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September 27, 2018

Walking Our Talk: A Look Under CLG's Hood

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Regularly people ask us for examples of teams and organizations that really practice conscious leadership. Over the years we have highlighted individual leaders and teams who are at various stages along the journey of living and leading consciously. I’m inspired to give you a look under the hood and tell you about our team and how we practice.

Our team consists of Diana, Erica and me (the three partners), an Operations Manager, seven coaches, and two Enneagram assessment experts.You can read about all of us here. Our coaches and Enneagram experts are independent contractors; some of them work exclusively with CLG and others have practices of their own in addition to their work with us.  

Here are nuts and bolts examples of how we have practiced the 15 commitments during the last few months.

Commitment #6: Integrity

Integrity is alignment, congruence and impeccability. Alignment means that we are clear about and make decisions based on our purpose and core values.

We were talking recently about engaging with new organizations and groups we haven’t historically worked with. In the middle of the conversation Diana suggested we take a look at our brand guide, which serves as our manifesto. With the guide open, we had a meaningful, clear and decisive conversation about who we are and whom we want to impact. We aligned with our core purpose and core values and made a decision.

When teams are in integrity  everyone knows where true north is; all decisions are made in light of that compass heading. For so many organizations, core purpose and core values exist as abstract concepts that were conceived of years ago and are hardly ever referenced and revisited. Among other reasons, we chose to partner with Erica because mapping the territory is one of her key strengths. Collectively we remind one another to refer back to the map at key junctures.

Another aspect of integrity is impeccability around agreements. One place you’d see this with our team is that meetings start and stop on time. In fact, if we have a call scheduled for nine o’clock and everyone isn’t on the call on the hour, I would tend to think, “Hmmmm...I wonder if everything is OK with them?” I say this because something would have to be not OK for them to not be on the call on time.

So many teams waste much time and energy not being impeccable around their agreements with each other. We don’t.

Commitment #3 and #4: Feelings and Candor

The other day Diana and Erica said to me that they felt sad and had the thought that I might be shifting my desire for collaboration with them from what it had been in the past. Originally this occurred in an email exchange that we followed up with a conversation.

The first thing I’d want you to know was that I didn’t experience any blame or criticism (Commitment #1), just Erica and Diana revealing themselves candidly and feeling their feelings. Next, my response was to listen and to really understand what their experience was. Their desire mirrored my own: they chose to deeply listen and understand my experience. Remember that candor has two sides: revealing authentically and fully, and listening deeply from presence. As we revealed and listened it became clear to us that we were still aligned in our deep desire to collaborate, and that, like all partnerships, ours is evolving. We stay current with one another about what it is we most want for ourselves and our team.

Commitment #9: Play, rest, renewal

Diana took the month of August to refresh, Jim has been in Michigan at his summer home for four months, Erica shifted into a lower gear for the duration of the summer, and Lainy requested a week to fully unplug at the end of the summer to be ready for our fall sprint. We take our mission and purpose seriously, but we don’t take ourselves very seriously (most of the time), and we’re ruthless about living lives that are way beyond balanced. They are exquisite. We take time to nourish ourselves in every dimension and practice radical self care.

Commitment #14: Win for All

Sometimes in writing “Going Deeper” I like to reference spiritual texts, especially the Bible. My advanced degree is in theology and I was a minister for 20 years. My spiritual journey has been tumultuous, meandering and meaningful to me. Spiritual texts of all kinds have been part of that journey in various ways. Diana and Erica don’t like it when I quote the Bible and believe that it alienates some people who read our works. This matters to me and it matters to them. We are very clear that we want to create a win for all, win for each of us, win for our community, and win for the whole.

Our process is first to fully express ourselves and to listen deeply to each other until we feel “gotten” and really get one another. Then, from above the line, we start playing (play is important to creating win for all) with possibilities. We do this in a context of enough (Commitment #12). We have enough time (we don’t have to be in a hurry), enough opportunity and options, space and freedom to find a win for all. We are still in our dialogue about this. One idea was that I could write something like “Jim’s spiritual meanderings” and it would be clear that these are mine and not ours. Those who wanted to could read them and those who had an aversion to this kind of thing could stay away. We haven’t landed on a decision yet, but we’re having fun learning and playing.

Commitment #8: Genius

You wouldn’t have to be around our team long, including all of our coaches, before you’d hear someone talk about being in their zone of genius. We are devoted, I mean devoted, to discovering, refining and aligning with what lights us up and what we do well. We are ruthless about eliminating, individually and collectively, activities and people that don’t make our heart sing. We find that living in our zones of genius brings a constant source of inspiration and motivation. Most people and most organizations are not yet spending at least 70% of their time in their areas of genius. We believe this is costing all of us greatly.

I wish that each of you could really come along with us, experience us, be around us and feel the incredible power of living and leading from these commitments. I think it would likely inspire you to commit and recommit as a team to practicing conscious leadership.

P.S. We hear from people that they are concerned that they will not be as profitable if they are devoted to conscious leadership and the 15 commitments. It's arguable whether or not we could be more profitable, so we'll just stick with our growth metrics: our 2018 Q1+2 top line grew by 63% over 2017 Q1+2, and the bottom line by 213%. We do a great job paying attention to business of our business—and it matters to us—but we are clear that conscious is “the thing” that drives us, and we believe and experience that we’ll always have enough, and then some.

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