What I’m fascinated by these days is how to bring online individual and group capacities. . .
Latent capacities. Capacities that are there, just not reachable in daily life. the more I see, the more I’m clear that we all have many capacities that are not currently available to us. And, it’s not that hard to get there. We don’t need years of therapy nor volumes full of new ways to think about things, talk about things or do things that we need to dig into and remember to do. We don’t need more layers. We need less. Less is more definitely applies here.
When I ran an organization, one of my favorite things to do was to craft job responsibilities and positions to naturally bring out a specific person’s abilities and watch them flourish. It wasn’t hard, if I paid attention. And it was fun. More work got done with less effort and the organization reaped the benefits. And the individual was much happier and more fulfilled. That was in the mid 90s to early 00s, when I was playing a lot with Senge, learning organizations and PPC, the healthcare version of the Toyota Production System.
Then I started seeing other patterns, other issues that were perplexing. . .
Why did some people appear to be more “slippery” than others – committing yet not really committing. What was operating there? Why did some people really get shaken with feedback, while some took it as gold, and others seemed to let it run off their back? Why did I see, over and over, some people getting what they needed and some not ever asking, while others seemed to not need anything? Why did some people become very visible “heroes” and others become almost invisible? Why did some “play well with others” and others go it alone, appearing to prefer an isolated, not connected approach? It was clear to me that we needed all of these people. It was not that some were “well rounded and the best” while others were not. That view was way to narrow and “easy”. This was clearly something else. But what?
This led me to a long investigation – of myself and what I was seeing in those around me.
I’ve come to deeply appreciate the self-as-instrument view of working with people and groups. If I have not integrated it, I clearly cannot recognize nor impart it. Whatever “it” is in the moment. I’ve delved into adult development, and seen how it’s easy to mistake those who appear to operate more smoothly as those who “can” – sadly missing key elements regarding what is happening on a bigger level. I’ve dived into studies in attachment – how we relate, and come to appreciate how important it is, when working with adults, to not attempt to project childhood attachment approaches onto adults – they don’t work. And I’ve seen how important relating is for healthy, productive, engaged work environments. And how threatening relating can be for many adults, even when that is exactly what we yearn for most. Telling people that they need to relate when, at some level, it’s threatening for them doesn’t work.
So what does work??
I’ve been studying and learning at the intersection of Adult Development, the Healing of Early Developmental Trauma in Adults, and Pre and Peri Natal Attachment Psychology. I study these things because as a coach and facilitator, issues and challenges in this arena arise over and over. I am fascinated with how we can support the surfacing of latent capacities – how we can support people in finding their full YES, their capacity to commit fully, their capacity to see clearly and to say what they see, and for people to begin to see where we, as a culture, have grossly misidentified some adaptive strategies as capacities, and have inadvertently encouraged and rewarded misidentified defenses, what I refer to as Reptilian Tendencies, as Higher Level Human Capacities. This does not work. Individuals and organizations suffer from this.
My work . . .
Is to help individuals, groups and organizations identify misinterpretations, and to begin to come into contact with the Higher Level Human Capacities that reside beneath these well worn “reptilian” strategies.
My book . . .
Going Reptile creates a frame for recognition and is intended as a way to create a language and start a conversation about what is arising in and around us.
My one on one coaching work . . .
Supports individuals in bringing latent capacities online through precise inquiry and observation of patterns, habits and learned responses, using awareness, attunement and focused attention.
My work with groups and organizations . . .
Utilizes the group dynamics and field to support recognition and awareness of capacities that may otherwise go unrecognized, and a container in which to strengthen and discover more awareness than might otherwise come to light. By creating opportunities for individuals and groups to discover capacities and awarenesses, and to witness the impact, possibilities begin to emerge. As these capacities come more fully online, groups, teams and organizations find that they are naturally more agile and able to meet the challenges that inevitably arise.