Truth will set you free – la verdad os hará libres – was written in Spanish over the arch opening the stairs I climbed every day during 11 years, from age 6 until age 16, to go to class.
Later, in different periods in life, the device morphed:
Assertivity will set you free.
Authenticity will set you free.
Knowledge will set you free.
Excellence will set you free.
Integrity will set you free.
Stuff will set you free.
Prestige will set you free.
Success will set you free.
None of them set me free. And as far as I know, neither anyone else.
Yesterday I heard myself say to one of my favourite clients, VP HR in a large corporation, that someone has to stand for truth. I should have known better. Of course her answer was to pose two very relevant questions:
What is truth? What right has anyone to say what truth is?
Yesterday I became mute. Today I can answer that the truth in my profession as promoter, designer and facilitator of change processes is that I will not make a difference if I don’t pay attention and intervene from a place of love and compassion.
Love for others, love for self, love for the whole, whatever the whole is in each situation (organization, team, territory, …)
Truth is that only interventions made from a place of love stand a chance of addressing the looming challenges (climate change, mass migration, threat of nuclear war, …) without adding harm to others, self and/or the whole.
Technical excellence and conceptual coherence without love will not make a difference. Neither will love without technical excellence and conceptual coherence.
Our responsibility as change professionals is to work from this place of love with technical excellence and conceptual coherence, of course at the service of our organisational clients, but without losing sight of the overwhelming challenges that threaten lives, societies and the planet.
And maybe, just maybe, set us free.