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Contrary to what most people believe, the first thing that’s important for people to understand is that human beings experience life from the inside out. Understanding that distinction reduces an enormous amount of misunderstanding between people.
Welcome to our interview with Ken Manning. Ken is the President and Co-Founder of Insight Principles. He is also one of the authors of Invisible Power: Insight Principles at Work. Ken’s specialty is bringing a new paradigm of human understanding into the corporate world and evolving the field of psychology to a health-oriented, principle based science.
Welcome Ken, and thank you for contributing to the questions that are at the heart of the Exploring Forward Thinking Workplaces 2.0 conversation.
Bill Fox: How can we create workplaces where every voice matters, everyone thrives and finds meaning, and change and innovation happen naturally?
Ken Manning: Contrary to what most people believe, the first thing that’s important for people to understand is that human beings experience life from the inside out. We’re all experiencing life in our own realities. Understanding that distinction reduces an enormous amount of misunderstanding between people. It eliminates a lot of mental noise that people have.
The second thing people need to understand is that everyone is designed for success— everyone has built into them a design to be at their best. People function naturally when they don’t have a lot of noise in their heads. A company that is operating in a culture with this understanding is in deep respect of the human dynamic—the way it’s naturally designed. I believe this would be an environment in which people look forward to having less noise in their mind and would be able to sit in their natural abilities operating innately from the inside out.
If people treat each other with this understanding, then everything that happens as people interact will be supportive and generate a minimum of mental noise. That’s what I think it would take to create the workplace that you described in your question. It’s also what we try to accomplish with our company.
Bill: What does it take to get an employee’s full attention and best performance?
Ken: They would have to have a clear mind and be engaged with something that they’re interested in. The company would have to offer an opportunity for them to be interested in engaging in from a place that’s meaningful to them.
What would get someone’s best performance? It would have to be an environment in which they feel supported—to be at their best whatever that means for them, which would be different from person to person.
Bill: What do people really lack and long for at work?
Ken: What we just said! (laughter) People want to be able to have a clear mind and have what’s meaningful to them be respected and appreciated. They want to have the opportunity to engage in something meaningful that is also meaningful to them personally.
Bill: What is the most important question that leaders should ask employees?
Ken: What’s meaningful to you?
Bill: What’s the most important question employees should ask leaders?
Ken: What do you need and what’s meaningful to you in the role that you want me to play? And how do you want me to play it?
I think we all need to be in service to each other. If the company is in service to something that’s meaningful, then ultimately the opportunity is for us to all work together—to do something meaningful together—that’s meaningful to ourselves individually in different ways. Picture it as a Venn diagram in terms of how our combined efforts will achieve something meaningful for people or the world.
Bill: What is the most important question we can ask ourselves?
Ken: What does the wisdom in me move me to do right now?
Editor’s Note: We believe this is a powerful question, Ken. It’s very similar to the question we ask ourselves, repeatedly. It’s the question we ask to form the work that we do and lead our company forward.
Bill: We’d like to ask you a question about the quote below from your book Invisible Power. How can we more effectively access this wisdom?
Down one branch of the fork is a life of trying to fix the thinking you already have, chasing after what your thinking has manifested. Down the other branch is a life of you seeing for yourself, in the moment, that the power lies in that invisible, formless place where your thinking comes from—and your potential lies—before you actually think anything. We are pointing to this branch.”
Ken: First, you have to trust that it’s there. Then you have to develop respect for it. You have to make room for it. You mentioned that you thought it was a good thing that I paused before answering your questions. I don’t feel like I’m the author of my intelligence, but I’m grateful I have it.
I have a profound respect that if I want to be clear about something—or if I want to get wisdom for something—looking into my analytical processing mind is not the place to look. I know that in the silence behind my thinking there is a very fertile rich living intelligence there. It’s important to create your personal way of connecting to it, respecting it, trusting it, and having a partnership with it.
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