Epics by Esséré

VALPOLICELLA : Exploring radical responsibility in interactions for a Leadership Team

It’s one of those beautiful early May days in Northern Italy. The days are warm and sunny, the nights are still cool, and the breeze carries many scents of flowers. We are in Valpolicella, in the middle of the vineyards.

With a friend and colleague, we are ready to embark on a journey with the management team of a 4000 person BU operating in a manufacturing industry. One BU plant has 800 years of history behind it! The company was bought a couple of years ago by an investment fund and is undergoing a profound transformation from a family management style to a multinational one. The team had found a balance to operate without a leader when a new BU director arrived a few months ago.

The intention of our assignment was:

1 – to resolve interpersonal tensions due to the redistribution of the power within the team.

2 – to strengthen the team to face the 2-3 years of external growth to come

3 – share the “work hard, play hard” philosophy of the new leader.

We started in the evening of the first day with time in the kitchen where we learned how to make fresh pasta, followed by a moment where the new leader shared his call for the team: why as a person – and beyond the director – he is looking forward to the next few years with this team and the company. Then the team responded to the calling and in that moment, we knew the workshop would be intense in authenticity.

On the second day, we conducted a “holding the mirror” session, then we worked on the tensions in relationships by first making them visible. Beyond the language elements – Non-Violent Communication tools – what was at the heart of our discussions was: “Am I responsible for my inner reactions when I am triggered by you: the history of my personal triggers and my resulting feelings, emotions, little stories I tell myself about you, unmet needs, unstated demands, etc.” In other words: “Can I take radical responsibility for my inner reactions when I am triggered? “. “Can I take radical responsibility for what I experience with you?”. During the delicious food and wine at dinner, the discussions about “radical responsibility” continued with passion.

On the third day, after a closing on feelings, the team worked on concrete elements that they had identified as holding back their energy.

We concluded with “Can I feel more in control of my destiny and less victim of my environment/system?”

I am thrilled to get in touch with these brave and inspiring leaders to hear how the collaboration evolves in the team and with their teams.