So why isn’t it that simple? And my answer to myself is, “It is that simple.” I often talk about looking at young kids. Remember when they were young and playing? For me when I watch young kids at play, they don’t play like we play, and they don’t work like we work. They work at play and they play at work!
Welcome to our interview with Marc Hanlan. Marc is a Catalyst, Future of Work and Partner at LMC Partners. You can learn more about Marc on his LinkedIn page.
Marc’s background includes 34 years of Organizational Transformation and Program Management, including 24 years of external consulting and 10 years of internal consulting. He has overall 23 years of successful Profit/Loss responsibility, including 12 years of executive management in manufacturing. Expert in large-scale complex change, ranging from the 82,000-user U.S. Navy ERP implementation to the operational transformation of thousands of field service workers at Exelon to the creation of self-managed factories at General Electric. Marc recently received his Ph.D. in Organizational Development and Change, from the Fielding Graduate University.
Welcome Marc, and thank you for contributing to the questions that are at the heart of Container13.
Those are great questions. I’ve spent a fair amount of time thinking about this. Let me give you my simple answer, which is actually my true answer, which is very short. Then I’ll go back and tie my answers together.
My simple answer is we already do that, it’s life.
My simple answer is nothing at all.
My simple answer is nothing different from the rest of their lives.
My simple answer is who are you and how can I help?
My simple answer is who are you and how can I help?
My simple answer is who am I?
Now to tie my answers together. I was struggling with how I would answer your questions, but then I realized I was caught up in my own drama. So then I asked, “Why isn’t it that simple?”
The work that I’ve done with organizations and people have really been around a lot of these questions. I’m glad we took days to not do this immediately because I really spent some time connecting with your questions. Not so much thinking about it but feeling into the connections.
So why isn’t it that simple? And my answer to myself is, “It is that simple.” I often talk about looking at young kids. Remember when they were young and playing? For me when I watch young kids at play, they don’t play like we play, and they don’t work like we work. They work at play and they play at work! (laughter). We screw it up!
In looking at why we screw it up is to take some things that I felt were true and being able to corroborate or validate them that some things I thought were true weren’t. Mostly it’s about trying to see in a different way some of my own experiences. One of the things that obviously screws it up is fear. Fear leads to zero-sum thinking. Fear leads to mistrust. Fear leads to changes in power, authority and influence not only in the shift of those but in the hoarding of those.
I’ve been working in business organizations and supporting other organizations since the 70s. There’s a poem I wrote a number of years ago. A line in the poem says, “They wait to quench their thirst and try in vain to fill their empty souls.” Part of that is that people may think, “That’s management, they’re taking advantage of us.” Meanwhile, management is sitting there thinking, “Yeah, people don’t want to do work.” And actually, in my experience, it’s all of us.
In my journey, there’s been a strong drive for us to find alternative ways to do work. One of the things I found out in my studies is that’s not unique to any time of people. We tend to think we’re more enlightened. We tend to think we’re on the cusp going into the age of Aquarius. There are things that are changing. Well, there were things that were changing 200 years ago, and there were things that were changing 2000 years ago, and things that were changing 12,000 and 15,000 years ago.
For me in my experiences in doing turnarounds, leading small companies, leading large companies, and trying to do all this, it really was, “Ok, the way we’re doing it really doesn’t work.” How do I know it doesn’t work? Well, first of all, it feels wrong. It doesn’t feel right. As a person doing organization development for a long time, I’ve come to my final diagnostic is simply, “what feels right.”
Real change is easy. Real change is hanging on for dear life as you’re going through the rapids. Real change is not resistance. Real change is not, “Oh my God, why am I doing this?” Real change is natural. My journey has been going to high-performance teams, then going to transcendent teams, and then looking at dissolving the organization and now looking at beyond the organization.
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