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The Ontological Leader


May 9, 2020

“Mindfulness in some way is cultivating our attention, our way of being, that can be a doorway to our own emotional lives, and then our emotional lives can be a doorway to cultivating our leadership ability and toward the possibility of creating great cultures…positive, healing cultures.” – Marc Lesser

Marc Lesser is a speaker, facilitator, workshop leader, and executive coach. He is known for his engaging, experiential presentations that integrate mindfulness and emotional intelligence practices and training. He is the author of 4 books, including Seven Practices of a Mindful Leader: Lessons from Google and a Zen Monastery Kitchen, and CEO of ZBA Associates, an executive development and leadership consulting company. 

Highlights from this episode

  • Developing our character is about developing our way of being, or state of mind [7:00]
  • How one develops character, to be able to stay open in times of change [8:00]
  • There is no avoiding discomfort [12:00]
  • Three leadership lessons from Winston Churchill on how to deal with change [12:15]
  • The seven practices of a mindful leader [15:45]
  • The power of not being an expert [21:00]
  • We are in the midst of an enormous transition period [25:30]
  • Self-awareness is the starting point of any change [27:15]
  • All our systems are built on greed and fear …we need systems based on care and fairness [28:30]
  • Men live 10 years less than women [29:30]
  • How to be more resilient when faced with change [31:50]

More about Marc Lesser

Marc helped develop the world-renowned Search Inside Yourself (SIY) program within Google – a mindfulness-based emotional intelligence training for leaders which teaches the art of integrating mindfulness, emotional intelligence, and business savvy for creating great corporate cultures and a better world. He founded and was CEO of 3 companies and has an MBA degree from New York University. Marc was a resident of the San Francisco Zen Center for 10 years, and director of Tassajara, Zen Mountain Center, the first Zen monastery in the western world. He leads Mill Valley Zen, a weekly meditation group.

Website: https://www.marclesser.net

Quotes

“We are comfort seeking creatures and recognizing that is important…we miss a lot by the unwillingness to be uncomfortable, avoiding difficulty and conflict.” [11:08]

“Not sugarcoating in a way is like ‘own your discomfort’, ‘own your fear’…it opens the path towards optimism, towards greater meaning and purpose.” [12:00]

“If we are going to change systems and cultures, it starts with ourselves.’’ [26:50]

“Strong, wise leadership can heave the possibility of helping to align people and get them excited. If we are all in this together, we can create organizations and cultures that work for the greater good, and not just a handful of people.” [28:30]

Books mentioned in this episode:

Maria’s Website: https://www.onaugh.com