August 1

A Good Job Is not Utopia

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In this epsiode, I talk about the possibility of a great job. This possibility lies in co-creating our organizations and the way we work.

Many people feel hopeless about being fulfilled at work in a corporate job. But I am convinced that it is possible. There are many organizations that created a framework that made it possible. Even if we don't work in such an organization, we can bring these principles to our lives and co-create fulfilling work.

I recorded this episode as a Linkedin Live. Follow me on LinkedIn to get notified about the upcoming Live Sessions.

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Resources mentioned

In this episode, I am raving about and reflecting on the learnings from the book of Frederic Laloux called "Reinventing Organizations".

You can buy your copy in the book's website paying what you think it is worth. I love how Laloux paints all his work with his values.


I think work is a playground for our expansion - and one of the gifts it brings is people we meet through work. I have mentioned that in my book The Gift of Being Unfulfilled at Work, which you can buy a copy here.

Transcript

[00:00:00] Hello, everyone today, the topic is „A Good Job is not Utopia“.
Why am I talking about this topic?

 
I am very interested in the topic of work. And as you know, I am a career coach and I help people make career choices and do work that fulfills them. So I get to talk with many people who are unfulfilled at work and who are looking for a new direction in their career.


[00:00:35] Once they get clear about what they want to do, their values, what they care about, a certain hopelessness sinks in. I have heard it from many people I worked with, from many colleagues, from whoever I meet everywhere that there is a general hopelessness about doing work in an organization that whatever it is, it would not work. „Corporate places are hell. They don't serve us. They are not good“. And so on. There is a general belief which comes from, of course, some past unfulfilling experiences. And as I am interested in it, and I work with people, I recognize that it's not enough to personally decide on what you want to do as work, we also need workplaces and systems that enable us to do this work. And so I got curious and somehow I am, I think probably all of us, so lucky that when my life brings me to a certain place, my perception opens and I receive different wisdom and information and get to connect with new people that fill me with inspiration, with new knowledge.


[00:02:03] That's actually how I think learning works. When we clarify what we are interested in, then our perception opens up for discovering or selecting what is serving our curiosity, and we start learning and we start accumulating this information and then make it ours. So my learning journey with work in an organization started from that place of curiosity, for rethinking what fulfilling work means, not only individually, but also collectively. I think it's not possible or it's rarely possible, okay I will stay with my firm statement that it's not possible to do fulfilling work on your own. We need people. We need supporters of our work, our customers, colleagues, partners, nobody can be successful alone. Nobody can be happy on their own. We need people. And I see working in an organization as a great place to have these people. You know, maybe you don't know, I have written a book called The Gift of Being Unfulfilled at Work. And one of the gifts that I have established for myself being unfulfilled at work is finding your people.


[00:03:29] And another gift that I understood that there is when we're unfulfilled at work is that we get to learn about ourselves. We have self-awareness because when we state that we are unfulfilled and we are saying „this doesn't fulfill me“, then I get curious about what it is that I would like to do, what would fulfill me and from this my new perception and opening arises, and I state, „I want this, I want to experiment with this. This is what I care about“. And this self awareness, some of it comes from me, but some of it comes from the others. In my experience, I have learned so much from my colleagues because they gave me feedback about how they perceived me. I couldn't see myself. They shared with me their experience of me, which connected my own internal information and I could say, oh, okay, this is important to me. Oh, okay. This is my talent. Oh, okay. That I can see myself doing. That was only possible through the feedback of other people. So the people that surround us that can give feedback to us, that we can share experiments with, are our gifts. Organizations create a wonderful place for meeting these people.


[00:04:47] I find it amazing because whatever job you are in, you have chosen this job based on a certain criteria, and there are other people, your colleagues who have also chosen the job for a certain criteria. I'm assuming there's something more than just earning money, because there are a lot of places one can earn money, but you ended up in the same organization.


[00:05:09] So something that called you, something that connected with who you are. There is a shared connection between you two, you already have a base for a wonderful relationship with people who are working in your organization. So that is an amazing benefit of having a job in my opinion.
[00:05:30] Coming back to why I chose this topic, "a good job is not utopia." Because I understood that we needed to look at the systems, not only save ourselves individually, but create systems, the organizations where fulfilling work will be possible. We need to shift our perceptions first of all, about "that will not be possible" because I am convinced that it's possible and there are already organizations out there that enable fulfilling work, that do create the container for the fulfilling work. So my curiosity of finding these organizations or understanding how we can design organizations so something meaningful can emerge, not only that we work for money, which probably you don't, if you are looking for meaning at work, I think you will be looking more than just earning money.


[00:06:22] So we are not just machines that are fulfilling certain tests, but something organically from our being, from our uniqueness come together with other people's contributions and we create something beautiful in the world. So that is for me meaningful work. And this is possible in organizations and maybe even easier because we are there together rather than one individual like me.


[00:06:47] Although I have partner or two individuals going out to connect with more individuals, you are already there. You are many individuals in an organization and wonderful creations can happen when you can remember what connects you and also connect to a bigger purpose and the magic can happen. So I had this idea, but I wanted to search for more.


[00:07:10] And I came into the book, which I highly highly recommend. And I'm going to rave about this book. It's called Reinventing Organizations. I don’t know, organizations, organizations. I use both of it interchangeably. It doesn't matter, by Frederic Laloux. It is a wonderful book and it gave me so much hope and it opened so much my perception and the idea of possibilities out there.


[00:07:40] Why? Because the book Frederic Laloux had research companies that are already operating from this space of highest possibility and trusting the employees so that it's a living being that is shepherded, that is co-managed, co-organized by everyone in the company. And magic happens. I highly advise you to check this book.
[00:08:12] I am going to talk more about it in this time that we have together, and I'm going to make some connections to what we can do individually in relation to that book.


[00:08:21] So Frederic Laloux's story is also interesting. He was a consultant in one of the big consultancy firms. I think it's Boston consulting group, but we have to verify that (It was McKinsey ). And he was quite a successful one and he was quite a high level consultant. He was working with the head of organizations for supporting them through the transformations that the companies worked through. But at some point he himself felt this this even I would call depression. He said, well, I'm seeing these people with all the best intentions, but somehow the systems, the system of the organization suck these intentions and make them immobile. So the system itself takes over and brings the good intentions into a null. So unless we come up with a different system, we really cannot change anything, we really cannot make work more humane. And he took himself back.


[00:09:35] He said, I'm not going to do this. And I'm going to think about what we can create. And he started writing the book that I'm talking about right now, the Reinventing Organizations. And he looked into the evolution of organizations and the evolution of humans because organization and being human come together.


[00:09:59] It's like how we humans connect with each other and work together. And he also connected with companies that were operating in the highest level. When I say level, he in his book talks about levels of consciousness. He is making use of other theories of organizations and he adds his own commentary to it.


[00:10:28] We, in the life of humanity, we have evolved. Because of the needs of us mentally and spiritually, but also what we were going through in our lives of, you know, we started cultivating our fields and we became a collective societies. There were wars and so on and so forth. So we have evolved as humanity together as groups of people. That also helped our psyche to change. Our consciousness has evolved and there is a certain parallels between the consciousness of humanity and the consciousness of organizations, the levels that the organizations operate from. I'm not going to go very deep into all this. Probably I also cannot remember them all, but it starts from that place of like a Wolf pack where everything is about kind of the strongest with whatever force you can get, because you need the results right now, you can be violent and just get the results or get the success. And there is this powerful wolf leader. And then there are others that are serving the leader just for the survival of the whole pack. So there is this level kind of, we can say this is the lowest level, the red. There are also color codings for each of these segments. We can call many of the organizations operate in a bit higher level, which it calls orange, orange level, where it's more about success.


[00:12:00] It's more about getting the performance. So really profitability, efficiency. So what are our talents, how we can implement these talents to get the best output, maybe with the lowest cost. And we have a certain power dynamic based on who contributes the most in terms of the profits and in terms of the efficiency aspects of it.


[00:12:25] And then there are higher levels. So the next level is a green, coded green level of organizations. Here, it's not anymore about the performance, but it's "we are together as a family here, we are connected with each other heart to heart, everyone has a say in the organization, everyone needs to be fulfilled, needs to be happy with the decisions. We are caring about our societies. We are caring a lot about each other. We are caring about the world“. So we have these green organizations and then the highest, the current highest ( I think that are higher levels to tell the truth I haven't yet finished the book, but I'm so excited to share that with you. We need to start talking about these things before we are ready to start talking about these things so our consciousness level also expands) And in this highest current highest level that I'm talking about called teal, Teal organizations. It's holistic, it's organic. The organization has a life of its own and people in there self-organized to give life to this organization, they are there to sense the organization and then to bring the best potential of the organization, best future potential of the organization forward.


[00:13:49] So it's more organic. It's not about profitability, but it's about making this thing, this being the organization alive at its best potential. And the dynamic is such that everybody in the organization can access the information. It's available to everyone. There is nothing fixed. The people in the organization senses into the market, senses into the time, sense us into what is emerging and they can gather together, organize themselves in the moment to create the best output together.


[00:14:28] So this kind of dynamic organization operates from certain assumptions or certain beliefs that every individual that is making the organization together can be trusted, that they have good intentions, that they are there to bring something forward, that they will be doing their best at any moment when they have the possibility.
[00:14:54] So there is a maximum trust and open communication, which means open communication with each other, deep listening to each other, but also to the emerging future and the potential of the organization. It might be sounding a bit woo woo. I think it partially is because we are talking about something like an organization, which was always thought to be a machine, which means have to be measured, have to always be planned, has to be controlled to a being, something that cannot be maybe seen, but it has a spirit of its own. It has a life of its own. And people working for the organization are not the ones who get paycheck, whose contribution have to be measured and maybe paid accordingly to life force, the nurturer of this being. And also, I don't know I guess a parent, maybe, a parent that is nurturer rather than disciplining, not a controlling parent, but a nurturing parent that listens, is aware, is , using what is being heard and seen to give the biggest value back to nurture back the organization.
So there are, you might be surprised that that's why the topic is called A Good Job is Not Utopia because in this book, there are various names mentioned, various organizations that are operating currently in that teal level.


[00:16:28] To operate in this level is not an easy thing because that requires first the management, the CEO, but also the board to be both in. So they should be believing that such level, such an organization is possible and they would be supporting the organization to continue with this management system. So that rarely I think happens, but I'm positive that it can happen because we are in a continuous evolvement as humanity.


[00:17:00] And the more people are getting curious about new ways of working, giving from the heart, working together from a higher level of consciousness, bringing the biggest potential forward rather than continuing the past experiences, with the thinking with the past, okay, we have done this so we estimated to do it that way, so really hard controlling and planning , the number of organizations that are operating in this level will also increase. So I am positive about this, but we need to start speaking about it.

 
[00:17:31] And there are important aspects, even though the organization you are working in is not in that level yet, you can, I think, introduce this level of acting to your organization. Maybe you will not be transforming the full thing, but you can transform your team, maybe your colleagues, and then maybe another team gets interested in it. And we can really influence each other. We have the power as humans to mirror each other to sense each other, to be inspired by each other.


[00:18:03] So when one of us changes, one of us gets curious, put something forward, the others can take it and co-create together. So I am definitely positive that we can, as individuals, as a person who is interested in doing meaningful work create or introduce changes to your organization. When I was talking about it, there was something important that I wanted to share with you.


[00:18:26] I guess I got lost in my words right now. Doesn't matter, maybe it'll come. So there are three aspects that are important or that we can bring this way of working to our organizations. And the first one is called self management practices, self organizing teams. So this means that in that Teal level of organization, Teal, there are no hierarchies.


[00:18:57] So there is not a manager that is guiding you, that is controlling if you achieved your targets, you with your team are coming together and deciding what is important, how you will be working together, how you will be supporting each other, what ways will you be reporting to each other, keeping each other in contact and maximize your own potential, the team's potential moving forward.


[00:19:23] So you organize your yourself in terms of resources, in terms of the goals you set, nobody tells you what to do, but of course, when you need support and there is a clarity around how you work together and how you will resolve the conflicts or make conflicts as a potential to grow together. And that becomes very clear.


[00:19:45] So self-organizing teams are the key component of this. And maybe you individually can start by taking initiative when you have a new idea or there is a project that you can really, instead of this is not my job, I'm sure you're not doing it, but sometimes we have the tendency to kind of protect our area and not to be fooled when the other is not working that much, why should I work that much? But you're not working only for money, you are working to do something bigger than you individually, to bring things forward. So when you take initiative, you can act like a self organizing team. You can gather people around you and then decide what will be kind of your output, how you will work together, what will you be watching for? And really tell what resources you need. So taking initiative can be a way of self-organizing. If you are a manager, of course you can delegate this work when you know what you are working on, let your team come up with way of working about this. What are they going to put out, by when, what resources they need, what are they going to introduce from themselves, how will, they work together. If you have multiple teams, you can make these multiple teams compete. It's one of the examples that is given in the book that an organization can create a strategy day and then different teams can put together strategies and plans and the resource planning. And when they can show that they have it in their hand, they can then take control and go forward with their plans and projects so they can start self-managing themselves.

 
[00:21:29] There are many interesting things of this self-management because a role is not something fixed. So however you define yourself or the role you are playing in the organization might change because the market changes, the product changes. Maybe your interests are changing. So you can continuously refine, or maybe how your team benefits from you changes. So you can continuously refine and redefine your role. And some roles can disappear and other roles emerge. So there is this organic in the moment creation of an organization without the fixed defined roles.


[00:22:08] And in this organization, there is not a manager, the controller, but if there is a manager, it's mostly the CEO or there's a representative from each team that goes to different meetings and take different roles. There is a servant leadership. The CEO itself is there to support people's self-organization rather than being the strong guy who decides for everyone. Everyone decides. The teams decides themselves, the stakeholders decide together moving forward. You introduce this to your company through your taking initiative, you deciding taking action and showing that you can do it. And as a manager, giving the authority to your teams.


[00:22:50] The second thing is the wholeness, people don't have to be different beings when they're at work and different beings when they're outside of work. Everybody brings their full self to work because it is what makes the connection possible. When I can show my vulnerable side, when I can show my creative side, when I can be fully myself, then I'm safe and I'm going to bring my best to work.


[00:23:20] And when I'm safe and I can show vulnerability and be myself, then my colleague can also be themselves and can show their vulnerability as well. So we need this wholeness practices to be humans at work so that we can bring the best out of selves to this living organism and be more than we are individually together.


[00:23:43] You can introduce this wholeness practices quite easily. Some of the practices you can organize, like to have meetings in a different way. Maybe not have this fix. Okay. This is our agenda. Let's start, let's finish or. Instead of this, maybe starting with a certain let's be here together. Let's take a moment.


[00:24:03] Maybe you want to have silence. Maybe you want to have meditations. Maybe you want to have a round of sharing how you are feeling right now, what is inside of you, really coming in together and be humans together, maybe at the end of the meeting, you want to acknowledge each other saying that when you said it my heart felt very warm.


[00:24:23] Maybe you want to. In the end, do a checkout where you say, what are you feeling right now? How are you going to go towards your day? So you can transform your meetings to make the workplace more human, or to have more wholeness in the organizations. You can introduce additional activities to foster the wholeness in the organizations.


[00:24:42] Maybe you want to have a different day , one day of year you are going to do off work meetings. So you will not be, working, but you will be doing, I don‘t know, art day or something like this, where people can be themselves and show a different side of themselves at work other than just working and just being efficient.


[00:25:04] There are many beautiful examples in the book about this. I remember one example of a company that has a budget for everyone to have a gift, to give a gift to someone in their life. And the only condition is that they are going to come back and tell it to the whole organization who they gave their gift and what they appreciated about this person that they wanted to create a gift.


[00:25:28] So people hear each other's human stories, and that creates this feeling of connectedness. We are here together. We. Love being with each other. We love creating together. And that builds the first basis of creating something else outside of ourselves when we can be with each other, without defenses, without power fights.


[00:25:49] And we want to be good for each other and together be good for the, the being that is beyond us, the whole organization, and also the universe that we are. So this wholeness bringing wholeness to the companies, to your organization is a practice that you can do.


[00:26:08] First we said, self-organization the second is wholeness. And the third it's called evolutionary purpose. If we want something emerging, something that is so flexible, we need to have a focus and our focus is our purpose. So we can change the way we serve and we can introduce new products and new services once we know why we are doing it.


[00:26:34] So what is the purpose of us working together? The teal level teal level of organization has a very clear purpose that is sensed by everyone and that can be sensed and witnessed in all the decisions that are taken in the organization and day to day work of people working in this organization.


[00:26:57] So you can individually think about the purpose of the organization you are working in. It's not that you define it. It's not like a mission and vision statement that is like, we serve this and this and that. It's more than that because we are talking about a living being rather than a machine. The organization is a living being. You are hearing its purpose. You are sensing into its purpose. So what might the purpose of this organization be? Actually inviting your colleagues and gathering together and hearing each other, and then together deciding the sense purpose of the organization and then working towards that would be how you can bring this sensed utopia into a reality in the organizations you are working in.


[00:27:46] When you can define a purpose, then you will start feeling the meaning more and more because otherwise it's not something I do because I have to earn money. Or something I enjoy doing. At some point, your energy will be dropping because there is no sense to continue doing it. If you created that, what else is there to create?
[00:28:05] But if we are talking about a purpose, you can continu serving it. It can, you can maximize it. You can continuously evolve around it. And it also changes. There's a certain guidance, the red line of the purpose, but some things, because we are changing, life is changing, something changes and your guidance, your direction is originated from this purpose from this evolutionary purpose of the organization you are working in.


[00:28:32] So I invite you to reflect on the purpose of the organization you are working in, or if you are going to look for another job, which is not utopia, but a good one, really align yourself so sense into the purpose you want to be part of and look for organizations that are living these purposes. And then you can introduce, hopefully they have the wholeness practice, the second practice and the Self management. Maybe they also have this, but you might also play a role introducing this to the organization, but the purpose, when it's aligned with your purpose, your individual purpose, then you are in heaven and you can contribute your best to this living being, and really make a gift to the world and feel the sense that you are part of this gift. What a beautiful feeling it is.


[00:29:24] I would like to come to an ending. I want to remind you that this book that I'm mentioning is called reinventing organizations by Frederic Laloux. I highly recommend you to read it. You can also look for companies that are operating with the principles of the Teal, which is kind of the most common, highest level of operating consciousness.


[00:29:52] Now I remembered what I missed in the middle. I wanted to say that our human consciousness is continuously evolving because our life experiences and our challenges are pulling us towards a higher level of being, of seeing, of potential, but at the same time, who we are in contact with or what we are in contact with also influences.

 
[00:30:17] I recognize that I was very lucky that I studied in Bogazici university, one of the top universities of Turkey, because I was there with other people who were operating from a higher level of being. So I felt a certain uplifting of who I was. I grew in that place. And then at work, because my work was supporting growth. I'm very grateful to the organizations I have worked with. There's always encouragement, support, a certain openness, trust in me and my abilities. I was always trusted. There was always an uplifting movement for me. So if you work in these organizations, or if we have organizations that are operating in a higher level of consciousness, because they invite certain systems, containers, certain ways of acting and being, people working there, even though individually, they might not be operating from the highest level of consciousness. Still, they will be invited to go there because the system is such. And when we see the changes in humanity, the big changes happen, I hope I'm not mistaken, but when 30% (it might be also 13. We have to verify this number) 30% of people start operating from that level or believe in it, or act in such a way, then the transformation in the society happens. So the more companies we have operating from that level, the consciousness of our societies will increase. So we need this level, but also the more people who are operating with these values, for example, you listening this now and getting curious and learning more and bringing these values to your organization will be contributing to the common humanity and uplifting the humanity.


[00:32:11] So that's what I forgot to share with you, which I remembered right now. That is great. And closing, I don't know how things will evolve, but when we are open, when we are getting clear about our purpose and we know our intentions, we want to do this kind of work, that uplifts humanity. That's what I say. I want to help people do work that uplifts humanity, which includes yourself.

We don't have to know everything. We can let things evolve. Let's start walking, let's start trusting each other, be in good faith and move with it. And actually I stole this from the book. One of the leaders that has created a teal organization called Favi. The leader's name is Zobrist. I'm going to read this to you. He said it when he introduced this system to his organization. He said, "how will we operate in the future? To be perfectly honest, I don't know. I'm convinced that you deserve for us to work together differently, but I don't have an alternative model. I suggest that together, we learn by doing with good intentions, common sense, and in good faith". This was Jean Francois Zobrist who introduced this level of working to Favi. And that's what I want to leave you with. Let's look for making work better, humane so that we can uplift our humanity, the consciousness of our humanity.


[00:33:45] We might not know what will happen, but let's trust each other. Start or be in the learning, go out in the world and stay in connection to what's happening to ourselves and to each other.


[00:33:59] I am closing here. This was a live broadcast on linkedIn, maybe you will be watching it later. So thank you very much for taking the time with me. Read the book of Frederic Laloux Reinventing Organizations. Keep the good faith that the things will be better and better, and we can create better organizations, be good for each other and uplift our consciousness and the consciousness of humanity.


[00:34:28] Love you very much. Hope to see you again soon. This is a Işıl closing.

I hope you enjoyed this episode, looking forward to talking to in the next episode!

About the author 

Isil

I am a LifeWork coach, the author of the book The Gift of Being Unfulfilled at Work, the host of Unique Careers, Unique Lives podcast, and the co-founder of BeCoach Academy. Learn more on isiluysal.com

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