Here at Dog & Catmandu, we are huggers. Both Jerry and I have a deep belief in the value of a good (non-sexual) hug. The other day we were sitting in the Gazebro as we frequently do and were discussing the Social Venture Circle https://svcimpact.org/ the organization is formerly known as the Social Venture Network where we first meet at a conference at Mohonk over 20 years ago.
Jerry’s comments found real resonance with me in that from the very beginning SVN/SVC hugging people at conferences became the norm. This in turn naturally and effortlessly leads to deeper conversations. I have tried to introduce this in organizations I have formed to no avail. The founders of the B Corp movement similarly tried.
Nice, and so what you might be saying to yourself yet how is this related to my leadership style?
I’ll digress for a moment to a related topic. About 6 years ago I gave a keynote talk to a group of about 60 economic developers, businesses, and community leaders in the Catskill Mountain region of New York. In my talk, I did a long lead-up and ultimately encouraged the audience to embrace the concept of love. It was very well received. Sadly, in today’s world, I must reiterate not romantic love, yet nevertheless deep feelings. I love my former home the Hudson Valley of New York and can speak at length quite eloquently on why. In my opinion, if business leaders truly loved the region where their company was located, they would think far more holistically about how their company interacts with that region. Can we say environmental impact? If we collectively loved our employees, our customers, our vendors would these deeper feelings cause us to interact differently, presumably better?
Jerry’s love for Dog & Catmandu is beyond deep. That leads to our passion for wanting to invite folks here to share that depth of experience.
Why does this focus on depth, what does that have to do with leadership?
First the deeper we know ourselves we get in touch with our strengths and weaknesses. As I am often heard saying “no one gets all the gifts”. As leaders, we frequently must know how to play to our strengths and find others whose strengths shore up our weaknesses.
Egos are two-edged swords. When we are boldly leading our business forward, we value our ego strength. When our egos get in the way here is where an example of a positive relationship with an employee or an investor crisis can emerge.
One of the best ways to learn to go deep within ourselves is to develop a mindfulness practice. Here is a link to a former Coherence Collaborative blog post here on meditation https://coherencecollaborative.com/10-different-types-of-meditation-and-which-one-might-be-right-for-you/
Whether you lead a for-profit B Corps, a social enterprise, a non-profit, or are an activist finding your path inside yourself in my opinion is a critical factor in building a sustainable foundation of success however you define that.
Let’s return to where we started an SVC conference. I am excited if Covid is willing to be attending the event this December in San Diego to be with my tribe. Use the link above for more information on the conference. A line that I have frequently heard used is “Changing how the world does business”. Reinventing capitalism is hard. Failure is a given. Deep inner work is how we over our failures and like a phoenix rising again.
I was at a Green Drinks networking meeting here in Richmond last night. A lovely group of people is passionately concerned about the environment. I think getting people together for conversation is critical to saving the world.
Based on my journey I have found it too difficult to do this kind of deep transformational work on my own. For me, it got started when I saw the people I most respected at SVC and came to understand the foundations of their success. And let me clearly express everyone (including my heroes) has ego work still to do, it feels like an endless onion with infinite layers yet a journey with infinite benefits.
A little therapy doesn’t hurt either 😊
From those early days at SVN, I have formed a men’s group that has been meeting monthly for almost 20 Yrs. I participated in an SVN-hosted peer-group monthly for several years. I currently host a monthly Salon online called the New Now (New economy meets mindfulness, see blog posts) email me if you might be interested in participating. My point in sharing this is in my own life I have made a very conscious choice to live on a path of going deep. I worked with an SVN brother who coached in my early days on my path to mindfulness. These were collectively tools for growth. The growth I believe has expanded, improved, enhanced my impact in the world. Probably impossible to measure and yet profound in the reactions I get from people.
Where is the special place you love? Who is the tribe you love being with? When do you most often find yourself in the flow? Humanity needs more from us. Our choices in the present moment matter.
As I have written about before in the formation of the Coherence Collaborative a quote that resonated was “when we meditate, we get coherence, from coherence we get Wisdom”. In my opinion, humanity needs a lot more wisdom.
The kind of change I am encouraging you to undertake is a lifelong process. Creating brain coherence is a process. Wisdom is the outcome.
Wisdom = solving climate change, species collapse, poor land-use choices, and many other environmental crises we face. Wisdom = social justice, fair pay, equity for all (literally in terms of employee ownership of companies as well as social equity) peace, and prosperity for all. Sounds crazy yes yet let’s get started and see how close we can come. In my mind no other journey matters.
What does all this mean for you? Well, that is totally up to you. We hope you might find a reason to visit us here at Dog & Catmandu for a hug and some deep conversation. Ideally, you take some time and evaluate your leadership and find a more fulfilling and prosperous path. If needed that is something we can support, you in.