Transformation

We live with only the illusion of real connectedness. One of the painful paradoxes of our time, is that digitalisation has facilitated unprecedented global connectivity, yet most of the social ills we experience have their roots in feelings of disconnectedness. One telling study in the journal, Science, showed that lack of social connection is a greater detriment to health than obesity, smoking and high blood pressure. So eat your greens and exercise, but don’t forget to connect!

The language we use in corporate life is often too impoverished for the purpose we expect it to fulfil. We cannot assume that technical language will engage, inspire and transform, yet I believe that too little consideration is given to more a ‘poetic’ lexicon that has more potential to reach into people’s hearts and minds. Yet ‘poetic’ language does not mean floweriness! I have been experimenting with film as a more ‘poetic’ transformational medium, and am convinced of its contribution to culture change, leadership development, and the enactment of strategy.

‘Breakthrough’ may be a buzzword but it is also a vitally important concept in personal, organisational and social transformation. Yet what exactly do we mean when we say that someone ‘has had a breakthrough’, or that something is a ‘breakthrough approach’?

The German word gestalt doesn’t translate well: but roughly speaking means a ‘whole configuration’. Gestalt can be seen, therefore, as an approach that preferences ‘seeing wholes’ and working with ‘wholeness’. Thus, if we look down on a village from the top of a mountain, we see the village as a whole, not the individual buildings and roads that we put together in order to see the village as a whole: we see it at once as a totality, as a gestalt.

Most self-help books will tell you that it takes 21 days to change a habit. This factoid is based on a 1960s study of amputees by plastic surgeon Maxwell Maltz, who reasoned that because it took only 21 days for amputees to adjust to the loss of a limb, other life-changes should only take as long… This looks like a very shaky assumption to me!

‘A dot means everything,’ said the Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai. A dot is not only the origin of the work of art, it also distils the essence of the subject and captures the quality of relationship of the artist to his or her work of art. A dot thus becomes an exquisitely expressive punctuation point in the creative process.