It’s another typical project. Someone in senior management decided that you need a system change. I’ve seen it many times. In one company, a new CIO decided that all the IT mainframe systems being built by teams that had achieved CMM process efficiency should be switched to an application server environment, in a new language, and using XP (Extreme programming methods). The articulated benefit? Measures of success? Unclear. Was it accomplished? Heck no. The mainframe systems still exist twenty years later and the CIO is long gone. This type of behavior leaves me, and I am sure many others, frustrated and disempowered in the corporate world. I don’t even like the word corporate. It’s like the word meeting; it evokes a feeling of cumbersome, minimally useful activities. Dry instead of wildly vibrant. Let’s come up with a new word for “company.” I recommend WITH – a Wildly Inspired Team of Humans. The word with also suggests that we don’t exist and work alone, we exist and work together.
Success first starts with recognizing that your WITH’s key ingredient isn’t just people or teams, it’s humans. After all, we do call them human resources. “Aren’t people humans?”, you ask? Yes, but it’s overused and generic, so let’s change the vernacular to ensure we think about things a bit differently. Humans are not like computers, with simply a logical component into which we can program algorithms and input data. They are wildly unique and creative beings. They not only bring intellect to bear on a problem, but they also bring, if invited, an extensive toolkit of personality, talents, and intuition, intuition being that creative spark that makes them different than anything else on the planet. You might say yes, I know humans are different – but are you truly treating them that way? Are you fostering that humanness to not only create an environment where they can thrive but cultivating your WITH to create something that only your collective group of humans can bring into the world?
I believe that to get the best out of your teams, you need to:
- When humans are passionate about what they are doing, it transforms it from their work to their vocation. They come eager to contribute and are inspired to make things happen. Paint a picture of how your WITH is creating a better world and how each human is a part of that.
- When humans have autonomy with their work when they can make decisions and are invested in the outcome. It transforms corporations into committed teams of passionate individuals – WITHs. Create a compass for them and let them forge their trail.
Create a Habitat.
- Having the right environment in which to thrive is vital. Operating procedures turn into enabling agile methods. Meetings turn into discussions. Physical environments turn into habitats. Create someplace, whether is physical or digital, where humans want to hang out.
It’s a natural alliance – the joining of Wildly Inspired Teams of Humans with the science of understanding and becoming wildly human. This science is Yoga. It’s not Psychology, which focuses mainly on the mental and physical elements of being human, but is a holistic exploration of both the body and the energetic lifeforce that sparks each of us. It’s exploring the intangible forces housed within us that enable us to transform imagination into stunning reality. It’s the cosmic glue that unites us.
So if yoga is the study of humanness, what can we reuse in our WITH?
- Intention. Unlike a goal, an intention is defining a way of being, a guiding direction. Can you succinctly state the desired state of your WITH so that it can effectively act as true North, guiding the decisions of your humans? Not a mission statement that gets dusted off in company meetings, but something with a pulse, that is created by the whole WITH and inspires all decisions and creations. Sometimes it’s also important to have balanced scorecards or metrics, but leaving it more open may create true inspiration in ways you could have never imagined. Intentions enable humans to embrace a compelling reality and bring their unique gifts to bear in making it happen.
- Sadhana. Practices that support your intention and ensure a balance of being and doing. Can you create an environment that nurtures mindfulness and reflection as well as creation and doing? Encouraging practices like meditation, time in nature, and retrospectives ensure that humans are recharging and tapping into intuitive creativity as well as their intellect. It goes beyond teambuilding and nurtures the very core of who we are.
- Mantra. A word or short sentence that reflects value or a way of being, and supports your intention. It uplifts each human in your WITH.
- Mandala. A creation of beauty without attachment. We can use the learning of honoring humans over creations to foster experimentation, learning from mistakes, and continual learning. Cultivate a successful WITH over-attachment to a specific outcome.
- Manifest. In yoga, we see the world as energy. If we can harness that energy, we can manifest changes in the world. Creative intuition resides in all of us, so create what only humans can. Marrying the collective intellect and intuitiveness of your humans will result in outcomes that exceed anything you could have defined and directed.
Does this resonate with you? Do you want to be a source of change? Consider these next steps.
- Engage in the study of being wildly human: yoga. We can only teach and inspire what we know, so embark on a journey to explore this ancient science and to truly understand and embrace your humanness. Sound too time-consuming? Want a faster path? If your answer is yes, you’re noncommittal and your WITH will just be another fad that quickly fizzles. More on the intellect side and like data? Conduct your own research: the number of books and articles about mindfulness and intuition in the world and the workplace is growing every year.
Yup. That’s right. Just a single step. No magical formula. But once you engage in the study of yoga, you’ll light a flame that can’t be extinguished. There are many forms of yoga – both physical and meditative practices, both traditional and more mainstream – so find what works for you. Once you have established your practice, you’ll not only be ready but compelled, to bring it into your life and your life’s work.