FORWARD21 is a weekly newsletter with top hand-picked forward thinking human and workplace advice and resources for 21st-century executives, leaders, and change agents.
New Conversations Are the Core Mechanism that Enables Us to Create Better Futures
I am fortunate to have spoken with so many leading-edge business and thought leaders. My questions and the way I do the interviews seem to help leaders share the deeper side of their work and how they see the world.
One of the cumulative impacts of having this experience is that it heightens and advances your own more profound understanding of the human condition and your conditioning too.
Why is this important?
Because it brings about a deeper understanding and capacity to have new conversations.
When I started having new conversations⏤initially through my interviews at 5 Minutes to Process Improvement Success and Exploring Forward Thinking Workplaces⏤I was surprised (or maybe even shocked) at what I was hearing and learning.
In time, I realized that I was creating the conditions for new conversations to occur and for wisdom to emerge.
All of which remarkably begins to change you from the inside out.
And when you change from the inside out, what goes on inside quiets down. You become more open and less reactive⏤and less judgmental.
Or, as Aviv Shahar says in my interview with him, you begin to “appreciate the human condition and your own conditioning too.”
This remarkably leads you to bigger and more empowering new conversations.
A Place to Start
Getting to a place of greater self-insight and doing the work I am doing is for me the place Aviv points to in this quote:
Whether people know it or not, they long for self-insight and for getting themselves back. When you get yourself back, that’s a big part of perhaps what you’re looking for. Because inside it, you get to appreciate the human condition and your own conditioning too.
I’d suggest this is a place many are looking to discover to move their lives and what they care about forward.
Getting yourself into new conversations is a fantastic way and perhaps unexpected way to harvest who you are and the creative part of you.
It also connects you to the field where new ideas and everything else comes from. You become a vortex or focal point for a conversation and a new future to unfold.
We can all enter this space.
One of the more interesting events that unfolded during this interview was when Aviv decided to turn the tables on me ask me to share “the why” behind my opening question.
I shared with Aviv that for the third time in my career after getting a transformation project to a point of success, new executives take over, and all the work that was done falls away. So that’s when I set an intention to have an impact on how organizations transform.
One of the first things I came up with was an interview series called 5 Minutes to Process Improvement Success. The leading question was, “What is your best Improvement strategy that has worked really well for you?”
From the beginning, I rarely got an answer about process improvement. It was always something deeper. It was all about trust, understanding the status quo, and things of that nature. It surprised me (and others), and that ignited an inner leader journey for me as I started to look at the deeper side of things.
After I did 50 interviews, I felt this was never about process improvement, and it was silly to go on in this direction. I set it aside to see if something new would show up. A year and a half later, a new set of questions came together.
In response to my explanation for my opening question, “How do we create workplaces where every voice matters, everyone thrives and finds meaning, and change and innovation happen naturally?” Aviv suggested the following rephrasing:
Imagine a workplace where every voice matters, everyone thrives and finds meaning, and change and innovation. They happen naturally. Imagine such a workplace. Now tell us please what had to become true to enable such an emergence.
Aviv responded with a fascinating series of answers that I encourage you to read in the full interview.
Here are a few of my favorite takeaways from the interview:
- If we reframe our questions so that they are anchored in a desired state rather than in a place of want and scarcity, we can bring forward the intelligence and energy to address the want.
- Nothing energizes and liberates people more than the opportunity to shape and create their own future.
- People long for self-insight and for getting themselves back, which can bring you to a place of appreciating the human condition and your own conditioning.
- When we are given the opportunity to influence and shape our destiny, it unleashes incredible power, creativity, and resourcefulness.
- Imagine a day at work when you feel energized and excited about what we are doing here and about your contribution. Describe what you’re doing.
- We lead and transform our environments and organizations through conversation.
There’s a lot more in the full interview, so I hope you will pick up a copy of The Future of the Workplace and discover how to create better futures with Aviv Shahar!
What people are saying about The Future of the Workplace –
Clear, unvarnished learning from the experience of others, Bill’s book is a solid read.
Jon KeslerPrincipal for Enterprise Transformation, MITRE
FORWARD21: top articles that got my attention
How to Have Conversations that Trigger Game Changing Results⎜Aviv Shahar and Bill Fox
Wicked Leadership ⎜Miljan Bajic
A Maverick Futurist’s Vision ⎜John Renesch
Creating New Futures⎜Aviv Shahar
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To your great work life & success!
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