Transform the Organization: Reflect, Unravel and Grow

The health and effective management of an organization requires more than just business acumen and strategic prowess. It requires a deep understanding of people and the intricacies of human behavior.  By promoting positive transformations, personal and organizational growth, we pave a way for a leadership to unlock the productivity, flourishing and immunity across their teams.

In connecting with with Marieke van Voorn during the Happiness Squad Podcast, we explored her expertise within this space to understand how she unlocked immunity and flourishing within organizations. Marieke, author of “Healing Organizations,” has a background in sociology, change management and is deeply interested in complex relationships and incongruence within organizations. With her broad awareness and clarity, she helps leaders create harmonious and natural order within stalled organizational processes. There were 3 principles that we distilled from the conversation that can serve as a catalyst, ultimately leading to a transformation, to unleash the full potential of yourself and your team. These resonated from our own experience in professional service and corporate settings.

  • Embrace Self-Reflection
  • Unravel the Subconscious
  • Transform Challenges to Opportunities

Let’s explore how you can leverage it to make a positive impact in your own sphere.

“When you become aware of what is going on in the team, then you can change it. If you’re not aware, if you are still blind to the system, the structures, or the dynamics in organization, then you go on fixing symptoms instead of going to the root cause.“ Marieke van Voorn

Embrace Self-Reflection

The journey to becoming a transformative leader begins often with an overlooked step: embracing self-reflection. This essential process fosters personal growth and presents opportunities for individuals to deeply understand themselves. This is a common practice we may be familiar with in an annual assessment or in an interviews, “tell us about a time that you…” Insert the challenge or opportunity!  While the situation, action and result are important, the focus may be on exploring the lesson or insight by reflecting on the experience. By peering inward and recognizing qualities that need nurturing or elements that require change, individuals can open up possibilities to learn and evolve to create a positive impact within their self and organizations. It allows leaders to connect their personal experiences to their leadership approach, lending authenticity and depth to their actions.

Embracing self-reflection essentially guides leaders toward unlocking their potential and leading from a place of true self-awareness and understanding. In our conversation with Marieke van Voorn, a resonant theme was her emphasis on the importance of self-reflection in leadership. Through her journey, she discovered that effective leadership required looking beyond the present challenges and delving into her subconscious to understand the familial and organizational systems that shaped her perceptions. By doing so, she unearthed qualities she needed to develop to drive positive change within her teams. For instance, she discussed managing her life’s situations with a lens of gratitude, gaining a deeper understanding of her experiences and the lessons embedded within them. This approach to leadership, driven by the desire to make sense of personal experiences and channeling the learnings into enhancing one’s leadership style, embodies the crux of what Marieke believes is the pathway to transforming organizations. As a practice to unlock self awareness, there are multiple steps that you can take.

  1. Carve out dedicated time: Setting aside specific time for self-reflection is crucial. It demonstrates a commitment to personal growth and allows leaders to focus solely on introspection and self-analysis.
  2. Ask the right questions: Engaging in deep self-inquiry by asking meaningful questions helps leaders gain clarity about their values, strengths, weaknesses, and impact on others. Thought-provoking questions serve as a catalyst for self-awareness and growth.
  3. Seek external support: Working with a coach, mentor, or trusted advisor provides valuable external perspectives and insights. These individuals can offer guidance, challenge assumptions, and help leaders uncover blind spots, accelerating their self-awareness journey.

The concept of embracing self-reflection is critical due to its symbiotic relationship with effective leadership. An inward journey allows leaders to recognize what they bring to their teams and how their experiences and inherent qualities contribute to their leadership approach. This awareness, when harnessed effectively, can unlock flourishing within their teams, enabling individuals to thrive and contribute positively to the organization’s growth. Moreover, the transformative effect of this approach is significant as it shifts the focus from the desire for control and validation to developing a deep connection with oneself and others. By seeing challenges as a part of life’s mission and adopting a perspective of purpose, as emphasized by Marieke, leaders can inspire their teams to collectively foster an environment of growth and continual learning.

Unravel the Subconscious

Imagine being a leader within an organization, tasked with not only meeting goals but navigating the dynamics and complexities of your team. It’s a demanding job that requires a fine balance of strength and compassion, skillful communication, and exceptional decision-making abilities. Add to this the growing importance to incorporate inclusivity, equity and diversity in our day to day. Even the most competent leader may encounter obstacles beyond the scope of their expertise – lingering issues linked to subconscious patterns within themselves or their team could be detrimental to the organization’s progress. In this context, unraveling the subconscious through the powerful tool of coaching arises as a transformative way to unlock agility within leaders and, consequently, in their teams and organizations.

As Marieke emphasizes, the need for coaching extends beyond the superficial level of motivation and performance enhancement. It delves deep into unseen realms, namely the subconscious of individuals. This subconscious realm, often influenced by factors such as family dynamics or past experiences, can hinder progress if left unchecked. It could manifest through constant conflict within the team, lack of cohesion, or even diminished productivity. By seeking the guidance of a professional coach, leaders gain the tools needed to explore these underlying patterns, gaining insight into their own behavior and that of their team members. For instance, the exploration of family system dynamics, which Marieke so passionately spoke about, can fundamentally shift a leader’s understanding of themselves and their approach to management. It uncovers the roots of certain behaviors and attitudes, offering the chance to heal and evolve. Such deep awareness facilitates a path towards personal growth and effective leadership.

This takeaway’s significance extends far beyond the personal advantages it offers the leaders—its impact ripples throughout the entire organization, shaping it into a healthy and flourishing entity. The leaders’ enhanced self-awareness and understanding facilitate improved communication and better interpersonal relationships within teams. It nurtures a more positive working environment and increases productivity. Moreover, the transformative effects of coaching are not solely imprinted on the leader but propagate within the team members, inspiring them to equally strive for personal growth and improvement. To put it plainly, the benefits are far-reaching and influential. Unraveling the subconscious through coaching, therefore, is not just a valuable personal investment but a decisive move towards creating a thriving, robust, and harmonious organization.

Transform Challenges to Opportunities

There is an intricate art to transforming challenges into growth opportunities within organizations – a process that goes far beyond traditional problem-solving. It’s about viewing each obstacle or setback as a catalyst for personal and organizational growth rather than as a hindrance. To achieve this perspective shift, it requires deep introspection, resilience, and the ability to draw lessons from the most demanding situational dynamics. Coupled with a dose of emotional intelligence, this ability sets the stage for creating meaningful change that drives an organization forward. It fosters a culture of continuous learning and evolution within teams, stoking the flames of innovation and progress. In our lively conversation with Marieke van Voorn, she illuminates her unique approach of transforming challenges into stepping stones for self and organizational growth.

Marieke advocated seeing challenges as part of one’s mission in life, a viewpoint that transforms what can be considered “suffering” into a purpose-driven path. An organization’s journey, including its trials and tribulations, then becomes part of its broader evolution, with leaders at the helm harnessing these experiences to steer the ship. For Marieke, the journey through the landscape of challenges is not one to be feared but embraced, navigated consciously and judiciously to harness a rewarding payoff for the organization and its human elements. Recognizing and then leveraging challenges as growth opportunities fosters a more resilient and adaptable organization. Here are three tips:

  1. Encourage your team to see setbacks and value mistakes as chances (not failures) to develop skills and find creative solutions
  2. Foster a collaborative and inclusive environment that welcomes diverse perspectives.
  3. Practice Agile Problem-Solving by breaking challenges into manageable tasks, promote experimentation, and emphasize adaptation and continuous improvement.

This pivot and approach in perspective equips an organization’s human capital with the tools to weather storms, adapt, learn, and grow. It shifts the narrative from merely surviving the tides of change to thriving amidst them, unlocking untapped potential and fostering innovation. It’s a way of learning that moves beyond traditional paradigms to get to the heart of practical, transformative growth. At its core, each challenge embraced is an opportunity seized, catalyzing an environment of ongoing learning and development which is instrumental to driving sustainable organizational success.

In Closing

The importance in transforming organizations should not be underestimated. Leaders and managers who are eager to bring about a healthy and flourishing environment in their teams can greatly benefit from embracing the principles of self-reflection, coaching, and resilience. Encouraging self-reflection provides a clear path to leadership development. Leaning on the power of coaching to unravel the subconscious dynamics of your team can provide your organization with a deeper level of understanding and control. Finally, viewing challenges not as setbacks but as opportunities for growth is the key to resilient leadership. Recognizing and celebrating even the smallest positive changes by embracing these principles within and across your team(s) can create an environment of gratitude, which acts as a catalyst for promoting more positive changes.

Harnessing the power of transformation creates an environment where everyone thrives. It’s time to step into your potential as a healing leader and transform not only your team and organization, but also yourself.

The choice is yours.

Marieke van Voorn is the author of “Healing Organizations” and a bridge builder between the visible and invisible worlds, focusing on energetic and systematic approaches to healing for individuals and organizations. With over 20 years of experience in sociology and change management, Marieke shares her insights on how healing leaders can bring harmony and natural order to stalled organizational processes. Connect with her via LinkedIn or visit her at Healing Leaders.

Listen to the full podcast with Marieke below.

Access and subscribe to the all of the episodes of the Happiness Squad Podcast here.

Visit the REWIRE Program powered up by the HAPPINESS SQUAD Community and experience your shift within your 30 day risk-free trial today. Cultivate your Self-Awareness, Gratitude, Purpose and Community and personal growth more through the 9 Hardwired for Happiness practices. Integrate simple and proven micro-practices grounded in the science of happiness and neuroscience of habit formation in a 5 minutes a day.

Make Happiness Your Competitive Edge.




Related Posts


Author picture

With the focus on enhancing joy, health, love and meaning in your life, my transformational approach is interdisciplinary and integrates learnings from spiritual wisdom traditions, philosophy, positive psychology, neuroscience and organizational development.

More About Ashish

Now Available

Hardwired for Happiness

9 proven practices to overcome stress and living your best life.

Be the first to know when the book is available!