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Listening for Culture Shift

Listening for Culture Shift

Feb 14, 2009 9:08:47 PM

There are many of us that are noticing that the old paradigm, culture, or relationship is over.  How does that song go, “It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life.”  I know for myself that I can get so focused on my goal that I stop listening to what’s happening now. 

This week I asked one of my clients to make a list of the words that represented the organization’s old culture , and then a new list of the culture that’s trying to be born.  This morning I was like, wow…I need to follow my own advice!   What I see today is that I’m still stuck in what was and I’m energetically supporting the old story.  But the story has changed.  I turned a page, and while the new chapter is still a mystery

 There’s no going back. 

Metaphorically, I can best describe what is happening to me as if I had planted a garden.  In that garden all my favorite things exist.  I put some jewel-colored sweet peas along the fence, because I love the way they surround the peremeter with fragrance and tenderness.  I planted eggplant for majesty and it’s glossy smoothness.  Zinnias for the brilliant colors that errupt when you least expect them.  A rosemary bush to add flavor and texture.  This garden took time to cultivate.  I carefully selected seeds that would spread and multiply year after year.  I liked the wild look of it and every now and then I would sort it out and trim it back, so that it didn’t become completely over grown and unmanageable. 

To continue the metaphor, I realized recently that the soil in my garden is not as rich as it used to be.  For the plants to thrive something has to change.  The soil no longer supports all that I have placed in its care.  I can’t recall what farmers call it when they discover the soil needs to be rejuvinated, but I know they plow the field under to let it recover or rest for a time.  I’m a little like that farmer.  I have to find a new place to plant my garden.  This isn’t all bad news.  I mean sure, there will be some extra work involved, but all is not lost.  Quite the contrary.  Some of my favorite varietals can be transplanted.  In some cases I can take the entire plant.  In others,  the seeds can be gathered and placed carefully in the rich new soil.  I may need to create a rain gathering watering system and I have always been intrugued with composting.  Change is a necessary part of evolving and growing. 

This time, I  think I’ll grow a sunflower.  I’ve always loved how they lift their faces toward the sun.  I never thought I was all that good at yellow.  Maybe it’s time to stop for a bit and listen…what’s trying to happen?  Yes…that’s what I thought I heard…the world definitly needs a bit more sun-dappled shades of yellow. 

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Deb Siverson

Deb Siverson is the owner and founder of Xponents. She completed her Masters in Organizational Leadership from University of Colorado-Boulder. Deb is the author of the book, "The Cycle of Transformation: igniting organizational change through the leader coach."

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