Tuesday, October 23, 2007

BGI Intensive...Wow!

It's been nearly two weeks since I started this post on my first Intensive experience with BGI. I have been thinking about a number of things, from my course work to the new relationships with my classmates to the lingering doubts about the value of the education to the leadership and personal development teachings that have already nearly blown my mind. Am I ready for this? Photo at right here.

The weekend was a blur, with familiar faces from the Channel Rock orientation to see and reconnect with and new faces from other sections of the same sixth cohort. The energy coursing through Island Wood over the weekend was quite intense, and I wager that despite the fact that we are all over 20, some of us double that age or more, we emanated something akin to the energy from the children that normally inhabit Island Wood's halls and grounds.

and Classes were good (though there are still come bumps with this small and growing institution). Despite the frustrations I experienced with the early phases of accounting, I found that I enjoyed reviewing the cases with my new classmates. I especially enjoyed sharing some of my new understanding with my team. There are many different perspectives brought to this community, and I believe that this diversity of opinion and points of view will provide something that I do not have. Intro to Sustainable Business (SusBiz) got off to a good start, and my first grade since 1994 was a good one...something like an "A" (or at least that's what I tell myself). I might as well congratulate myself while I can. Management I: People & Teams is shaping up to be a good class too, as there is much crossover between SusBiz and Mgmnt. I have a great team for my SusBiz "ALP" year-long project

If the amount of notes taken is an indication of the impact of a class or event, then the morning and afternoon we spent with in the presence of Bill Grace of the Deep Hope Institute was clearly the leader. The topic of the discussion was Ethics; how Ethics can be used as a tool for leaders to make good decisions in tough times and become the leaders the world needs. There were many insightful comments and thoughts Bill brought to the conversation, things that made me ponder my role in this global community and what I am here for.

Bill's message consisted of many kernels of wisdom, delivered in alternating doses of emotionally charged narration, producing sniffles and tears throughout the crowd to light-hearted jokes to bring us back from our introspection. His communication style was spellbinding, and whether it comes to him naturally or not, it was amazingly effective.

We discussed Ethics and what Ethics really is, a tool for good people to make tough decisions, for us to recognize the gap between where we would like to go and where we are. Leadership is then the ability to close that gap. Leader's jobs are to "tell the truth and point toward hope". He challenged us to reduce our values to a core of three; three words that symbolize what is most important to us, and then remind ourselves daily about those values and remember (put back together) what they mean to us. What are the values trying to teach us on a daily basis? What can we learn from them? If we pursue that which engages our passions, that which makes us weep, we will move into our core values more fully. If we know who we are and are genuine about who we are and what we are passionate about, people will follow.

Here are a few paraphrased comments and quotes that I took from my notes:
  • Surround yourself with the people who you want to be like. They will help you make good decisions.
  • "Speak the Truth in love to power", Dr. Cornell West
  • What time is it in America, on the planet Earth, in our home?
  • Leadership is not a popularity contest.
  • Be skeptical; look for rhetoric.
  • Budgets are moral documents.
  • Don't spin yourself; it's lying.
  • Be gentle with yourself; you're human.
  • Ethics is a tool to help us recognize the gap between where we are and where we want to be.
  • It is not about guilt, it's about awareness.
  • "Ethics help people make the decisions they think are good in the world they think they live in."
  • What makes us weep is close to our passion.
  • We are not responsible for the "All".
  • Leadership ship is 50% showing up and 30% core values; the rest are the details.
  • Do not underestimate the influence of small bands of committed individuals.
It will be interesting to see where we end up.

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