As a coach in a very cool leadership program, I’ve gotten to sit in on a series of classes, talks, and forays into embodied, experiential learning for C-Suite folk. It’s been brain-bending, mind-blowing and, lemme tell ya, ridiculously good fun.
One thing I’ve seen repeatedly is that leaders, with their focus trained on the road ahead, often lose track of the most important arrow in their quiver…
To be more specific, the whole picture of themselves: body, mind, spirit, emotions.
Keep in mind that these are, to a person, brilliant human beings. They are powerful thinkers with ideas that have the potential to create not only great companies, but massive, positive change as well.
And they have a strong collective tendency, whilst looking “out there”, to forget how much they matter in the larger equation that includes their own health and well-being, that of their family, their company, their community, the world – and future generations.
If you’re thinking, “Whoa! That is some BIG stuff!” you’re right.
That’s part of the point.
Here’s the thing: We’ve reached the stage in our collective capitalist culture in which we’ve had more than enough examples of the damage done by businesses in which the primary focus has been reduced to bringing in the bucks.
From the regrettable, sadly not-yet-forgettable “Pharma Bro” to his misguided sister-in-spirit at Theranos, from Steve Ballmer’s dark, ranting era at Microsoft to Boeing’s deadly 737-MAX debacle, business historians have no shortage of examples of what happens to companies and, more specifically, leaders, when they trade their souls for the golden calf of profit.
I don’t think so.
Here’s why: As Raj Sisodia and his co-author John Mackey, former Co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, point out frequently in their book Conscious Capitalism, companies that make it a point to see their role in a much bigger picture are, in fact, more profitable over time.
(Raj has been writing, lecturing on, and teaching Conscious Business for years. His often co-authored titles include The Healing Organization, Firms of Endearment, Everybody Matters and more. In case you’re wondering, yeah, he’s part of the team that created and helm the leadership program I mentioned above.)
To see beyond profit takes leaders willing to take extraordinary, and yes, conscious responsibility for all stakeholders in a complex equation. That calculus includes a multi-generational temporal arc while still asking “how am I, myself, really doing?”
Not just how am I doing in the context of the biz, but how am I doing as a living, breathing, thinking, emotive, spiritual being traveling around in a flesh-and-blood human body…
Surrounded by similarly human (therefore flawed) beings.
Personally, I can’t imagine looking through this level of conscious, far-reaching, system-aware lens without gettin’ schooled – even sobered – over and over again.
It’s a self and worldview that changes things for the better – including the need to face and care for oneself.
Consider this an invitation.