My short story and how it led to CeOH

CEOH - Gabrielle Ortais - CEO - Founder - Lausanne - Suisse

I entered the world of working with a lot of good will and a great desire to create. Early on, I joined a number of reputed companies. Each time, I was entrusted with strategic projects at the interface of internal and external, of management and employees, of the various departments of the company.

From this central point, I quietly observed. But I did not understand.

Senior managers were submitting to their direct superiors without daring to defend the creative ideas they were being paid for. An executive was complaining that the employees were not engaged while those same employees regretted that they didn’t have the freedom to contribute more. Management entrusted a strategic initiative to a competent project team; the team rejected it outright because they did not feel the respect and they didn’t get the resources to complete it successfully.

Why was all this happening?

In each organization, the shared intention was clear: a collective growth in which every individual could contribute. But what really happened and what my status at the interface showed me, were the limits of a system that was not able to align itself during creative processes. This resulted in numerous blockages and frustrations.

I did not understand, and I was touched. I was the passive witness of a great waste of human potential, a human waste.

I saw misunderstanding, sadness, disappointment, anger, frustration, and sometimes suffering too. And around all this, silence and little or no action. We were focusing on achieving goals by putting the bulk of our efforts in external developments. But at the same time, right before our eyes, we were not able to mobilize people and resources, to the double detriment of the organization and the people themselves.

I was also surprised.

I had a master’s degree in management from a major business school. Later, I would also obtain a Master in Business Administration from a prestigious international institution. And yet, I had not learned how to manage a human organization. How could one dissociate a company from the people who make it up? It seemed to me then – and it still does – that we were not only damaging the wonderful human nature, but that we were depriving ourselves of a large part of its intelligence, its energy, and its creative potential.

Human waste, to be left silent and useless? Well, no. I didn’t agree.

So I searched, searched, studied, tried. I added organizational skills to my strategic experience, and then training in psychology and in individual and collective change management. I experienced personal obstacles, falls and burnouts, long periods of introspection, doubts and development. Through all this, my perspective remained the same: even in the darkest places, but also in the brightest, I have the same little inner flame around a question – the question – that has never left me, that has guided each of my professional choices and that I have made my profession.

How to manage human organizations? How to help them be healthier? How to reduce human waste and initiate a virtuous circle of collective performance?

These are the questions that CeOH lays before you and to which we are invited, together, to bring answers.

Gabrielle Ortais, CeOH founder

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