Mary Vradelis of Sequoia Consulting Associates is currently leading a new series at the Center called Leading Teams to Victory: Your Role as Individual, Supervisor and Team Leader
Recently the New York Times featured a lengthy story about Silicon Valley’s quest for mindfulness (Mindfulness at Every Turn, by David Hochman, 11/3/13). This desire to be unplugged and become more present is now permeating the world of the rich, famous, and geeky. From programmers to start-up superstars to celebrities, the attendance is growing at conventions like Wisdom 2.0 and a 7-week class held for Google employees called, “Search Inside Yourself.”
|Leading Teams to Victory Series participants led by Mary Vradelis design and don their individual leadership masks.|
As a consultant and coach for nonprofit leaders, it does my heart good to see a societal shift in what values we are seeking from our work and life. However, I’m left wondering – where are nonprofits in this conversation? It seems from the leaders and line-staff that I am talking to, work days are getting longer, professional development budgets are getting smaller, and there is less and less time to step back and ask ourselves. If we do this work out of a sense of caring, shouldn’t we be first in line for a mindfulness practice?
“Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.” Peter F. Drucker
So I ask you, when was the last time you gave yourself the time to think about what’s important? What’s working well? What would you like to do differently? If we are asking our clients, colleagues, donors, and our co-workers to do what’s right? How do we decide what’s right? I think a great place to start is thinking about your values – not just what you think your values should be. What are the actual core values that drive your decisions? Are they different than the core values that you get the most of your investment of your two precious resources (time and money)? Does that mean you need to change your values? Or how you spend your time and money?
If you need a reason to invest your time in thinking about core values, how about this: James Kouzes and Barry Posner in The Leadership Challenge found that companies with shared values increase their revenue four times faster, job creation grew seven times higher, and their profit performance grew 750% higher than those organizations that weren’t value-based. And for those who prefer to think about the quality of their workplace, you might like to know that organizations with shared values: foster feelings of pride and personal effectiveness, promote company loyalty, and facilitate consensus and teamwork. If that seems like a valuable enough reason to walk away from your desk for an hour, or to turn off your phone, then I encourage you this week to invest in your own mindfulness. Take a workshop. Write in your journal. Go for a walk and think about the most important thing that you could do today. Thich Naht Hahn says, “The most precious gift we can we can offer anyone is our attention.” So, I encourage you – start by giving that gift to yourself.