In part one of our Q&A with international keynote speaker, drama researcher, and New York Times best-selling author Cy Wakeman, we discuss her Mount Kilimanjaro summit and motherhood.
In part two below, Cy shares some pop culture interests, then dives into her newest thinking – why we manage energy, not people. She also shares insight on her 2020 Ditch the Drama Tour, which kicks off in February.
Workhuman: What was your first concert? And what was your favorite concert?
Cy: My first concert was the Marshall Tucker Band. That will really date me. I loved them and it was good. My favorite concert is Cher. I've been to four of her farewells. Since the time I was a little girl, I would wrap my hair in a beach towel and sing all her songs. I love that woman.
Workhuman: Who would you want to co-star with in a movie?
Cy: I absolutely love Will Smith. He would just make me laugh. Or Will Ferrell. If somebody was a leading guy for me, I would want somebody super funny and entertaining. If my co-star was female, I would go with Reese Witherspoon. She’s brilliant.
Workhuman: Favorite TV show?
Cy: I love ‘The Big Bang Theory,’ so I would love to just sit in with that cast. I think it would be a blast. I’m kind of a geek, so that’s my answer.
Workhuman: Let’s shift to your work, and some of your new thinking. When you say we manage energy, not people, what does that mean?
Cy: Yeah, that's a big, new insight for me. We expect most people to manage themselves, and that gets back to the toggle switch (high self/low self). What I as a leader want to evolve into is not managing you. You come self-regulated, self-accountable. I want to manage the energy of us getting together. And most energy, when we’re in low self, is ‘why we shouldn't have to,’ ‘why we can't.’ It gets us away from delivering to the world what we need to deliver and takes away from our innovation and collaboration.
Leaders manage energy away from ‘why we can't’ to ‘how we could.’
So, if you think of statesmanship in our government, all the energy is going into what's wrong and ‘why we can't,’ where we're divided, and how we're different. Great leaders manage energy into the biggest goal the world needs right now. Let's only manage energy to ‘how we could.’ I think a lot of leaders get into managing people and telling them what to do or try to have their idea win the day, and I think we need a lot more people who are just willing to jump in and manage energy in a big way toward solutions.
Workhuman: Thirty years ago, you talked about change management. And 30 years later, people still can’t figure it out. Why is that?
Cy: For a couple of reasons. We in the industry have failed them because we have proliferated a really dysfunctional view of change. We give mixed messages – at one point we say, ‘Step up. Be accountable. You're unlimited. Your potential's unlimited.’ And then, ‘Oh, wait. Something changed? Sit back down. I'll be back. Don't move. This is scary.’
We have literally enabled people in a negative way – enabled people to be great, unless the world changes. And when change comes, it is the one way our ego has held us captive.
Because our ego is always scanning the environment and it's like, ‘Oh, there's a change, all bets are off.’ But if you're in high self and you're in the flow of things, you don't know the things that are changing or aren't changing. You notice the present moment, which is now.
If you want to exhaust yourself, compare today to the past and then worry about the future. Change is a comparison and an attachment to something, and attachments are the source of all suffering. So, I think the reason we have problems with change is that we have taught people to have problems with change.
Workhuman: Who inspired you? Did you have a mentor?
Cy: None of my inspirations really came out of business – they came out of personal development. Byron Katie is an amazing teacher, with The Work. She inspires me. Eckhart Tolle inspires me. There is a lot good inspiration in business as well. Along with everybody else, I love Brené Brown. But I'm also inspired by a lot of people in science – like many of the astronauts and NASA scientists. Innovative thinkers are my inspiration.
I read a lot more about physics and spirituality than I do about business.
Workhuman: You've got the 2020 Ditch the Drama Tour coming up in four cities. What will attendees learn?
Cy: It is a rare opportunity to have me all day. I will teach the principles so everybody's caught up, but I'll teach them in a way unlike people have seen before. So, they'll get our bottom line, but the coolest thing is we're going to do a ton of Q&A where people can bring their questions. They can vote them up or down on what the audience wants to hear me talk to. We'll go much deeper into these topics. And then, I'm going to bring people onstage and do live coaching so that people will really see how this thing works.
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