by Rob Husband.
I finished my last blog using the phrase ‘being in the belly of the beast’ to describe one of the paradoxes in my life. Through Space2Think I find myself working on organisational development with the directors of big businesses – those who are leaders at the heart of the economic system, which, outside of my working life, I protest against.
Working within the system but also trying to be resistant to it does create some tension. For example, we were negotiating with clients about a piece of work they wanted us to do to bring about organisational change, and we had differing views about how to do it. In the end, we had to say to the clients that they were trying to get us to behave like them in the way they wanted us to deliver the work and that those behaviours were what they were trying to change. They responded well in that situation.
This kind of paradox makes me feel uncomfortable at times, and trying to find peace in the situation is important but it is not about comfort. I am seeking peace being uncomfortable about being uncomfortable. In other words I am trying to accept and live with the paradox I find myself in. I am well aware that some may describe it as hypocrisy and, on hearing that word, it would be easy for me to become defensive. But perhaps we are all hypocrites in process. Maybe we all live within paradoxes, and we find ways to reconcile ourselves to it while trying to avoid confronting the prospect of hypocrisy. Wouldn’t it be better to face up to that prospect, explore it and be held accountable? I know there are questions I have to ask of myself and it is only if I do ask those questions that I feel I have the authority to ask similar questions of others.
A report identified the 100 companies responsible for the most carbon emissions around the world and the CEOs of those companies were named. There was real resistance to naming them. But why not? Shouldn’t we be held accountable for those things we are responsible for? Certainly Andy and I feel we have to be authentically accountable with each other or we have no right to question others.
I mentioned in my last blog that I had been described as an irritant, and I am reconciled to that role – to being a provocateur. It can be challenging to sustain when trying to run a business and maintain an income because asking difficult questions can risk disenfranchising the company paying your invoices.
A good starting point for me is being an irritant to myself. I strive to listen to and respond to my own internal compass, but it is always a struggle. That is why I will always be a hypocrite. And maybe it is in being comfortable with being a hypocrite where true peace can be found.