What Do You See?

–Become Aware of How It Is to See How It Can Be

How do we get there? Take the necessary strides to how it can be.

Every week someone tells me that all the efforts of goodwill and belief in an evolved state of business put forth by HumansFirst are doomed to failure until some government intervention or World Economic Forum edict is pressed into action. I am told that until Fortune 100 CEOs have an epiphany that fundamentally alters their belief and actions, no change is possible. In other words, I am wasting my efforts and essentially talking nonsense.

Usually, it is an older man, someone who has apparently surrendered to the chains of despair, who presents his limiting beliefs as wisdom. I feel for them. It’s a steep climb.

Capitulation is inversely related to strength of belief and determination. For me, it’s not a matter of being right. It’s a deep desire to become better and belief in humanity. I have no illusion that this imperative evolution will happen in a single season or in rapid fashion. Nor do I hold any belief that some authoritative agency or stroke of a manifest will accelerate or heighten the impact.

I believe in people. Business is people. Change will happen when every emerging leader understands choice and when options are understood by every brilliant, vibrant, rising professional from start-ups to Big 4 consultancies, to Global 1000 entities. Multitudes will make this decision and pursue this path by accessing alternative programs, teachings, and groups of people available for relationships within the communities of HumansFirst advocates and practitioners.

Assimilation to “everybody or nobody” thinking is weakness.

I dismiss the defeated voice of acquiescent elders, the cynics, and the pontificators. I have zero confidence that archaic agencies can influence an edict.

And given the opportunity, I know that people will amaze us. People need opportunities to press forward with alternative selections, programs, and education options. They need vast networks of heart-centered leaders, consultants, coaches, educators, and peers. Those opportunities and networks become the 1000 ramps and doorways to a better future, a sustainable, evolved, and ultra-productive future.

Love is a business word. Love is the first barrier, the first gate to pass through. It is an inside job and a shift from within, a confident pursuit of that intuitive urging. It will not, it cannot, be impressed upon us from the outside. We must shed the false constraints, along with the battered voice of limiting beliefs and failed wills of the past. We need to explore alternatives. What can be done better rather than the same way?

Do we believe in what we are doing? Do we understand it? Are we giving it everything, growing personally, and helping the other person succeed? Do we have a sense that it all adds up, that we are vital to the whole, and do we take responsibility?

If you want to move from how it is to how it can be, determine if you’re “conducting” business or “creating” business. It takes divergent, creative thinking to bust through the status quo. Making a positive impact with creative thinking requires great awareness, and great awareness requires constant attention. Conditions are deep and fluid. Self-check on your beliefs, your energy, and the accountability of your actions. Innovation Is About People and Communication

Innovation starts with vision, a critical component to success. In fact, vision defines success. A clear vision provides the basis for your everyday tasks and the roadmap for others to follow. The power of visioning is everywhere. For example, Henry Ford envisioned everyone owning a car; Bill Gates envisioned a computer in every home (he undershot this one); Musk saw a battery-operated luxury car; Bezos saw the future of eCommerce. Visioning is also used for environmental, societal initiatives, teams, and individuals.

One of the first steps of accomplishing something is to see it. Take a few moments, close your eyes, and think about what you want in an ideal state for your company, career, or family. The timing could be tomorrow, next week, a year from now or however you see it. Now write down what you see. It doesn’t have to be perfect but needs to describe not only what you see but how you will feel.

Doing things a certain way because it’s how we’ve always done it is weak-minded and not worthy of your attention and energy. Allowing poor behavior or dragging outdated and “harmful” practices forward is ignorant and lazy.

We gather and convert people to our cause. We build armies, we build teams, we build theoretical and philosophical followings. We always have – it’s human. In the business sense, for the past six decades, talent acquisition and team building have been a practice of promoted messages. “This is a great job. This is a great company. This is a great mission.” We’ve been sold someone else’s vision, not empowered to discover our own. The practice of “promotion” is morphing into the need for attraction. This is changing all around us, and we are having a difficult time reacting to it. The old belief was, “We have a job for you, and we will pay you.” The new challenge is that having a job, trading time for money, and putting in the time, is not the end-all offer it was in the past. People are thinking and acting with a greater consciousness and discernment. They need to believe.

We are stuck without vision and fail to offer direction in the employee experience. We’ve invested a lot of time and money into a systems approach with a nod to some tweaks in perks and benefits, yet the important stuff was completely missed. People operate through relationships.

Nothing is more critical to a team than camaraderie. Not the lunch and happy-hour stuff, and not the picnic or bowling outing. Those are fine, but they’re not the essence. What’s important are the way people communicate, the ability to have open discussions and the rhythm of engagement.

Current engagement and incentive programs are impersonal and non-inclusive. To empower human ingenuity and organizational innovation, these programs need to acknowledge and honor the unique journeys and perspectives of others, encouraging and rewarding growth rather than compliance and assimilation. Experience and knowledge build our beliefs over time. Constant challenge, learning, and maturity are essential.

Belonging is essential to our existence and our wellbeing. So why do we drastically miss this connection through our professional lives? We’ve been brainwashed into process assimilation.

We’ve been encouraged or forced into sameness, where the individual is merely a cog in the process. We take our cues from technology implementers and lose connections through low-value tech processes.

This affects how we recruit, onboard, measure, track, and monitor, survey, etc. Research suggests that we use more technology and open more listening channels. No one is listening, because there is no communication. To enhance engagement and improve the employee experience, we need to use the listening channels attached to our heads.

Impersonal, detached processes lead to detached employees. The problem is clear. The answer is simple. Unwind the decades of misguided programs. These have created the challenge. Conversation, human-to human-engagement, is the answer. This
change of belief and approach is critical.

Technology does not solve problems. Humans use technology as a tool and organizations must stop depending on it as an endpoint; as the driver rather than the vehicle. It is powerful in the facilitation of human ingenuity to achieve what can be envisioned, not the means to vision.

To accelerate adoption of change, to innovate and succeed on transformation initiatives, and deliver on the company vision, we need significant adjustment to our beliefs and actions. Two fundamental elements are needed to allow this transformation to occur; service and empathy.

Service is more than the acts we perform. It is a philosophy of human interaction. When we approach our relationships with the heart of service, we unlock the power of two and allow this to multiply. We experience all things greater than ourselves. It is abundance. Self-focus operates in scarcity.

As a default state, empathy removes judgment. Through empathy, we first respond to people with curiosity. We want to learn who they are, understand their perspective and honor how we are different. Approaching people with empathy is inclusive rather than exclusive. Empathy breaks down walls and allows a better-together basis of engagement.

People need to be valued, able, and encouraged to express ideas and contribute with confidence, void of ridicule.

To be effective, an environment of psychological safety needs to exist. Self-actualization, accountability, and a grip on emotional intelligence are required, along with a clear purpose and strong communication. Without consistency, led through a culture of Believership, culture unravels fast.

To accomplish innovation, we must be reaching, always seek improvement, and focus on the advancement of others, as well as ourselves. We must constantly learn.m When we open our minds, we can open our hearts and then see the possibilities and become open to innovation.


Mike Vacanti
Mike Vacanti
Mike believes, “It’s more than what we accomplish – it’s who we become along the journey!” His mission is to Lift Others, helping people discover their potential, embrace a growth mindset and achieve at inspired levels. Mike has transformed businesses and inspired people to perform at levels they didn’t think possible. Mike's known as a great listener and collaborative, creative problem solver. For generating speed and confidence through innovation and transformation. His current endeavors as advisor, consultant, and keynote speaker, are shifting the belief in what is possible and opening hearts to a better vision and future of business around the globe. Sharing his extensive career of invention, reinvention and highly complex business combinations, he consistently delivers on the belief that the heart of any organization is People – People drive results. Mike has released his new book, BELIEVERSHIP: The Superpower Beyond Leadership, and is the Founder of HumansFirst, a global community of positive change catalysts. Following many years in advertising and marketing, He launched early-stage start-ups & led M&A initiatives for publicly traded tech companies. Five-times he was thrust into the chaos of transformation and helped people navigate the doubt, fear, and chaos of significant change. His teams exceeded expectations, consistently beat the challenge, learned a lot and had some fun.

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  1. Mike that piece makes me remember why i am with you, running with you, believe in you and HumansFirst. If I knew as much English as you did I could have written the same things.

    For people like us who make the choice to see the positive, believe change can happen (like you say not today or in one season but some day we may not even see), know in their hearts things can be better for everyone, see the light at the end of the tunnel even if the tunnel seems too dark now are bound to face these critics. I will share a quote I love when I find it but it says something like “if people don’t want you to something big it is their limitations not yours” It is because you scare them and make them uncomfortable since they don’t want to go where you are going: inside! They don’t want to know everything. Not because there is anything wrong with them but it is easier to stay in the comfort zone even if it does not serve them.

    I accepted being the black sheep when I asked myself what my purpose is working at IBM; people thought I am one spoiled person to ask it when I make good money. Since then nobody except people like you understood what I am fighting for. Those people who come to you and say your efforts are useless are trying to take you where they are unconsciously or consciously in some cases.

    It is only people who have a great heart, has compassion for others, care for others will fight it even if we cannot see the seeds of it our lifetime. It is OK for people like us.

    I am hopeful like you because even the discussions we are having is a big progress in itself. You and I know none of this was happening 10 years ago.

    It is all about our beliefs. If we don’t believe it we won’t fight for it. But everything good in this world happened because there were always fighters in the front lines who were selfless. Thank you for being one of them and not listening to the noise.

    Look forward to doing amazing things with you my friend.