My Journey With Sustainable Business (Episode 107)

This week, we turn the tables.

Chris Chittenden, senior ontological coach and past podcast guest, interviews me about my journey with sustainable business.

I found the experience liberating.

We discuss why I started a series on climate change, clean technology and sustainable business, the people and ideas who have influenced me, how I work with regret, and how I express these commitments in the life I was given.

I hope that this taste of my journey gives you insight and courage on your own journey.

If you get value from this, please share with friends.

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Climate Change—Walking On A Knife’s Edge With Theo Horesh (Episode 106)

climate change

Thinking about climate change can feel like walking on a knife’s edge.

This week, Theo Horesh brings this perspective and many other fresh insights to my series on sustainable business, climate change, and clean technology.

Theo and I discuss what it is about human brains and human evolution that makes climate change such an elusive topic, how fascism relates to climate change (hey, why stop at one foreboding topic?), why apocalyptic thinking exists and how it looks different on the political left and right, the gifts and limitations of the Go Local movement, and practical tips for expanding our hearts and minds. In the middle of all this, I jump in to explain why today’s progressive is yesterday’s Eisenhower Republican.

Theo is great at explaining complex topics without either squashing their complexity or confusing the listener. And I always end conversations with him feeling wiser and more engaged than when we started.

Highlights

  • 6:00 How do fascist leaders affect climate change?
  • 12:00 How Amiel’s computer programming ineptitude prevented nuclear war
  • 17:00 Different ways to interpret big storms
  • 23:00 How facing climate change became the structure of Theo’s life
  • 27:30 It’s easy to be vague and apocalyptic
  • 35:00 Varieties of conservative apocalyptic thinking
  • 39:00 True But Partial Challenge—the Go Local movement
  • 41:30 You have to get your inspiration from somewhere
  • 50:00 Amiel redefines the political center
  • 57:30 Reading The Economist gives Theo the “wows”

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Climate Change & No-Matter-What Commitment With Terry Patten (Episode 105)

Climate Change

What if we reframed climate change as an invitation to live a full and meaningful life? For business leaders, what if it provided the catalyzing purpose that so many of us seek? For my colleagues in the field of leadership development, why not us, and why not now?

The first question is the theme of Terry Patten’s extraordinary book, A New Republic of the Heart: An Ethos for Revolutionaries.

This week, Terry joins me to discuss the book and its relevance for leaders, coaches, and all of us. It is the third episode in my new series on climate change, sustainable business, and clean technology.

Find a quiet environment. Pull up a seat. Grab a cup of tea. Have a listen.

And if you like it, please share with people who would enjoy it, too.

Highlights

  • 7:00 When we point at a problem, three of our fingers are pointing back at ourselves
  • 22:00 We have more to metabolize than we ever have before
  • 28:30 How insane it is to become unhappy
  • 35:30 Noticing that I’ve always been doing the best I can
  • 40:00 The “consensus trance”
  • 46:00 Terry takes the True But Partial Challenge
  • 56:00 This is all improv
  • 1:02:00 No-matter-what commitment

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No More Feedback With Carol Sanford (Episode 103)

 

This week, contrarian business thought leader Carol Sanford joins me to discuss her new book, No More Feedback.

If the title strikes you as both surprising and unnerving, welcome to the club. Within organizations giving and receiving feedback are widely considered noble acts. Although we may not be competent at feedback, we know it’s a good thing—key to personal growth and leadership development.

Carol says, “no, not really.”

In her view, any effort to ask another person where I am strong or how I could improve is intrinsically harmful, even toxic. For this reason she offers a harsh critique of annual performance reviews, competency models, and 360 degree interviews. The damage they cause is so profound (e.g. rewarding conformity, shifting attention from big promises, encouraging confirmation bias, and reducing self-reflection) and the foundation upon which they are based is so flawed that it’s foolish to tweak them.

Instead, Carol argues, get rid of feedback entirely.

Three things I learned in talking with Carol:

  1. I share her assessment of most of the activities that she calls “feedback.”
  2. When I use the term “feedback”—for example, as one of four steps in the on-the-job-practice cycle—I’m talking about something that Carol does not consider feedback because the person requesting it is authoring their own learning.
  3. I can stay grounded while listening to someone critique a practice near and dear to my heart, as Carol does with the Enneagram. In fact, it’s kind of fun.

Have a listen, and tell me what you think.

Highlights

  • 10:00 Humans as machines, the first seedbed of feedback
  • 17:00 Three foundational capacities of people to cultivate
  • 24:30 Jerry, a contrarian at Weyerhaeuser pushed out for not conforming
  • 32:00 Feedback raises anxiety
  • 41:00 Opportunities to self-reflect can break attachment to 360 feedback
  • 49:00 Why modifying feedback systems doesn’t work: the premise is flawed
  • 54:00 Carol only has people assess themselves in relation to a big promise they are making in the world
  • 1:02:00 Carol’s work with Seventh Generation when it was in the red
  • 1:12:00 Perils of low fat diet, benefits of intermittent fasting

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Episode 99: Resilience And Racialized Body Trauma With Diane Woods

First, let’s get one thing out of the way. Understanding trauma and how it functions is scientifically sound, empirically useful, and one of the most effective ways to develop to your full potential.

The great challenge of adulthood is embracing complexity. We do this by taking on multiple perspectives in our minds and building this capacity into our hearts and bodies.

Nowhere is this challenge more evident to me in the United States than in the area of cultural and racial conflict. Even those of us who are doing our best to create a better future have a lot of growing up to do.

You know what’s great about growing up? When we do it, the benefits accrue in all areas of life.

That’s why I think that reframing how we approach race and culture isn’t only about black and white. It also yields benefits in whatever context we choose to lead.

Sure, you could use what you learn about leadership from organizational life to make a contribution to our societal struggle with race, but this also works in reverse. The cauldron of racial relations can foster skills and qualities you need to show up at your best in organizations—and in your family and community.

I’ve had several guides in this journey. One is leadership coach and retired executive, Diane Woods. Last year, we discussed why it’s important to talk about racist ideas rather than racist people and how combatting racism is in whites’ self-interest. My mind is still stretching from that conversation.

This week, Diane asks us all to try on a very different, albeit compatible, lens for understanding our experiences in this area. Drawing upon Resmaa Menakem’s book My Grandmother’s Hands:Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies, Diane invites us to place the body—its trauma and its resilience—at the center of this story.

What if we set aside the patterned roles of victim, persecutor and rescuer in favor of a more complex body-centered understanding? What if, instead of either rationalizing racist behavior or demonizing each other, we did the following:

  • Set clear boundaries around racist words and behaviors
  • Understood racism as multigenerational trauma—black body trauma, white body trauma, and police officer body trauma?

As she did before, Diane speaks from her own experience, informed by her extensive reading, and in a way that invites us all to take a second look at our own lives and family’s experiences.

Highlights

  • 7:50 We’re in love with our minds & stop at the chin or neck
  • 15:00 Black and white bodies carry unresolved trauma between generations
  • 22:00 When people we love tell their stories, our anxiety and pain has meaning
  • 25:30 Dirty pain versus clean pain
  • 30:00 Indigestion leads to self-soothing—healthy or harmful
  • 32:20 “When the ouch in my body stayed three months”
  • 34:00 When I know my value, my capacity to bounce back is deeper
  • 39:30 We don’t have to condone racist behaviors to have a compassionate stance

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Episode 98: Why Enneagram Types Matter With Roxanne Howe-Murphy

Roxanne Howe-Murphy

The first time Roxanne Howe-Murphy and I planned to discuss the Enneagram, we were interrupted by an election. So we explored how to heal from Trump Shock (for those needing such healing).

Life gives second chances.

This week Roxanne and I took one such opportunity and ran with it.

The Enneagram is a system for personal and professional development I’ve been using for twenty years. It informs my coaching and, increasingly, my work with leadership teams.

There are nine Enneagram styles or types. Each provides a different answer to the question: What makes me tick?

Walking through all nine types is a big task. Roxanne and I chose instead to explore what is both the most practical and existential question about the Enneagram: why does it matter? What difference does it make when growing yourself to understand your Enneagram type? What difference does it make when coaching or managing someone else to understand theirs? And for those involved in parenting or mentoring kids, how can you shoot yourself in the foot by treating all kids the same, rather than personalizing to what makes each child tick?

Roxanne is a wise and warm presence. I invite you to grab a cup of tea and listen in.

Highlights

  • 4:30 That time Roxanne mis-typed herself
  • 14:00 Enneagram versus Myers-Briggs
  • 22:00 Learning your type makes your goals more true for you
  • 28:00 You share this way of being with 800 million other people
  • 33:00 A leader who didn’t trust herself
  • 44:00 What if you coached a Type Six as if they were you, a Type Nine?
  • 49:30 “I don’t recognize this child. He is so unlike me!”
  • 1:02:00 Our degree of presence matters

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