Where a growing circle of business leaders comes to share, learn, and inspire organizations to put people first

Whirling Chief


Sesil Pir

Sesil Pir

Transcendence: Leading for the Highest Good of All

Last week, following a challenging conversation, someone asked me if I should consider “raising my voice” more often.

Communicating in a more aggressive tone may lead to results sooner in situations and it may certainly lead to a temporary emotional relief – yet, as a psychologist and organizational effectiveness expert, I happen to know sustainable results (and modeling) is in capsulation of self transcendence.

Back in 2007, ‘transcendent leadership‘ was introduced as a global initiative at the World Economic Forum. I was living in the US and working for a technology giant as a HR professional then and I remember being ‘struck’ by the thought of ‘self-transcendence’. I was familiar with the concept in terms of personal development (thanks to my sufi parents), I had no idea how to place in the business context.

Today, I feel privileged to not only study the concept, also to have the opportunity to share with my colleagues.

If we were to put very simply, there are two key threads to leadership:

  1. is about ‘doing’ relates to resource management, profit making, etc.,
  2. is about ‘being’ relates to growth from our natural state to higher potential.

Unfortunately, the associations we make of everyday leadership is not coherent with these two threads always. We tend to rely more heavily on one over other. For example, we have a perception that leadership is a concept limited to a select few… Yet, the perception is simply that… It is a perception because we witness most people being cast out of “leadership” roles as a result of the specific talent management systems we have…

Staying with this example, you may be surprised to hear that the best individual performers are not even always the best people leaders either. For example, in a recent research “Promotions and the Peter Principle”, my colleagues Alan Benson, Danielle Li and Kelly Shue studied over 50,000 sales reps to find sales performance was negatively associated with managerial success. They reported each increase in sales rank correlated with a 7.5% decline in the performance of each new manager subordinates. Surprising? It really should not be…

Because leadership is really not only about ‘doing’ something, it is equally, if not more, about ‘being’ a particular way.

Tying it all back to our example, it may be time we start evaluating the cost of moving our best individual contributors (ICs) into people leadership positions – especially without proper training. We need to understand for any one of us to be an effective people influencer, there is a requirement to develop self first.


We may need to find new development and recognition paths of our high performing ICs, so they are not pushed out of something they do beautifully into something they falter…

It is a fact that even as business leaders, our “smaller” self operates from a limiting exclusive focus on scarcity. It is driven by self-interest, just like our current world systems.  It wants to be successful, drive results, get recognition. It is all very human. Yet, we need to recognize we have a choice to operate from a “higher” self, precipitating an unbounded, inclusive focus on abundance. We can choose to remain whole and bring our higher versions forward in search of different life experiences. We can choose to accept the people, the situations for what they are in front of us. That doesn’t  always mean we agree with what’s in front of us necessarily, it means we value the differences without holding judgment.

I want to remind myself and invite other colleagues to recognize we are not always accountable to how people react to our orders or situations play before us, but we are always – always – accountable to the values we want to guide our organizations with.

I want to invite us to believe we are not here to prove our worth, we are simply here to share our uniqueness and abundance…

Join the conversation


  • 19 September 2018
Whirling Chief

Organizational Development

Nº 202

Re-Imagining the Way We Work!


As the world is at the cusp of re-visioning self with the power of digitalization, globalization and democratization, there are two major trends humanity is dealing with on a day to day basis:

  • Organization’s immense effort to stay relevant,
  • Human beings’ immense desire to find meaning.

Across industries, sectors and geographies, and regardless of scale and maturity levels, all organizations and their leaders share similar questions regarding the future: What will we refer to as ‘work’ tomorrow? Who will make up our workforce? What skills and capabilities will be needed? How will we integrate AI, robotics, infotech and biotech? Who will lead our organizations? Who will follow? Which educations will be preliminary to support pipeline growth?

While we witness dismantling of business models, reforming of organizational structures and introduction of technological advancements in front of our eyes, let’s make sure to not overlook one key fact: “the most common person feel(ing) increasingly irrelevant” in the current dynamic.

In the 21st century, not only more and more of us are looking for meaningful experiences in life, we are especially seeking for more meaning, inspiration, safety and joy in the workplace.

The success of businesses hoping to take advantage of this new revolution depends, paradoxically, on their capacity to awaken the humanity in their organizations.

While as a community we are committed to supporting this transition, we really want to engage new age leaders in a regenerative process towards re-envisioning future. We want to build constructive energy towards the kind of work experiences we want to create and live in.

Therefore, last week, the Employee Engagement Zone published a e-Book compiling many interviews of expert professionals specializing in employee engagement and culture matters, many of whom will serve as a panel judge for 2018 Employee Engagement awards, including our Founder, Sesil Pir.

When it comes to leadership (which we are all a part of), it is not always easy to distinguish between ‘doing’ what we are called to do and ‘being’ what we want to do. The most prestigious position can be an expression of obedience to our “call”, as well as a sign of our refusal to hear it.

We invite you to listen and share the magic of hope… Hope of becoming…

Join the conversation


  • 10 September 2018
Whirling Chief

Leadership & Team Development

Nº 201

‘Awakening Humanity at Work’: Leadership in the New Age


“It’s not personal, it’s business.”

How many of us have heard this statement in the workplace and/or have cited it ourselves? Well, I not only have heard it, personally used it many times earlier in my career.

If you find yourself saying “What’s the matter with you, Sesil? Of course, business is business, it has nothing to do with who I am at home!”, here is a set of statistics for you to contemplate on:

  • According to OECD, in the last 50 years, productivity has not inclined over 1% in EU and has been ~2% in the US – No matter which new technology we inject into the system, our bodies can only take in so much…
  • Stress induced long term illness is causing organizations more than 500B USD per year in the US alone – WHO predicts the number one epidemic of the world to be depression, triggered by work-related stress…
  • According to Global Leadership Forecast, only 26% of HR leaders and 38% of business leaders report having provided quality work experiences – Imagine if those in “leading” positions pointing fingers to a system, who may “save” us from our reality?

Now, close your eyes, think of what picture we may have held of our professional experiences in our minds when we had enrolled ourselves in education. Next, come back and connect to today’s workplace reality and ask yourself: How big of a gap?

Evolution is often seen as a process of “survival of the fittest,” implying that egoism and selfishness are embedded in our genetic code. This is one of the biggest – if not the biggest – dogma of our Western societies: Self-interest.

The term “survival of the fittest,” often attributed to Charles Darwin, was actually coined by Herbert Spencer and the Social Darwinists who wished to justify class and race superiority. Darwin’s message was, however, quite to the contrary. He argued that evolutionary success was more dependent on fellow feeling than exclusive self interest: “Communities which included the greatest number of the most sympathetic members would flourish best, and rear the greatest number of offspring” (Darwin, 1871, Chapter 4, “Sociability,” para. 11).

There is more to our being as living species than self-interest. We have a need to care/connect and we have a need to have meaningful experiences in life.

In fact, when we observe nature, we find the most resilient, the longest living creatures (like trees or moss) are built on the promise of true collaboration and connection. Trees, for example, will literally scan their eco-system for wellbeing and if there is a “weak” colleague close by, they will collectively pull off on their resource consumption to channel some into the one in need.

There is a whole new body of evidence spanning psychology, neuroscience, and even economics today revealing that as a species our default mode is not one of self-centeredness but that we are wired to connect and when we connect our physiology improves for the better. For example, a study that subjected volunteers to the common cold virus on purpose as part of the experiment found that when those volunteers rated the doctor who interacted with them as very kind, they were less likely to develop a full-blown cold, their symptoms were less severe, and the illness cleared up faster.

Let us remind ourselves then, the key to human well-being lies at least as much in our ability to connect with and care for others as in beating the competition.

A New Way of Being is Possible!

This is probably why we already started receiving amazing reviews on our Awakening Humanity at Work program in collaboration with Stanford University’s CCARE. The scientific research is really intriguing for people. Many of us are unaware of the productivity loss across sectors and the shift in mindset required to rejuvenate resilience and growth in the 21st century.

Our conversations around how to re-awaken our human side despite the transformative states our businesses are in, has been the most rewarding.

Therefore, we are introducing a new pilot class to be held in October, in the US for those who couldn’t sign up for September session. If your schedules allow, please come and join us in our last discounted session.

I have been studying, participating in, leading change efforts for over two decades and I can tell you with confidence that change is relational.

In business, in societies, at home.  Before we can initiate change, we need one person, who is willing to put self out there. The driving force may rise from a self-need, a heart-driven mission, it may be a dream, a vision, but there has to be at least one to go “crazy” with a purpose. Then, comes the need to create a ‘critical mass’, becoming the yeast, the glue holding it together.

We are playing the role of “crazies” and we need your support to build a “critical mass”. We need a group of leaders, who have a clear purpose and quality in their offering. We need a small yet mighty community willing to take the task to create a reaction.

Because only then, with that sort of connection, curiosity and compassion, it will be possible to reimagine business and it will be possible to invite beauty in. Join us!

Join the conversation


  • 5 September 2018
Whirling Chief

Leadership & Team Development, Video

Nº 200

21st Century Leadership Calls for our Wisdom


At Whirling Chief, we are keen to get our broader business community acknowledge that the current work experiences we reside in is neither well suited for our human nature nor complimentary to the 21st century life experiences we want to be a part of, and, engage new age leaders in a regenerative process towards re-envisioning future and building the kind of work experiences we want to be a part of.

  • We seek inspiration, a spark, a purposeful task that makes us jump out of bed.
  • We seek meaning, knowledge and comfort to know our work effort makes a difference somewhere.
  • We seek psychological and physical safety, not wanting to leave our hearts or souls at home or hide parts of our ‘being’.
  • We seek joy in our environments, we want to cherish collaborative relationships and fluid engagements, free of asymmetry and fear.

How do we create such environments? We are trying to find out with a community of thought leaders in their areas. We are indulging ourselves in a mountain of research and summarize evidence-based management practices that can serve both or individual and collective needs.

Today’s post is a philosophical conversation around ‘wisdom’ with Dr. Barry Schwartz, whom we adore deeply. We know he is controversial but controversy doesn’t scare us in search of truth.

Why wisdom?

Wisdom is one of the eight core human capabilities (and future leadership attributes) in our Awakening Humanity at Work model we aim to introduce in our collaboration with Stanford’s CCARE soon. A colleague recently asked me “What if a leader doesn’t care about being ‘wise’?” A fine questions with very complex answers… See, all the way back, Aristotle told us:

“Practical wisdom is a combination of moral will and moral skill.”

A wise person (a leader) has (a) core technical skill, (b) has experience through “failures” , (c) embraced learning and grown, (d) is confident, (e) has permission to improvise and most importantly, (f) understands the importance of connecting, caring and cultivating people.

In the 21st century, brilliance is not going to be enough for us to influence people effectively. As Dr. Schwartz claims in this video, ain’t no organizational systems “smart” enough to do the right thing on behalf of us.

Between that moral will and moral skill lies the opportunity for our leadership.

Join the conversation


  • 29 August 2018
Whirling Chief

Organizational Development

Nº 199

Creating a Climate of Understanding (for Humanity & Profitability)


We, human beings, have a strong conviction that we are rational. We believe once we have formed an opinion through learning and have had an opportunity to put that learning to use regularly, it must be true.

In psychological terms, rationality is really about two things: what we know of to be ‘true’ and what to do (Manktelow, 2004).  In order for our beliefs to be rational then, they must be in agreement with evidence. In order for our actions to be rational they must be conducive to obtaining our goals. Human brain works on comparison and to master our day to day, we have to make reasonable assumptions amongst possibilities – like going to the bus stop to go to work, assuming there will come a bus to take us to work. We have to “fill in” blanks to have a structure, to make it through life.

So far, it all makes sense, right?

Yet, being ‘rational’ in our way of thought or action does not always make our belief or behavior right, does it? Not only this is a key area we find many leaders need to focus on; in the new context of business, having strong conviction about our rationalism may lead to missing critical business opportunities.

Let’s start at an individual level.

Did you know for example, when measured, we find out that human beings are not able to identify or select out our own voice cognitively, yet, some how, we are able to notice it through our skin conductance? In other words, did you know that our bodies can know something (hold information) that our minds don’t? Or, that we are very capable of making judgment connections that do not exist in reality? No joke! If, for example, we hear a random name (say randomly picked out of a phone book) and we have never seen it before in some irrelevant context and a few days after some one asks us about the name and whether the name belongs to someone famous, we say ‘yes’ – without even knowing!

Whether rational or irrational and despite all the good intentions we may have, we ALL have personal biases that often get in our way of perceiving reality.

So, What? 

If we are interested in creating environments that offer meaning, inspiration, safety and joy to people; then, we need to think about the consequences of having personal bias play into our corporate experiences. And, there may be something in it for the business as well!

When I started working, for example, over a decade ago, my very first boss, Trish at (then) Deloitte & Touche told me “If you can observe well from one project to another, you’ll find the issues are pretty consistent from one organization to another.” The difference is today I find myself telling our consultants, “No matter what, do not make any assumptions”! Why? Because our world, our jobs, our experiences are no longer predictable in that way.  All the theories of ‘work’ we used to have don’t serve us well anymore. For years, we operated with this demand based view of ‘having the right people, in the right place at the right time.’ We have said to ourselves if we know our requirements, fulfill them with good talent, keep people occupied, compensate well, etc., it will just work… In the 21st century, that sort of linear demand based view no longer works. Just think about it… It used to be okay to weed out resumes based on looks, age, origin, school, etc. back in 90s. Today, most of us would acknowledge those elements are completely irrelevant and the only reliable predictor we have for someone’s potential performance is their past accomplishments.

The world around is evolving faster than ever. If we take a step back and analyze human evolution, we see our cognition is evolving, too. Yet, some how, the pace of workplace evolution is unforgiving for many of us. In this transitionary period, we need more understanding to support one another.

It is a fact that we have people in the workplace, who feel at ‘odd’ about hiring people of different looks. It is a fact that we have people, who feel uncomfortable being managed by someone, who is younger. It is a fact that we have business leaders, who don’t want to outsource their most complex and innovation-seeking problems to people, who may not have had the opportunity to go to a ivy league school. The shift in demographics and the need to evolve our corporate cultures feel unnatural to many of us. Of course, it does…

It is an enormous task to put all that years of cognitive processing we collected aside. Yet, when we don’t invest in training of our minds and challenging our organizational processes that may lead to prejudice, we, as leaders of 21st century, become engaged in a moral dilemma as well as responsible for missing out on productivity and profitability.

Here is a great example of a study on AirBnB: Professors Benjamin Edelman and Michael Luca of Harvard Business School studied AirBnB to find out there is racial discrimination in the process of customer selection.  They found that on Airbnb, requests from guests with black-sounding names were 16% less likely to be accepted than those from guests with white-sounding names.

What’s even more interesting for me to read and understand is that many of the home owners were not even always consciously prejudiced; rather, they were associating names and pictures of applicants with some recent stories they gathered through the media. YET, despite the intent the outcome of their behavior (in business terms) was that they were only 35% likely to fill the spot in comparison to a peer apartment. This is what was happening: One wants to rent an apartment but their unconscious bias got in the way and led one to lose money as an en result.

Airbnb, of course, isn’t the only platform touched by discrimination; the problem affects many digital platforms designed to offer service around freelance work, ride sharing, and even dog walking, etc.

Surely, you could say, well, it is legal for anyone to not accept someone in particular to their rental apartment. Everyone has a God given right to ‘be’ a particular way or to ‘act’ a particular way, that’s true. I’d then ask you to just recognize that attitude gives anyone one of us the right to say then “I don’t like your nose and therefore I don’t work with you.”

Alienation doesn’t seem bothersome until the alienating factor becomes something that innately belongs to one of us and/or on something we had no choice over – like our eye color, the place of birth, etc.

Another example: A 2004 Journal of System and Software paper by Magne Jorgensen and Karl Halvor Teigen and Kjetil Molokken examined the preferences of bosses for accurate versus overconfident project leaders and they concluded majority of managers appear to interpret accurate estimates as a signal of incompetence. Interestingly though, overconfidence not only leads to inaccurate results most of the time, it is considered a ‘social signaling bias‘ by many of us, psychologists.

I mentor many young colleagues, who are often very early in careers or just of our school and seeking early job opportunities. I can say with great confidence, in 99% of cases in Switzerland, where I currently reside, there is no response to their applications. None. Nada. Not even to say “We have not picked you.” This is not to pick on a specific country, instead, to highlight the brokenness of a global system.

We need to acknowledge the interconnected between the individual and organizational experience. The eye we turn away from corporate practices strip the dignity and joy out of people and steals opportunity away from our businesses.

I once heard another Harvard Business School professor I respect deeply, Mahzarin Banaji say “I am very forgiving of people, who make mistakes, but not of those, who turn a blind eye to process biases.” I strongly share her sentiment.

If you are a corporate leader or an HR professional finding yourself engage in conversations around 21st century talent management practices, here is my challenge to you:

Next time you are planning for a critical recruitment opportunity or a succession planning activity, try ‘blinding‘. Ask a group of random team mates to create blind biographies (of applicants or of potential next generation leaders) stripping the irrelevant information out. Review them with one group, make a final list of ‘selection’. Then, go back to your traditional way of decision making. Go through the exercise one more time and make a final list of ‘selection’. I guarantee majority of you will discover the names that come out of blinding exercise is not going to be the same as the traditional one. And if you discover the names are not overlapping, ask yourself why and what you can do about it, recognizing we are capable of change.

As we march into 21st century world of work, we need to work actively to create an environment of ‘understanding’ – first for ourselves, then for others and for our organizations.

No one is going to do it for us.

Join the conversation


  • 27 August 2018
Whirling Chief

Leadership & Team Development

Nº 198

At the Core of Leadership: Choice


A few years back, during a very difficult conversation around portfolio divestment, one of my colleagues in charge of our group facilitation asked us, a room of corporate executives in charge of 55B USD core industry business, what may be the essence of our leadership…

It was a difficult question to answer then, and it is still today. It is difficult because the concept is embodying so many beautiful opportunities.

Yet, over the years, I have come to learn, understand and experience there is an essence to leadership. There is a core.

Before influence, leadership is a choice one makes. A choice to stand for one’s truth and make a meaningful difference in the world and in the lives of others.

In our consulting work, we come across many people in influence positions that have never made the choice to lead – not for themselves, not for others. They do, however, very capably act the part of a given role and respond to the expectations around them. They use all their mechanical skills to use, exercising authority, power, decision making, etc., but they don’t ever reflect on the fact that leadership is not about management of mechanical tasks. It is rather about a choice one makes day-to-day toward the work of becoming an influencer.

To lead effectively and sustainability requires that we respond to an inner wisdom, accepting responsibility to remain connected to our whole self and to be the change we want to see in the world; only after, we can inspire hope in others to have them participate in a meaningful journey of change.

Kurt Lewin, one of the founding fathers of social psychology, offered a version of the following equation in his 1936 book, Principles of Topological Psychology:

B = ƒ(PS).

It states behavior (B) is a function (ƒ) of the person (P) and their environment (S). I have always loved this equation. It takes into account the element of choice as well as some other attributes that motivate intrinsic commitment for people. Don’t get me wrong there is an intrinsic and extrinsic element to employee empowerment, yet, if you are aspiring to change someone’s behavior – for example, to motivate your employees to embrace a new way of working, you should absolutely consider changing yourself and their circumstances around them first, and not the person. As people leaders (and as human beings, really), we have no control over someone’s personality traits, emotions, experiences, but we do have a whole a lot of influence over our own way of showing up (for and with people) as well as over various outside factors that impact the way others show up.

I want to challenge my colleagues – 21st century executives to keep this question in mind:

What’s the essence of  leadership?

I do hope some recognize in time, leadership is indeed about having a choice.

And for those currently in people influencing roles, I do invite you to exercise your choice to lead based on both (P) and (S), where (P) does not represent personality but you as a person—including your demonstrated purpose and values and (S), which may call for having grand visions and creating new realities depending on circumstances and exercising courage everyday.


Join the conversation


  • 22 August 2018
Whirling Chief

Organizational Development

Nº 197

What’s Love Got to do with Work?


I was returning from a recent business trip and my flight got delayed an hour. Instead of going back to the lounge, I decided to sit by the gate and get some reading done.  The sweetest gentleman sitting next to me started chatting up… First, he asked where I am headed, then, he recognized my accent and asked where I am from, and finally, what I do for a living?

“Industrial and organisation psychologist?! I have no idea what you people do!” he said cheerfully. I tried to explain, picking my words carefully. He listened attentively. At some point he turned to me, and said “You know… These corporate people… I hear them always blame the management for lack of an experience… But you know, they have so much to hold on to!! Look at me, no really, look at me, I am a small worker but I LOVE my job…”

His conviction and a single choice of word – “LOVE” – stayed with me throughout my whole trip back.

It is hard to admit that we often talk about the future of work, how business models are shifting, how the concept of leadership evolving and new organisational practices forming, yet, we rarely bring in what we – as employees – need to “be” or to “do” differently to create the work experiences we long for.

So, I want to discuss love today. I am not talking about romantic love, obviously. I am talking about love as an instrument of growth… I want to try and reflect on some of the lingering thoughts in the back of my head with you. It is probably one of the very few time(s) I am talking about love in business context publicly, so bare with me as we uncover some truths together. 🙂

What is ‘love’ anyway and what’s got to do in business?

I think I want to start out by saying that majority of us are taught all the wrong things about ‘love’.

Let’s take romantic love as a concept example. What do we know about it? Well, we know we are taught that everyone has a single soul mate in life and that our soul mate should be able to understand us without using words, which I presume majority of you would agree is a crazy assumption! I am yet to meet someone who can read my mind so profoundly… What else? We know the society refers to ‘marriage’ as a climax time of love (it is even called ‘hochzeit’ in German, literally ‘high time’), which again, I presume majority of you would agree feels like a joke because really, when we are agreeing to share our life experiences with someone, we are really only at the beginning of that relationship. We know we are screwed for staying non married, right? Further, it is a “horrific” experience to divorce because we become ‘single’ (another word I dislike very much and refuse to use) as if we have no other soul connections in life, etc.??!!

Majority of us do not get an opportunity to learn about the true meaning of love; that love is about connection. No where in our education system or in our corporate training programs we are taught about the concept in depth or how to realize it in our life experiences. No one talks to us about the power love holds as a connective tissue. We have such limiting definitions of such an enormous word and very little skill to live it. We don’t know nor think about the fact that love happens between living souls but between living and non-living souls, too. Most importantly, we don’t know that love’s foundation is grounded in respect and patience.

In the work context, love is about “the quality of attention we pay to things”. It is about what we choose to attend to — criticism or creation, fear or hope, our wounds or devotion to healing — and that choice determines the quality of our experiences.

The magical thing about love is… Once we acknowledge the diversity of emotion it embodies, it becomes an active enabler of growth. It teaches us, for example, to accept that no one of us is perfect. It shows us that we can all become a spiritual teacher to one another and that we can become wiser and fuller through the experiences that may seem ‘difficult’ and that it is possible for us to remain ‘whole’ despite the situations given.

Now, admittedly, many of the correlates of our work engagement are profoundly beyond our control. We can’t choose who we report to, we can’t always receive constructive feedback, we can’t always have the autonomy we desire or the right opportunities to deepen our skills, and we may not get to have socially supportive and/or equally contributing colleagues. That said, about 40% of the variance in work engagement lies within us.

Yes, 40%!!  We do have a choice to practice our love.

We all know by now that engaged workers not only put more into their jobs, they get more out of them. When we feel satisfied with our work experiences, we become not only more productive, we become healthier and happier people who feel optimistic about self and future. As Tolsytoy once said:

“Future love does not exist. Love is a present activity only. The man who does not manifest love in the present has not love.”

Choose to create space for your ‘being’ today. Choose to practice your love. Give your full attention to the task at hand, get creative and seek pleasure in your effort.

Despite the conventional wisdom, love has a place in the workplace.

Let’s embrace and celebrate it!

Join the conversation


  • 20 August 2018
Whirling Chief

Organizational Development

Nº 196

The Illusion of Permanent Progress


Our working culture is obsessed with the idea of constant progression.

Our targets move up, number of work hours increase, our abilities are stretched constantly leaving no space for us to breathe (and sometimes leading to a ‘silent suffering’).

Please allow me to share with you a little unspoken truth about the process of ideation and creation: The life cycle of birth and re-birth embodies strong intuition.

Contrary to common belief, intuition is not woo-doo… It is our ability to understand something instinctively without the need for a conscious reasoning. That doesn’t mean it is coming from an unknown place… It is exactly the opposite: it is opening doors to a process that gives us the ability to know something directly without going through systemic thinking like analytic reasoning and it allows us to bridge the gap between the conscious and non-conscious parts of our mind, body and soul.

Intuition is shy though… It only and truly shows its face during slower times, at times of serenity, peace and solitude, and when we experience a healthy doze of self-doubt and falter. It is during those ‘down’ times (which are really active times, we just sense it differently – like sleep), intuition kicks in to point us to certain key values, overlooked perspectives and slims down possibilities, guiding us to a greater clarity of purpose.

The illusion of permanent progress inflicts a particularly damning strain of despair and derail on our creative processes. It also hurts our ability to remain connected, collected and caring – both for ourselves and for others.

Business will always need to happen tomorrow, but if we want to engage in innovation and/or build long, lasting results (such as capability building, productivity gain and/or market share growth), we need to NOT let the sense of urgency bound us into a trap of time.

Because that giving in alone guarantees retake on creation…

Join the conversation


  • 15 August 2018
Whirling Chief

Leadership & Team Development

Nº 195

If Leaders Could Dance to the Wind of Energy…


I was recently in the presence of a corporate executive I respect deeply.

I had a secret, a hidden agenda to find out what makes this leader stand out in a room of hundreds… Ssshhh, I do that sometimes. I am an organizational psychologist, remember? 🙈

This leader I have seen at work has a very unique way of ‘being’ and I was determined to find out about the secret sauce… 🙂

As a consultant, I was surely at the groups’ presence on duty and at the same time, I was experimenting quietly in my mind, taking silent notes on paper…

What I recognized over a course of full day is that the leader was so consciously ‘kind’ and ‘soft’ in their way of being, there was a sense of ‘serenity’ and ‘peace’ to their presence.

The leader was clearly the authority in the room. It was fully acknowledged by the group and owned by the leader; yet, at the same time, the leader was able to step back with just the right amount of confidence to let others’ space to simply ‘be’. When the leader moved or spoke, for example, it was done with so much attention and personal care, it felt as though the leader was remaining consciously mindful to not intrude into someone else’s presence, thoughts and behaviors. The lead was eloquently inviting others’ to move around, think creativity, speak up while holding ground in confidence (of their role and final authority). That elegant movement of energy, to me, felt like a beautiful dance between a diverse group of souls, orchestrated by a wonderful maestro.

There was a perfect combination of give and take – of leading with purpose, courage and mastery and of listening with wonder and compassion, it truly felt like magic!

For those of you who have read Oliver Sacks’ The Island of the Colorblind, my specific experience of this observance was one similar experience to how he describes his interaction with nature (and especially with trees) at times… Serene, refreshing and beauty-full…

Coming back, I wondered:

  • What would our leadership practice look like if we could acknowledge our role (as the leaders of our organizations) is more about internal energy management and about our ability to guide others (despite our authority)?
  • What would it look like in behavior to support a diverse group of individuals in becoming a better version of theirselves?
  • How would our employees’ experience shape to if we, as the leaders in a given room, paid attention to not being part of any one program or agenda, but, all?
  • What would our work experiences feel like if we evolved our intent to simply observing rather than proving or disproving any thesis?
  • How would the world evolve in our new way of ‘being’?

Just wonder with us a second…

Isn’t wonder one of the kindest, the most compassionate and most forgiving sensations of all?

Join the conversation


  • 13 August 2018
Whirling Chief

Organizational Development

Nº 194

Trends We’re Observing in the Workplace


I joined Chris Dyer of PeopleG and the author of  “The Power of Company Culture” on his live Talent Talk radio show in California back in June along with my colleague Kevin Grossman, the President of Global Programs at Talent Board HR.

We chatted about trends we are seeing in the workplace, as well as what companies and business leaders need to be thinking about as they look into the future years of 21st century.

You can listen to our conversation here.

Join the conversation


  • 8 August 2018