Re-Share: Grit- Is it What Determines Our Successes or Failures?

Here is a great Ted Education Talk from Angela Lee Duckworth that takes aim at what it is that makes people successful. Is it education level? Is it wealth? Is it IQ? While not discounting these and other factors, Ms. Duckworth says the answer is often Grit: passion and perseverance for long term goals. The big question is then: how do you teach or build grit? Check out this great talk:



Re-Blog: Weekend Mindfulness

Vacations are done, the kids are back in school, and you're definitely back to working at least 5 FULL days each week. Prevent the days from blurring together and practice mindfulness after work and on the weekends with these three incredibly easy tips. 

Original article:

3 Mindful Things to Do When You Get Home from Work

Using mindfulness to picture your perfect Friday—and put it into practice.

By Elisha Goldstein | June 24, 2016

When we’re at work—especially on a Friday—home is not far from our minds. We yearn for some down time, and the relaxation that comes from being with friends, family, or just resting by ourselves. But as the work day comes to an end, maybe we get stuck in rush-hour traffic, or we have to run a few errands that take more time than we’d like, and that picture-perfect Friday starts to dissipate. We arrive at our doorstep exhausted and irritated, and another night seems to fly by without us really noticing.

Bringing mindfulness to this experience can help us savor and appreciate the final hours of the day. You made it through the week, and you deserve a happy hour (or three!).

Bring these three mindful tips home with you and see what you notice.

When you get home from work:

1. Set your intention: Before you even step foot in the door, take a deep breath, soften your body as a way of becoming present, and take some time to think about how you want this evening to unfold. Do you want to spend time with your family? Do you want to relax in another way?

2. Hug something: It could be an animal, a loved one, or if there’s no one else there, curl up in a ball and hug yourself. Hugging allows us to feel connected, soothes the body, and it sets us up to feel good for the rest of the evening.

3. Control your environment: Put on some soothing or playful music, bring some play into your environment, or put on some candles if you want it to be a relaxing evening.

About the Author:

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is hosting an online course to help people fully integrate mindfulness into their lives in a deep way in order to realize more enduring change. The in-depth 6-month online course called  Course in Mindful Living runs this SeptemberSign up now to join a community of people growing in confidence, calm, compassion and a life you love.

Re-Post: Leadership- Back to the '80s?

Should we always embrace the next best business books? This article, by Eric McNulty takes ever-changing business and leadership themes and mantras and reflects on one from 1983. When it comes down to it- its tough to argue with: "Grow the company profitably. Share the wealth with employees. Ensure that everyone is having fun."

Original article by: Eric J. McNulty

Eric J. McNulty is the director of research at the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative and writes frequently about leadership and resilience.

Each month I receive an email with a preview of the latest leadership books. There are always five or six new entrants in this already crowded field. Meanwhile, my Twitter feed overflows with three steps, five tips, and seven ways to improve engagement, build trust, and employ mindfulness.

Yet with all this knowledge available, employees don’t seem to feel as if they are being led any more skillfully than in the past. In my travels, I encounter people frustrated by seemingly arbitrary rules, vague visions, out-of-touch bosses, and a lack of development opportunities. They are confused by labor laws and company policies, which often are evolving more slowly than the work arrangements of an agile, tech-enabled economy. Further, data from Gallup has shown that workforce engagement has hovered around 30 percent for years.

This is why I was stopped cold recently by a simple formula for effective leadership. In the book The Leadership Challenge, by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, first published in 1983, a CEO offers this straightforward philosophy: Grow the company profitably. Share the wealth with employees. Ensure that everyone is having fun.

I was stopped cold recently by a simple formula for effective leadership.

As I reflected on this direct and open prescription, I wondered why anyone has ever felt the need to write anything else on how to run an organization. This seemed like an intensely prudent yet humane approach to business. Growth satisfies investors and provides funds to increase internal rewards, sustain training, and fuel ongoing innovation. Sharing the wealth reflects consideration for the full range of stakeholders: employer, employee, and shareholder. And what better way to measure employee engagement than by people enjoying what they do? If you can pull off all three, it seems logical that the organization will thrive.

Perhaps, I wondered, we could take significant steps forward by forgoing fancy formulas and returning to the principles articulated back in 1983, being mindful to incorporate the changes brought by globalization, technological advances, and the increased diversity in the workforce.

To test my hypothesis, I reached out and interviewed people who are focused on engagement and leader development. I asked them to react to the quote from Kouzes and Posner’s book. While generally embracing the idea, each of them added important nuance that strongly emphasized humanity.

Focus on culture. Organizational psychologist Nicole Lipkin said that humanity “is the crux of everything” in organizations, yet “we've gone against human nature in how we’ve designed them.” She said that excessive rules go against the “sticky culture” of a great team, one on which people appreciate one another and their respective contributions. Instead, these rules instill fear of stepping out-of-bounds. That stifles the willingness to treat people as people.

Lipkin summarized people’s needs using the SLAM model: social connection, leadership excellence, aligned culture, and meaningful life. “No matter how old you are, or your status, these are the things we need as humans,” she said. “We underestimate the social connections — they can make a mediocre job enjoyable. It requires leaders to pay attention to the pulse of the culture. We are so busy rewarding for performance that we forget to reward for the behaviors that make an organization a great place to work.” Lipkin noted that the expectations millennials have for flexibility, investment in their development, and work–life integration actually play more into our psychological need for autonomy, competence, and relatedness and how we naturally interact with people than do industrial-age structures.

Give and take. Leadership coach and former Inc. 500 CEO Alden Mills is a former Navy SEAL, and thus has learned from a group renowned for its leadership excellence. He told me that “to lead is to serve and to serve is to care.” There, once again, is the importance of humanity. Mills noted that although people want to be part of something larger than themselves, they also want a reciprocal process. Executives who expect employees to be all in for the mission yet treat them as disposable units of production fail to understand the second half of the equation. “Truly great companies treat their employees like they treat their customers,” he said.



Stop to connect. Modesta Lilian Mbughuni, a serial entrepreneur and human-capital consultant from Tanzania, reflected that when she launched her first venture, she thought that a vision that highlighted substantial tangible rewards would be enough. It fell short. “The people must have ownership in the vision,” she said. “They need to be enabled to accomplish it. If there is one investment you should make, it is [in] people.” She looks for service-oriented people who are interested in a purpose higher than themselves. She noted that there is a relatively small pool of top talent in Tanzania and multinationals can always pay them more. To attract and retain this talent, “I had to continually ask myself, ‘What did I do by them?’”

Mbughuni said that those who aspire to lead have to be humans first: truly “seeing people,” having genuine conversations, demonstrating respect, and being willing to say “I don’t know.” Some executives shy away from emotional encounters. She takes the opposite approach. “Sitting down for a heart-to-heart talk can be messy,” she said. “However, ultimately we are more efficient when we take time to stop and connect.”

Reframe the question. Executive coach Michael Bungay Stanier suggested a simple way for leaders to ask their subordinates effective questions: Adding the words “to you” to the end. For example, “What does this realignment mean?” invites abstract analysis. “What does this realignment mean to you?” makes it much more personal. It injects humanity into the conversation.

Commit to diversity. Anka Wittenberg, chief diversity and inclusion officer at global software firm SAP, is concerned with the challenges of creating an aligned culture, which spans many national boundaries, ethnic identities, and social norms. “I strongly believe that if we give people opportunities to grow and have fun, the company will grow,” she said. “However, some people are always left behind. Patterns and processes don’t include those who are underrepresented, so we have to think about the sustainability of the culture.”


To address culture sustainability, SAP has committed to actively foster diversity with four focus areas: gender, generations, cultures and identity, and disability. For example, the company met its goal of filling 25 percent of leadership roles with women this year. It has committed to hiring 650 people with autism by 2020; more than 110 have been hired so far.

Such initiatives open doors, though they also add complexity. Here, I think that the final component of Lipkin’s model is useful: making work part of a meaningful life. Meaning and satisfaction are derived through building skills and achieving goals as well as through participation in a welcoming culture. For example, Wittenberg noted that SAP’s research shows that when members of the LGBT community can out themselves in an inclusive environment, their productivity goes up 10 to 20 percent.

Should executives in 2017 revert to 1983? In some ways, yes — organizations are still populated by people and thus humanity matters. Given the increasing levels of technology, automation, and business rules that come with the efficiency of enterprise-wide software systems, finding ways to acknowledge people’s needs as humans is more important than ever. Globalization and increased diversity in the workplace also require a human focus if we are to create environments where as many employees as possible contribute to the fullest extent of their abilities.

The three principles stand the test of time as guideposts for thoughtful discussion of how to bring — and sustain — humanity in your organization. Don’t restrict your thinking about humanity to just an executive retreat and don’t be afraid of those messy conversations. “You must serve your people so they can serve you,” Mbughuni said. “They want to see their aspirations fulfilled —and they have options.” So, too, do leaders. I suggest opting for profitable growth, sharing, and embracing a bit of fun. 

Original link:

Re-Post: Managing to Liberate Energy

5 Powerful Shifts That Help Leaders Liberate Human Energy

This article/interview, by Kathy Caprino talks about how leadership styles have changed over the past couple decades, and about the paradigm shifts that have brought us to the world that we live and work in today.  

Original article:

Kathy Caprino ,  CONTRIBUTOR

I cover career and personal growth, leadership and women's issues.  Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

Part of the Series “Today’s True Leadership”

Liberating energy and unleashing potential

In my work as a career success coach over the past twelve years, I’ve witnessed a significant shift in focus among the leaders and directors I work with. While these leaders still wish to learn new ways to expand their own success, impact and growth, they’re also keenly committed to helping all the people around them – their employees, colleagues, partners and all those they come in contact with on a daily basis – become all they wish to be. In short, there’s a clear commitment toward helping their entire work culture thrive.

To learn more about this trend, I was excited to speak with Renee Moorefield, PhD, CEO of Wisdom Works.  Renee has been a trusted adviser to thousands of leaders—from Fortune 500 executives to socially-conscious entrepreneurs—committed to unleashing human potential for thriving, optimal performance, and positive global impact. She speaks at major conferences internationally and writes for outlets such as Experience Life, Coaching World, and Huffington Post. Renee chairs the Wellness at Work and Wellness & Government initiatives for the Global Wellness Institute, and has a deep passion for creating a well world through wisdom in leadership.

Here’s what Renee shares:

Kathy Caprino: Based on your work with leaders, what do you see is different about leadership today versus 20 years ago?

Renee Moorefield: The notion of leadership has changed dramatically. When I started advising leaders in global companies decades ago, “leader” meant the one person in charge (usually male). Leadership was about hierarchy, titles, and management controls.

This leadership style generally fit the nature of work at the time. You worked at a specific location with set hours, your work was pigeon-holed from the rest of your life, you expected long-term job security from your employer (and vice versa), and the meaning you gained from work was defined by money and prestige. You “climbed the ladder of success.” Of course, this wasn’t true for every company or person—but it was by and large the accepted culture of corporate life.

Practically no one can relate to those days now.

Caprino: If we’re not “climbing the ladder of success,” what are we focusing on now?

Moorefield: We’re getting work done by collaborating across geographies and worldviews with a scale we couldn’t imagine years ago. We’re working from anywhere anytime—and this calls for greater personal leadership and self-direction. We’re still seeking meaning through work, but we usually find it by contributing to something larger than ourselves—a noble purpose, a social innovation, an extraordinary team, or visionary goals.

Caprino: How does that impact how we lead, manage and approach our work?

Moorefield: It turns the old way of leading on its head.  The fluidity of work has transformed what it means to lead. Effective leaders today facilitate positive outcomes by tapping into the power of human energy. They know work can be glorified drudgery in some cases, yet when energized by a person’s whole being, it can become joy.

Happiness, wellbeing, wisdom, dignity, trust, care, and love are not considered “soft” concepts as in the past; they are strategies to build exceptional work-teams and thriving organizations.

Caprino: What do you see is at the heart of this shift?

Moorefield: Deeper questions are guiding leaders, for example: “How can we lead in a way that unleashes human potential?”

Everything about work—relationships with colleagues, organizational culture, space and place, the act of work itself—is a potential agent of vitality, rejuvenation, meaning, and growth. Effective leaders ask: “How can we create the conditions where everyone can bring their best selves to work and leave work more capable and well than when they came?”

Caprino: How do you talk about this with organizations that want to cultivate better leadership?

Moorefield: I enter this conversation through the doorway of thrivingThere isn’t a person or organization I know that doesn’t want to elevate their capacity to thrive. Because most of us operate from a deep-rooted, usually unconscious, belief: If we work harder (longer, faster), we will finally get in front of the complexities we face. Our hamster wheel of stress will stop soon.

It’s exhausting …and, ultimately, quite unproductive.

When we pause to examine this belief, we realize it is groundless. There will not be a foreseeable future that isn’t (as the military so aptly puts it) volatile, complex, uncertain, and ambiguous. I’d add: astoundingly disruptive and networked.

When IBM interviewed 1,500 CEO’s of global organizations, 79% forecasted complexity to rise across the planet and over half doubted their ability to manage it. Yes, over half. World-shaping leaders feel ill equipped to handle the escalating complexities that we, in our civilizations and our personal lives, experience as the norm.

As disheartening is Gallup’s 2015 poll of managers. 65% of the leaders studied reported being disengaged or actively disengaged… basically, checked out. Kathy, I wonder what your readers’ experience is?

Ill-equipped, disengaged leaders are more likely to replicate that way of being wherever they are. I believe the sincere cultivation of a new standard of effective, thriving leadership within all of us is more important now than ever.

Caprino:  In my readership and community, I’ve seen there’s complete agreement with what you’re sharing. However, I see too that there are still so many leadership development programs out there that miss the mark entirely, and focus on the wrong things. What do you find is missing?

Moorefield: Forward-leaning companies want to continuously innovate and transform, yet often don’t grasp a basic tenet: they cannot evolve any faster than the consciousness and capabilities of the people leading them. This means they choose leadership development strategies that miss the boat in at least three ways:

Too superficial.

Their approaches don’t help leaders plumb the deeper values, biases, and beliefs driving how they lead. Yet it is at this depth of exploration—the leader’s internal operating system—where a generative shift of mind and heart can take place to activate a genuine leap forward in leadership effectiveness and impact.

Failure to embrace the whole self.

Great leaders use their whole being to get results with and through others. Yet leadership development strategies often lack the holistic approach that helps leaders amplify mental and emotional well-being, instead of reactivity and stress.

Lack of real change.

Many leadership development approaches awaken leaders to new possibilities for healthier ways of leading, yet still lack a system of accountability and learning to support sustainable changes in leadership behavior. 

After many years of working with leaders around the globe, we purposefully designed our Be Well Lead Well® leadership development programs to tackle these issues.

Caprino: What changes do you notice leaders making through your work with them?

Moorefield: When leaders are willing to travel the path of well-being and leadership transformation with us, we see five powerful changes:

They are committed to knowing themselves.

They are willing to really look at themselves—their gifts and their gaps—and reinvent how they lead based on authenticity, passion, and wisdom from within. This creates a tremendous boost. There is a quickening of energy that occurs when you operate from the truth of your being. For these leaders, it is as if the energy that was once tied up in “how I should be” is now freed.

They operate with greater clarity and balance.

Organizations need leaders who can lead from the inside out—where their inner world is so vibrant that the outer world doesn’t rattle them. This enables leaders to bring clarity, discernment, and balance to their teams and organizations, cutting through the organizational noise.

They are more inclusive.

When leaders appreciate themselves as whole people, they treat others as whole people too. They seek to understand how all people see the world differently, and they use these differences as catalysts for innovation, connection, and trust.

They proactively boost thriving in teams and organizations.

Too much or too little stress can erode performance. So, these leaders consciously make thriving a game-changer in their teams and organizations. When mind, body, and spirit come online together, people can create the extraordinary.

They cultivate shared wisdom and leadership.

Because these leaders make a positive impact by empowering leadership in others, they gain access to new ideas, relationships, and experiences—wisdom they might have been closed off to before. How they lead is an invitation to evolve.

Caprino: In our conversation, you mentioned that men dominated leadership roles in the past. What about women in leadership today?

Moorefield: Beyond the value of embracing the brilliance of women (just as you would embrace the brilliance of men), promoting women in leadership makes business sense.

Overwhelming research from well-known organizations, such as Credit SuisseMcKinsey & Company, and the Peterson Institute for International Economics, shows companies with more women in leadership, particularly senior and culture-shaping roles, experience a higher return on equity and greater organizational effectiveness.

On the other hand, excellent research by Mercer finds women executives three times more likely than men to leave a company. They aren’t as interested in the “climbing the ladder” approach of the past, and health, wealth, and career issues clearly differ for women than men.

To address this head on, we’re now launching an exclusive version of our Be Well Lead Well® programming for current and high-potential women executives. It is a yearlong transformative and groundbreaking journey where women leaders explore two profound questions: “What enables me to thrive?” and “How can I cultivate the conditions where others thrive—at work, at home, and beyond?”

We’ve incorporated revolutionary personal wellness genomics, mindfulness training and neurofeedback, somatics, pioneering leadership assessments, and other transformative practices and tools to assist women leaders in tapping into their deepest commitment to thrive—mind, body, relationships, and spirit—plus uplift their consciousness and capabilities for driving cultures of thriving wherever they lead.

To learn more, visit

For more from Kathy Caprino, visit her career and personal growth programs and her TEDx talk "Time to Brave Up."

Re-Blog: Three Tips on Mindful Communication

So much of business is communication: in-person, email, phone, messaging channels, newsletters; and it happens on so many levels. It is easy to lose track of yourself and your goals in communication. One frustrating meeting can change your tone for the whole afternoon. This article, originally from Laurie Thomas Ross, Founder of Wild Web Women is primarily geared towards web-based small business owners, but the tips can be helpful in anyones everyday communications. 

Original Article:

The beauty of being your own boss is that you have control of your business. What you do, when you do it, what to charge, how you conduct yourself. It took me years to understand that one of the most beautiful parts of being my own boss is having the ability to control communications. The power of mindful communication can boost sales, motivate your team and can resolve challenging business situations.

To practice the power of mindful communication, here are three things to focus on:

#1 – Tone
The way you speak can communicate more than your actual words. Having positive energy and confidence in your voice and online messages will help attract ideal clients, responses and secure trust in the people you work with.

Confidence is contagious.

I can’t tell you how many amazingly super talented women I have met who come across sounding shy and anxious. Nobody wants to work with or for someone who makes them feel uneasy. If you are tired, upset or stressed, take a step back and make sure that your message (in person, phone or even via email!) does not come through in your tone. Even when things aren’t going as well, know you can always turn it around and find a different perspective.

You have the power to manage your message!

Here’s an easy and effective trick that will transform your tone: If you’re talking on the phone, talk in front of the mirror (or put a small mirror on your desk) and make sure you are smiling while you talk. While this might sounds silly, it works. Your tone will automatically sound more energetic and assured. Pair this with monitoring your talking speed (when you talk too fast you sound nervous) and you will already be on your way towards creating confidence in your clients.

If you are dealing with a customer who is being, well, not so pleasant, you DO NOT have to get on their negative train! Being positive can turn things around! We don’t solve problems by being problematic – think positive, think solutions and steer the communications that way!

Never, ever start communications on a negative note. No “I’m so tired” or ripping into someone who sent you a nasty email. It is human nature for people to be defensive so find a way to speak in a way that is positive. Even if someone is emailing you nastygrams, starting your email reply with something positive like: “I appreciate you letting me know where you are coming from…” (then proceed to educate them why they are out of left field – ha!)

The way you communicate can either repel or attract business. People want to play on a winning team, so make sure your tone evokes calm, positivity and confidence.

#2 – Clarity/Focus
You started your web-based businesses with a purpose. Know that and OWN that.

Your purpose is your communications compass.

Be clear about who you are, what you do, whom you serve and what your values are. My first web-based business was called Lorrie Thomas Web Marketing. I wanted to leave the confines of corporate hell and leave commuting and working with people I didn’t choose behind. At the time, I was clear that I wanted to do web marketing, but who I wanted to serve and what I stood for weren’t fully defined. It took me two years to understand that my purpose was to help small businesses get on a better path with a relationship-focused approach and the people I LOVED serving were passionate professionals (not soulless people who just wanted to make a quick buck). When I let go of the wrong clients, it opened me up to being ready for my ideal clients. By voicing my value and values, I began to work with and attract really amazing people.

A clear purpose and focus also helps you manage tough conversations. I’d be lying if I said every client I have worked for was wonderful or was 100% happy with me. However, when times weren’t peachy, I would remove emotion (which sometimes means taking a step away from the computer and getting your thoughts straight) and I would get clear. I would always go back to my purpose and make sure the way I was communicating was supporting my goal.

This also goes for your marketing messaging. Your tagline, website copy, about page, bios on social media. All of these need to be on brand and on purpose.

#3 – Own Your Value

There are tons of other capable companies that can do what you do. It’s your job to communicate to potential clients why they should pick you.

If you don’t believe in yourself, how the hell will you get other people to believe in you?

Know what you can bring to the table and what makes you unique needs to be clear so you can communicate it to others.

Tell your story in a way that will sell your story.

Remember, it is up to you to control the conversation.

Re-Blog: "Leaders: Try a Little Mindfulness"

This article, based off of research done by the China-Europe International Business School draws from a primarily qualitative study on mindful leadership. They recommend looking at mindfulness when hiring and training company leaders, and the evidence point to mindful leaders reducing negative work incidents and increase employee engagement and satisfaction. 

Original Article:

The toxic work culture at the ride-hailing company Uber was among the reasons why a group of investors recently forced out its CEO Travis Kalanick. Company culture typically comes from the top; employees take their cues from company leaders about what behaviours are acceptable in the workplace. The issues at Uber, which received extensive media coverage, included battles between the company and its drivers over some of its compensation practices, and an investigation into around 200 bullying and sexual harassment allegations.

When Uber evaluates CEO and other C-Suite candidates, besides the traditional personality and competence assessments it should also evaluate their mindfulness, according to the results of a new study co-authored by several CEIBS faculty members. The researchers explored how leader mindfulness enhances employee performance, and their results show that leaders who are more mindful are more likely to follow fair principles (what academics call procedural justice) when making important decisions. This includes allowing employees to express their views, giving them influence on the decision, and adhering to ethical standards. In the case of Uber, it seems that the CEO mostly ignored the perspective of his employees (e.g. when they complained about company culture/practices) and of the drivers (when they complained about declining pay). A more mindful approach would have helped him to be open to the signals by his employees and to adhere to ethical standards, which may also promote performance in the organization. As the researchers found, this is in part because increased procedural justice reduces employees’ emotional exhaustion. This study by CEIBS faculty is one of the first to examine how a person’s mindfulness can influence the attitudes and behaviours of others.

The researchers conducted three studies in their exploration. The first involved an online survey of 277 US employees across a wide range of occupations and industries which asked questions designed to rate their leaders’ mindfulness and their own degree of emotional exhaustion and performance at work. The second study was done in China. The researchers surveyed 54 team leaders and 182 employees from various organizations in China. Leaders were surveyed on their degree of mindfulness and asked to provide contact information of at least five direct subordinates. The subordinates were later contacted and asked to complete an online survey that measured the degree of their leaders’ procedural justice and their own emotional exhaustion. Next, the researchers asked the leaders to rate their employees’ performance. The final study was a laboratory experiment. The researchers recruited 62 senior managers from various organizations in China and randomly assigned them to one of two conditions, an experimental condition (mindfulness), and a control condition (unfocused attention). The participants then listened to a 10-minute pre-recorded audio clip based on which condition they were assigned to, and afterwards completed a survey designed to measure their mindfulness and degree of procedural justice.

The results suggest that promoting leader mindfulness may be an effective way to reduce unfair behaviours. Besides measuring the mindfulness of candidates for supervisory roles, companies may want to promote a culture that recognizes and rewards the benefits of mindfulness. The researchers also suggest that companies should consider mindfulness training programmes. The improved employee well-being and performance that would result, particularly when mindful leaders are better able to follow fair principles in their decision-making, would seem to outweigh the costs involved.

The results of the study have been published by the Journal of Business Ethics in the paper titled “The Interpersonal Benefits of Leader Mindfulness: A serial mediation model linking leader mindfulness, leader procedural justice enactment, and employee exhaustion and performance”. The authors are Assistant Professor of Management Sebastian C. SchuhLecturer of Management Michelle Xue ZhengProfessor of Management Katherine R. Xin, and Professor of Management Juan Antonio Fernandez . Read the paper here.

Lessons in Mindfulness...From an NBA Team?

Inspiration that comes from unexpected places can often be the most interesting. In this article, originally by Jason Marsh for Greater Good Magazine talks about the 2017 NBA Champions the Golden State Warriors and how they create a culture of mindfulness that has in part helped them reach the pinnacle of their sport. 

Original post:

Three Greater Good Lessons from the Golden State Warriors

The NBA Champions are a case study in mindfulness, empathy, and cooperation.


The Golden State Warriors are a Greater Good team.

I say that not only because they play in Oakland, just a few miles from our office. Nor because several of our staff (myself included) have been known to skip out of work early to cheer them on. Nor even because our faculty director, Dacher Keltner, sat in on a couple of Warriors practices earlier this season.

Kevin Durant (left) and Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors celebrate with Curry's daughter after winning the 2017 NBA Finals.

No, I say that because throughout their dominant run across the NBA regular season, playoffs, and Finals, they preached and played by Greater Good values. Indeed, Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr has deliberately shaped the Warriors’ team culture around four core valuesjoymindfulnesscompassion, and competition. That last one is a no-brainer for any professional sports team, but the first three are less conventional—and they obviously resonate with our work here at the Greater Good Science Center.

When the Warriors reclaimed the NBA championship from the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier this week, those values took center stage. From their postgame interviews, as well as their play during the finals and their season as a whole, I took away three lessons that, according to Greater Good science, feel just as important to finding satisfaction in life as they do to finding success on the court.

1. Good things happen when you focus on the present.

Finals MVP Kevin Durant has been one of the top players in the NBA for a decade. But his consistently jaw-dropping performance in the Finals—including the most clutch shot of the Warriors’ season—brought him to a new level of greatness. What made the difference?

“I just tried to stay in the moment the whole series, and I think that worked for me,” he said after Game 5. “I remember plenty of times throughout my career, I continued to look in the past or look ahead, and not stay in the moment. And this series, I just stayed in the moment.”

That sounds a whole lot like mindfulness, the moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, sensations, and surrounding environment—and one of the Warriors’ core values.

While mindfulness is often seen as something you practice during formal meditation, many experts, including famed author and mindfulness teacher Jon Kabat-Zinn, stress that it’s better thought of as a state or quality you can bring to any activity. That could be taking out the garbage, enjoying an ice cream cone, or shooting a three-pointer with LeBron James in your face. The key is that you’re attuned to the present moment, not dwelling on the past or lost in the future.

Research has linked mindfulness to a whole host of benefits, from better health to more positive emotions to more compassionate behavior. While I bet Durant wouldn’t mind any of those, perhaps most relevant is the research linking mindfulness to sharper focus and less distractibility. And as we have reported in the past, studies have even linked mindfulness to concrete improvements on the basketball court, such as better defense and a higher free throw percentage.

Other teams, like the Seattle Seahawks and Chicago Cubs, have embraced mindfulness in recent years. Perhaps not coincidentally, those teams won the Super Bowl and the World Series, respectively. Add Durant and the Warriors to that list of mindful champions.

2. Empathic joy feels better than selfish joy.

In his post-game press conference soon after vanquishing the Cavaliers, Warriors power forward Draymond Green was asked how it felt to share this championship with some NBA veterans, like JaVale McGee and David West, who were new to the Warriors this season and had never won it all.

“To see them celebrate that,” he said, “was an even better feeling than just celebrating it [myself].”

Draymond was onto something. In fact, research suggests that people experience greater pleasure after succeeding as part of a team than they do on their own. That might be at least partly because, in certain situations, seeing other people smile seems to activate the same brain regions as when you smile yourself, flooding you with happy feelings.

As my Greater Good colleague Emiliana Simon-Thomas has written, “This research suggests that seeing teammates’ expressions of triumph and joy may enhance one’s own experience of triumph and joy.”

Researchers call this experience “empathic joy”—feeling another person’s happiness as your own. And they’ve found that it doesn’t just carry benefits for NBA champs: A recent study found that when teachers experienced empathic joy with their students, those students later scored higher on standardized tests.

3. Cooperation is key to getting ahead.

It has become something of a cliché to call the Warriors an “unselfish” team—this is, after all, a team whose motto for the past several seasons has been “Strength in Numbers.”

But that ethos was put to the test this season with the arrival of Durant, a four-time NBA scoring champion, who joined last year’s scoring leader, Stephen Curry. Would both of those superstars—along with All-Stars Klay Thompson and Draymond Green—be able to share the ball, and the spotlight, for the good of the team?

The statistics speak for themselves: They earned a league-leading 67 wins—and led the league in assists, with 20 percent more than any other team. Curry took about 10 percent fewer shots per game than he had the previous season; Durant took 14 percent fewer. And, unlike last season, the Warriors finished as champions.

“We got an unselfish team who just wants to win,” said Klay Thompson. “They don’t care who gets the stats or the accolades.”

Durant said he and his teammates embraced a message preached by Warriors “sixth man” Andre Iguodala: “It’s all about the group.”

And research suggests they were wise to do so. Indeed, studies across species—from ants to fish to bats to humans—have found that groups whose members sacrifice their own personal self-interest for the good of the group are more likely to survive, and thrive, in competitive environments.

The evolutionary edge we get from cooperating might explain this provocative finding by Harvard researchers David G. Rand, Joshua D. Greene, and Martin A. Nowak: When people are pressed to make snap decisions between cooperating and competing, they choose to cooperate. “Although the cold logic of self-interest is seductive,” they write, “our first impulse is to cooperate.”

While the 2016-17 Warriors could arguably compete with any team from NBA history, this season they proved that the best way to compete is to cooperate.

“That’s what, to me, carries teams over the top,” Kerr told the sports website Bleacher Report soon after the Warriors defeated the Cavaliers. “A lot of teams have talent, and obviously we have great talent. But when that talent is committed to the greater good . . . that takes you over the top.”

Caring Deeply for Others Without Burning Out

For many professionals, and notably those working in the health field, burnout can be a big problem. Constantly needing to remain compassionate and mindful around very high touch and stressful situations often leads to a mental and emotional disconnect from patients, families, and coworkers. This short re-post, originally from Susan Talan from gives a few short ways to recognize when you may be on the brink of burnout, and what you can do about it. 

Original article:

How to Care Deeply Without Burning Out

Sharon Salzberg and Dan Harris explore how to recognize the signs of empathy fatigue and maintain a balanced, mindful, compassionate response.

By Susan Talan | June 9, 2017

Mindfulness teaches us to be aware of and responsive to the emotions of others. But when we face the suffering of others without equanimity, our empathetic response can overwhelm us. “I think it’s almost inevitable that we get burnt out, at least from time to time,” says meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg. Part of the reason that happens is that we respond to the suffering of others without recognizing the difference between empathy and compassion.

You can acknowledge the pain, you can want to help, but you have to recognize that you can’t change other people’s experience of the world.

When we sense the suffering of others, that’s empathy. But our response might be to forget about it, or feel like we can’t bear it, or we might start blaming. Having compassion is a choice we make consciously and it can only happen with the balance of equanimity. In this conversation between Sharon and Dan Harris, of 10% Happier, they talk about the difference between empathy and compassion, and explore a few ways to avoid burning out.

How to Care Deeply Without Burning Out

  • Know the difference between empathy and compassion. Empathy is our natural resonance with the emotions of others, where we sense the difficulty someone might be feeling. Compassion is one of the many responses to empathy.
  • Realize when you’re feeling overwhelmed. It’s inevitable that we will all experience burnout. What’s important is recognizing what’s happening and moving towards balance. Compassion implies a stability of attention and caring in a wise and balanced way—caring about yourself and others.
  • Recognize that you can’t change others. Compassion also implies a wisdom and intelligence to know that it’s not up to you to fix the world for others. You can’t function if you’re just taking in other’s pain all the time. There’s a balance that’s crucial: You can acknowledge the pain, you can want to help, but you have to recognize that you can’t change other people’s experience of the world. That’s the letting go. Dan Harris puts it this way: “My father says the hardest thing about having kids is letting them make their own mistakes. That’s compassion with equanimity.” 

Dive in deeper with Sharon and Dan in Episode #81: Sharon Salzberg, ‘Real Love’ on the 10% Happier podcast.


Great Leaders Who Make the Mix Work

Thanks to everyone who came out to the Leadership Development Program 3.0: Embracing Gender Diversity in Leadership at the Michigan League! In this relevant article, from HBR in 2013, the authors speak to executives about how they are working to increase diversity in their companies. The article finishes with 8 methods to help increase diversity in your organization. 

Original article: 

Business leaders send a powerful message when they demonstrate a commitment to diversity and inclusion that goes beyond rhetoric. But how does diversity make its way to the top of a CEO’s agenda? To find out, we interviewed 24 CEOs from around the globe who ran companies and corporate divisions that had earned reputations for embracing people from all kinds of backgrounds. These executives represented a wide range of industries and regions, as well as different stages on the journey to creating an inclusive culture. Our goal was to understand not only why they had made diversity a strategic priority but also how they executed on their goals and what that meant to the organization and its practices.

How We Chose the CEOs

The CEOs we spoke with did not see diversity as a once-and-done initiative, nor did they hand off the responsibility for it to others. Rather, each of the 24, in his or her own way, approached inclusivity as a personal mission. When we asked these executives why advancing diversity in their organizations was so important to them, the aggregate answer was twofold: They believed it was a business imperative because their companies needed it to stay competitive, and they believed it was a moral imperative because of their personal experiences and values. As Mikael Ohlsson of the Swedish home-products company IKEA put it, “My leadership on diversity is vision-driven from a business point of view and value-driven at the foundation.”

These CEOs spoke forcefully about diversity as an advantage. Paul Block of the U.S. sweetener manufacturer Merisant pointed out, “People with different lifestyles and different backgrounds challenge each other more. Diversity creates dissent, and you need that. Without it, you’re not going to get any deep inquiry or breakthroughs.” Or, as Jonathan Broomberg of the South African insurer Discovery Health put it, diversity is “a source of creativity and innovation.”

A diverse workforce also prevents an organization from becoming too insular and out of touch with its increasingly heterogeneous customer base. Many of the CEOs asserted that it is crucial for a company’s employees to reflect the people they serve. Brian Moynihan of Bank of America saw an important link to customer satisfaction: “When internal diversity and inclusion scores are strong, and employees feel valued, they will serve our customers better, and we’ll be better off as an organization.”

The Role of Personal Experience

A CEO’s commitment often arises from his or her own understanding of what it means to be an outsider. Take Andrea Jung of the personal-care-products firm Avon. (Note that Jung, like a number of other CEOs we talked with, has stepped down since our interview with her.) Describing her career, she said: “I was often the only woman or Asian sitting around a table of senior executives. I experienced plenty of meetings outside my organization with large groups of executives where people assumed that I couldn’t be the boss, even though I was.” MasterCard’s CEO, Ajay Banga—a Sikh from India who was hassled in the United States after 9/11—shared something similar: “My passion for diversity comes from the fact that I myself am diverse. There have been a hundred times when I have felt different from other people in the room or in the business. I have a turban and a full beard, and I run a global company—that’s not common.”

Carlos Ghosn of Nissan Motor Company told us how bias had affected his own family. “My mother was one of eight children,” he said. “She used to be a very brilliant student, and when the time came to go to college, she wanted to become a doctor. Unfortunately, her mother had to explain to her that there was not enough money in the family, and that the money for college was going to the boys and the girls would instead have to marry. When I was a kid and my mother was telling me this story—without any bitterness, by the way, just matter-of-fact—I was outraged because it was my mother. After hearing that story, I said I would never do anything to hurt someone based on segregation.”

To Ghosn, gender bias is a personal affront. “When I see that women do not have the same opportunities as men, it touches me in a personal way,” he said. “I think it’s some kind of refusal related to my sisters or to my daughters.”

Even white male CEOs had stories to share. Kentucky native Jim Rogers of the electric-utility holding company Duke Energy felt like an outsider at the start of his career. “When I went to Washington to be a lawyer, I felt like I had to work harder, be better, and prove myself because I had a southern accent and came from a rural state,” he said. The self-awareness, insight, and empathy that Rogers and other chief executives acquired from personal experience have clearly shaped their attitudes toward diversity and inclusion and informed their priorities as leaders.

Persistent Institutional Barriers

The CEOs were generally disappointed with the lack of progress on diversity in the C-suite. While several women have risen through the ranks to become leaders of multibillion-dollar corporations, the statistics are grim overall. Only 4% of companies on the 2013 Fortune 500 list are led by female CEOs. As Banga acknowledged, “That’s more than what it used to be 20 years ago, but it’s nowhere near where it should be.” The disparity also persists in other senior leadership positions and on boards. Ken Frazier of Merck offered a harsher assessment: “I think that the progress of women in the last two decades has been so limited, so slow, so inadequate, that it would defy even the most skeptical people from 20 years ago.”

We asked the CEOs what they perceived to be the greatest obstacles to women’s advancement in their own companies and industries. Although there’s no one truth about what holds women back, the leaders we spoke with offered candid views based on years of observation.

If there’s a single barrier that affects all women, it’s exclusion from networks and conversations that open doors to further development and promotion, according to seven of the CEOs. Woods Staton of Arcos Dorados, the largest operator of McDonald’s restaurants in Latin America, defined the offending mechanism as “social cliquishness,” a pattern of interaction in which men seek out the company of other men and ignore women. “The men come out of a meeting, hang out with each other, and then go out at night for drinks,” Staton explained. “It’s subtle discrimination, and it’s difficult to work around.” Barry Salzberg of the professional services firm Deloitte described this pattern as a tangible, negative consequence of “the old boys’ network.”

Frazier went so far as to say, “I’m an African-American, and I’ve worked in the business world all my life, and I believe very strongly that whatever barriers race presents in the workforce, they pale in comparison to the barriers that women face when creating the close mentoring relationships that are necessary to be promoted.” We find that this kind of discrimination is often unintended, unconscious, and embedded in a company’s culture.

The CEOs also reported that the contributions of women are often underappreciated. As an example, Jim Turley of Ernst & Young described an incident when he himself was called out: “I like to facilitate our board discussions by getting right into the more contentious points, and we were having a discussion around a particular topic. Three women on the board made individual comments that were similar in direction, which I didn’t respond to. Not long after they spoke, a fourth person, who happened to be a man, made a comment in line with what the women had been saying, and I picked up on his comment. I said, ‘I think Jeff’s got it right,’ not even aware of what I had just done. To their great credit, the women didn’t embarrass me publicly. They pulled me to the side, and they said, ‘Jim, we know you didn’t mean for this to be the way it was received, but this is what happened.’ They played it back to me, and they said that that’s what happens to women throughout their careers. It was a learning moment for me.”

Clearly, even leaders passionate about building inclusive cultures can inadvertently allow unconscious biases to shape their behavior.

Five of the CEOs asserted that unexamined assumptions also constrained women’s chances to progress. As Frazier explained, “If a job requires a woman to travel a lot, sometimes people decide preemptively that she’s got a young child at home—this won’t be something she’s interested in.” Double standards can also trip up women in line for promotions, as when characteristics prized in male leaders are viewed as negative qualities in women. “When men come into the environment and they’re tough, they’re perceived as strong business leaders,” said Block. “When women come in and they’re tough, it’s not always as valued.”

Geographic immobility due to family constraints was another problem, mentioned by three of the CEOs. “People often require geographic mobility to get the appropriate amount of exposure to the various aspects of the business that they need to understand,” Randall Stephenson of AT&T noted. “As managers mature, we observe that some female managers get to a place where they want to begin families or their spouse also works, which makes them less inclined to move and physically relocate their families.” Jung concurred: “In my experience, where part of career development and part of talent management was getting a ‘global passport’ stamped, one of the barriers for women could have been mobility. I saw that beyond the opportunity for the individual, we also had to try to create all of the opportunities necessary to make sure the whole family could in fact move.”

Another three CEOs cited insufficient support for women who were rejoining the workforce after taking time off to raise children. Any organization that hopes to encourage women to succeed needs to address that, noted Rogers. “If a woman is pregnant and leaves, you have to have the flexibility to allow her to do that but not lose her place or her momentum,” he said.

Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Nissan Motor Company

My mother was one of eight children. She used to be a very brilliant student, and when the time came to go to college, she wanted to become a doctor. Unfortunately, her mother had to explain to her that there was not enough money in the family, and that the money for college was going to the boys and the girls would instead have to marry. After hearing that story, I said I would never do anything to hurt someone based on segregation.

Unsurprisingly, five CEOs brought up barriers related to childbearing and child rearing, and six mentioned a lack of flexible work hours. They observed that the push-and-pull between work and family, though increasingly an issue for men too, remains predominantly a barrier for women. George Chavel of Sodexo North America drove home that point, asking, “Why should women have to be superhuman, have these reputations of ‘They can do it all,’ and make these major sacrifices, and men don’t have those kinds of expectations placed on them?”

Do Women Lead Differently?

Eight of the CEOs perceived a distinction between male and female leadership styles. Though social scientists may not agree with their take on things, the CEOs said that women were less political, less likely to define themselves by their careers, more collaborative, better listeners, more relationship-oriented, and more empathetic and reasonable. We also heard that women were more likely to focus on completing the job at hand and to neglect to position themselves for recognition or promotion, while men were more apt to seek attention.

This tendency not to assert themselves could hold women back. George Halvorson of the California-based managed-care consortium Kaiser Permanente explained the problem this way: “There are cultural barriers, in that leaders who are looking for the next generation of leaders, for the people to promote, are less likely to see and understand the capable women that they have in their shop, probably because the male style tends to focus more on being in the spotlight, and the female style tends to focus more on bringing people together to get things done. The very thing that makes the best female leaders very successful also makes them less visible, and that’s an incredibly important distinction. A good leader knows to look for things that have gone really well and then drills down to find the person who really did it, as opposed to just looking for whoever has a lot of accolades and did the dance.”

But some differences in leadership style can work to women’s advantage, said several CEOs. “When you’ve got a complex project involving multiple layers, you need a leader who is collaborative, and more often than not I have found that leader to be a woman,” said Halvorson.

What Is an Inclusive Culture?

Resoundingly, the CEOs agreed on what an inclusive culture meant for their organizations. They defined it as one in which employees can contribute to the success of the company as their authentic selves, while the organization respects and leverages their talents and gives them a sense of connectedness. “In an inclusive culture employees know that, irrespective of gender, race, creed, sexual orientation, and physical ability, you can fulfill your personal objectives by aligning them with the company’s, have a rich career, and be valued as an individual. You are valued for how you contribute to the business,” said David Thodey of Telstra, the Australian telecommunications firm. Brad Wilson of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina described an inclusive workplace as “one where all who come with the professional skills sufficient to perform the requirements of the job feel welcome, supported, and rewarded, and are inspired to succeed based on their ability.” That’s similar to the point that John Rowe of Exelon, a U.S. energy producer and distributor, made when he noted that a culture of mutual respect helps his company address the complexities of its business. “A big organization needs only a few generals and a lot of sergeants,” he said. “The sergeants deserve respect too.”

Some CEOs observed that the proof is not only in how individual employees feel about opportunities for growth but also in how teams operate and decisions are made. “In an inclusive culture, we create and support heterogeneous teams,” said Chavel. “They may take longer to make decisions than homogeneous teams, but it’s worth the investment because their decisions will be better informed.” To these CEOs, inclusiveness is not merely a matter of the composition of the organization or of particular teams (though such metrics can be helpful); it also has to do with how people relate to one another. “Broad diversity is necessary, but if you just walk away after you have it, you may not get the outcomes you want,” said Steve Voigt of King Arthur Flour, a company where women account for three of eight board members and three of six senior executives. “You really have to manage it, grow it, and educate around it.”

Practices That Make the Difference

Turley drew an important distinction: “Diversity itself is about the mix of people you have, and creating an inclusive culture is about making that mix work.” We asked the CEOs which of their organizations’ practices had been most effective at harnessing diversity. Here’s what they told us:

1. Measure diversity and inclusion.

The CEOs agreed that metrics are key because, as we know, what gets measured gets done. Bank of America, for example, puts questions about diversity and inclusiveness into its biannual employee engagement survey and compares the results for any team that gets at least seven responses against those of a normative group of companies. “We’ve also built a diversity-and-inclusion index that tells us if people here feel they are treated fairly and to help us ensure that people of diverse backgrounds can succeed at Bank of America,” said Moynihan. “With this data, each team can have a dialogue to determine what we’re doing well and what we can improve to make Bank of America a better place to work.”

2. Hold managers accountable.

Merck, Nissan, General Mills, Telstra, and ABB North America are among the many organizations that make diversity and inclusion goals part of their managers’ performance objectives. “Each of my direct reports has things that they’re going to do personally to help promote diversity, not things that they can assign to their team,” explained Moynihan. “I say, ‘What are you going to do to get involved?’ For example, they can mentor somebody individually or sponsor diversity events.” AT&T takes a different approach. “We benchmark diversity objectives at the senior levels of management, and we have regular meetings around my table about how we’re advancing,” said Stephenson. “A portion of our officers’ compensation is based on achieving those objectives.” Many CEOs also reported that managers who embraced diversity were more likely to be considered for promotion at their companies.

In some organizations a favorable attitude toward diversity even determines whether an employee is viewed as a good fit for the organization. “We really have challenges when the leadership group is not diverse and they don’t get it. And so you have to educate them—and if they still don’t get it, I let them go,” said Tim Solso of the engine manufacturer Cummins. He elaborated: “We hit a serious downturn in the second half of 2000 through the first half of 2003. I mean, we were on the brink as a company, but I didn’t back off on diversity. One of the senior officers basically said to another officer, ‘Why doesn’t Solso get off this diversity stuff? We need to save the company.’ I fired him. It was well known why he was fired. After that, people either got it or didn’t talk that way anymore.”

3. Support flexible work arrangements.

Many of the CEOs reported that their organizations offered benefits that helped employees balance their professional and personal commitments—such as flexible hours, on-site child care, and onboarding support after a leave of absence. Ken Powell of the U.S. food processor General Mills explained his company’s efforts this way: “I’ve had officers at General Mills say to me, ‘I realize that I’m one of several people who could be the brand manager for Cheerios, but I’m the only person who can be the mother to my children.’ While some of those women make the decision to leave the company—sometimes permanently—we’ve learned that we can retain many of them by providing greater flexibility during those hectic childbearing years.”

Jim Turley, CEO of Ernst & Young

Three women on the board made individual comments that were similar in direction, which I didn’t respond to. Not long after they spoke, a fourth person, who happened to be a man, made a comment in line with what the women had been saying, and I said, ‘I think Jeff’s got it right,’ not even aware of what I had just done. To their great credit, the women didn’t embarrass me publicly. They pulled me to the side and played it back to me. It was a learning moment for me.

At Sodexo North America, Chavel and his leadership team have made work/life balance a personal matter. “Although the job is 24/7, I try to send the message that I’m open and receptive to any kind of flexible arrangement,” Chavel said. “For example, I will end a meeting early to get to one of my sons’ athletic events or travel somewhere for a family commitment.”

4. Recruit and promote from diverse pools of candidates.

Workforce diversity begins with the search for talent. At General Mills, Powell’s leadership team tracks metrics during and after the hiring process. “From the beginning, we’re looking at the composition of the pool of candidates that we interview on campus, because that’s an important early indicator,” Powell told us. “Then we look at the composition of the group of people we hire in any given year. We track the retention rate for different groups, such as women or African-Americans. Even interns. At what rate are they leaving? At what rate are they getting promoted? What percentage advances to each level in the company? Our metrics help us diagnose and understand what’s going on—enabling us to develop action plans to address any issues we see. It’s important, and that’s why I review those metrics myself on a quarterly basis.”

Ghosn has taken a different approach at Nissan in Japan, where women are strikingly underrepresented in management ranks. “We’ve implemented quotas in hiring, particularly in the populations where there are fewer women—like engineering—and we make sure that in the succession plans of the company we always have a specific number of female candidates,” he explained. “This forces management to identify women in their own ranks or to hire more women. So when it comes time for promotions, we have a diverse group of candidates from which we can choose. I believe quotas are a great way of advancing diversity, particularly when you have a long way to go and you don’t want to wait forever. After a company attains a certain level of diversity, I think quotas lose their effectiveness. But when you’re moving from 1% female managers to 5%, if you don’t enforce a quota, it’s going to take forever to reach that number.”

Owing in part to this strategy, the representation of women in Nissan’s management has increased three times as fast as the average rate in Japan over the past decade.

5. Provide leadership education.

Another key practice is providing leadership development opportunities for women at the lower levels of the organization, which tend to be more diverse. Broomberg described Discovery Health’s CEO Program like this: “It’s a brilliant two-year program which involves candidates in intensive internal and external training, significant exposure to senior executives, and travel to the U.S. to do a course at Duke. It includes external candidates and young candidates from previously disadvantaged backgrounds already in the company. It’s a big financial investment for us, but we’ve been able to add quite a lot of muscle to our recruitment capacity and also invest significantly in the more rapid advancement of existing internal candidates.”

And Johnson & Johnson’s Bill Weldon noted that diversity training cannot be hived off from the rest of the operation. It has to be woven into the culture. “About 10 years ago one of the women’s leadership initiative programs was being held across the street, and I asked the people running it if I could go to the program,” he recalled. “They said no. I asked why not, and they said I couldn’t go because I was a man. My response was that that may be the problem—you have to broaden it beyond women. We evolve and learn and grow to make sure we’re capturing not just the people involved but the views of the whole community.”

Needless to say, companies should also offer their high-potential employees opportunities for external education and development. But according to Harvard Business School, only 23% of participants in executive education programs on the Boston campus in 2012 were women. Companies also need to invest in women-only leadership development programs and in educating both men and women about subtle gender biases and how they manifest themselves in firms.

6. Sponsor employee resource groups and mentoring programs.

Several of the CEOs’ companies offered less structured professional development opportunities to various subgroups of employees. One approach is employee resource groups, or networks of employees who share an affiliation (such as women, ethnic minorities, or young professionals). Angela Braly of the U.S. managed-care firm WellPoint underlined the importance of leveraging such groups in substantive ways. “I visit each group twice a year and give them real assignments,” she said. “I am very clear about my expectation that they will have a real impact on the business.”

Companies must also invest in these groups, according to Banga. “Here at MasterCard we have many business resource groups, or BRGs,” he said. “We have women’s leadership networks, a YoPro group for young professionals, a group for employees of African descent, a pride community, a Latino community, and an ‘East’ community for Asian employees. Each BRG has a business sponsor, who’s normally a direct report of mine. We do a ton of things with them, from employee-networking events to multicultural summits to a women’s forum for which we get outside speakers as well as panels comprised of me and members of my board.”

7. Offer quality role models.

It’s no surprise that diversity at the top promotes diversity throughout an organization. A varied array of leaders signals an organizational commitment to diversity and also provides emerging leaders with role models they can identify with. Several of the CEOs, including those from Kaiser Permanente, Sodexo North America, King Arthur Flour, Duke Energy, and Cummins, said that putting women in leadership roles was key to attracting, retaining, and developing other female talent. Rogers described how Duke did this: “This historically has been a man’s industry. So, early on, we worked to move a woman into a plant manager position. That set an example. You have to be intentional and make sure you populate your organization with leaders who represent diversity. That creates an environment that allows those with diverse backgrounds to say, ‘If they can, I can.’ That is a very important feeling that needs to be embedded in the people in the company.”

As for individualized employee development, many CEOs cited the importance of mentorship and sponsorship opportunities. Ohlsson explained IKEA’s unique approach to mentorship this way: “We have a grandfathering/grandmothering principle at IKEA—that is to say that a hiring boss has to have another manager say yes to a candidate before that person can be hired. Two people then share the responsibility for the development of that individual.” Such double sponsorship increases the likelihood that talented employees of any background will feel supported and stay with the company.

But Halvorson warned against tokenism—the practice of putting people into jobs because of their classification, not their ability. “If you put someone in place who fits a certain category but doesn’t have the skill set needed to do the job, then you basically set the whole agenda back significantly,” he said. “My sense is to hire stars, and the constellation is far more effective if it’s a diverse constellation.”

8. Make the chief diversity officer position count.

As this relatively new role proliferates across industries, CEOs must decide how to maximize its effectiveness. At the time of his interview, Enrique Santacana of ABB North America had just received approval from the firm’s North America Executive Committee to create a chief diversity and inclusion officer position, reporting directly to him. “We want to make sure that people understand that it has full support from the top, and it’s not just a communications message that goes out there with no follow-up,” he explained. “It institutionalizes the process and the intent, and it establishes a formal means by which we will develop programs as well as metrics, so that we can track our progress.”

Lead by Example

Once the vision of an inclusive culture has been articulated and best practices have been put in place, what is the CEO’s daily contribution to seeing that the vision becomes a reality? Nearly half the CEOs said their most important role was to set the tone for the organization’s culture by demonstrating a commitment to inclusion.

Perhaps the most meaningful way to do that is by dedicating time to work personally on diversity and inclusion initiatives. A quarter of the CEOs we interviewed mentioned direct involvement with diversity programs, such as meeting regularly with employee resource groups and diversity councils. Banga, Moynihan, and Thodey even chair diversity and inclusion councils themselves. By pointing the way, CEOs will help their organizations attract and develop the best, most diverse talent, giving them the edge they need to succeed.

A version of this article appeared in the September 2013 issue of Harvard Business Review.

Boris Groysberg is a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School and the coauthor, with Michael Slind, of Talk, Inc. (Harvard Business Review Press, 2012). His work examines how a firm can be systematic in achieving a sustainable competitive advantage by leveraging its talent at all levels of the organization. Follow him on Twitter @bgroysberg.

Katherine Connolly is a research associate in the organizational behavior unit at HBS.

Back in the Game: Jim Hackett Returns to the CEO Role, this Time at Ford Motor Company

This article, originally from a conversation from University of Michigan Ross School of Business professor Dr. Robert Pasick highlights leadership lessons from new Ford Motor Company CEO, Jim Hackett. Many leadership lessons can be translated to the healthcare field, and Mr. Hackett's view on service and long-term thinking are great to keep in mind! 

Original article from 

Congratulations to Jim Hackett, on being named CEO of Ford Motor Company!  Jim was my guest at my LEADERS CONNECT Breakfast in Ann Arbor  in 2016.  From this event, here are some of his insights about leadership.

In the 20 years of presentations at eaders Connect, Jim Hackett’s discussion about leadership is absolutely one of the best we’ve ever heard. Like most excellent speakers, Jim not only told great stories, but he gave sound and inspiring advice. Here are some of the highlights of the leadership lessons we heard from Jim Hackett.

  • “Three important questions to ask when coaching: what do you want to do less of, what do you want to do more of, what do you want to stop?”
  • “Employ human centered design thinking in your planning: this means diveent hinking and taking a thorough deep dive into analytics.”
  • sk yourself: “on your death bed are you going to remember what you did for yourself or for others?” The answer to this question leads to servant leadership. Your value as a human being is not diminished by failure. Have the self-confidence never lose sight of yourself as to who you are.
  • “In carrying out your strategy, think long term. As an example, it took months of planning and detail execution to come to an understanding with Jim Harbaugh to coach at Michigan.”’
  • “Treat everyone with equal respect: from the janitor to the board members.”
  • “Thinking long-term enables you to recognize when yo industry is likely to be disrupted. The university is one sector yet to face the full impact of disruption.”
  • Good boards are ‘ in, fingers out.’ Choose board members for their capabilities and their ability to work together.”
  • Diversity is critical and essential. “To gain more diversity, you must look for it. Look at it as an equity, an equal opportunity... to find talent, buil etworks with inority communities.”
  • “Success as an executive depends on continuous learning. Ask yourself what system you are using for continuous learning.”For example: Jim watches the Charlie Rose Show every day, reads continuously about science, and has attended Te or 30 years.
  • “Leadership is having a point of view. Decide what to do, set the course, and stick with it.”
  • “Empathy is crucial for effective leadership.”
  • “Organizatio must be willing to give up some of the old to get to the new.”
  • “If someone is rigidly opposing what you want to do, ask them “what would you have to believe to allow this to happen?”
  • Encourage self-reflection.
  • im’s sweet spot for a job: “working on hard, abstract problems with great smart people.”