities in them – and it wasn’t us who thought them. Yet at times we can be caught in thought patterns, feelings or beliefs that limit our ability to tap into these innate capacities.
Our work and possibly life-long leadership journey seems hence less about intellectually learning more about these qualities, and more about awakening and accessing them. We can do that by becoming more mindful of when we are coming from them and when not, and practicing ways of thinking and being that nurture these healthy seeds more systematically than our less healthy ones – also and especially in the face of challenge.
People are not problems to be solved but mysteries to be appreciated.
I don’t see people I work with as ‘problems to be solved’, yet rather as fellow human beings who like me are ‘perfectly perfect with all their imperfections’ wanting to feel safe and happy.
My role is hence not to ‘fix’ anyone or teach others how to be ‘better leaders’. What gives me joy in life is to compassionately serve people on their journey towards re-discovering, embracing and expressing their true selves, so they shine even more brightly.
Personal and organisational transformation is for the most part not about adding thigs that we believe to be absent, but about subtracting what holds us back from accessing our natural abundant energy.
At times, growth means to return to where we were already.
It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.
Henry David Thoreau
It might sound simplistic, yet we can only shift what we’ve become aware of and accept. And that starts with attention. With attention comes awareness. With awareness comes choice. With acceptance comes action. As a result, I see my role in helping my clients shifting attention, in particular towards the role of thought, energy and consciousness and building bridges between these intangible aspects of life and work, and then more visible, material ones.
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
I believe that we grow most, as individuals and teams, when we enjoy the moment and each other’s presence. In an environment of gentle lightheartedness, we naturally tend to be more open to genuine self-discovery and exploring, and more capable to connect with each other, share openly and listen deeply. When we are able to listen with our hearts as well as with our ears, we hear so much more.