Inspire Possibility Show, 31/08/2016
Inspire Possibility Show with Mark Susnow
Says Kevin Hancock in his remarkable award-winning new book Not For Sale: Finding Center in the Land of Crazy Horse, "Within me lived a powerful impulse to take charge and protect my tribe, whenever it came under duress. I felt a strong pull to save everyone, and I took on all the work that went with that instinct. Worse, I internalized that responsibility to the point where it consumed me in ways I could not see. The price I paid for that approach was that I lost myself to both my role and my local circumstances. I had become consumed in protecting others. I had not yet learned that most everyone is capable of protecting themselves. I had not yet learned to share power. I had not yet learned to serve myself."
It is this and more that Kevin discovers on this mystical and fascinating journey-a vision quest for a visionary. Kevin captivates with his story telling. He shares his growing connection and affection for the long-suffering, but resilient Lakota people-and what they teach him; his increasing awareness of human relationships to land, animals, nature and spirit; and how he unyoked himself from his sole leadership role to create shared responsibility that resulted in record profits for his company and a feature in the NY Times showcasing his new leadership model. Most of all, he reveals the inner workings of deep seeking that opened his eyes, his heart and his mind.
Andrew Faas is a management advisor, philanthropist and former senior executive with Canada’s two largest retail organizations and now heads the Faas Foundation which focuses on health care, education and medical research. Faas has made the creation of healthy workplaces a passion and helping to prevent bullying and the stress it causes, a reason for being.
The Faas Foundation is partnering with Yale’s Center for Emotional Intelligence to study the impact of emotions in the workplace.
Bullying in the workplace is a subject that has gained national attention due to the recent New York Times article reporting Amazon’s brutal management practices. The exposé included workers describing extremely stressful situations and telling stories about being evaluated unfairly or edged out rather than given time to recover from personal tragedies. Similar stories have been reported about Wells Fargo, a company headquartered in San Francisco, for participating in force-placed insurance premiums, and Toshiba, where top managers set unrealistic earnings targets under the banner of “challenges.”
In his book, THE BULLY’S TRAP (Tate Publishing and Enterprises, LLC), Andrew tells his story and attests that bullying in the workplace destroys careers, lives, families, organizations and communities. He says many organizational cultures condone and even encourage bullying and that amazingly, many who are targeted are unaware that what they are going through is bullying. He mentions three types of business cultures – the dictatorial, the disjointed and the stable cultures.
Not for Sale
In 2010, at the peak of the housing market collapse, he began to have trouble speaking. When he want to talk, all the muscles in his throat would spasm and contract. Worse yet, talking left him dizzy, sore and not wanting to say very much.
Later that year he was diagnosed with spasmodic dysphonia (SD),a rare neurological voice disorder. SD has no known cause or cure and affects only speech. The two treatments are periodic Botox injections (chemical) and seeking a deep sense of inner peace and calm (spiritual).
As a forced response to the disorder, he started talking less at work. He shared the stage more broadly, inviting others to lead meetings and events that he traditionally would have controlled himself. It didn’t take long before magical changes began taking place. He quickly saw that the company functioned better when more people led. In addition, he was able to put a bit more balance into his life and saw how that, in turn, made him more valuable and useful for others. By 2012, he came to see his voice condition as a blessing, not a curse…as an opportunity rather than a liability. The opportunity was simple yet powerful: What if we could create an organization where everybody would lead? What if we could create an organization where every voice felt trusted, respected, important and heard? Wouldn’t an organization where everybody led outperform an organization where just a few, chosen people held all the cards?
So, they went to work establishing systems and support mechanisms designed to make everyone’s voice stronger...employee surveys, team huddles, focus groups and more.It could all be a coincidence, but in the years that followed employee engagement (as defined by employees) soared and they performance took off to new heights as well.
Around this time, Kevin fortuitously began traveling to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota (statistically the poorest place in America). Over time he learned that before the reservation era when the Lakota people were strong, most of the power in their society went to the individual. The strength, freedom, responsibility and voice of each person was encouraged through tribal values, political systems and cultural rites such as the Vision Quest. After the reservation was established, pretty much all the power in their society was rounded up and placed in the governing center…with the Great Father in Washington, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Tribal Council. Under this structure of central over-reaching, the community suffered.
Then it struck him.
Across time, those who hold the power have often over-reached…leaders often go too far. But around the world, the power of the individual is speaking out. Increasingly today we live in a world where each individual wants to seek and speak their own personal sense of truth., This is true for companies, churches, governments, and families.
Kevin's conclusion; In the Aquarian Age leadership is about doing less not more. It is about restraint. It is about holding the power but not using it. It’s about listening without judging or correcting. It is about being connected and aware of how others feel.
He has come to believe that organizations that embrace each individual voice as unique and important will, over time, outperform those who cling to a more traditional view of power. All this he came to learn by losing the consistent use of his own voice. That seeming liability turned out to be a blessing. Kevin's voice disorder and his time at Pine Ridge combined to connect him more deeply with the essence of who he was and to want to help other do the same. We are all searching for our true voice. That’s the essence of being human. When leaders talk less and listen more, they guide humanity forward.
I am naturally curious—curious about how i can make my experience of life more fulfilling and more interesting which has led me down many roads. New destinations, new realities, some amazing people—masters of their game—all preparing me for this moment.
We’ve heard the adage that we teach what we want to learn. I wondered if there were possibilities in my life that I wasn’t yet exploring. With that in mind at the turn of the new millennium I made a leap of faith…from successful trial lawyer to life coach and strategist and InspirePossibility.com was created. That was 19 years ago.
The Inspire Possibility Show was the next step. Each week I have conversations with various cutting-edge thought leaders who inspire, enlighten and entertain us. They inspire us to get out of our comfort zones and to explore possibilities that are out there waiting for us. I invite you to join in.
A Few More Things More About Me.
Being a musician has been and still is a lifelong exploration. Being the author of Dancing on the River: Navigating Life’s Changes and the Soul of Uncertainty, A Fable for our Times, has inspired me to look deeper. Playing sports, since I’ve been a kid has been a mainstay of my life. Through it all being a dad has been most fulfilling.
"Mark's coaching, presence and spirit, helps him give others a gentle nudge (and sometimes hard push) toward whatever their future path may hold. As a friend, mentor and spiritual guide, Mark has helped me, quite simply, start to do something that resonates with my soul and spirit."
– Warren J. Strudwick, Jr. M.D., - Team Physician, Oakland Raiders
"Intuitive and insightful, Mark worked with me to discover sustainable strategies in overcoming self-limiting behaviors that had become a norm in both my business and personal life."
– Danika Davis, PHR, - CEO - Northern California HR Association
"Success doesn't have to be a struggle. Mark knows how to bring out superior performance in his clients. He is masterful."
– Raz Ingrasci, - President of the Hoffman Institute
"Mark's recent presentation to the Commonwealth Club inspired our members to see the changes in their lives as opportunities and possibilities rather than as something to avoid."
– George Hammond, Chair — Humanities Forum, Commonwealth Club of California
"Mark's recent communication program to our Peernet Organization of all CEO’s taught us the power of communication and how it can positively transform the dynamics of our organizations."
– Jay Nathanson, Chairman, Peernet Group