A few weeks ago, I had the great pleasure of attending the Wisdom 2.0 conference. Wow! What a powerful 4 days of thought leaders brought together around a common purpose and interest: To explore how we can live with mindfulness, wisdom and compassion in the technological age. I have attended Wisdom 2.0 for the past 3 years and yet this year seemed like a tipping point. From a sheer numbers standpoint, the conference grew from 600-1700 which to me suggests the continued growing importance that people in organizations see in approaching business and leadership in a different way.
Here are a couple of highlights:
There were two talks from business leaders that struck me the most: Jeff Weiner – CEO of Linked In and Bill Ford – CEO of Ford. You can listen to Jeff’s talk here and Bill’s here. Though they represent two very different kinds of companies (Linked In as a new technology company and Ford as a very traditional one) they both focused on the importance of creating a compassionate organization.
It’s not often you hear a CEO of a fast growing company like Linked In talk about something that could potentially be interpreted as ” soft and squishy” as compassion. But his brilliance is in the ability to connect the importance of compassion to revenue goals. “Our purpose at LinkedIn is to create economic opportunity for people. If we do it right, then revenue growth will naturally happen. This is very well aligned with managing compassionately.” Weiner said to the crowd. And that growth IS naturally happening in an organization that now has 200 million members.
Representing a much more traditional, not to mention, family run company, Bill Ford recounted that his trials, tribulations, wins and gains in helping to transform a culture like Ford. No easy feat! When asked what kept him true to his path when the world around him was criticizing and undermining him and his view (of sustainability) weren’t welcome. His response was “I believed it was the right path. If we didn’t’ change, we wouldn’t attract the best talent and employees would have to apologize for working at there. And I didn’t want that to happen to our legacy.
What impacted me the most about both speakers is their courage to stay true to their vision. They each spoke with clarity about the importance of both defining their vision, communicating it and then staying focused on it regardless of whatever resistance they encountered. To me, that’s a shining example of leadership.
I believe that business as usual is a thing of the past. We’ve entered into a new era where the companies need to be exploring not only how business is done (global, connected), by whom (multiple generations or the right leaders) but, most importantly, for what reason. That’s what these great leaders did and what a huge impact they’ve both made!
What can you do in service of your own or your team’s vision?
Start asking some questions!
For yourself, explore::
- What’s your leadership vision? What does that look like? How are you or aren’t you living it today? What’s one step you can take toward it?
- For your team, ask yourself these questions? Or better yet, ask your team (See Success Tips)
- Ask yourself: What is the purpose of the team? What’s your vision for how it evolves? How does this play out in meetings or day to day activities? How are you communicating your vision to your team and the broader organization?
- For everyone, ask: How is your vision and your team’s vision connected to the organization’s vision, mission and values.
- Finally, what’s one action that you can take toward that vision?