top of page

What can the indigenous people teach us about Collaboration and Teamwork?

I had been in the sweat lodge for almost 45 minutes. It was unbearable and I thought I might faint. It was so hot that the air burned my nostrils and lungs. It took all my strength and courage to stay. And to concentrate on each breath. Slow and easy. Patient and deep. It was pitch black, except for the faint light from the glowing red rocks that had been taken from the fire and placed in a pit at the centre of this twig & branch dome construction, covered deep with skins and blankets. We were crammed tight into a low-ceilinged circular space of about 5 square meters - probably same size as your bathroom. 25 sweaty hot, half-naked bodies leaning on each other, entangled, muddy and yet focusing our attention on the drum that the leader was beating as he chanted an ancient song softly. It was slow, rhythmic and steady - like a heartbeat. Calling on something deep and primal within us all. In spite of the discomfort, something far down inside of me opened up. A connection to Gaia - to the mother earth that we all share - to the idea that all the life-forms on this blue planet are connected. We, together are one single and beautiful expression of life, of unity, of Oneness. It was a profound experience for me. Something inside me woke up.

We were there that weekend, deep in the forests of Sweden in order to talk, to listen and to learn from the elders from several indigenous tribes. They had come to Scandinavia because they believed they had an important message for us from their world. They were here to help us in the West see this connection. And yet something one of them said to me has haunted me ever since. He said: "Our forests (the Amazon) are being burned. The animals and birds, frogs and insects are all disappearing. The entire system is collapsing while we - the guardians who live there- are powerless to stop this." He looked me right in the eye and asked "Who can we turn to for help? The Americans are currently stuck in their own internal struggles. The Chinese only want the riches there. The Russians are not interested and much of Western Europe is splintered and polarized. So who can we turn to?" he asked. Then after a pause he said: "But there is a bright light here in Scandinavia. You are a people who still have a good deal of TRUST in your society. You generally trust your governments, your police, your military and your doctors. It is a society that seems to work well. There is a bright light here."

And so I went home thinking about this. I'm an American, but I have lived in Scandinavia for 35 years. I'll be the first to admit it ain't perfect here, but he was right. There is a high level of trust in this society and an overall desire by all to help each other and to try and do the right thing. What works here will also work other places in the world if only we remember that we are all one.

The world is not on a sustainable path. We get it. But the thinking that got us into this mess will not work in trying to fix it. We need a different mindset. We must start to think and act as a single life-form. We must learn how to collaborate together; working in teams and groups. This is the rise of a more feminine model of leadership; inclusive, collaborative, collective and shared. And this is perhaps the only way we humans will solve the huge problems facing us. Join me October 26, 2022 at 12:00 CET where I will share some of my personal stories from these indigenous tribes, but also from talks with senior leaders in global energy companies like BP, Exxon & Gazpromneft. You can Transform your teams and your business through greater Collaboration. Come join me in the discussion.

Click here to register:

33 views0 comments
bottom of page