Episode 77: Presence-Based Leadership With Doug Silsbee, Part 2 [The Amiel Show]

Doug Silsbee

This is part two of my interview with Doug Silsbee about his important new book: Presence-Based Leadership: Complexity Practices for Clarity, Resilience, and Results That Matter. Part one is here.

In this portion of the interview, Doug walks us through the core of his book: the nine window panes through which you can view leadership. It is a complex model and therefore eminently practical, because it matches the complexity in which we live.

It is also a serious and illuminating synthesis, one that invites all of us into a rich experience of what is right there before us.

Please take your time over the next sixty seconds to start listening—and then share with your peeps.

Highlights

  • 6:30 We are highly trained to look outside us, but not within us
  • 9:00 The meaning and limitation of legacy
  • 14:00 What identity am I unconsciously seeking to perpetuate
  • 20:00 Doug guides you to draw the nine panes (not while driving, of course!)
  • 24:00 A business example that brings it alive
  • 37:00 Regulating your inner state
  • 42:00 Embodying what matters to us

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Episode 76: Presence-Based Leadership With Doug Silsbee, Part 1 [The Amiel Show]

Doug Silsbee

Doug Silsbee joins me this week to discuss his remarkable new book: Presence-Based Leadership: Complexity Practices for Clarity, Resilience, and Results That Matter.

The book, like Doug himself, is a grounding presence, a heart-felt invitation, and a wise synthesis. He meets you where you are—offering practical insights and clever experiments to try—and calls you to sink a bit deeper into the place from which your life-force arises.

I was honored to speak with Doug. Within the first few minutes of the interview, you will learn why.

This is the first of two interviews with Doug. The next will appear a week from today.

Please listen and share widely.

Highlights

  • 9:00 Art is creating what you don’t yet know
  • 21:30 Today’s practicalities and why we are here both matter
  • 29:00 It is audacious to be an offer in the world
  • 31:00 What shapes our identity
  • 36:00 In meetings, everyone lives in their own bell jar
  • 39:00 Three levels of scale: context, identity, and soma
  • 44:00 Three meta-competencies: sensing, being, and acting

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Episode 75: Stomping the Blues, Reimagining American Identity with Greg Thomas [The Amiel Show]

Fasten your seatbelts. This week, we’re going on a rollicking, rhythmic, high-minded, and heartfelt ride through the core of the American experience.

Greg Thomas, our guide through the True but Partial Challenge on race, joins me again to steer us through this week’s journey.

Or should I say: journeys?

That’s how much territory we cover. Greg even coaxes me to steer out of my “interviewer lane” and riff on my own experience stomping the blues.

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The focus of our conversation is Albert Murray, the great 20th century American writer and close colleague of Ralph Ellison.

Haven’t heard of him? Neither had I until a few months ago.

But since when did lack of fame mean anything about a person’s wisdom?

Like me, you will learn to take Albert Murray seriously. Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Toni Morrison does. She wrote, “Murray’s perceptions are firmly based in the blues idiom, and it is black music no less than literary criticism and historical analysis that gives his work its authenticity, its emotional vigor, and its tenacious hold on the intellect.”

Like me, you will get mesmerized by the ideas in Murray’s first book, The Omni-Americans. Harvard’s Henry Louis Gates wrote in his New Yorker profile of Murray (“The King of Cats”) that the book was “so pissed-off, jaw-jutting, and unapologetic that it demanded to be taken seriously.”

Highlights

  • 6:00 Albert Murray’s influence on American culture and art
  • 13:30 American identity synthesizes multiple roots
  • 20:00 Murray’s devastating critique of “ghettoologists” and “safari technicians”
  • 35:00 Decoding ancient fairy tales and applying them to life today
  • 39:00 The blues idiom as life compass
  • 43:00 The hero’s journey in American cultures, e.g. Harriet Tubman
  • 46:00 Hero’s journey is an alternative orientation from Ta-Nehisi Coates and James Baldwin
  • 55:30 We fear difference and are attracted to it. Can we integrate this into ourselves?
  • 59:00 The Jazz Leadership Project
  • 1:10:00 Apprentice, journeyman, and master

 

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Episode 73: Five Pivotal Thinkers On Race With Greg Thomas [The Amiel Show]

This week, writer and public speaker Greg Thomas, CEO of the Jazz Leadership Project, helps me launch a new podcast series on the American experience of race.

Greg provides a refreshing and nuanced take on a complex topic. Listen to him, and you will find that race is not just a political issue or a moral quandary. It also provides a rich opportunity to grow as a leader and live life fully. Whether you consider yourself white, black, Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern, or just plain Human, dive in with Greg, and you will come out a bit wiser and a lot more curious. Race is not what you think it is.

I met Greg through our shared interest in integral approaches to leadership, culture, and politics. When approaching topics with our “integral” fedoras on, we bring a mix of curiosity and critique. Rather than pick sides, we like to ask, “How is each perspective true, yet also partial? What wisdom does it offer, but also what are its blinders?”

In this conversation, we apply the integral lens to race in America. I call it the True But Partial Game. We explore five leading American thinkers on race. For each, I ask Greg to describe the both the wisdom they offer, and the perspectives that, if meshed with their own, would create a more accurate and pragmatic path forward.

What if we acknowledged both the systemic forces that constrain and the personal gifts and virtues that liberate?

Highlights

  • 1:00 Why a series on race in America?
  • 7:30 Interview begins
  • 15:30 Integral view of race and culture
  • 22:00 “So-called black people” and “so-called white people”
  • 26:30 Whiteness harms white folks
  • 31:30 Na-Nehisi Coates—brilliant, bleak, and still growing?
  • 41:30 Kimberle Crenshaw, “intersectionality,” and victimhood
  • 46:00 Oppression is not a death sentence
  • 50:00 bell hooks—love and the beloved community
  • 1:01:00 John McWhorter—linguist and refreshing independent thinker
  • 1:06:00 Cornel West—brilliant, influential, and stuck in critique

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Episode 72: Friendship After #MeToo With Hilary Bradbury & Bill Torbert [The Amiel Show]

Hilary-BradburyBill-Torbert

Is workplace friendship between women and men possible in a time of #MeToo? If so, what might it look like, and how can both women and men show up differently?

In our important societal discussion about sexual harassment and power, these questions aren’t exactly on the tips of people’s tongues.

Yet they are vitally important to the health of organizations and the quality of our lives. If men avoid women out of self-protective fear, who does that benefit? If men respond instead with new ways of silencing women’s voices, that moves us backwards.

Many women are angry. Many men are befuddled and/or defensive. Where we can meet each other for the good of all?

Credit Hilary Bradbury for these questions. I asked to interview her about sexual harassment, power, and adult development. She made a counteroffer—actually, two:

  1. Let’s talk about friendship
  2. Let’s include men in the conversation

Isn’t it great when people come up with better ideas than the one you started with?

This week, Hilary and Bill Torbert join me for an enlivening and provocative conversation that builds to a level of intimacy that I found heart-warming. Hilary previously spoke with me about power in relationships between women and men, and Bill about framing conversations for powerful results.

We talk at the cultural and societal level. We also talk about how their own friendship has evolved over decades, the subject of their recent book, Eros/Power: Love In The Spirit of Inquiry. 

Tune in, share with your peeps, and let me know what you think.

Highlights

  • 15:00 Women’s rage
  • 27:00 From unilateral power to mutual power
  • 36:00 When two people become attracted at work
  • 40:30 We cannot rely on police-like rules
  • 43:00 The “whitest white woman” on the receiving end of rage
  • 52:00 What to do with the urge to discharge?
  • 57:00 When Bill shouts out in pain

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The Year Ahead [New Post]

Thank you all for listening to my podcast, reading my posts, and sending kudos, queries, and quirky questions. As we close out 2017 and step into 2018, I want to share a few words about what you can expect from staying in conversation with me.

  • Growing as a leader and human being in organizations. This remains the primary focus of my podcast, blog, and client work. What can we learn about this process from different teachers, studies, experts, traditions, and organizations?
  • In-depth interviews. I’m committed to providing high-quality, in-depth interviews that make you think. I pick guests whose work I admire and ask them to dive deeply. These folks have a lot to say, so I give them the spotlight and challenge them to stretch their own thinking an extra inch.
  • Accomplishing work together by managing promises. My clients are reporting a great deal of benefit from an approach to collaborative work that I call “managing promises.” I’m using it with teams and individuals to produce better results with fewer headaches. (If you’d like to talk about using this with your team, send me a note). You may recognize this theme from past interviews with Elizabeth Doty about making only promises you can keep, Bob Dunham on listening for commitment and executives’ new promises, and Chris Chittenden on real accountability. Why do so many handoffs between people go awry? Why is it frustrating when people don’t give you what you ask for and yet so challenging to talk with them about this in a way that improves future results? What happens when you make more powerful offers in your organization, and what specific steps are needed to do this? How can you raise the performance of your entire team by learning the real anatomy of action? I’ve taken many of these ideas (originally from Fernando Flores’s “conversation for action”) and fleshed them out into a comprehensive model called the “promise cycle”. I’ve written a short yet fairly technical playbook about this called Reliable Results. In the coming year, I’ll be doing more interviews and Jedi Leadership Tricks on this topic, posting more diagrams like Fuzzy Promises, Fuzzy Mittens, and continuing to share it with teams. I think there is great potential to do for managing promises with others what David Allen has done with managing agreements with yourself.
  • The American experience with race—a new series. Most conversation about race in the United States is simplistic, polemical, and poorly grounded in history. We are arguing past each other rather than listening to each other, focusing only on the latest outrages, and not sufficiently integrating different perspectives. To me, it’s a huge leadership topic, something that can inform how we understand ourselves and the people we work with even when the topic at hand is not about race. That’s because to talk with wisdom about race is to talk about what it means to be human beings in all our beautiful complexity. I’ll be asking podcast guests to explore this topic with me in an integral way. We’ll delve into individual beliefs and behaviors, culture, and societal structures.
  • Synthesizing key concepts. Several listeners have recently challenged me to share my own understanding on the many ideas I explore with guests. To synthesize and illuminate what I’ve been learning. Expect to see at least a couple forays in this direction in the coming year.

Once again, thank you for walking with me on this journey. Anything in this note strike you as particularly important? Have any other suggestions for me. I welcome your emails!