Barry Lewis Green
and Epic Engage

The Character Leadership Company

TM

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Barry Lewis Green
and Epic Engage

The Character Leadership Company

TM

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Barry Lewis Green
and Epic Engage

The Character Leadership Company

TM

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Monthly Archives: November 2014

Tired

A poem (such as it is) which I felt moved to write this evening after a steady line of posts on Facebook about the insanity that is Black Friday.  It speaks to me, as it might possibly to you.

TIRED

I am tired of the complaining, the draining and the staining of human heart
I am tired, but not; just tired of…
I am tired of the whining, the dividing and the striving keeping us apart
I am tired, but not; just tired of…
I am tired of the hating, the breaking and the waiting on hope to start
I am tired, but not; just tired of…
I am tired of the horrid, the sordid and the lurid all making their mark
I am tired, but not; just tired of…

But no, wait… I am tired

I am tired; newly tired, freshly tired with new wheels
Ready to roll, to own control of my soul, strong as steel
I am tired, freshly tired, yes I am newly wheeled
Ready to drive, strive and thrive, heart unconcealed
As a warrior of peace and service; a joybringer mighty, impervious; A Gorilla Soldier.
Standing for the force of good; marching like I knew I could; living my life all the BOLDER.
Let me DO, to let it BE.

 

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

Black Hole Friday

EPIC Engage is about engaging thought, will and action.  We challenge preconcieved notions; not out of the need to be divisive or contrarian… but the deep desire to advance both conversation and practice for the greater good.  Our intention is to build stronger and sustainable companies, campuses and communities; wholehearted in nature, healthy and prosperous. 

With that in mind, the following is my opinion… both deeply held and hard earned.

Black Friday is contrived. It is crass, and it is fully commercial, in the worst of ways.  It is ultimately a Black Hole serving only excessive profits over sustainable commerce, economies and communities. — BLG

Well, now I have gone and said it!  Some would say, “So?” Some would argue that we need to sell more stuff so that we can employ more people.  I say, yes, stuff is good; stuff we need.  Still, Black Friday is about the relentless nature of stuff.  My fave band Shinedown sings to its nature here.  Now, are you tired?  Overwhelmed?  Exhausted?  While, I love the energy of the song, the intent is not lost on me.

The thought that we need to constantly buy more stuff in order to run an economy forgets the notion that maybe services are another and much more labour-intensive way to employ people.   Service is business; labour-driven business.  The desire for excessive profits is the primary motivation for the argument of commercialism. “Buy stuff, employ people” is born of the notion that employment comes from manufacturing. Real employment comes from labour. Real labour comes from service.

Real and sustainable commerce comes from service and labour.

For example, one revolutionary thought briefly considered in the meltdown of 2009 was what if we produced new models of cars every second or third year and kept cars longer; instead of workers building cars, what if we employ people in maintaining them? What if we employed people in the services of maintaining both stuff and ourselves?  Mechanics, therapists, cleaners, doctors, lawyers, consultants, lawn care providers, educators, counselors, advisors, musicians, entertainers, maintenance workers and more; what if our economy thrived on service? What if it was sustainability and service over stuff? Service employment is not just about restaurants or cheap labour. Professional services could be where we spend our money, employing people and taking care of ourselves and others; maintaining and upkeeping and repairing. The Millennium Falcon approach, I call it.  Find something, keep it, and build upon it.

This is not a message against business and commerce.  I am a business educator and entrepreneur.  What it is actually is a call to a healthier business and economic model.  The religion of commercialism is exhaustive and unsustainable. A real economy is neither of those; and stuff-driven commercialism can suck the spirit out of people, families and communities.  It can, it does, and it has.

The business guy in me is opting out of the myth of stuff.  I will opt in on the economy of service, and some stuff.   Enjoy the Season, however you celebrate it.  Treat yourself to service not stuff. The economy and ecology will be healthier; and so will you.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, The Unity Guy™

Devoted Resources

Devotion is the virtue of profound dedication and earnest attachment to a cause or person.

I have found in my own life and work that the moments where I felt devotion are those where I felt both inspired and most capable.  A deeper confidence arose.  In those moments of calling I have found myself devoting my efforts to loved ones passed; my father, sister, grandparents, teachers and others of remembrance.  In those same moments, I have found a level of courage, confidence and faith that has not only carried me through but with zeal and ardor.

Over the next few weeks, I have a couple of such moments… one, almost what I might call a defining moment.  I am now, in preparation, devoting myself to my sister, friend and father.  It is for them.  The power of this is that it gets my focus off of me and onto them.  It is a service and I will rise to that.  I will honor them.  I will.

In this brief blog of thought and heart, I am thinking that this devotion is not simply about special moments.  If we devote our lives and work in similar ways, we create those moments.  We do not wait for them.  We are a force for advancing defining moments.  Our lives and work take on that defining nature.  We become known within ourselves and by others for a level of true passion and purpose and excellence, through devotion.

My sister was born and passed before I came into this world.  She lived in this world a mere 24 hours.  I have long devoted my life to living for both of us; two hearts.  Indeed, upon my own initiative, I found her gravesite and honored it.  Subsequently, I discovered the unattended site of a little girl next to her.  That small child who “rests” alongside my sister… for her I do the same.  I honor them both.  Three hearts. I visit their “places”.  More importantly, I am increasingly devoting my life to living those three lives, in one.  It is an increasingly powerful motivation for me; at work now in the creation of G’rilla Soldiers™ which you will hear more of in the coming weeks, months and years.  But it is this devotion that is the foundation of my all of my motivation.

I walk with purposeful, joyful, and humble swagger;  I carry three hearts.

So, I suggest you find your reason.  Find that to which you feel truly devoted.  Then do what you do with that and/or them in mind and heart.  See where that takes you.

This blog is devoted to dad and sis and our “little friend”, in the next world.  Love you, all three.  Here we go!

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

L.O.V.E.™ Your Work and Life

Several years back I wrote a book called Human Being Being Human© which explored virtues from A to Z that, in turn, can have a profound and constructive impact on leadership.  Reflecting on the work of this book today, I thought to offer a simple but effective delivery system incorporating some 106 virtues and their potential for leadership.

I call the system L.O.V.E.™ and it is based, in part, on the spirit of the work of Stephen Covey’s own approach to love as an action.  I thought some years back that, if love is indeed an action and the resulting feelings are what we call love (but are mere results of our actions), then L.O.V.E. ™ engages 4 simple steps to enacting that love as a force for leadership.

First, LOOK.  Look inside for character.  Seek out the virtues which, according to the work of The Virtues Project™ (www.virtuesproject.com), are within us all.  They simply require practice.  I like to think of them as arrows in my quiver.  So, look within for them.  Here are some 106 from A to Z.

Acceptance, Accountability, Appreciation, Assertiveness, Awe, Beauty, Boldness, Caring, Certitude, Charity, Cheerfulness, Cleanliness, Commitment, Compassion, Confidence, Consideration, Contentment, Cooperation, Courage, Courtesy, Creativity, Decisiveness, Detachment, Determination, Devotion, Dignity, Diligence, Discernment, Empathy, Endurance, Enthusiasm, Excellence, Fairness, Faith, Faithfulness, Fidelity, Flexibility, Forbearance, Forgiveness, Fortitude, Friendliness, Generosity, Gentleness, Grace, Gratitude, Helpfulness, Honesty, Honor, Hope, Humanity, Humility, Idealism, Independence, Initiative, Integrity, Joyfulness, Justice, Kindness, Love, Loyalty, Mercy, Mindfulness, Moderation, Modesty, Nobility, Openness, Optimism, Orderliness, Patience, Peacefulness, Perceptiveness, Perseverance, Prayerfulness, Purity, Purposefulness, Quietude, Reliability, Resilience, Respect, Responsibility, Reverence, Righteousness, Sacrifice, Self-discipline, Serenity, Service, Simplicity, Sincerity, Steadfastness, Strength, Tact, Thankfulness, Thoughtfulness, Tolerance, Trust, Trustworthiness, Truthfulness, Understanding, Unity, Vision, Wholeheartedness, Wisdom, Wonder, Xenophyllia, Yielding, and Zeal.

Second, seek out OPPORTUNITIES to apply the virtues… situations and/or people that require the application of that character strength.

Third, have a VISION in mind as to how much better the situation will be as you apply that virtue.  Keep your eyes on the prize.

Finally, ENGAGE the process by simply doing it.  See where that takes you.

If love is an action that can apply to effectively leading, then look within for strengths of character, find opportunities to put them into practice, have a clear vision of how much better things will be in doing so, and engage the action.  So, L.O.V.E.™ your work, L.O.V.E.™ your team, L.O.V.E.™ your school, L.O.V.E.™ your community, and L.O.V.E.™ your life.

Now, see where THAT takes you.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

 

Joy and a New SUIT

Joy gives us wings! In times of joy our strength is more vital, our intellect keener, and our understanding less clouded. We seem better able to cope with the world and to find our sphere of usefulness. — ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

Often times, we will hear references to changing the world.  Often times, it can be met with a sense of unconscious or conscious cynicism and defeatism.  How is one person or one organization or company going to change the world?

A couple of months back, amidst preparation for an I am Genie Event (check out iamgenie.org), we constructed a team.  Referencing a term I like to apply to myself… the 800 Pound Gorilla… the team took on an identity we now call G’rilla Soldiers™.  More importantly, and after our first highly successful campaign to help the I am Genie Foundation, we found that we had a community of people who care, a lot!  Little had we realized how powerful this could or would be; and will be!

So, last night, in the middle of a celebration of this new team at Rumpelstiltskins Restaurant (with an amazing view) and on to Karaoke Kops, I had  a number of moments of clarity on changing the world.

Our server at Rumplestiltskins, Ann Marie, was incredible.  Serving some 16 boisterous and joyous customers, she exuded confidence, authenticity, enthusiasm, creativity, helpfulness and care.  Her command of the menu was flawless.  Her joyfulness was mesmerizing.  Her care in remembering orders and names was awesome.  She added magic to the moment and she exemplified the virtue of service.  That is how you change the world, one meal and customer and party at a time.

Then, heading on to Karaoke Kops, we discovered the talent of our crew; with wholeheartedness and capacity in singing and dancing and conversation.  We were engaged full on!  It was a night of smiles and singing and dancing and dazzling.  The zeal was palpable.  As this all happened, ideas flowed too.   Creativity was advanced.

Those ideas continue to flow and G’rilla Soldiers™ is just beginning.

The bottom line is you serve the world in joy.  You become a joybringer, recognizing the ills of the world but undaunted by them.  Indeed, that is how we best face them.   That joy brings strength, understanding, intellect and even tenacity.  Hey, wait up… there’s an acronym… unplanned but boom…. SUIT.  Joy puts on a new SUIT of armor!  Liking it already.

Put on  a new suit!  Be a joybringer and see where that takes you.

That is what G’rilla Soldiers™ will be doing.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

Real IS

“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”  ― C.G. Jung

“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day.  It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”  ― Brené Brown

“Pretentiousness repels but authenticity attracts, and vulnerability is the pathway to intimacy.” ― Rick Warren

“Let deeds, not words, be your adorning.” — Baha’u’llah

In a session with graduating business students around leadership, we were discussing competency, behavioural and contingency based perspectives on leadership using TEDtalks by Abigail Washburn and Tony Robbins.  It became abundantly clear, as a powerful reminder, that generational differences do not so much exist when it comes to the notion of authentic leadership.

Authentic leadership is the ultimate branding.  It is wholly based on nobility, wholeheartedness and integrity; knowing our true value, and living it, truly.  We mean what we say and say what we mean.  We mean what we do and do what we mean.   People know us for our words and actions.  We build a level of trustworthiness that is foundational for relationships and real success.  We are known, notoriously so, for who we are.  The effort to be who we are is to let go of masks.  It does not imply a lack of discretion or discipline or tact.  It does imply truthfulness and courage to be our voice at its best.

Authentic leadership, whether in business, work, school, community or family is the leadership we admire, trust and follow because it breeds a level of certitude.  We know and trust what we are getting; it is not built on promises, for they are words.  It is built on action.

“Real IS.” — Barry Lewis Green

Who are you?  Be that and see who shows up.  Your focus will sharpen and it is a lot easier than carrying a facade only to find you have attracted those who thought they knew you.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, The Unity Guy™

Guidance through GOING

Guidance follows GOING.   — BLG

The four essential steps of strategic management are situation analysis, strategy formulation, strategy implementation, and strategy evaluation.  In other words and as I explain to my business students, it is all about analyze, formulate, implement and test.  The internal acronym monster within me calls it AFIT.

With that in kind, far too often we subconsciously presume strategic management and planning to be about the first two steps… analyze and formulate.  We go on strategic retreats to reflect and ponder and examine and formulate.  I suggest we often, again unconsciously, ignore the advance in favour of the retreat.

While certainly crucial, the heart of strategic management is about implementation. It is in the doing that we see both results and/or learnings. You cannot be guided unless you move.  Guidance follows GOING.

Taking time to identify the core issue is vital. Expending time and energy on discovering strategic solutions is equally so. Still, we must take action in order to see if we are “onto something”. Even more so, we must be “all in” on the implementation of the strategy.  Otherwise, how will we know if its results were not based on some unknown X Factor from either mysterious support or sabotage or both?  More succinctly put, nothing truly strategic can happen without wholehearted action.  Only then will we realize what was right or wrong about our effort.  Only then can we properly test and then perfect.

Bottom line, as you face strategic issues and questions and as you formulate strategic alternatives and solutions, know that this is the beginning of a process; a process whose heart is in the doing; the wholehearted doing, the GOING.  In the doing we can find the answers.  You cannot be guided unless you move.  Guidance follows GOING.

It’s your move.  Advance!

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

Passion. Priority. Persistence.

So long as the thoughts of an individual are scattered he will achieve no results, but if his thinking be concentrated on a single point wonderful will be the fruits thereof. One cannot obtain the full force of the sunlight when it is cast on a flat mirror, but once the sun shineth upon a concave mirror, or on a lens that is convex, all its heat will be concentrated on a single point, and that one point will burn the hottest. Thus is it necessary to focus one’s thinking on a single point so that it will become an effective force. – Abdu’l-Baha

Over the weekend, I found myself in several cool and key conversations; face-to-face and online, work related and otherwise.  All of them, to one extent or another, directly or indirectly addressed the twin concepts of passion and priority.  In one constructive exchange, initiated by the ever and effectively engaging Joe Calloway (www.joecalloway.com), I suggested that passion (depending on how we define it) is a powerful force, if twinned with a strong clarity on priorities.

To extend this, motivation, by its best definition, includes three forces: energy, direction and commitment.  I like to refer to it as passion, priority and persistence.  We start with passion for something.  There are the first two forces.  Passion without direction is chaos.  Passion with focus is the fierce hunt.

Now, add to that the commitment on the follow through and you get legitimate motivation for results.

Such a combination demands detachment from distractions and attachment to purpose.  It does not preclude having multiple priorities and plans, but it does prescribe the necessity of purposeful, passionate intent to follow through and complete on the “big matters” first.  That, in turn, fuels motivation.

I suggest that passion is necessary but not sufficient.  Focus your passion on something with intent and commitment.  See where that takes you.

Peace, passion, and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

The Strategic Strength of Simplexity

While performing and singing the song Simple Man last night (I personally love this version by Shinedown), a thought occurred to me. Accepting our complexity fashions a powerful simplicity.

I choose to now call it Simplexity™.

SIMPLEXITY: We are who we are.  There are no contradictions.  There is only finding the strong and healthy connection.  So, this does not deny growth, but we are who we are when we are.

My background is diverse, as is my experience and passion and talent and interest. Personally and professionally, I have been challenged to somehow make sense of that diversity as I believe there is unity in diversity when we find the connection.  I am an educator and entrepreneur and engage both fully. I teach. I sing. I dance. I mean I love it all and pour myself into these forums. I am an NFL freak and an amateur archer. I love Tae Kwon Do, though I still need to really get to it. I cartoon. I write. I lose myself in both. I am passionate about rock, and love me some jazz… and epic classical. I love science fiction and mythology and religion and love stories. I am thunderous, and gentle. And more.

So why share? Well, the whole notion of branding has been a journey for me. Branding, in its best form, is about authenticity. For what are you known by talent, passion and excellence?

Here is an activity.  Consider the list of virtues contained herein. In marketing, we might call it your core product; what states of being do you most wish as powerful experience for those you serve? Who do you best serve and what is the character of the experience you intend to create? Pick 3-5 that are core to that experience. Now, considering human resource management and development as a tool in mastering customer experience, look at all of knowledge, skills, abilities and other traits and talents that you possess. How do they serve in how you create that experience for those you serve? How are they the “guns” targeted on the goal of consistent excellence in service? Think of your target market and the memorable experience you most desire to create. Look at all of your resources as tools and weapons in making that happen.

My core desired experience is unity, nobility and wholeheartedness. I seek to manifest that experience as value for those with whom I work. Unity is based on robust and diverse connections, understanding that together and different we are stronger. Nobility is that concept of understanding our ultimate value. I seek to raise awareness of our noble aspirations. I seek to advance wholeheartedness, bringing everything that we are to the table of work, school and community. I do this through everything I do and love.  There is my common thread for uncommon experience.

What once seemed complex and divergent for me now is clearly simple and united in its diversity.  I constructively challenge you to try this exercise out.

STEP ONE:

Identify that core service experience you most desire to create. Name the character of that experience; the taste every client and customer will engage and enjoy. To do so, choose 3-5 states of character (virtues) that best articulate what it is to work with you and be served by you.

STEP TWO: 

Then, inventory your knowledge, skills, abilities and all capacities within yourself and/or your organization, as tools to aim at achieving such undeniable customer experience.

STEP THREE:

Aim those resources with purposefulness and fire everything!  Consistently.    See where that takes you.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

Focus Fierce and Finish

I found myself in several seemingly unrelated conversations this week, with a connection.  In each, there was discussion about fierce focus and finishing.  We live in a world that subtly or not-so-subtly sends out messages that we must multitask and that our moving forward requires us to move on several fronts.  This is an unfortunate myth.  Distraction feeds off of this myth, as does inefficiency and ineffectiveness.

While I realize that we do not live in a world that fully allows us to take on simply one thing at a time, I contend that our best strategy is to get as close to that as possible.  Rather than be “jack of all trades” and master of none, let us understand that mastery best advances productivity, despite its investment of time and deliberation of effort.  Mastery requires focus; and a fierce one at that.  It requires finishing too; the completion of tasks.  Completion begets a sense of accomplishment.  Accomplishment begets confidence and excellence; mastery.

I have multiple projects on my radar right now, and necessarily so.  Still, as I prepare for a new and high level challenge in my vocal and singing work, for a major public performance in December, I am reminded of the wisdom of single minded fierce focus and the intent to finish.  My preparations demand diligence and determination.  They demand discernment and daring.  They expect an investment of courage and creativity.  Still, these are investments and the results will be in heightened range, skill, knowledge and confidence.

The ROI is powerful.

With that in mind, I am calling this month NOvember; the month where I learn to better say NO to work of distraction and only apply myself to that which best moves me forward personally and professionally, and in best service.  So, going forward this week, where do you need to most apply single minded fierce focus to finish?  Do that, and see where it takes you and those around you.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

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