Everyone has an Everest. Whether it’s a climb you chose, or a circumstance you find yourself in, you’re in the middle of an important journey. Can you imagine a climber scaling the wall of ice at Everest’s Lhotse face and saying, “This is such a hassle”? Or spending the first night in the mountain’s “death zone” and thinking, “I don’t need this stress”? Continue reading
In all types of organizations, too many filled with people exhausted, cynical, and burned-out, I have witnessed the incredible levels of energy and passion that can be evoked when leaders or colleagues take the time to recall people to the meaning of their work. It only takes a simple but powerful question: “What called you here? What were you dreaming you might accomplish when you first came to work here?” Continue reading
(Contributed by Kerry Roxburgh)
Magnanimity is not a common term. Many people do not recognize it when they hear it. But they know it immediately when it is explained, and most know it as one of the areas they can personally improve upon. For too many of us are quick to seek revenge, swift to criticize, fast to find fault, and speedy to get even. Yes, too many of us are slow to hold our tongues, slow to forgive, and even slower to forget. One of the leading reasons for a lack of magnanimity is what I call a scarcity mentality. Continue reading
Born on the northeast coast of England, of Viking and Welsh ancestry, I grew up as a granddaughter of the Empire and daughter of the Commonwealth. As a young girl in the years following the First World War, I puzzled and then grieved that the men came back so hurt—legs lost, difficulty breathing––and so many dead. How could we have done this? I wondered. Why couldn’t we have talked it through? This was a question that really mattered to me.
Later, studying the armistice conditions ending the war, it became very clear that the lack of ongoing and authentic dialogue among nations created conditions for future conflict. I determined that, when I grew up, I would study ways in which these mistakes would not be repeated.
But then, instead of peace, World War II came, and I spent almost five years in the Royal Air Force. The overarching mission was simple: survive, defeat Nazism, end holocausts, and make the world safe for democracy. In the course of wartime, I lost friends, comrades, and home. One searing experience in Europe, in which I encountered ambulatory Jews being brought out of the camps, caused me to ask my commanding officer: Sir, how could we have done this? He snapped that of course, we had not done this, they had. Yet I knew that, somehow, our human community as a whole had failed in the face of these atrocities.
In my contemplation and study of these questions, it became clear to me that every societal change process I knew of started with an informal conversation in which men and women—young or old—were witnessed and “heard into speech,” sharing their dreams and hopes for making a difference around something they cared about. In being truly seen and heard, people discovered their mutual commitment to act and were transformed.
HBR: You’ve remarked that the Dalai Lama is a very distinctive kind of leader. Is there something we could learn from his unique form of leadership, as leaders ourselves?
Daniel Goleman: Observing him over the years, and then doing this book for which I interviewed him extensively, and of course being immersed in leadership literature myself, three things struck me. Continue reading
The greatest reason for our need to know ourselves is that we may become greater channels for the expression of the living spirit in helpfulness to others.
Everybody talks about change. In recent years, a small industry of changemeisters has preached revolution, reinvention, quantum change, breakthrough thinking, audacious goals, learning organizations, and the like. We’re not necessarily debunking this stuff. Continue reading