The following is an excerpt from Cultural Brilliance Radio with Claudette Rowley: The Cultural Brilliance Think Tank with Dr. Pat Baccili
Claudette: This is a really special show because you are joining us for our very first Cultural Brilliance Think Tank and I am really thrilled to have Dr. Pat Baccili here with me today to join me for this think tank.
Dr. Pat: I am so excited about this, Claudette.
Claudette: One of the things I’ve been thinking a lot about is culture and you and I have chatted a bit about this. What I’m seeing is an upswing in authenticity in the world, just generally in our larger culture. I was curious if you’ve been noticing that too?
Dr. Pat: Yeah, I have. There’s a new demand for authenticity in a much larger way to come to the forefront. And so, authenticity as we’re seeing it in the world has many different attributes, don’t you think? What does it come to mean for you?
Claudette: For me, in a general sense, it really comes to mean telling our truths. If we had 20 people in the room, they might have 20 different truths. Authenticity and truth, they’re not the same thing but in many ways, in my mind, they’re becoming synonymous. What do you think?
Dr. Pat: For so many people they don’t know what it means to be authentic. One of the definitions of this word is ‘not false or real’. When you take a look at this even further in the definition, it says, ‘being true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character.’ And that’s really what you’re saying about organizations. Do we really create enough to let people show up as their true nature?
Claudette: Well, you used the word real so let’s get into that. When I say organizations will talk about what’s true, what I’m actually saying is let’s also talk about what’s real, what is actually happening, what conversations are you having, what’s going on in the dynamics, and what are you actually producing? And so much of the realness gets lost in office politics and fear. Our leaders don’t really talk about what’s real so I don’t know if we should really talk about what’s real. There’s not a lot of permission for that here.
Dr. Pat: I don’t think that we talk about fear very much. Are we really just sugarcoating everything and bringing things to the surface that we think our management wants to hear or are we really ready to contribute to a heartfelt conversation that may actually help the organization?
Claudette: That’s true and that brings me back to some past experiences even in the last five or ten years that I’ve had around using the word fear in certain businesses where I was told we actually don’t use that word here. I knew if I used the word “fear” that they would feel incredibly vulnerable so I’d need to say, “Are you slightly apprehensive?” I’d have to go in a little bit of a backdoor way just to meet them where they were. But we look at apprehension, we look at concerns, we look at all these different things, they’re just lighter ways of saying, “We actually have some fear.” Fear is the bottom line of all of that, we are afraid that if we do A, B, C, or D, the repercussions are going to be negative.
Dr. Pat: The idea of bringing people together to think in a group doesn’t mean we only show up with our minds, we have to show up with all of who we are. And we now know from Science that fear causes changes in the brain. As does the other seven basic emotions whether it’s trust, love, excitement, anger, shame, those actually change the brain. And so, the question is if they’re changing the brain and it’s in our corporate culture, then how does the brain of the organization change essentially?
Claudette: That’s such a fascinating question. If you have a bunch of collective brains all being impacted in certain ways by fear or positive emotions, it is absolutely going to impact the brain. As individuals, if we get anxious about something, what happens to our thinking at that point? That we have less access to our imagination; we have less access to our creative problem solving, and innovative ways of thinking about things. And then, if you take a group of 20 people or 50 people in a business unit and they’re all feeling anxious, you’ve just lost probably 75 percent of your creativity because they can’t think as clearly anymore.