Leading with Nature

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Embracing Reinvention: Part One: Connecting and Seeing Anew

A defocused, decreasing, spiral fractal pattern, suggesting the true self being reinvented and released into the world. Image: freeimages.co.uk.

Tony Bond, MBA, MPOD,
& Kristen Barney, MA, MSOD


In a sense, we are Tony Bond and Kristen Barney. Yet like you, we are reinventing ourselves. All of us –individuals, leaders, and organizations – are being challenged to move beyond who we were yesterday or last year. This is the gift of our challenging economic times. All of us are called to be more, to dig deep within ourselves to draw out more of our potential. The good news: this is a chance to be truer to ourselves, which basically means shedding unhelpful thoughts, beliefs, or habits which are generating unhelpful results, and embracing more helpful ways of seeing and being.

The starting place for transformation is always at the personal level. And as consultants and coaches, in order to support others in transforming themselves, we (Tony and Kristen) must first be adept at self-transformation. So we sat down via Skype for an open-ended conversation on this question:

  • How can we share the essence of transmutation – shedding old skins and embracing different or refined identities – with individuals and organizations who might not connect with buzz words like innovation or reinvention, yet are being urged by the new circumstances of economic and other conditions, to change?

We have created a three-part blog post to share our conversation, including several practices you can use in your daily life to support self-transformation. We have used a wide range of terms to refer to  transformation, including change, transmutation, reinvention, innovation, and refinement. Many authors have written about the different meanings of these words and for this post we are using them interchangeably to refer to internal shifts that generate new kinds of results in your life. We invite you to explore what these terms mean for you.

Part One: Connecting with the System and Seeing from Different Levels

Tony: When I think of the reinvention process, and how insights can be transferred to other contexts, I am reminded of Professor Chris Argyris’ research, which found that the more educated one is, the less likely one is to look reflectively within.  (See Argyris’ Harvard Business Review article on this theme.) As leaders, we are tempted to look on our organization as something outside ourselves that we are managing (like a puppeteer with a marionette), while at the same time forgetting to manage (or reflect on) our own impact on the situation or system.

The truth is, the idea that we are “in control” as leaders is somewhat of an illusion, and our efforts to control actually block critical insights. When leaders and individuals can look inside at their own role in a situation, that’s when organizational transformation begins. I experienced this myself: when I paused to see how I was contributing to a situation, a veil of illusion was lifted and I could see more clearly.

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