Organizational change begins with personal change. I’ve been enjoying this journey into Robert Quinn’s Deep Change and we are now embarking on Chapter 4. I’d like to pause here for a moment since it feels like we have been racing through the last three chapters. Or maybe its just me… I feel like it’s a race to get everything done before we get totally immersed in the events of the Christmas season. So pausing to take a deep breath is not a bad idea to remind us that it is the moments that take our breath away that truly give life its meaning.
What a great segue into this next chapter- finding meaning in our life. What a beautiful thing! Sometimes we allow the “busy-ness” of our lives to suck us into the spiral of things and it seems like we just move urgently from one task to another and there doesn’t seem to be any level of consciousness in the completion of one to-do item after another. When we are feeling like we are overwhelmed and we just can’t catch our breath, we should listen to our bodies and realize that we may be moving too quickly and it is time to step back and consider the meaning in all that we are doing.
Quinn (1996) reminds us that “The amount of energy we feel has much to do with the alignment between ourself and our surrounding environment. We can be aligned with our environment in such a way that we feel either strong and empowered or weak and powerless” (p. 41).
How aligned do you feel with your environment? Much of this alignment (or a sense of purposeful balance) is achieved when the relationships in our lives are all working like well oiled machines. When everything is “right” between you and your boss, everything is “right” between you and your employees, everything is “right” between you and your children and “right” between you and your spouse- then the world just feels RIGHT! But what does that rightness feel like? Well, it’s actually easier to describe what WRONGNESS feels like. If you are feeling:
- Trapped in your home life
- Insecure because you think that your boss favors the work of your peers over you
- Disappointed with your employees because they are just not doing what you need them to do
- Angry with your children because they didn’t finish their chores
- Resentful of your peers because you feel like you work harder than they do
- Overwhelmed with your place of worship because they call you when they can’t get anyone else to volunteer
This would be the definition of NOT being right with the world around you and this negative energy is sucking the life out of you!
“We have our greatest sense of joy and meaning when we connect with others in mutually enhancing ways. When we are disempowered, when we choose ‘peace and pay’, we do not create or attract mutually enhancing relationships. We are left to ourselves, depleted, tired, and disempowered” (Quinn, 1996, p. 42).
We must now find ways to get the energy balanced so that all becomes right with the world. But instead of looking for someone or something to change “out there somewhere”, we need to personally put out the effort to change ourselves. It is when we expect others to change that we compound the feelings of imbalance in ourselves and get further away from being in alignment. “But I don’t want to change. It’s not my problem. They are the ones that need to change, not me!” That may be true- they may have some things that need changing, but you are not responsible for changing them. We are only responsible for changing ourselves.
And this is where communication becomes the key. I am now talking about two types of communication- communication with others AND communication with ourselves. This is a BIG topic, so I am going to save communication with others and ourselves for the next posts.
Right at this moment the focus is on considering where in your life you feel out of balance due to the relationships being out of balance. Start noticing the times when you feel uncomfortable or uneasy. You will then begin to notice that it is because of some kind of relationships being out of synch with each other. Consider how you are contributing to that relationship being out of synch.
“New paradigms are created by engaging a new action path, one in which we must separate from the status quo and courageously face and tackle uncertainty” (Quinn, 1996, pp. 46-47).
Do you want a different kind of relationship with someone? What will you decide to do differently in order to create that new relationship? Remember that organizational change begins with personal change. What will you do differently today than yesterday on the path to becoming dynamically aligned?