Sunday, August 11, 2019; approximately 3:18 pm EST. This is the date and time of the following series of events.
A beautiful Sunday afternoon marks a definitive ‘yes’ to taking our mini golden-doodle Charlie (a.k.a Chuck, Chuckberry, Chuck-a-roni, Chuck Chuckerston, Charles, Charlie Bear, Puppy Baby) for a walk. Armed with poop bags (for Charlie, not me) and sunglasses (for me, not Charlie), we head out and in tow came my iPod…to listen to Humans 2.0 with Mark Metry and guest Naveen Jain (of Moonshot and Viome).
Every step becomes more and more obsolete as I melted into the discussion, the tangents, the passion of the podcast called ‘Disrupting Our World For A Better Tomorrow.’ Sometimes soap boxy, sometimes preachy, always inspirational, Naveen’s words resonated with me. The same passion for making a difference in people’s lives. The same obsession for doing what you love for one intention only – loving what you are doing with your whole being because it is what you were born to do.
47 minutes into the podcast is the pivotal moment – the core of why some people become successful is because of their ability to ask the right question.
This is my mind-blowing moment. By simply changing the question you ask, you change the possibility of the solutions. You change not just what you are looking at, also how and why, when, and where. Now while I knew this to be critically true when I led a Learning and Development department and needed to uncover the depths of why training was being requested…it’s placement at this time and place allowed me to look at something I’ve been working on for a while, in an entirely different light.
WHY DO WORKPLACES NEED MANAGERS?
You see, up to this point I have been working on sharing everything I have learned and experienced in leadership, and management, through the lens and importance of emotional intelligence development. All of my efforts were toward developing managers’ emotional intelligence so that they lead people better, make a greater impact on workplace innovation, harness the power of each individuals’ potential, and behave 100% consistently as their authentic selves. I thought to myself “Self…you need to share this breakthrough with someone. Who’s going to get with you on this exploration?” Immediately I messaged Mike Vacanti, Founder HumansFirst Club (and more). This is a snapshot of that message via LinkedIn.
Light discussion?!? Indeed it was going to get real deep, real fast. And I was pumped. Within 36 hours, we were off and running. Discussing this topic like champs. Being open and curious, asking a bunch of questions, exploring the possibilities, telling our stories, countering one thought with another one. Here are some paraphrased exchanges during that conversation…
Me: “Hey!!! I am so excited to speak with you and pick your brain; this is going to be too awesome!!!” (insert squeaky eeeeeeek sound)
Mike: “We know how business works.”
Me: “I’m not sure we know how business works. We know how it’s structured, however, it’s not really working is it?”
Mike: “I’ve been thinking about this question “Why do companies need leaders?” and my brain has been fired up since you sent it to me Sunday. I think when we dissect it, and I just came up with this term which I think I’m going to add to my book, we see that PRESCRIPTIVE AUTHORITY is why a manager exists – it’s control, and that is what isn’t working. If you remove this, allowing the real potential of each individual to expand, then likely, everything can be done better without a manager.”
Me: “That’s brilliant! Can I get a footnote in your book?”
p.s. This is now officially recorded.
Me: “What if we were to onboard people in an entirely different way. What if onboarding into a workplace was all about the individuals’ growth toward their capacity, to reach their optimum, to develop their EQ so that needing a manager, needing a leader, a formally appointed one, was no longer necessary? What if we were to really dig into the principles of AGILE: self-organizing, self-orienting, self-discipline/accountability? Could you imagine an onboarding program that did that for each person?”
Mike: “That’s blowing my mind.”
p.s.s This response is completely paraphrased because I do not recall the exact words that came from Mike…I just remember his face. It looked like I just blew his mind.
That evening, on our way to dinner, I proceeded to retell this conversation with Mike, to my husband. Our exchange is fast and furious. We are both extremely excited. And then my husband directs me towards Gore-Tex, letting me know that this company and the man who established it, has a workplace model that is similar to what we’re talking about. “You should definitely check it out.”