Evolving Human Beings
The last essential element for creating coherent leadership teams, conditions that enable Flow, and thereby, an adaptive organization is “evolving human beings”. This statement suggests that many people in the workplace are not evolving, and are instead stuck in automatic patterns of perception, reaction, thinking and relating to others, and this is indeed my experience. Careful observation will reveal that we are far more automated, far less flexible beings than we would like to believe. Just try changing a deeply engrained habit and we see how powerful our habits are.
What we tend not to realize is, even our perceptions of the world are programmed by our conditioning. This means our entire world view differs from others in ways we often do not realize, resulting in conflicts and disconnects that make working together very difficult. There is a saying that the enemy of human evolution is comfort. If we are comfortable, not challenged, we sink into an automatic pilot trance, and our world becomes flat, predictable, and unresponsive to changes in our environment. For better and for worse we now live in a world that is only comfortable if you’re not paying attention.
Competition is so intense that, the leadership team on automatic pilot is going to be outcompeted by the company that is paying attention to what is needed to make the most of current circumstances. The world is now so complex that individual leaders can’t meet the challenge. Shared leadership is what is required. But shared leadership is an intense activity. It brings out the best in us, but it also puts us under stress, highlights our weaknesses, and forces us to grow. Some of us don’t take immediately to that opportunity, and need some help. This is where executive coaching, 360 degree reviews, personality profiles and career counseling become very important.
Evolving human beings learn a surprising thing, that there is intelligence beyond the ego -that voice that is incessantly talking in our head that loves to take credit and avoid blame and wants to believe that it solves every problem and makes every decision. Research and experience has clearly shown that the ego is not what solves problems. In actuality, a vast system of unconscious inner resources does the work for us. Some call it intuition, some call it gut, but anyone who has gone to bed thinking about a problem and discovered the solution popping into their head in the shower in the morning has experienced this truth.
With this realization comes the beginning of freedom from the inner ego tyrant, and at the same time, it becomes much easier to accept the second truth, which is “intelligence beyond myself”. Evolving human beings come to the realization that engaging more people creates better solutions, and taking credit less creates better engagement and ownership.
To really grasp the significance of the value of evolving as a human being, we need a more accurate understanding of what we really are. For starters we are not the ego. The ego desperately wants you to believe it is you, but it is only a psychological function. It is the conscious mind, which really acts as a kind of interface with our unconscious processes. It is very limited in its functioning, good at solving simple problems, making simple plans, making simple critiques, perceiving the world in limited, automatic ways. When we have deeper insight, more profound perception and understanding, it is another part of us that is acting in us. We might call it the witness, or the true self, or the individuality. It has often been called the soul. It is our consciousness, which can access deeper levels of our functionality, and when it is present we have what are called peak experiences. When we have these experiences with others, we experience unity, we discover the place in which we are one.
The reason why the experience of Flow is so profound is, in Flow we experience this deeper level of our being, in ourselves and in others. This is where bonding takes place. This is how real teams are formed. An organization where people can experience this deeper level of being is a place where people go beyond themselves to be of service because it is at this level that human values, the values of self-actualizers operate and motivate action.