Yearly Archives: 2012

Step Up to Your Summit!

 |  Leadership

Today is the anniversary of the birth of Frank Sinatra (Dec 12, 1915). I’m a huge fan of Frank Sinatra. I’ve been listening to his music for years. I love the songs. I love the voice. Most of all I love the attitude. Many years ago when I was sitting at a job I knew was taking me nowhere I dreamt up my transition, my steps into a new way of living life. I was listening to Sinatra, Live at The Sands. I remember reading about his now famous gatherings on stage in the wee small hours of the night with Dean Martin and Sammy Davis. They never called themselves “The Rat Pack.” They called themselves “The Summit” and their times together their “Summit meetings.”

As I reflected on those performances I saw two important characteristics. One, these men were extremely good at what they were doing. Their level of performance was high. Second, they appeared to gain extraordinary fulfillment from what they were doing. I think the audience was just lucky to be in the room, but they weren’t very necessary to the proceedings.

I hear the same story from many different people that I work with. It’s also my story. We spend a long time, years sometime in a job or situation in which we do very well. I mentioned that I was sitting at a job that was taking me nowhere. While I was quite good at my job, the trouble was I got no sense of fulfillment from it. It was, in fact, for me soul-killing work. I dreamt of something different for myself and for my family. I dreamt of finding my “Summit,” going there, and living there.

We all have a Summit, a place where our high performance intersects with extraordinary fulfillment. We have a right and a responsibility to find that Summit and step up to it. As leaders we want to be leading from our Summit and creating conditions for those around us to find and reach their own Summits in their work. If we or they aren’t living and working at the Summit, you can be sure that neither you or they are fully engaged. We owe it to ourselves and to those around us to find and reach our Summit. It might require some modest adjustments to the status quo. It might require radical change.

Whichever the case may be, we have to own our reality and go for it. As I’ve said in earlier posts. In all things we have to go to the edge, push farther, and repeat. What about you? Where is your “Summit?”

Happy Birthday, Frank! And thanks for the inspiration!

Living and Leading in 3D

 |  Leadership

Tomorrow I head off to Colorado for the Gore-Tex TransRockies Run – 120 miles in six days. I’ve been running for a few years now; but, this is a whole new world for me. There are a whole raft of reasons for deciding to tackle this challenge. One very important reason is that my wife and I are running it together. The chance to experience this together was too good to pass on.

Another reason for doing TransRockies is that it pushes me out of my comfort zone. And we all need that from time to time. Early in the 2000s I came up with a personal mantra that has helped me to keep looking forward, to keep striving, and to find some success along the way. The mantra challenged me (and anyone who wanted to hear it) to live “Life in 3D, to Dream it! Design it! and Do it!” That’s how I’ve gotten where I am today. That’s how I’ve come to be signed up for TransRockies this year.

Living (and Leading) in 3D starts with the “Dream.” Leaders set the vision. Where are we going and why are we going there? My vision is to be a TransRockies finisher, to spend six days having fun with my wife in the mountains, and to demonstrate that the 3D mantra and process are powerful tools for personal and professional success.That’s the dream I’m striving to realize next week.

It’s not enough to have the dream. Leaders have to build a strategy to make it real. Leaders take the time to “Design” the way forward. I needed to build a strategy for realizing this dream. What would I do to prepare? What would I need to stop doing or change? If you read my blog on a regular basis (Thank you!), you’ve noticed I haven’t posted in a while. That’s because the design involved more mileage in the last month in order to get this body ready for the run. Once I get back, the posts will resume a more regular cadence. The strategy also involved tapping the wisdom of the running community to get coaching and mentoring on what to expect and how best to prepare.

With the vision set and a strategy for preparation in place, it was time, in the words of Nike’s brilliant marketing tag line to just “Do” it. Success in life and in business comes down to a leader’s ability to execute and to get others to follow and join in some important work. And, the risk of failure is significantly diminished when we take the time to get clear on the vision and build a strong strategy before we jump to execution.

I’ve been putting in the miles, gathering gear, experimenting with hydration and nutrition, and preparing mentally for a pretty big challenge. I’m ready to do it. Look for some Instagram uploads to Twitter from time to time next week. And look for more on living and leading in 3D in the months ahead. My new book, “Lead in 3D” is due later this year.

So while I’m up in the Rockies next week, do some reflecting. What do you want out of life? What kind of leader do you want to be? To live and lead in 3D you need only to Dream It! Design It! And Do It!

Three Cs of Transformative Leadership, Part III

 |  Change Leadership, Leadership

“There is a law that man should love his neighbor as himself. In a few hundred years it should be as natural to mankind as breathing or the upright gait; but if he does not learn it he must perish.” These words written by Alfred Adler epitomize the third C of Transformative Leadership: Concern. To lead transformation, we must be concerned for others; we must care.

It is the transformative leader’s awakened consciousness and understanding of our interconnectedness (the first two Cs) that bring forth a way of being and leading that is marked by care, compassion, and real concern for others. The transformative leader cares about others, about her directs, about the community, about the world.

Significant research indicates the positive impact caring and concern can have on the bottom line. The connection between performance and health and productivity is well documented by this point. Therefor, the transformative leader’s capacity for caring must extend beyond the bottom line. We need to care about the people who work for us, with us, and around us. These people bring more than what they do to the corporate enterprise; they bring who they are. The truly transformative leader cares about their lives and acts to engage them in a way that leaves them feeling a sense of belonging and fulfillment in working to help the organization realize its goals. Leadership’s authentic concern for people and the health of the organization yields tremendous benefit: it generates trust, a vital condition for organizational success.

As I have grown older I have come to see that when I was younger I was a big talker (okay, I’m still a big talker.). I had opinions about almost anything and everything. I was especially vocal about social justice issues. I was great at “thinking globally.” I was lousy at “acting locally.” As I have grown, as I have had children, I have had to attend to who I am around this question. Am I a person who cares? Do people look at me and see someone who cares? Do I need to make my circle of concern larger?

Early in my career, I met with someone whom a mutual friend suggested would be a good possible collaborator on a business venture. We met early one day for breakfast. Toward the end of the meeting (he was really interviewing me to see if I was his kind of person), he informed me that he didn’t see us working together because as he listened to my story he didn’t hear me mention service. My immediate reaction was to be taken aback. I hadn’t until that point realized I was being interviewed. I also was amazed that this individual could determine my level of commitment to service based on thirty minutes over juice and coffee.

Once the sting of his judgment subsided, I resolved to attend to my capacity for caring and my history of service. Was I involved in my community? Could I expand my circle of concern? You bet! That conversation helped me become a little more conscious, to see my connection to something bigger than myself, and to strive to make my circle of concern bigger and bigger. My life is better because of that morning. Maybe the questions I faced that morning and still face today are your questions too. I hope so.

About Greg:

Dr. Greg Giuliano is a change leader, innovator, and trusted thinking partner in the area of change leadership. As Founder and Managing Principal at Ecstasis, LLC, a leadership and organizational development consultancy, Greg uses his experiences as a business leader and former psychotherapist to engage with clients all over the world to co-create change leadership strategies that enable success.

Greg’s multi-sector consulting career includes experience with Cisco, Apollo Group, CITI, Philips, AAA, QuickLogic, Goodwill Industries, Red Lion Hotels, and Oxfam GB among others. Greg became a leader in the fields of leadership and change with innovations to individual practices, group learning processes, and social technologies that facilitate individual and collective reflection, dialogue, and positive change.

Follow Greg on Twitter: https://twitter.com/greggiuliano

Three Cs of Transformative Leadership, Part II

 |  Leadership


Today, I’m going to cover the second C of Transformative Leadership: Connectedness. To lead transformation, we must be connected to others. Transformative leaders are connected. What does this mean? It means a few different things. First, the transformative leader, by virtue of her consciousness (the first C) is connected to herself. She has high self-awareness of all the aspects of who she is emotionally, psychologically, intellectually, professionally, etc.

Transformative leaders also recognize their connectedness with others. On one level, this means an awareness that he is part of a team and of a larger organization. Take it a couple steps deeper and it can mean an awareness of the interconnectedness of all life. The foundation for this awareness is evident in many places. Many of the world’s religions have an understanding of our interconnectedness. In fact, religions have long known what science is only now discovering.

Buddhism speaks of inter-being, Christianity of the mystical Body of Christ. Aboriginal cultures of Australia and North America, and many other nature religions recognize and honor the unity of life. Science also suggests the interconnected nature of all life. For a perspective from the world of physics, read “The Tao of Physics” by Fritjof Capra. For a philosophical view, read Ken Wilber’s “A Brief History of Everything.”

Transformative leaders are aware of the not just the reality of our connectedness on different levels, but of the driving need for real connectedness in our organizations. Transformative leaders use their connectedness to drive high engagement and high performance. Transformative leaders know that we’re all in this together. Each person, regardless of title, has a role to play. Transformative leaders connect with others to help everyone play their role to the best of their ability.

Connectedness is also vital for real, respectful, and meaningful business conversations to occur. Without a strong connection, when the conversation can be overly superficial and easily derailed by conflict. Connectedness, and the powerful business conversations it enables is the key to real collaboration that results in aligned decision-making, enables creativity, and drives innovation.

Transformative leaders understand our interconnectedness and engage others with the mindset “I am connected to you and to something bigger than us both.” That the transformative leader is Conscious and Connected results in a third C, something very positive for the organization and its people is something I’ll post on next time. Until then remember the words of Alan Watts, “But I’ll tell you what hermits realize. If you go off into a far, far forest and get very quiet, you’ll come to understand that you’re connected with everything.”

About Greg:

Dr. Greg Giuliano is a change leader, innovator, and trusted thinking partner in the area of change leadership. As Founder and Managing Principal at Ecstasis, LLC, a leadership and organizational development consultancy, Greg uses his experiences as a business leader and former psychotherapist to engage with clients all over the world to co-create change leadership strategies that enable success.

Greg’s multi-sector consulting career includes experience with Cisco, Apollo Group, CITI, Philips, AAA, QuickLogic, Goodwill Industries, Red Lion Hotels, and Oxfam GB among others. Greg became a leader in the fields of leadership and change with innovations to individual practices, group learning processes, and social technologies that facilitate individual and collective reflection, dialogue, and positive change.

Follow Greg on Twitter: https://twitter.com/greggiuliano

Three Cs of Transformative Leadership, Part I

 |  Leadership

Transformative Leaders are Conscious

Transformative Leadership is the capacity to impact and engage others in an important work that causes forward movement with positive effect. To put it simply, transformative leadership drives real and profound change. There are three attributes of transformative leadership. Today, I’m going to cover the first one. To lead transformation, we must ourselves be open to it. Openness is a by-product of the first attribute of transformative leadership. Transformative leaders are Conscious; they are awake. When we live continuously self-reflective lives we keep the lines of communication with our inner lives open. We live in the question; and, by doing so we are able to bring ourselves more fully to our relationships and to our work leading transformation.

David Whyte, in his book Crossing the Unknown Sea writes: “One of the outer qualities of great captains, great leaders, great bosses is that they are unutterably themselves. This is what makes their stature so gigantic in our imaginations. They are living at a frontier, a cliff edge, in a kind of exhilaration that we want to touch in our own lives. The best stay true to a conversation that is the sum of their own strange natures and the world they inhabit, and do not attempt to mimic others in order to get on. Though they may try sincerely to communicate with others, these giants will not make themselves like everyone else in order to do it. There is no replacing a Mandela, the present Dalai Lama, a Rosa Parks, a Martin Luther King, a Churchill, a Susan B. Anthony, not because there are no more great leaders like them to come but because there are no more of those particular individuals.”

In my view, in fact, consciousness (or awareness) is the cornerstone of transformative leadership. Robert Greenleaf observed, “Awareness is not a giver of solace – it is just the opposite. It is a disturber and awakener. Able leaders are usually sharply awake and reasonably disturbed. They are not seekers of solace. They have their own inner security.” Transformative leaders are engaged in honest self-reflection that leads to self-discovery and enables self-affirmation, an ability to affirm one’s self in spite of doubt or anxiety. The awareness or consciousness associated with this process, this way of being is a cornerstone of transformative leadership.

The best thing we can do to help our organizations and to lead those around us is to work at growing our awareness of who we are. This means exploring and accepting not just the good stuff, the knowledge and skills we’ve developed after years of education and experience. It also means looking into the shadow side we all have. What are the things that hold us back and keep us from fully engaging and impacting people in a positive way? By seeking greater awareness and consciousness, we grow our capacity to be intentional, deliberate, and transformative leaders.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved t be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it be sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.” Henry David Thoreau, Walden

About Greg:

Dr. Greg Giuliano is a change leader, innovator, and trusted thinking partner in the area of change leadership. As Founder and Managing Principal at Ecstasis, LLC, a leadership and organizational development consultancy, Greg uses his experiences as a business leader and former psychotherapist to engage with clients all over the world to co-create change leadership strategies that enable success.

Greg’s multi-sector consulting career includes experience with Cisco, Apollo Group, CITI, Philips, AAA, QuickLogic, Goodwill Industries, Red Lion Hotels, and Oxfam GB among others. Greg became a leader in the fields of leadership and change with innovations to individual practices, group learning processes, and social technologies that facilitate individual and collective reflection, dialogue, and positive change.

Follow Greg on Twitter: https://twitter.com/greggiuliano

9 Lessons for Life (and Leadership)

 |  Leadership

The best lessons are the ones that teach us how to live well. I don’t mean being “well off” or having lots of stuff; I mean living in a way that makes a difference. Living well to me means making the most of our time and having a positive impact.

I’m taking my son to his college orientation this weekend. To mark this milestone, I’ve pulled together a list of lessons I hope he takes to heart as he sets out to create his meaning and find his place in our world. I also hope I’m modeling these lessons daily.

I’m sharing them with you because I think of them as essential not just to life but to leadership as well. To lead well, we must live well.

Lesson # 1 – Trust yourself. Trust others. Without trust, there is no hope.

Lesson # 2 – Stand on your own two feet. To do this takes will and strengthens it at the same time. It places you in a victim-free zone. Know what you want and drive toward it.

Lesson #3 – Take some risks. If you don’t try, you’ll never know. Show initiative. Find your purpose.

Lesson #4 – Live your strengths. Find out what you’re good at and what you love and do that. No matter what anyone says. Including me.

Lesson #5 – Be true to yourself. Come up with a consistent answer to the question, “Who am I?” and stick to it, regardless of what others may want or who they want you to be.

Lesson #6 – Remember, you get what you give. Lennon and McCartney are right, “The love you take is equal to the love you make.”

Lesson #7 – Give a damn. Care about people and things beyond your own concern. Let as many people into your circle as you can.

Lesson #8 – Pull yourself together. Bring all of who you are to everything. This is what integrity is. It is the beginning and end of wisdom.

Lesson #9 – Don’t F@#& around. Don’t waste time. It runs out faster than you think. No one hands life to you. We don’t find meaning; we create it. You have to make it what you want it to be. The clock is ticking.

There you go. Feel free to share them with others. If you’ve learned some lessons over the years, I’d love to hear what they are. There’s no reason we can’t add to the list.

Leadership Lessons from America’s Founders

 |  Leadership

I know I’m not the only one riffing on America’s Independence Day in my blog this week. And, what the heck? Let’s do it anyway.

As we prepare to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence (An act and a document which, by the way, inspired over 200 similar acts and documents in the first 100 years after it occurred), there are three values expressed in the Declaration that as individuals and as leaders we need to remind ourselves of constantly.

People want to and need to be heard. No one likes to be told what to do all the time. When people are in a system where they have no voice, they will comply for some time, but they disengage emotionally. In business we refer to this as “quit and stay.” Autocratic, command and control leadership from a place of positional power has a shelf life. And you usually run out of power at the most inopportune times. Just ask George III. Or Sadam. Or Hosni.

People want to participate. The founders employed a laborious, non-expedient tactic in drafting the Declaration and systematized it when it came time to form a government in the new United States. They made collaboration, compromise, and consensus-building the rule. We would succeed or fail together. Collaboration is not the easiest or most expedient way to lead or make decisions. And, if we accept that people want to be heard and see this as a right, we have to embrace collaboration and consensus-based decision making as valid and deserving of a place in our organizations.

People see change as natural and good. We often hear that people fear change. We don’t. We fear loss. And with change, there comes loss. The founders of the US recognized that when people don’t have a voice and are denied the right to participate, that change is natural and good. And while our tendency may be to quit and stay, some find it within themselves to “quit and leave.” They face the fear of loss and step into the uncertainty of change hoping that by stepping through they have already defeated the fear.

During the Q&A section of a keynote I was giving a few weeks ago, someone asked me to name a “fearless leader.” I said there is no such person. There are courageous leaders who have an amazing ability to face fear, contain it, step through it, and do what needs to be done in the moment. The founders of America who signed that Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 were signing their death warrants. They spoke their truth and joined their voices together to create change that continues to this day. They demonstrated a courageous leadership that should inspire us, humble us, and challenge us to strive to be better every day.

About Greg:

Dr. Greg Giuliano is a change leader, innovator, and trusted thinking partner in the area of change leadership. As Founder and Managing Principal at Ecstasis, LLC, a leadership and organizational development consultancy, Greg uses his experiences as a business leader and former psychotherapist to engage with clients all over the world to co-create change leadership strategies that enable success.

Greg’s multi-sector consulting career includes experience with Cisco, Apollo Group, CITI, Philips, AAA, QuickLogic, Goodwill Industries, Red Lion Hotels, and Oxfam GB among others. Greg became a leader in the fields of leadership and change with innovations to individual practices, group learning processes, and social technologies that facilitate individual and collective reflection, dialogue, and positive change.

Follow Greg on Twitter: https://twitter.com/greggiuliano

What Is Your Leadership Built On?

 |  Consulting, Leadership

In his most recent article for Forbes, Dov Seidman poses the question, “What ideas are you building your company on?” Thanks, Dov, for always lobbing softballs!

It’s a great question. And, it sets up a couple others for leaders inside companies. What ideas are you building your team on? What ideas are you building your life on? But, I digress. Here is my answer to Dov’s original question.

“My colleagues and I at Ecstasis are growing a company founded on the notion that leadership enables positive transformation [of the organization and of the teams and people within them]. Our name, Ecstasis, refers to the act of radical transformation associated with poesis, which German philosopher Martin Heidegger refers to as a “bringing-forth, the blooming of the blossom, the coming-out of a butterfly from a cocoon, the plummeting of a waterfall when the snow begins to melt.” The last two analogies underline Heidegger’s example of a “threshold occasion”: a moment of ec-stasis when something moves away from its standing as one thing to become another, an experience of real and profound transformation.

We strive to support leadership in their work of enabling positive transformation by encouraging more reflection and through that the construction or discovery of the thresholds that lead to a better experience and result for the organizations we work with and the communities in which they operate.”

I’d love to hear your answers to Dov’s question or mine. Regardless, I hope your next threshold opens to amazing possibilities.

About Greg:

Dr. Greg Giuliano is a change leader, innovator, and trusted thinking partner in the area of change leadership. As Founder and Managing Principal at Ecstasis, LLC, a leadership and organizational development consultancy, Greg uses his experiences as a business leader and former psychotherapist to engage with clients all over the world to co-create change leadership strategies that enable success.

Greg’s multi-sector consulting career includes experience with Cisco, Apollo Group, CITI, Philips, AAA, QuickLogic, Goodwill Industries, Red Lion Hotels, and Oxfam GB among others. Greg became a leader in the fields of leadership and change with innovations to individual practices, group learning processes, and social technologies that facilitate individual and collective reflection, dialogue, and positive change.

Follow Greg on Twitter: https://twitter.com/greggiuliano