#172 – Development of Humans as Self-Directed Whole Beings

Show Notes

Article critiqued in this episode:

The Skills Of The Future Are Now Clear: And Despite What You Think, They’re Not Technical

From this episode:

We have no institutions or infrastructure in any organization that intentionally and rigorously develops whole humans. We see the need for training the functional skills, even behavioral skills, but not the management and development of being (choosing who I am at any moment of situations) or development for of our will (what we seek to serve take on that demands we extend beyond current motives)

In this episode:

This episode is about capability building and development. The idea came from a Microsoft leader, looking for a regenerative perspective on the idea of shifting away from training for skills and behaviors, but instead around capabilities and mindsets. We explore how functional and behavioral skills relate to the growing of unique ableness in each individual.

Carol shares four focuses when working with companies to embed practices that develop whole humans:

  1. Ongoing education applied to work in development of functions of being and will
  2. Infrastructure where people know stakeholder’s lives deeply and are committed to push all boundaries for making a difference with particular stakeholders beyond the institution whether family, classroom or job
  3. Individual requirement that people use this to develop promises to those stakeholders to make their lives work powerfully and to grow and develop themselves to be able to fulfill that promise.
  4. Organizations provide the resources to manage all of this for the advancement of such work

Transcript

Zac: WELCOME back to Business Second Opinion Podcast. we’re always excited to bring you another episode:

But first…WE want to welcome this month’s sponsor. No wait! Time for a Change. Time for up leveling our show and partners to an acceleration of The Regenerative Paradigm. We are opening up Sponsorship to those who relate to our Work and Worldview, want to associate their name with us and vice versa. In the end we want for these folks to value the idea of sponsoring disruptive and thought provoking dialogues. Maybe they use our podcast content in their organizations and associations to uplift thinking. So we are opening our sponsorship to new and additional sponsors starting in June. If you can’t get enough of Zac and Carol and the contrarian view of Business Second Opinion, ask for a prospectus and proposal. Also we are about to launch The Regenerative Media Company that will  be adding a TV channel, called Regenerative Life Hacks, on YouTube, having conversations that are both quirky and compelling. Real stories and experiences that wake up people, their organizations and communities to a Regenerative paradigm. Email carol@carolsanford.com for more info on sponsorship and shows.

We are excited about the idea of you joining with our new media company

Business Second Opinion Podcast digs deep to explore questions about business and business practice. In the process of examining them, we give you a second opinion, usually a contrarian opinion, but one that is well tested and proven to give the outcomes you really want without the side effects. And by the way, if you want to learn more about how to work more closely with us, stay tuned at the end of the show.

I am Zac Swartout, and always with me is Carol Sanford, our inhouse positive contrarian. Who responds to big and hard questions with a radically different take. 

Hey Carol

Carol: Hi Zac, tell people how we came to today’s subject.

Zac: So our subject today is all about capability building & development. We got an inquiry from a leader at Microsoft. He said he’s recently been approached by senior management to help them to shift away from training for skills and behaviors, but instead around capabilities and mindsets. He was curious what we thought about this and if regeneration has a perspective to offer. Carol…what do we think about development & capability building?

Carol: So we have a take on development. In fact, it is the foundation to our work. There are four ways, of course, four levels which we can think about skills of the future from. Four paradigms and you can see it in this struggle.

Zac: It is interesting how we have four ways of viewing the world but we rarely really use them to make sense of decisions and issues that arise. I first became aware of their value when I had to look at a recent client project. I was mired in the weeds of the scope and kept finding myself worrying constantly about preventing the project from going off the rails. I took a step back and reworked the entire project through the lens of the 4 paradigms. What I saw was a new way to approach our relationship and upgrade how we work with them, for their customers and stakeholders. It was really shocking to see the level of thinking I had collapsed into – and how that was really holding the whole project back.

Carol: Regeneration or living systems is the most systemic paradigm and it gives us the ability to understand complexity that is splintering us as nations, organizations, and families. But it also gives us a design framework for change and innovation

Zac: Right it always starts with what capacity or capability is missing that restrains thinking, decision-making and acting. And particularly for doing so in a way that is more aligned. All problems, confusion, issues, shortfalls, if viewed as a capability problem, I think would look very different.

Carol: What does that mean? Give me an example.

Zac: We had a project go pretty sideways on us last year. I noticed throughout the course of that shoot that I was looking to blame everyone for what was missing or failing to happen smoothly. Afterwards – our team took a big step back and I hosted a 3 hour call where we all worked a framework together to reflect on what had happened. What we all noticed was that it wasn’t that each of us were malicious, foolish, or just straight up incompetent – we all were striving to do better but didn’t have a personal or companywide aim to align us to do so. Once we all saw that we all had a capability to build – it created a deeper alignment and appreciation for one another and our work immediately. It gave us a way forward.

Carol: Let’s compare that to other ways of looking at problems, confusions, issues, shortfalls and how we take on change.

Zac. Right, if we can stop and do that it gives us a path to answer our Microsoft leaders question. And why it is not technical skills that are needed now

Carol: The first level of ableness that is usually assumed is steps or things to do that need to be given. This leads us to adopting programs where some expert has decided the template. Technical is here but also procedural ideas. 

Zac: Right, like change how we do something. Get a best practice and get everyone doing it that way. Then get it to be ubiquitous. Like creating job descriptions and work standards from a 3rd party.

Carol: The second one is what Bersin calls Behavioral Skills like teamwork, business understanding, and leadership. The human skills that cannot be done by machines. Zac, what did you notice about his list of skills that we used to call soft skills. And why do we tend to resort to such ideas? How do they fit into the mix

Zac: They are all what HR folks call interpersonal skills. I think you find a lot of these on personality tests and HR assessment tests of all kinds. They are easy to assess, generic – but really don’t tell you a lot about the person.

Carol: Why are they useful but limited? What is missing from and sources this thinking?

Zac: They are useful insofar as they can tell you a baseline of how helpful, considerate, smart, and flexible someone is. But again these are all personality level traits. They assume that personality is fixed and binary. You either are these things or you aren’t and the training we deploy is aimed at making you these things. In the end it dismisses everything about the core of what it means to be human. 

Carol: The third level are the new growth category. Like emotional intelligence, complex problem solving. The same limits we see in the first two arise here and why they are not really the next skills. They are externally determined by others, they are all generically defined for all and they are functional and can be picked up with the senses. On the surface. The third one is also but adds a list of ideals and sensitive energy to the mix. 

Zac: Like empathy and compassion. The goal here is to see people as individuals and creative beings. This level really shifts leadership to a shared responsibility to where more being is included. It adds something of a level of connection to oneself and others to be sure. But it still lives at the level of externally determined ideals that limit essence development both for the individual and the organization.

Carol: The fourth level paradigm in developing people is hard for most people to conceive of. It is specific to each person and is dimensionalized in them as people. 

Zac: Right, there are no ideals to which everyone is held. No list of behaviors. And that is important because its intent is to reveal essence thinking as a core to the development of will, being, and functional capabilities. You don’t get caught in the trap of personality, from which all these other levels are derived.

Carol: The skills are not skills but ableness to be who we want in any moment and situation; ableness to direct our motivation, energy and choices about how to think as well as to be able to evolve our ability to be innovative in what we do. We are not just agile, but alive and becoming all the time, not just a new level of being good at something. 

Zac: Skills is about doing and function which all the ideas here are pointed at. This is all about the self we can train to do better. This is all driven from someone else’s ideas about how to do things.

Carol: The Regenerative paradigm is about being more able every day, month and year to be. So when I am younger, I can’t manage my emotions and I seek out safe environments. We teach leaders to create psychological safety for people. The new ableness is not one that is reactive to things they used to be frightened of. You don’t need to manage the environment for them so they feel safe. They have the ability to see and catch themselves in an internal dialogue that makes up meaning that scares them. I know this has happened for you Zac and you have moved beyond old ways of being and can manage you in difficult situations.

Zac: When I was in business school I was steeped in a lot of the lower order training. Our leadership and personal development curriculum worked all of the lower three levels, but in particular the 3rd, level where there was a lot of sensitive energy work. While this made everyone feel safe to share deep dark struggles, it was never aimed at anything in particular. It wasn’t tied to a project, or a customer. It happened outside the curriculum. It created safety to be sure, but that didn’t help me to see how that was all connected to work aims. Over time there was a general sense that we were all not really in the “real world”. It was a safe bubble, but it didn’t help me to manage me in real time in a work context.

Carol: There are hundreds of these inner being management “skills” that require growing into a different person. Like overcoming our self-centeredness or getting beyond our certainties about how the world works and opening up new understanding about ourselves and others. Questioning our theory of change. Making ourselves question what we have not. Reflecting on our worldview.

Zac: I think my favorite change I’ve seen in our team is that we now have a deeper sense of cohesion nested in work aims, which are nested in a context. As we get clearer about who we are trying to be and how we are trying to contribute to the lives of our customers – I can feel us pushing ourselves and one another in ways that tap into our will rather than some abstract ideal.

Carol: The third level of depth is the ability to direct our will to take on more meaningful, demanding and benefits to greater wholes. To move to being systems thinkers and see how the universe works. Zac, why do you think we don’t have this ‘urgent to our times’ ableness? 

Zac: I think we come into the world and we are offered incomplete frames by everyone – parents, church, school…you name it. Behind all of these are world views driving that thinking. Without a deeper look and reflection on these, we end up thinking through a narrow view. This by and large limits our thinking and who we can become.

Carol: We have no institutions or infrastructure in any organization that intentionally and rigorously develops whole humans. We see the need for training the functional skills, even behavioral skills, but not the management and development of being (choosing who I am at any moment of situations) or development for of our will (what we seek to serve and take on that demands we extend beyond current motives)

Zac: Exactly. This requires internal reflection on our own thinking process. To be able to see the me that is doing the thinking, rather than collapsing me and the thoughts. This process of seeing that more and more clearly over time through development allows us to be more choiceful in how we approach every situation.

Carol: I have four focuses when I work with companies for this to being embedded in how organization works:

  1. Ongoing education applied to work in development of functions of being and will
  2. Infrastructure where people know stakeholder’s lives deeply and are committed to push all boundaries for making a difference with particular stakeholders beyond the institution whether family, classroom or job
  3. Individual requirement that people use this to develop promises to those stakeholders to make their lives work powerfully and to grow and develop themselves to be able to fulfill that promise.
  4. Organizations provide the resources to manage all of this for the advancement of such work

Zac, What is your hope for such work, and the faith you have in humans to do this and work for caring that is needed? How do you answer our Microsoft leaders questions about what are the next skills?

Zac: It’s the ongoing, structured development of will, being, and function sourced from our essence that allows us to be able to grow as leaders. You gotta be able to lead yourself before you can lead anyone else, Charlie Brown.

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Zac: We have several new learning communities to do this kind of thinking starting in 2021. If today’s show intrigued you, it was sparked by members in one of our regenerative business communities. The second year is about leadership including leadership of change in one business or organization and an industry. Check out our different business communities at CarolSanfordIntitute.com under Offerings.

Carol: Many of you all might be wondering how to get your idea selected by Business Second Opinion for a show. You can go to the Business Second Opinion Webpage and drop a business practice you want to question, but you need to be sure that it has an authored article that people can reach and read (Harvard b review has limited, but open access). And remember – you want a second opinion, not a first opinion.

Zac:  Your organization can set up a book club for The Regenerative Life, using an extensive workbook and video online Workshops for Free.  50% discounts on bulk buys through my publisher. More at carolsanford.com.

Zac: This has been Business Second Opinion

Business Second Opinion Podcast digs deep to answer questions about business and business practice,  you may not know you need to ask. But we believe you should be asking for the benefit of your understanding and your businesses ethics and practice. In the process of answering them, we give you a second opinion, usually a contrarian opinion, but that is well tested and proven to give the outcomes you really want without the side effects. 

 

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