GLC XII: Mindful Leadership, March 11, 2016

Please join us for GLC XII: Mindful Leadership March 11th, the 5th anniversary of the 3/11 earthquake. What is Mindful Leadership? How do we maintain mindfulness in the fast changing world we live in? Why would we want to? How do we experience un-mindful leadership? What is the difference between meditation and mindfulness? These are some of questions that may be discussed March 11 at The Wesley Center. Please join the conversation!

To register please go to:

New videos posted on our Youtube Channel

Check out the latest videos on our GLC Youtube Channel! They do a great job in communicating who we are and its impact on our key members.

Thank you Thibaut Meurisse for putting these together!

FOLF 2015 Summary

HideWhat a great day Saturday! A truly collaborative effort with over 20 people working together in its creation. Hide Enomoto-san started the day by helping us look at new ways to connect with our purpose. While not easy to do in a day he gave us a method and the state of mind to be in the quest.

conscious_leadershipThis was followed by a workshop facilitated by Skip Swanson and Dori Yanagi with support by Diana Chapman and her book, “The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership”. In any given moment we are either acting from a conscious or unconscious state. One isn’t better than the other but we are generally more happy and resourceful when we operate from a conscious state. The key is to recognize where you are at any given moment and shift to a conscious state, especially in these times of “emerging complexity”. In leadership coaching, we see more and more leaders looking for tools to help them shift to their conscious state to enhance effectiveness.

An interactive workshop with tarinainanika followed dinner. This was a refreshingly physical, fun and unexpected activity incorporating delight and play. It brought the topic of creating connection and creating community out of the head and into the body.

Panel DiscussionYoko Ishikura-sensei gave an inspired talk on what the future of leadership is requiring of us. We can’t wait to get the right pedigree or wait to be part of an establishment. The time is NOW. We need to extend ourselves beyond what we think is possible and to give our greatest contributions as Leaders today. She was joined by Kai Sawyer-san and Hide Enomoto-san on a panel discussion. Hide-san expressed that we all possess leadership qualities within ourselves and that leadership is not a title or a position. He expressed that in Japan’s past one’s identity was often tied up with an organization. If the organization failed one’s identity was questioned. Ishikura-sensei boldly shared that she pays “no attention to joining this or that community,” but instead follows her curiosity and interest. Kai feels connectedness with everyone with the realization that every action he takes affects everyone in some way. In the gift economy or “gift ecology,” instead of fretting over money, he offers his work to those in need and in turn his needs are met through offers. “What goes around comes around.”

This led to an experimental open space technology conversation led by David Nevin and Shiro. Topics from the day were broken down, digested and discussed. It was a cross-pollination conversation of new ideas. Commitments were made. Joel Mitchel lead us through a silent and profound gratitude exercise. Annette Karseras ended the day by helping us harvest the insights of the day.

lumina world_cafe

Overall the event was gratifying and inspiring. A follow up conversation (Global Leadership Cafe) is being planned for sometime in July. If you would like to contribute your ideas for that conversation please let us know.

Thank you everyone for your participation and contribution. FOLF 2 was a great example of the power of collaboration!

FOLF 2015

GLC VII Team Collaboration – A Summary

Taro art 1212Co-authored by Michael Shell and Annette Karseras

When have you experienced true Team Collaboration? How can you encourage true Team Collaboration in your organization? These were the questions that kicked off November 28, 2014 Global Leadership Cafe in Tokyo, Japan.

Instinctively, we all know something about collaboration. We are social animals after all. But why is it that some teams just jell, while others struggle? Individually we cannot solve the global scale issues of today. We need to enhance our ability to coordinate collectively – within and between organizations and, at the micro-level, as teams.

The Team Collaboration Café began by exploring teamwork as an interplay of leadership and followership. Forming first pairs and then small groups, the 40-strong participants played a mirroring game, taking turns to physically lead or follow the movements of their partners; exploring the dynamics of collaboration as the leader-follower roles moved fluidly between the players. We had fun and we learned a lot.

From bodywork, to café style discussion, small groups shared and mingled. Memories of trust and safety rediscovered on one discussion table, bled into experiences of alignment and synergy spoken on another, were refracted through lenses of shared accountability, harnessing diverse expertise, celebrating wins and scores of other perspectives.

Finally, participants took insights from these variously re-invoked pasts and distilled them into an action; one small step each person could take individually in their own organization – to move purposefully nearer to achieving true collaboration.

Some of the shared commitments include:

  • Scheduling regular meetings to share passions
  • Saying thank you every day
  • Practicing Deep Democracy – meaning listening and respecting every voice
  • Sharing self more and be more open
  • Putting myself in other people’s shoes
  • Focusing on the quality of my relationships
  • Starting conversations by asking questions, not by giving the answers

We’d love to hear from you! How can you enhance team collaboration at work?



Thoughts on Staying Foolish, the conversation

What does Staying Foolish have to do with Global Leadership? Plenty, it turns out. A leader who is willing the play the fool intentionally is the one who courageously challenges the status quo and makes it safe for others to follow. He or she skillfully breaks rules created from the past in a time when the future was more predictable. The Foolish Leader invites us to examine our unexamined assumptions. Knowing which rules to break and how to break them seem to be the difference between being foolish and being a fool, often a fine line!

These are some of the insights gleamed from the October 3, 2014 GLC conversation on Staying Foolish. By entering the conversation open-minded and curious we were left enriched and with a new sense of what is possible. People shared that when you are willing to be foolish you engage those around you and help them to return to their natural state of resourcefulness and creativity –  the very same qualities global organizations strive to develop in their people today.

On a couple table-conversations comparisons were made between Foolishness and the court Jester. In ancient times, the court Jester was the only one who could safely challenge the King. He illicits laughter at our commonly held assumptions and in the process provides a pathway to wisdom.

Many talked about learning from children and the benefit of being more playful at work. David Nevin led us through a playful exercise where we learned the benefits of design thinking, unbeknownst to us at the time, and how our assumptions left unexamined limits our creativity and emergence of new solutions. We discussed how seriousness often narrows our focus, which is sometimes needed, but not helpful when innovation is called for. Absurdity was discussed as the extreme form of foolishness.

People questioned why a difference exists between work and play why it takes so much courage to bring play to work. When asked about the “how question;” how we can incorporate play into work some of these ideas emerged:

  • schedule a “playful week,” where people are encouraged to do things differently
  • foster people’s natural state by encouraging an environment of fun
  • create a “playground” at work, a space where it is safe to play
  • look for patterns to disrupt in yourself
  • have intentional “nomikai’s”
  • insert elements of surprise at work
  • be selective about the people you bring into your organization, test their ability to play!

One group made a “foolish” analogy between foolishness and a hot air balloon! The hot air balloon is powered by the creative energy that propels us to float up into the air to see wider and broader perspectives not possible from the ground. The higher we go, the wider our perspective and the more we learn. We then need to come back to earth and put into practice the new acquired knowledge. The obvious “negative” sides of foolishness were also discussed.Harvest wall

GLC VI had a nice mixture of first time GLCer’s and veterans as well as Japanese and non-Japanese. The topic stimulated perhaps our most paradoxical and whimsical conversations.

As we shift from an outdated directive command and control approach to leadership towards collaborative frameworks, it is clear that today’s leaders need the capacity to hold and manage multiple paradoxes. They create the container for which smart foolishness is allowed and nurtured. Global Leaders need to be highly self-aware to know when it makes sense to be foolish without being a fool!

Please share your current thinking on the topic of Staying Foolish here on our community blog and we would love to hear your ideas for GLC VII!

Please take 2 1/2 minutes to share what theme would you like to discuss in GLCVII – Topic Ideas

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Join the Leadership Team!

Interested in practicing Foolishness in a diverse and supportive environment? If so, please join our leadership team, guided by these principles:

  • effortless effort
  • act from joy and
  • there’s nothing wrong
  • we are stronger when we think together

We support the development of leadership capacity by supporting their leadership commitments. All of us have benefited through our participation. The more we contribute the more we grow.

Common benefits include:

  • developing authentic relationships
  • listening to others
  • listening for what wants to emerge in a group
  • adapting to uncertainty, ambiguity, chaos and the unknown
  • allowing the emerging group process to unfold
  • comfort with discomfort
  • c0-creating the pathway as we move forward.

Join our team and work with us to catalyze connections!