Aug 16

Reasoning on Resonance

Stephan Polomski
Stephan Polomski is director human resources, coach and trainer

Einstein said: „Although it is possible to describe everything in life scientifically, it would not make sense. Even more: it would be absolutely meaningless – as if one would try to describe a symphony of Beethoven as a variation of differing acoustic waves and their differing compression.”

So, what is resonance?

In the technical sense and much simplified, it means: interaction. The electron-phonon interaction, for example.

In musical sense, it means to oscillate at larger amplitude at some frequencies than at others. It means to resonate, for example like instruments in an orchestra.

Among humans, it might signify that two people are on the same wave length, meaning, they synchronize their emotional state of mind by interacting.

For leadership, in 2002 David Goleman called it resonant leadership in his book “Primal Leadership. Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence”, meaning basically an attitude of empathy, respect and congruence while communicating – using the three famous categories Carl Rogers introduced into conversational therapy.

“I myself experience resonance as feedback loop between different people, as constant attempt to find a mutual balance while communicating verbally or non-verbally. While leading or while being lead.”

I myself experience resonance as feedback loop between different people, as constant attempt to find a mutual balance while communicating verbally or non-verbally. While leading or while being lead.

And resonance starts inside your own person. It is your own personal emotional swing. Hence, the key for a positive resonance with others is a positive resonance or contact with yourself.

You may agree, that this concept is a highly emotional one requiring a wide range of soft skills of the practionner.

And here comes the story.

I will never forget my first months when I joint my current employer, a company whose employees work highly structured, highly systematic, highly linear, meaning in processes in with B follows A. Almost everybody is engineer working with figures and excel every day.

When I launched the first Jour Fix, a forum for young leaders to discuss their current leadership-experiences, I presented what I had in mind for the new leadership development program – I did it as structured, as systematic and as linear as I could. And I presented Peter Senge´s idea of the learning organization, I talked about personal mastery and about systemic thinking as holistic approach to the world we perceive.

And I lost the group of listeners.

I tried hard to enter their landscape, to address the topic in their mind map, but I failed. I did not deliver what my colleagues had expected. No standard recipes for standardized situations when leading. No solutions for their problems with subordinates. Only the perspective to start with themselves, in other words: the perspective of leaving their comfort zone.

And of course, I myself was as afraid and skeptic as they were in front of what was new for both sides.

I also had to start with myself – that´s what I understood – when I wanted to get that leadership development program going.

And what I did was to focus on my mission and the values I was believing in, on what makes it worth taking this particular challenge. The objective was to be successful introducing a new approach in leadership and organization development. I focused on my decision, having my objective clearly in mind and then, in a positive flow, giving the impulse into the organization which made it swing at bit and more and more resonate.

I stuck to my convictions and my concept and 25 managers together with the top management, my assistant and myself went to a monastery called St. Martin at the lake of Starnberg near Munich. A totally new experience for all of us.

There we began to workshop with models and tools I learned from my teachers Gundl Kutschera and Ingrid Blessing which they were using for self awareness trainings, however less for corporate settings. That was the emotional side. At the same time, introducing these new approaches the group worked on their corporate identity defining the corporate guidelines and principles. That was the cognitive side and still very emotional, as the involvement was very high, because it was their topic.

The identity of their company was the focus and the objective which made it meaningful and motivating and which made it easy to experience new things and new perspectives with an open heart. Seeing their personal identity to master and to master the corporate world with guidelines and principles.

And there was suspense, of course, in the beginning: what would happen? Who would have a conflict? However, there was openness and curiosity as well. There was the conscience, that this might be an opportunity to go new ways, to pioneer into the adventures of the own – unknown – parts of the corporate world. It meant something. And people where committed to create their own conception of how they want to perceive their company, of how they want to enjoy performing and living in their company by inventing it by themselves, and by learning.

I was introducing the concept of radical reality construction by Humberto Maturana and of perception and feedback loops. We were dancing together, sitting together at a fireplace. We were regardful, attentive, we took care for ourselves, for each other and for the organization.

And if you ask me what we really did, I say it was experimenting on how to interact and still to keep the own personal swing, how to resonate while inventing the score at the same time just knowing that the purpose of it all was to create a balanced and joyful corporate world.

This entry was posted on Sunday, August 16th, 2009 at 15:54 and is filed under Human Resources, Leadership. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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