The qualities that make a CEO a powerful leader, sometimes get in the way of effectively communicating with ones closest colleagues. Case in point, Christine Walhberg, CEO of Fullright Inc., who was leading her company into the most profitable year in their last decade. Yet, president, John Worth, was ready to resign. Why? Christine and John weren’t effectively communicating and John was feeling stressful, disconnected and misunderstood. They were both aware, too much time was spent between them attempting to resolve the divide in their understanding and connection.
It was at that point that META consulting was called in. Initially, I spent 20 minutes interviewing Christine and then John individually. It was clear to me, they were ready to go beyond how they had ever communicated with each other and frankly with themselves. From my 40-years as a pioneer in the creative process, I know first hand what can seem like negative stressful tension, may be instead, creative tension-an evolutionary force.
Christine’s stress, when viewed from lower levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, (above diagram) seemed to come from the realm of “Esteem”. Her communication demanded respect, admiration and value. She was hard on herself when she perceived she didn’t deliver that quality of connection with John. So it was stressful for her. From a META perspective, in the realm of “Self Actualization” (the top tier of the diagram), this stress was creative tension. The creative tension between Christine and John sought resolution through evolution. Christine was called to evolve her leadership by becoming more mindful and more creative. She needed to trust her intuition more fully.
Through our work together, she began to take time everyday to meditate. She developed a daily creative practice. She learned to pay more attention to her intuition in her daily work life.
After 3 months, Christine found her relationship to John had evolved. The creative tension had moved them both into dialogues that were centered in the realm of “Self-actualization” more than “Esteem” and “Belonging”. In fact, since this META realm is beyond words and cognitive understanding, the ocean of feeling between them had evolved from tsunami-like waters to a more glassy surface which made it possible to run Fullright, Inc. much more smoothly. Stress and Creative Tension can seem the same, but resolve themselves differently when worked through “Self Actualization”, a META perspective.