2. Enlarge your scope
In an individualistic society people are preoccupied with their own lives. There is little attention to the collective goods, the commons. Besides this general tendency, professionals are narrowing their perspective through the lenses of their specialization and scientific approach. Although enhancing quality in a certain way, it also divorces professionals from their local community and other disciplines. We are all behaving as if we are islands.
Ecologizing professional work with clients consists of enlarging the scope of our attention and caring. It is a request to ...
awaken you to what happens in the bigger picture. There are four things a professional can do to redefine his professional identity in relation to the larger whole to which he belongs.
The first thing is to situate one's own contribution in the midst of all other contributions and influences. We can become aware of the importance of other specialisations or actors in the same system. They are like brothers and sisters. Working in a multidisciplinary team should be a common way of organising. On the side of the client, it should be self-evident that you can't isolate your client from his context. You are always working with a client-system and enchanted soulful being.
Secondly, you can look to the developmental processes in next higher level to which you belong. There are trends and evolutions in your domain of expertise. You can start to look at how your profession organises its services and reflect critically. We all know for example that leadership should develop from a bureaucratic to a visionary style. Or if you are a teacher, we have to add coaching skills to our profile in order to meet the new young generation with their internet mind set. Ecologizing your profession starts by being critical of the existing practices and defining a vision for yourself. You can also be curious what pioneers are presenting as new approach. In all fields there are new pattern available. The task is not so much to invent new things, but to be part of pioneering creative people and communities of practice.
From that point, you can become a cultural creative, a personality type coined by Ray & Anderson. They describe the individual who has the ability to see question presuppositions and had the courage to fight holy cows, finally exercises new patterns that fit a next phase in the development of our humanity.
In what sense is your work a way of being cultural creative?
The larger outside for the professional is the awareness of their nestedness as professional in society. It is quiet naive to think that helping a client is automatically a contribution to relevant broader historical development. Professionals are often trapped in the relational practice of helping. Suppose a lawyer who is satisfied helping his client, but works in a war metaphor. Or consider a leader who is proud of the results of his team, but is not considering the larger value and meaning of the company goals.
We hope professionals would become more reflective professionals. They can try to integrate research findings or trends in society. Enlarging the scope consist of embedding the specialisation of the professional into a conscious motivation to add something to the larger whole. The bottom-line of our project is to help professionals to become more cultural creative.
Act for the benefit of the larger whole; don't limit your self to your own interests. Defend the well-being of the whole to which you belong.
Thirdly, professionals can look to their own activities in a more holistic way. Suppose you are flying to your client, or your clients are driving on average fifty miles to your office, what is the total balance of your work if you also count the footprint? Maybe you were helping your client, but you caused harm to nature. Suppose for example a city council organises a community party for all ethnic groups, as a way of integrating people. Great because of the celebration of community, but why did they use plastic cups and a barbecue with kilo's of industrial meet? Or take a sustainability conference, is it really a good idea that all participants fly over from everywhere to one place? We personally have to admit that it is difficult to tackle all aspects of an ecological lifestyle, especially if you are in business. Trying not to harm is absurd, there is always some side effect. The system of interrelatedness is too complex to control our impact. But it is possible to overview the immediate impact of our actions if we look more holistically. The intention is there to minimize side effects.
Fourthly, you can wonder about the larger dimensions of life which seems often not essential for professional jobs. Art, music, singing, dancing, religion, spirituality are often not present in the relational practice of professionals. Life is impoverished to behavioural or practical questions. Underneath question for help are always existential quests. We are deeply longing for meaning that we find expressed in beauty, good and truth. People are used to translate deep personal quests into pragmatic solvable problems. In our vision to be fully professional is also to explore and expand being human.