In the beginning I felt drawn to ‘self organisation’ simply because I am not a very good at managing others at work (nor did I want to..). Over the years I came to realise that self organisation also appealed to me at a much deeper level. It enables people to stay connected to themselves whilst working with others. And as a consequence it makes work more enjoyable and connections to others more authentic, energetic and valuable. As a fringe benefit it also proves to be much more effective way to achieve a common purpose.
Challenge however was to find a form of ‘self organisation’ that does not end in an unproductive chaos. The answer proves to be a mix of a clear purpose, dynamic structure and an inclusive culture supported by a very clear set of principles and rules. In short it boils down to:
1. A power shift from people to ‘purpose’, resulting in a hierarchy of purpose. With alignment with that purpose as benchmark for every decisions.
2. Moving from a static to a dynamic approach to organisation structure. Structure is constantly adapted to whatever is needed at that moment to get closer to the purpose.
Should I resolve my shoulder pain with a quick fix operation or should I change my personal behaviour in order to resolve the source of this pain? Should I go on pushing myself or accept a drop in income now in order to create space and time to secure a more suitable and sustainable source of income for the rest of my life?
Even in such crucial topics as our own health short term interests (such as income or defending our trusted assumptions in live) almost always prevail are even when they are counter productive on the long run. And actions focused on realising what is good for us on the longer term are being pushed forward. This is not only true at a individual level but at group level (in organisations, politics etc.). In long and fruitless debates (in our mind or with others) we strongly defend our personal short term interests leaving us with the unsatisfactory feeling of knowing that we harm ourselves in the long run.
Reason for me to bring this up is that when we manage to discuss that very same topic whilst putting our personal short term interest aside for a moment (which is a challenge in itself), it very quickly emerges that we usually hold a very similar or non-conflicting views on the ideal longer term solution….. It then becomes clear that what seamed to be a difference in opinions in fact is no more then our fear of the short term consequences of that solution for our personal interests. This realisation creates room to move our energy from building defence lines to clarifying these very understandable fears and helping each other to resolve these.
Holland village, Singapore, 1996
Purpose (version 1): Contribute to Quality of Life through enjoyable and regenerative interactions by creating an environment in which people feel save enough to open up and to connect to others through sharing of stories (without expectation) and listening (without judgement) supported by simple but delicious food and drinks.
3d QOLunch logo attempt
Sometimes when I react to somebody sharing personal ‘stuff’ I feel (or am told) that I can be a little patronising. That is not what I want and can now see 2 reasons for that:
1. Along with my reaction I can still have a (sometimes well hidden) intention to change / ‘help’ the other based on my ‘knowledge and experience’. Which I know to be unproductive / impossible and only results in distance instead of connection. Only remedy here is to truly let go of the urge to do that even when I see, feel or think that the other is in ‘pain ‘.
Hein & me somewhere in Utah
2. The other person is somehow is not ready or still programmed to hear my input ‘as if I know what is best for her or him’. Therefore I should always check very carefully if the other is truly asking for input from you and ready to receive it.
Simple mantra to raise above daily ‘obstacles’ and feel connected
View from Mandali, Lago d’Orta
My take on it’s meaning is: One (Ek) – Awareness (Aum) – Always (Kar)
My preferred version is by Satkirin Kaur Khalsa from her album Lightness of Being
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.
Eikando Zenrin-Ji temple Kyoto, August 2017
Valuable little booklet that summarises the essence of self-organisation. When tangled up in the day to day complexities of the transformation of a large organisation to self-organisation (which is partly still unchartered territory) it is nice to go back to the basic reasons and principles behind this valuable movement. Gives fresh inspiration and energy for the next stretch ;o).
I think I hit the bottom of my latest U (around how I will focus my energy in the coming period) somewhere this summer. What emerged were various expressions of ‘connectedness’ as a key component of my quality of life. Over the past few years I have come te realise at the experential level that my degree of connectedness is probably the single most determining contributor to my sense of well-being.
So it seems QOL will, for the time being, focus on the following four expressions of connectedness:
- Social (focus on connectedness between others): conflict resolution, QOL lunch restaurant, promotion of distributed leadership, QOL 154 practice center
- Nature (focus on connectedness with what is close-by): 2 year ‘rewild your senses‘ programme, next fase ‘samen gezond’, experimenting with permaculture
- Heart (focus on connectedness with oneself): help to remove ‘roadblocks’, observing without judgment, attending to extended family and friends, (at)tensions, vipassana
- Personal (focus on connectedness with myself): daily mini-retreats, attending to personal needs, next levels of acceptance, yoga