‘Meaning’ amplified

I had the pleasure of a) leading my first Meaning Conference fringe event and b) attending my first Meaning Conference last week.

@MeaningConf has been going for some years now and I must confess, it was every bit as positively challenging, different & humane as I expected it to be – great job Louise (@L0uiseAsh)

With a range of speakers from the very direct and on point Aditya Chakrabortty who walked us through a ‘political user journey’ from past to present using a persona from Wales, a wonderful dive into meaning (vs purpose) & back again with Marjolein Lips-Weiersma, a very cool approach to finding & oscillating around our meaning which interestingly for me was shown to be a very fluid thing with Lani Morrois via her @mapofmeaning, through to the super inspiring & deeply humbling Atif Choudhury who story-told one of THE most emotive stories I have ever heard i.e. the resistance required to get Palestinian olive oil out of the country.

I had not consciously seen the link, but paradoxically, the disconnect between meaning & purpose as clearly as I do today, something I am interested to investigate further.

The depth, humanity & game-changing potential was clear for all to see – I will be back! (In fact I have already bought my ticket)

Self-Awareness for Business Leaders – Fringe Event

I was very grateful to lead a fringe event which was a hack into self-awareness with 8 open, engaging & highly collaborative people.

With the backgrounds of our team today covering progressive ways of working such as sociocracy, local government, hospitality, law, the army & not for profit, I knew we were in for a treat.

I started with an introduction to https://thelisteningorganisation.co.uk/  & why it exists i.e to help re-humanise individuals, teams and the world of work.

The plan for the day was to split into 2 x team of 4 and to follow a 4-sprint approach which covered:

  1. What does self-awareness mean, look & feel like to us?
  2. What does best in class self-awareness look & feel like?
  3. What gets in the way of achieving best in class self-awareness?
  4. Design a pitch to offer to a senior leadership team to help influence self-awareness onto the strategic agenda
  • What does self-awareness mean, look & feel like to us

The session started with a pretty deep reflection as to what self-awareness means, looks & feels like as can be seen by the below photo.


  • What does best in class self-awareness look & feel like?

Some really interesting reflections came up such as ability to forgive one’s self, considering the impact of actions on others & being present.  In our world of hyper-busyness & always-on culture, I found it interesting that the ability to stay present & to forgive were cited as best in class self-awareness – I in fact totally agree.

  • What gets in the way of achieving best in class self-awareness?


The teams then dived into what gets in the way of achieving best in class self-awareness.

What was fascinating yet not a surprise to me was the deeply human barriers that showed up time and time again i.e. ego, stress, projecting one’s view over someone else, toxic masculinity etc

  • Design a pitch to offer to a senior leadership team to help influence self-awareness onto the strategic agenda

This part of the day was actually quite challenging as the comments around evidencing the ROI, business case etc came up.  These are common challenges, but at the same time I always find it interesting that we need to justify how to be more human!  Shows just how far the world of work has gone in the wrong direction, for me.

Reflective space

That said it fuelled some great debate which was wrapped by a beautiful 30 mins of space after the hack finished where everyone decompressed together and the conversation dropped to a more philosophical and principle based level.

This was a big learning for me to design in that reflective space at the end of a session before we run back into our busy lives.

Learning takeaways/commitments

Some example learning takeaways and commitments can be found below, all of which have been followed up on within one week of the event, as promised 😉

Going Forward

Knowing as we do that we suffer with chronic disengagement at work as evidenced by the Gallup stats for over 2 decades, stubbornly stuck at 1 in 3 fully engaged & an ongoing increase in mental health diagnosis, it really seems to me that now is the time to truly get present, to prioritise the self-care of us all & to create the space & resilience to support success by shifting our paradigms around what we call we ‘work.’

I have to say and without bias, it was incredible how well this team of strangers connected, bonded and collaborated.

How human-centred are you/your team/your organisation?

As the World Economic Forum has stated multiple times, the future of work will be distinctly human as the robotic parts of our jobs that should be automated, will be.

To that end, should an energetic, innovative, deeply inclusive & solution-focused workshop of any description be of interest to you, especially if human-centred, please do get in contact.

You can also find the recent Listening Organisation newsletter here -> https://gem.godaddy.com/s/a3354d


Yours with humanity

The Listening Organisation



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