Unlocking the Heart and Soul of Remarkable Leadership, Keith Merron
Remarkable Leadership

Archive for January, 2011

Inmates and Nature

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

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I find this story inspiring. It turns out that there is a National Science Foundation research project, led by forest

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ecologist Nalini Nadkami, where inmates assist researchers by planting seeds and recording their observations about plant growth. Nadkarni’s goal is to learn how best to cultivate the dwindling prairie plants, but she notes that the inmates’ learning is equally valuable:

“Everyone can be a scientist – everyone can relate to nature, everyone can contribute to the scientific enterprise, even those who are shut away from nature.”

It strikes me that the benefit to the inmates is far more than meets the eye. It is about learning about nature – the natural rhythms of give and take. It is about cultivating life. It is clearly already having a positive effect, as the inmates seem to take great care in the craft of attending to the plants. It is not too much of a stretch to consider that people living in prison are there because somehow, somewhere, they lost connection to the natural rhythms of life and therefore lost trust in the universe. We might see the actions of criminals as a reflection of a loss of connection, a loss of love, and a loss of trust. They are out of balance with life. I’m reminded of the Birdman of Alcatraz, who, from learning to love and nurture a bird, began to shift from an imbalanced and bitter relationship to the world to one that honored nature’s way.

The implications of this tidbit of information for leadership may not be immediately evident to some, but if you think about conscious leadership as being in alignment with what nurtures growth, then you can begin to see the relevance. Conscious leaders know

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that all forces interrelate. They tend to see patterns unfolding and honor the natural rhythms of life. Karma is not just a concept for conscious leaders; it’s a way of life. Nadkami’s actions reflect this understanding, and I am inspired.

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Great Leadership Means Taking Responsibility

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

Great leadership can come from anyone and anywhere. Recently a man whose three-year-old grandson had been murdered arrived two hours

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early for his domestic flight that was to take him to the hospital so he could say goodbye to his grandson. T

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he lines at security were extraordinarily long. Indifferent to his plight, the security staff he encountered gave him no assistance as he struggled to make it through security in time for takeoff. Finally, having arrived at his gate in his bare feet, twelve minutes late, he was greeted with the following: “Are you Mark? We held the plane for

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you and we’re so sorry about the loss of your grandson.”

The pilot, informed of the family’s loss, had delayed the flight by twelve minutes to allow the man to board. When the man thanked the pilot, he replied only: “They can’t go anywhere without me and I wasn’t going anywhere without you. Now relax. We’ll get you there. And again, I’m so sorry.”

I am touched by this story. The pilot chose to disregard firm corporate policy and act on his own volition. He took a risk and made the right call. Courage is the act of grace under pressure. In every moment of courage is the seed of leadership that transforms life from duty-bound

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sameness to inspiration. In the face of pressure or risk, this is when our true stripes are shown. This pilot earned his.


A Strike at the Heart of Unconscious Leaders

Friday, January 14th, 2011

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A recent study shows unequivocally that conscious leaders—those who are most self-aware—produce better results than those who are

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narrow-minded and stuck in old paradigms. Here is a link to this fascinating and revealing study:

Why has it taken so long to figure this out? The reasons that come to mind shed light on some of the qualities of conscious leadership.

  1. We grew up believing Leo Durocher’s motto when he was managing the Brooklyn Dodgers (yes, Brooklyn) 50 years ago: Nice guys finish last.
  2. We are overly enamored with short-term results, at the expense of the long-term.
  3. We live in a society that reveres hard-charging people like Henry Ford.
  4. We see the world through a 40-foot straw.
  5. Achievement is measured in quantitative terms and we forget that the journey matters as much as the destination.
  6. We live in an overly masculine world that is imbalanced.
  7. Nice leaders are not so newsworthy.

In a world such as this, it is hard to see what I believe is an inviolable truth: if you want sustainable results that add value to life as a whole, the only way to lead is to lead consciously.

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