It takes courage for leaders to move away from an established culture but a senior management team at Swarovski did just that.
This was a process of moving towards who the leaders wanted to become, both individually and as a team.
Under the pressure of being so visibly on show, their habitual conversational patterns were typical of so many teams: not truly listening to each other, not building on another’s point of view, not offering a neutral perspective – showed up more and more.
They each stepped into their own vulnerability, opening up to what had shaped them, allowing themselves to be seen. They shared their personal histories, experiences and the relationships that shaped them.
However, with practice, they learnt how to bring themselves present inside of the conversation, tuning into each other, listening more deeply and embodying a mood of curiosity. They learnt how to be in the difficult conversation and hold each other with dignity and respect.
Conversations moved beyond superficial exchange to interactions that mattered.
One leader asked: “How come I’ve worked with you for all this time and never knew any of that about you?”
They were waking up to the wisdom of the body; they could deeply sense the other person and listen beyond the words.
There was a tangible shift in the mood of the group. It became relaxed, and open to the possibility for different action.
Through this inner work, the team were able to resource themselves, both individually and collectively and work through challenging situations more effectively.
A movement practice was introduced that helps individuals to centre and re-centre in change and transition.
As they practised together. members were building cohesion amongst themselves and this was particularly visible in the work they did together around one particular intervention, the fish-bowl.
A fish-bowl is a dialogue process that supports the discussion of a topic by a small group while being observed by a larger group of people. It seemed the perfect vehicle to bring everyone’s views and ideas about the forthcoming change to life at the event.
As one participant said, “The discussion you had in the fish-bowl showed you as real leaders and brought you much closer to us! Well done!”
It is through practice, the repetition of a particular skill or action, that we begin to embody new and different actions. We lay down new neural pathways and, as we practise, those pathways strengthen.
Through cultivating a powerful authentic presence, grounded in a strong sense of purpose, the senior leadership team was able to make fundamental changes to the way they related to each other and others and how they responded to situations.
Drawn from Chapter Five in Embodying Authenticity: A somatic path to transforming self, team and organisation Eunice Aquilina
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