Logic and Compassion, Facts and Nurturing, Fun and Exploring - check here

We continue the sometimes joyful and sometimes painful path to try to be better human beings - this is only possible because we can rise above logic, that we find the wonder and hope, the language and words to inspire us and keep us going. Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Answer to How is Yes - Acting on What Matters

In evolution, they talk about the "Missing Link". For me this book by Peter Block (see www.peterblock.com for more) is a Missing Link that I have been looking for. Reading the book was a chance to literally and figuratively sit on the grass in the sun, by a stream and feel all my connections to the universe resonate:

"All nature sings and 'round me rings,
the music of the spheres."

For a bit of a taste, here's an excerpt of an interview with Block by the Executive Director of Staff Development, the whole interview can be read by clicking on the title link above). The subtitles are directly from the article in the Journal of Staff Development, written by Dennis Sparks.

Intrinsic motivation

JSD: Something else you discussed in your book may also help explain the problem. "(T)he whole idea that bosses should motivate their people ties us all in knots," you wrote. "Instead, bring your employees together and stimulate the right conversation. This is an important role for any boss--to support the communal pursuit of what matters. Let this be motivation enough."

Block: I think the idea that bosses will motivate employees is a mistake. It's more important to ask what motivates us than to wonder what motivates others. For me what is motivating is intimacy, full self-expression, idealism, and people talking about their experience with others listening deeply to what they are saying. This releases enormous energy. It's interesting that at meetings or learning events people often display far more energy during the breaks. I want that type of energy to be the norm when we work together.

A life worth living

JSD: There's a clue to how that energy is generated in your views about the power of creating. You wrote, "As soon as I begin to discuss what I want to create, I am in the position of cause, not effect." Later you write, "Citizenship means that I act as if this larger place were mine to create, while the conventional wisdom is that I cannot have responsibility without authority. That is a tired idea. ... I can participate in creating something I do not control."

Block: That's an argument against the conventional wisdom. Creativity is an expression of our freedom, and it gives us a reason for being alive. Most people say they are not responsible for their work because they do not control it. I'm trying to push back on that by saying it's a defense against being responsible, against being accountable for the well-being of the whole.

I believe I can care for anything I choose to care for, and I'm not limited by my position. For instance, I can leave this room and walk out into my neighborhood and invest my energy in things that matter to me. Will I affect change? I don't know. Will I be acknowledged and rewarded and appreciated for what I do? I don't know. But that's just a barter mentality, a view that I should only invest in things from which I reap a return. The world is more than economics.

We are human beings who can invest in what matters to us. It is possible through my language and commitments to create a world that matters to me. Out of that comes a sense of having lived a life worth living. It also means I don't have to wait to do something that matters.

Activism breeds strength

JSD: You've written about the social nature of transformation. "All learning is social," you say. "It is with our peers that we will ultimately find our voice and change our world. It is in community that our lives are transformed. Small groups can change the world."

Block: I don't accept the view that it is only great men and women who truly make a difference in the world. Where does that leave the rest of us? Establishing a community around us can have tremendous impact on our emotional and physical health and on our capacity to perform. Strong communities with high rates of civic engagement have healthier children. Being activists in the world, feeling that we are not alone in the world, knowing that we have something to offer the world, is good for our communities as well as ourselves.

This book has so much for CRM practitioners and people who are working on developing relationships. It reminded me of the different roles that are necessary to develop customer relationships with value and integrity.

The engineer - sort out the HOW (feedback loops)
The economist - work out the MONEY (who pays what to whom and why)
The artist - imagine the CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE as a LifeCycle (anticipating, welcoming, engaging, culminating, extending the relationship)
The social architect - design the ECOSYSTEM

Read this book.

The Answer to How is Yes by Peter Block.

Here's the Amazon link.

No comments: