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How Do We Articulate Multipotentiality?

Going beyond the job as the core of our identity.

Michael Schneider over at Inc. has an article entitled Being a Leader is More Difficult Than Ever Before Thanks to These 5 Workplace Trends that talks about how leaders today are having a more difficult time (with a big assumption being that a manager is a “leader” in the first place). Reading through it though, it became apparent that a lot of the problems mentioned were natural stepping stones to evolving and transforming the organization to a higher stage of development, similar to what Frederic Laloux talks about within his book Reinventing Organizations. Therefore much of what was discussed didn’t surprise me and the answers seemed evident.

What stood out for me more so though was this small quote below that encapsulated a deeper problem that needed to be solved but with which practically no one seems to be working upon.

Jobs are becoming more and more convoluted. With less hierarchy comes more diffusion of responsibility. As a result, role intricacies increase as employees self-manage regularly operating outside the lines of their normal job descriptions.

Therefore based upon this truth, how can people in an organization find the right person to help with a problem if job descriptions obviously do not contain their full potential but rather just a small facet of them? What this means is that a lot of the potential of each person and the entire organization as a whole is effectively hiding in plain sight, blind to most people.

If so, it means we need a new way of articulating the potential of a person that goes beyond a job description for what they’re doing now and instead includes the multipotentiality of everything they’ve done, allowing them to be much more flexible and adaptable to our rapidly changing work.

This means that we need to transform the résumé, shifting it from a linear progression towards a singular point to instead showing the radial possibilities and potentiality of a person in many different ways, like the rays of a sun spreading out in many different directions.

But most important of all, we need a new way of perceiving and articulating the multipotentiality of each person in a way that others can easily understand in just a few words, rather than requiring a chaotically long list of hyphenated words to describe the person.

I believe the easiest way to do this would be to try to understand what is this “core” at the center of each person that their multipotentiality radiates out from. And I think if we find that, we will create a fundamental shift in the way we view ourselves and the world around us, in the same way that a fundamental shift occurred when we realized the Earth wasn’t the center of our solar system but rather the Sun was.

In this same way, we need to realize that jobs are not the center of our identity. There is something much deeper and more “atomic” (as Dick Boles liked to use the word) at our core.

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