The power is in the application of skills.
Our work transforms individuals, teams, and organizations. The search for language to provide a simple description that also offers a rich, meaningful, and vivid image of what we do has evolved over the years as we have evolved over the years.
The terms executive coach or leader and team development consultant do not quite create the narrative of how our work invites people to discover their unique and emergent path of evolution. Our work focuses on the exploration, definition, or redefinition of the thoughts, actions, and experiences that enable individuals and groups to create clarity for themselves amidst the noise of an ever-changing environment.
At this time in our evolution, when asked what we do, we say; We partner with individuals, teams, and organizations on the journey to develop, integrate, and evolve.
Here is how we define these terms.
Individual development, both personal and professional, involves being open to acquiring new knowledge about ourselves, the visible and invisible world around us, and the possibilities available when we apply that knowledge to our life and our work.
To acquire new knowledge, we take courses and trainings, we read articles and books, we listen to experts and motivational speakers with the expectation these efforts will deliver us to our next level of fulfillment and success.
New information that expands our understanding, new models that expose patterns in our systems and organizations, and new stories that inspire us with how others overcame great obstacles and achieved incredible results contribute to the excitement of development. The newness promises such hope for ourselves, our teams, and our organizations.
When a newly defined skill is applied to a role play scenario in a training leading to a breakthrough or a team building activity reveals a truth about a challenge or opportunity we are inspired. These moments of insight tell us that we may be able to unlock the mysteries of our complex world. They tell us that we are on our way to greater capability and effectiveness.
We can be tempted to believe that knowledge is enough. That at the right moment in a dynamic situation the knowledge will reemerge, we will respond with creativity and efficiency, and we will resolve the issue or uniquely influence the outcome.
Unfortunately, this is unlikely. For knowledge to reemerge at the right moment, it takes practice. It takes integration.
Integration is where development gets real. Integration is the link between aspiration and achievement. Integration is the practice of applying newly acquired knowledge and insights in the interactions, the meetings, and the projects we want to influence and impact. Integration involves repetition. It is here we hone our skills, find our unique voice, and discover discernment.
The barriers to putting our new knowledge and skills to use are always present during integration.
It wasn’t the right situation; we were short on time; I forgot; I am too busy at the moment to think about it; I didn’t have time to prepare; it doesn’t feel authentic.
Do any of these sound familiar? I have said and heard variations of these consistently over the years. Moving from developing knowledge to integrating practices is hard.
It is humbling to accept that my intention and intellect are no match for my habits. The struggle is real. To replace existing habits of thought, action, or words; ones that have familiarity and a level of certainty regarding the outcomes they will produce, with new thoughts, actions or words that have less certainty of impact to outcome can make the most well-intentioned individual hesitate, delay, and wait for a better moment.
The first step of integration is noticing the opportunity to apply our developed knowledge or skill during the normal rhythms of our day-to-day activities. The second step is overcoming the resistance of uncertainty.
Will my shift in language or behavior be noticed? Will my intentions be misunderstood? Will I be judged for sounding too rehearsed? Will my actions add value or disrupt?
As adults we want mastery even when we are beginners. We want to avoid looking like an imposter or lacking competence. We want our actions to look and feel authentic. Applying new thoughts, actions, and words different from our most practiced and most conditioned, ALWAYS goes through a period of feeling inauthentic. Realistically, it’s the fact that if feels inauthentic that tells us we have begun the work of integration!
Integration comes down to practice, practice, practice. Supporting integration is where McCarthy Rekart excels. Our passion, commitment, and expertise centers on the process of integration. The pathways to weave new knowledge and skills until they become part of our ‘in the moment’ thoughts and actions will be unique for different individuals, teams, and organizations. Our focus is to help you take one step after another on the journey. And yes, in the early phase of integration these steps, these practices, may feel a bit forced, unnatural, and inauthentic. But when we stay with it, we evolve.
Evolution happens through the development journey as we integrate knowledge into new practices and possibilities. We build onto who we are. We adapt our unique strengths and capabilities to thrive in our current environment or new landscapes, new roles, or new levels of complexity.
The application of thoughts, words, and actions that once felt inauthentic are now viable and conscious choices to influence the visible and invisible world around us. As our practice of integration matures and our experience grows, our choices for responding and initiating action in our life and work expands. We still have our traditional thoughts and habits available, but they become just one of the expanding possibilities.
Practice builds confidence. When we arrive at a moment of challenge, opportunity, or uncertainty in an interaction or meeting and we can settle, notice, name, and initiate, we are evolving. We become the leader that notices the tone of an exchange in a meeting and initiates a discussion to bring different perspectives into complementary alignment. We become the team member that courageously invites a peer to name risks they see in our proposed course of action. We become confident in the face of ambiguity.