Looking back at my time with the NL Healthcare initiative I believed then that I had gradually managed to create an environment in which the people I worked with could feel free to express alternative, far-out or contradicting views. Although this was probably relatively true when compared to most other institutions, it doesn’t mean it was also true in absolute terms…
Leaving your comfort zone…?
Although creating a safe environment is very important to me, my focus was mainly on aspects that confirmed this belief and not enough on to the signals that there was still much room for improvement! In doing so I based myself on false assumptions: main one being that if people (based on their experience, knowledge or intuition) knew of a better way they would speak up. As a consequence (even as early practitioners of distributed leadership principles) we did not live to the potential of the organisation.
Since I have been working on identifying my ‘limiting beliefs’ and my bias for information that confirms them. Probably triggered by a combination of fear of the unknown and not yet banned ‘subtle’ mechanisms to influence others. As a consequence I was disconnected from what was real and needed at any one point in time. And did not meet my authentic desire to create a safe environment for those around me…
Just being aware of these limiting beliefs and of a tendency confirmation bias is not enough to resolve this. Moving forward I therefor strive to contain my fears and transform my beliefs into working hypothesises. So I still take them seriously but now try to:
- open myself for (far-out) alternatives
- look for contradicting view points
- be alert for what small signals tell me
- and in general to stay curious
And accept that I did the best I could at the moment and that there will always be room for further improvement…..