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Center for Wisdom in Leadership is the manifestation of an idea and vision that has been on my mind for a number of years. When I first started to envision this concept, I couldn’t quite put it into words. 4 or 5 years later I still can’t. But the idea of wisdom in leadership comes close to what I feel we need to explore more closely. Interestingly, I have found that I do not have to explain the connection between leadership and wisdom. People naturally just get it. In fact, I usually do no more than tell people the name of the “center” and it elicits a strong response – and almost always a story.
The Center for Wisdom in Leadership is an attempt to develop leaders with wisdom, leaders that are interested in learning, interested in continuing the conversation. It is about creating a community of like-minded people who are not only asking the questions, but actively searching for answers. It is about developing open minds while developing the capacity to open heart and soul to achieve a leadership quality that is inspiring, ethical, democratic, collective and sees the common good. While profit is acknowledged as key to growth and sustenance, there are other “bottom lines” such as environment, social justice and spiritual fulfillment. Nothing scares the corporate world more than the word spiritual, yet spirit is not meant in any religious or organized fashion. It is simply that part of all of us that yearns for meaning and contribution. Research shows that we all want this and most of us do not find it through our work. Leadership in this case is not wise, as it does not encourage us to be all we can be, to contribute all we have. Wisdom is also concerned with the common good. Often, in our search for profit, we forget that our choices may not be the best for all involved. True leadership requires the wisdom to know what is right, what is best for all – when is enough enough?
The Center is a space where leaders can come to learn, to discuss, to participate. It encourages the outer search for wisdom as well as the inner development. We imagine there will be classes, seminars, workshops, discussion groups, and retreats. But that is up to you. The intent is for participants to have the opportunity to hone their cognitive skills in a broader way, and develop physical, emotional and spiritual intelligence. Participants can engage each other in a community that represents a safe container for growth and support. And participants will be involved in the ongoing research by the center to study and develop best practices for excellent leadership and leadership wisdom – leadership that produces results, engages the whole person and is good for everyone.