Positive Impact Blog

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Falling on my feet after leaving BSL

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Exploring communication in times of uncertainty

It has been two months now, since I was told that my time at BSL is up and that my contribution to the school was no longer desired by the majority shareholder of the group to which the school belongs.

It has been a strange time, with good and bad moments. On one hand it, it has been painful and stressful. A journey that took me from shock that immobilized me, to agitation and concern for what might now happen with the school and the many people there I care so much about – my colleagues, the students, the faculty. On the other hand, it has also been wonderfully liberating. The glimpse at a new phase in my life for which I feel so ready. Possibly so because I had thought of leaving BSL before but have never dared to. I thought I would harm BSL too much by leaving. Now that the owner decided on a new strategic direction, discontinuing what I have invested in and developed – I am suddenly free!

How do you communicate in such a time authentically yet without creating confusion? This is my challenge right now and this is my first attempt at it. I sense that this ability to communicate in uncertain or changing times might be a useful skill for not just me. There are two areas of thoughts I would like to share: a) insights gained and b) emerging questions:

A) These are the insights where I have gained clarity in:

  • I would like to find a way to live more authentically what I “preach”. If I want to suggest changes to make the world a better place, this starts with me. For me, now, this means to slow down and to stop racing from project to project, becoming more careful and mindful in selecting and prioritizing, and connecting to a deeper sensing of how I can truly make the difference I seek.
  • I would like to review my research questions and my teaching and to adapt them based on what I have learned these past years. This includes our experience of self-organization at BSL and the challenge of finding new, better organizational and governance structures to operate in today’s world. Also, I want to revisit my (PhD) question about the connection of the inner and outer world and how transformation occurs at a personal, organizational and societal level. How do we change?
  • I would like to operate in a new structure, rather than seeking a next employment. I want to serve my purpose, to be of service, to add value with my reflections and research, to create tools and methods, courses and programs, more powerfully than before. And I will do that creatively, together with others and in a structure that suits this purpose.

B) These are emerging questions I would like to explore further:

  • What does the BSL incident mean for my work in helping organizations to transform so that longer-term “sustainability” concerns weigh more than a short-term profit focus. What is there to be learned for such change processes? How can this apparent organizational setback instruct my inquiry about the transformation of business?
  • How do I interact with those who looked at the transformation of BSL as an important sign of hope in the landscape of business education, who had chosen it as their place of study, or who had dedicated dear time and energy to support our emergence as a promising prototype for a new type of business education? What can I offer, now?
  • What are my personal lessons from this change? What has prevented me from finding a more constructive solution? What are my shadows, blind spots and shortcomings? What does this mean in my life as I have just turned 7 x 7 (or 49), and what is the deeper message for my journey?

Each of these questions will deserve a separate blog and shall serve as a further attempt to authentically share in times of uncertainty. I am attentive to the interconnection among these and I am curious what I will be learning in my exploration. I am grateful for those who accompany me in this journey. It reminds me of what Bob Quinn calls “Building the bridge as we walk on it”.

Katrin

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Author: Katrin Muff PhD

Katrin Muff is a thought leader in the transformative space of sustainability and responsibility. From 2008 to 2018, she led the Thought Leadership activities in the area of conceptual design at Business School Lausanne, where she acted as Dean from 2008-2015 until self-organization made such a title redundant. Under her leadership, the school focused its vision on entrepreneurship, responsibility and sustainability in education and research. Her business experience includes 10 years at ALCOA (GM in Russia, Industry Analyst for Global M&A in the U.S. and Business Analyst Europe), 3 years as Director, Strategic Planning EMEA at IAMS Europe (Procter&Gamble), and 3 years as a co-founder of Yupango, a coaching consultancy dedicated to start-ups and training management teams.

4 thoughts on “Falling on my feet after leaving BSL

  1. Dear Katrin,
    I am now living between Geneva, Miami and Istanbul. I enjoyed my brief passage at BSL and appreciated your leadership. It was also my best teaching experience. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.
    Aytac Boduroglu

  2. Dear Katrin, firstly, I applaud you for being open enough to share your enquiry in this way. Personally I can relate to much of what you say.

    I wanted to offer some encouragement. I think there are many people like you who are looking to work in new structures (meaning structures that are based on new thinking, structures that are hardly structures at all in the old mindset) , rather than seek a new job in an existing traditional structure. One of the challenges, of course, is that there are not so many “new” structures around. Many of us find we are dreaming of finding an Enspiral, a Buurtzog, an Edgeryders that can take us in. But life is rarely so simple! the work for many of us is to create such new structures collaboratively with others.

    I think of such people as liminals – they occupy a liminal space on the edge of society, on the edge of structures, on the edge of traditional thought patterns. A group of us have even coined a term – the liminati!

    So welcome to the liminati. I wish you lots of joy and adventure in your journey.

    Patrick

  3. Many are watching, supporting, caring as you take the next steps on your journey. You’ve got this!

  4. Hello Katrin

    Il y a bien longtemps, ton enthousiasme et ton rayonnement m’avait impressionné et me sont encore en mémoire. Puisses-tu retrouver en toi ce Feu Sacré, juste recouvert légèrement de cendres de ces volcans extérieurs !
    Take tender care of Yourself
    Coeur dialement
    Josy