E32 - Stephen Scott Johnson Interview - Conscious Transformation of an Organisational Culture
Stephen Scott Johnson, author of Emergent - EMERGENT - Ignite Purpose | Transform Culture | Make Change Stick (Wiley 2017), shares:
- The causes that allow a movement to flourish or die
- What you need in an organisation to make a cause sustainable
- How change is a creative destructive process that is an invitation to becoming something more
- The key differences between old power and new power, and what’s at stake if you get stuck in old power
- Why silos are NOT the problem
- What the pivotal point is for a leader to move from TRANSACTIONAL to TRANSFORMATIONAL
- The new style of leadership that is required to navigate disruption
Speaker 1: Welcome to the Zoë Routh Leadership Podcast. Your source of strategies and insights to make you a better leader. Influence, improve, inspire.
Zoë Routh: Hi, this is Zoë Routh, and I am thrilled - beyond thrilled, actually - to have Stephen Scott Johnson on the webcast today. He is an expert in organisational change, with twenty years experience in global business. He has a background in digital innovation and social sciences. And he believes it's the systems that liberate organisations for collaboration. And, his work is really about transformation. He's worked with some major companies around the globe, focused on helping organisations become resilient, and conscious leaders who transform culture and society.
He's the author of the about to be unleashed on the world book called Emergent: The Future of Culture - A Practical Guide of Leading Transformation. And the reason I'm so excited to have Stephen on the call, and to get this book out in to the world, and to read it myself, fully, is that I believe that Stephen's work is transformational in itself, and that this will be an elevation of consciousness in leadership around the globe that we haven't seen before. And, I believe his message about culture and collaboration and transformation is critical for all leaders worth their metal. And, this is a must have book, if you want to elevate your leadership thinking.
So, I am so delighted you're here, Stephen!
Stephen S. J.: Oh, thank you, Zoë. It's an absolute pleasure. Absolute pleasure.
Zoë Routh: Yay! And, we also have to introduce Alex, of course. So, Stephen will let you know that he's sitting where he is, with Alex, the black Persian kitty cat. So, we have an eavesdropper, who's lending support to the podcast, as well.
Stephen S. J.: That's right. She's currently sitting on my lap.
Zoë Routh: Awesome. She will give us some feedback, whether it's good or not.
Stephen S. J.: That's it.
Zoë Routh: Cool. Well, you know what? I love backstories. So, I am fascinated by them. And, I want to know, how did you actually get started in doing organisational change on a global platform. Because you don't wake up one day and all of a sudden, doing this amazing work. So, tell us about that.
Stephen S. J.: Sure. That's actually a great question. I worked for a long time in advertising. Not in the actual traditional advertising side, but I worked within an agency, global agency, in digital innovation. And, the work was much about using statistics and forensics, online forensics to understand the who and the why around how people were engaging the sentiment of what they were talking about. What was actually driving and influencing that activity?
And we were measuring and mapping all of that stuff, and using that as a really useful tool for brands and for our clients to help them engage more authentically, and with a lot more insight into what their consumers were wanting and needing and interested in. And, through that work, I was approached by a number of different causes over a period of time, to help them, give them insight into category trends and things like that. And one of the big challenges for the social causes is that the systems that they use to fundraise or to mobilise awareness and action are very old school. And they were needing to understand, in order to mobilise people around a movement, per se, they really needed to have insight into how those, what were the conditions that caused that stuff to flourish? How did it happen?
And so, it just began as a big experiment. And, using the data that we were collecting through these online forensics to really understand and to just try new things. And we had a very successful campaign with Live Earth, which was the alliance for climate protection, and helping them create awareness around climate change, and environmental impacts. And, really distilling that big idea of climate change into everyday actions that people could do in their homes and in their communities, to influence some kind of change. And it just really started there. That was the very first thing.
Zoë Routh: Well, cool. First of all, a question about that, is that information available still? Like the everyday-
Stephen S. J.: Well, Live Earth has evolved to become, there's like some competition, they now do Earth Hour-
Zoë Routh: Oh, right.
Stephen S. J.: -and all that stuff. So, all these movements evolve and change over time, and we're going back ten years, now. Do you know what I mean.
Zoë Routh: Right. Yeah.
Stephen S. J.: But it was, I didn't just fall into the work, but it kind of just evolved. And I started to learn a lot about movements and a lot about the conditions that can be code-ified to help those things flourish. And, the next one we did was the World Malaria Envoy, which was all the world, the envoy to Malaria for the United Nations. And that was something we launched out of Australia with Unicef. Very similar thing. And that became the World Malaria Envoy. It started as this tiny movement called the Undercover Movement. And a whole lot of really good things happened. And that was all focused on raising money for insecticide and preventive nets for in endemic countries.
Zoë Routh: Wow.
Stephen S. J.: So there was a whole lot of really interesting work happening around it. And, the whole time, so over a period of four or five years, initially, I was trying new things, that whole test, fail, learn, and adapt cycle. Where we were, failure was a very important part of the success, if that makes sense? We were trying really new and different things, and very experimental strategies, and it just kind of evolved from there.
Zoë Routh: Cool. And so, I'm wondering, online forensics sounds very complex and advanced for one, and I think there's probably, since you started doing this, there's been a lot of advances in it.
Stephen S. J.: Yes.
Zoë Routh: I'm more interested, well I'm interested in that. I'm also interested in what you talked about in using online forensics to map out the conditions that allowed movement to take hold. Is there a generic set of conditions that apply to movements, or how organisations or communities can leverage those conditions? Is there a standard, or a map for that?
Stephen S. J.: There, in a sense, what I'm talking about is being able to map the conversations. And, the technology that we were using was very geeky with stuff that has evolved into tools like radiancy extent, melt water engage and melt water vase [00:08:04], and there is social media to monitor mentions and conversations, and things like that. But, what we had was the more enterprise version of that, which was visualising the radial degrees of reach of conversation. So, we could see, literally see, where a conversation started, and then the connections that caused that to explode into some big kind of thing. And an example I'm thinking about is when the baby formula was contaminated with melamine, and all those babies started dying in China, and we were engaged by Kraft to monitor the conversation. Because there was a Fonterra crisis in terms of the peer nightmare that was unfolding around that. But, Kraft were pulled into it, because they're a shareholder in Fonterra. And we were using the insights and conversations to help them actually engage the community really authentically to communicate that crisis, as awful as it was, we were able to literally see how the conversations about infant mortality were escalating and the context around those conversations. Yeah, pretty amazing stuff.
But, essentially when you're talking about codefying a movement, you're codefying a process of connection, initiation, and transparence. So, it's connecting with an idea or concept, and then initiating someone to a specific set of asks or actions that you need them to do, and then giving them the skills and tools to transfer that to the next person. And if, and that's the bit that can be codefied.
But there's an aspect of a movement that can't be codefied, and that's the fire. That's the I guess the passion. That's got to come from within. And that's to do with values alignment, and the things that really light you up.
Zoë Routh: Well, that makes sense to me. It's interesting that you can create all these patterns on how to get the message out, and it comes back to the core message of your why and your purpose, and how meaningful it is. So, do you think-
Stephen S. J.: Absolutely.
Zoë Routh: -so do you think the difference between a successful movement, and one that is unsuccessful, given that they have equal passion, is really this codefying aspect? The connection, initiation, and actions. Do you believe that's the key in terms of the success of a movement or not?
Stephen S. J.: Well, I mean, in my book I've developed a methodology called catalyst, which is, it focuses on three key areas, and that is the positioning of values and message and manifesto. And then, the performance, being the essential systems and tools that people need to be equipped with to get the job done, or to do that action. And then there's the partnership, so it's positioning performance in partnership. And, the partnership is really about what the internal and external alliances that may be forged to help it sustain. And a big mistake that organisations make in change, and what I'm doing, essentially, is looking at how the principals of large scale social change can be applied to, sorry, yeah large scale social change can be applied within organisations to drive strong culture, and culture of innovation, and help them sustain that.
One of the big mistakes that organisations make, and even some movements make, social, like grassroots movements, is that they invest all the energy into positioning all performance, all partnership. But, they don't actually get a cadence going around all three simultaneously. And that's what I believe is the secret to helping a movement sustain. So, coming back to your question about why do some flourish and why do some bomb out, I reckon it's that reason. They focus on either looking at all purpose and story and why, all performance, like looking, they're focused too much on platform and systems. Or, they - and tools, and equipping people - or they focus all on partnerships. And meanwhile, the other two are lacking.
It's very interesting, Zoë, I had an amazing opportunity to meet with Simon Sinek a few months ago when he was in Melbourne a few months ago-
Zoë Routh: So excited for you, by the way. I'm such a fangirl of his, so I almost had a meltdown of the thought of the two of you together is awesome.
Stephen S. J.: He's such a lovely guy. We ended up having this incredible conversation around people we know who are actions of change. Doing really extraordinary work on the fringes of business and society. And he said I know there's incredible people that burn out because they're all why and what, but they lack the essential how. And, he was saying to me you know I'm very excited for you about your book because you've actually codefied a system that can help organisations not have to hack the how anymore. They can actually apply these principals to give sustainability to their work. And, I was just so excited by that, because I hadn't really thought about it like that before. But, yeah, it's a pretty amazing thing when someone like Simon Sinek says to you, you know you should be very excited.
Zoë Routh: Yeah, I'd be excited about that, too. Oh, for sure.
Stephen S. J.: I was surprised.
Zoë Routh: Well, a delightful surprise, for sure. And, I think he's right. I work with a lot of industry associations who are very purpose-driven, and very focused on the what they need to do, and you have the secret ingredient in terms of how to make it sustainable. That's going to be critical. Because you're right, people do get fried. They get fried over their purpose, and there's just so much work to do.
Stephen S. J.: Yeah.
Zoë Routh: And knowing that there's a framework, and knowing that there's a cadence to take to it that will build positive momentum is absolutely brilliant.
Stephen S. J.: You know, one of the things that I think that relates to this, Zoë, is if you look at the old system of marketing and advertising versus movements, you have one that is, I define it in my book as the difference between a rocket and a ripple. And, essentially, a rocket is broadcast awareness, and media driven. It's very costly to keep that rocket in the sky.
And, if a campaign is - and we're talking the difference between campaigns and movements, per se - and if your campaign has no media behind it, and no fuel and resources to keep that rocket in the sky, then your campaign has no visibility. Whereas a movement is people powered engagement and awareness, and therefore, it's perpetual, as long as the conversation is going. Those connections are being made, and that's where the connection, initiation, and transference element comes in. And it progressively scales, so even if there aren't big bursts of activity happening, there's always awareness, and always connection. But, that's just something to consider around, when thinking about the differences.
Zoë Routh: That's awesome. So, I want to talk a little bit about a couple of things from your book. And one of them is, because there are so many huge concepts in it, and one of them is about the Phoenix as a central theme.
Stephen S. J.: Yes.
Zoë Routh: Talk a little bit about that. What has that got to do with organisational transformation?
Stephen S. J.: Well, the Phoenix, I was really looking for a metaphor that described the pressure, the challenges, the fire that we go through when we are transforming. And really, if we think about the spotlight that organisations are under to be more authentic, to be radically transparent, to be more human. To stop the B.S. and the soul sucking practices that really disconnect people from, and help make them actively disengage. I was thinking this is not about becoming something else. This is about becoming something more, and your history, and who you are, and where you come from is a vital part of where you move to in the future, and how you sustain in the future, and how you innovate.
So, you've got, you don't want a knee-jerk and reactive change. You want to actually conscientiously, you want to conscientiously transform. And I was thinking, we're talking about a Phoenix, here. The Phoenix, its ability to be reborn from its own ashes implies that it is immortal. And so, I thought wow, that's a powerful metaphor for sustaining cultures of innovation, and for organisational change. And, that's kind of where it started for me.
And, then the more I delved, of course, into the story of the sacred legend of the Phoenix, it's just a rabbit hole, that when you go down, you just can't get out of it. It's just so fascinating.
Zoë Routh: It is a pretty powerful metaphor. Do you think there's something intimidating about it, though? I'm just curious. This whole idea of burning to ashes to reinvent yourself, or have I missed something there a little?
Stephen S. J.: I think that it's a beautiful metaphor when we're talking about truth, and when people are talking about stuff that lights them up. Change used to be something that was very top down, very command control, very done to people. Whereas, when we're talking about conscious transformation, it's an invitation to become something more. And I think the fire out is not necessarily a, I mean, sure, the Phoenix is burned to ashes and reborn from, reborn anew. But, the fire is really a metaphor for the pressure, and the disruption, and the risk that organisations face, and the experience on a daily basis.
So, I don't think it's something to be afraid of. But, it really is something, it really is an invitation to become something more.
Zoë Routh: Mm-hmm (affirmative). That's great. That's a great clarification, and I like that. I think you're right, organisations do face that pressure on a daily basis, and we would, to dismiss that, I don't think we'd be facing reality.
I am curious though, because this leaving behind the command and control way of going about business, whether it's business as usual or transformation business, into this new concept that you talk about, which has got focus around collective benefits, and co-creation, and co-ownership. That is a whole new way of experiencing leadership, and followership, because it's not really a leadership or a followership anymore.
Can you tell me a little bit more about those concepts?
Stephen S. J.: Yeah, so what we've really come from is an information age to an enlightenment age. And, in once sense, in an information age, if you think about performance reviews, for example, and the way people's performance is measured in organisations, it's through ticking boxes and those very static, disengaged processes. And we're now in a situation where people are more connected than ever, and the things that we're passionate about in our daily life are so far removed, often, from the work we're doing. And, so where, the way we build, or bridge that gap and actually solve that, that's at the root of the culture and engagement crisis, I believe. And, when you can address that incongruence between a person's individual purpose and the purpose or strategic direction of an organisation, you start to mend the wound, and you start to actually evolve and grow.
And, so, in one sense you've got an old system wrestling with the power and dynamism of a new system. Which is all about connection, and all about co-creation and co-ownership. And, but at the heart of it, it comes back to a very powerful article that was published by Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms in the - I think it was November of 2015 - Harvard Business Review, Understanding New Power.
Fascinating article that described the war between old power and new power. Which is essentially one of the key concepts that I unpack in my book. Old power is something that is fought for and gained, and once it's won, it's fiercely defended. Whereas, new power is, and old power is like a currency, whereas new power is like a current, and it flows, and it's shared. And new power is interdependent. It's collaborative. It's evolutionary, and it's something that it's shared. And they're the two primary differences, if you think about, between a command and control enterprise, and a community, per se. A community, or synergist type of organisation is an interdependent group of networks.
So, the challenge that many companies face today is this increased demand to provide autonomy and interdependence for employees and stakeholders. The increase demands to co-design and co-create products and services with their stakeholders. For example, things that are, they want and that are meaningful and relevant to them, and they just don't know where to begin, because they've become, they're so entrenched in their institutional frameworks that no longer sustain where innovation is going, if that makes sense.
Zoë Routh: It does make sense. And, as you're talking about the differences between old power and new power, organisations that are stuck in old paradigms and ones that are embracing this co-creative interdependent methodology, the thought that comes to me actually is, what about leadership, and how fundamental is it to be able to steer an organisation in this new direction? Because I had said previously, just a minute ago that, is this no longer leadership followership? Or, is it an invention of a new style methodology of leadership?
Stephen S. J.: I actually think it's a new style, and I don't say that haphazardly. It's the challenge, this type of leadership is learning to be comfortable with what is largely felt and experienced. It's like an intuition. And, it's getting comfortable with uncertainty, and things like that.
Sure, there are things that are largely known, but there are also things that are largely sensed and interpreted on the fly, and as we evolve. And, this type of leadership is about that. It's about operating in the in between.
Zoë Routh: Yeah. And that's a difficult thing to, I'm wondering, actually, is it a difficult thing to teach? Or to show? Or, how does it actually evolve in a person?
Stephen S. J.: It's something that, I don't think it's difficult to teach, because it's something that I've been teaching for quite some time in my work with leadership. But, what it really comes down to, it can be a bit terrifying for leaders that only know how to operate in a hierarchy. But, the beautiful thing is, when you see people in those type of environments really connecting with what's required of them, in terms of this new leadership. And how they can empower their teams and their people to come on that journey, and it's a really amazing thing to see.
So, I'm working with a large pharmaceuticals business. Well, I have been now, for eight or nine months. And, their senior comps team and many of their senior leaders across their organisation are just really starting to understand this, and the impact that it's having on the way they're actually connecting internally in their culture is quite profound.
But, it hasn't been without its challenges. Because what we're actually talking about is an internal movement, and creating ripples that help people connect with a new way of thinking and working. So, innovation, per se, becomes the daily way of working, rather than innovation for innovation's sake, if that's a, yeah, I haven't really coined it like that before. But, it's a way of working and a way of perceiving an environment, and a way of being, it's curiosity, it's being agile, it's a whole bunch of thing. It's being comfortable with not knowing, and learning to sense their way.
What's his name, Frederic Laloux talks about this in his book, Reinventing Organisations, where he talks about the conditions for emergence. And I love it, because he's saying that when you get all these things in place, and you create the environment for emergence, everything is impacted. Nothing is independent from another area, if that, they just all, everything is interdependent, and a change in one element ripples through all of the others. And, it really is just a, it's a new way of being for leaders.
And I certainly don't have all the answers, I'm just talking about my own experiences, but I've seen, and I'm getting asked a lot more often in my work to help leaders to get comfortable with this uncertainty.
Certainty has been a thing that, Jonathan Fields, who's a good friend of mine, and also from New York, he once said to me, he was here in Australia and we were hanging out, and he said Stephen, creating certainty is the cure of dreams. And, if you take it from that basic premise, right, certainty, creating, the need to create certainty kills the intangible. Or, it doesn't kill it, it just shuts it down. It stops the sensing and the just being out with the flow and flourish. And, yeah. I'm starting to riff a bit, here.
Zoë Routh: Wow, it's awesome. So, as you're talking about this difference in terms of ripple effect, and interdependence and interconnectivity versus the command control, the silos, the linear, and so on, I'm imagining the people who have, know nothing but silos, and command and control, and linearity.
Stephen S. J.: Yes.
Zoë Routh: How difficult, challenging, and traumatising it is to go into something more fluid. So, how do you support those people? How do you help them make the shift? Because this is basically a leadership thinking developmental shift, which is very significant, and can be very [inaudible 00:30:39]. So, what are your tips for that, in terms of helping them through that?
Stephen S. J.: Well, I believe, Zoë, that silos aren't the problem. And, I don't think that silos, I think that silos are full of really smart, savvy people. I think what the problem has been in siloed organisations is the lack of connectivity between silos. So, when I start working with institutions, within institutional business for example, like in a large bank, or in a financial services company, or whatever, the first thing I do is, I look at how we can create stronger connections between their silos.
And, I'm thinking of a conversation with a very senior leader a few years ago. And, he was saying to me, we were talking about innovation, and he said as bank, where I would immobilise extraordinary talent to look at customer innovation, and customer experiments, and he said our challenge is not being able to do that innovation, he goes it's about sharing that innovation across our business. And I was like, wow, that's fascinating. Are we talking about lack of connectivity here? And he said yes, that's exactly what we're talking about.
And, so I think the leaders that I only know that institutional construct, and are very top down way of leadership, really, the way I work with them is, we start small. Let's find out where change is already happening in the organisation, and let's look at that and help that flourish. And what can we learn from that? And what kind of examples can we create for others, in and around those things, those conditions? Because it's often very, whilst there are generic things that help a movement flourish, and this new type of leadership, every organisation is different. And, they have their own unique cultural traits, and we have to actually be mindful of those things and not try and put on to them something that is, that just won't stick. We want something that's going to come from within. That they co-created themselves. That they believe in. That they feel like they can support and be a part of and contribute to.
So, and then there's the cold hard aspect of this change. And that is that, some leaders, in themselves, as individuals, just aren't ready and don't have the level of conscious awareness to be who they need to be and who their people need them to be. And that's a tough one, because you can't force a conscious awakening on a leader. Do you know what I mean?
Zoë Routh: I do know what you mean. And those people really struggle. They find themselves in the context which requires different kind of leadership, different kind of awareness.
Stephen S. J.: That's right.
Zoë Routh: And, they find themselves floundering, not because they're not competent, it's just they don't have the perception yet. And, unless they've got some sort of support and guidance to help them reach for those new insights and those new ways of being, they will suffer, and the organisation will suffer alongside them.
Stephen S. J.: That's exactly right, yeah. And it's, and that's why I talk about our motives as an invitation to do something more. When we're talking about conscious leadership, we're actually talking about a change that happens within an individual first before it happens in a team, and then an organisation, culturally. And, so I think there are just two different types of C.E.O.'s. There are C.E.O.'s that are just looking for an exit, and they're looking to do their term. And then there are C.E.O.'s that are really looking to transform and disrupt the status quo, and to innovate stuff that has an impact, and to, they're really passionate about their business addressing complex social problems in society. And, how can they, in their daily operation as a business, how can they address some of those issues for greater impact?
And, so one is black and one is white. You know, yin and yang. And I think there's, obviously, there's a big in between. And I think the in between part is transformation, and it's the levelling up, and it's the evolution from one context to another. But, I think all leaders can change. It just takes, some are more adaptable, readily adaptable to it than others.
Zoë Routh: And also ready for it, yeah, as we mentioned before-
Stephen S. J.: Ready or willing.
Zoë Routh: -so, they're adaptable and also ready to adapt.
Stephen S. J.: Correct. Yeah.
Zoë Routh: I love the observation, though, is that, I agree. I think the black and white difference between the C.E.O.'s that are just interested in doing their, well, doing their time, rather than getting their job done and getting out, versus those who wants to make a greater social contribution.
Is there an advanced level of leadership thinking? Because, I've been thinking about this a lot, too, is that there's varying degrees of awareness and attention and capacity going from survival mode to transactional to transformational. And in between there, in between transactional and transformational, the thing that is the missing piece, which you just mentioned, is the social challenge, or the social transformation, where you go beyond just achieving goals for yourself and your organisation, to thinking about the larger community. Community in the global sense, as well as in the local sense.
And when you make that transition, where your scope of responsibility or calling is to make a change on a human level, then that's, I think, a sign that you're being called forward, and being invited, if you like, for a conscious emergence that will make a lasting impact. And, I think it's some-
Stephen S. J.: It's a bit-
Zoë Routh: Sorry, go on.
Stephen S. J.: I was just going to say I think it's a bit of a tipping point between that transaction and transformational part, and there's a lot of inertia that can go on in that space, as people are trying to sense where, what that invitation for their business is, or for their leadership is.
Zoë Routh: Yeah. Because people don't know what to focus on. And, the Un-Conference I ran earlier this year was all about that. It's about how individual leaders and individual businesses can make a social contribution in small ways, and big ways. And one of the biggest challenges is where do I start? Which cause do I throw myself into, because there's such a plethora of them. And, I think it comes back, the solution I offered was you start with yourself first. What's most important to you? What are the causes that are most important to you? What are your values? And then you spin outwards from there. And if you just grab across and run with it, you know, I think that's the wrong way to go about doing it. It's got to be, as you said from the beginning, it's got to be the fire, the passion, that will carry you through. It's not just about picking a cause and building on it, because it's good for business.
Stephen S. J.: Yeah, that's what... Yeah, and when I talk about helping organisations co-create a higher purpose, that's exactly what I mean. It's silly to think you could get every single person in an organisation believing in a company vision, and the strategy for the company. But when the company says to its people, or the senior leaders, like C.E.O. and executives say hey, this is what we're about as a company, but we believe that there's a higher purpose that can galvanise all of us to do meaningful work, and to contribute interdependently to make a huge impact. When they start to have those kind of conversations, and they invite their people to co-create a higher purpose, really amazing, extraordinary stuff starts to happen.
Then they're not just going through the motions around the day to day. They're actually, every single person in the organisation has been invited to have a voice and contribute to the design of this higher purpose. What is it we want to, what is the legacy we want to leave? What is the impact we want to create? How can I play an active role in making that happen? That's a powerful thing.
Zoë Routh: Oh, it is extraordinary, when that happens. And it does take the courage and the vision of that leader, to initiate those conversations and let it, posture it, facilitate it, to allow that co-creation to happen.
Stephen S. J.: Yes.
Zoë Routh: I just got goosebumps as you were talking through that, because the power of that, the ripple effect goes beyond the organisation in a huge way. And, if we could showcase and celebrate more of the leaders in organisations that are doing this, then the change, the transformational change on a planetary basis will accelerate.
Stephen S. J.: Yes.
Zoë Routh: That's why I'm so excited about your book, because you showcase a number of different organisations in it, as well as the tools, the practical tools about how to, going about building an organisation like this.
Stephen S. J.: Yeah, well the book is, for me, it's been a long time coming. It's taken me, Synthesise is around ten years of my career, and the experiences, and the personal and professional transformation that happened along the way. And, there were times when I was writing it where I just felt like I just wanted to throw it all in, because I was just like, wow, is this really worth it? It's so much work and it's so much, but I just felt compelled to keep going somehow.
And, the book is split into three parts. So, the first part is innovation. The second part is transformation, and the third part is evolution. And, you can look at that as being why, what, and how.
And, the first part is about why this transformation is needed. Why is conscious leadership in the world having such a big impact. And, personally and professionally, what the businesses need to do in order to survive and thrive. What does flourishing business versus just existing look like? And then some really practical tools around how they can, changes that they can implement, and a very clear system and tools help them diagnose what type of a culture they have and based on what outcomes are revealed around that.
I've got this little model called The Culture Quadrant, which I spent a long time developing, format of culture: controllers, pioneers, mimics and synergists. And, each of them have a shadow and light aspect. A state of integration versus a state of disintegration, and a blind spot. So, and it's non-judgemental, so even if you're a controller, it doesn't mean you're a bad type of company. It means just you're more like the hierarchical type institutional enterprise. Versus a pioneering start up, who is all about destruction. And, wherever you land on that Culture Quadrant, there are things you can do to be kick ass and awesome. And, there are things to really watch out for, so that you mitigate risk.
Even when you're a synergist, which is like the optimum in terms of an emergent type ofenterprise. If you, if a synergist type organisation, who is all about co-creation and interdependence, if they lose vital connectivity to their core purpose, they end up with having what I call emergent chaos.
So, there's shadow and light in all types of organisations, and watch outs, but also incredible opportunity.
Zoë Routh: Oh, that's beautiful. I cannot wait to plow through your book in exquisite detail, and soak up all of your wisdom.
I have one formal question left, and then some informal, one informal question. So, the formal question is, throughout the book, you've got the Flower of Life symbol there. And, I'm curious about that. What does that mean for the book? And, how is that infused in the book?
Stephen S. J.: I'm so glad you asked that question. I love sacred geometry. And for probably, well, I reckon at least half of my lifetime, I've been fascinated with spirals, and the Golden Ratio, and self similar curves, and the relationship between math and science in nature. And, like The Fibonacci Sequence, read that book. And The Perpetual Spiral.
And, if you start to look at the Fibonacci equation, and the whole concept of spirals, you start to see them everywhere. And in time, and in matter, and likely in things, you just start to go, wow, there's a spiral there. And I, it's just a, when you start to go down that path, and you start to explore spirals, you start to see incredible patterns, and the flower of life is actually one of the core sacred geometric symbols that is created through the spiral.
And, the Perpetual Spiral keeps going, and keeps going, and keeps going. And, in my book, if you actually hold the book on its side, and you fan the pages, there's a sacred geometric symbol in the top right=hand corner, which builds into Metatron's Cube, which is supposedly the sacred geometric symbol from which all symbols in the universe are created. And it's all, at the heart of it is a spiral.
And that's, so the tree, the Seed of Life, the Flower of Life. All those incredibly beautiful patterns are forged from spirals. So, that's the very geeky, designer-y, mystical answer to that question.
Zoë Routh: Well, it's extraordinary. I love it. It's just a beautiful overlaying vision of the book, and I think it's lovely. And it's amazing that you got the printer to be able to handle that, that's even awesome. More than people could imagine.
Stephen S. J.: I must say I am really thrilled with the design of the book, like the actual, they just, the publisher, my publisher, Wiley, did an amazing job retaining the integrity to my concepts around the relationship between sacred geometry and movements, for example. Because the movement is a effectively, when I talk about connection, initiation, and transference, and ripples, what we're actually talking about is creating a spiral from one person to the next, so it's continuously expansive through that connection.
And, so I've tried to bring a beautiful visual overlay in the book, to help people understand the science behind the movement, and what we're really talking about here, in terms of transforming a culture.
Zoë Routh: Yeah, that's fabulous. Stephen, thank you so much. I have one final question, and maybe it's not as frivolous as I think it is, and if you've read Tim Ferriss’s latest book, called Tools of Titans, where he's interviewed all these amazing people, from entrepreneurial leaders to spiritual practitioners, to different celebrities, to different authors. And he, when, for his interviews, and for the collection of interviews for the book, he asked them all what is your spirit animal? So, I liked that question, and I want to ask it of you. So, what is your spirit animal, and if you don't know, what's your best guess?
Stephen S. J.: I reckon my spirit animal is a wolf.
Zoë Routh: Oh. Cool. And why is it a wolf?
Stephen S. J.: I just, just the, I've always loved wolves. First of all, I think they're beautiful. But I, just their ability to survive, the way they collaborate. You know, often we think of wolves, and we think of really dark, evil, hunting and ferocious, and all that. But, I look at the, look at Jungle Book, for example, and the story of Mowgli, and the wolves raising him as a baby in their pack. When you see a whole different side to the, almost like a tribal nature of wolves. I don't know, I haven't really had this bred in me, but I've always just felt yeah, my spirit animal's a wolf.
Or, I could have said, oh, an eagle, because I soar above the clouds. But, no, I just don't really think about like, but I just think yeah, a wolf. I've always loved wolves and I think there's something wise about them, too. Which, and the... Oh, I saw an extraordinary image online the other day, on Facebook, speaking of wolves. And the, and it showed the whole pack of wolves, there was about thirty of them, and they were all walking through the snow. And, at the very front the sick and the wounded wolves, and the old, really old wolves were at the very front of the pack. And, in the middle were the healthy ones, and at the very back, there was one wolf, walking on its own. And it was the leader.
And, the story unpacked was like the alpha wolf was at the very back, very last, walking away from the rest of the pack. And he was protecting from sideline attacks, and behind attacks. And it was just an extraordinary image, and I was like, wow! That's amazing! And, I thought, so yeah, I think I'm, on that basis, I'm happy to be a wolf, and I hope I can be a wise, leading wolf.
Zoë Routh: Beautiful, and what a great image to finish the interview on. So, Stephen thank you so much for sharing your wisdom. I'm so excited for your book, and the difference it's going to make to folks. If you want to, I'll post a bunch of links, I've taken a thousand notes as Stephen was talking, and I'm going to put those on my webpage, at Zoërouth.com/podcast/emergent, and there'll be links to Stephen's book, his site, a couple of the books he talked about, and the article that he referenced. So, there's some goodies happening there. So, in the meantime, thank you so much, Stephen.
Stephen S. J.: Brilliant, Zoë. Thank you so much. I've had so much fun on this call, and yeah, all the best.
Zoë Routh: Okay.