I was having a discussion with a man who has become an effective change agent. In the flow of our conversation, he named a global company. He said that he recently spent three hours with the top team. Later the CEO declared that more was accomplished in those three hours than in any of the long-term consulting relationships he had ever experienced.
I asked my friend how this was possible. He explained that he spends an entire day to prepare for each such meeting. He seeks to get every detail correct. Then the meeting starts, and he immediately releases his carefully constructed plan. Instead of holding his connection to the plan, he establishes a connection with the people.
His prime objective is to “create a space where change is possible.” His strategy is to become fully authentic and fully present. He seeks to change the group by changing himself. He seeks to provide a model that makes it safe for others to express their authentic selves.
He makes these self-changes in many small ways. He said, for example, that he is very bad with remembering names. Yet, in preparing, he invests heavily in learning the names of everyone in the group, even large groups. Because of his preparation, within ten minutes he is calling everyone by their first name.
He says that bringing change is dependent on making connections and building trust. “It is only when they feel fully safe that it becomes possible to peel away the deep layers that make up their existing meaning system.” As the layers are peeled away, new meaning emerges. The people have new desires, and they feel empowered to do new things.
- Why would this man accomplish more in three hours than any long-term consultant?
- What is sacred space? What is peeled away in sacred space, and why does a new meaning system emerge?
- How does the man create sacred space? What is required to be a person who regularly establishes sacred space?
- How can we use this passage to create a more positive organization?