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Shapeshift the Energy of Work

The key to any successful business in today’s world is achieving emergence. 

However, what exactly is “emergence”? The Dictionary defines it as “the process of coming into being, or of becoming important or prominent.” 

While that is certainly part of it, we have a different definition, based on each letter of the word itself.

The ultimate intent or north star is where it all starts. Once you have that ultimate intent, you can start to walk the path of emergence, developing an ecosystem, generating ideas and collaboration, and inspiring contribution. All of this culminates in the agility and endurance of your organization. That’s when you’ve established a pattern for turning challenges into opportunities.


The first “E” in emergence is the ecosystem, or the human system that operates inside the organization. Your organizational culture, including the environment, architecture, and ultimate intent all make up the ecosystem. It also includes all of the stakeholders: employees, customers, leaders, managers, and vendors. The energy, interactions, communication, workflow, and cooperation are the final pieces. All of these combined form the ecosystem of your organization.


We tend to think people are motivated to come to work just because they have a job. However, research shows that support from employees for changes in their organization has fallen by 31% between 2016 and 2022. People don’t want to take the effort to change something if they don’t understand why and how it impacts them.

It’s a misnomer to think that you, myself, or anyone else can motivate another person. What we have to do is get people in touch with their intrinsic motivation and connect it to the big picture of what we're all doing. If your employees have a relationship between what motivates them and what your organization does, they are much more likely to become engaged and inspired to contribute at their highest level. 


Empowerment is not about getting a promotion or a raise. Instead, it is about tilling the soil and enabling self-actualization and personal freedom within someone, so that they are better equipped to self-regulate and operate at their highest and best use of self. 

Empowerment is more than just one person’s responsibility. It is on the shoulders of both the person being empowered and the person empowering. The person being empowered needs to buy into the work they are doing or they won’t see the value in having agency and autonomy.

The person empowering needs to take the time to provide the whole picture of what the organization is doing and how the empowered person fits into that. They also need to give the proper support, which includes tools, resources, and training, so that the person seeking empowerment is set up to win. 


The only reason any business exists is to produce tangible results. Emergence is about high-achievement and high self-actualization. Everyone needs to be working towards not just being their highest and best self, but performing and delivering services at their highest and best self to produce the best results possible for the customer, the team, and the organization. 


To achieve emergence, there needs to be fertile ground for innovation, teamwork, and motivation. When people are liberated and they feel safe to express themselves, formulate and share ideas, and connect with each other, genius level work is the outcome. 

This doesn’t happen on an island. It’s about co-creation and collaboration with multiple people at all levels. When this happens, specific roles are put aside and everyone's genius comes together in service of the ultimate intent. 


According to Gallup, 50% of employees were not engaged in 2023. This is a consistent problem for business leaders and one of the biggest issues they work to improve.


The key to employee engagement is connecting people to their own intrinsic motivation. They need to be reminded of what the ultimate intent of the business is and how they contribute to that intent. If employees feel like they are a cog in the wheel, they won’t be compelled to invest themselves into the business.

North Star

The North Star is your ultimate reason for being. It is the way your organization makes the world a better place. This is where it all begins. You cannot achieve emergence without a North Star.


If you want to create a culture that is generative, innovative, and emergent, you need to have a WHY that pulls you and your people forward. When that exists, everyone is much more likely to bring not just their hands to work, but their heart and their minds. This enables full self-actualization and empowerment. 


If you want your people to shift from getting the minimum amount of work done and checking off their to-do lists, to generating ideas and noticing what’s not working so they can improve, then they need to understand how they fit into their unique role and how their role genuinely contributes to moving the organization forward. Each role has its own reason for being and each role has its own purpose. Make sure the role’s overall purpose is clear to every employee.


Enduring is about standing the test of time. The world is full of volatility, uncertainty, chaos, and ambiguity. Endurance is about riding the wave, taking advantage of opportunities, and shifting quickly when the market changes. 

Enduring Covid was something every business had to go through. Many people suffered, but some were able to use that time as an opportunity to recalibrate and retool their company. That's enduring. It’s about taking advantage of our unique time in history. Enduring organizations remain emergent, even in the face of change.


Emergence isn’t something that’s easy to come by. It takes work, strategy, the right people, and effective leadership. It starts with an ultimate intent. What’s the goal? How will your organization change the world? 

Once you cultivate all the different aspects of emergence, then your organization has the ability to endure any challenges that are sure to come up in the future.

P.S. You can find the original article on Forbes as well. Check it out here!


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