Work and Love

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The consultants used every trick they knew to help them to negotiate, to discover underlying interests and to find common ground.  Nothing really worked.  The Italians were happy and having fun.  The English were sober and abstract.  The Germans were purposeful and earnest.  The Americans were bold in their speaking and timid in their action.  The Swedes were stolid and hard to understand.  The session was increasingly painful – it was like playing cards without a full deck.  Everyone had security, jobs and reputations to lose.

Then, seemingly in a moment, it all turned around.  Suddenly they were cooperating, solving problems and talking to each other instead of at each other.  The consultants were being complimented for having done such a good job, yet we didn’t really know what had made the difference.  Over the next thirteen months 1500 disparate products produced in five countries were reduced to one coherent product line accessible on one computer screen.  The project moved forward with great success and harmony for the individuals involved, the countries and for the company as a whole.

In retrospect, the miracle seemed to come from moments of love and work occurring at the same time.  All of a sudden there was mutual compassion and real listening across geographical and positional boundaries; moments when different points of view were no longer a barrier to communication.  What had seemed impossible became merely problems to be solved.  The shared reality and the success was a surprise, flowing from equal measures of courage, intent and remaining open to possibility.

What’s certain was that leaders and consultants kept faith in the process.  No one knew what was going to happen and everyone saw it not working, yet we all stayed with it.., and suddenly, there was a magical turning.

Creativity Unleashed

An extraordinary emerging young glass artist, Michael Smith, invented the term “Creativity Unleashed” as the name for his company and as a declaration of values for his work and aspirations.  Watching Michael work gives insight into a pathway to love and work occurring together as a basis for transformation.

We recently watched him create a large, orange meteor out of glass.  For weeks he had imagined what it would look like and assembled the materials, tools, facilities and colleagues to assist in the process.  His approach called for a lot of preparation and thinking through the dangers of working in a thousand degree kiln.  He had accepted that the glass might break or that someone might carelessly open the cooling chamber too soon, and that he would have to do it all over again.  His approach was neither anarchic nor careless, and he gave great attention to the mechanics of glass, heat, safety and coordinated action.

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