After retiring I began work for the state government social services office as a part time employee on a child welfare automation project. I worked with a very diverse team that was fascinating. Not only did I learn about other cultures but I got to use my expertise with facilitation skills as well. Meeting with groups of social workers to design a system that supported their work was a joy. Crazy management decisions were made and there were many ups and downs but the team was committed to doing its best and we all supported each other.
I began to understand some of my frustration with management when I read Meg Wheatley’s book Leadership and the New Science. Another fire was lit as I read with awe about a science I always avoided like the plague. Suddenly concepts of chaos and order and self-organizing systems began to make sense and expanded the learning from Structural Family Therapy training. My gosh – to think that work teams can function without management interference but only with management encouragement and willingness to provide what is needed. Why did it take me so long to recognize and remember LIFE IS! It will on its own navigate the flow and we can participate in the process with joy and fun.
But back in the world of work no attention was paid to this. I could not understand why all organizations were not embracing the information in this book. I am sure there were teams functioning this way but not around me. Instead I worked in an atmosphere that became increasingly more difficult. Decisions were made without much knowledge or thought. Those who did the work were not asked for input or no value was put on feedback given. With each management decision I became more frustrated and sad. Somehow the team continued to function but ultimately a decision was made to divide us up between two divisions. Clearly this was a way to maintain control.
Reading Meg Wheatley’s book continued the process of a shift in my world view. It was a catalyst that not only touched my mind but the very heart of me. There was a sense of relief in knowing that this is truth. As a counterpoint I began experiencing the opposite functioning in my work place. Fear and anger began to guide my life again sending me into deep feelings of imbalance.
Have you ever experienced a profound shift that changed your world? How did you handle it? What else was going on in your life at the time? Was there balance or imbalance?