Conscious Leadership

Lead from your core.
Powerfully express your inspired wisdom.
Create true connection.

The Leadership Circle Profile and Organization Culture Survey

The focus of my collaborative leadership work is to  evolve the ethos of conscious leaders within small to mid-size businesses who possess an entrepreneurial spirit, a growth mindset, and a visionary outlook.

Using tools from The Leadership CircleTM as a foundation, our work emphasizes collective leadership,  incorporates ceremony and nature into  experiential programs,  advances systems-thinking and relational awareness,  fosters conscious communications, and re-imagines
and applies the sacred aspects of commerce and business to modern times.

I hold leadership as a sacred responsibility: torchbearers lighting the way toward a visionary horizon that inspires hearts and stewards the planet for future generations. My specific role is to help birth a new kind of leader who is a unifying and integral change agent for our complex times — leaders whose presence, creative capacity, vision, and finesse evolves the ethos of conscious business.

Developing Individual Leaders

Being called as a leader of a project, team, department, organization, or even a movement is often a pivotal moment in anyone’s life – both thrilling and disquieting. We expect great things from our leaders. The pressures can be intense and the learning edges steep, yet the opportunities are rich and many.

“The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.”  -Kenneth Blanchard

Today’s leaders are no longer expected to control and direct their followers using rules and rewards. Instead, they must develop collaborators who are inspired by, aligned with, and engaged in furthering the vision that informs their shared  endeavors.

In addition, the effects of globalization, the almost incomprehensible complexity of our modern world, and the fact that it’s all moving at a ridiculously fast pace have put enormous pressure on business leaders, even good ones.

Given that great leadership leads to enhanced business performance and extraordinary leadership leads to exceptional business performance, investing in developing extraordinary leaders is one of the best investments you can make.

In fact, it amounts to a strategic priority that, if done well, becomes a powerful competitive advantage that can put your organization and its stakeholders on the path to thriving in chaotic times.

Unfortunately, most of today’s state-of-the-art leadership development strategies are inadequate for this challenge. Like the parable of the blind men and the elephant, most offer a valid yet incomplete approach that focuses primarily on developing leadership competency. While this is important, it’s insufficient in a world of escalating complexity.

To become an extraordinary leader requires developing one’s complexity of mind (or consciousness) along with one’s competency so that together they’re on par with the complexities of the challenges being faced.

Without both, your leaders are swimming in crazy turbulent waters and will likely feel that they’re perpetually in over their heads.

The core approach to developing extraordinary leaders rests on The Leadership Circle, a comprehensive, research-backed system that develops essential leadership competencies while simultaneously upgrading the state of mind or “internal operating system” of the leader.

Together, this integral approach develops leaders capable of meeting a steady stream of complex situations (for which there are no prescribed responses), creatively responding instead of unconsciously reacting, and innovating fresh solutions.

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”
~ John F. Kennedy

Cultivating Collective Leadership

Developing extraordinary individual leaders  is essential, especially at the executive and senior levels. It’s the place to start in almost any leadership development initiative. Yet it’s insufficient on its own to result in the kind of high organizational performance needed to ride the waves of increasing complexity in the business world.

What’s required is highly effective collective leadership – the integrated capacity of all those in formal leadership positions to work together in a consistently high-performing, relational way and lead the organization to incredible success. Yet this kind of synergy doesn’t just happen on its own.

In fact, we humans often “dumb down” when we get together in a group, meaning that a typical leadership team has a collective intelligence and performance capacity significantly lower than the average intelligence and performance capacity of the individual leaders.

The collective effectiveness of a leadership team is often considerably less than the sum of its parts! Which means that there is a lot of untapped creative leadership potential in most leadership teams.

In addition, all manner of dysfunctional dynamics can be at play in an average leadership team – poor listening and communication, lack of trust, overly ambitious self-interest, aggressive defending of positions, withholding of information and ideas, political caution and maneuvering, all manner of reactive behavior, and more.

Together, these seriously undermine the collective effectiveness of a leadership team, often with dire ramifications for the organization – including employee turnover, a culture of mistrust, declining revenue, market irrelevance, and inevitable dissolution.

Despite the huge untapped potential of collective leadership, most organizations rarely focus on this, choosing instead to develop individual leaders. Again, this is important but insufficient, in part because the day of the lone leader is fading. The unprecedented turbulence of our times demands the wisdom of collective leadership.

And so the true power of developing individual leaders happens as they learn how to work together collaboratively, co-creating a collective intelligence and capacity that’s far greater than the sum of their parts.

Their center of gravity shifts from being Reactive to Creative. They become an extraordinary team of collaborators and leaders capable of masterfully guiding the organization through the constant whitewater of complexity. Leaders with the co-creative capacity to continually reinvent the organization and nimbly course-correct as market conditions shift quickly and unexpectedly.

Developing collective leadership is a wise investment in the future of an organization. It provides a very distinct competitive advantage since too many organizations will choose to keep doing what they’ve been doing, even as it bring them painfully diminishing returns and creates all manner of suffering for everyone involved.

Collective leadership can look very different depending on the nature of your organization. Some leadership teams are small and flat while others are larger and multi-layered. Some are empowered to make final decisions whereas for others, much of the ultimate authority resides with the CEO.

While there’s a growing trend toward organization-wide leadership that’s both formal and informal, there is no one way that works for all organizations.

Rather, it’s about developing and incorporating the collective leadership philosophy and practices that best suit the values and aims of your organization – then letting it evolve as your collective leadership matures and comes into its full potential. And doing it at the pace that’s right for your organization.

When you invest in cultivating the collective capacity of your leadership team, you’re also teaching those leaders to model and mentor collaborative leadership for the rest of the organization.

Essentially, you’re enhancing the ability of formal, informal, and ad hoc leaders throughout your organization to work together in the most effective ways possible.

In the modern business world where those in leadership positions too often come and go, creating an intelligent leadership system at the helm of your organization gives you unparalleled advantages.

Developing the capacity of your current leadership system can result in collective intelligence and capacity becoming embedded in the system itself. The leadership team becomes capable of functioning phenomenally, even if and when the specific individuals on the team change, which they likely will. This gives your organization a resilience that’s almost impossible to come by any other way.

“Unlike individual heroic leadership, co-leadership embraces the diversity of people and perspectives and frees up self-initiative and collective intelligence. It creates the conditions for societal learning and innovation through an increased sense of interdependence and a deeper trust in self-organization”
–Alain Gauthier