“Returning to Humanity” is Part 1 in a five-part series on workplace transformation that recounts a recent journey to Barcelona- a hub for social innovation and ideal setting to activate impact creation.
In the fast-paced world of business, I’ve come to know through trial and error that the crux of sustainability lies in honoring our humanity.
Human capabilities, motivation, capacity, and ingenuity are deeply interconnected and essential to the success of brands, businesses, organizations, institutions, and global communities.
Across all of these contexts, dysfunction arises when human needs, desires, and aspirations are not seamlessly integrated into the operating model, hindering the system from functioning optimally and serving its higher purpose.
Human contribution gets lost in translation.
- Why do businesses persist with ineffective models that fail to leverage human talent?
- What prevents leadership from investing in human development?
- What stops us from strengthening our interconnectivity as one workforce for the betterment of our world?
These questions have been on my mind for years, prompting the creation of theories, frameworks for business culture, and socially innovative solutions for the workplace experience.
I’ve conducted deep research, constructed rich hypotheses, and waited in place (the United States) for the perfect opportunity for real world application.
Activating Workplace Transformation
Approaching 2024, it became clear to me that to truly understand the global business culture and test the viability of the Interconnected Workplace framework, I needed to immerse myself in my own workplace experience. To make myself the subject of my own social experiment.
The genius architect Antonio Gaudi offers timeless wisdom: “originality exists in returning to the origin.”
Applying Gaudi’s insight, I embarked on a journey to Barcelona to disrupt how I facilitate social innovation through returning to the fundamentals of human nature.
My identity, purpose, values, and principles were front of mind as I took one step forward into an open landscape for personal discovery and business disruption.
This workplace experience in Barcelona would allow me to explore and appreciate the unique capabilities and contributions of humanity across time.
And most importantly, it would give me the space to reconnect me with the source of my own sustainability: my authentic tendencies and contributions as a neurodivergent leader.
Centering For Impact
“Wherever you go, there you are.”
This is a mantra from my mother that has echoed throughout my life throughout the many chapters of my life and career.
It held great significance as I immersed myself in an unfamiliar city – and had daily reflections and interactions that allowed me to remember to appreciate myself and rediscover my center of gravity.
Rediscovering your center of gravity means connecting to your core strengths, your commitment to impact, and your authentic leadership.
Staying true to this center of gravity became my priority in everyday life as I met interesting people, dedicated myself in creative projects, and learned through confronting the natural resistance of collaboration.
Modeling Human-Centric Leadership
Prior to Barcelona, I’ve found that prioritizing people- including myself- in everyday leadership and decision-making is what enables and empowers collective contribution.
Throughout my career as a people and culture leader and as a facilitator of workplace innovation, I champion “people first” and “show up and share” as interpersonal keys to our individual and collective success.
The upcoming series on workplace transformation shares personal reflections from my journey of integrating in a new culture, with every insight mirroring the collective consciousness of modern business and opportunities for workforce development.
My journey starts by returning to the center and connecting to the source that sustains long-term motivation: authentic contribution.
With Consciousness Comes Contribution
While contribution can take many different forms and means something distinct to each one of us, authentic contribution – in simple terms, is the link between your innate gifts and our shared habitat.
Thanks to the globalization of modern business, our human interconnectedness is now more apparent than ever, which gives each one of us a moment to consider:
How can I be a conscious contributor to creating a better world?
We are all a part of a global ecosystem, where every human serves a distinct purpose in the evolution of our world. In recognizing our interconnectedness, each one of us has an opportunity to contribute to the advancement of our world.
So if you are reading this now, know this:
You are an impact creator, whether you are consciously leading or not. And rather than see your impact as a far off decision, you’re impacting in every conversation, every decision, and every step forward.
Yet, where we are at collectively, reflects a story of untapped potential: Only a small minority possesses this ecosystem awareness, has the time and space to cultivate a connection to the higher order need of contribution, or the accessibility to opportunities to apply their talents.
Naturally, a high-level objective like social innovation, e.g. the possibility to evolve how we work, depends on our collective readiness, willingness, and openness to challenge deeply embedded ways of doing business.
Shifting Expectations for Co-Creation
For those of us who are ready, willing, and able to contribute our talents and come from an openness to embrace new ideas and perspectives, let me normalize the experience of not seeing results.
Facilitating systemic change is not easy or immediate, especially when you’re entering an entirely different culture from your own and coming up against systemic barriers that test your belief in humanity.
When distinct people from separate cultures interact, it’s expected for there to be gaps in understanding.
In previous experiences, I’ve found managing my expectations upfront and setting boundaries for what I can do, what I will do, and what I won’t, as central to my success and motivation.
While in the past, my expectation may have been to meet the world where it’s at, it’s since shifted to something much more healthy and sustainable to my well-being:
The new expectation, which you too can adopt, is to be centered within yourself– so that you don’t lose your authenticity in the process of social integration.
The Catalyst for Impact Creation
Venturing to Barcelona was my way to live and breathe this awareness, keep my commitments to myself, and move the needle on my mission for the modern workplace.
Unattached to outcomes, I embraced Barcelona as my own workplace experience to rehumanize how I work through strengthening my sense of global connectedness. This was my space to enable impact creation through sharing my voice in new ways.
So how did it go?
Barcelona served as the canvas for my social experiment—an opportunity to immerse in culture, redefine my workplace experience, and test a hypothesis on social innovation:
We can change the way we work by changing where we operate from.
The journey ahead is a testament to what’s needed to reshape our physical and mental landscapes to ensure all professionals have the opportunity to contribute their gifts in meaningful ways.
I invite you to join me on this transformative journey to build a better business culture, where leaders from across the world do their part to impact together.