During my career, which includes a spectrum of roles: marketing strategist and creative director, corporate communications counselor, sales strategist and trainer… my interest in ethics has always been front and center. But over the years I’ve learned that simple ethics aren’t enough. Not enough for business. Not enough for me, personally. Not enough for the world. We can do better.
We operate by a set of core values at Babacita.
It’s these values I use as my own touch and power points to help individuals, departments and organizations Evolve. Connect. Inspire.
Throughout my career, predominantly made up of marketing agencies, corporate communications and consulting, the primary driver of ethics was always front and center. But over the years I’ve learned that simple ethics aren’t enough. Not enough for business. Not enough for me personally. Not enough for the world. We can do better.
I heard this said the other day after an injustice “It’s just business, Kelly… It’s just business.” Bullshit. Businesses running with that mindset are dinosaurs. Those days are long gone and if they aren’t evolving (quickly), they will be left behind. We are entering the democratic age and business now is shifting to the heart. Loyalty, productivity, talent attraction and retention, creativity and innovation, customer preference, community and the bottom line. It’s the right thing to do on every level.
1. The center of the total personality, especially with reference to intuition, feeling, or emotion: In your heart you know I’m an honest man.
2. The center of emotion, especially as contrasted to the head as the center of the intellect: His head told him not to fall in love, but his heart had the final say.
3. Capacity for sympathy; feeling; affection: His heart moved him to help those less fortunate.
4. Spirit, courage, or enthusiasm: His heart sank when he walked into the room and saw their faces.
5. The innermost or central part of anything: Notre Dame stands in the very heart of Paris.
6. The vital or essential part; core: the heart of the matter.
Think about that. The key words:
• Center of the total personality… emotion
• Capacity for feeling
• Spirit, courage, enthusiasm
• Innermost, central, essential part
• Vital, core
Why would any organization not want this front and center, leading the charge? It’s a huge differentiator from your competition. It’s unique to you. It’s the DNA that makes up your organization. Use it!
In working with clients on branding activities, the typical approach is to identify the brand assets. Things like sophistication, customer-centric, complex integrator, etc. This is all definitely part of it, but what is missing most of the time is the heart of the organization. Not the nuts and bolts, but true passion and fire behind those nuts and bolts. The heart. That is where the true power lies.
Like so many aspects of organization, it comes from the top. The leadership must possess heart as opposed to an old-school command and control management style.
Many years ago I had the privilege of working with Fred Keller, Founder and CEO of Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Cascade Engineering. An amazing entrepreneur who has built his business based on purpose and heart, Keller lives by a simple checklist that supports his values:
• Do all the good you can
• By all the means you can
• In all the ways you can
• In all the places you can
• At all the times you can
• To all the people you can
• As long as ever you can
That is what a heart-centered approach is all about. This has stuck with me over the years and is coming through my work, loud and clear. This beautiful heart-centered approach that is beneficial on so many levels.
One organization that I am honored to be a part of, as one of ten certified consultants globally, is WorldBlu, which leads this organizational evolution. WorldBlu’s purpose is to elevate the human spirit through organizational democracy and freedom-centered leadership.
WorldBlu’s 10 Principles of Organizational Democracy:
The essence of heart. It shines through in so many ways – loyalty, productivity, talent attraction and retention, creativity and innovation, customer preference, community and the bottom line. It’s the right thing to do and organizations are moving towards this direction. It’s a necessity for long-term growth and sustainability.
Another example of heart is the increasing number of organizations instituting a Triple Bottom Line (TBL) approach to their business. If you’re not familiar with TBL, it’s an expanded spectrum of values and criteria for measuring organizational (and societal) success. Economic, ecological, and social. Each of those items weighted equally, this framework applies responsibility to the organization’s stakeholders (anyone who is influenced, either directly or indirectly, by the actions of the organization).
The economic (or profit) portion of the TBL
• This is the economic value created or real economic impact the organization has on its economic environment.
The ecological (or planet) portion
• This refers to the sustainable environmental practices. This endeavor reduces its ecological footprint, by among other things, carefully managing its consumption of energy and non-renewables and reducing manufacturing waste as well as rendering waste less toxic before disposing of it in a safe manner.
The social (or people) portion
• This pertains to fair and beneficial business practices toward labor and the community and region in which an organization conducts business. This also seeks to “give back” by contributing to the strength and growth of its community with such things as health care, education and additional employment opportunities. So by instituting the TBL practice, firms often, on an annual basis, publish their TBL Report, which includes the metrics and impact they are making in the economic, ecological and social sectors of their organizational footprint. Not only does this hold them accountable, but it also gives them year-over-year metrics for continuous improvement.
The Triple Bottom Line approach. Yet another example of heart in business.
Heart is here and is becoming more and more significant each day.
Where to start?
So the first part to this equation, really the most challenging part, is to determine what is your organizations heart?
Let’s look at those heart keywords again
• Center of the total personality… emotion
• Capacity for feeling
• Spirit, courage, enthusiasm
• Innermost, central, essential part
• Vital, core
To determine the heart of an organization is a similar process to that of an individual, just much more complex. It should start with the leadership team but also needs to include every member of the organization, since they are the blood, which keeps the heart pumping. It’s really about assembling the core values of each of the employees. What do they stand for? What makes them tick? Then from there it’s an exercise of organizing those attributes into groupings to boil it down to the collective values. This is done through a variety of techniques that act as checks and balances to one another. Simple lists and text-based content assembly is the starting point. Once that is initially drafted, I suggest incorporating word clouds and mind mapping. By looking at the same information from varying perspectives, the heart will become apparent after revisions and continual massaging. It will go on like a light bulb. When you get there, you will know. When you do, communicate and incorporate your heart in every single employee and customer touchpoint. From the receptionist answering the phone or greeting visitors to customer service, to HR interviewing a potential employee, sales, marketing, production, finance – every place a customer or employee is touched, makes sure your heart is there shining through. It will not go unnoticed.
I challenge you to identify your organization’s heart and then to use it.
By making a conscious effort to make your organization’s heart front and center, you will see the difference personally and enterprise-wide. Your employees will benefit, your customers and suppliers will benefit, your community will benefit. You will make a difference on so many more levels.
They all are really get to a couple topics that I have been feeling deeply, specifically over the past few months. Just last week I made a pitch to a TEDx conference on “turning off your mind, turning on your heart,” which really falls right in line with these posts. Over the past year I know I am evolving at record speeds. Since reinventing my business, Babacita, which really turned out to be a soul searching journey and diving deeper into my Self, I uncovered things that have always been with me, but had just been tucked away. When the light went off, “Evolve.Connect.Inspire,” this weight that I hadn’t even noticed, had been lifted. Also a big thank you to Farnoosh Brock at Prolific Living, for helping me take my ideas and passions of mine and make the switch to a viable business model.
In making this shift, to a heart-centered perspective, I definitely feel like I’m a new person. Clarity has come and it’s if the planets have aligned and my purpose has been exposed. Opportunities have opened up which I am now a part of (PeaceWalker Project and WorldBlu), and they all relate back to, and support Evolve.Connect.Inspire. Pretty cool, huh?
In the Emotional Awareness post, “Feel what you feel. No apologies or worries necessary.” And “Emotion is raw power, energy, fuel: motivation.” True, yes? Let yourself feel. Feel deeply and embrace those feelings. What are they teaching you? What is the value they hold?
A favorite quote of the Reclaim post, “We always have a choice where it matters most- our every thought, word and action.” She mentions A Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, it’s an amazing story and I highly recommend it. We all have a choice in how we respond to something, be conscious of the choices you make.
Presence of Magic weaves her magical words and paints a brilliant picture inviting us all: “Close your eyes to let your heart give you sight. To see with other senses creates a whole new world, one that has more depth, more meaning and more soul.” This is exactly turning off your mind, and turning on your heart. Your heart will not steer you wrong.
Part of my journey in opening up my heart, my creativity and work, has also excelled. Take my recently self-published book, Train to the Moon. That story came from the depths of my heart, words that I never knew existed in me. Through this feeling, and this creativity that is now flowing effortlessly from me, I’m making a difference. By honoring who I really am, Evolve.Connect.Inspire, I’m making this world better. Personally and professionally. And you know what? I’m just getting started.
So what does all this have to do with me and my work at Babacita? Emotional awareness, personal choice, letting my heart give me sight? Right now, as you can tell, there are so many moving parts and pieces. But, as in this evolution, when we truly grow, this chaos transforms into clarity, every time. This chaos, and all these moving parts… it’s actually quite comforting to me. It means I am continuing to change, evolve and grow. I have no idea where next week, month or year is going, but you know something? That’s ok with me. I’m going somewhere.
Just announced by WorldBlu is the initial class of their Blu100 consultants (hey, I know one of those guys). This also falls right in line with my above ramblings. Freedom. At the organizational level, engaging employees and empowering creativity, innovation and inspiration. This is absolutely critical for organizational sustainability and growth. And guess what? It supports me. Babacita’s core values of Evolve.Connect.Inspire. You see? It’s no fluke that everything I’m doing relates to these values. In relating back, I’m honoring my Self and feeding my purpose. But from the marketing and branding sense, it’s being completely consistent in growing the John Kowalski/Babacita brand. Who I am and what I stand for.
I warned you that this might be a rambling one. :)
To wrap up, I guess what I want you to take away from all of the above, is to take a look at yourself. At the heart level. Feel, not think. What’s inside? What makes you tick? What turns you on? How can you be of service to others? How are you making a difference? Turn off your mind, and turn on your heart. We can all make a difference.
I just completed WorldBlu’s Blu100 certification in St. Louis and if I wasn’t overwhelmed already, this took it to a whole new level. The flood of ideas, the crackling energy through my body and the permanent smile on my face…. simply amazing! Getting to the root of this thing of WorldBlu in all of it’s complexity is also quite simple. So translated in Babacita terms…. Freedom. Empowerment. Unleashing potential.
This is some extremely powerful shit. Think about it. What do those principles mean to you at your workplace? Now, how does your workplace affect your personal life? Community? Speaking from personal experience in a corporate position I can honestly say I used about 10% of my potential. Why? They wouldn’t allow me to expand that. Kept in a box with direct mandates. No room for creativity, innovation or inspiration. An organization based on bullying, fear and self-worth destruction. So even IF I were given free reign to widen my box, why would I? I’m worth more than that.
Imagine….. your own organization. What % of people are truly dedicated, challenged and inspired to push the limits and their potential? With the WorldBlu love, what would happen to an organization was able to double that %? What would happen if I took my 10% potential and made it 20%? What if everyone did that? Big changes right? These are little steps, but they’re truly critical for individuals as well as organizations. Wouldn’t you like to see people completely strive! In opening the “box” and letting people do what they do the results can be amazing on so many levels. Collaboration, innovation, creativity, efficiencies and waste reduction, flexibility and (for you numbers people) the bottom line. Why wouldn’t you start looking at this? Couple reasons could be fear of change and fear of loss of control. It is a big step and a different way of thinking, but I tell you my friends. This is the future. The days of command and control hierarchical leadership are history. People want more. Just recently I wrote about a silent revolution that’s going on. And the more transparent I’ve become and the more connections I’m making, there are a lot more of us than you think. And this movement is getting stronger and stronger. Bottom line – people want more out of their lives. You can’t fit a person in a “box.” I am everywhere BUT in a “box” and I suspect you are too. People are searching for meaning and purpose and guess what? They’re finding it or on a path driving hard to finding it. If you’ve been following my story you’ll know (email me if you wanna chat about it… I could go on for hours).
So tying this all back. This past summer I became a certified instructor of the PeaceWalker Project Conflict Resolution seminar that aligns and augments Babacita and my offering. And now, the important mission of WorldBlu also aligns precisely with Babacita and all that I am. In talking with Traci Fenton (she’s absolutely brilliant by the way), Founder and CEO of WorldBlu, this week, I told her that I have been silently stalking her for years and have supported their mission and all that they are about. So now it’s a pretty scary time. Not scary for me, scary for the world. The shit storm is about to erupt and I am on the cutting edge of this revolution of change and empowerment and freedom. And if you know me personally you know that being on the cutting edge isn’t quite enough and that I have no problem driving this movement (strangely, this song comes to mind and seems about right).
Lead with me. Follow me. Watch me. -Don’t even think about getting in my way.
We can make a difference and the time is now to spread the love.