Thanks to everyone who came to our first OpenSpace event on the Future of Work last week. We filled the beautiful room at Lumen and mapped the impact of our work on the wider world using creative and embodied processes. From the feedback, we hear this has generated fresh insights and a few surprises! As ‘conscious disruptors’, we are glad to know the status quo is getting a little shaken or stirred! We’ll be holding another OpenSpace early in 2018, so look forward to meeting more of you who are curious about what it takes to create a next generation organisation.
For all those who are Reimagining Work, there are a few places left at this event next Friday, July 14th, in London. Alison Wooding and Sarah James Wright are facilitating a session on ‘Supporting the Movement’ as part of a rich programme of contributors exploring a new consciousness at work. We’d love to see you there!
About seven years ago I was working with a group who were exploring a potential restructure that would affect the ownership and remuneration in the business. As the group sat talking, I noticed a dominant voice in the circle – that of the people who land the work. As I tuned in, I became aware that those who sought out and closed deals displayed an inherent sense of entitlement and worth.
As I continued to hold this in awareness, I heard the archetypal voice of Hunters. Out in the world, their job was to track down the target, make the kill and bring in the meat for all to feast upon. Spontaneously a village appeared in my mind’s eye. I saw a triumphant Hunter group returning home and witnessed their particular strength, skill and alertness. I could discern the same energy signature at work within the business conversation at hand.
I recognised the truth of this pattern in wider business culture and saw how it underpins current hierarchical structures and related beliefs about money-generation. The assumption that the ‘big earners’ hold power and maintain everyone else sets up a particular dynamic, in which those being maintained are rather beholden and dependent upon the money-bringers. In the case of the business group that day, it was expressed in a benign, fatherly way, but examples like Sport Direct present a different, more exploitative face of the uncaring business winner.
There and then, I wondered about other forms of organisation that might release greater potential and wealth-generation for everyone. As if in answer to the question, the scene shifted and I found myself viewing the village as a whole… seeing the basket weavers, the growers of plants, the nurturers, the healers, the entertainers, the elderly and many others. Extraordinarily, I saw that everyone was actively participating and that each was contributing something. They each had a place and purpose within the whole, regardless of age, gender, or the nature of their role.
In that moment, I registered something profound about value and contribution. That there can be a different template for wealth creation based on wholeness. We can build upon a different truth: that every human life is inherently valuable to the life of the whole. This is borne out in our GenerativeWork approach and many alternative systems being proposed in the field of New Economics.
Returning to the business conversation in hand, the purpose of the session was to explore a new organisational form. Knowing that the culture of this organisation was deeply creative and built upon awakened principles, I tuned in, sensing an opening and listening for systemic readiness. The tension in the space built, as different people proposed alternative ideas and forms of governance that would have changed the ownership structure. The emergent potential hovered momentarily and then the group directors closed the conversation down. Much like a wisp in the wind, the seed of potential moved on and the decision was made to keep the structure as it was.
I, in the meantime, took the precious seed to heart. Sarah and I continue to pioneer new potential that we know will fall upon fertile organisational ground at the perfect moment.