As leaders, we often feel the urge for being proactive.
COHERENCE = CONNECTION
The Coherence Insights Blog
When a door opens step through; A post about my new Job
As I sit here and begin to write CNN is on with coverage of the Ukraine war.
The purpose of this post is to share some personal good news, yet it’s hard to be fully excited given the state of the world. Can I suggest we take a collective moment of silence (whenever you read this, just know I am with you in the spirit of your silence) sharing thoughts of peace to those in Ukraine?
With friends I have been describing the feeling in the world today is as if life is a game of checkers and the universe came along and flipped the board, and all the pieces are in midair. How will they land? Will you land on the board, will you be kinged? It is neither good news nor bad, it is a very scary time with huge unknown outcomes that affect everyone. With a war, an America politically in civil war, a pandemic, inflation, racial strife no wonder folks are stressed.
After a 15-year period when life has been tough on me, very out of character with all the years prior when I felt robustly lucky or otherwise blessed with good karma. Now it is clear it was not ALL good before and not ALL bad during this recent period, yet the overwhelming feeling was that the universe had turned off the good tap. With the world’s turmoil, I felt in synch. It is both awesome and odd to be feeling out of synch with the stress of the world. My true hope is I am a leading indicator.
Now for the good news. It started 8 months ago with some weight loss. I am probable the lightest I have been in 20 years. I still have about 8 pounds to still lose, yet I am absolutely thrilled to be where I am.
When I made the decision to move to Richmond permanently, I set up a competition in my mind. Which would win? Reconstituting my business as a successful endeavor here or would I get a job and I would be at peace either way. Truth be told I was rooting for my business succeeding and truthfully thought it was leading until a job offer seem to appear out of nowhere and unexpected. I could not be happier.
I have accepted a role as director of operations for Caring Across Generations at www.caringacross.org which is a program of National Domestic Workers Alliance https://www.domesticworkers.org/. My role is very much like that of a Chief Operating Officer in a for-profit company. It builds on my experience in leadership and organizational development, strategy, financial projections, and operational efficacy. Our organization is entirely remote. Also being a thought partner and mentor.
In discussing these two organizations it is impossible not to take a moment to express my enthusiasm at hitching my wagon to the organization’s co-founder’s train. Ai-Jen Poo is an amazing human being. She came here at two with her parents from Taiwan. Dad is a neuroscientist and a political activist; mom is an MD with a Ph.D. in chemistry working as an oncologist.
Ai-Jen graduated from Columbia and she is a 2014 recipient of the MacArthur “Genius” Award. In 2018 she attended the academy awards a guest of Meryl Streep. Last year 540 non-profits competed for a $40 million fund that included money from Melinda French Gates, we were awarded $10 million. Many in the know feel if the democrats keep the presidency in 2024 Ai-Jen would be short-listed for the secretary of labor.
I hope you are sharing my enthusiasm for being associated with such a rising star. In my opinion, the entire team of over 30 folks at Caring Across in their own way are all amazing.
Our work at Caring Across Generations broadly falls into two categories, public policy, and advocacy around the public perception of caregiving.
If you were cared for as a child if you have or are caring for someone with a disability, a health crisis, an aging relative you are a caregiver. This represents most Americans at some point in their lives, yet as one friend said when I was sharing my new job news, in polite society we don’t talk about caregiving. Our silence is a crisis.
Are you a baby boomer? Who will care for you as you age? With the great resignation (in my opinion Great Realignment) why would anyone work under such horrendous working conditions? We do not value care!
I must admit even after having cared for my aging mom before her death caregiving was not my personal passion. My passion has been reinventing how business does business. Yet here at Dog and Catmandu we frequently discuss how our society values money over life. We see it everywhere. For me philosophically it has been an easy pivot from business caring how it does business to broader humanity caring.
Caring Across is on the phone at least weekly with the White House as we were intimately involved with crafting the now in limbo Build Back Better bill. Have you heard the term caring infrastructure, that is from us. Right now, we have an electronic billboard in Times Square as part of a larger awareness campaign. We have a staff person in LA whose job is to impact how movies and TV highlight caregivers.
As truly excited, I am about my work with Caring Across I will continue on a very limited basis my Coherence Collaborative work. Current and former clients, friends, and unique projects that can all adapt to my new constraints will continue on a limited basis. Given my tendency to be opinionated I will still be occasionally blogging and posting on my business social media.
In my career my interests we equally divided between doing and teaching. I have seamlessly flowed between the two over the years. My more recent history has been focused more on “teaching”. One thing I know for sure my life is about change and I have learned to embrace that with all that comes with it. Now is an opportunity to do.
Importantly Jerry and I here at Dog & Catmandu remain excited to be hosting important conversations. Please reach out we would love to hear from you. I love networking with all of you and it remains a passion for that connection. I still am hosting my New Now (new economy/now for mindfulness & spirituality) monthly salon and discussion group. Please reach out we would love to have you join us.
Thank you for being engaged with me and Coherence Collaborative.
Living economies=Coherent communities and your path forward
The pandemic has affected everyone sometimes in very different ways. Covid has picked winners and losers. For the life of me from a philosophical perspective, I can’t understand. Why do e-commerce websites deserve to prosper and why do restaurants deserve to not prosper? I have no idea. I get lots of nods of agreement whenRead More…
Flow in Business, Team 2.0
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is the father of flow. He recently died. He was a climber as I found out recently by scanning an obituary in a climbing Publication. The author of the article credited one of my best friends Virginia Savage Ph.D. (a performance psychologist) with exposing him to Mihaly and the concept of flow, whichRead More…
Trust is the lubricant of business
Whom do you trust? Family? Friends? Co-workers? Strangers? In my opinion, our ability to trust is a direct reflection of our quality of life and within that our quality of performance at work. I am not an expert who has spent decades studying and researching trust. I am an active observer of what allows peopleRead More…
Gratitude and the great resignation
This time of year, giving thanks for all the things we are grateful for is the socially accepted thing to do. My question is it ungrateful to put yourself first sometimes? If you are in a situation that challenges you, is moving on a viable choice? This is an internal dialogue I think many ofRead More…
November B Corps Culture Call Agenda
Wisdom is from brain coherence, not time on the planet.
Change is now will you lead?
I took this beautiful fall photo the other day while I was out at my frequent hiking spot. Autumn is finally coming to Richmond. It got me thinking about the nature of change and how that impacts our businesses. Change is the only constant. 30+ plus years ago a dear friend shared thisRead More…
One study found that only 14% of people understood their company’s strategy and only 24% felt the strategy was linked to their individual accountabilities. On the contrary, people’s depth of commitment increases when they, not their leader, are talking. If we accept this study at face value and I think we should be based onRead More…
Love, hugs, mindfulness, and being a leader
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.