Failure: Turning Lead into Gold

Failure: Turning Lead into Gold

Failure: Turning Lead into Gold 3000 2000 Catherine Bell


20151027_CB_BellBreakfast_063The BluEra book launch took place Thursday, October 27th.  Thank you so much to the amazing BluEra Team for the sold out launch of our book, The Awakened Company, and to all of our clients for your support.  The President and Founder of Namaste Publishing, Constance Kellough, and her husband Howard, along with my collaborators Russ Hudson from NY and Christopher Papadopoulos from Montreal, and my sister Kim Bell, were in attendance. Calgary participants in the book are Rob Pockar, Mark Montemurro, Shawna Guiltner, Brett Wilson, Kent Brown, and Mac Van Wielingen.

Our morning was kicked off by my wonderful cofounder Shahauna Siddiqui. The panel was le20151027_CB_BellBreakfast_094d by the brilliant Mac Van Wielingen. Members of the panel included the incredibly dynamic Suzanne West,  the thoughtful Regan Davis, and myself. We addressed the ways in which awakened (or awakening) leadership is confronting. We also covered the importance of trust, the realitiesof today’s business environment, and how we can bring positive change to the community and wider society.

20151027_CB_BellBreakfast_003Underpinning much of the conversation were the invaluable lessons failure can teach us. The facts must be confronted: the majority of businesses die within a decade of their launch, while at the same time those who staff our workplaces are largely disengaged.

To draw on the words of Pema Chodron, we need to fail, then fail again, but fail better. This we can do only if we learn from our lesser failures, instead of requiring a massive failure to teach us—with the result that people no longer want to work with us, trust is eroded, and obtaining capital proves challenging.

Are we learning? A Watson Wyatt study shows high trust environments outperform low tr20151027_CB_BellBreakfast_053ust environments by over 300%. However, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer, fewer than one in five believe their leaders are truthful. The reality is that trust is easily eroded and the social contract is being broken all the time in organizations. I recently heard of a company who turned off people’s IT before the employees knew they were going to be let go, and some were let go via a knock on the door. Organizations in which such inhuman treatment reigns continue rolling along—until the day they fail.

Imagine what could happen were we to unleash trust’s potential. As Stephen Covey says, trust is like a dividend, whereas low trust is like a tax.

We can do better. We need to restore trust in data instead of egoic opinions, heartfelt feelings instead of fear, action taken with integrity instead of from short-term expediency, relationships that are more than nominal, teams that draw out everyone’s creativity, organizationsthat can be believed in, and businesses that truly benefit communities instead of harming them.

It’s time to stop using people as a means to clean the balance sheet, instead laying people off only as a last resort after every other option has been exhausted. Research has shown a negative correlation between CEO pay and performance, so imagine what it would do to trust and performance were CEOs to publicly say they are going to sacrifice along with everyone else. At the same time, we need to have compassion for the burnout CEO who is doing their absolute best for their people.

The way we are going to solve some of our greatest challenges is by working more authentically together, which will greatly increase our effectiveness. To do this requires greater self-awareness, the ability to trust and be trusted, heartfelt commitment, ethical behavior, and clarity of purpose—20151027_CB_BellBreakfast_105each of which play a key role in sound decision making, innovation, engagement, and positive financial results.

We need to develop a regenerative economy—one in which shock absorbers are built into the organization so it can withstand and even thrive during downturns. For instance, organizations need to think regeneratively when it comes to profit and savings, seeing profit as a means to energize and sustain the future, not as a short-term windfall to be squandered. We urgently need to end our short-termism around profit generation, a move that would make a huge difference when difficult times arrive on our doorstep. We all want our organizations to be meaningful, interesting places to work, where we are each learning and bettering ourselves.  Let’s build on the mass of empirical evidence we have to this effect—indeed, on what we all also intuitively know to be true.

What an incredible week it was. Two successful book launches, and our book is already a #1 bestseller.  We are so grateful for all those who have supported our book and its important message. If you want to pick up a copy or e-copy of The Awakened Company, then click here. We have also launched an online store with sustainable products to support you in the awakening of your organization, team, community, our planet and YOU. Check it out here.

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