The video is here.
I have been dreaming about using the concepts of heart in the engineering company where I consult. There is an open door of invitation. Now, we have to deliver a practical approach that works in a secular, corporate setting. First step: define the problem.
Challenge – Large corporations have a mountain of polices, systems and procedures that tend to cause people to lose the forest for the trees. People can easily feel unheard, unknown, unappreciated and untapped. It’s hard for young engineers to adjust their college expectations of professional life to the realities of work in a bureaucracy. Our attrition rate is too high. Maintaining all the procedures and integration of competing systems consumes every manager’s time, and there is really no credible attempt to manage the culture. The environment can tend to frustrate the creative, industrious types (the lions) and leave the plodding servants to man the ship (the oxen). At some level we self-select oxen for our staff and managers who become more and more cynical as they age. The mentoring program for most institutions produces oxen; schools, corporations and churches in particular.
How to change a culture – The lethargy of corporate culture is people whose hearts are not engaged in the work. They are mentally at work, but their hearts are somewhere else. We all make our mental decisions and find our motivation from the values that reside in our heart. We are much less logical than we, or our organizations know, or care to admit. Regardless of our station (leader, manager or employee), the starting place is knowing what is really in one another’s hearts. That question is usually only addressed in the exit interview as “Why are you leaving?” We all need to know why we’re here, now – our hearts are all asking!
- Hearing hearts – The shift starts when we take the modest amount of time to ask one another, “What is the desire of your heart?” One realm is at work and the other is outside work. We don’t really know another person until we have a picture of both. We have to create a culture where it’s safe to ask and answer those questions… even if it’s just on a voluntary basis. Most of us start out as oxen and we aren’t necessarily connected with our hearts – no one ever asked before! Here are a few sample questions that can start a conversation.
- What’s your dream? Is there synergism with the corporate vision?
- If you were “more you,” what would that look like?
- What do you want to do after this job or outside your present work?
- How can I help you to take the next step toward your dream?
- A compelling why – Corporate leaders are so often consumed with the daily agenda that they do a poor job of giving their staff a vision that warrants any enthusiasm. Meeting the contract deliverable and schedule to make the fee and profit is necessary and appropriate, but not exciting. People are looking for purpose in their professional life to answer the “why am I here” in their heart. If the vision isn’t a compelling adventure that has some moral significance, we will just weed out the lions. What if we admit that people are an important part of our corporate vision? …that cultivating their dreams has a place in corporate culture?
Real leadership – Every organization that involves people has to deal with hearts – schools, churches, corporations, etc. Leaders who release lions believe there is a creative genius hidden in every ox (by faith, if necessary). God has written something in the way of a dream in every heart and wired us with the talents to make it come true. Neither leaders (pastors, mangers and teachers) nor oxen necessarily believe this. It is the good news of the gospel of the Kingdom that leads to life and life more abundantly… and corporate profits via the treasure in earthen vessels.
Knowing what’s in the hearts of those around you is an essential ingredient of a healthy work culture. When it happens, people feel respected and loved, and the dynamic that results is very powerful. Instead of implementing this through a procedure or a system, let’s make it a contagious lifestyle. “What’s your dream? How can I help you take the next step? A team of people with synergism for the same dream and goals can make work fun and fulfilling… and convert bored, unimaginative oxen into creative, industrious lion Kings.
Heart Plan – We use a professional development program so the conversation on heart’s desire fills in the details regarding life purpose, values, specific goals to implement purpose, boundaries that hold us back, and the plan to make our dream come true. The easiest way to learn to use this process informally, is to go through it yourself on a formal basis. Before we can hear another person’s heart, we all have to hear what’s in our own heart. Here are three things we find, in ourselves and others:
- The attempt – We don’t necessarily know what’s in our heart. We need a conscious effort and help articulating it and getting out of the “mental answer” mode. Adopting a mental answer that isn’t in our heart is a rabbit trail that wastes everyone’s time.
- The resistance – It’s common to encounter heart boundaries that prevent progress, oppose or even sabotage our dream. Heart beliefs regarding those issues have to be exchanged (exchange the lie for the truth). Heart beliefs are rooted in experiences, not intellectual beliefs. People let go of the old via a new experience or a different interpretation of an old experience. We have to connect the dots between past experiences and the current beliefs in our heart and make the necessary exchanges to go forward.
- The Plan – The goals to make a dream come true have to be written, practical, credible, and have a strategy to make the cash flow work. Dreams need to be clarified with business or career plans. The path forward has to be exciting and attainable for our hearts to engage. If not, we are just oxen working on another man’s dream.
Personal story – For much of my adult Christian life I thought doing things for God out of discipline and sacrifice was evidence of my spiritual maturity. We called it “living by principle.” Obedience and performance defined much of what I did – as an ox. I did not trust the desires of my heart. The Kingdom is very different. We’re co-laboring with the Father and we can feel the wind of His Spirit in our sails. We are working with our hearts instead of against them knowing that dreams do come true. Even unsaved people in a secular corporate culture need to be invited into the joy of working with the desires God wrote in their heart. It is heart evangelism. The reward is that people will love you for hearing and healing their heart. They will eventually love God when they find out He played a role in writing the dream in their hearts so they can play a role in building the Kingdom. It feels like being invited to a party.
PS: One of our heart plan affiliate coaches is a 6th grade teacher (David Nycz) who implemented these same concepts in teaching his students and coaching teachers. David’s education mountain story is here. Hearing what is in a student’s heart and helping their dream come true is the key to their motivation to learn instead of just memorize, test and forget.