According to Frederic Laloux, `wholeness` is one of three evolutionary breakthroughs in organisations (Reinventing Organizations). What makes wholeness so central in the search for meaningful ways to engage with each other at work and in life?

Wholeness is about you as a human being, about who you truly are and can be. But finding out who you really are seems like a lifelong undertaking. We may or may not arrive at our true self during our limited lifespan. There is perhaps an easier indirect way to respond to this quest: taking a look at what you are not. 

In theatre, when acting ourselves or watching an actor on stage, we know it is not for real. Whenever some kind of mask is involved, we know that what we see is not the full truth. Wholeness invites us to drop these masks and show each other who we truly are. Common masks involve egoism and perfectionism – not acknowledging mistakes, always looking good, successful or strong. We like to show each other these masks, sometimes out of a need for safety, or just because it has become a habit or common agreement in the group, organisation or tribe we live in. Every tribe has its own rules and agreements, and often we simply play along in order to belong, for fear of being excluded or even abandoned.

We also wear masks to protect our true selves and vulnerabilities whenever we sense we are not safe. A safe space founded on trust is key to bringing more of who we are to the tribe or organisation that we live and work in. Without a safe space, most members will not dare to share their true selves and personal gifts with the group for fear of being rejected or laughed at.

If you wonder why most of the personal and leadership development plans in organisations overall have been comparatively short-lived and often had little impact, the answer could lie in a lack of safe space.

Like a child growing up in a family, we need a lot of trust and safety to develop and demonstrate our core hidden skills and open our hearts and minds to the world. These skills – which I also call human skills – have now become essential for the well-being of tribes, communities, organisations and meanwhile also for the survival of our human species on the planet. 

For them to flourish, we humans need safe spaces in all areas of life. Why not start where we have the most impact, in our local communities and organisations?