The thirteenth iteration of the Global Leadership Café was held at Impact Hub Tokyo ( on Thursday, June 16, 2016. What a fantastic space! Like the GLC, it’s open, agile and working on developing new ways of working, thinking, and being.

As always, the event was organized with the principle of distributed leadership, and so everyone and no one made it succeed. However a special shout-out needs to be made this time to Jake (Jacob Erlich) for the space-setting/art direction. He created some fantastic visual supports, turning a good space into a great one for our event.


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Particularly creative was Jake’s visual representation of our agenda, showing our activities (open/launch, movement exercise (process wheel), World Café rounds & breaks, harvest, circle feedback, feedback and clean-up). Each section of the clock-chart indicated the time roughly allotted to each activity. Brilliant!

visual agenda

After opening with a few words about our community and the background to “Leadership and Love”, we started with a Process work-style activity. Starting with the working definition of “loving X” as “wanting X to succeed, develop and grow”, we explored six spaces, each marked out as a physical location in the room with tape. Each space represented a ‘direction’ we could channel our love in our work:

  • Customers
  • Peers
  • Subordinates
  • Vendors/suppliers
  • Self
  • ?

The “?” represented any other entity participants wanted to explore. Interestingly, many chose “boss”. Other choices included “the environment”, “society”, and “the company as a whole”.

After moving to and trying out each perspective, participants were invited to move to the area they felt drawn to, the space that they wanted to operate from in their work. In the debrief, participants were asked to share what brought them to the space they chose and how they felt exploring the different perspectives. One interesting observation was that the group ended up spread out quite evenly – each space had a few people. Another was that in many cases, people had very different reasons for choosing the same space.

Next, the group explored three questions in a World Café:

  1. How did love impact your day today?
  2. Which leaders can you think of who embody love in their leadership? How would you define their leadership qualities?
  3. As a leader how can you support other’s passions?

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Typical for a Global Leadership Café, the conversations were rich and stimulating. There were diverse opinions shared on how ‘love’ could be defined in the context of both question 1 and 2. However, many conversations led to common discovery: that our leadership role models often operate from a place of (1) a desire to help others grow and generally make the world a better place; and (2) security – they know who they are, are comfortable with who they are, and thus are comfortable focusing their attention on others.

The Café harvest collected insights in three categories: “Head” (ideas/mindset), “Heart” (feeling/emotions) and “Hand” (concrete actions).

Harvest (1)

Harvest (3)


In the debrief, among many other insights, we noticed that “listen” appeared in some form in the presentation of all three categories: to have a ‘listen carefully’ mindset (head); to listen with a selfless heart (heart); and to listen for other’s passions/excitement and reflect it (hand).

Slack for iOS Upload

In the final circle debrief, participants reflected on the event and shared some their feedback, insights, discoveries. A common takeaway was a renewed sense of purpose and a recharged desire to take greater advantage of the opportunities that we are given through our work to express, show, and embody love.

Wrapping up!