Yvette Bethel - Everything in an Organization is Interconnected
Yvette Bethel is CEO of Organizational Soul, offering the leading Pillar of Trust Program lic ense. She is a Fulbright Scholar and author of E.Q. Librium: Unleash the Power of Your Emotional Intelligence and the USA Best Book Award winning activity book, Getting to E.Q. Librium. As our Author of the Day, Bethel tells us all about her book, Interconnectivity, Flow and Balance.
Please give us a short introduction to what Interconnectivity, Flow, and Balance is about.
Everything in an organization is interconnected. This connectivity supports productivity and other types of flow that have a personality and tempo of their own. In dynamic workplaces, interconnectivity and flow are enhanced by the process of balancing which is an important pre-requisite for long-term, strong organizational performance.
Interconnectivity, Flow and Balance is a road map to both self-transformation and cultural change. It introduces ideas that translate into practical models which can be applied to simple and complex workplace challenges.
What inspired you to write about Organizational Culture and Change?
When I worked in a Fortune 500 company over a decade ago, I was fascinated by the politics of the organization. I created a list that I called The Games People Play at Work, and every time I witnessed another political strategy or power play, I would add to the list. As the list grew I started seeking solutions.
One solution I learned about back then and still integrate into all my work is, emotional intelligence. This led me to become a part of the largest, global emotional intelligence organization, Six Seconds. After becoming a member of the network I wrote two books and had an opportunity to present at an EQ conference at Harvard Medical School. My topic at the time was “Organizational Soul”. It was then that my ideas started to germinate for the IFBSM Model.
According to your book, everything in an organization operates within an interconnected ecosystem. Please explain.
Oh yes! Whether people are aware of it or not, connections co-exist throughout organizational ecosystems. Relationships between people can be healthy or toxic and those relationships are affected by the structures like organizational charts, policies and procedures. Organizational charts arrange relationships into a configuration. These charts, depending on the quality of relationships and resultant politics, can lead to productive or unproductive cultural dynamics. Policies and procedures are also heavyweight contributors to the quality of life within organizational ecosystems. They can create heavy-handed controls or enable flexibility.
An example of how this all operates is an organization that has multiple layers of policies designed to mitigate every conceivable risk. There are so many policies and perceived penalties that the culture is characterized by tension and frustration because of an emphasis on deadlines, fear of making a mistake, bottlenecks, and limited management discretion. Employees don’t trust managers because the tight controls require managers to document reports to executives about staff matters that should be left within the manager’s discretion. Managers don’t trust employees to get the work done and employees don’t trust managers to treat them as valued members of the team.
Why is cultural change so important in most workplaces?
The culture of an organization dictates how work gets done. While toxic or difficult cultures can drive high performance, healthy cultures can produce much higher results. This is because in tough or toxic cultures, when emotions like anxiety or frustration emerge, employees are unable to access their creativity, they become less engaged and increasingly burnt-out.
In these cultures, trust is usually low and to liberate them form unproductive dynamics, the team needs to strengthen their Pillar of Trust. It’s realistic that over time, extensive cultural damage can be done that even after the toxic cultural architects are out of the picture, someone else can emerge with similar traits because organizational ecosystems are alive and seek to self-correct if deliberate, new actions are not taken.
In many instances, cultural evolution requires trust building, and trust building is an incremental journey that takes stamina and fresh perspectives. Perceptional shifts are necessary to bring about the deeper changes because it is so easy to unintentionally fall into old patterns without first facilitating a deep paradigm shift.
How much of your own work experiences have you written into this book?
Interconnectivity, Flow, and Balance represents how I view and experience organizations. I always observe the behavioural systems that operate, both formal and informal. I am always curious about what is really driving cultural norms so I can identify the deeper causes of dysfunction, or growth. Over the years, I worked with many companies in the process of scaling their businesses and ready to address limiting cultural systems and the methods I used over the years, are the methods I included in the book. So to answer your question, my work experiences informed the perspectives in the book.
Why is it important to improve trust and engagement levels among colleagues?
When writing Interconnectivity, Flow, and Balance, I realized trust is connected to countless organizational opportunities and risks, both directly or indirectly. Multiple studies link trust, engagement and team performance. There are also links between trust and leadership effectiveness, even branding. Trust is also intimately connected to turnover, and operational effectiveness. It affects how your culture operates and your culture has a direct effect on your organization’s performance.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
This is a fabulous question. I haven’t thought about these skills for a long time because I just haven’t had time for them. But one of my skills is painting. I enjoy creating paintings of people, landscapes and flowers. Another pastime that I really love is horseback riding.
What is your vision for organizations that implement your model effectively?
My vision for organizations that implement the IFBSM model effectively is for them to create trust-based, healthy cultures. These organizations don’t have to be perfect, but in them, leaders treat their organizations as living ecosystems and are attuned to the subtle and obvious shifts that result from various interactions. My vision for the IFBSM Model doesn’t stop there, I am now in the process of building a team of researchers to explore how the model can be used to create meaningful shifts by building character and trust within communities.
How does flow work in an organization?
Each organization has multiple layers of flow, always operating simultaneously. There are multiple drivers of flow that contribute to how flow operates. Fear or passion can drive work flows. So can the quality of leadership.
When it comes to flow, many decision-makers don’t have the luxury of long-term thinking because short-term demands take precedence. For example, organizational leaders may get so caught up in day-to-day operational flows created by the demands of challenging sales targets that they don’t take the time to plan for succession, an important long-term flow that protects cultures and the sustainability of organizations. Flow and balance operate inextricably so leaders need to be disciplined about balancing short- and long-term flows.
What do you hope readers take away from the book?
I am hoping anyone who reads the book uses it to perceive their organizations as ecosystems, and because ecosystems are living breathing entities, I hope they become more deliberate about building healthy work relationships, attuning to flow and balance and recalibrating as the business goes about its daily activities.
If you had a book club, what would it be reading — and why?
If I hosted a book club we would be reading about cutting edge research related to organizational systems and behavior, office politics, emotional intelligence, values based leadership, even quantum physics, because we need understand how to become more non-linear in organizations. But while I love to engage in reading and talking about ideas, my passion is more ignited by implementing them so I am creating a global network of licensees who are passionate about facilitating a meaningful, sustainable, values based framework that transforms performance and creates conscious organizations.
What are you working on right now?
I am about to launch a licensed program that supports business owners, executives, coaches, consultants and change facilitators with implementing the IFBSM Model within organizations. We are committed to providing proven tools that can support organizations with implementing the IFBSM principles themselves. While the IFBSM methodology can be implemented in both linear and non-linear ways, the implementation process should always start with defining and strengthening your Pillar of Trust. With this in mind, the foundational certification Licensees will need when implementing the Pillar of Trust Accredited Licensed Program is The Trust Style Inventory Certification.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
There are multiple ways you can interact with me. If you are interested in reaching out to me right away, you can contact me at www.yvettebethel.com. You will find my books and consulting services there. If you are interested in the Pillar of Trust Program license, you can contact us at www.theconsciousorganization.com or www.ifbcentral.com. And if you just want to participate in the cultural transformation conversation, you can join our Facebook Group: Operation Cultural Liberation at https://bit.ly/2JdBZCl.