To thrive for generations to come, organizations must balance their attention among customers/clients, employees, and resources: communities need to balance their attention among their institutions, the quality of life for all residents, and their resources. Our job is to help our clients make conscious choices about how to achieve this balance and to consider the short and long-term impacts of their decisions.
When we work with clients, we keep the following values and beliefs in the forefront of our minds.
The future need not be a place we approach aimlessly: it can be a place we have the opportunity to shape through our conversations. Three forces are undermining our ability to work together to create a desired future: the habitual survival instincts of the brain; ineffective or destructive patterns of communicating; and archaic and ineffective meeting processes. By tapping the behavioral and brain sciences along with what we know about contemplative practices and effective human interaction, we can significantly improve how groups in organizations and communities solve problems, make decisions, and develop policies.
Places of work and communities are two of the primary vehicles through which all of us develop, contribute, and find meaning. They are also the mediums through which we create and pass on beliefs and values, i.e., our culture. It is critical to make conscious choices about the culture we want to create and leave as a legacy to those who are yet to come.
Power is the capacity to mobilize people and resources to get things done. Power can come from one’s position, knowledge, competence, vision, experience, passion, presence and relationships. Although some use power to control or dominate others, we can choose instead to see and use it as an expanding resource that, once shared through information and collaborative processes, can become an unlimited force for good.
To solve complex and inter-related issues, we need to engage effectively with people who differ from us. This includes people who have a stake in the issues at hand and who have different backgrounds, areas of expertise, and points of view. This can be very challenging. That is why designing and conducting interactive processes based in the behavioral and brain sciences is essential to effectively creating positive and sustainable change. These processes can help people talk through differences and work together to create desired futures.
The change process itself creates change: make it consistent with desired ends. Building a collaborative and committed workforce requires inviting employees to participate in creating change in organizations. Developing an engaged community requires enlisting the participation of stakeholders in solving problems and developing public policy.
How we talk matters. How we communicate with one another at work and in our communities affects our emotions along with the quality of our thinking and our ability to work together. Managing ourselves—not letting the more primitive parts of the brain drive our emotions, thoughts, and expressions—is key to being able to interact effectively with others.