Belonging – Whakapapa – you belong here

“The most powerful narcotic in the world is
the promise of belonging”
Kalle Lasn

What a great book Owen Eastwood, Ngai Tahu, has written. Every leader in New Zealand, in business, sport and communities, should read this. If you want to know how to create a sense of belonging and inclusion in organisations, generating high performance, this book is for you.

Three things stand out:

• Eastwood is a consummate storyteller. The stories in the book include both personal stories and from his work. Each brings power and insights. Some of the people and teams he shares stories of are easily known, others not so–all are relatable.

• The book is beautifully presented. The black embossed cover, the red card bookmark, and the red, black and white symbol on the front cover give an immediate inviting aesthetic. It’s a book you want to hold and read.

• Eastwood brings the sacred Maori tikanga of whakapapa and applied it to his work in everyday organisation lives.

He champions the experience of belonging, and the disasters created when we don’t honour belonging and its direct relationship with success and high performance.

He includes hundreds of examples of creating belonging, authenticity and trust within work, arts, and sports groups who want to give their best. His talent and purpose are in finding shared experiences of participants that create and reflect individual identity yet enhance the power of team and groups.

His writing is fluid, easy to read, and takes reflection to comprehend.

Eastwood describes the complex dynamics of powerful exclusive cliques and the damage they can create in teams.

Belonging brings a new consciousness to leaders and leadership of working with groups.

He talks of ‘carving our pain into the walls’ – of accepting failures as a team and owning the difficult aspects of our stories.

If you read one leadership book this month, make it this one.

© Diana Jones


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