Guest blog by Christoph Hinske, ISC Senior Fellow
Building on my observations from 17 very different European groups, I shared in an earlier post about the similarities I found in their outcomes and experiences. In this post, I focus on some of the similarities in processes and structures I found. These processes and structures support the outcomes and experiences I described in the earlier post.
I find that it is important to realize that your processes and structures are different and what makes them different from groups experiencing lower levels of harmonic vibrancy. In many groups I have visited this awareness is somewhat unconscious, described as “the magic that makes us so successful” or something like that. As I said in my last post, despite the presence of my kids, I do not believe in “magic” or things that cannot be understood and explained. And, most excitingly, this is something I have in all groups at high levels of Harmonic Vibrancy. I also find that those groups state, after mirroring back their diagnostic results, that for the first time they understand their magic. One team member literally said, “I have my bookshelf full of cutting-edge leadership and management literature, and I was always frustrated since I found no answer to the question of what makes us different. I could never really grasp it and make it manageable. For the first time, I start to see what it is that makes us so extremely efficient and effective (successful). I also start to understand that it is possible to multiply our success, which I never thought it was AND I understood that living into the harmonic and vibrancy we experience on a daily basis is continuous and it is hard work on a daily basis.”
To support this experience of “magic,” another interesting aspect I found was they have structures and processes that allow the emergence of a balanced amount and interplay of male and female leaders/drivers. These groups are very clear that it is not the mere fact of having a quota of woman or men (this is a big topic now in Germany), rather it is much more about the kind of energy and impulse or gesture that we still attribute more to male or females, such as the suggestion that males are more dominant and polarizing and women more balancing and harmonizing. In these highly vibrant groups I have identified, those abilities and competences are both present, in the men and in the women. For me this was enlightening, since I understood that while important and crucial for the future success of Germany, part of the discussion we have in Germany is not relevant. It is not about men and woman, rather about the ability to live masculine and feminine energies at the same time. Here is the point that the experience of these high vibrancy groups make so clear: we have to differentiate between a) the fairness aspect of giving men and women the same chances, b) the competences and abilities to enact one’s feminine and masculine energies, and c) the processes and structures one needs to create a high performing social system.
I also see that these groups tend to share a very strong agreement on the deeper common cause and vision/ mission. These groups have a wide variety of practices and processes to ensure that everyone can step into the shared vision and purpose. They range from massive online and offline network events, and changing focus topics every year to “simple” structures, such as selecting somebody in the company you will do something good for within a given time frame.
These groups deeply value new contributions, as long as they align with their mission and vision. In this way, they are able to integrate innovations and new practices and stay focused. One particularly intriguing process is to give employees 10-20% free time to develop anything they like and contribute to the bigger idea of the company. They get the possibility to do this work together with external persons and are invited to combine efforts with other employees, to augment their time budgets. As soon as the employee or the group of employees (including the external persons) are ready to share what they have developed, they have the possibility to invite an “internal pitch meeting” to present their product or idea. Members from all levels of the organization then decide whether resources and structures will be made available. To ensure compliance with external stakeholders, top management has a veto right. I myself was just part of such a process and it is mind blowing how fast and easy it was to manifest an innovative product and integrate it into the business model of the organization.
In my next post (#4 of 4), I will talk about some of the similar fundamental assumptions I find in those groups.