Reinventing Brussels, making the city of our dreams

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Brussels is an amazing city. I was born in Northern Belgium and did not live in Brussels before I was 22. Now that I have lived here for over 30 years, I love the city and its citizens. I love Brussels because of its culture of diversity, because of its many hidden beautiful places, because of its citizens and for many other reasons…

After the bomb attacks, while running, an idea emerged from deep inside me. Why wouldn’t I contribute to building the city of my dreams? A city which does not define itself based on fear and despair but on hospitality, innovation, creativity, connection, …

And there is good news: I am not the only one with such a dream. There are so many ongoing projects to make Brussels the city of our dreams. But it seems we are not aware of these many projects, or only partially. That’s how « Reinventing Brussels » was born. Indeed, one of our first aims is to discover all these projects, connect the people behind them, discuss them with citizens, dream together how we want this city in the future.

There is some other good news too. There is a method out there to help us: Theory U together with its accompanying free 2 month’s learning journey called u.Lab, in association with the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). To start with, we will use this social innovation approach – both the theory and the learning journey – to experiment, create synergies and initiate the first phase of this project in co-creation. Hopefully, this project will not to be limited in time but will lead to some deep structural change, connecting and unifying existing initiatives.

Would you like to give it a try? Join us and experiment the first steps of this astonishing journey from September to November 2016!

Visit our site to discover more about this project.

The untapped treasure of senior employees

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Why focus on senior employees?

There are countless articles about Generation Y, Z, … about the values they share and the challenge to integrate them in our organizations. But little is said about senior employees and what could be put in place to address their particular needs and expectations so as to remain engaged and motivated up to the end of their careers. For many large organizations, the group of 50+ will more and more represent a significant part of their employees. Unfortunately, many of us have misconceptions about senior employees (slow, not able to change, not techy enough, etc.) and little is done to understand their specific needs and the ways to re-boost their motivation at work.

Why do I write about it?

Ok, I obviously feel concerned by this topic as I am myself in this category. And I don’t feel obsolete, I don’t want to stop working. On the contrary, I feel I am full of energy. Actually, I never felt so well and happy in my work. But many senior employees I meet do not feel like that. Some are wondering if they will have the energy to work 40 hours a week up to 67 years, some resent the lack of recognition for their expertise, other just do not adhere anymore to the motivational speeches of their organization ….

So, what can be done ? Many things, from structural actions (making part-time an option, organizing additional trainings, introducing job rotation, etc.) to people-centred actions (coaching, recognition, etc.). But I would like to share with you one experience that I consider particularly powerful and sustainable, called the « Career Legacy Circle ».

« Career Legacy Circle », what is it?

A « Career Legacy Circle » is a reflection oriented space created to bring together 6 to 12 people in the later stage of their active working life.

It is a journey that aims to develop two new bodies of knowledge: knowing how to remain motivated while staying and knowing how to leave feeling satisfied of one’s achievements. Typically, the process will involve individual readings and reflections and 7 half-a-day workshops spread over a period of 3 months.

The output is multiple:

  • A way to transfer some specific know-how of senior employees to other employees. This transfer can create a new powerful sense for the senior employee and is also beneficial to the company to retain knowledge.
  • An action plan for the senior employees to keep motivated in the workplace and to regain motivation for the remaining of their career life.
  • Potentially also some proposals to the HR department on how to develop and adapt working conditions to senior employees.

The power of the group

Contrary to the structural approaches which are top down, this approach is a bottom-up one coming from the people. The dynamic of the group is essential as it fosters reflection, creativity, recognition, sharing common concerns. The role of the facilitator is to create a safe space and allow the emergence of motivation while creating a new powerful and personal sense for every participant. Sometimes, the group decides to gather after the journey and a community is created.

A journey towards an enriched career … and life

Some participants are a bit sceptical at the beginning. Typical questions arise like : « Why should I think about a legacy ? », « I don’t have any valid expertise ! », « My employer won’t do anything ». From the start reflecting in group on their career and current work, the participants discover the others have the same concerns. Gradually, from session to session, people gain confidence, find their added value, connect with their sustainable motivation, develop a new sense to their work.

The untapped treasure of senior employees

My personal experience with the circles is enriching and inspiring. The quality of discussions, the discoveries of hidden qualities, the creation of sense, all contribute to the emergence of renewed energy within the participants. I really feel that a lot of potential is wasted if senior employees are not given the opportunity to tap into their motivation and energy resources . Senior employees may become a group that actively contributes to the organization instead of a problem to cope with!

Would you like to know more about it ?

Feel free to participate to one of the presentations with testimonials on the following dates: 1st March 18 :00 and 2nd March 9 :00.

Location:

  • Institute of Neurocognitivism
  • Tervurenlaan, 81
  • 1080 Brussels

Or contact me for more information.

Vincent De Waele

Note: if you would like to have a funny insight into the topic, I recommend “The Intern”

 

Le Cercle de Legs

Pour un troisième tiers de carrière harmonieux

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Vous avez plus de 50 ans et …

  • Vous cherchez de la motivation et du sens dans votre travail et aspirez à un certain dynamisme.
  • Vous avez développé des façons de faire utiles et efficaces et vous voulez les transmettre.
  • Vous souhaitez assurer la continuité de votre travail au-delà de votre départ.

Ressentez-vous le besoin de …

  • Faire un bilan de vos compétences et de vos réalisations.
  • Donner du sens à votre quotidien et vivre pleinement vos dernières années au travail. Prévenir l’épuisement et la démotivation.
  • Préparer votre transition et envisager de quitter sereinement votre emploi et votre entreprise.
  • Partager et échanger vos expériences avec d’autres personnes qui se trouvent à la même étape de vie

Qu’est-ce qu’un Cercle de legs ?

Le Cercle de legs regroupe jusqu’à 12 participants de plus de 50 ans. Tous se situent au troisième tiers de leur vie active au travail. Par leurs réflexions et leurs échanges, ils développent deux nouveaux savoirs : le savoir rester et le savoir partir impliquant, entre autres, d’identifier et de transmettre son bagage professionnel.

Les 6 séances de 3 heures chacune ont lieu toutes les 2 à 4 semaines et permettent à chacun de faire:

  • une rétrospective de ses expériences,
  • une exploration de ses motivations profondes
  • une réflexion sur son avenir et
  • un plan d’action pour boucler ce qui est à boucler et s’approprier son parcours de travailleur.

Un mois après la dernière séance, une heure d’entretien individuel offre de faire le point sur la démarche accomplie.

Participez à une présentation du Cercle de legs

Nous organisons 2 présentations avec témoignages prochainement :

  • le mardi 1 mars à 18 :00 et le mercredi 2 mars à 9 :00
  • lieu :
    • Institut de Neurocognitivisme
    • Avenue de Tervuren, 81
    • 1030 Bruxelles

Confirmez votre présence par un simple mail ou prenez contact pour plus d’informations :

Vincent.dewaele@gmail.com

 

Des participants aux Cercles de legs témoignent…

« Mon regard sur le monde du travail et mon attitude sont différents. J’ai tous les jours conscience que je suis en train de léguer… »

« Je souhaitais partir, mais grâce au Cercle de legs, j’ai réalisé l’importance de transmettre mes connaissances. Bien préparer ma transition m’incite à rester plus longtemps. »

« Mes prochaines années seront bien remplies… j’ai des compétences à léguer, des tâches concrètes à réaliser… J’ai appris à être prudent, à m’écouter. Je risque moins de m’épuiser. »

« L’écho des autres m’a aidé à comprendre que j’avais un legs professionnel à faire alors que je n’y croyais pas. Je cherchais à partir rapidement et là, je sens que je vais partir autrement. »

« Très fatigué avant le Cercle de legs, j’envisageais de tout lâcher, de vendre ou de fermer boutique. La démarche m’a aidée à prendre du recul, à envisager les choses différemment. J’ai développé le goût de rester pour mieux léguer. »

« Grâce aux échanges avec les autres participants, j’ai fait un bon bout de chemin. Je n’avais aucune idée de à qui, quand, et comment léguer mes savoirs et mon entreprise. Aujourd’hui, j’ai trouvé des réponses à toutes ces questions. »

Socially Responsible Investing: a journey to consciousness

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I have been working for big corporations for years either as manager or in CxO positions, but it is only lately that I have really started to understand how corporations’ vision and strategies are impacted by shareholders. To be more precise, I became aware that the people representing the shareholders are only interested in the return they get …! They are not at all interested in the social return and in the environmental impact. You could say that these people are heartless, couldn’t you? But let’s pause a second, who is mandating these people? We are mandating them, as soon as we put our savings in a bank, investment fund or whatever financial organization. What are we expecting from those organizations when we trust them with our savings? Return, risk level, liquidity…. Do we ever ask questions about social return and the environmental impact? Most of us don’t and I didn’t for years.

The process can be explained quite simply. When you give your money to a bank, the bank gives it to investment funds and the investment funds appoint traders to maximize the return of their funds. The way traders work is well described in Douglas Kennedy’s book « Chasing Mammon: Travels in the Pursuit of Money », it is scaring! There may be a lot of « go-betweens » between you and the receiving organization. During this process, the message your money is carrying becomes even tougher: ever more financial returns and nothing else. We all play an important role while saving money, but we don’t know it. It is of course easier to blame the traders, the banks, the CEO’s …

Besides putting my savings in truly ethical funds, I wanted to do something more: to help creating awareness of the substantial impact we all have when investing our savings in financial organizations. So when last summer I had to find a project for a lecture on project management I give to Erasmus students, I decided to propose a project I named « The Story of Finance ». The objective of it being to raise awareness of the people investing their money.

Thirteen students started working on this project end of September. They have to deliver a website, a video and a social media campaign for « The Story of Finance ». Their target date is 14th December, so they are still in the process of developing their project, but you can already see some output: the draft website, the Facebook page and the Twitter account. And you can help them. How?

 

By supporting and motivating them. They are at a moment where they have a lot of work and any word of support will motivate them (either on the Facebook page or on the website).

By making suggestions. I am sure many of you have good ideas on how to raise awareness on investing ethically, know of good resources, etc. Please let those students know one way or the other.

By passing on. Perhaps, if you are convinced by the project, you could publish this post or one of theirs on your social network (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, ….). The idea would be to get it viral, like for the video « The story of stuff » but this is probably too ambitious although I like the saying :

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”   Margaret Mead

The link to their draft website. The link to their Facebook page. The link to their Twitter page.


Thanks for your support,

 

Vincent

Change Journey

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I like using the « Change Journey » as a tool to let people collectively decide what are the most important topics to deal with in the their context. The tools helps in a non directive way to think about a variety of questions, questions you wouldn’t think about perhaps if you weren’t guided by such a tool. You could consider the tool as a simple course about change facilitation as it addresses most of the basic questions.

Recently, I was asked to host a workshop for one afternoon with people who attended a permaculture class. I didn’t have direct contact on beforehand with the group, it was just the lecturer of the class who asked me to use the tool as he thought it could be useful (he knew the tool and had been impressed by it). Permaculture is as much about human design as design of nature. So it could be helpful for the people attending the class to get to now some collective intelligence (CI) tools.

I will share with you some outputs of this workshop, which in my perception wasn’t a success.

 

Don’t use a collective intelligence tool as long as the collective sensibility is not present

The majority of the people attending the class were either very young or didn’t have an experience of team work. They were more concerned by their individual journey than by a collective journey. Experimenting a CI tool doesn’t mean anything in this context. A preliminary would have been to first raise the collective maturity.

The tool addresses too much cognitive dimensions

The questions from the places come over for certain people as very cognitive (or theoretical). For people who are more grounded in the ‘senses’ or more pragmatic, questions addressing these dimensions could be added. We could add places like « The Kitchen », « The Workshop », « The Zen Room », etc.

Add a place for new places

A good suggestion is to add an ‘empty’ place, where people can add themselves a place they would like to visit. I think it is a good (and easy) idea and would stimulate further the collective imagination.

Vocabulary triggers imagination

The words we use not only triggers imagination, in one way or the other, but can also trigger some negative emotions. The « Change Journey » has been initially developped for the business world, so some words derive from this world. One of the issues is that specific words like « leader », « profitability », etc. trigger negative emotions within the civil communities. It is not easy to find a ‘neutral’ wording, but more important, it shows that using the right words helps in creating a context you aim at.

Individual Change Journey

Again an excellent suggestion, why not develop a change journey for individual change ? Not for now, but if anyone feels for it, please let me know.

Know your public

I did a mistake by not questioning enough my contact person on the attendees. I could have understand that it was not the right tool (or the right moment). There are no tools that fit all contexts and as a host I should have been aware of it.

 

Sometimes, it is when things go ‘wrong’ that you learn the most. So I take this experience as a gift to me :-)

U.Lab, a free course that puts you into the driver’s seat of innovation and change

My U.Lab experience

U.Lab, a free course that puts you into the driver’s seat of innovation and change. You will learn the basics of Theory U, a process for connecting to the more authentic aspects of who we are individually and collectively, and apply it to the issues and systems that matter most to you. Theory U helps change makers see below the surface of today’s environmental, social, and spiritual-cultural challenges, identify the root issues that cause them, and create solutions from a place of deeper awareness.

I would like to share my U.Lab experience with you as it touched me profoundly in several aspects. The U.Lab training started mid January 2015 and lasted for over 6 weeks. It leads the participant through a change process, addressing inner change as well as organizational and societal change. Allthough the training ended 4 months ago, today it continues to nurture my development and thoughts. My purpose in this post is to explore what makes it so unique and why it impacted me so much.

U.Lab is based on Theory U developed by Otto Scharmern. Theory U is a change process. Of course, there are many different and interesting change methodologies but only a few propose a real process that leads to inner transformation. Theory U combined with U.Lab proposes a process that is efficient and repeatable for profound transformation. It is the combination of tools, process and teaching method that makes it so powerful.

The content of the course as well as the unfolding of it are well studied. The quality of the readings, videos and testimonials is excellent. Also the combination of virtual learning with life meetings is very powerful. People can gather in “Hubs”, a kind of self-organizing local meeting during which attendees further explore their readings and experiences. You may also participate in a coaching circle, a group of 5 people who practice a powerful intervision tool. I was a bit surprised by the quantity of material and the time needed for the hub and coaching circles, so depending on your level of involvement, be prepared to free up sufficient time. Of course, you can choose not to take part in hub or coaching circle, although in my case these meetings proved to be essential in the training.

At the end of the process, people who feel like it are invited to prototype a personal project. Indeed, if the change process is effective, it should initiate action. It is very encouraging to see thousands of people sharing their projects. The platform also allows you to take part in each others’ projects, by commenting or by actively taking part in another’s project. You really get the feeling that at the end of the 6 weeks period, so many projects are blooming and it feels great!

Finally, the number of participants (28.000 for the first U.Lab) as well as their diversity (by the number of countries and people’s back ground) create a wave that pushes us ahead. The power of the wave is strong, you can be attracted by many projects and initiatives, you see so many people acting on what emerges for them that you can get dizzy. The training is completely free (no registration cost on the MOOC and all Hubs are self-organizing) it promotes the participation of everyone who are interested and not only a happy few elite. This favours a much greater diversity of participants. When you notice that people from many different countries (Chinese, Indonesian, Indians, Americans, etc.) are part of the same experience, you get the feeling of being part of a world movement!

So, why not take part in the next edition? (link to the course)

Kind regards,

Vincent De Waele

Creative new collaboration spaces

It can be amazing how creative one can be when confronted to a major challenge. Take the example of a library. You would think that most libraries are going to close in the medium term because of digitalization?

Well, read the example below:

This new library had 100.000 visitors the first two months!

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Click here for more about it.

Now, this also shows a very nice showcase of creative space that promotes interaction & collaboration, especially 2 specific initiatives:

“The library is also a Seats2meet (S2M) location where patrons are empowered to help one another in exchange for free, permanent, coworking space, and they utilize the S2M Serendipity Machine to connect library users in real-time”.

Spaces (in a broad sense) may have a substantial impact on collaboration, let’s be conscious of this.

How a New Dutch Library Smashed Attendance Records

Link to the article

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How to connect with others

In any collaboration, it is of paramount importance to connect with the people involved. While many times underestimated, feeling connected means judging less the others, feeling empathy, consider the other as a “human” being. There are many reasons why we don’t work on this: no time, not important, too complicated, …. It seems that a powerful and extremely easy way is to just watch each other for 4 minutes. Ready to test it?

Here’s What Happened After 6 Couples Were Asked To Look Into Each Other’s Eyes For 4 Minutes (Click for the full article onThe Huffington Post)

Starting the flow

It feels special to start with this first post ….

Why do I do this?

We all know about the benefits of blogging and journaling: developing your thoughts, getting enriching feedback, pushing your limits, and much more.

For me, there is one reason which made me start, it’s gratitude. By blogging, I would like to express gratitude towards life for all its magic moments and moments of magic, gratitude towards the people I encounter, my wife, my children, my friends as well as the unknown, the people without hope, suffering, as at the end, we are all connected.

I “feel” that it is the right moment to start blogging, no cognitive reasoning explains it, so “be it”.