Summer Reading Series Installment 3 of 4
– Organizational Transformation: Liberating the Corporate Soul, Richard Barrett
Frank found that Richard Barrett’s seven-level hierarchy provided a useful model for thinking about what was needed to bring spirit and meaning to his organization. Sitting in his home office during one of his early-morning R & R (reflection and renewal) periods, he thought to himself, “I can see that I allowed myself to become a victim of our short-sighted management culture — both personally and professionally.
Our company has been locked into the lower levels. At the beginning, we needed to focus on survival (Level 1), then build relationships (Level 2), and then become more efficient and productive (Level 3). The problem is we haven’t moved up any further in the growth hierarchy.
By failing to grow in spirit, our basic needs have stagnated into greed for both more money and power. It’s never enough. We’re all tuned into radio station WIFM — What’s In it For Me. I need to find a way to help people through the transformation I’ve personally gone through (Level 4) and into the higher orders of spirit and meaning represented by Levels 5 to 7.”
Frank focused on leading his division to higher levels of consciousness. From there he hoped to influence or inspire his peers, boss, and the rest of the company to evolve as well. Frank read books and searched key phrases like “spirit in the workplace,” “soulful leadership,” and “culture change.” He even took time off to attend an international conference on business and consciousness.
At that conference he participated in a workshop led by a very experienced and knowledgeable transformation consultant whose books he had read and admired. Frank peppered her with questions on the specifics of taking her noble and uplifting ideas, and applying them in his workplace.
But all he seemed to get from her in reply were vague generalities. Sensing his frustration, she approached Frank after the session and said, “I’m sorry I wasn’t able to give you the simple formula you were looking for. But attaining higher levels of being isn’t a paint-by-numbers project. Part of it is about readiness. Some people and organizations are more ready then others for the transformation from ‘what’s-in-it-for-me’ to ‘what’s-best-for-the-common/greater-good.’
We must each find what works for our own unique personalities, corporate culture, and individual team members. It’s like trying to find a path in a field of newly fallen snow.
Once we walk across the field, we’ve discovered our path.”
Next week Installment Four: Redefining the Role of Leadership
Click to download the entire 4 part series as a PDF