This holiday season, we are bidding farewell to 2020 and welcoming 2021 with a series we are calling The Conversation, a collection of brief, but meaningful insights and reflections, curated and shared by members of the Domain17, centering on themes that help us reflect on a tumultuous year and move forward into the future. We are exploring change, resilience, community, transformation, and grounded hope. Today’s host is James Phillips, vice president at Domain7. Just a note that we are, like many of you, working largely from home and that these recordings may have a homemade flavor. We hope you enjoy joining us in our work in neighborhood environments for a little audio visit. Here’s James.
Hello, and happy holidays. Today, I’m sharing a quote from Marvin Weisbord. Weisbord spent much of his career in the organization development space. He’s written many books and one of them in particular, Productive Workplaces, stands out for me. It’s definitely near the top of my list for books that look at and explore life in organizations. So, the quote from Marvin Weisbord goes like this, “If I could ask one thing of a crystal ball, in any situation, it would not be, ‘What’s wrong and what will fix it,’ but rather, ‘What’s possible here, and who cares?'” The reason I chose this particular quote is that it never fails to trigger a really significant mindset shift for me, a mindset shift that I’ve increasingly felt is personally necessary in 2020.
I find it really natural to ask, “What’s wrong and what will fix it?” And I’m going to guess I’m not alone in this. I don’t know if this is something that’s hardwired for me or whether it’s just been reinforced throughout my life and school and work. Regardless, when I ask, “What’s wrong and what will fix it,” it brings my focus in. It’s almost visceral. I can feel the walls closing in. I become myopic. And in the process, I find I get really attached to specific point solutions, my solutions, and my ego gets wrapped up in being able to fix what’s wrong.
But shifting the question to what’s possible here and who cares, suddenly expands the horizon to encompass all that could be. I’m not limited by the need to fix one problem, but I can begin to imagine whole new systems, whole new worlds, whole new possibilities. And I begin to think of who may be an ally towards this. I find myself becoming less ego-driven and more aware of the broader ecosystem in which I live and function. For me, it’s such a fundamentally different mindset. And it’s one that I’ve repeatedly come back to during this year. So, I’ll leave you with the question that Weisbord asks. As you look around to the different areas of your life, work or otherwise, consider asking, “What is possible here and who cares enough to step in to making that possibility a reality?” I’m James Phillips with Domain7. Thanks for listening.
James read an excerpt from the book Productive Workplaces, by Marvin Weisbord, published by Jossey-Bass Publishers in 1987. We encourage you to seek out this and Weisbord’s other books. The Conversation is a special edition of Domain7’s podcast Change is in the Making. Our audio producer is Kurt Wilkinson and our designer is Ryan Martinez. Music provided by James Boris. Leadership and editorial support provided by Sarah Butterworth, Kevin Gilbert, and myself, Veronica Collins. Please tune in each weekday for the first half of December to hear more from our team on moving from 2020 into 2021 with hope and purpose or visit us at domain7.com for more ideas, resources and podcasts. Happy holidays.