Special Podcast: Critical Foundations for Conscious and Impactful Leadership
The Leadership Junkies Podcast
Are you a mindful leader? Are you a resilient leader? Are you investing in knowing yourself as a leader? Are you looking for mindsets, tools and strategies to enhance your leadership and impact? Our special guest Libby Robinson answers these and other questions about what it means to be an impactful, resilient and mindful leader. Libby Robinson is the Managing Partner, Chief Heretic and CXO Whisperer of Integral, an award-winning leadership, executive coaching and advisory company working with Fortune 1000 companies globally. A former wall street banker, aerospace engineer and national champion equestrian, Libby has worked for 26 years with senior leaders globally, helping to bring more mindfulness, resilience and greater capacity to brilliant and ambitious leaders. Integral uses a multi-disciplinary approach to foster deep personal change in leaders and to evoke “conscious leadership” cultures for their clients.
Libby’s latest venture has been to launch BackFeed+, a new app that helps individuals and organizations get better, faster feedback using a method backed by the latest neuroscience data about how individuals receive feedback with less stress. Listen as Libby shares her wisdom and experience on conscious leadership, mindfulness and resilience. The Leadership Junkies Podcast is brought to you by Cardivera.com.
Show Notes Episode highlights…
Relationship precedes results – accomplishments always follow some form of relationship
The key role of mindfulness in leadership (What does it mean to be a human being versus a human doing in leadership?)
Understanding your triggers and navigating them differently
The importance of mindfulness and resilience in leadership and rich living
Foundations of ontological coaching
Deepening our emotional intelligence, awareness and range
The importance of being clear about the standards by which your team works (expectations)
Pace is a leadership choice
Leaders don’t run (slow down, see more, connect more)
Mindfulness is the one core way of being for leaders
Winning in business at the expense of the health of your team and people is a loss
The secret Jedi mind tricks of leadership
The key role of and need for compassion in leadership
Leadership essentials in creating a place where your people feel safe, secure and vulnerable
Key elements of resilience
What does it mean to root your leadership
Leaders must allow others to support them
The role of imposter syndrome in leadership
I think we may have lost some of the elements of community as we become globalized organizations, a lot of people are suffering a lot of different things. And I don’t think that organizations have to be there to take care of someone from cradle to grave. But I do think that we need to be able to as leaders have language that embodies multiple ways of being. Sometimes it’s compassion, sometimes its strength and clarity of boundary. But people reducing suffering and fear in organizations is a big thing. If you know how to do that, then you’ve got real skill and real flexibility. I think you want to have this ability to be mindful to have again, those secret Jedi Knight tricks of leadership of being able to shift the energy and attention of other people. Do I have community in which I can just be me that I don’t have to produce? Right? You know, and that I can be honest? And am I able to speak my truth in my organization? Or am I shut down?
Welcome to the leadership junkies podcast brought to you by Carter era, the leadership development ecosystem that helps you grow your people, grow your business and grow your life. We’re back today in Episode 87 with our special guest, Libby Robinson, and the title today is the roots of leadership, critical foundations for conscious and impactful leadership. Libby has a fascinating career. Libby is the managing partner, Chief heretic and CXO whisperer of an organization called integral. It’s an award winning leadership executive coaching and advisory company that worked with fortune 1000 companies globally. She’s also interestingly enough, a former Wall Street banker, aerospace engineer, and a national champion equestrian. She’s been working in the leadership space for over 25 years. And she’s clearly focused on conscious leadership. And what we’re going to talk about today is the critical role of mindfulness and resilience and leadership. We’re going to talk about how vital it is to work on ourselves as a leader, not just work on our people in our leadership. We’re going to talk about the pace of leadership. We’re going to talk about several ideas that Libby calls her secret Jedi mind trick of leadership. And she’s going to talk about this idea of building the roots of our leadership, the idea to really ground ourselves in who we are, and how we are going to show up as leaders. It’s another fascinating conversation. I know you’re going to be wowed, inspired and challenged today with Libby Robinson.
Leadership junkies podcast where we explore leadership, business and personal growth, to help you grow your business and live a richer life where your hosts Jeff dish wits and Craig Matthews, we believe that leaders have to put their people first. And if you don’t have time to grow your people, then you’re not leading. Get ready for conversations that will challenge your thinking, and help you transform your leadership and your business. Welcome to your bigger business and bigger life.
I am excited to be back here with another amazing guest. We have Libby Robinson with us. She is the founder of an organization called integral integral coaching. It’s an award winning leadership, executive coaching and advisory company that works with fortune 1000 companies around the world. Listen to this, Craig. She’s a former Wall Street banker, aerospace engineer, and a national champion equestrian
things we can talk about everything but leadership
all day, but we’re gonna we’re gonna lean towards leadership and all of this. And I know one of the things we’re going to talk about because Libby and I both have a passion around feedback, and helping to grow teams through feedback and doing it differently. So I know we’ll talk about some of that. And the other thing that jumped out to me from her bio, was this concept of conscious leadership. It’s something Craig, you and I talked about regularly. I don’t think everyone really understands it. But it’s all about taking a multidisciplinary I call it a holistic approach to developing people and leaders. So welcome, Libby, thank you so much for having me. Both of you. Great to have you here. So Libby, give us a little bit of the background story on you and your journey. Okay, I’ll try to make it a quick you know, I was born No.
I worked one of my first
Jobs was in aerospace engineering software engineering for a company that was a conglomerate of the mergers, Allied signal, Bendix aerospace. I got that job when I was a sophomore computer science major back in the day.
And I won’t tell you the long story about how I got that job, but I was really pleased to have gotten it. And from there, that was the kind of early to mid 80s studying math and computer science that was the dawn of real time computing on Wall Street. So I got hired into Wall Street, not knowing the difference between a stock and a bond
had to do my series seven license, which is the stock broker license, it’s a pretty extensive and difficult thing to get. But I persevered and was able to get that which allowed me to be on the trading floors. And while I had all of the qualifications to, you know, be there as an analyst on Wall Street, and eventually was actually analyzing mortgage backed securities, you know, think of The Big Short Movie,
I found out that I was really just miserable. I had more money than, you know, my father had ever made. I had limos home, I had, you know, all the kind of, you know, things that wall street afforded young smart folks, and I wasn’t happy. And I started looking around for what was
wrong, like, you know, hey, I thought I had made it by my, you know, by my family standards, I was rocking.
And I found that there was a
area of study called organizational development.
And around the same time, I found some work around personal mastery. And I met some people at a, at a cocktail party in a Soho gallery. And literally, they were everybody else just kind of very snooty. And I looked, I looked over at these people, and there’s people in the corner that were having so much fun, and I was kind of like that, you know, Harry, but Sally things they’re having.
And I walked over to them, and I said, you know, hey, you know, you guys are seeming like you’re having a lot more fun. And they told me about this work that they were doing. And I was like, sign me up. Yeah.
So I think it was the conjunction of two worlds, which is I love business, I love business people I love, you know, all that through whether it was engineering and aerospace, or whether it was Wall Street.
But there were in those days, it was really missing the people element of you know, how do you nurture and take care of and have people become more aware, so that they can
self propagate and be better themselves without having, you know, lots of people kind of mechanical intervention? How can they learn to become more mindful and resilient? So that’s the quick story. Well,
it was a journey. What I love about that it is the Soho Art Gallery. Because No, I mean, that was really rich to me that here you are hanging out with all the professional types. And you know, you labeled them as snooty. And I’ve been at those events, but you found the group that was having fun, and had that conversation, which is really kind of what I do. Yeah, like, I look around and say, This is really boring. Wait a minute, let me you know, in fact, it’s interesting, because in my life’s journey, one thing that’s been asked of me many times early in my career, back when I worked for others, was, Why do you they say, Why do you spend so much time hanging out with staff?
I said, because they’re great people. And I had more people experience richness in that conversation with the professionals. Not that saying all professionals are bad. But I love that you made it seem so simple. But that’s it was a turning point in your life to just go have that different conversation. Absolutely. So one of the fundamental principles that we’ve put in all of our leadership programs at integral, and they’re all, you know, custom bespoke programs, but one of our fundamental principles is relationship precedes results. Absolutely. Amen. And so I say to people, you know, think about whatever achievements you’ve had in your life, even your kids if you want, you know, whatever.
And if you think about it, there’s you know, each for each accomplishment that you have had is always depends on some form of relationship, right. And I was once working with a group of Interpol leaders so and Interpol, there’s this guy who’s like one of the top guys there, and he said, Well, you know, I did my PhD and sort of like, I’m going to call it like,
imaginative physics or something. And he said, I did that independent study. And I said, then you had a relationship with the material that was second to none. You had a relationship. It just wasn’t what the person it was with something else. So I think one of the things that I think is an important
aspect of where we are now in this point in time in leadership and in learning is that there’s a real scramble to commoditize to spread to democratize learning. So we get this very sort of wide, a lot of content, but we don’t get necessarily, how do we develop the roots and deeper relationships that really formed fundamental achievement? That’s interesting. So you talked about the relationships, and typically we think of relationships with other people. What if the relationship was self in this process? Excellent question. So I think that this is also something that is often missed in leadership, like there’s all these different theories. And everybody’s, you know, you throw a rock, you got a leadership consultant, or a new theory on leadership, right. And
I think one of the things that we often missed in leadership, because it doesn’t look like it has a direct connection to performance, right? Doesn’t look like it as a direct connection to what I’m doing over here is, what does it take to people for people to become more mindful? Now? There’s all sorts of apps and things out there for people now, but what does it actually mean? How does one wake up?
to the idea that I’m more than just a human doing? That I’m a human being, and then I’m not just constantly reacting to the world like a pinball machine? Yes. But that I have some choice over what I think, what I feel how I am in the world. And so I was introduced to this actually, from that cocktail party, folks. Plus some, you know, work I was doing in just basic, you know, young in therapy. What do I notice about myself and most leadership programs, do not give sufficient attention to that they might teach you how to meditate or they might, you know, there’s all this kind of new Figo, I can give you this app, and you can go do it. But really, how do you teach people about the triggering events, you know, and there’s some neuroscience and I know you’re the neuroscience nerd in this team. And there’s neuroscience around you know, you have about actually point six seconds before you get an amygdala hijack. And so how do you teach people not to be
just reactive? You know, automatons? And so that’s, that’s interesting to me.
Well, it’s, it’s to say that I’m gonna say it’s about five years ago, not that long ago, a very close friend of mine was working with a training and development organization, I won’t say their name, that on paper, was cutting edge. And when I read about it, I thought, well, this seems like a unique program. I knew people went through it seemed pretty cool. And it was talking about conscious leadership.
She gets in as an instructor, and it was people would come for a week long immersion. So they’ve got eight to 10 hours a day for seven days, right? She goes to the instructor and says, I think we should do something on breathing,
and mindfulness. And they said, that’s an amazing idea. No, we’re gonna do we’re gonna give you 10 minutes a day.
And that was all they would give her because the rest of the content was so good. And when I heard that, I said, Wow, you’ve just told me a lot more about what this organization is. And when it’s not, because you’re still in that old ballgame with some good stuff. But you’re leaving out the all this stuff that’s so vital. And I think you’re right, Libby, I think people struggle to find they’re looking for that direct, easy, measurable connection, that if we do this differently, we’ll get this different outcome. Yeah, yeah. And I think it’s there. But it’s not as clear as some measures we have. Yeah, it takes a courageous leader, I worked with a chief operating officer in a global organization. And he allowed us to design a program for his leaders that actually went started in the middle, when all the way down to the energy into individual contributors, and then eventually went up to senior practitioners, I’ve you know, over the course of like, seven years, but in the foundation’s course, which was a three day immersion, if you will, back in the day, when you could meet and do that. He would stand up at the beginning of a lot of these and say, You know what, I have no idea. And I don’t think this is actually going to help you in your day to day job to it might even convince you to leave the organization and that’s okay. He said what I’m interested in, and is, is you really using this time for yourself, for you to really get clear about what you want in life and what you’re committed to. Wow. And that sponsorship, he was probably the best sponsor we ever had, but people really took that off.
And the different programs that that manifest out of that almost all. So this is
probably like 7 billion now, about 98 of 100 of their top 100 leaders have been through these programs. And it’s really well, the foundation has been mindfulness and resilience. Of course, there’s other things that you add in operational excellence customer, your universe, people in team, all of the things, but that the one thing I will say that may be different, that we’re shifting to and I think have been like this, is that there’s more of a focus on peer and social learning. We,
there’s so much content out there, you could download LinkedIn learning or mind Valley or anything else out there, what you need are the connections to be encouraged to be challenged. And not just from a hierarchical standpoint or from HR, you need this posse, if you will, you need this group of people, that you can go on a journey with whether it’s virtual or in person.
So that’s, that’s where I think we’re, we’re heading.
After write that down, that was really good.
Tell me what I said afterwards, because I know I really well, I really liked the idea. And there’s so much more this unfolding. But you really got it granular this idea. This isn’t a hierarchical hierarchical learning, it’s not about hrs initiative. It’s about the peers coming together and working and learning and growing together, which requires, I think, courageous leadership, it also makes sure there’s gotta be a level of trust built in some of the things you talked about the ability and willingness have someone to take a look at their triggers. I mean, I would grant you that most people, if we walked down the street right now and talk to 100 people and said, let’s talk about your triggers, the vast majority would have no idea what we’re talking. Yeah, I mean, you have to define that, right? You’d have to define it. And then they’d say, Oh, yeah, I probably do that. And they’d be focusing on the act of triggering, versus that whole deeper level of understanding what was the trigger? What was and Where’d that come from? And how do I navigate it differently going forward? What do I need to learn about myself? And how can I shift this whole experience by being more aware? I mean, I would say, probably 95% of my coaching ultimately is about triggers. It really is. Because that’s how I seen people transform when they can really understand those triggers and shift behavior, not as just turning it off, but understanding it. Yeah, so our methodology and integral is, is founded around ontological worldview, Ontological Coaching. And ontological, it’s just a big fancy word just means the study of the way of being, and the way of being of an individual, the way of being of a team, the way of being of a culture of an organization. But it has three main domains, that we can help teach these little distinctions for people to be able to see it’s almost like they get a new language. So the first domain is around linguistics, right? So the technology of your language. So
language isn’t just the content of it, there are actually actions, right? assessments, assertions, requests, offers, promises, declarations, all of this is the technology kind of the architecture of your language, kind of the code, if you will have the words. And so if we teach some leaders, some basic distinctions and mystics, like even just the idea of what’s an assessment, and you know, what’s an assertion what, you know, what, what’s a story? What story right? You probably use this, Jeff, what story? Are you telling yourself right now to me at all?
And and what story are we living in? What story are we generating? So the idea of that we can be generative with our language and generative with our leadership. So language is really important. Of course, you know, with all coaching, you’ll see that, you know, emotional and social intelligence, we say to people that most people can distinguish mad, glad and sad. And that as a leader, what we want to be able to do is have a richer set of distinctions, kind of the music behind the words so that we are not just taken, mostly we don’t have emotions, emotions have us, right? And so the ability to be able to notice what’s living emotionally in my body, right, and what am I generate? What’s the field of energy that I’m generating?
As a leader, as a coach, as an individual contributor? What What am I responsible for over here? And what’s that impact is important. Then we also teach people about cymatics. And so of course, it’s just the Greek word for body
it you know, it might be called executive presence. But even if you’re not an executive, how you show up what your body even if we’re all virtual, we’re not having a coffee together the pitch, pace, tone, breath, how you stop and you silence
is is important as a as a human being connecting with others. So I think that there’s so much that
is about mindfulness in leadership. But we’ve gotten lost in this kind of academia, theory.
Even the neuroscience, I will say, though, I love the neuroscience, that it just doesn’t make it real. And I’ll say one last thing, I was coaching a mid level manager at a technology company the other day, and he’s going to get a new set of changing, he’s getting a new set of folks. And he’s a, he’s an engineer by training. So he’s always like, yeah, you know, they kind of have to prove it to me first, like before, I’ll trust them. And I said,
you know, what, if? What if you could just think of them like,
plants, you have to nurture, like, they’re gonna come in here and stick them in the ground? And if you do nothing, and just wait for them and see if they’re gonna grow? They might, they might not? Right. But if you give them some sunshine, and you give them some water, and you talk to them? Yeah, chances are, and he was like,
I thought they just had
to prove their work. Yeah, no, that’s a great analogy. Yeah, I think there are a couple things that come up for me on that. One, you’re talking about the language and the mechanics of language or the architecture of language. But I think the the words that we use are so important, and to have a shared language, because there’s so many organizations, after going through some training, as a leadership team, and one of the organizations I was with, we could all just mention a word, and it would trigger this whole subset of stuff that came with that word, which allowed us to be super efficient in our communication with each other, because we knew what we were talking about.
Yeah, and then I think I think the other side is the the energy that you’re talking about, and being able to be a master of that, to understand what’s going on when something happens. And we do get triggered, and we start feeling something in our body. And to be aware of that, first of all, and then to be able to take control of that and say, Okay, I’m having this experience, this is the outcome that I want to have, rather than, you know, I’m gonna blow up, either intentionally, or I can choose to do something else.
Absolutely, I think one of the recommendations I would give any team, you know, even if they’re just listening to this podcast for the first time, is that so many teams do not take a color kind of a timeout to look at the standards and the processes by which they work. Right. So I would recommend any team once a quarter, you know, says what are the standards by which we work? You know, what are we agreeing to? And are we living up to that? and modify? I’m sorry, are you talking about a team charter? Yeah, it could be a team charter, it just could be, you know, you might call them ground rules, you might call them, you know, ways of working. But so often, everybody’s so busy in the content of getting something done that they forget. And then what happens is you get those breakdowns. You know, like, if I don’t respond, you know, Craig to your email, you know, within five nanoseconds, you’re like, right, what back? Right, you know, and, you know, maybe I’m working on a standard of 24 hours, or I’m working on a standard that something else, if we have, often teams have what we call missing conversations. And they’re often about the way of working not the what we need to get done. Like everybody mostly knows what we need to get done. And they’re, they’re interdependent on each other. So that’s one thing. And the other thing that teams can do really easily
is to do a check in and check out at meetings. You know, not every single meeting fans have that. But just making sure that you get that sense of where everybody is because you don’t know. You don’t really know until you ask. Well, big fan of that as well. Let’s take a quick break and hear from our sponsors. The leadership junkies podcast is brought to you by Carter avera. Carter Vera is a leadership development ecosystem with training, coaching, resources, events, and a community to help you grow. At Carter Vera, we believe that you can’t grow a business bigger than you that your company is limited by your growth. We blend personal growth with leadership team and business growth to give you a single place to grow your people grow your business and grow your life. You can find out more at Carter berra.com. Welcome back. A question that comes up. You’ve used the word mindfulness a number of times.
And I’m curious how
Are you finding organizations and leaders literally to that word, even more so than the concept, because I know over the years, I’ve often felt and chose to approach my work as like a Trojan horse, avoiding some of the words that I felt like they were not open to. But knowing that once we got into the work, we’re going to do the work without labeling it, because just know there was resistance to the word. So what are you finding today, around that language of mindfulness?
Well, I think we’ve taken maybe, you know, one and a half steps forward and about a step back in the sense that
people know the word mindfulness, there’s a ton of apps and things out there. And they think it’s a thing.
They say, okay, so just let’s do a workshop on mindfulness, right, or let’s, where I think what we should be talking about is leadership as a practice.
And so, you know, just like, surgeons have a practice, and consultants have a practice, there is an art of practicing. And so you need to be able to, there’s a, there’s a real
knee jerk, I think, to create an HR tech stack that gives all these things to people and just go and go and do it, please, versus cultivating a community and organization, even if we’re, you know, countries and continents apart, creating community, where people are going to want to help each other. And so I would say to you, mindfulness might not be the word. It depends on on the leaders in the organization, I think we’re making some progress, but it’s
the hot the hard thing is when the CFO says, you know, what’s the, you know, the ROI on this? How can you How can you, for sure, you know, trim out all the variables and prove that this has done it. And I think you only do that in a qualitative way, when you’ve got leaders who are willing to say, yes, this actually changed my life. It seems like several of the things that you’re talking about here require some margin, you know, that we have, that not everybody is doing two jobs, but they have a little bit of time to actually contemplate what’s going on. And assessing along the way, how to add people get that margin?
The Great question, you know, there was a friend of mine, who had a phrase, and I think it’s somebody else’s quote, but it says, a busy man always has time for more.
I, this is the first element of conscious choice. We’re all busy, we’re all overwhelmed with content with news with family with COVID, with whatever crisis you want to do. So right, just with life, and I think that that’s a symptom of something.
So getting people to stop even for 30 seconds, you know, having them, you know, I’m meditate a few times a week, but maybe for five or 10 minutes, you know, a day before the dog, you know, jumps on me or
something else happens, you know, I don’t think it needs to be a huge practice. And again, I would say community, people will come when they don’t have to do it all by themselves, you know, people will, if they don’t have to worry the whole load by themselves or so I want to re instill this idea that organizations
are networks of community and networks of conversation. And that the more that we can engender this idea that we’re not alone, we’re so often alone in front of our screens now, that the more that we can create that connection, the more likelihood we’re going to have more courageousness more compassion,
more mindfulness. So what about the, I guess, looking at the different perspectives of the speed that we’re at? So here in the United States, we have we have a speed now, certainly, you were working on probably the most high speed environment of all, which is the trading floor, and then you lived in Paris for 20 plus years? I would imagine that’s a very different pace.
What how does that play out to the organization?
Being in different pace? Yeah. Well, you know, that really speaks to different you know, both organizational and and national cultures.
But I want to challenge you a little bit on the concept of pace, okay. Yes, there are.
Just say, you know, the ontology ontology, the way the pace of the way this place is, right. Kenyon’s got a different place, you know paced than Paris and Paris is a different pace to some extent than New York. But what’s my own pace at any one time in
Do I have conscious choice over that? And I think that that’s the first place that we can see, do we all need to be lounging about in a hammock? and Thailand? No, probably not. But I think we’ve bought into this idea of the overwhelm and the speed, when one of our other principles that at integral, along with relationship proceeds results is called go slow to go fast. Yeah, which is, we know that we can’t, we know from the neuroscience, multitasking is not a real thing. And so that the idea of being able to manage a leaders energy and attention, as we call this,
a secret Jedi Knight tricks of leadership, so I’m sorry, George.
But he’ll probably come and see me someday when I make you write a book on that. But um,
so I think Ace is a leadership choice. Right? Absolutely. It is a leadership choice. So there may be times where you say to your team,
every moment counts only work on the one and two high priority things, let everything else go or, or there is there a self organizing team where they just know that they can just feel the change. So we shouldn’t always think of pace as just being one thing. And that leaders have a responsibility to not just push, push, push, push, push, and in fact that that’s all you are, you’re not really leading, you’re just kind of a bulldozer.
Well, it’s interesting, you talked about that, the pace, contact and speed, I think we have a cultural addiction to it, there’s still a pretty ingrained belief in the US at least, that going fast, creates more and better results. And I’ve said this exact same thing. My phrase is, if you want to speed up, you have to slow down. That’s how you speed up by slowing down. And I realized, in a context out of work just a few years ago, where I was at a retreat context, I do a lot of retreats. And I realized I was often running.
I thought, Why are you running? And I stopped running and said to myself, like as a going forward principle, leaders don’t run.
Unless it’s life or death, which it almost never is. leaders don’t run. And so it told me that whenever I’m running, I’m not leading. Yep.
myself in that moment, they Oh, wait a minute. I’m not leading right now. I’m doing something else. Stop, slow down. Because what’s the leaders job leaders job is to see things that to understand things that you can’t do that when you’re going so fast. Yeah. You also can’t connect with people along the way if you’re running past them? Of course not. Of course not.
I have a dear friend of mine, Stephen Toulmin. He’s the CEO of a large professional services consulting company. He’s been there for 1000 years. Sorry, Steven.
And when I first met him, we had met in India, we were both doing some work there and through a mutual friend. And a few weeks later, we got on the phone to talk. He’s like, you know, tell me about integral and things like that. And I talked to him about mindfulness and resilience, and you know, our customer leadership programs and things like that, what we were doing. And he said, That’s fascinating. He said, here at Bain, we just did this major research about what made our partners, you know, our top partners successful. He said, we did this whole regression analysis, we did all these interviews, and we found that there were these 33 characteristics. I said, Okay, 33 characteristics. And he said, Yeah, but But wait, you only needed to have three of them. I was like, Okay, that’s good, because I would have never made it as a main partner. And he said, yeah, it could be any three, except one of the three had to be this one thing.
And I said, What is it? He said, mindfulness, I said, Oh, my God, you’ve just proved my entire reason why doing work, he said, so that’s like, my favorite story. You know, here you are the McKinsey’s, the Baines, the BC G’s of the world, trying to look at map, analyze, what made their best partners the best. And it was a diversity of talents. That were one thing. So, to me, that’s the story to tell,
you know, to sell mindfulness, and, you know, it really is a question of,
I think you’ve heard this, I’m sure before, you know,
says, CFO says to CEO, what if we do all this leadership development training stuff? And then people leave? You know, and CEO says to CFO, what if we don’t train them and do this leadership development stuff and the state? Right, yep.
So that is so, so true. And mindfulness is I think part of this is educating leaders in a good way.
weigh on what it is because they have preconceived notions of it. First of all, a lot of leaders think it’s woowoo. They think this is some sort of a spiritual practice. And I’m not saying there’s not elements. But as soon as you label it that way, all these walls come up. Like your example, I think, someone who is willing to take a look at themselves and slow down enough to do that, that takes mindfulness to do that. When you look at.
Here’s an example, I was speaking some time ago to a group of business owners. And during the program, I was talking about making time to be really present for your team, just be present with them. Because if you’re present, you’ll be more curious if you’re present. They’ll feel seen, heard valued. And about half the group said, Well, what are some of your tips
that you would suggest if we have trouble finding time for that?
And I heard that and I said, Well, let me be honest with you, you don’t need a tip. Right? You need to understand the impact of what you’re doing. And not because when you don’t make time for your people, they feel unseen, unheard, unsafe, unvalued, unprotected, and they go into fear mode, and all they do is protect everything, and they’re not engaged. I can guarantee you that’s the outcome. And another job.
Well, actually, most of them are actually staying because they’re terrified. I think more people quit and stay then actually quit Lee. Oh, that’s my opinion. Wow, good point, you look at the numbers, I think more people quit and stay. You have organizations unwilling to address that are not mindful enough to say it’s on us. And you got the other issue of we don’t move people along who have quit. But I think, to me, that’s mindfulness. Because you talked about the return. If some leader wants to look at me and say, you know, I don’t see a financial return on our people feeling seen, heard, valued,
and safe. If they don’t see a return on that, then get the hell out of the chair.
You know, what kind of link you want more, I get the needs to be qualitative. But it’s hard to argue that that’s the impact of how we lead whether we’re mindful or not.
It kind of comes back to are you going to be a human leader? Are you going to be a manager? You know, who who sees everything is as black and white? I mean, ultimately, there’s, there’s an aspect of the human condition of saying, hey, Cato, there’s value in the relationship, there’s value in caring for the other people around me, rather than just is this going to make dollars and cents?
Yeah, and to some extent, I think that we’re really at a breaking point. And we need, as a coach, I want to say that
we have an obligation, I think they’re to go out and find organizations
to help bring more human leadership to the forefront, to find the quality, you know, the researchers to be able to prove what we know, empirically.
And because we’re at this sort of tipping point, because you’ve got the, you know, the, the overwhelm, you’ve got the pace and speed of technology and change. To some extent, you’ve got a generational, and you could have, you know, a generation of leaders that are all just stuck into their, you know, iPhone or iPad or you know, things and that’s a real risk, because you will have lost this ability for people to be compassionate. And, yes, the numbers matter. Yes. You know, we are a capitalist society and thing, you know, we need to produce value. But it’s counterintuitive, in some cases, what, you know, how we produce value, and I think it’s important to be able to continue to say that I think our politicians need coaches, you know, and leadership development. I think there’s some of you know, I think there’s a reason for us to be out there shouting from the rooftops
that mindfulness and resilience is a critical leadership skill. Yeah. But I think it comes back to what you said at the very beginning people receive results, relationship or relationship receive precedes results. Yeah. And I think I think, you know, when I heard that, Libby, I have to tell you, I agree. But I haven’t and,
and I love what you said about the guy from Interpol who said, I did this on my own independent study relationship with materials. Because I sometimes wonder,
and we talked about on the podcast last week with a guest that companies achieve success
by a lot of measures, and maybe even usually financial success
without doing these things, that I think that’s a reality. And I think one of the challenges come
companies and leaders say, Well, what, there’s nothing major to work on, because we’re winning,
but at the expense of their people. And I think part of the challenge is their results could be so much magnified by these shifts, but they’re winning the game. And so I wonder if there’s leaders who actually would say, you know, what, Libby word that we’re killing it with results, and not based on relationships? Yeah, but which game are you playing? That’s?
Yeah, I would venture to guess, and I’ve seen this in other organizations, where there are killing it at the expense of actually, you know, physical being. So look at how many members of the executive team have underlying conditions, how many people have recently been diagnosed with X, Y, or Z, you know, obviously, HIPAA, you can’t know these things. But you know, when you’re coaching within an organization, you start to see people, you know, and dropping like flies, or you look at, you know, the attrition rate at lower levels of the organization, there’s, you know, you can see the leading indicators of, you know, that kind of result, I’m not saying that we should all do woowoo, anything, you know, I, I believe that it’s important to, you know, have a successful business, I think, what what people miss is that, when you have, and, you know, engaged learning, you know, self propagating, interested community of learners and leaders, then you’ve got, you’ve got gold. And, you know, there’s lots of opportunities there. So
I don’t worry about selling it, there’s enough organizations that are starting to come around to that. You don’t need to, you don’t need to preach to the choir, you only need to preach to the Hummers and ones that are sort of want to be in the choir. Right. And then the ones that are, you know, late adopters, let them be a little bit, you’re talking about what’s really going on behind the scenes in people’s lives and in their health. And I think that’s the part if we can create an environment to bring that out. I remember, not that long ago, I was facilitating a retreat for a forum group. There were seven business owners. And I would say that if you talk to them about the business, they all had growth ideas and all this, but they were very successful in their business. They were. And but here’s the question, I asked them, I asked a lot of people on these retreats, I’ll say, what’s one thing that you could change in yourself, they would have the most positive impact in your leadership and your life.
didn’t surprise me, but it kind of shocked me a little.
Four of the seven said, drink less.
Wow. Now, that’s not a statement of what’s going on. And I applaud them for being in a space they felt safe enough to share. This was people they knew and trusted. Four out of seven now, with the if after the first one says that the debt changed some others very possibly. But you’ve got four out of seven people, business owners saying, You know what, I might have an issue here.
And there’s all sorts of issues like that going on in our lives. We live in the most medicated in the United States, most medicated country in the world. And this is not just medication in terms of disease, which is part of it, too. It’s all the other drugs were taking whether they be prescription or non prescription, nasal or illegal, the most medicated country in the world. Yeah. And that’s, I think what you’re getting at is on our last podcast gases was is a pharmacist, and he was talking about how you probably see 70 80% of people are dealing with some sort of anxiety or other types of issues that they’re medicating for. And it’s
how much of that is our fault as leaders to not help people either cope with it or to provide an environment where they feel safe, connected and taken care of? Yeah, yeah, I think we may have lost some of the elements of community as we’ve become, you know, globalized organizations. And, and it’s, a lot of people are suffering a lot of different things. And I don’t think that organizations, for profit organizations, or even a nonprofit organization have to be there to take care of someone from cradle to grave. But I do think that we need to be able to as leaders
that embodies, you know, multiple ways of being sometimes it’s compassion.
Sometimes it’s, you know, strength and clarity of boundary. But people reducing suffering and fear in organizations is, is a big thing. If you know how to do that,
then you’ve got real skill and real flexibility, I think we want to have this ability to be mindful to have, again, those secret Jedi Knight tricks of leadership of being able to shift the energy and attention of other people. And the only way you can shift the energy and attention of your co workers, or people you work for people that work for you, is to have to be able to manage the energy and attention of myself. So being able to be honest about what am i suffering? You know, what am I suffering? And that usually part of that suffering has to do with my own story about my own suffering?
Do I have community in which I can just be me that I don’t have to produce? Right?
You know, and that I can be honest? And am I able to speak my truth in my organization? Or am I shut down? Yeah. So there’s, there’s, you know, so many areas here, but I just think this is a propitious time to be looking at leadership, we have
a whole generation of
leaders, I think that won’t be like, you know, the generations before them and have some interesting talents. And but connecting, giving them kind of, again, routes and not just know, hey, I have you know, this many people on my Facebook or my LinkedIn or my Instagram?
And how do we connect in a way that’s meaningful, I think is is useful work in the world, no shortage of
the word that comes to mind when you’re talking about the roots is mastery. And I think about Okay, we’re really mastering that. I think one of the other things you were talking about as well was, you know, in this day and age where we have people working in all sorts of different places, and we don’t have this common space.
Looking for that good role model. We had a podcast guest early on Larry English, of centric consulting, and centric is a company that’s 1000 employees plus, and they are totally virtual, they have no offices. And it’s really interesting that they consistently get, you know, awards for their culture that that that people there would call it a family environment. And they invite the entire person to come to work. Yeah, that’s fantastic. Garrett in a row, we call ourselves a tribe. So um, you know, it’s a, it’s, it’s, it’s our chosen family, if you will, it’s near or far. That’s what we have is the integral tribe. That’s good.
You know, Libby, I’d love to talk a little more about a word you’ve used a lot today, but we haven’t focused on it. And it’s resilience. And there’s a lot of talk about resilience. In fact, a guy I know on LinkedIn pretty well as he’s resilience coach. And we had an interesting exchange going on a lot of people yesterday, because someone wrote an article that he shared, it said that the gift of COVID is that millions of people are more resilient today. Because it COVID. And my response was, I don’t agree at all. Now, and we get into the numbers, I think what happens is people think if they go through a difficult time, they’re now resilient. And I don’t believe that at all. I think resilience is a very intentional, thoughtful, mindful process. Because otherwise, I’m just surviving, I got through something doesn’t mean I’m resilient. But some of the old language might say that why I got through this. So what are your thoughts on resilience, especially during this time of this pandemic? Yeah, I think it’s a great question. So I just I wrote down resilience because I was just looking at it. It’s kind of if you think of it, it’s like, almost like,
re and some form of silence, no, how do we come back to a place of quiet in our mind and our body and our spirit. And
I think that mindfulness has different attributes than just kind of, you know, getting through it, you know, there may be some element of resilience, you might have some physical resilience, if you, you know, run five k every day or something like that, you might be able to your muscles might have a muscle memory of that. I think resilience also has a language
around it, that also has a set set of emotional ways of being right. So resilient languages, I’m not feeling well today, but I know, tomorrow is probably going to be better, right? There’s a there’s a, you know, an inherent optimism or I’ll say, you know, kind of
Over the top pink unicorn. Pandora is sure Pollyanna ish
optimism but there’s this idea of acknowledgement, and, and intentionality, of something changing, you know, on an emotional level, you know, you practice resilience when you don’t give in to your triggers when you don’t just, you know, you know, fight flight or flee in there and so that you’re building this place where it says, Wow, you know, God, this doesn’t feel like I wanted to this wasn’t my, my place. What do I want to do now what in that space of choice. And so again, I think the practice of resilience is that right, there’s the old Buddhist phrase, which is, you know, fall down 99 times get up 100. And that’s the physical element of it, which is
it to never you know, to, to have a body that’s resilient doesn’t just mean I have to be, you know, muscles and things like that. It means the kind of spirit that inhabits my body. And I don’t mean that in a religious way, but that my ability to, you know, go the extra mile or finished something late at night, that I need to finish for the next day that those are all elements. So I think just to be more thoughtful about resilience, and how we build our own body of resilience in our own language of resilience, it’ll be different for different people.
But I love that I think that it’s such an important conversation. Because to me, when people assume that something changed, there’s a good chance it didn’t change. It’s kind of like learning, I think, actually learning. People say they learn from their past experiences. But I know for a long time, I really didn’t learn anything. I said, Well, I had an experience, and I basically assumed I must have learned something. But I keep repeating that experience, tells me probably didn’t. I’ll, I’ll say one other thing about routes. And one of the things that I also meant, so just to just to show how we all have different takes on on, you know, the language that we live in, you know, routes, routes are never usually just one route. It’s a system of routes. So when I think about routing leaders, it’s also that they have a support system, a nutrient system, that they’re not just superficial, and doing these things appear because it’s on LinkedIn learning, or, you know, whatever. And I’m going to do a two minute nugget of learning.
It’s how can I also inhabit my body and habit leadership, have a community of practice, and, you know, be a loving human being that makes mistakes and is, you know, can can also do great things. So I think you just that, that’s, that’s what I’m trying to evoke a little with the idea of rooting leadership. Gotcha. So when we go on, jump back a little bit to resilience, and one of the things that came up for me was the aspect of flexibility. And think of think of a rubber band, think of something that that can absorb, versus repel. And so when we have something that’s, that’s hard, it’s oftentimes brittle, and more fragile than something that can flex with with some pressure. And that allows us to respond to me that’s, that’s kind of the picture that I see of resilience. It’s, it’s not that, you know, I’m standing up in the in the storm as much as I’m able to move with that storm.
That’s it. That’s I really liked that. And it was flashed to me as a number of years ago, I was at one of these retreats that I do, it’s a men’s retreat. And there was a gentleman there, very large physical man. I mean, bigger than me, and I’m pretty big. And all I picked up was his from was anger, a lot of anger. And you could tell he had a lot of leadership in Him because He even he was trying to disrupt the retreat by forming a tribe, because you can tell people would follow him from that place of really power and I’m not sure it was really healthy power.
But he just, in fact, at one point in he threatened to leave a couple times he threatened me physically once, because I was holding him accountable and I wasn’t being pushed around and I wasn’t doing any I wasn’t doing this I was just holding ground. Yeah. And, and that really upset him. First thing was to your point about the brittleness, you could look at him and say what a strong leader and a strong person. But when it finally came out, and he really opened up and got vulnerable, what he shared was, everybody’s always looking to me to lead.
I just want a break. I don’t but I don’t trust anybody. I just want someone to have this that I don’t have to have it all by me.
He found that it was a beautiful thing he did and, and he got very emotional. But it was all buried under because he felt like he had to be strong and he had to hold it together. But he was crumbling inside. And that moment was so beautiful. And it was interesting, we’d laugh in a good way, because this is the guy that wanted to punch us in the face, literally. By the time he left, he was hugging everybody. Like he had just like his heart had finally said, it’s okay to show your heart man. And you don’t have to do it all. People can people got your back. But I think a lot of leaders who say I feel like I’m alone.
They’ve created that. They’ve not let anybody be there around them and support them. They got it.
There’s a myth around leadership. And that’s something we don’t teach. We often promote people who are really good as individual contributors. And then they go, Oh, my God, I don’t know anything, you know, I get the imposter syndrome. And I have to lead, you know, and I think we do a disservice to young, young potential leaders by not giving them that community.
Well, I think that the leaders back to their own mindfulness, of realizing that’s what they’re teaching their people. So many leaders complain to me about how their people are. And my line is always the same. Oh, congratulations. You’re the one that taught. Yeah. That’s not what I want. Well, but I can assure you, if you’re really the leader here, that’s where they they’re picking it up from where they came with it. And you have not told them a different message. Yeah. But it comes back to you as the leader. Yeah.
Yeah, it’s about taking responsibility for what’s going on. I mean, if we are, you know, there’s two kinds of leaders, you know, Jeff, and I talked about positional leaders, and then the people who are really, really doing the leading inside an organization, and can be the the last person on the totem pole, so to speak. But each person has that opportunity. And, you know, to what degree does the positional leader take responsibility for what’s actually happening?
Libby, this has been amazing. I had a sense it would be, but I got to, I have to tell you, we talked a little bit yesterday. And I really still did not see the richness that was gonna come today. Because we probably were talking about a lot of logistics. But just love the conversation. I love your approach to leadership. And and frankly, I’m grateful that there are people like you and your organization out there doing this work, being courageous, because what you said is shouting it from the rooftops.
In what we do, that takes courage. Because we can either play the game and deliver what people say they want, or we can deliver something that’s going to make people unsettled, and disrupt some things. And you know, to me, that’s leadership as well. So thank you for your leadership. Yes.
Welcome. Thank you for having me. Libby, we always want to have our guests have an opportunity to promote something or anything going on in particular with your business or your life right now?
Well, there’s there’s two things, I guess.
One is we have a community of practice for coaches or leaders that want to learn,
you know, ontological skills. And so this is called the advanced coaching practicum. And it’s completely virtual. And so people can join that there’s a kind of a foundation, sort of an undergraduate track for people that don’t have any experience with ontological work. And then there’s a graduate program that actually sort of weave sand with simultaneously so we have a dojo approach to learning, and if you’re familiar with that, so and the story behind that is very quickly, I went to go sign my son up years ago when he was little, too for Aikido. And I went to the dojo and they didn’t have little kid classes for him, but I wound up signing up for the adult class. And I came, you know, a couple of days later, I bought my gi, I walked on to the tatami, and there were 25 black belts, and to me, I was locked into the most prestigious dojo with a fifth level down to level black belt in Aikido in all of France.
And but everybody did the same moves. Everybody did the same thing. So when we bring the community of practice together, for Ontological Coaching and ontological leadership, we have white belts and we have black belts we have you know, people who really are just learning you know, the the distinctions and ontology and we have master certified coaches and people like yourself with you know,
For a ton of experience, so it winds up being really fun. We’ve got diversity scholarships with that. So we have a woman from Nigeria, we have somebody from the federal government, which I’m really excited about.
You know, we’ve had people from, you know, Eastern Europe and different things. So it’s that’s the advanced coaching practice is probably one thing that might be interesting to some of your leaders.
And what else? We didn’t really talk at all? Oh, yeah. How would somebody find that?
integral coaches.com slash ACP before I think, honestly, if they Google Advanced, coaching practicum, and my name, or integral, advanced coaching, practicum integral, they could find it? Okay. We’ll put it in the show notes as well. Excellent, thank you. And then the other thing that we didn’t talk about which I I, you know, this is
I finished a program at Stanford University on corporate innovation recently and as something that I’ve been working on. And Jeff, I know we talked about this a little bit, yesterday is our love of this concept of feedback or my love and hate of it, as the case may be. And over the over the last bit of time, we created a an app that’s free, so any of your listeners could download it or use it today on the Google Store or Apple App Store, on called back the plus. And backfeed Plus is an app
that basically is for better, faster feedback. And the idea is, it’s based on neuroscience, which is it’s stressful. We know from the neuroscience and the social research, it’s stressful, to give feedback, it’s stressful to receive feedback, and that the only time your brain is less stressed is when you proactively ask for feedback. So we have a little app that makes it really easy for people to create their own little tribe, to be able to ask for feedback, not just written but audio and video. And and that’s completely secure. So that your you know, IT guy isn’t looking at what phones are saying so and so. And then it’s really based on this that if I want to develop, I asked for it. Because essentially, I’m neurologically more primed to be ready to receive that feedback. If I asked you, if you just come over and say, Hey, I’d like to give you some feedback on that meeting. Of course, we know what’s going to happen, which is my threat response is going to come come up. So there’s a lot of work out there about I would love to completely disrupt and get rid of shoot, chop, all 360 degree feedback programs, all of them.
And sorry, if you’re a 360. Guy.
And if I could get rid of that if I could disrupt that part of the learning and development world, I’d be a happy camper. Well, so those are two things that are going on. Right? And they can find that on your website as well.
Yes, well, no. backfeed app is www dot backfeed app.com. There’s an on demand demo there people can contact me We also for podcasts, we also give organizations that have you know that want to try it, we’ll give them two months free for 20 licenses. So if you want to play with it, if you want the kind of enterprise analytics, the basic app is free, you could download it now. And use it with your teams. But if you want sort of all the fancy bells and whistles of
customizing questions and getting, you know, seeing the engagement, and we also have a feedback score, so it helps Pete also helps people teach, learn how to give better feedback and creates that sort of root system of encouragement.
And getting each other’s back when we were supposed to encourage people not just beat them up. Yep.
All right. I was on a podcast a couple months ago, the guy said No way. I give people feedback. I give them a paycheck.
That is that is Wow. That’s that’s like a 501 class.
Well, it’s just I mean, that’s the whole that is a whole nother topic. It’s this is a sad state of affairs and I often in audiences I’m speaking to, will give an example of call it positive feedback, encouragement, I call it a blessing without using the word blessing.
I’ve had people cry. When they hear what I say about them. I don’t even know these people. And to me, what I share should be the everyday experience. And most of them say I’ve never in my entire life. gotten anybody that said what you just said or like it to me. And it’s amazing. That is just normal. It wasn’t even special. So it’s a sad state of affairs, a whole nother topic. So Libby, I’m curious, you mentioned your website, what’s the best way for people to connect with you?
So they want to reach me directly. They can email me at Libby at integral coaches.com.
But the website for integral if they want to see, you know, some more videos and things about mindfulness and resilience, www dot integral coaches.com. And of course, backfeed is www dot backfeed app.com. Well, we’ll put all that in the show notes. And Libby, we always wrap up with a question, one of our signature questions. And the one that’s coming up for me today is imagine that you have the opportunity to have dinner with someone who’s living.
Who do you want to have dinner with? And even more importantly, what’s the one question you want to ask them?
I was wondering about this question. For days now. It’s like the vault question. What is it going to be? Oh, my God? Um,
me a second, I, I’ll be honest with you, I’m a bit of a political junkie. So you, you will my my thought is that I would want to
have a conversation with somebody quite senior in the political realm. And
but actually, now that I think about it, it might be Stacey Abrams of Georgia.
you know, has done amazing things. And I would like to see what she sees in the future. You know, what, what does she want me to say? Like, Oh, my God, I’d love to coach Stacey Abrams, not that she needs that much coaching. But to be a safe space for a leader like that
would be, you know, and again, whatever side of the aisle you’re on, I have no problem with Republicans at all. And I think
how could we create curiosity and dialogue and real movement at the top of our leadership of our country’s leadership? I mean, here were leadership, folks, right, that would not
demean the other side, that would really look at them as partners in moving the country forward. And so
there you go, love that. Thank you, and thanks for thanks for being here, Libby, and thanks for all the wisdom you’ve shared with all of us, including me.
My pleasure. Thank you so much, Craig.
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