Love. Bravery. Play. Leadership Thoughts from the Conscious Capitalism Leadership Summit
These are just some of the moments that struck me last week when I attended my 4th annual Conscious Capitalism Leadership Summit:
“Can you build a business on love and care instead of fear and stress?” Raj Sisodia, co-founder of Conscious Capitalism and author of Firms of Endearment and Everybody Matters
“Brave the cold and stay out there” Jeff Sinelli, Founder and Chief Vibe Officer of Which Wich Superior Sandwiches
“Emotions are contagious” Shawn Achor, author of Big Potential
“Settle your glitter and make room for play” Michelle Kinder of the Momentous Institute
Typically I go to a conference anticipating a lot of rich content, furious note-taking and a list of actionable items or to-dos I can put into place when I get back to the office – and let’s face it, half of those things never make it off the page. This year was different. This year I simply focused on being present. I listened. I engaged with my head, my heart and my gut. I only have three pages of chicken scratch but my cup is full. So as I reflect, here is what I know to be true and, at the end of the day, everything I learned is about my own behavior as a leader, a parent and even a friend.
Can you build a business on love and care instead of fear and stress?
Raj Sisodia in his overview of Conscious Capitalism hits me in the gut every time he asks this question. The obvious answer to this is YES. So why is it that so many people distrust business, hate going to work on Mondays, have major health issues related to stress in their jobs? And, if people are coming into the office every day stressed, disengaged and even fearful – just imagine what that is doing to your company. I feel tremendous responsibility to this notion within my own company and with my clients – business is about people – at Savage we often say that your people are your brand. How do they show up? Do they bring their best selves to work every day? That is the type of culture and state of being that can make anything happen – and it starts at the top.
Brave the cold and stay out there
Jeff Sinelli spoke about his own “Jeff’s Journey” and first brush with entrepreneurship – a lemonade stand at a farmers market. Even though the weather was freezing and he forgot his jacket, he was committed to making it work. He stood out there and braved it out. His lesson was that if you know your stand, take it. Be brave and courageous and even when it feels like it can’t work or it’s too hard – those are the moments when you have to really show up. I have felt that way in our journey at Savage. Sometimes when I share our philosophy there are those that stare as if I have a third eye. Sometimes we make business decisions that seem crazy because they are based on our purpose and not on the bottom line – again, third eye. And even though it is hard, even though it is scary, I have found that those “are you crazy?” stares motivate me to keep going. And even better, when people do “get it,” wow – those moments launch me into another atmosphere. Jeff also compels every leader to document their vision and values. He argues that with the very act of putting it down on paper you have just made a promise to start living your values. Now you are accountable.
Emotions are contagious
Beyond living your values every single day, think about how you show up everyday for the people in your life. When I step off the elevator in the morning how do I project myself – am I happy and friendly, am I frustrated and distracted, or do I beeline to my office and put my head down in my email? Even though it seems obvious it’s a good reminder that your mood immediately influences the mood of others – and as a leader, be sure, everyone is watching you. Taking cues from you. Bottom line – if you are in a bad mood others will follow suit – and if they’re in a bad mood, what is it doing to their performance that day? What is it doing to their interactions with clients, suppliers or even with their own families? Shawn Achor said, “social connection is the most powerful thing in your life.” My own personal purpose is to connect people in meaningful ways – I often think about that in the physical realm of my network but to think about the power of our mental interconnectedness, takes my purpose to a whole new level.
Settle your glitter and make room for play
Savage has made a concerted effort to use play to get in touch with our inner child – we find that play loosens our minds and enables us to make contact with and express our true Purpose in a more honest and connected way. In addition play helps us think outside of the box and unleash dormant creativity to solve problems. The BIG thing that really struck me about Michelle Kinder’s talk was when she said, “settle your glitter.” Like children, we all get triggered, we all react in ways that we are embarrassed by later, we all have our own form of tantrums. She makes a point through the shake-it-up glitter ball. When we are triggered, our glitter is everywhere – unruly, uncontainable and making serious waves. If we slow down in the moment and breathe – if we wait for the glitter to settle a bit, we can tap into our logical brain and react and communicate in a way that is a better expression of our good self.
Be brave. Play. Stay true.
As President at Savage Brands, Bethany is known for forging powerful connections – connecting people to people and connecting companies with the fresh ideas that make their brands purposeful. In her recent book, "Get Your Head Out of Your Bottom Line and Build Your Brand on Purpose," Bethany conveys to business leaders the importance of leading with purpose.