Parvati Magazine sat down with speaker, author and coach David Berry, author of “A More Daring Life: Finding Voice at the Crossroads of Change” to obtain his thoughts on business leadership challenges today.
Parvati Magazine: What inspired you to write your book?
David Berry: It was a project to clarify my thoughts about those elements that have been most important to my own relationship with change. It has become a powerful tool for me to be constantly reminded about the fundamentals of what I aspire to – the critical importance of self-understanding and the necessity of powerful relationships as a catalyst for continuous learning.
PMAG: How are business leaders today currently limiting their possibilities?
DB: Many business leaders believe that their success rests on having a sort of “uber competence” which stems from our society’s unreasonable demands regarding what we want and what it takes to achieve it. This narrow, short term minded, profit focused perspective of success puts immense pressure on individuals to sacrifice just about anything else to produce outcomes in a way that leaves them disconnected from themselves. Business leaders need to discover how powerful it is to be a person first, to get back to our common humanity as the starting point.
Additionally, the workplace disengagement numbers are staggeringly high. People are naturally predisposed to engage, but workplaces have become stifling, with people encouraged to focus on only a very small subset of variables that contribute to success. No attention is paid to relationships, deeper conversations and ways of engagement that can help us develop insights. Many business organizations are spinning faster on the things that aren’t in service to our learning, cutting away the possibility of conversations that are essential for the navigation of a quickly changing world.
PMAG: How could business leaders enhance their success in a more real way?
DB: We need to inculcate a discipline that pays more attention to the needs and realities of the moment – faster and slower, going and stopping, red, yellow and green. It can’t always be fast, go, red. We could accomplish more by slowing down and taking care to fully examine all aspects of what we are struggling with.
We have become smitten by the fallacy of a silver bullet of narrowness, speed and immediacy, and we are missing out on the benefit derived when all the pieces of the puzzle are brought together. We could sit a few moments longer with things so we can see what shifts occur and what slight alteration needs to happen. It’s terribly difficult to notice subtle but essential shifts when we’re always going full steam ahead.
PMAG: How do you engage with leaders who are disconnected?
DB: It is a cliché to say so, but all I can do is meet people where they are. For example, one past experience with a hyper-competitive,“type A” sporting goods organization was to speak in the language of sports. When introducing coaching we articulated the benefits of brief, high-quality timeouts to stop the action, reframe the situation and make new plans. Introducing coaching as “timeouts” provided a safe way to enter into deeper conversations.
PMAG: It seems that one has to find the access point of the person or organization.
DB: Yes, and even a small entry point can lead to meaningful and lasting change. I was reminded recently that it is not my place to know how far or how effectively my work ripples away from me. It is my place to stay in the work with as much integrity and intention as I possibly can, and then trust that the impact will come to maturity in its own way and in its own time. The more I do so the more at peace I am in myself and in the contribution I am striving to make.
David Berry David Berry is a speaker, author and coach who equips leaders to thrive at the crossroads of change. He was the first Vice President of Leadership and Organization Development for TaylorMade-adidas Golf Company and responsible for spearheading the establishment of TaylorMade’s Learning Center, the heart of which was a leadership coaching initiative in support of the company’s extraordinary growth from $600M to $1.6B in revenue. In 2016 he published his first book, A More Daring Life: Finding Voice at the Crossroads of Change.
For more information about David, please visit https://rule13learning.com/