The airwaves have been a little quiet for a while now…well, no longer. We’re back with a vengeance.

Watch the video below to find out what’s next, and why we need your help to make it happen.

Post your reactions to my question…

What is your main frustration or tension when it comes to your work right now? What’s really confusing you or pissing you off??

…in the comments section below and let’s get the conversation rolling.


44 responses to “Ready for Waking up the Workplace Phase 2!?”

  1. Christine Coy says:

    I want to be a Conscious Business practioner and would love a community of practice where I can go with questions, concerns, advice. I want to know what are the milestones in creating a conscious business and what are the steps or experiences I need to be a conscious business person. When you do consider this community of practice, please consider an in-person/virtural gathering of some sort.

  2. Daphne says:

    I would love to explore conscious business further! My interest goes to exploring the 'why' behind business, what does it look like and how do we 'be' and 'do' it when business is a vehicle beyond trade and profit. Perhaps this is outside the scope, though I would also love to come together around the question 'how could business be an expression of both masculine and feminine qualities, integrated', with the aim of it being a more fulfilling arena to a larger part of the world's population to engage in. Keep up the good work, guys!

  3. Christine – great points. I like the idea of step by step process for creating a conscious business. Definitely working on how to create virtual community – in person gatherings would be fun too though!!

    Daphne – juicy questions. Those are exactly what we hope to explore together!

    • Barbara says:

      The virtual world is not enough. It's a great start but the demand has moved beyond that.
      What must happen is feet on the ground.
      We need local connections, local spaces where people can interact and share issues and aspirations.

  4. Sander Arts says:

    My main interest goes to OttoScharmers’s question for all of us at the end of the interview in the early series:

    Before we concluded our call, there was one question that Otto wanted to offer to all of us listening in:

    “We are drawn into this space because, probably, we feel the possibility of a different way of living and working together. We feel the possibility and maybe have had glimpses of that experience, that there is actually a future possibility in my life that I can make happen, and there’s a way of connecting, for me, with that state of awareness. […]

    So we being connected in this call right now, that gives us a feeling of being connected to a larger whole, that maybe one, two days out, I may have lost again. So what is it that we could do that would allow us more regularly and more easily to connect to that larger whole, that sometimes we get and sometimes we lose? That’s the question I want to leave with.”

    Connecting to the larger whole can -in my view- be paraphrased by things like: living and working ('being') in flow/passion/love/ etc..
    So what is it that we could do that would allow us more regularly and more easily to these states of consciousness?

  5. Big questions indeed Sander (I love the biggies).

    To also turn your questions around (I'm in an inquisitive mood at the moment), what for you is in the way of you more regularly being in the states you speak of? What is stopping you being connected to greater flow in your life right now?

    For me, it's a new blockage which is not knowing what the hell I really, deeply give a fuck about enough to do it (there's transprency for you 😉

    • Sander Arts says:

      I could say whether you realise/like/want it or not, you ARE connected to the greater flow. There's no escape from it (like the droplet of water in the ocean).

      Nevertheless, that's not what "I" experiences, because ego makes it experience seperate most of the time. That's why we suffer. And that's also what's stopping the 'me' from being in greater flow.

      Eckart Tolle describes (The New Earth, chapter 10) 3 qualities of consciousness: acceptance of 'what is', pleasure and enthousiasm (= the greater flow). I think all we can 'do' is doing everything, one step at the time (zen buddhism), with as much attention as we can.

      re "What you really give enough about to do it". I recognise that from my own experience. One can question bigtime if is there any meaning /purpose of life really (it all may only be a dream!). I think either this arises in your consciousness or it doesn't, or mayby later. I strongly doubt if 'free will' exists, only ego 'wants' things but it has nothing to say about wether it also occurs. As Krishnamurty said: "I don't mind what happens". Now that's a nice "goal" 😉

      Nevertheless, I feel flow/enthousiasm when I'm skydiving/ having sex/ on houseparties/…
      So I still am curiuous if any sustainable ways of living and working and/or systemic changes or maybe simply 'tools' or something will provide/facilitate more time/experiences of states of love/passion/enthousiasm/flow. For everyone. To make a shift from from ego to eco. Being oneness.

      A blue pill (out of the Matrix) for everyone?…. Other suggestions anyone?

      • I think nothing can EVER facilitatate you realising your inherant oneness. Enlightenment is an accident right? But like Wilber would say, what is it that might make you more accident prone?

        Maybe nothing. I was just listening to Almas talking about 'Basic Trust' and his pointing out really hit me. There's this Trust that some people seem to ahve, and some dont, that ultimately life/spirit/god takes care of things, and everything will be fine and totally ok.

        If you feel that Trust then things seem to happen! But then, if you try and obtain that Trust, you're probably not Trusting it…paradox or what 😉

  6. Jane says:

    Hey, Ewan…. I get the frustration! I have been moiling around for a while looking at the 'next thing'. I am really frustrated by the lack of systems thinking in Business of all sorts, and most specifically to how the effluent of any business must be followed until it fits back into a sustainable cycle. I am really tired of being a medical practitioner, when very little in our lives is designed to support body, mind and planetary health. I want our municipalities to be redesigned until there is if food and shelter for everyone, crime is pretty much unthinkable because we have great mental and spiritual health, and our eco-systems are flourishing with abundance and wildness. and I want the design of our lives to be based on beauty and comfort and fun for EVERYBODY, so there are no horrible jobs, with 'expendable' people assigned to them and forgotten about. As so I want the redesign to include not making junk and stuff that cannot be made without life abuse being heaped on a person. I also want a redesign where everybody must participate and that it goes without saying that they would want to……. because it is truly fun to participate. I want to redesign the system until it is just as much fun to serve as it is to be served. I think this is possible.

    • I think so too 🙂 AND I think its HARD work, so you really have to care about it to pull it off. I realised that playing inside the system was not fun for me, so that's why I got out!

  7. Neelesh says:

    I think we are reaching a stage where consciousness at work should not and cannot fully depend on the Left quadrants alone (am using integral parlance here: )

    Why? Because the developmental math may be such that it will take a long, long for the leaders to come around to a second tier orientation. I mean how many John Mackays can we find in the Fortune 100? How many Barack Obamas (with all his failings, even) can we find in Davos?

    So it seems to me that the real leverage, till now believed in the Left quadrants, may actually have to be explored in the right ones – in systems and processes. I think that is what Jane is alluding to above.

    Holacracy does some of that, but only within an organization's context. But eventually the organization is still boxed in a socio-economic system that is predatory, land-mined with structural flaws, and calling for a dissipative leap from chaos to order (I mean this in the Ilya Prigogine sense). I tend to think unless we can create a critical mass to bring about the LR transformation at a global level, the System will not let the evolved consciousness pockets (high levels in UL) flourish, or be really effective. It is a sisyphean task!

    So much of us (at least) will need to move beyond 'what is my tension at work' to a larger frame such as 'how we can create the collective will, energy and organized action that radically transforms the dysfunctional Lower Right of our world today?'

    This video explains what I am referring to in a fairly cogent manner:

    And this one as well, albeit in a different way:

  8. Clement says:

    Jane, I really get where you are coming from – although I came on here to write about something entirely different. How can we sensibly balance out our work lives when everything else, from what we put in our bodies to who we put in our political systems, is so out of whack? I believe the big 'evolutionary block' right now is at the macro level, where countries are paying lip-service to governance, resulting in the exploitation of the environment, people and everything in-between. Many people, and some businesses have moved a lot further down the road than any government. A redesign in the short term or a revolution longer term is inevitable there.

    Back to the tension I planned to write about. I'm in the middle of Holacracy training in the US, and am so excited about getting back to the UK next week and putting what I have learnt out into the marketplace to see who bites first! The phrase "Changing The World One Organisation At A Time" comes to mind.

    My current tension is around support. Although I already work as a business consultant, and Holacracy implementation will not be so different from what I do now, I fantasize a balancing act between doing the work and paying the mortgage, as I transition from where I am to where I want to be. So the support and perspectives of any others on the same or similar journey would be invaluable: virtual communities; meetings; whatever, are all good for me.

  9. Arjen Hemelaar says:

    Hey Guys, I enjoyed the series and I am more than ready for part 2! What I learned from part 1 was the vision en a desire to be a conscious business man. However I do not have a clue how to do it. So I share the questionn of Christine Coy: I want to know what are the milestones in creating a conscious business and what are the steps or experiences I need to be a conscious business person. When you do consider this community of practice, please consider an in-person/virtural gathering of some sort.
    Looking forward.

  10. Patty Tanji says:

    I know you asked us 'what do we want to see in next series' — and I can't really answer that, yet. But, since we last met I've been studying Brian Johnson's stuff, the first guest on the series, by listening to his philosophers notes and reading some of his suggestions — and putting them into action. He suggests 150 books so far and has launched a series of 'pick your price' online and live classes with some brilliant teachers. Over, and over, again he asks, through the various authors, "What do you want?". At the age of 50 – for me -it always changes. My kids are independent and don't need me — so WonderMom is so yesterday. For now, its is health and vitality so that I can create and lead projects that improve the human conditions everywhere on the planet. Yup! Its Big and its bold! That's where you and this series part 2 come in. You know that old question — what would you do if you have all the money in the world and knew you wouldn't fail. That's where I'm at — and it is my wish for all of humanity. Last week here in Minnesota, USA (northern state bordiering Canada — its cold here Dec – March) 125 people attended a Presencing forum live streaming from Boston with Otto Scharmer. It was amazing and we will be doing frequent follow-ups. There is no doubt the Occupy Wall Street movement is an example of the 'future wanting to emerge' What it is — is unfolding — and I embrace the ambiguity. In the meantime perhaps people could research social capital markets like (I think) to find cool companies who care about the planet and its people. Buy their products, work for them, offer your services, invest in them. So Series 2 could be about getting groups together throughout the planet and get the spark ignited everywhere — next stop — Action! Think Big!

  11. Sharona says:

    As a coach and consultant, I want to learn to bring embodied processes to organizations recognizing their current memetic structures, and pointing toward their next evolutionary stage. I want to work with others who understand how to do this. As a change agent, I too would like to see every business wake up, yet recognize that every organization needs to transcend and include it's current paradigm, and that stages cannot be skipped. So I too would be interested in Best Practice groups, and how to get businesses to realize the imperative of evolving.

  12. jeroen says:

    Ewan, Thanks for this message and nice video. Can learn from it..powerful..
    Anyway. What comes directly to my mind in all this, is a feeling of absence of urgency. Yes it is great, inspiring or enriching to go to depth, contemplation and to the essence of (business) matter (e.g. CSR, conscious business). (I offer such services with Zijn Werkt!). It seems many people enjoy and truly appreciate these 'contemplative' side steps, but at the same time consider them as nice to have rather than urgent and for true change…
    Preoccupatiion or stuck in 'now and me'? i.e not urgent and important or just no tools to move into a next level of conscious business?
    Love to hear thoughts on this…

    Regards Jeroen

    • I'm liking the questions Jeroen.

      My take is this. I think that the perspective that values these kinds of contemplative or conscious approaches to business is one that is not commonly held in business. And I'm not at all interested in making them wrong for that. They're doing fine thank you very much – they don't have concerns about the way its working.

      Who has the concerns? We do. So trying to change others way of working, because of our tension feels both ineffective and arrogant.

      So how do we do it? We either make our own businesses founded on the principles close to our heart. Or, we engage other businesses and whole-heartedly try and assist them in solving THEIR tensions. If the contemplative aspects really serve them, then great. If not, then I don't think they're appropriate.

  13. hey guys, thanks for raising these questions!
    I would love to hear more about how to incorporate new values about these new ways of working, collaborating, innovating, etc. in the education curricula. So, what changes are needed inside the educational system in guiding, facilitating and learning from the next generation. How can we make new alliances between businesses and academia, beyond the usual internships / case studies. How can students help 'old' businesses go thru the paradigm-shifts more smoothly?
    These are the topics which are close to my heart. I'm practicing with these themes by setting up temporally learning labs for universities.
    I'd love to share more thoughts when you find that helpful.
    Go for it guys!

    • I used to work at a business school and was also interested in how to bring in fresher perpectives and partnerships. It was hard 🙂 The old school is well, pretty old 😉

      Learning labs sound great Diederik – do you have a link I could look at? I'm curious to see what you're up to.

  14. Tatiana says:

    Hi, appreciate how you're going about this, embodying the practice of relationship and inquiry that is in the content of so much of what you have been offering! Today my tension is around trust – as I have experienced that when trust is there, things flow and open to more generative, creative and healthy, and I see it as a necessary condition for authentic collaboration. So… how do we more easily and rapidly build trust between people across perceived divisions? how do we create cultures of trust at any collective level? how can trust grow and still allow room for challenge, provocation and disagreement? How can we invite working from trust to be the default starting point when new people meet to explore collaboration?

    (I might have more to add on another day…)

    Love you guys,

  15. My frustration regarding my business is that although the testimony of the people that attend my seminars and courses is extremely good and they even say that life transforming and loving it, then they do not tell others and therefore the mouth to ear doesn't work and then I don't have money to make publicity and then even though I may be very very good in coaching, teaching and therapy, I do not arrive to as many people as I know I could help with my many years of experience and knowledge as if I could have some help in marketing my bussiness. Spain is different ¡¡¡

  16. Gaston says:

    I am interested in how to take this to scale. I am often as impatient as Jeroen (of Realize)! How can we nurturing a movement and go beyond this amazing niche of people doing great and conscious work. How can we together manifest this tipping point in Business? There will be both online and offline ways to catalyze this. What can we learn from others that have expanded a movement based on new values and new perspectives?

  17. Tom says:

    The main tension for me is between 1) the interior need to develop depth, presence, grace, insight and 2) the external need to perform, to excel within hierachies, to impress people, to meet the schedule, within a survival of the fittest world.

    While the creative tension can be well served to develop both the internal and external, more often than not, I find that the external pressures cause me to live life at a superficial, transactional level.

  18. Patricia says:

    My main frustration is that most decisionmakers seems to be interested only in short term financial results. and making more profit. Making just profit is not enough it needs to more than last year to satisfy stake holders. Nothing wrong with profit, but why are we here?what makes you happy? It seems like they don't care about the people. They say they do, but don't show it. My question: how do we reach the decisionmakers and stake holders. Anwser: probably by using their own language. So what we need is hard data / evidence / research / publicity ? and most important support each other to continue the work we do. Every change starts with the first step.

  19. James says:

    Here is a tension: the split between the personal and professional persona. A lack of integration and differentiation of the individual, and the scalability of differentiation and integration.

  20. Thanks for the opportunity to contribute here! My first desire is that you open the lens. I strongly believe in the focus of your attention on business but I work for a nonprofit and think "waking up the workplace" might also turn its attention on organizations in general not only business. Nonprofits and govermental agencies also need to be waken up and their problems /challenges are slightly different.

    In terms of a community of practice, I have two interests: one is better understanding about how to support individuals at transition points — how to help individuals to open up to the next level of growth and development? The other is about how to create wider and deeper contexts. Thinking about organization culture as its own entity, and knowing that the culture is really what influences and constrains people's contribution, how to gradually impact the culture of an organization such that it is more open, more able to use the strength of all different kinds of people?

  21. Chris says:

    There is something for me about the relationship between trust and vulnerability (and I am confused !).

    I think there is often a script that says the decision to trust someone comes from respecting their dependability, but that actually authentic deeper trust involves being more whole together with all our weaknesses and vulnerabilities – so qualities like humility and genuine openness come into it and they don't often seem dominant qualities in business.

    So my tension is something like how to be humble, vulnerable and open enough to get to a deeper authentic place and at the same time successful enough in business to keep going.

    • diederickjanse says:

      I was going to delete Tatiana's accidental double-post, but then noticed it had your reply to it Chris. Looks a little weird now – sorry about that!

  22. Wow, I'm really appreciating all the input from you all!

    More in depth replies coming soon, but for now, let me just say that we have been really exploring how to create the right kind of container for PRACTICE of all these marvelous approaches, and it seems thats what many of you are really wanting too. Let's do it! 🙂

  23. Linda B. says:

    My tension/frustration is how to get fellow employees to awaken to the possibilities of creating change within the organization. Our company has a traditional management structure, with some forward thinking managers and leaders. I have been working on "employee engagement projects", inviting and encourage my peers to be change agents within the department. How do I language the opportunity to create change so that it is attractive to others? How do we leverage the desire of the corporation to engage it's employees to create a workplace that is more alive? How do we educate managers who think they need to "drive" their employees to instead tap into people's inner drive?

  24. diederickjanse says:

    I really love how people are responding to Ewan's question! Tuning in to the question myself, I feel there are so many ways I could answer the question of what is currently frustrating me about the way work and business are predominantly practiced today.

    I resonate with James' point about the split between the personal and professional persona – I really get frustrated when I do that!

    I also get frustrated with how we often define value, and define what is valuable – so much that is deeply valuable to me gets left out, and so much of what's not at all valuable to me gets valued.

    Then there's the language and the mental models around work, which are just so limiting, and often negative. I deeply believe work can be so much more, so that really pisses me off.

    And finally (for now), there's the way organizations are designed to bring out and allow only a very limited part of what it means to be fully human. Rather than enabling us to bring all of ourselves to Work, we are often chained and conditioned to show up in ways that are disempowering and deeply pathological. And if we do manage to bring at least more of ourselves to work, it's often despite the culture and structure.

    That's why I believe we need to 1) redefine and 2) redesign 'work' for the 21st century. And I'm so glad you guys are out there, so we can walk this path together, and discover what Work means to us, here and now!

  25. Hey all, thanks for the series and for seeking more input. My current frustration in business, especially in the Silicon Valley tech sector where I've worked, is that people must often "check their authentic selves at the door" as Diederick and James point out above. I resent the hyper-masculine drive that smothers femininity (men don't talk about feelings at work) and is hyper-focused on growing revenue and idea that "we're not here for self-actualization, we're here to make money" (actual quote from a VP I know). I resent the lack of appreciation and the acknowledgement of a higher purpose.

    My personal confusion and frustration as a practitioner is what niche to enter to try and do something about the above. My current strategy is to "start where I am" so that will be coaching business clients in Silicon Valley. As much as it's more fun to coach Green folks (using Spiral Dynamics language, which I realize is only one perspective albeit powerful) because they're already relatively developed, I think the real work may be working with the Orange center of gravity . Or is it? Maybe it's to band together Green folks, find a Yellow leader and start a new Conscious Business. This is the inquiry I'm holding now.

    Anyways, a big *highfive* to you guys!


  26. Joseph says:

    Firstly, I so enjoyed this series very thought provoking. I suspect we all want to transition to the reality of "oneness" and how to bring authentic expression of that into the workplace. From my own experience I have for sure mostly been coming from deficit thinking (Maslow needs driven) the classic survival mode.

    I would really like to meaningfully connect with a master mind group and synergize some new outcomes. As one speaker suggested the collective wisdom will always outperform the brightest individual. I strongly believe there are many of us on the cusp of moving to Kegan's level four. Lastly, if we come together we can work on real issues and hopefully create some of the breakthrough solutions we are certainly capable of.

  27. Ingrid says:

    Piping in with affirmation on all that is being shared here. The series was inspiring and greatly appreciated. I am currently and purposefully narrowly focused on a coaching practice; all consuming in terms of my own expansion of consciousness such that I am contributing to the greater whole. whew, that's all I can manage right now. 🙂 The comments of folks like Linda B, Patricia and Justin all mirror my tension as well. Continuing to find the language that results in leaders, decision-makers, and people in power taking action, waking up.

  28. Great video Ewan.

    To respond directly to the question,
    Communication (lack of it) is really pissing me off, but at the same time I see a great opportunity for building a framework for ensuring communication, both to/from the team (in my control:) and to/from the organisation (a little more challenging…) And i think the Waking up the Workplace series will help.

    As Linda B Jeroen said – the need for a sense of urgency. How do you get people to want to engage and develop? (apart from leading by example, which I try to do) Is there a better framework to foster this? (I am already building that, but I'm sure there's much better knowledge out there)

    And time. Being so busy getting on with it, (I'll find it really hard to get to hear the series) makes it hard to engage with initiatives such as this. Time management i guess;) Sander's comment right at the top expresses this well for me:)

    Can't wait, and I find the blog particularly helpful & useful, as it's the quickest way for me to check in with what you guys are up to, which is more than inspiring!

  29. Thanks Melv my friend 🙂

    Loving your passioned approach to this.

  30. Jarda says:

    Ewan, I think my biggest question around life and work for me right now is 'Where does my biggest passion and biggest talent meet the biggest need of the world?" There are so many things to do, so many opportunities to do useful and helpful things and generate income at the same time… but which are the ones I can uniquely do and where I can serve the unfolding of life and evolution in the best way?

    I have been living and structuring my life around living my purpose for nearly 10 years now and feel a strong need to not only do things that serve but also to create, to find a place where my contribution is most flowing, maximum impact and contributes to all layers – individual, community, systemic, humanity, life on Earth, cosmos… Finding these 'acupuncture points' where this is possible… . I feel like building on my 'helper' side and becoming an artist with a voice…

    My question for business is where to put my attention when serving evolution of this system, where are the facets that have future and which are dying and should be respectfully accompanied to sleep but not invested into… And another question – how to best focus the amazing creative, intellectual and future generating energy of business towards larger problems concerning all of humanity and our future in this world?

    Thank you for this question and good luck with the series!


    PS You guys rock! 🙂

  31. Marie-Gabrielle says:

    Hi Ewan!
    My biggest tension at work right now, as an integral coach is: how to reach to the conventional, mid to large size organizations in my country (Belgium) to inspire them : to show them that investing in individual development for their younger (next) leaders is critical – strategic and smart – cheap AND powerful to wake up their workplace.

    Love you guys!
    Thanks for what you're doing.


  32. Reine says:

    Hi Ewan,
    I think this initiatief is so inspiring so I want to compliment you on that. A lot of people have posted questions that interest me as well. Questions about combining vulnerability and work. Or using embodied knowledge in your workplace. I did my master thesis on this topic so I'm aspecially interested in that one. But the question I'm mostly concerned with right now is really a question of rhythm. I'm noticing sometimes I go to fast for my organization and/or colleges. I don't want to force my rhythm and flow on them but at the same time I don't want to kill my own creativity and spontaneity. So that would be my first question right now.

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