What you think, you become: Healing the Rift

Photo credit: Craig neal

Photo credit: Craig neal


“What you think, you become. Change your thinking, change your future. I hope people will understand, they are VERY empowered.”


Leo Kim, author of Healing the Rift: Bridging the Gap Between Science & Spirituality, joined Craig last for this month's VisionHolder Interview. Many thanks to Leo for a visionary conversation. He spoke to recent and coming scientific advances that coincide with spiritual beliefs about the power of the mind to heal. Clinical trials are demonstrating and proving the power of the mind.

Your mind can change your body at the cellular level. Science is confirming that literally, what you think gets relayed to the rest of your body. You can create a “reframe,” change your mind from negative to positive, to rewire your brain. Positive thinking gives you positive chemicals that spread to all over your body.

Scientific spirituality...

At work: treat people like they are your family. What motivates them? What are people’s dreams? Create the workplace to be congruent with people’s career goals and dreams to create a successful workplace. When people look forward to coming to work, it changes their chemistry to more presence and success for themselves, which translates to a successful workplace.

Help the individual to be highly productive, while moving them toward their dream, whether it’s with your organization or another future goal.

WWTWB: What we think, we become. What the group thinks, the group becomes.

When Leo realized that the world religions all teach the same thing, and then realized that science is now speaking to those teachings, he knew it was time to write the book. The book cover graphic is an elephant, representing the Hindu parable of The Blind Men and the Elephant. Each religion represents one point of view. Put them all together and you have an elephant.

There is more to the world than material things, i.e. A higher power. Spirituality is finding your own spiritual self.

Practical applications:
In order to practice WWTWB, you first have to quiet the mind, move to mindfulness. To rewire our brains, change our lives, we have to learn how to utilize the mind. 70 year-olds can reclaim the mental acuity of a 30-year-old.

How do you heal rifts? What can we do to put this into action?
If one focuses on differences, the rift will never be healed. If you focus on commonalities, you heal rifts. That’s how negotiators work. They look for the commonalities and build on them.

Integrate the commonalities within the business/employees/marketplace to have a successful business.


Leaders Make the Future: A provocation from the future...

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal


  • A provocation from the future... The goal of forecasting is not to predict but to provoke insights and conversation.
  • We used to be driven by engineering; now are driven by biology, natural systems.
  • Moving from problem-solving to dilemma-holding.
  • Foresight, insight, action: an underlying pattern of leadership.

Leadership Self-assessment tool

Our VisionHolder Interview with Bob Johansen, author, former CEO, Distinguished Fellow, Institute for the Future spanned a swath of ideas from religion and the role of faith to Superstructing (using crowd-sourcing: 7000 players in 90 countries game playing for 6 weeks, contributing to this year’s forecast).

Listen to the call here: http://www.hipcast.com/playweb?audioid=P5e6885e96b7f69dfd1c8aba485784031YFh9R1REYWB9&buffer=5&shape=6&fc=FFFFFF&pc=666666&kc=009900&bc=CCCCCC&brand=1&player=ap26

Predictions of leadership—what is needed to thrive? We’re going to need new skills. The big challenges are not problems you can solve—where you figure how to make a world that works for all in spite of the problems.

What is the role of faith, of religion in the future, as an external force in a "VUCA" world: Volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity—are likely to get worse in 2009. 

The most basic challenge for leaders: making sense of this highly uncertain world—uncertainty in ways previous generations never had to.

A basic shift: going from a period of "good leaders could solve problems" to "we can't problem-solve our way out of this."

These days, most leaders spend time with dilemmas: problems they can't solve. How to thrive in the space between judging too soon (problem solver) and deciding too late (academic). That's where faith comes in. Faith lives in the same space where strategy lives in the corporate world.

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Faith involves a leap/leap of faith. As leaders, we have to have faith, but willing to make decisions.

  • "Dilemma flipping": most of us have been taught to problem solve: examine all the possibilities, reduce to 2 solutions, choose the best solution and run with it. But that doesn't address current problems with multiplicative sources and implications.
  • "Smart Mob": ex. is Iran. people are organizing to bring about change in a disruptive, emergent way.

Next generation leaders will lead through multiple media, multiple sources of information. Look for the "commons" as new structure: commons creating/shared space, allowing for win/win solutions.

IBM used to sell machines. Now they give away software and sell solutions with higher margins. we're moving from closed intellectual property to open source.

Commons is a more sustainable version of a smart mob.

  • Superstruct: used crowd-sourcing to assemble this year's forecast: open innovation process. Forced a rethink of the notion of expertise. We can't control the outcome.
  • "Diaspora": smart mobs linked by their values or the values they are seeking. After katrina, P&G sent tractor trailers of washer and dryer machines, and free Tide. Today 1/2 of the population is still not returned to the city—have created the Katrina diapora—and are tide loyal.
  • Link purpose and brand to spread: the purpose-driven brand.
  • Wisdom: basic to the concept of leadership. Leadership has to come from inside. It's built in to what motivates you. There is wisdom of crowds.
  • Enduring leadership traits/styles: the context in which wisdom gets mined, grown, explored within community. Everyone is in a network--we're all nodes in a network. Leaders try to grow the networks.

QUESTIONS FROM OUR PARTICIPANTS:

  • Religious studies: is it where we’ll be in the future? Is spirituality at the core of our next phase?
  • The link between leadership and spirituality: In the past month, at a business conference, topic was spirituality in the workplace. At a recent TLG, a CEO mentioned serving clients with love. Is this a cultural shift? A shift in consciousness?
  • Leadership capacity of different generations: different needs for different times, different traditions of native cultures, intergeneraltional wisdom.
  • What is the nature of the sacred in uncertain times in relation to leadership. The role of the leader is a keeper of the sacred things of the community. It’s the root of the word “Hierarchy.” Traditionally, sacred has provided the roots. In this technology-connected world, how is sacred changing?

BOB'S response:

  • Marcus borg: relationship w/ god is more imp than belief about god. What is sacred in uncertain times?
  • The Episcopal Church came to us to do a 10-year forecast: their notion of discerning questions is particularly appropriate for these times. Sacred will come from questions, not answers.
  • Dilemmas love the space between answers and decisions. It’s the same faith space religion traditions speak to.
  • The threshold of righteousness as people look for solid answers, so they move to being right. And everyone else is wrong. The rich/poor gap will play into this also.
  • Tradition of elder to younger needs to be encircled. Young people are increasingly in immersive learning environments.
  • Under 25: Generations now shorten to 6-year cycles.
  • Immersive learning environments: We adults/parents are going to look back 10 years from now and think that we made a horrible judgment about video gaming. It’s teaching dilemma sense-making.
  • Sacred/wisdom will be uncovered, tapped into.
  • Cyberspace will disappear. Where we go online will be the same where we are in the physical world. We’ll have a virtual overlay on the physical world.
  • Leaders provide a filter. Servant leadership: listening to communities and engaging them.
  • We predict a backlash against speed.
  • God in the workplace: a more sophisticated experience of neuroscience. The psychologists did nothing but studying deviance. Now they study happiness, meaning.
  • We know that being engaged in community gives people more meaning, stimulates portion of the brain that gives pleasure.
  • The Golden Rule: neuroscience documentation gives credence to it. People who can forgive, are healthier.
  • Leaders constructively depolarize.
  •  
  • NEXT STEP: where do you want to learn, grow? Bioempathy- most leadership teams are weak at this. Use the principles of nature to guide your organization/decisions.

Agenda for a New Economy: Moving from Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth

photo credit: Craig neal

photo credit: Craig neal


Reflecting on an extraordinary VisionHolder Interview with David Korten last night....in which David outlined a lifelong journey leading to a profound stake in the ground: an agenda to liberate the latent entrepreneurial energies of Main Street from Wall Street’s deadly grip and bring into being a new economy—locally based, community-oriented, and devoted to creating a better life for all, not simply increasing profits. David is a strategic visionary who synthesizes complex, obscure concepts into understandable, actionable ideas.

As David and others noted, it will require courageous and imaginative changes to how we measure economic success, organize our financial system, even the very way we create money. Everyday small actions, consistent large actions that bring to voice/create a collective demand to change our systems for the sake of health and wholeness that create a world that works for all.

We are grateful for David's pioneering voice that encompasses a serious and strategic assessment of our current condition, while holding profound hope for people to step up as citizens in compassion and love.


Theory U: the future is now

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal


Our May 7 Thought Leader Gathering with Otto Scharmer as Conversation Starter was mind-blowing! 110 of us gathered and experienced presencing the future, modeling the behaviors of leadership that support a positive future and a world that works for all. Both Otto and David Sibbet have blog posts that capture the essence of the day.

As Otto notes, "In spite of most people in the room meeting for the very first time, what happened throughout the morning was profound. it felt like a huge energy shift (or energy generator) that changes the state of self, awareness, and personal source connection.  This morning we had time to [take the conversation to] a deeper level by applying the U to one’s personal situation right now, right here.... I wonder how we could use this enormous potential for shifting the state of awareness more fully?"

A critical question posed during the morning: "How do we create the inevitability of sustainable, positive change?" By practicing and presencing and continuing to gather with people who are engaged in these important conversations.

Many thanks to Otto for his vision and great energy, and all TLG participants for a powerful morning session.


Leader as Convener: The Power of Intelligent Community

Photo credit: Craig neal

Photo credit: Craig neal


The question is: “Who you gonna be while you do what you do?" –song by Barbara McAfee


Craig was joined by 2 other unforgettable leaders, Pablo Gaito, Cargill Corporation and Michael Trebony, Best Buy Corporation, April 3 at the Twin Cities TLG. Craig's life work has in large part been influenced by the concept of "Leader as Convener" and his remarks brilliantly outlined the tenets, practices and principles of this concept. Then it was brought into sharp focus for us when Pablo and Michael shared their very different paths, but very similar principles in leadership with the group.  This is what Thought Leader Gatherings are about.

Which brings us to another question:

Why are we still here?

For 11 years the Thought Leader Gatherings has convened over 1800 leaders in Minnesota and the Bay Area to explore and practice what it means to be an authentic leader.

We get to be the leaders and we get to convene. It doesn’t mean you are a leader with a big title. It is the relationships that we have. No matter where we are, we find that a lot of what we do is based on principles—core principles. When those principles are enacted and community is enacted, we see what is present is our own choice. People feel they have a choice. There is wonder. It isn’t just for children.

There is trust and faith, and understanding and safety. How do we feel safe in this community? The underlying principles that we use. We deeply listen to one another. We use inquiry and questions and the ability to look beyond.

Reflection: a leadership quality of reflection, to deeply reflect about who we are and who we’re going to be; allowing collective wisdom to surface; realization of our interdependence. The success of each of us as individuals is connected to the success of us all. One is based on the other. We create communities of success and intelligence.

Listening, speaking from their own experience, allowing pauses, suspending certainty, and allowing space for differences. These principles carried the day and brought enthusiastic participation within the gathering of about 60.

Patricia filled the role of convener this time, with Wendy Morris assisting. They set the conversation that day to one of "power rather than predictability" and clearly held us all in their hands. Patricia took her role to heart and when Craig, who is usually the main Convener of the TLGs, began to advise, she simply said "Who's the convener?" We all knew.

Barbara McAfee, singer, musician, poet, speaker, muse and much more, closed the gathering with a performance of her song that says it all: "Who You Gonna Be While You Do What You Do?" Watch the video here.


Life as Ceremony with Pele Rouge & FireHawk

Photo credit: Craig neal

Photo credit: Craig neal


We gathered around the VisionHolder campfire to engage in the "Heart of Leadership" with our dear and wise friends, Pele Rouge and FireHawk, guides and teachers of the Medicine Way. For 10 years they have partnered with Heartland to convene the Bay Area Thought Leader Gathering sharing the Earth Wisdom teachings in many ways. They have brought the power of beauty and the practice of "stringing the beads" or hearing all the voices to each gathering. This evening they spoke of leadership as  stepping forward in energy.Listen to the full audio recording of the interview with Craig Neal in the column to the left.

Our Vision

The people gather

in a Sacred Way

Listening deeply

Wisdom emerges

Courageous action ensues

Healing happens

Awakening occurs

Pele Rouge & FireHawk


Theory U: Part Deux

Photo credit: Craig neal

Photo credit: Craig neal


What an honor, again, to be invited inside the mind and heart of one of the seminal leadership thinkers and practitioners of our time, Otto Scharmer.

Reflections from participants on the call speak to the depth of Otto's work. Theory U encapsulates the integration of systems thinking, consciousness and organizational theory, including the Seven Leadership Capacities that form the foundation of the Theory U.

Otto revisited the theoretical framework and practice called “presencing” in “Theory U: Leading from the Future as It Emerges” (2007).

*We've posted the audio of the session in the left column so you can listen for yourself.

For a wonderful primer on Theory U check out Download Uncovering_the_Blind_Spot_of_Leadership.pdf

Craig


Something to Live For

Photo Credit: Craig Neal

Photo Credit: Craig Neal


Something to Live For: Finding Your Way in the Second Half of Life
with Richard Leider, coach, author and founding partner, Inventure Group

Richard is consistently rated as one of the top executive educators and coaches in the world. He is ranked by Forbes as one of the"Top 5" most respected executive coaches and by Linkage as one of the "Top 50" executive coaches in America. So when Richard talks, we listen. :-)

Our most recent VisionHolder Interview with Richard provided powerful insights into ways of thinking and being that help us find meaning and purpose in the second half of life. Richard is clear that not only do we need to be fully alive, present and accounted for, but the world needs our presence and participation.


We don't usually just decide to transform our lives; it often takes a crisis to trigger change.  At other times, we do it for a reason--a purpose of which our bodies may be more aware than our minds.  We may fail to see the purpose clearly, but it is important to know that it does exist.

Behind the numerous stories of change in later life,there's a common theme.  We seek deep renewal.
Our ability to sustain authentic and wholehearted change in later life, letting go of patterns that we formed in the first half of life to discover new ones as we age, is tangible evidence of a spiritually transformative power.

Whether we call this force would, spirit, or purpose, they all share a common bond.  They acknowledge the mystery of a deeper wisdom that emerges from an embodied spirituality.


Paradigm shift-there is no waste: 10/3 TLG

If can get you to not think of waste as waste anymore, we’ll have accomplished the most basic of goals. People are actively participating. The education and action is amazing. We make that something that eliminates something from going to the landfill. It creates a unique and competitive statement which is something new.

Read More

Community with Peter Block and friends

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal


Dear friend Peter Block was the Conversation Starter at our Thought Leader Gathering in San Francisco on 9/12. An exhuberant participant writes about her experience  : "Well, Istarted with "WOW" on Friday and I ended with "wow"  Friday and I'll just start there again today!!  First and foremost, thank you so much for the gift of all your hard work and insightful design with your entire team including the incredible Peter!  It was such a full, rich, powerful day done in the spirit of risk of trying something new... The biggest gift of all was the powerful end of the day-the acknowledging of our gifts...it is such a hard thing for me and I so needed to learn from that ah-haa moment of grace for myself."

 

[10/7/08 note: Mariah Howard created a beautiful graphic recording of the TLG Panel Discussion and Harvest. Take a look here!]

Some excerpts from Peter's remarks:


~A distinction related to community – transformation vs. change: Transformation is changing the nature of things; Change is making things a little better.


~You’re involved in the work of transformation, changing the nature of what we have today. A culture based on dominance, a “I know and you don’t attitude,” which is the high control, patriarchal narrative. The master narrative is to find conflict, controversy and rev it up.

~There’s a political element to building community – not just be among friends, but to shift the narrative in which this country functions. It’s too big for me to really grasp myself, but change is too small a God to worship.

~Community requires an act of leadership – the courage to step forward to imagine another world. Not management, which is to give order and structure, but that doesn’t create anything new. It gives order and predictability, and most of us will sacrifice our freedom for predictability any days of the week.

~Safety in response to the culture of fear – as long as we’re convinced it’s dangerous out there we will trade our sovereignty for the promise of safety. Leadership is a convening task of bringing people together in a way that changes things. That’s why the arts matter. The arts understand the nuances of experience – they tune us in to see the world in a different way. That’s the work – creating something we’re unaccustomed to.

...more to come in the write-ups later this week!


Angeles Arrien VisionHolder Call

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal


Angeles Arrien in September

On September 16, Angeles Arrien, cultural anthropologist, award-winning author and educator, will talk about The Four-Fold Way and how to "walk the mystical path with practical feet." Register here

The Four-Fold Way™ Program is an educational experience that demonstrates how to "walk the mystical path with practical feet." It is designed to increase our respect for nature and each other, and enhance our ability to work cooperatively and creatively in teams. The program inspires "spirit in action" using the cross-cultural components of leadership and communication skills, creative problem-solving, health care, and education. The Four-Fold Way™ Program emphasizes four major principles that integrate ancient cultural wisdoms into contemporary life.

  1. The Way of the Warrior or Leader
  2. The Way of the Healer or Caretaker
  3. The Way of the Visionary or Creative Problem Solver
  4. The Way of the Teacher or Counselor

7pm - 8pm CT

Learn More

email:  registration@heartlandcircle.com

phone:  952-925-5995

web:  http://www.heartlandcircle.com

Patricia & Craig Neal

Heartland Inc.


Life Lessons of Leadership

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal


What would the world be like if everyone was interested in the other person’s success? asks Cathy Barr, CEO of Bethesda Hospital, part of the "Best Places to Work" award-winning HealthEast Care System.

In a slight departure from a "regular" TLG, Friday's Thought Leader Gathering brought a picture of leadership stemming from a core values of our three Conversation Starters, with Craig "interviewing" Cathy Barr, Pam Hull, and Betsy Stites.

What if...??? and WHY NOT?? What if we faced life's challenges with allies or colleagues who demand our best, and help us get there. Cathy created a team of trusted allies - Betsy as an Executive Coach and Pam as strategic partner - to explore the big questions of integrative leadership.

When asked, "What are the characteristics of leadership that you hold true?" Cathy remarked, "I espouse partnership and collaboration, listening, relationships. At Bethesda, it is 'Management by Walking' around and I know it is the little things that matter."

Betsy remarked: "Employees know you are there to make things the best they can be. One of my gifts is courage and standing up to be counted."

When asked, "What do you want to be known for? Your legacy? Your epitaph?" Pam responded: "I might say... She always left a trail of unconditional love and joy wherever she was. It was just in the way she approached things and how she moved things along...nothing stayed still too long when she was around. Her eye was always on the end user...the patient in the bed...she made a difference for those people. Her heart was soft and open and she continuously learned and grew as a person."

We were honored to convene with three remarkable women


The Story of WoLF: leadership and empowerment

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal


Reflecting on Friday's TLG, we continue to say "WOW!". Julie Gilbert and Mary Capozzi were inspired to launch an organization called WoLF (Women's Leadership Forum) to mobilize and support the women at Best Buy. The 3 pillars of Wolf exemplify how these leaders show up in their lives: Commitment, Network (helping all voices to be heard), Give Back.

Authentic leadership comes deeply from within; you can't fake it. It needs to be seen, experienced, embodied. Our time with Mary and Julie was a demonstration of authentic leadership in action.

TLG Member Amy Lenzo offers her reflections in an excellent Beauty Dialogues post. As Amy notes, "The truth is that in an integrated human being the personal and business realms are not separate, no matter how hard we try to make them be."

We are honored to have sat in circle with each of you and Mary and Julie. More reflections to come later today....

with gratitude, Patricia & Craig


Theory U: Leading from the Future as it Emerges

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal


What an honor, 170 of us had this evening, to be invited inside the mind and heart of one of the seminal leadership thinkers and practioners of our time, Otto Scharmer.

How his early life on a bio dynamic farm, the environmental, peace and anti- nuke movements in East Germany influenced his integration of systems thinking, consciousness and organizational therory is absolutely spellbinding. Then he took us through the Seven Leadership Capacities that form the foundation of the Theory U.

He introduced the theoretical framework and practice called “presencing” in “Theory U: Leading from the Future as It Emerges” (2007). We've posted the audio of the session in the left column so you can listen for yourself.

Or listen here:

http://www.hipcast.com/playweb?audioid=Pa8baf0581a22f96448b5abb7694a932aYFh9R1REYGVz&buffer=5&shape=6&fc=FFFFFF&pc=666666&kc=009900&bc=CCCCCC&brand=1&player=ap26

In the meantime, for a wonderful primer on Theory U check out Download Uncovering_the_Blind_Spot_of_Leadership.pdf

Craig


Moving from "Rah-Rah" to "Ah"...Finding Success From The Inside Out

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal


It's our choices that determine who we become, not our abilities. -Dumbledore to Harry Potter

Our VisionHolder Interview tonight with Robyn Waters was about the flow of life, moving from "Rah-Rah" to "Ah"...

Over the years, Robyn has been a cheerleader of possibilities. Success was about rah-rah, applause. Then, a mentor asked, "what would success feel like to you?" She began to know that it was time for her life to change, have a different focus, to take a step forward into something new....

"When we come to the edge of all the light we have and must take a step into the darkness of the unknown, we must believe one of two things: Either we will find something firm to stand on or we will be taught to fly." –tom seller

At some point success became ah, contentment, peace, gratitude, being in the present moment, appreciation.  Now, she is a cheerleader for: Right place, right person, right reason.

Robyn spoke to four stages of her adult life:

  • Finding success
  • Finding me/authenticity
  • Finding meaning
  • Finding joy
  • Stage 5? Sharing the wisdom, the give-back. Asking: "How much is enough? Social capitalism: doing good while doing well."

One of Robyn's core values: hanging out with 'nutritious people.' People who don't want to change me, make me be anything other than my whole, best self."

"A human being is a part of a whole, called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty." Albert Einstein


Fearless Leadership

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal


"Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real"
The 'tap' of the ship's prow against the iceberg...If you got just a little ‘tap’ that gave you a little vision of hope, 6 months from now you can be miles away from where you started.

Last Friday, the Bay Area TLG community welcome Joe Bailey and Beverley Wilson as our Conversation Starters. I wrote to Joe and Beverley that our time last Friday was one of the most simply elegant mornings we’ve had. "Simple, in that your words were seemingly simple. Elegant, in that they went deep to the heart of the matter. Truth was spoken, and heard by our souls."

Joe began the morning with the story of his real and metaphorical journey to the TLG, of losing his inner GPS momentarily. "As we go through life as leaders, whether official or not, we have this inner GPS—an inner systems that guides us through life—and we also have this inner fear. When we don’t trust our inner GPS, our heart and true self, then we get caught in fear – in this image that floats through our mind, and we mistake it for reality.

We find ourselves at that fork in the road, where we van take the path of fear, or the path of wisdom or heart, or the true self. Fear is a friendly little guy—it’s there for a purpose. Fear lets us know when we’ve fallen back asleep and gotten hypnotized. It wakes us up, without damaging us. It’s like an alarm clock; a feeling of discomfort in the physiology of our bodies. My fear this morning was a signal, letting me know I had moved away form my true self, and gotten caught in the illusion of fear.


"There is nothing we need to to create it, it’s already there. All we can do is obliterate it with thought and fear. I hope you will leave this place today knowing to trust this still small voice, the universal intelligence inside of us."


Fear covers up love. It makes it appear that the world is a terrifying place, out of control. But when we remember and reconnect with who we are – spirit – it is the seat of our sanity and leadership. There is nothing we need to to create it, it’s already there. All we can do is obliterate it with thought and fear.
I hope you will leave this place today knowing to trust this still small voice, the universal intelligence inside of us."

Beverley Wilson, G.O.D., spoke next with a story:

"I was called to Michigan State to address a group of people who totally intimidated me… I felt completely overwhelmed, like I was shrinking inside myself. I lost touch with who I was on the inside. When we do that we make other people into giants, and ourselves into little grasshoppers. So I was called to the stage, and felt this voice inside me. Who am I? A child of God! I have to believe I’m called here today because there is a rare need – I only get special assignments. We were all guided here, and I know I am not here by accident, but by divine design. There’s an energy in the room, and it starts getting bigger, and it feels like it’s going to take over. What do you do?

The 'correct' answer is to let your heart expand, (like Betsy said). But when I first started doing this, I felt overwhelmed. Authenticity is VERY important to leadership. If you’re saying one thing with your mouth and something else with your body, most people will see right through it and know it right away.

What we fear the most is immortality. When I first saw that picture (a painting she brought), it absolutely floored me. It took my breath away and my spirit was turning flips backwards. I saw people just freely dancing in the fire, without the power to hurt. That’s fearless leadership! Can you see yourself in there dancing? I want that kind of fearlessness – once I lose my fear of losing this mortal body. Who we really are is so big… we’d walk inside those flames and start dancing in a New York minute."

More to come when we send the write-ups!


Integrity: Creating a World That Works for All

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal


With the focus on integrity of action and intention, it was clear from the beginning of Friday's TLG that we were in the thick of a conversation essential to each of us. Steve Piersanti's journey to the founding and visioning of Berrett-Koehler invoked some of the following reflections:

"What if all it took to have sustainability was to have/hold integrity?" "It's a radical act to be integral, to hold on to what is true."

Heartland's vision has grown to include "...creating love in action." Our experience of Steve and the founding B-K vision of stewardship vs. ownership exuded love in action. Love for and inclusion of each stakeholder in the community: from authors, to staff, to suppliers, to readers.

Steve wove a story of a company committed to integrity in its very bones. In creating a world that works for all, B-K knows that change is needed at all levels: individual, organizational and societal. "We are committed to supporting a more enlightened world of work, both through our publications and through how our company is operated.... We have an open culture of sharing knowledge and resources."

When asked: "What most excites you about how B-K could manifest its vision in the next 10years?/How can we help B-K thrive?" Steve responded, "Going down the path of B-K being an inspiration and catalyst, a former of alliances, nexus of alliances. Getting out into the world through our relationships. That excites me."

Many thanks to Steve and all of you for an essential morning.


A New Voice of Business

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal


Elliot Hoffman & Meredith Beam, co-founders of New Voice ofBusiness, brought a rich conversation of creating a truly new voice of business to the January Thought Leader Gathering.  What is the larger frame that we’re working within at NVB? Were out to build A TRUE MARKET ECONOMY. Telling truth to the marketplace. Bringing integrity to the marketplace.

Gary Malkin started our day with a beautiful song… “we’re made of hope and a wisp of stars, do you remember who we are?” After Stringing the Beads, we heard from Elliot and Meredith of their knowing and big vision.

Questions from the 56 participants were also rich:

  • If we believe that business is a key lever for change, what are we willing to do now to build this new voice?
  • To have a new voice, we also need to have a new style of listening, to bring everyone together (no matter political and religious affiliation).
  • Will the group have more impact through driving creation of new ideas or aggregating support behind great existing or external ideas?
  • How will we make everyone feel included? Some/many don’t feel they’re business people- teachers, artists, construction, science, government, etc.
  • What will it look like when you (and we) are successful in engaging business (social entrepreneurial networked) people? What do you see happening? What will it feel like? What will people be saying and doing?