Tapping into your Team’s unseen potential

Have you ever looked at the people sitting nearby you in the office and wonder what they do all day? I used to work in large open space offices and wonder how it was possible that so few people were interacting with each other on a regular basis. There were plenty of meetings taking place, for sure, but the agenda was always predetermined and it seemed even the outcome. Each person taking part kept saying the same things from the same perspective. The same topics were discussed over and over but rarely were there new ideas discussed or new ways of making the organisation more successful created.

Now you may think that this is a very generalist and judgemental thing for me to write and have I not created this blog to raise awareness of non-judgement. But please bear with me as I’m trying to make a point. I’m trying to show you that without being aware we make a lot of assumptions about how organisations should function and we thereby keep recreating the same outcomes, like getting stuck in a cul-de-sac, with the challenges around us growing larger and larger.  We judge our colleagues based on observations & assumptions including their job titles, seniority, educational and cultural background without tapping into their unseen potential. Many organisations are stuck in a vicious circle of strategy definition and organisational restructuring to meet the increasing challenges they are experiencing. Management consultants are guiding these organisations in lengthy and costly change management processes which seem to be never-ending projects and often a handing over of own decision responsibility to consultants who have little or no hands-on experience in the specific industry. In the meantime the challenges we see in the world are increasing and despite more and more effort is being placed around solving them, its having the opposite effect.

One of the biggest struggles seems to me that these challenges (I actually like to see them more as opportunities!) are evolving so rapidly, leading to especially large organisations having trouble adapting. In my opinion part of the solution comes from changing our expectations of how organisations should function. How are organisations structured? Which importance do we give to job security vs the space to be creative? How do we view seniority & experience vs fresh ideas & perspectives from young minds? What is the ratio between decision makers and decision followers & executors? How diverse are the backgrounds of employees vs the global nature of the challenge (or opportunity) they are wishing to address? To summarise: which processes underly the way organisations function to date? If you look closely you may find that most organisations are governed by similar processes, like the way an operating system underlies all programs on a computer. And how do most of us feel when working under these operating systems? Do we feel creative and respected or are we being pushed into competing with our colleagues and fearing for our jobs?

New ideas and creative solutions can only come from new perspectives and there is a sea of untapped potential in the minds of those around you. I believe that each human being holds a unique key of knowledge and wisdom. By combining these keys we can unlock our true potential. But so many of us are afraid of speaking out because we think we should stick to what we know (and what we are being told & paid to do) instead of trusting our intuition. We need to connect our ideas, respect each others unique views and opinions and make decisions for the common good. We need to create platforms and new structures inside and across organisations for sharing information and coming up with creative solutions to growing challenges.

What does all this have to do with global peace and non-judgement? Well, I believe that peace can only exist if all members of our society are treated fairly and with respect, and this is only possible if the views & needs of everyone are taken equally into account. We need to get off the hamster wheel and open our minds. We need to start communicating and working together at a whole new level.

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