it's what you do, before you do
I want to be intentional in how this organization grows from the bottom-up, and from the inside-out. To help facilitate this process, I put myself in the shoes of a future employee. This empowered me with an empathetic understanding of how my daily behavior influences the projected growth of the organization and the way our employees will feel along the journey.
by Daniel D’Alonzo
It feels like I share ownership of this company alongside the leadership, my peers, partners, and customers. That’s how involved we are in the process. We don’t make 100% of the decisions together, but I appreciate being included in a conversation with leadership prior to decisions being made that will impact me.
It wasn’t until speaking one-on-one with Prethinc leadership did I realize how special this organization is at its core. The dynamic across the teams is filled with care, love, authenticity, support, honesty, trust, and kind-hearted people doing their best in this thing called life.
The environment feels safe. I am surrounded by humble humans who support my ongoing self-discovery and personal development. Humility comes to mind when trying to describe the culture. Ego tends to not get in the way of collaboration and listening to customer needs. I assume this has a lot to do with the onboarding pipeline Prethinc has for new employees. I was able to cultivate a sense of my self and the role I wanted to play in the company as a way to align myself with the culture prior to starting as a full-time employee. Getting paid to develop myself and threading that into the company is unlike anything I’ve seen or experienced.
Growing as humans has us naturally growing as a company. It seems counterintuitive to try to grow a company without first providing an opportunity for the people to grow.
Prethinc openly shares these gifts with me and each human the brand touches. The leadership has a strong background in ontological coaching which fosters ongoing conversations coming from a place of possibility. I wake up feeling inspired and go to bed feeling satisfied. It means a lot to feel valued, appreciated, and accomplished.
Specifically, I enjoy Prethinc’s Internal Innovator Initiative. The ability to launch side projects within the company shatters the ceiling that would typically cause me to seek work opportunities elsewhere. Whether it’s internally with my team or with customers I interact with, Prethinc’s platform gives me the tools to rapidly prototype new learning materials, services, and new media creations as I discover opportunities – in real-time, on-demand. This empowers us to stay ahead of the curve and improve customer experience through a high-touch and personalized approach. The trust placed in me to make decisions on my own attracts me to our brand. It also seems to influence the loyalty our customers have to our brand.
There’s more, but that’s for us to know and you to find out 🙂
I am grateful to be apart of this new organizational model that seems to naturally be evolving into a movement. I am inspired to be apart of something bigger than myself. I hope to have more opportunities to share what we are learning with you.
by Daniel DAlonzo
Three months ago, I was sitting in my Princeton, New Jersey apartment wondering if I would be in that place for the unforeseen future. That narrative remained true until I decided to write my own story.
At the time, I was participating in a 12-month personal and professional development program. Here’s a reflection from my experience in the program along with my thoughts on the future of business.
Arielle, also from my program, shared a desire to explore vulnerability. We ventured to Brooklyn to see what it was all about.
At VAF, I cultivated new superpowers and immersed in a culture that opened my mind to a new reality. VAF introduced me to a world of people just like me who were cultivating superpowers on their own terms.
I was seeking a more authentic existence and spaces to fully express myself. Once I discovered it, a seed of possibility was planted.
My dream was possible.
I designed a life plan including aspirations of the self, relationships, love, finance, and work. If actualized, I would find myself living in my new reality.
I outlined practice areas that would enable me to realize my aspirations. I set the declaration, made the commitment to go all-in, and got on the path to manifestation.
I made a decision, and continued to decide each day, that I no longer accepted the current state. I hadn’t physically moved to the city yet, but in my mind I was already there. I spoke as if I lived there. I eliminated any thought of lacking or negativity or not being ready. I lived from the future place of possibility.
I developed a mindfulness practice that came natural to me.
I found myself meditating for 30-60 minute intervals several times throughout the day. I visualized my body surrounded by a soft bubble. In the bubble, it was my space for me to be. Just be. The people, situations, and things that typically take up space in my life were in the visualization. I acknowledged them, and I gently nudged them out of my space. “This is my space.” I found myself suspended in water where all distractions fell away. I was there – nowhere – surrounded by everything and nothing.
I journaled with a new intention.
How do I feel right now? What does my body feel like? How am I being? How did I grow yesterday? Why didn’t I follow through on my commitment? Why? What becomes possible when I don’t show up for myself? What becomes possible when I take up space and own my experience? Which do I choose?
The life plan I designed articulated June 1 as the date I would be living in the city. As I neared the end of May, there were a few financial elements of the plan that had yet to fall into place. I continued to live as if I was moving to the city. I terminated my lease in NJ. I had an apartment in NYC being held for me.
My coach, Dr. Lauren Borden, PhD, kept herself out of my stories as I worked hard to rope her in. I would do my best to draw her into my context, “yes, I am doing these behaviors that aren’t good for me, but listen to my story about why I have them! See! It’s not my fault!” She showed me the state I was in – a state of being immersed in the same stories, the same narrative looped in my mind for years. Once I had elevation over the stories, I was in a position of power to decide which reality I preferred.
Another thing I appreciate about Lauren was the personalized resources she recommended between our sessions. It felt valuable and special to know as a result of learning about me, and seeing my blindspots she shared specific resources that would best serve me.
In the middle of my manifestation she recommended I read Jen Sincero’s book, You are a Badass at Making Money. I listened to it on audio book that day in its entirety. I had to be sure that I did everything I could possibly do and put it all on the line.
Two other books were recommended and played a critical role in this transformation: Conversations with God and Zen and the Art of Falling in Love.
Sincero’s voice was there to remind me I was surrounded by abundance. I would be presented with what I need when I need it.
Two nights before June 1, there were still components of the plan that had yet to fall into place. I intentionally positioned myself so there would be no choice to give up because there is now only the way forward. I trusted the universe was conspiring in my favor. I had a dream that night about a sequence of events I hadn’t thought of prior. These events would ultimately lead to me moving to the city. I awoke with a loud, “Aha!”
The feminine energy that led me to this moment began to shift to a series of “doings”.
Over the next 36 hours, I watched the universe carefully pick me up from my apartment in Princeton, NJ and gently place me in my new home in Brooklyn, NY.
I experienced the magic.
Knowing what becomes possible when I give myself permission to take up space, play big, and live from that future-facing conversation has me sharing the gift as much as possible. It’s a key that unlocks doors of opportunity. Social mobility is what gives me hope.
It has me wondering, “What becomes possible now that I experienced the magic?”
I settled into my Brooklyn apartment. I learned one of my roommates has strong social justice and digital advocacy gifts. We got the talkin’ a few times, and recently had an opportunity to go deeper.
In the first four days of Brooklyn life, I signed four new clients. I now had some runway to explore the city.
My life began to expand.
I found my way to the East Village where a group of people I never met were running a popup shop for empathy. I hadn’t been to a popup shop for empathy.
I made new friends, shared vulnerably with compassionate strangers, and experienced ongoing gratitude. Especially during the moments of direct, one-on-one human connection as I was fortunate to share with Elizabeth Werbe, seen in the cover of the video. There weren’t many rules, but the popup generally wasn’t where people came to talk about occupations. When I come in contact with a person from the social innovation / social enterprise space we relate in a unique way. Speaking with Elizabeth reminded me of my roots, and I am grateful for beginning to cultivate a one-on-one together.
At the popup, I had an opportunity to heal through some life events that I would have typically kept to myself. One evening, I sat with David Sauvage, founder of the Empath Popup, to work through something specific. He joined me in my experience and shared with me the ability to feel my way through the pain. There were tears, but they came from relief. David gave this gift to me after our session.
Surrounded by a supportive community had me feeling aligned and connected with my humanity. Bailey Robinson and Jess Mason brought this concept to life with David. They share their gifts passionately and I am grateful to have received them.
It’s as if the universe knew I was entering a major life transition and she conspired to have me collide with the Empath Popup so I had what I needed upon my arrival.
She’s like that.
I experienced authentic connection at the popup. Rather than sticking to the basics there was an invitation to go deeper. We shared how we experienced each other. We shared what was coming up for us in the moment. We shared our feelings. Life challenges. It was a healing space. The Empath Popup was a social experiment. The team is now spreading the love globally with their first Empath Online Popup this week August 16-20th.
At the popup, I met my future accountability partner who invited me to the enlightenment studio, Three Jewels, where her and I meet weekly to cultivate a deep sense of ourselves. We began the engagement with a conversation dedicated to values.
We created the container for our partnership and operate through the principles of the social contract. This relationship brought a new level of self-awareness for me. Also, knowing I would be meeting with her each week had me showing up differently for myself throughout each day, “If I don’t do xyz I am going to have to explain why.” This engagement is also unleashing my creative spirit as I turn my practice areas into tools for others to use.
I continued to explore new communities.
I met a mystic at a potluck who I now meet regularly with to talk about life, consciousness, and dance in the exploration of possibility.
I connected with Remy Teicher, an artist I met at the potluck. She was kind enough to invite me to a picnic in Prospect Park.
We did yoga, shared snacks, sipped juice, sat in a circle, and exercised our imaginations.
Creating this article has me reflecting on these wondrous experiences in a new way. To see all of your work together is powerful. I acknowledge you for the gifts you are sharing with humanity. I am honored to be apart of it.
The opportunity to connect deeply with healthy male role models is something I expressed as a desire at the popup. That same day, an elevated, purpose-driven man named Nathan Schultz arrived to the popup. We got the talkin’ and I learned he is involved in the men’s community. He runs men’s circles from his home. We connected and have been cultivating a one-on-one relationship ever since. Nathan also invited me to break bread at the first coed Dinner Confidential at the founder, Sybil Ottenstein’s, home where we shared our stories with another cluster of extraordinary humans.
At the dinner, one of the men, Kevin Hermann, shared a story that resonated with me. I later discovered he runs the men’s groups with Nathan. Another kindred spirit I aligned with in this thing called life.
I am grateful for the opportunity to traverse a few of the dynamic pockets of this city. Each experience brings with it a heightened sense of clarity, self-trust, and a knowing of who I am and the gifts I am here to share.
Last week, I was having coffee with another person I met at the popup. Sarah Davis and I meet weekly for coffee. She inspired me to invite all of you to an event of sorts. As I reached out to each of you one-at-a-time I realized the power of what I was immersed in.
I arrived to NYC three months ago only knowing one person. Now, I am blessed with the opportunity to invite you to an intimate gathering.
I thought, “I am a founder, surrounded by creators, makers, entrepreneurs, and this certainly feels like the way.”
Founder’s Way is born.
Founder’s Way is an intimate gathering of humans having future-facing conversations coming from a place of possibility. It’s a space to strengthen social ties, bridge unlikely connections, and explore the future.
“Making things better. Taking responsibility and creating a positive cycle of generous action. Leading by example. Finding a small corner where you can make a difference, and then making a difference.” -Seth Godin
Leaders want to find and attract talent, align teams with strategy, get the most from their people, and create a great environment for people to thrive. Yet, employees are unhappy, burnt out, career transitioning, and feel disconnected. There seems to be a disconnect between the intent of leadership, and the people who make-up these organizations.
I had conversations with with CEOs, founders, creatives, young professionals, small business owners, and people in career transition. There were common pain-points
My hypothesis is that people have accepted a culture handed down to them. As a result, they exist in an organization that may not look and feel as if it were designed specifically for them. Culture change initiatives from leadership are issued to employees as new processes to “organically adopt” from the bottom-up. Felt as forced, the initiative is ineffective in returning on the financial investment and the people inside the company feel further disconnected.
Existing cultural diagnostic tools measure people against finances. They are built from a paradigm that exists to reward individual behavior. This further silos people and pits them against one another — both of which are not conducive to nurturing a healthy, collaborative workplace.
On the organization’s side, I mapped the existing journey of a leader who is aware of organizational problems, is convinced of the financial benefit of “fixing the culture” and is ready to pay for a solution.
There’s clearly a lot going on in organizations working with management consultancies on 6-24 month change initiatives. Rather than take on competitors in a crowded space, I started by questioning all aspects of the old paradigm. For example, if we wanted to disrupt education we wouldn’t brainstorm new subjects to teach with Chromebooks. We would start by interrogating the fundamental principles. Why are there desks? Chairs? Why is someone speaking at the students for 75 minutes only to have the students walk out without saying a word?
Are people aware that learning happens everywhere?
Similar to our experience creating lasting transformation in higher education, the new economy is beginning to take shape.
We are in it right now.
We are in the shift when “the way its always been done” is no longer an acceptable reason to keep doing it. We want something different, and we’re speaking out about it.
As more of us cultivate superpowers like compassion, vulnerability, empathy, and imagination we are stepping into our power and owning our life experience. The organization, teams, and leadership are ill-equipped to provide the resources for humans to fullfill their potential.
We walked away from competitive conversations around why our client’s should hire us for the “change management” and “digtial transformation” they need. We shifted our perspective from “the way its always been done” towards an organic, human-led, and purpose-driven aproach to transformation.
If humans do not grow, how will the organization grow?
May I please kindly request for people to consider, even if only for a moment, that we, the humans, already are everything we could need to be, we already have everything we need to have, and we hope to share the time we have together appreciating who we are as humans.
It appears that organizational transformation starts with the leader adopting new operating principles for herself, and, in doing so, models the ideal behavior she hopes to cultivate in the culture.
It starts with people. Teams. Culture comes first. Take care of the people who take care of the customers.
To lead others, lead yourself. It starts with you, the leader, looking inward, developing an adaptive mindset, opening yourself up to continuous learning, go out of your way to give credit at all times, and modeling what extreme ownership looks like.
Sense of Self
Get on a path of personal development and spiritual enlightenment. It does not start by deciding your organization is going to “change”. If you want to see change, change yourself.
Invest time in one-on-one conversations with the people in your organization. What are they going through? What are their values? Do they feel aligned with the company? Do they feel like they contribute to important decisions?
What would a conversation look like where you are co-creating the future together?
What would it look like for you to foster a culture of innovation that is safe, judgement-free, rewards collaboration more than individual metrics, quickly adopts microstructures to keep pace with unplanned activities, and makes people feel like they are connected with their peers and are an accurate reflection of the culture of the organization?
How might you provide on-going moments for your people to explore new experiences individually and as a team? How might you create a safe space to facilitate deep, meaningful connection with one another? What would it look like for the people on your teams to feel the autonomy to create the experience for themselves?
Imagine a world where we focus on developing a sense of self, having autonomy, and aligning with one another to actualize our purpose in the work we bring to the world.
A place where people are intrinsically motivated to give their blood, sweat, and tears because they have ownership and feel one with the company. A place where people connect deeply with their peers, where trust is developed and strengthened overtime, and people show up excited to be apart of an extraordinary movement.
This is the place we imagine.
We left the existing corporate structure to participate in spaces we created for ourselves. Spaces where we intentionally cultivate superpowers like compassion, vulnerability, imagination, and empathy. By removing the restrictive nature of the old paradigm, we’ve found our own pathways. We are here to elevate the collective consciousness, instigate cultural evolution, and move the world forward.
Superpowers like vulnerability and empathy are gifts a person receives from experiencing a moment of transformation. Humans thrive when they cultivate superpowers. These gifts continue to increase in demand as they are not available transactionally, and this makes them competitive advantages. We’re on a quest to find the others and build interconnected networks that align on a lifelong vision to leave a legacy not only for our family, but for humanity.
How might we design an experience for people to cultivate superpowers, actualize their best self, and surround themselves with inspiring people who want to see them grow?
In order to be customer-centered, we must have the capacity to act without ego and get out of our own way so customers feel safe bringing issues to us. To act without ego requires us to feel safe being ourselves and show up in our most authentic version. This requires organizations to foster collaborative performance metrics on projects only achievable through the collective act of a team. Teams become cohesive when there is an intentional culture of creative conversations, acknowledgement, and a safe space is created for discussing any tension that arises along the journey.
We feel similar pain-points across society. Regardless of role or position in the hierarchy – from CEO to junior employee to management consultancy – there is a common thread of feeling disconnected, purposeless, and operating from a scarcity “winner take all” mentality. We implement processes and steps and when we impose these rigid structures on human beings, it is felt.
My individuality is what makes my human experience so special. Invite me to a place where I am expected to be myself. A place where we celebrate each of us being ourselves. A place where we celebrate being human.
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