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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Episode 97: Spiral Dynamics With Jon Freeman

Spiral Dynamics

Waiting four years to discuss Spiral Dynamics on my podcast is like waiting that long on a show about desserts before bringing up chocolate.

Yes, Cindy Wigglesworth used Spiral Dynamics to help us make sense of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, but this week is our first in-depth exploration.

And I’m excited to share it.

Spiral Dynamics is my go-to framework for understanding politics, global events, cultural evolution, and the many big challenges we face as a people and planet. It also explains what happens inside of large organizations, a place where I do most of my coaching and consulting. Whether the topic is global climate change, right wing nationalism, competing economic theories, or race and culture, Spiral Dynamics gives me a way to understand the core worldviews that animate everyday conversations.

That’s why Spiral Dynamics is called the “master code” or code of all codes.

To illuminate this framework, I spoke with Jon Freeman, who, after a long business career, discovered Spiral Dynamics and became one of its leading teachers.

Highlights

  • 9:30 Small bands roaming the savannah to warlord gangs to rule-bound towns—and beyond
  • 14:30 The worldviews dominant within big companies and organizations
  • 25:30 Why you want all worldviews present in organizations
  • 31:00 Reinterpreting the 2008 financial crisis through the Spiral
  • 39:00 The dangers of ignoring the virtues of Blue rules
  • 50:00 Why the U.S. underestimated China
  • 56:30 Humanity prepares for a momentous leap—the shift to second tier
  • 1:03:00 Reinventing Blue order in big corporations
  • 1:08:00 The rise of mafia enterprises and right wing nationalism
  • 1:15:00 Brexit, immigration, and complexity
  • 1:19:00 Climate change, clean tech, and Spiral Wizards in a time of catastrophe

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Overview of Spiral Dynamics

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Episode 86: Protecting Liberal Democracy & Living Virtuously With Theo Horesh

protecting liberal democracy

Protecting liberal democracy from fascism isn’t just important to the world, however imperfect, that we take for granted. It’s also a path to the virtuous life.

I’ve had this intuition for some time. But sometimes it helps to have another person with clear thinking to shape that intuition into a framework for making sense of the world. That’s why I reached out to Theo Horesh, this week’s guest on the podcast.

A seasoned entrepreneur, writer and author, Theo bring lucidity to any conversation he is in. Whether the topic is personal growth, spirituality, politics, or the state of the world, Theo is a fountain of wisdom and moral clarity.

As I discussed in last week’s episode, this podcast is entering brave new waters. Nearly every podcast about organizational leadership and personal development avoids politics like the plague. That’s certainly their prerogative. I’m making a different choice for two reasons.

First, I know how many of you are, like me, struggling to make sense of our political life and the world in which we live. The perspectives and stories we explore will light a candle where now there is darkness.

Second, I think that the life we take for granted in the developed West is up for grabs. The health of your company or college or not-for-profit depends on a form of government known as liberal democracy. It depends on protecting liberal democracy. The freedoms you and I have to make life choices, pick jobs and careers, choose partners, and speak freely in public exist because we live in liberal democracies.

Protecting liberal democracy is important because they are relatively new and uncommon. They didn’t exist in the Garden of Eden, hunter-and-gather societies, agriculture-based civilizations, or even most of the early industrialized world. They are a new invention. We take them for granted, but they are precious, and they can go away.

Theo Horesh has thought deeply about this. How is liberal democracy different from fascism, dictatorship and autocracy? How is it that the most classic and deadly example of a fascist government took root in what was then the world’s most advanced society, 1930’s Germany? What signs do we see of something similar happening today in the United States and parts of Europe? Why do so many of us still have our heads in the sand while, at the same time, so many others believe we’re already practically fascist, so what’s the point anyhow? Why does choosing the virtuous life—one that inevitably must involve politics—make sense no matter what happens in the future? How can we protect liberal democracy?

In this conversation, I invite Theo to help me wrestle with these questions and many more.

As I said, we’re breaking new ground into edgier topics. I this hope feels to you like we are breaking bread together. The most troubling and perplexing political questions can coexist with rigorous and respectful conversation. Indeed, why would we want it any other way?

As always, when you share with friends, we all win.

Highlights

  • 9:30 What is fascism?
  • 20:30 Germany before Nazi rule was the most advanced society in the world
  • 26:30 Fascism is not at all conservative
  • 35:30 We have a fascist President and movement but not a fascist government
  • 53:30 The benefits of living a virtuous life
  • 58:30 Why many on the Left felt glee about Trump’s election
  • 63:30 The importance of conserving democratic institutions
  • 1:08:30 The extraordinary freedoms we take for granted

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