Our guest: “I am an internal Senior Organizational Development Consultant and Leadership Coach at Navy Federal Credit Union. I use transformative paradigms, mindsets, and practices, such as vertical development, Open Space Technology, Clean Coaching, and Sociocracy. In 2019 I co-founded the Harmony organization, a purpose-driven, self-organizing team of Navy Federal volunteers, who provide mindfulness services to team members. I also co-founded Navy Federal’s environmental sustainability initiative, Greening Up. I completed an MBA at University of Virginia and previously worked as a program manager in Pennsylvania Office of Mental Health. In fall 2020, as a volunteer Board member of the Open Space Institute-US, I co-organized Flourishing Futures, a global, three-day, virtual Open Space event focused on co-creating a positive future. I am a longtime meditator, and I love a good joke—I’d be delighted if you told me one!”
Living Room Conversations: Teal in the Banking Industry with Jake Yeager
RHEA = Rhea Ong Yiu (Host)
JAKE = Jake Jaeger (Guest)
RHEA: Good morning, good afternoon, good evening everyone. Welcome to our fresh new episode of the Living Room Conversations. In the work that we do at LIVESciences we have seen the catalytic power of conversations as well as the impact that it brings to our world
our Living Room is a space for us to connect to explore things and some learnings in a relaxed and very human way of interacting conversations fuel ideas giving them a new dimension and fully coming alive from a place of resonance and connection through this channel we look forward to engaging dialogue and resonance with our guests and also bringing a breath of fresh air to the space we occupy in this virtual world.
To our listeners and followers thank you for following us and for joining the conversation you we hope to create an opportunity to candidly eavesdrop and chime into one of the many interesting conversations around the space of Teal agility and the future of her this afternoon I’m speaking as coming from Basel on CET time we have a very special guest who is coming from a different continent and coming from a one of the most difficult or hierarchical organizations that we see in the banking industry and he will inspire us today with some of his experiences in infusing Teal values and principles within his organization let me welcome our guest for today Jake Jaeger from Navy Federal credit union he is a senior organizational development consultant and leadership coach and he has successfully infused mindfulness practices into the organization so if you’re curious please stay tuned and if you have questions please join us on Facebook and YouTube live bring your questions forward and we’ll make sure we interact with you so thank you for joining us. Jake, would you like to come and join me on the Living Room?
JAKE: Hi I’d be glad to. Great to be here.
RHEA: Great welcome and thank you for joining me this afternoon in this little space in the internet to talk about how can we actually bring Teal practices in the banking industry.
JAKE: Yeah thanks so much, yeah really happy to be here and I’m glad to share with folks.
RHEA: Thank you so Jake. Tell us a little bit about Navy Federal credit union because you know, like coming from Europe we don’t interact so much with your organization however we have seen what you have done within the organization and quite curious to explore that.
JAKE: Yeah I’d be glad to so a little bit about credit unions in general because I don’t know if credit unions actually exist outside the United States and so credit unions were first developed in the early 1900s as a way to provide financial services to underserved populations and so one reason I was attracted to working at Navy Federal credit union is it actually has a really strong mission focus we are very passionate about member service and prior to working at Navy Federal I have been a member of the credit union and was just really astounded by the exceptional customer service that I had received and so that was one reason I was drawn to working at Navy Federal we are what would probably be considered a midsize financial services company we have about 25,000 employees which is funny that that’s mid-size but I believe it is
um and we have offices all throughout the world primarily on military bases. So that’s one thing that is very specific or unique about credit unions is they have an identified member base that is actually included in their organizational charter and so we’re actually only allowed to serve
military members and their families in general. I mean so there’s kind of a bounded customer base as a result but because of that our offices, our branches, our financial centers are located on military bases really all around the world as well as in various places within the United States. I think we have around 350 branches and so because we serve a military population and their families we have kind of inherited a quasi-military ethos and and culture within the organization I think actually back in the 1970s or so our pay scale was actually tied to the government pay scale even though we were a private organization. And we actually still use
terminology derived from the government and military in our day-to-day work even though we’ve kind of left behind a lot of those kinds of very direct ties to that kind of bureaucratic organization in a way.
And so in the past one thing that’s also remarkable at Navy Federal is we have a female CEO and we had a female COO as well up until her retirement this past March and that was the first time we had a female CEO or COO in in the history of the organization and to their credit they’ve really created an environment that was open to transformation and change much more so than than previously and it just so happened that I came into my role when that leadership transition was taking place which was very fortuitous had I tried to do the things that i’ve done so far in the organization under previous leadership it would have been much more of an uphill climb because I’ve been able to tie the work to the organizational strategy which was pivotal otherwise it would have been working really under the radar I think more so than I have up to this point so that’s a little bit about maybe federal any questions anything that sparks for you?
RHEA: Yeah it’s a it’s very interesting I think one thing to look into is probably the approach that you did to infuse this Teal principles what steps you took the other thing that I’m interested in
is- I mean if you read Reinventing Organizations or have read Reinventing Organization, would see that the roots of Navy Federal is really around government which is more red, military more red and then you have banking which is more in the orange space maybe a little bit dark orange red in acres. So and and to those who are not familiar with spiral dynamics and Frederick Laloux’s work, red means really very structured highly hierarchical and as you go down the color stream with orange it becomes less but still very controlling in nature right as a let’s say as a behavior or as a character of organization. So it’s very interesting to see and to hear your experiences of bringing kind of a radical new mindsets into the organization. I’m very curious for the next part of this conversation.
JAKE: Yeah that’s really your point about spiral dynamics I think that our organization is probably amber orange generally moving into green with some specks of Teal and so it really is about choosing your spots and so to your first question about how do you bring Teal principles and ways of working to an organization like Navy Federal I think there are a couple of things that are useful one is to those specks of Teal that I mentioned it’s really about picking your spots
and what I mean by that is finding individuals in the organization who have some responsibility some sphere of influence that are interested in this space that are want to move towards Teal green and Teal and to maybe what we’ll talk about a little later in the conversation around vertical leadership development we know from research and adult development that
they’re that individuals develop through mindsets in a predictable sequence and that individuals who operate from later mindsets are more open to Teal and green ways of working.
Unfortunately right now at least the percentage of folks who operate from those mindsets is pretty low. I’m just from a general population basis. I think those who operate from a Teal mindset at least in the US are estimated to be about five percent of the population. Now that might be a little higher among leadership I’ve seen some data coming out of an english consultancy that
it’s about eight to ten percent but that still leaves you know, nine out of ten leaders who aren’t necessarily going to be particularly open to these approaches and so how do you find those leaders? I think for me a big part of it has been just putting myself out there and offering to work in these kinds of ways and letting those leaders be drawn to me so one thing that we’ve done in the organization to help bring Teal is create a self-organizing mindfulness program and so we have we’re greatly inspired by open space technology as a way of working as well as by sociocracy and we have created an entire volunteer force we have about 23 team members now from all across the organization some of whom come from formal leadership roles most of whom do not and we deliver mindfulness services across the organization. So we have I think a customer base of around 11,000 right now team members out of 25,000.
We’re only really serving particular business units right now because we’re still working in the process of scaling it and just bringing on more folks but in the process of doing that you obviously are getting exposure right? And people who are interested in that kind of work in mindfulness in self-organization will be will be drawn to you and so it’s less about trying to push out the message than it is about to pull those who are interested in into the fold making it entirely invitational and optional in the process and kind of building a movement in that way I think a key aspect and this is something that I learned from open space technology and being a practitioner of open space is that you know, whoever comes are the right people that’s one of the principles of open space and whatever happens is the only thing that could have. Those are extraordinarily powerful ways not only to work but also to live one’s life. And so it’s really required of me as a person who’s holding space for these initiatives to learn how to let go and to invite emergent leadership across the entire organization and so yeah it’s just been very it’s grown very rapidly we we did our initial pilot back in early-mid 2020 which was fortuitous timing because of the pandemic kicking off and people were getting burnt out and so mindfulness was something that could help them with that and we started with four team members and we were piloted a hundred and we have four what we call harmonizers members volunteers and then we pilot with I think 125 team members so yeah over the course of a year and a half we’ve really grown pretty astronomically and it’s really because of that power of invitation as well as because of the decentralized kind of Teal organizational structures and processes that we use that allow us to grow more quickly without somebody having to you know, work the work the doll or the mannequin in some way and so yeah. That’s been so powerful and for me extraordinarily rewarding to see people come together and collaborate around something they’re passionate about at Navy Federal it’s really kind of a breath of fresh air for folks because you know, we are very hierarchical organization we’re traditional pretty much top-down centralized decision making so people don’t really get to make impactful decisions on a day-to-day basis nor do they necessarily get to work on something they’re passionate about so I think that’s one thing I really enjoy is giving, helping give people that opportunity in the organization to do that.
RHEA: So I had an opportunity to experience some of the methods that you do at Harmony
right this is the project that you have during Teal Around the World where we did a little practice on mindfulness and meditation and I absolutely loved it and how cool would it be if an organization can take a pause even a five minute pause in a day to actually do this. It doesn’t have to be the whole organization teams of five ten people can easily do this right? And embed that into their routine.
JAKE: Yeah yeah exactly and that’s what we’ve been doing. So we offer a number of different services across the organization one of them is a drop-in guided mindfulness session we call it the weekly dose of Harmony and yeah we have five of them throughout the week right now and they’re hosted by volunteer what we call mindfulness consultants and they’re completely voluntary and optional anybody can join who wants and who’s interested and available and let me step back that’s actually a phrase that we use often. Because it’s entirely voluntary it’s kind of whoever is interested and available and it’s kind of a mantra I think for us to some degree and especially for me because it makes it always leaves a decision with the team member like with the volunteer right? Whether they want to engage or not. And for me if I want somebody to engage and they don’t that’s a practice for me to let go right to not hold on and try to control the ship in some way anyway-
RHEA: So this I’m just clarifying this one I’m very curious because it is one, it’s volunteer based and then two, you have a service that you offer on a regular basis. And coming from the open space aspect of it that whoever comes are the right people how do you ensure that there is always one from your team who’s able to facilitate this whole space during the sessions?
JAKE: Yeah I mean that’s a great question. So we have sign ups that we we sign up quarterly for to lead these weekly dose of Harmony guided sessions and so we generally know where their gaps are and the organization is entirely volunteer I however have Harmony as part of my job role description because I’m a development consultant so it kind of fits in that vein and so I’m able to devote more time to the organization that being said I actually did kind of a time audit recently to see how much out of time I was actually spending on it and it really wasn’t that much it was less than I thought they’re not four to five hours a week but because of that I’m able to handle more of the admin as well and and so I’ll kind of keep tabs on where we have gaps and I’ll send out invitations but that being said if for whatever reason we can’t fill a particular guided session what we’ll do is we’ll cancel a live portion but we also have created recordings that people can access internally yeah and so we’ll invite them to just use a recording if they wanted kind of a weekly dose of Harmony at that time so we also make sure that there are on-demand options for folks in in lieu of a live session.
But yeah that is definitely a challenge of being entirely volunteered that people’s bandwidth is is low and it’s variable so how can we find folks who have Harmony as part of their dedicated job description and so I’m one and recently I just found out we partner really heavily with our wellness team and the organization and she one of the wellness team members is also a volunteer with Harmony so she’s also now has she also now has Harmony as part of her job description which is fantastic so that’ll that’ll give us additional kind of base to work from to kind of handle some of the admin and things like that that is more difficult for folks who don’t have it you know, as part of their job description.
RHEA: Yeah. That is very cool. I mean being able to run it in such an environment as yours must be very challenging. Do you have any tips for any leaders out there who want to just try and experiment and maybe take a courageous step?
JAKE: Yeah yeah. Almost certainly it’s useful to start small in some way. And I think that’s probably what a lot of people would tell you you know, we started with a pilot just as a learning experiment just need to see you know, just to see what works and use that as a launching point to get bigger and so after we did our initial pilot with again about 125 team members we got really good results it was very encouraging and so we decided that we wanted to scale it across the organization this is another I think important turning point for a lot of folks you know, how do you take something and get bigger how do you deliver more services and so we are actually very thoughtful about this we took about I think six months actually to determine how we wanted to scale it across the organization and we actually decided to take a more decentralized approach to do that because it will allow us to fail more quickly and we wouldn’t be as exposed to the organization and so we could fly under the radar and learn without necessarily failing in a big way which would really I think potentially detract from our you know, potential success and so that was one of the key elements.
We also felt that doing a decentralized approach really put the organization in the hands of team members and who were passionate about this otherwise there was a good chance that the initiative was going to land with a particular group proudly in HR and they would be responsible for administering it and they might not be particularly passionate about mindfulness and so how can we marry what people are interested in with with the work that they with the work that they do and that’s a big part of the Harmony initiative.
And finally the decentralized approach allows us to tailor our services more to each one of our business unit partners so when we launch Harmony we really launch it in a business unit and so we have I don’t know maybe like 10 to 15 different business units across the organization and so we’re currently working in our contacts our contact center operations which is about 7,000 employees I think and then our real estate lending division which is about I think 4,000 employees. And so we have harmonizers who work in both one of those divisions who are really keyed into what’s going on and can really help tailor and deliver Harmony services in those organizations and that really helps us adapt very rapidly as well as know our customer in integrated depth than we would if we were fully centralized situated somewhere in HR off in a corner if that makes sense. Yeah and I think one final thing I’ll mention about this is optionality so if you are moving forward with something like this how can you design it in such a way that it gives you the greatest optionality down the line? And so taking this approach we knew that we could always switch to a more centralized approach if it made sense right? However you can’t necessarily switch from a centralized to a decentralized approach at least in this particular circumstance very easily and so we knew we had the option. And so actually what we’re probably going to do is we’re probably going to partner with our employee communications division within the organization to do some more centralized public relations and marketing whereas maintaining the operations in a more decentralized way.
And then one final thing I’ll actually plug a provider a training provider called mindful leader
that we eight of us eight harmonizers went through mindful leaders certified workplace mindfulness facilitator training earlier this year and that teaches you fundamentals of facilitating mindfulness in the organization as well as gives you best practices around how to run a mindfulness program within an organization and so that was very useful for us for helping us build confidence in our facilitation skills as well as helping us understand what are we doing well
and where are the gaps? Where are our opportunities? And so that was valuable for us too so hopefully there’s some nuggets in there that people can take away for their own work.
RHEA: Yeah that’s really cool and thanks for the tip I’m gonna look up my full leaders after this call. Hey I have a question so I have a fair very maybe a not to a full extent understanding of the Harmony program could you maybe elaborate just a little bit what kind of services do you offer
to the organization I know well-being is a big topic especially here in Europe with you know, the statistics on mindfulness, mental health issues so I think really understanding this is quite crucial for some of our audiences for tuned in today so maybe you can elaborate a little bit what Harmony is about what services you offer to the organization?
JAKE: Sure yeah I’d be glad to. So our purpose, Harmony’s purpose is to help team members enhance their well-being and performance through mindfulness and so we identify both well-being benefits as well as performance benefits to mindfulness practice and to support that purpose we offer six different services. One service is the drop-in weekly dose of mindfulness guided sessions that we’ve already spoken about another service is we provide training mindfulness training and so that’s just to learn more about what mindfulness is, what the benefits are get some exposure to some mindfulness practices as well as to start to understand how do you build a practice over time. Because that’s really the hardest part I think of mindfulness is actually getting a practice habit going because you know, you’re ultimately changing brain synapses and it happens over the long term you know, if you changed all those
synapses overnight that would not be good I imagine and so how do you help people build that habit and so that’s something that is kind of an ongoing investigation for us and also kind of leads into how can you offer services that are hitting each kind of your population where they are in their in their kind of stage of mindfulness practice so that’s something we continually think about.
But right now we’re offering more of an intro kind of training but we’ll most likely be offering more in-depth advanced trainings going forward in addition we offer intact team consulting and so we’ll work with intact teams to understand more about mindfulness how they can bring mindfulness into their team culture more and so that might be doing mindful minutes at the beginning of sessions that might be just doing check-ins at the beginning of meetings to understand more deeply about our emotions and so forth. In addition we offer one-on-one coaching so for team members who want to work directly with a mindfulness consultant to get practice and account to understand more about their practice and to maybe have an accountability partner can can do that we also offer something called happy half hour and this was inspired by Reinventing Organizations actually. There is a practice in that book that is conducted by sounds true where they have I think daily mindfulness sessions at a particular time you know, and anybody throughout the organization can practice. So happy half hour is just a manager sending a calendar invite to their team members for a time that they’re able to, you know, practice mindfulness. And so it’s a a step towards normalizing mindfulness practice in the organization to say hey it’s alright to take time out of your day to reset to center yourself to maybe let go of something that happened previously in the day that’s perfectly fine you know, we completely understand the value of that for you and so that happy half hour again is an invitation that really kind of normalizes helps to normalize mindfulness in the organization.
We also have something called mindfulness community in Webex teams and so if you’re not familiar with Webex teams it’s like slack or Microsoft teams and we have about 300 members of the mindfulness community now and that’s also entirely invitational people can join if they if they want and everybody contributes it’s not just members of Harmony whoever is a member has the opportunity to share inspirational quotations mindfulness resources and we also make sure that we advertise our weekly dose of Harmony sessions there we’re actually doing a survey right now of the mindfulness community just understand you know, what the value that team members derive from it is and the initial results are really really positive people really find value in something so simple right and then finally we have- oh yeah just making sure that we offer feedback surveys to our our business units so that they can understand the value that Harmony is providing for for them and that so we can tailor our services even better to the organization.
So that’s what we’re currently offering right now but we’ve actually started this past week or so. I actually created a document that’s kind of a current state of Harmony you know, what are the numbers how many people we serve in how many team members we have, what’s our current budget and so forth. As well as you know, what are our challenges what are our strengths what are our gaps and then how what services are we offering and then what tier and are they more communications and outreach are they more entry points into mindfulness are they more core offerings and so forth and this is a model we took from the mindful leader training that was very helpful. And so the next step really is to kind of identify do we want to offer any more services? One, do we have the capability and bandwidth to do that? And two, if we want to, what kinds of services do we want to offer and how can we augment what we’re already offering? And so that’s kind of where we are right now and a little bit more about Harmony hopefully that’s helpful.
RHEA: It’s very impressive I must say I have not seen such an elaborate mindfulness practice within the workplace so yeah thank you for sharing Jake. There’s one question here and maybe interested too also and inspired to actually implement it in their work so many of them work remotely what was the feedback? Because you started Harmony at the height of the pandemic.
JAKE: Yeah that’s a great question so yeah we actually launched Harmony the initial pilot while we were working remotely and so we actually learned how to collaborate in a remote environment as we go and so it’s actually been really useful in that regard and so yeah we haven’t experienced challenges in that now we’re actually looking at how can we out offer services in real time too to augment the virtual services as well I also received this question from George how have people given feedback on the Harmony program we would love to invest in our work although many still work remotely? Yes so the feedback is very positive we have a 90% satisfaction rate 90% satisfaction rate so what that means is we surveyed folks who participated in the Harmony program and they 90% of them said they were satisfied with with the program we also recently surveyed our weekly dose our Harmony participants and 88% of them found at least moderate value in the weekly dose of Harmony sessions with I think two-thirds of them saying that they were extremely valuable are very or extremely valuable.
So it seems as though the services that we’re providing team members are finding it finding them valuable and we are encouraged to continue doing and providing services that being said there’s always opportunity for improvement and we’re always looking for for feedback also the mindfulness community that I mentioned in Webex teams the preliminary results show that
yeah so if anybody wants data of some kind of what we’ve experienced feel free to reach out to me I don’t know if there’s a way to provide contact information but people are welcome to reach out I’d be glad to speak with them.
RHEA: Yeah so if you leave your message on the chat we would make sure that you get connected. Great, so Menard has a question is very interesting because I have not anticipated something like a gender bias around mindfulness do you experience this?
JAKE: Yeah we do actually and so I’ll step back because we came across some research academic research that the rates of mindfulness practice among men is about half that of women. So about five percent of men have reported to practice some kind of mindfulness in the past year ten percent of women report and so we experience a similar bias in the organization. In fact right now I am the only male Harmony volunteer and so we have 20-23 total volunteers
and I’m the only male and so that is something we are cognizant of and when we were designing our internal promotional materials and like internal web our website we were very certain to not make it too flowery or too particularly feminine. Because of of that kind of natural natural bias and you know, there’s probably a number of reasons why that’s the case and it could be called different across cultures but in the us it’s most likely because men feel like mindfulness requires them to be more vulnerable and to share their emotions or admit their
emotions and so I think that’s one reason why we don’t see as much participation among males because it’s going against the kind of standard gender stereotype. A masculine stereotype at least in the United States.
RHEA: Yeah Jake I have a question because I know that you’re not going through a transformation you’re basically bringing in these practices into the organization not to completely transform the organization but to kind of create movement around that space right?
JAKE: Yeah that is correct so we do have what we call a enterprise strategy that’s focused on digital transformation that being said it’s not focused on moving towards self-organizing teams at least not yet. It’s still very much oriented within the hierarchical structure of the organization that being said I’m looking at some opportunities right now to kind of bring self-organizing teams but one idea around Harmony is it really is a cross-functional initiative right like we’re working across many different business units and we’re getting exposure and we’re inviting leader leaders to be champions of the program as we enter business units and so with the hope that as people get exposure to to our services and how we work that their minds kind of get opened a little bit to different ways of working and potentially some of the practices and ways of working that we use go viral or start to influence the day-to-day operations of the organization outside Harmony and so I think within Reinventing Organizations Frederick laid out different approaches to transformation and one of them was like build a cell right within the organization and that’s ultimately what we’re doing with Harmony is that’s kind of a potential positive side effect of the organization of the Harmony organization is to potentially bring Teal in a way that is
not threatening to individuals.
RHEA: Yeah so it should be treated as something that is more supporting rather than threatening right?
JAKE: Exactly and again I’ll go back to the power of invitation that’s another really key aspect of open space technology and there are some interesting open space practitioners who are bringing kind of invitation based change Daniel Mesic if you’re unfamiliar with Daniel, he
created an approach called open space agility which is essentially a way to him and some partners essentially a way to do an agile transformation in an invitational way using open space
and I similarly have that approach to really any work that I do with clients internally is how can we make this invitational? So that the people who are there want to be there and so we’re actually doing some work this is separate from Harmony we’re doing some work in a business unit where they want to create a culture of continuous improvement and so we’re taking an entirely invitational approach using open space events as a way to give people that opportunity to identify you know, there’s issues and opportunities they want to work on and then build learning experiments around them so that they can start transforming their organization.
RHEA: This whole power of the invitation is so it is indeed very impactful I have seen this also in our system where we have a basically voluntary tension based meeting with objective to really bring the best potential out of the organization right so by by understanding the underlying tensions shifting you know, away from lame game and stuff like that but to really concretely say okay we see attention here how do we solve it? And how do we move the organization
forward in such a way it’s a it’s it’s a very beautiful practice and we hold ourselves accountable to it.
JAKE: That’s awesome. Yeah one thing I have found is that I think there’s some research around this too but folks don’t quote me on this something about if you give an animal a cage or some kind of structure and then they become accustomed to that structure if you take the structure away there’s a tendency to actually stay within their previous movements. And I witnessed something similar in human behavior because you can provide people that space to move forward with issues and opportunities that they want but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re comfortable doing that especially if they were if they’ve worked in a previous or a different kind of environment that’s more command and control more you we tell you what to do.
I mean understandably it’s kind of like once the screen’s pulled back not quite sure what’s on the other side so let me just like put my toe on the other side and see what’s out there and see if there’s any dangerous monsters lurking and so I think there’s definitely a process that people need to go through in order to become accustomed to new ways of working just because their brain synapses have been really molded in a way that is really conducive to operating in
earlier paradigms right how can we bring people along in a very compassionate and invitational way and that and the invitation how I kind of like to do that to kind of help people come along.
RHEA: I love that example because it resonates so much to the work that I do day in day out with clients where it’s no longer enough to actually do a training. A training is information you can read it anywhere else but actually the experiential part of a training where you embody the actual things that you talk about from theory to practice more impactful and I think it’s what’s much more needed in organizations to really make that shift so you cannot stay on the conversations on the theory anymore but really is important.
JAKE: Yup, yeah, I totally agree. Giving people that experience so they can start training, changing those brain synapses right? and it reminds me of Ken Wilbur’s work. And so going back to spiral dynamics and kind of meta developmental paradigms and all that stuff he has what’s called the four quadrant model and essentially it identifies you know if you want to change a culture you have to work both at the individual collective level and you have to
both work at the subjective and the objective level and so I feel like you know, when I’m inviting a team to an open space event that’s definitely more the objective collective level right like we’ve got that covered with open space but then you also have the individual subjective right and these are the mindsets that people currently harbor so how can you work with those mindsets how can you give them those experiences that are non-threatening but still are
stretching them in a positive way but not breaking right? Stretching but not exactly.
RHEA: And guided. I think safety is one one key enabler for a successful shift right? So if somebody feels like I can trust the person who’s guiding me or I can trust the process that I’m going through I I have a solid foundation and I know that I will not spiral downwards.
JAKE: Exactly yeah yeah and I think you know, when it comes to hosting that space I think so actually going back to mindfulness. Bringing a particular I don’t want to use big words comportment is the word that comes to mind it simply means presence giving bringing a particular presence to the to the situation that is open, non-judgmental and accepting and that’s something that I’ve learned over time in practicing mindfulness and is I think really important for helping create that safe space and so it’s you know, it’s be the change that you want to see in the world right? So as a practitioner how can I help myself transform internally that can then help the organization transform externally so they’re definitely mutually reinforcing because I’m certainly challenged in a day-to-day basis right? In the job that I do and so that helps me grow internally and it’s a self-reinforcing mechanism so as I grow internally I can provide have
greater capacity to do even more for the organization.
RHEA: Yeah this is super important to recognize and to acknowledge for anyone who’s out there making shifts happen and creating this cultural resonance in organizations because it is tough job to be in.
JAKE: Yeah that’s I mean that’s a really good point right? Because you know, we have to take care of ourselves right? First and foremost this is not a particularly easy job extraordinarily rewarding can be a lot of fun but not particularly easy and so how can we in a holistic way take care of ourselves, prepare ourselves, to reinvigorate ourselves to thrive on a day-to-day
basis? Because if we aren’t taking care of ourselves we’re obviously not doing ourselves any service and most likely our performance is going to suffer too and so that’s a really critical aspect.
RHEA: Yeah this actually brings me to the next question that I have been thinking of. You also have a vertical leadership program within Navy Federal and I just want to kind of like jump into that a little bit because I think this aspect of taking care of ourselves is also taking care of our own development right?
JAKE: Yeah I’d love to. Thanks for bringing it up. So vertical leadership development if folks aren’t quite sure what that refers to I’ll kind of step back a little bit and so this actually the phrase vertical comes out of ken wilbur’s work too and he differentiates between horizontal and
and vertical development so horizontal development is pretty much your standard leadership development up until now where folks go to a training they learn some skills, they’re taught some skills, they’re taught some knowledge and then they come back and we cross our fingers that they’re able to apply it what they learned however horizontal development extraordinarily important absolutely necessary it’s not the entire picture though there’s also vertical development and for wilbur that means mindset development. And what I mean by mindset is that’s the perspective that we take on ourselves and the world and that perspective and that includes our emotions too so that perspective is essentially what are the assumptions and beliefs and fears that we have about the world and how it works and about ourselves that really create our reality and we know from research that people who are grow their mindset via vertical development are just far more capable at what they do regardless of what role they’re in you know, we know it for organizational development consultants there’s actually research out there to show that we certainly know it for for leaders too and so and we know that folks who grow their mindset are also able to function more readily in Vuca environments so environments of volatility uncertainty complexity and ambiguity which is I mean that characterizes you know, our day and age it’s the status quo and Vuca is only going to increase.
And so it’s absolutely imperative for organization that is going through a transformation that its leaders are able to operate in those kinds of environments and we actually know from research as well that people who are operating at a Teal mindset or later are more adept at transforming organizations. And so how but there’s very few and far between those people so how can we help our leaders move from who are primarily orange and green into Teal? So they can they have that facility to transform the organization itself? And so right now we have just started piloting this in the organization and we have we’re working with one vendor named Adeption who are out of New Zealand and what they’ve done really great work what they’ve done is they’ve taken a key assessment within vertical development which it came out of academia and it’s called the Washington University Sentence Completion Test. And this is a gold standard within vertical development within academia what’s called adult ego development for identifying or estimating what mindset does an individual operate from how are they seeing the world, what’s it what is the lens that they’re seeing the world through and so in the past that assessment was entirely manually scored. And so it was very expensive and it took a lot of time but thankfully because of artificial intelligence and machine learning we can now score those assessments using an algorithm. And so that’s what Adeption has developed an algorithm to score the washington university sentence completion test and they’ve branded this as the vertical mindset indicator and it’s now deliverable at a far more scalable price point.
And so we are working with Adeption right now to pilot the vertical mindset indicator in a very small way again starting small we have eight leaders in one of our branch operations division so they’re branch managers so that’s one aspect of the pilot. The second aspect is an approach called immunity to change. Which there’s a good chance people have heard of unique change on this call and that was developed at Harvard starting in the mid 90s by Robert Keegan and Lisa Leahy. Robert Keegan is an extraordinarily well-known developmental psychologist; he has the other gold standard when it comes to identifying mindset called a subject object interview. And they developed immunity change over the course of the past 25 years and it is really the fastest way fastest way that I know to go deeply safely with a leader and so how can we help them identify an impactful improvement goal identify those behaviors that are working against their improvement goal what are the worries that are driving those behaviors? Their worries and fears and this is when you start going deep right? And then what are the assumptions about the world that they’re making that are giving rise that underpin those behaviors and those fears? And how can we run safe to fail experiments to help them really determine; how valid are those assumptions? Are those assumptions really true and when they find that they’re either only partially true or not true at all they start to release from those assumptions and the accompanying fears. And so as a result they’re able to make progress on their improvement goal and to work in new and and behave in ways that they previously didn’t even think was possible, because they have particular assumptions about the world that what I should note are largely unconscious right? They didn’t know that these assumptions were even there prior to going through this process and so that’s essentially a specialized coaching approach
and we’re using that in the pilot as well.
We went through an immunity to change training actually last last month and so we have four coaches that were trained and immediately to change and we’ll be supporting those eight leaders over the course of the next eight months and you know, making sure that we’re capturing data, feedback, surveys and baseline surveys to see you know, what kind of impact is it having with the hope of potentially you know, scaling this across the organization in some way so hopefully that provides a little color.
RHEA: Yes it does and I’m always inspired to hear you know, like these concepts of vertical mindset shift, the critical mindset indicator is a new kind of indicator to help leaders in their journey immunity to change is very popular as we know it. And how do we actually bring this into practice right? I’m just in awe of what you’re doing and all the steps that you’re taking within your organization that is not the easiest one to to bring into this Teal principles.
JAKE: Yeah I mean if it wasn’t a lot of fun, I wouldn’t be doing it. [Laughter]
RHEA: I can imagine that. And like you said Jake I mean this job is not the easiest but it’s fully rewarding and it’s completely a lot of fun as well depending on the mindset you approach it with of course and so yeah thank you. Thank you for sharing your story and also sharing some tips with us i just realized we’re almost at the top of the hour it’s time flew by and I’m really enjoying it i wish we could have another hour more to pick your brain a bit more on these topics but really happy to have you with us, happy to have you join us. There’s one question, last minute. I’m curious Jake, if you yourself wanted to work on one thing in particular in your personal Teal journey, what would it be?
JAKE: Oh so we’re going to get really personal. I hope you guys don’t mind because I’ve been on kind of a spiritual journey for the past 20 years or so now. And kind of had an initial awakening about three years ago and had been going through pretty much a very tumultuous kind of experience since then. And so right now my practices tend to arise spontaneously and in the past eight months it’s been saying ‘I love you’ over and over and over again.
And so I think for me it’s learning to accept myself you know, I kind of didn’t come from a particularly easy childhood and so I kind of harbor these feelings of being no good and unworthy and so how can I kind of overturn those in a very compassionate and gentle way? And so that’s certainly I think a key aspect of this process so hopefully that answers your question Marianna.
RHEA: Yeah that that is a beautiful practice. I think a dose of self-appreciation and self-love every day goes a long way, right? Especially when you are bringing this back to the world you come with full integrity in your own space to really hold this together. So thank you for that, Jake. It’s very inspiring. Thank you.
JAKE: Thank you for the question.
RHEA: Yeah Marianna thank you for that question. It’s really nice to see this and to also hear this and feel inspired. And to our audience from YouTube and Facebook I hope this hour
has been meaningful for you and has been giving you back worth and value for tuning in with us today and we hope you take with you something one courageous step into creating a better
way of working with your colleagues and with your teams and your organization, so thank you so much for that.
Before I give Jake an opportunity to share his last words, I just wanted to invite all of you. We have a couple of events coming up next week. We will have Kevin Pojasek from Enara Bio. They are a biotech company working in the space of cancer treatment and I mean they have an amazing journey into Teal as well. And it’s not a transformation; they actually designed an organization with Teal as a mindset. So this is rather different from our usual topics where we
are shifting organizations but really designing for Teal as a concept. And the day after that we will have the global Teal Meetup Europe. We will have three topics at the GTM that we will be covering and I hope you can join us in both virtual spaces to find resonance but also to just
learn from each other.
And so with that ready to give space for Jake to share his last words for this session.
JAKE: Yeah I just want to thank you so much for the opportunity I really enjoyed speaking with you. And I just want to thank everybody else who was able to join today again. If for whatever reason you want to reach out and chat, I’d love to chat with you. Feel free to contact me
and we can kind of go from there.
RHEA: Thank you so much. Thank you Jake for bringing your whole self, your experiences and
with a lot of enthusiasm sharing the stuff that you’re doing at Navy Federal. It has been a very inspiring afternoon session for me so thank you for that. And I hope we gave our viewers a dose of courage as well to safely experiment on things on their own and see how it fits in your ecosystem right? Or how it shifts your ecosystem in whatever shape and form. So thank you. Thank you for this afternoon and hopefully I see you again next week. Bye!
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