Declare Your Independence from Independence – Special Episode

With July 4th coming up, I started thinking about this topic of Independence and as it usually goes, several items of interest came to my attention that made me think of this topic, declaring your independence from independence to interdependence.

Fireworks by bayassa on Flickr

Interviewing Chris Dimock he shared the concept of how we go through the stages of dependence to independence to interdependence. Often times we get stuck in “independence” because it valued so highly. Individualism, Horatio Alger and all that. Also, our companies praise that behavior. Rarely are we measured, in a meaningful way, our ability to work with those on our teams and those outside of our traditional circle.

I wonder if this why our departments become siloed? We’re challenged so closely to achieve a specific task and working with other departments isn’t intentionally encouraged.

I was reading a Harvard Business Review article from 2016 about “Why Diversity Programs Don’t Work.” The major conclusion that stood out: companies that relied more on self-managed teams and/or cross-functional teams improved diversity more than companies that relied more on diversity classes alone. The evidence has shown that when we work with those from varied backgrounds our biases towards those groups tends to go down and we see them more as peers.

It goes back to another topic Chris covered with me, changing HOW we think over changing behaviors. Classes try to change behavior. Real world experience changes how we think which then, more effectively and more deeply affects behaviors.

A great illustration of this is the movie Hidden Figures. I just watched it with the family. The different groups were essentially operating independently. Not until they began to become more interdependent did the people and the organization reach higher levels of success.

Listening to Marc Maron interview Jason Mantzoukas on his WTF podcast (Surprise, NSFW) they discussed moving into a stage of life where they are pondering their role in the bigger picture. You experience yourself in relation to other people. How are you filtering your conversations with people? They talk about when they haven’t heard from someone, they begin to wonder if something is wrong with themselves and it must be that the person is upset with them.

Most of the time, however, it’s just something that’s been going on in the friend’s life that’s kept them away. Their view is from themselves (I would put them in the independence stage.) By becoming more aware they think this way (Again back to becoming aware of how they think.) they are improving their relationships with those around them.

Jason talks about relationships (paraphrasing): “I intellectualize too much how we need to work on the relationship. Instead I just need to be with you and work through it together.”

Talking improv, he says (paraphrasing), “While performing, the most important things to remember are: listening, living in the moment, and accepting only the responsibility for that which I can provide to my teammate or the situation at hand.” Here’s what I heard and how interpret that last one. You are not responsible for the happiness of the person with whom you work. You alone are not responsible for the outcome. It is not about you.

Basically, forget yourself. The relationship isn’t about you or the other person. It’s about the team, the situation and creating an authentic experience. Forget yourself.

Regarding Jason’s school work on spirituality and music: They argued that practicing methodologies to get to enlightenment requires you to shut something off within yourself. Jason mentioned Ego. The two became self-reflective, being actors/comedians, as “two people who pursue individual glory constantly”.

Marc has it right that this isn’t unique to performers many of us also live our lives (whether conscious or not): For individual glory Self-centeredness Careerism

Maybe even saying to ourselves, “Why pursue the universal when i can pursue the individual?”

But as Mark says, “That shit wears out dude. I’m middle-aged, I got no universal. How am I contributing?” How are you contributing to the bigger picture? It doesn’t have to be a big world community. It can be your 3 person department at work.

Ways to build that interdependency

Get a clear why/purpose to what you’re doing and where you’re going. Share it. This encourages others to want to help and work together for success because you’ve trusted them and made it clear how they can help. John Jantsch talks in his book, The Commitment Engine, “When you have a clear picture of what the business stands for and the people who fill in that picture are given the freedom to manage their results, the natural outcome is a strong, vibrant, and supportive community.” (my emphasis) Goes to the whole “why” of Sinek and others.

In his top 10 lessons business has taught him, included:

#4 Give Wins to Everyone. “…rarely is anything worth doing accomplished without the help of others.” (The Commitment Engine, pg 26)

#6 Grow Through Trust – “Make sure your trust issues don’t stem from your lack of self-trust.” (The Commitment Engine, pg 27)

#7 Hire Your Blind Spots – again to awareness. “As long as you don’t delegate strategy and never actually abdicate anything, you can hire for your own shortcomings and get passionate talent in every corner of the business.” (The Commitment Engine, pgs 27-28)

#8 Become an Elevator – “The most rewarding thing I get the chance to do every day is make things happen for other people. People want to go on journeys worth taking, and if you elevate them inside that journey, you allow them to connect in ways that look and feel a lot like ownership.” (The Commitment Engine, pg 28)

So, where is your company, your division, your department, you? Dependence, Independence, or Interdependence?

How might you begin claiming your independence?

As always with this whole employee engagement thing:

Awareness of where you are on the spectrum.

Awareness of your biases and thought patterns towards those teams with whom you must become more interdependent.

Drop your ego and


Live in the moment

Accept only the responsibility for that which you can provide to the others to succeed.

What am I doing to become more interdependent?

I’m trying to make my purpose more clear to myself so I can clear up where I want this community to go. What can we do to change this crazy world? Then I want to let go of my show and plans to see who I can help and who wants to go with me on the journey.

To sum up my why and purpose: I want people to have meaningful work because it can help change the world. It can heal bodies, minds, and communities. We’ll do this by inspiring leaders that it is possible to intentionally create an organization that is

  • Purposeful
  • Productive
  • People affirming

Share your clear purpose and vision so everyone understands what role they play in the journey.

Tell me how you’re moving from independence to interdependence today in the comments below. Leave a review on your favorite podcast app. Join the email community. Join the new Facebook group where you can share ideas with other inspired and intentional leaders.

As always, be inspired and intentional.


Chris Dimock’s company, Elation

Elation’s Twitter account

Part 1 of my podcast interview with Chris Dimock –

WTF Episode with Marc Maron interviewing Jason Mantzoukas –

@WTFPod –

Jason Mantzoukas on IMDB –

The Commitment Engine, John Jantsch 2012 Portfolio Penguin Pages 25-29 – on Amazon (not affiliate)

John Jantsch on Twitter – @ducttape