Awakening the Heart of the Evolution of Leadership
Photo By: Sam Edwards, Caia Image
In the early 1990’s I was a member of SIETAR, the Society for International Education, Training, and Research, created by the founders of the Peace Corps. The strategy utilized by the most effective interculturalists of the day was the strategy of entering into a culture with no expectations or assumptions, but rather with reverence and a listening for what the culture was speaking not just verbally, but non-verbally. In this way the most effective of the interculturalists were the most malleable, open to assimilating into the culture due to the capacity they had developed within themselves to suspend their own knowledge and ways of behaving. They aligned with the resonance of the new culture much as an instrument allows its own vibrational rate to be catalyzed by a tuning fork.
Being catalyzes Being.
So, listening for what we don’t know could be a universal strategy, a globally transformative strategy, because the very nature of not-knowing calls for one to be present in the moment with no attention paid to one’s personal thinking from the past: beginner’s mind.
In January of 2010 I was asked to design and lead a training for the annual company meeting of an international consulting firm, which delivers its work in 8 languages and whose focus clients are Global Fortune 1000 companies. Their work impacts hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. They are in the process of expanding their company’s purpose as well as supporting each employee in defining his/her own purpose in order to best recognize whether their individual commitment is aligned with the company commitment.
What became clear in the presentation of my material was that, much like the interculturalists mentioned earlier, theirs was no longer a question of designing new technology, but rather that each employee be able to discover their own authentic essence within, catalyze it, and emanate the resulting authenticity as they delivered the already mastered technology.
This type of awakening is at the heart of the evolution of leadership, and generates humility as well as a fascinated deep listening for another’s perceptions. This is also at the heart of self-actualization, and generates humility and a deep listening for expansion in one’s own listening of one’s self: a new realm of possibility, an emerging reality.
From the feedback, the result of the presentation that day was a renewed sense of inspiration for the employees, coupled with a renewed commitment to the company’s purpose, and a commitment by the organization to support each employee in achieving the goals they set for themselves. It became obvious that this would further the actualization of the company’s purpose.
This article is an excerpt of a larger body of work, The Creative Process: A Portal to ‘Not-Knowing,’ which you can read HERE.