Shifting our center of gravity is a powerful idea that I learned from Hrund Gunnsteinsdottir. Hrund uses the phrase “shifting our center of gravity” to describe a powerful way to approach change in today’s world where “we are exploring, learning and asking questions together.”
This is an idea that is particularly attractive to me because it describes exactly how we approach the work that we do at Exploring Forward Thinking Workplaces.
This idea is also meaningful to me because as a private pilot, I have first hand knowledge and experience (some good, some interesting) at how small changes in where we choose to place our weight (or attention) can have dramatic impacts on our results and future.
By working together with an alliance of over 70 global business and thought leaders and our clients, we are “exploring, learning and asking questions together” to discover many exciting new ideas and solutions to our most vexing workplace challenges.
If you’re not familiar with Hrund Gunnsteinsdottir, I encourage you to get to know more about her through her amazing documentary film Innsaei ⏤ The Power of Intuition.
Below are the key insights I found most intriguing in my interview with her. You can learn more about Hrund and read or listen to the full interview at Shifting the Center of Gravity.
What do you find most intriguing here?
To your great work life & success!
About Bill Fox
I help leaders and leadership teams achieve their most important strategic objectives by introducing a forward thinking approach. This approach helps people discover how to advance beyond best practices, working harder or even smarter in the post Industrial Era. In my interview series, Exploring Forward-Thinking Workplaces, I lead a new type of conversation for the 21st Century with global business and thought leaders that is uncovering exciting new solutions to our most vexing workplace challenges.
To learn more or get in touch, visit https://billfox.co.
1. A CLEAR FRAMEWORK WHERE WHAT I SAY AND HOW I SEE THINGS MATTERS
“If you think about a workplace in the sense that you can create a constellation, which represents a clear framework then there are some borders to what we do. But inside the constellation, there is a lot of trust. I trust my colleagues and my supervisors in a way that I can speak openly, ask silly questions, or be genuine about what I’m thinking. I’m free to think outside the box and open my mind. Then there’s encouragement and affirmation, so I’m encouraged to be who I am. I feel that what I say and how I see things really matters. I think that is important to people.”
2. PEOPLE NEED TO FEEL SECURE & GENUINELY LISTENED TO
“But in order to create that creative workplace, you need to have that constellation that makes people feel secure in their space where they are genuinely listened to. People appreciate what they have to offer because of who they are – not only what they studied. It’s also a workplace that encourages you to use tools that you’re not necessarily specialized in. And when I say tools, I mean knowledge. It can be a concept, theory or just a bit of information from somewhere that is not your specialty but you have feeling it may help a thought process, strategy, way of seeing things, something that is worth exploring.”
3. LEADERSHIP THAT UNDERSTANDS INTRINSIC MOTIVATION
“I also think in essence it’s about leadership within that workplace that understands the incredible value of intrinsic motivation. You’re willing to do so many things when you are intrinsically motivated. My friend Gordon Torr, who wrote Managing Creative People, said if you have a room with five highly creative individuals and you want them to come up a very original creative idea, then you don’t say to them, “You know, if you do this in a week then you’ll get a free parking space for a year or I’ll give you a pay raise.” It’s not really going to motivate them in a creative or innovative sense.”
4. WE SOMETIMES LACK SHOWING WE’RE IMPERFECT
“One of the barriers we sometimes have in the workplace is basically the lack of people showing that they’re imperfect. Let’s say I’m a leader in the workplace, and I want people to excel in an area. If I have the self-confidence to show that I make mistakes, and I sometimes say silly things, and I don’t know everything, then people are more likely to do that too and they relax.”
5. SHIFT THE CENTER OF GRAVITY — EXPLORING LEARNING & ASKING QUESTIONS TOGETHER
“Let’s say you have a workplace that’s been around for decades. You’ve been doing things that are traditional and now you need to be innovative. You need to do things differently, so that’s shifting the center of gravity in the way that we approach work – and I think that’s what we’re all going through in one way or another. It means we are exploring, learning and asking questions together.”
6. GIVE PEOPLE THE WAYS & TOOLS TO FIND HARMONY BETWEEN WORK & HOME
“I’ve talked about intrinsic motivation and bringing out the best in people, and this idea of enabling people to live out their fullest potential is amazing. But you can’t just focus on that at work. We need to respect that people have different roles and responsibilities, so I think that it’s key to recognize that and approach every individual from that perspective. Not everybody makes that distinction. Some people are what they do. Some people come home and take care of their kids, and they can’t stop thinking about what they’re doing at work. It really benefits them and what they do at work to be present with their kids or otherwise in their private lives. So I think it’s learning to allow all these components to work together.”
7. BIG CHALLENGES WE NEED TO THINK ABOUT
“We also talk about creativity and innovation. That’s the big thing today in the world of work. In 2020, creativity, critical thinking and the ability to solve complex problems are going to be the top three skills sought after in the work market, according to the World Economic Forum. At the same time, the World Health Organization (WHO) is telling us that depression is increasing and is the leading cause of disability in the world today. I remember 18 years ago to be precise, I was looking into what were the five main health threats to people globally, and I realized for the first time that depression was actually one of the five highest-ranking things that are debilitating us health wise in the world. So, you have depression, stress and anxiety peaking, and you have a need for creativity, resilience, and open-mindedness at the same time. This does not go well together. These are things we need to think about.”
8. HOW CAN I SUPPORT YOU IN BECOMING PROFESSIONALLY STRONG IN GENERAL?
“How can I support you? How can I make your work more challenging and rewarding depending on what’s relevant? What information do you need that can help you? Can I connect you with people who can help you in terms of meeting likeminded people or getting information that you need? Or can I elevate you somehow? How can I support you in becoming professionally strong in the work market in general, but you will still choose to work here?”
9. VISIONARY & FEARLESS LEADERSHIP
“I also think that there needs to be a strong vision. Leaders need to have a strong vision, and it needs to be inspiring. People look up to and want to be around visionaries. They want to work with the individual, but that individual is really there to support them in reaching that vision.
And in order to be supportive of your people, you can’t be dominated by your fear of them taking your job away. I love it when I hear leaders say, “I’m so honored to be here.” The people I’m surrounded with here are so much more intelligent, clever and efficient than I am ever. But I’m here to be the facilitator of great things.”
10. WHAT WILL YOU DO TO MAKE ME THRIVE IN YOUR ENVIRONMENT?
“What will you do to make me thrive in your environment? How can I best support the objectives, visions and my colleagues? In order for me to do the best job that I can do, what are you offering me so that I will thrive and build my skills, and I will become so good that I still decide to work for you, but not somebody else?”
11. HOW DO WE BUILD SKILLS THAT ENABLE US TO NAVIGATE UNCERTAINTY?
“It may sound counterintuitive but could it be genuinely economically feasible that employers build the skills of employees that do not directly relate to the jobs that they’re in? But they make them feel like they will be sought after in the workplace in the future? Because that could lead to some extraordinary innovation inside that same corporation. It’s again about trust and self-confidence. Discovering the creative potential that we can have. One of my favorite sentences now is “The only thing that’s certain about the world we live in today, is uncertainty.” So how do we build skills that enable us to best navigate uncertainty?”
12. DO WE WANT THIS?
“I think on a collective scale and in the context of the Fourth Industrial revolution, which involves immensely fast technological and scientific developments, globalization, political, social and economic turbulence it would be, “Do we want to want this?”, as the historian and author of Sapiens and Homo Deus, Noah Yuval Harari coined it. What is the meaning, end goal, of these technological and scientific developments? We need to remember, perhaps now more than ever before, that technology, science and systems and a means to an end. They are not, or should not, be end in themselves. They should serve to improve the lives of people and a thriving ecosystem on our planet.”
13. WE WOULD BE MORE EMPATHETIC
“If we lived more connected between the head and the heart, it would mean that we would be more empathetic. We would be more courageous to be who we are. We would be better able to put ourselves in other people’s shoes. This way we would be more creative and responsible. Our agency would be much stronger. I remember walking the hallways of the Palace of Nations in Geneva one day, and I would look for a sparkle in people’s eyes. I very seldom found it. When I see a sparkle in people’s eyes, I know something wonderful is happening, at least partly – because of course life is never perfect. I realized that that was an energy I wanted to see and feel, and be a part of. I think that’s important. I think that has to do with the connection too.”