Where Does Transformational Leadership Start?

Last week was tough. I mean really it was really tough.  I got an email from a client who basically told me that she thought I sucked. I was devastated. My first inclination was to strike back, hit her hard. What was HER PROBLEM? How could she not understand that the work that I was doing created meaning and it mattered? And by the way, did she not realize that I am in remission from cancer? That was a foul. Out of bounds.  You don’t get to strike out at someone who has had cancer! Stage IV no less! Didn’t I deserve a pass?

Thank God I took a breath. I needed to get a hold of myself!

I decided to pause—to read beyond the words and to try “shift my chair” to her side of the table, where I might at least begin to understand her view of myself in her world. Which, by the way, did not have to mean that what she wrote was THE truth. It was just HER truth. There’s a significant difference. Still, not an easy task. I spent many hours crafting, editing, and rewriting an email that would enable my voice in response to be professional, kind, and above the blow I believed that she had struck first.

Transformational leadership starts with transformation of self. Most times, we have the tendency to believe that transformation takes place outside of ourselves. We blame others or our organizations for “not working” the way that we think that they should. The truth is, organizations are made up of people. Individuals. That’s where the transformational change must happen first.

On Friday of this week, October 27, the Global Women’s Leadership Forum®, in partnership with the Tuthill Corporation, will host a Transformational Leadership Summit from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. in Burr Ridge. This is for leaders who are committed to creating significant and meaningful shifts in self, followed by cultural shifts in their organizations, and ultimately, shifts in the world. The conversation for this Summit is, “Leading with Heart … Through Connection, Courage, Commitment.” 

When Tuthill first approached me about partnering with us on this Summit, honestly, I was not so excited—it’s a pump company. I didn’t find that very sexy or engaging. But then I went to their website. Take a look:  www.tuthill.com. Below is the purpose, vision, mission, etc., of the Tuthill Corp. I know you have read sterile, meaningless, corporate statements that inspire no one. But not here. Here’s the Tuthill Compass:

PURPOSEWAKE THE WORLD. We invite a powerful aliveness. We make space for hearts—the original pumps—to thrive. When we come alive, the world comes along.

VISION: A LEGION OF LIKE-HEARTED PEOPLE WITH ASTOUNDING IMPACT.  An ingenious company supporting flourishing families and spirited communities.

MISSIONMAKING REAL THINGS THAT REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE.  From our hearts to our heads to our hands, we dare to make better.

OUR WAY: LIVING OUR COMMON VALUES. CREATING THE UNCOMMON.  A life full of curiosity, clarity, grit, grace, gratitude, and love.

BRANDIT’S WHO WE ARE, WHAT WE DO, AND WHAT WE SAY. It all starts with me. Here. Now.

This Summit experience is simply going to shift the way folks think about what is possible in corporate cultures, and what’s possible in transformation of self!

So, was it in preparing for this Summit that I began to create the shift in myself? Is it because of this upcoming conversation that I chose to behave differently in response to the email from my client?

I guess I don’t know for sure. What I do know is that all you need do is look around to realize that a shift has got to be made. And the first shift …  must start with me.

Don’t think for a minute that I’ve got this all figured out. I know you can imagine the difficulty I had in reading and responding to the email, right?  Ever gotten something like that yourself? Of course, you have! Maybe not an email, but hasn’t someone, at some point, challenged your value in the universe? We have all had the experience. And I’m just now aware, that while I wrote, I’ve consumed a sleeve of Oreos. Stress eating. Yes, I’m still working on changing behaviors …

Now, where are my Tums?

Looking forward to transforming with you on Friday, Oct. 27 at Tuthill in Burr Ridge. More information and registration are available at www.globalwlf.com/leadership-tuthill-summit.