I have my best ideas when I’m driving. Are you like that? There’s something about how the car wheels rumble over the lines in the pavement stretching out-out-out toward a horizon overflowing with possibilities.
And even if the radio is on and even if people are chattering in the back seat, I can find that wonderful quiet place – that creative quiet place where my brain starts to click.
And click it did, a few months ago.
While behind the wheel, I asked myself, “What do most of my clients complain about?”
The answer arrived, fully formed. “My clients complain about a toxic work environment. An office with a leader who doesn’t know how to lead, or whose personal emotional baggage is overwhelming.”
Hmmm, I thought. “What’s the opposite of that?
Well, the opposite of a toxic executive is… an enlightened executive. That was the light bulb moment.
Let me tell you more in this video:
And what are the characteristics of an Enlightened Executive? I wrote them down:
– is in alignment with her integrity
– values all perspectives
– is a listening learner
– is generous
– is predictable
– fosters the best in others
– means what he says
– communicates fully
– leads by example
– knows the difference between private and secret
– consciously creates positive energy
– is open to the unknown
– accepts differences
– knows that past wounds can influence present actions, and works to bring a clean approach to his work
After all the work I’ve done with so many clients over the years, I know how people learn best. They learn best when they have both in-depth personal one-on-one coaching and the benefit of working within a group. I know people need exposure to new approaches and tactics, too. And, they need experiences which reinforce that learning, and integrate it into action.
So, that’s exactly how I’ve designed the Enlightened Executive Institute™ program. I have the best coaches to join with me – Master Coach Christina Brandt and Master Coach Jennifer Voss – ready to work closely with clients to create the best possible growth. I have an amazing Faculty, ready to teach creativity, body language, communications, productivity, leadership, stress management and networking. People like Patti Digh and Liz Lynch. Pam Slim and Charlie Gilkey. Dr. Jack Brown and Mary Beth Sammons. Hiro Boga and Fabeku Fatunmise. Jeannette Maw. I have a board of advisors made up of CEOs and former CEOs – really smart folks – who are helping me in myriad ways.
And, right out of the box, we’re focusing on philanthropy. Specifically, a portion of our proceeds will go to the Fresh Start Women’s Foundation – supporting women in transition, and the Culinary Job Training Program of the D.C. Central Kitchen, who prepares unemployed, underemployed, previously incarcerated persons, and homeless adults for careers in the foodservice industry.
Maybe we can’t change the truly toxic leader. But we can train the high-potential, up and coming leader – and when she steps into the corner office, or he grows his business to 125 employees, or their non-profit beats the fundraising goal – you can be sure they’ll create an enlightened environment.
And workplace by workplace, people will be more engaged. More effective. More invested.
And that will be the realization of a dream. The opposite of toxic.
A few kind souls have said, “Michele! What are you thinking? Starting a business like this amid so much economic uncertainty? Why not wait? See what happens?” I generally smile. Because I know this:
When would we possibly need Enlightened Executives more in the world than we do right now?
And, yes, the economy is a challenge. But guess what? I’m creating jobs. Yeah, me – I’m doing that. I’ve paid a great logo designer, a great website designer. Web hosting people. A lawyer. Well, two lawyers, to tell the truth. An accountant. The coaches. The Faculty.
And, if it goes the way I want it to go, unemployed people will get new opportunities via the organizations we’re supporting.
I look at the possibilities and I see: Win. Win. And win.
Stop now? You kidding me? And miss all the good that we’re going to be making in the world?
Not me. Not now. No, now is the absolutely perfect time to get started.
Come with me?