excerpted from
The Alchemy of Power: Mastering the Invisible Factors of Leadership

The largest portion of an iceberg, about 90 percent, is beneath
the surface. What can’t be seen determines the size and stability
of what can be. Likewise, invisible workplace factors, like
culture, for example, have far more impact on processes and
outcomes than the factors that can be seen and measured with
standard metrics. (Barrett) It is not that intangibles cannot
be measured. They can. It’s that relatively few companies are
bothering to adopt new metrics that account for metaphysical
realities, despite what we know about their enormous impact
on outcomes. That’s because there is endemic cultural buy-in
to what I call the “fluffy myth,” which is the mistaken belief
that intangibles are inconsequential.

Fluff mythology reflects systemic disregard for the evidence
that intangibles have a far greater impact on success than tangibles.
Today, the fluffy myth still prevails in the business world
despite the strong verification for how undeniably risky it is to
ignore the so-called “soft” indicators, and to neglect the metaphysical
factors that are causal in making things happen, which
although invisible, are as real as real can be. A lack of accountancy
for intangibles constitutes leadership malpractice because,
contrary to fluff mythology, investing in metaphysicalities yields
high returns, while ignoring them can result in financial and
organizational losses (Barrett).

When we categorize metaphysical realities as fluff, we are,
in effect, disregarding the “bottom of the iceberg.” But just like
denying the reality of the base of an iceberg is even riskier than
just ignoring it, actively denying the value of unseen causal
factors has the effect of further inflating risk. Put another way,
disregarding intangibles is dangerous enough. Unconsciously
deflating the value of their influence compounds the risk.

Raising your capacity to cause outcomes requires overcoming
social prejudices that disregard metaphysics as fluff.
Accessing ageless keys to causality requires breaking through myopic
cultural lenses that are blind to profound intangible influences.
Using the filter of metaphysics will help dilate and then more
finely focus your leadership lens. That dilation and refocus,
that expanded consciousness, gives you greater capacity for
causing alchemy. The power of alchemy has two components:
• Metaphysical awareness of the underlying forces that
cause things to happen
• Alchemical adeptness, which is the personal capacity
to consciously cause things to happen.

by Dr. Joni Carley, Leadership Consultant & Advisor, Author of The Alchemy of Power – Supporting leaders in reinventing their workplaces