In this 3-part series we share the insights that emerged from our Human Potential Summit in September. During these two and a half days, 20 visionary change-makers came together to look at the theme of SUSTAINABILITY through fresh eyes. We took an honest look at the current state of affairs, painted a compelling vision of a future reality and experimented with new mindsets, language, behaviours and rituals. In the depth of this experimentation we discovered what it takes to move from a Sustainability to a Thrive-Ability paradigm.
In the first part of this article we broke down all the different ways in which Sustainability can drive the performance of an organization, and identified HUMAN POTENTIAL Realization as the next frontier for value creation. Now, in the second part of this series we explore in more details WHY it is imperative that we move from a SUSTAINABILITY to a THRIVEABILITY paradigm and WHAT this means in the context of organizations.
1. THERE IS AN URGENT NEED FOR THRIVEABILITY
The following image represents some of the visual notes coming out of the SUMMIT. It contrasts the “current state of affairs” on the left, as experienced by a diverse group of different stakeholders (including employees, coaches, sustainability professionals and change agents), with a new vision that we are aspiring to, and know is possible (on the right).
When we take a closer look at the left part of this image we can clearly see that the current system is in breakdown. Too few organizations are genuine harbourers of Human Potential realization or, in other words, a safe place for people to bring their FULL SELVES into work. Too often it’s the system that dictates how people show up and what they should, or shouldn’t, be working on.
Traditional motivations such as bonuses, promotion and status keep us in a constant race against ourselves, and each other. Whilst most organizations claim to be working for the good of mankind (for example: making the world easier, cheaper, better, pleasant, more sustainable, green etc), consumers are hardly presented with anything that they can say YES to from the bottom of their hearts: inspiring products, inspiring services, inspiring examples, inspiring messages, inspiring leaders – where are they? When we are really honest with ourselves we come to the conclusion that noble causes are regularly misused to serve the self interests of the corporation.
This has an impact on the organization. Employees feel and sense the ambiguity or incongruence, also because they are consumers themselves. Motivation drops, burn outs appear, trust is low and organizations become ‘hollow shells’ devoid of any humanity. Circumstances for Human Potential optimization and thrive-ability are lacking.
Yet, as expressed on the right side of the above image, there is a widespread desire, amongst leaders, employees, consumers and coaches for change. A desire for organizations and communities where people come first. Where there is genuine interest in the well being of each individual and a curiosity to experiment with all talents for the sake of a better world.
2. WE ARE ALL LEADERS AND ALL HAVE A ROLE TO PLAY
During the Summit we all had the opportunity to step into, and experiment with our own leadership style. We role modelled what it would be like if every individual, every employee had the opportunity to unlock their greatness, no matter the role they have in the organization. They might be in a leadership position in business, politics or elsewhere. They can be working in the HR or sustainability departments. They can be coaches or consultants. They can be consumers. It doesn’t matter. As long as they yearn for true impact and are courageous enough to step into the ‘I don’t know’ space between where we are today and the future we know is possible. Clearly a growing group of people is willing and ready to embrace this “space in between” and rely on the INNER knowing rather than the “expertise” of others.
3. WHAT MIGHT THESE ORGANIZATIONS OF THE FUTURE LOOK LIKE?
During the Summit we envisioned these organizations as supporting eco-systems that aim to bring together people in their grand splendor. Rather than meticulously designed by so-called experts, they are co-created organically based on the collective wisdom of the different stakeholders. Forces are joined and everyone has ownership. There is freedom to choose and people are encouraged to find their own unique ways of contributing to the collective objective. Authenticity is celebrated. There is trust, people listen and share their truth, and are encouraged to manifest their inner gifts. One might say that the organizations of the future are a mothership of FULL POTENTIAL realization. People feel useful. There is space to relax, to go back to the source and come from oneness. These organizations simply need to create the conditions for people to thrive, empower them to shine in their wholeness and trust in the collective wisdom. The breakthroughs in performance that result from these evolved organizations will be exponential in nature.
This new organizational paradigm may appear impractical or even irresponsible from a business point of view but there is more and more evidence emerging that greater levels of Human Potential Realization is the key to unlocking the next frontier of value creation.
After having assessed the landscape of how Sustainability adds value in organizations, and now looked at WHY it is so important to bring a greater focus on Human Potential Realization, in part 3 of this paper we will take a deeper look at HOW organizations can create the conditions for their people to THRIVE.