What we feed…Grows

I was at the gym the other day and on TV was the season finale of Australian Survivor 2017. Admittedly, I’ve never watched an entire season but I’ve seen enough snippets and promos over the years to know how it works – A mixture of eye-catching, quirky and attention-seeking individuals “marooned” at some exotic island location; taking on a range of both real and whacky challenges; initially working together in competing tribes; then competing individually against each other until only a Sole Survivor remains.  On this occasion, the winner pocketed a cool $500,000. The U.S. version has a grand prize of $1,000,000 and has been running for 35 years – it is a very successful and popular show.

Anyway, one of the many things that has long disturbed me about these kinds of Reality TV programs (and Survivor certainly isn’t the only one) is not so much what it reveals about our society…But what it feeds.

After a dramatic final counting of votes, the eventual winner emotionally announced how proud he was of the way he played the game and that he also hoped his family were proud and that indeed, all of Australia was proud.

Then, we were shown a series of flashback highlights, including the winner earlier in the season proclaiming: “If I have to steal, cheat and lie, I will do whatever it takes to win…”

And that’s what he did. That’s what it always takes to win Survivor and many other “Reality” competitions. Every season it’s the same – the person who is best at lying, deceiving, scheming, stabbing people in the back, appearing to be trustworthy…but not; They win. They are celebrated. They get the big prize. They become famous.

In this reality, some of the lowest human behaviours are the very qualities that bring success…and they are not only accepted, but rewarded – Big time.

What our society feeds…will grow. What we incentify…will be reinforced.

Our prime-time entertainment continues to promote destructive, ego-centric behaviour as the only way to survive and ultimately win the “game of life” because it is created and distributed by organisations that put profit ahead of society’s well-being. While elements of a show like Survivor at times do tap into some more evolved perspectives (eg. cooperation, trust, teamwork), the source level is frighteningly low and those elements are usually undermined and ultimately lost.

I will state it right up front – “We are giving the customers what they want” is no defence. If we want a better society, we need people in power to lead, not follow. And…we need CONSCIOUS people in power. That means in the media, in politics…and particularly in business.

At Barefoot Leadership, our singular focus is helping raise the level of consciousness of organisations and society in general. We have recently developed the ORCA Matrix ™ – a new tool that allows business leaders to accurately assess where they sit on the evolutionary consciousness scale and understand what that means for their company, now and in the future.

It is a powerful and enlightening insight that potentially opens the door to a journey of profound transformative change. And as a society, we desperately need that.

For more information about the ORCA Matrix ™ and other Barefoot Leadership programs 

Birth of The ORCA Matrix

I believe that every challenge in life has some specific meaning; something the situation holds for us as a gift that we receive when we are ready to become aware of life’s teaching.

The gift that I received recently was the birth of the ORCA Matrix™

Let me explain…

I had been holding on to a dream to start my own business for quite a while; a change and transformation consulting company. I mean, for years; procrastinating successfully.

During the time I was working for my last employer, my dream became increasingly real and alive to me; more tangible and calling me louder. They were a company that urgently needed to change and had hired me to very specifically support them in navigating it. After a couple of initially promising years, it started to become increasingly obvious that the change I saw as necessary and the extent of the transformation needed by the business was actually far beyond the comfort zone of the management “power group”. It was clear that any intentions (on my behalf) to stay there and continue working towards the formally agreed strategic goals would be a waste of time and energy. Not only were many of agreed change initiatives stopped (formally communicated as “put on hold”), but also tell-tale signs of the business reverting back to their old, familiar and “well known” practices started to show up with growing frequency.

In hindsight, signs of senior management’s lack of commitment to what was once universally agreed and celebrated as our courageously ambitious change plan were present most of the time. But, maybe blinded by my initial enthusiasm, I just didn’t see them. Or, I was ignoring, justifying or excusing them until I received a couple of very clear wake up calls.

There were three very significant moments; situations that showed me beyond any doubt what the organisation’s true ‘commitment’ to the agreed change was. The stories and details behind those happenings are not important anymore. What IS important is that as they unfolded, each of these three situations separately made me decide to leave my employment. Each of them. After the first one, I decided to leave and follow my dream, to start my own business and yet… I stayed. Again after the second, I decided to leave, but stayed…and the third, the same. Three times!

When enough was enough and I finally did resign, I kept asking myself: “Why didn’t I leave when I got the first message…or even the second; why did I wait so long?” I was angry with myself for not having the courage to go when I clearly knew it was the right time but…if it’s true that everything ultimately happens when the time is truly right (and I DO believe that), then I left exactly when I was supposed to. Unknown to me, there was still something for me to learn at my place of employment.

And then I got it.

The last couple of months before my eventual departure provided me with experiences and unfolded new knowing that became the final, critical pieces to the puzzle that has now formed itself into our unique business product – the ORCA Matrix™ – Organisational Resonance & Consciousness Assessment.

I spent my last months of employment reading leading-edge studies about organisational evolution and consciousness; processing deeply my recent experiences and evaluating my long, diverse international corporate career with all the contrasting situations I have encountered. Somehow all this dynamic, highly-charged melting pot of knowledge, information, inspiration and experience swirled together and resulted in a crystal-clear unfolding of the complex methodology that shortly after…became the ORCA Matrix™.

During my professional career I have designed and developed numerous management tools and always enjoyed the creative flow of doing so. But this experience was really unique. This time I felt the ORCA Matrix™ unfolded of its own accord; not only letting me know about itself through emerging ideas, insights and new understandings but also through the energy that it’s process held and communicated. However weird it may sound, I am sure about one thing; the ORCA Matrix™ wanted to be here…and so it is.

NOW is the right time…