di Neil Janin – Senior Partner Emeritus at McKinsey & Company

My head was in full command at all times: control, reason, and power. These are the strategies that helped make me effective and successful. I then discovered, in the course of my work of Personal Mastery, that I had emotions, and started using them as a source of information. Over time, the acceptance of having emotions and my willingness to share them, helped me to connect with others more easily, especially when the situation was challenging and there was reason for conflict and contradiction between us.

Rather than being a hindrance, my emotional awareness has made me a more effective and a happier person. It seems paradoxical because in reality my first fear was to expose myself, to say a platitude or  something embarrassingly dumb. Secondly, I feared that if I expressed my ideas in total transparency, I might either alienate others or give away negotiation advantage. The consequence is that I always had to be aware of what I could say, but also when and how to say it. This “defense” strategy had its costs as  I spent a lot of energy not doing what needed to be done and when I finally said what I thought, I often did it very brutally.

Now I have accepted that I am smart enough. This means that, if I have something to say, it may not be right or brilliant, but it probably has some validity. And others might appreciate the fact that I am expressing thoughts that need to be shared. Furthermore, I no longer expect my argument to win the day, but hope that it will be taken into consideration in the final decision. Now I believe that if a discussion is open and shared, the best decision will emerge. It behooves me to contribute to it, but not to control the outcome.

Every day I live experiencing directly the value and the power of co-creation where, letting go of our expectations and overcoming our fears, from the judgement of others, everything happens as it should.

Neil Janin – Senior Partner Emeritus at McKinsey & Company