Catalysers of the World Awake!

Reeling from an unexpected end of what I thought was an on-going initiative, I found myself in bewilderment. Shortly thereafter I was fortunate enough to have not one, but numerous encounters which helped me to come to grips with my situation. I am not alone in my current dilemma.

Out of my bewilderment emerged a wonderful realization: I am a Catalyst.

According to the research, there are not too many of us – only about 5- 7 % in any social group. We are the people who strive to enable sustainable change.

But I as I have learned firsthand, traditional organization environments are not kind to us Catalysers. This became crystal clear to me as I read Hemerson Paes' insightful article: Awakening of the Catalysts: Unleashing the Power of Change in Organizations.

The read was soothing to my soul. His was an affirming success story of “Yes we can!” Paes’ article provides a wonderful example of the ‘awakening’ of catalysts’ potential by providing the needed support, tools and cultivation of healthy behaviors.

An invitation to collaborate and discover a innovative solution

Corkboard with 4 post-its pinned onto it -A green post-it reads Yes we can

I fear that there are many catalysts who are working in not such a supporting social context in their organizations These other bold individuals are really struggling to enable real change.

But where is the space for the not so fortunate Catalysts to talk about this challenge?

Thankfully I had the opportunity to hear the stories and listen to other Catalysts during a session of my Regenerative Leadership course offered by Laura Storm. Each of these Catalysts were exhibiting signs of “the emotional burden and the friction created by their traditional organizational boundaries” as Paes so elegantly describes.

Graphic of person struggling to hold up the world

Take a moment to ask yourself: Are you suffering from emotional burden and friction?

While each of their stories were very different, I sensed a common thread running through each of the presentations and subsequent discussion.

• All of these Catalysers have a strong vision

• They yearn for a shift from a traditional organizational culture to one of a shared purpose and shared leadership

• They all aspire to enhance collaboration throughout their organizations to work towards making their dreams for our collective future a reality

As they told their stories and reflected upon the feedback from others, I could personally relate to their feeling of disappointment and setback. I was also suffering from the frustration of the sudden ending of an innovative initiative which appeared to be flourishing.

Similar to my colleagues who were struggling, I now recognize that it was the friction which my efforts had caused to provoke this traditional organization to strike back and decide not to continue forward. All the hopes and ideas which had been voiced will most likely never be pursued nor realized.

friction of different perspectives illustrated in colors

Friction emerges as the traditional organization strikes back

At the end of the reflection with my fellow Catalysts, I realized that we all shared something:

  • We see the challenges facing each one of us quite differently than most others
  • We envision the possibilities to develop solutions for the issues which our organizations are facing
  • All of us recognize that only by breaking from the “molds and confines” of a traditional organizational structure can we make progress in our search to break new ground for the future

We are all striving to:

Sense Potential - Take Action - Explore all avenues - Realize a greater purpose

Rainbow over Sendling in Munich Germany

Unleashing the power of Catalysts

Marieke Smets pulled all my reflections together when she mused in a recent thought-provoking posting:

“And maybe daring to be in the not knowing together, can even be a little thread we can pull on, one tiny starting point for change.”

Despite the setbacks, this is the Catalyst which I choose to be

Tropical vine and wool

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