The quote is from the poet, Antonio Machado. It was a meditation, of sorts, on my walk along the ancient Kumano Kodo trail in Japan. It comes to mind often in my work, as I am frequently invited into pivotal moments in the lives leaders and their organizations.
No matter the specifics of the engagement, my job is to discover the genius of the place. The genius of its people. Not necessarily the common use of the word ‘genius,’ but the spirit, the inclination, the inborn nature of the institution. To manifest and express that genius is at the heart of my work with others.
At a practical level, that translates into Purpose Dialogues that generate vision and strategy. Purpose is the great disruptor; a true source of invigoration and innovation. On its own, though, it is not enough. Purpose must be manifested by leaders and sustained through a (blank) Leadership Culture. To give and get the best from each other, leaders must also develop a Creative Capacity with one another and exercise it fully; then build that capacity throughout their organization.
I have been fortunate to work recently with the Smithsonian Institution, the Rockefeller Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Sara Blakely Foundation; in addition to Richard Branson’s BTeam. Client relationships have spanned for-profit, non-profit and for-benefit organizations in industries as disperate as higher education and health care.
The one thread that runs through each is the intention for good. Creating something good for others always come from the collaboration.