Episode 74: Whites’ Self-Interest In Opposing Racism With Diane Woods [The Amiel Show]

You support Black Lives Matter and oppose racial discrimination because you want to help black people. If you have light skin, you can’t get much more noble than that, right?

Not quite. According to this week’s guest, leadership coach and retired executive Diane Woods, the idea that white people need to be altruistic toward blacks is itself a racist idea.

Huh?

Yes, you read that correctly.

In fact, as Diane explains, white folks have an intelligent self-interest in opposing racist ideas and embracing all of us as equally capable and worthy human beings.

I’ve known Diane for almost two decades. She hosted a book club I joined. Back then, I saw her as a fountain of wisdom and curiosity, and over time, those qualities have only grown.

Please join me in this second episode in my new series on the American experience with race. If you enjoyed my conversation last week with Greg Thomas—or, heck, even if you haven’t yet—you’ll want to tune into this one.

Please share with friends and colleagues so we can carry Diane’s voice far into the conversation around race and culture.

Highlights

  • 5:00 Why Ta-Nehisi Coates and Diane weren’t surprised by white supremacists marching
  • 9:00 Diane’s spiritual teacher’s blind spot around race
  • 15:00 Evolution of race work over 50 years
  • 20:00 Crafting herself to look good for white corporate America
  • 31:00 Despite injustice, my inner life is mine and I will defend it
  • 35:00 “They just don’t want us here”
  • 41:00 “I may say racist things but I’m pure on the inside”
  • 49:00 Racism is corrosive for white people
  • 1:02:00 Whites freeing themselves from the burden of racism
  • 1:05:00 Countering racism is in whites’ intelligent self-interest

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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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Episode 70: Later Stages Of Leadership Maturity With Susanne Cook-Greuter [The Amiel Show]

This week on the podcast, I welcome back adult development expert, Susanne Cook-Greuter, to discuss the most advanced stages of leadership maturity. Each of these stages is both increasingly complex—bringing new capacities and new challenges—and increasingly rare. We discuss:

  • Self-actualizing or Strategist stage
  • Construct-aware/Ego-aware or Alchemist stage
  • Unitive or Ironist stage

Susanne and I previously spoke in episode 36 about the how vertical development works and what’s common between all developmental models.

In episode 37 we explored how developmental theory helps us reframe two everyday challenges: work/career and pivotal conversations.

In both episodes, we focused on the development stages where 80 percent of adults in the West live. But what about the stages beyond that? What is it like to live there?

That is the focus of this episode.

Our conversation was a genuine “wow.” My mind got a vigorous calisthenic workout, and we teamed up to investigate common confusions about these later stages.

Have a seat, go for a walk, get on a plane, and take a listen. This is one you’ll want to share with friends!

Highlights

  • 8:50 Self-Actualizing/Strategist stage (5-6% of adults in West)
  • 19:00 Capacity to take a stand on ideals
  • 26:00 When growth first really matters to us
  • 30:30 Tempted to take an early retirement package from development?
  • 35:00 “Look how much I know about myself!”
  • 36:00 Construct Aware/Ego Aware/Alchemist stage (<1% of adults in West)
  • 41:00 “Am I nuts?”
  • 44:00 The limits of mapmaking and trying to get beyond the ego
  • 47:00 Unitive or Ironist stage
  • 51:30 Experiencing the wonder of things—consistently
  • 1:00:00 The virtues of hanging out at—and acting from—Self-Actualizing/Strategist

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Episode 69: Executives’ New Promises With Bob Dunham [The Amiel Show]

Bob-Dunham

This week on the podcast, I welcome back Bob Dunham to discuss the transition from manager to executive.

Bob heads up the Institute for Generative Leadership, where for three decades he has developed leaders and coaches.

In episode 7, he described how to make reliable promises and the importance of listening for commitment.

This time, we explored how becoming an executive involves a new category of promises. Skillfully managing these promises requires new conversations, skills, and presence. Why do many people fail in transitioning to the executive role? What does it take to cross this chasm successfully? How can you prepare yourself for the transition?

Join Bob and me as we delve into these questions and more.

And, as always, share with friends who might enjoy these insights.

Highlights

  • 9:00 People are often blind to the outcome
  • 17:00 When you have plans but no promises
  • 21:30 Not having honest conversations is a setup for failure
  • 28:30 Blind spot: the learning path for new managers
  • 40:00 Good managers assess their direct reports’ assessments
  • 42:00 Executives’ new promises and conversations
  • 53:00 It’s all about what we listen for

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Three questions on my mind today [new post]

It’s been over a month since I’ve shared a podcast episode or blog post. How are you doing? What questions are on your mind?

Here are three questions that I’ve been wrestling/playing with in different domains of my life:

Executive coaching. How can I support and challenge leaders to practice new conversations on the job?

For the past fifteen years, my work has been guided by a simple premise: all the leadership wisdom in the world matters little unless it shows up in how leaders speak and listen on the job.

How do you know you are a better leader? By shifting the conversations you have and quality of presence you bring to them.

The challenge is how to do this in organizations that devalue preparation, reflection, and feedback (three phases of what I call the “on-the-job practice cycle,” the fourth phase being action); with bosses who rarely had role models for this themselves; and in a culture that squeezes out the inner life.

It’s a big hairy challenge!

Here’s one experiment I’ve been inviting leaders to try:

  • Designate a specific meeting each day as a practice field. Mark it on your calendar.
  • Start that meeting by quickly grounding in the body.
  • Look for opportunities in that meeting to practice specific words, body movement, and breath.
  • Ask a trusted colleague to give you feedback shortly after the meeting about the specific actions you want them to observe. Ideally, ask them in advance so they are prepared.
  • Briefly reflect in writing after the meeting—or at the next brief break—about what happened and what you can learn from it.

What can I do to increase the frequency and quality of this practice? What visual, auditory or kinesthetic cues could help? Is there an iPhone app for this?

Organizational consulting. In working with an entire organization, where do my interventions have the greatest impact?

During my first ten professional years, I exclusively consulted. During the second ten years, I did mostly one-on-one executive coaching. The past few years have seen a mix of the two. I’ve worked with entire leadership teams, advised executives and HR about system-wide succession planning and leadership development, shadow coached teams in action, and simply hung around waiting for people to pull me over for a question or request.

I think of these less as services than as experiments in having impact.

Where is my time best spent—and who gets to decide this? How do I assess requests coming my way, and what guides me in making counteroffers and new offers? Since I have to make a living and like being respected, how do money and public identity play into all of this?

Public Calling. In the age of DJT (my abbreviation for the current U.S. president’s name), how might I redirect my energy toward a better global future?

I’ve made no secret of my opinion of the current President and the grave threat he brings each day he remains in office. A lot of my writing and podcasting has been devoted to this topic. And for years, I’ve felt dedicated to promoting clean energy, slowing global warming, and supporting community resilience. Yet with a few notable exceptions, these commitments have shown up more in my public voice than in my day-to-day client work, and my public participation itself has been sporadic and, by my assessment, of negligible impact.

So, looking at the next six months—and, beyond that, the next few years—what’s possible? How might these commitments find expression in my coaching and consulting? If I were to invest more time on my public voice, what forms might this take? How about a daily podcast devoted to high-quality interviews on topics of broad public interest (likely at the intersection of politics and leadership) to attract listeners and sponsors?

These are three questions on my mind today.

Next week: questions about three other domains: friendship, parenting, and presence

 

Episode 68: Timeless Wisdom For Men With Sean LeClaire [The Amiel Show]

Men, this episode is for you.

Executive coach and author Sean Casey LeClaire joins me to describe his remarkable journey from a rough-and-tumble working poor hometown through flirtation with a professional sports career toward early success as an advertising executive and then discovery of what he calls “timeless wisdom.” This interview is filled with heartfelt stories about aspiration, loss, anger, challenge, and the still, graceful space within each of us.

Sean’s autobiographical tale provides the emotional core of my emerging series on Men in Leadership. It joins past conversations with Robert Augustus Masters about true masculine power, Janet Crawford on being a good guy and breaking with the bro code, and Keith Witt on men’s sexual shadow at work, as well as a Jedi Leadership Trick I call The Manly Apology.

Listen in, and send me an email to tell me which story resonated with you the most.

Highlights

  • 9:00 Growing up with sports, violence, and poetry
  • 14:00 Putting on a mask to stay alive
  • 16:00 Rick, Jim, and the power of a gentle challenge
  • 24:00 Anger and archetypal gestures
  • 27:30 The story of hugging an angry man
  • 34:30 A friend’s suicide and discovering yoga
  • 37:00 Sean reads his poem “If I stopped”
  • 45:30 When people think Sean is crazy or arrogant
  • 49:00 When coaches get co-opted by sickness in corporations
  • 53:30 Sean reads his poem “Parts”
  • 58:00 Sean’s son champions him through the frustrating construction of a Darth Vader scooter

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