Uncategorized

Join Us for the 2018 Meeting of the Economy of Communion

Posted on Updated on

creighton-university-740x416

The North American Association of the Economy of Communion and the Business, Faith, and the Common Good Institute of Creighton University invite you to attend the 2018 gathering of the Economy of Communion, that will be held at Creighton University in Omaha Nebraska, on Oct. 5-6, 2018.

In today’s world, globalization presents to us significant challenges such as poverty, inequality, unemployment, and forced migration… All these situations make us question if this is the world we want, if the economy can change for the better.

The Economy of Communion project (EOC) offers a new perspective facing these challenges: a new business culture where free enterprises become the cradle of a culture of giving, that fosters fraternity, social bonds, sustainability, and communion, rather than individualism and profit as an end in itself.

You can learn more about the event and register at the following link.

The deadline to register is September 30th, 2018.

Register Now

 

 

Advertisements

Seeking Leaders of Unity in an Age of Disruption

Posted on Updated on

By Jim Funk

If you are a leader of influence and want to contribute to shaping a better world, you won’t want to miss the 5-day intensive leadership development experience my Consulus and Sophia University colleagues are offering in Loppiano (Italy) twice a year. The next session date is April 8-12, 2019.

Why is this course being offered, and why is leading for unity so important in the world today? We invite you to read this article that Lawrence Chong, CEO of Consulus (EoC business in Singapore) and Jim Funk (EoC business owner in the USA and Consulus partner. Article by Lawrence Chong and Jim Funk.

This leadership course was designed as a response to what Pope Francis asked of the EoC members who met with him in February 2017: “Therefore, we must work toward changing the rules of the game of the socio-economic system. Imitating the Good Samaritan of the Gospel is not enough.”

For more information on the course or to register please visit the course site:
Global Leaders of Unity Executive Course

Please join us!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: 2018 EOC Annual Meeting

Posted on

f5ee9ffabaaa4a22215cff382f1c2174

We are happy to let you know that this year’s North American Meeting of the Economy of Communion (EoC) will be held at Creighton University in Omaha Nebraska, on Oct. 5-6, 2018.

We are continuing to alternate the location of our meetings between the little city of Mariapolis Luminosa and Universities supporting or desiring to learn more about the EoC. Last year’s meeting and summer school was held at Mariapolis Luminosa, so it was the turn of another university this year.

The choice fell on Creighton University, where one of our members, Prof. Andy Gustafson, teaches business ethics. We will have the opportunity to meet many new friends there, incl. some of his fellow professors, students and local entrepreneurs, as well as learn more about Andy’s local EoC business called Communion Properties.

More details regarding the agenda will be shared soon. Stay tuned.

 

Great leaders inspire others. How?

Posted on

By Jim Funk

Paralympic Skiier

The Winter Olympic Games and Paralympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, were totally inspiring to me. Watching the Shib Sibs glide and dance across the ice in expressive and unified harmony, cheering on Lyndsey Vonn as she sped down the mountain at over 80 mph in her final Olympic Games, and noticing my heart racing as the bobsled teams careened down the icy track.  All of these events and more were amazing feats of athleticism, and they were undeniably inspiring.

But what was it that made them inspiring? To me, it was first and foremost witnessing the awesome capability that each Olympian had developed through years of practice, coaching and persistence. But more than that, it was the stories behind each of the competitors. In every case these athletes had to overcome setbacks and failings, injuries or illnesses, and in the case of Paralympic athletes, conditions that could have prevented them from even leaving the house or driving a car. Yet look at what they were able to accomplish through their tenacity and sheer will. These athletes show that to be inspiring to others, you must be inspired yourself.

So what is it that makes leaders inspired? Do they have to be as competent and persistent as Olympic champions, overcoming incredible challenges and going beyond what seems humanly possible? Leaders who have done that to varying degrees can certainly be inspired through their experiences. But it’s more than that. I believe leaders are inspired through the process of becoming who they are as a person—their characteristics, values and behaviors. When a person is willing to be honest about his or her shortcomings and vulnerabilities, for example, humility is developed. Having the courage to admit faults and overcome them helps build character and become authentic—true to who they are.

Inspired leaders also know they don’t have all the answers, which causes them to seek what they need to make good and wise decisions. Sometimes this comes in the form of patience while they gather information, or they may ask for the opinions of others who have more expertise. With trust in the people around them to use their own talents, as well as to provide honest feedback to the leader, they go forward and take actions they believe to be prudent, and they take reasonable risks. They know that if they fail it won’t be the end of the world. In fact, when things don’t go as they hoped, they learn from their mistakes and become even better.

Inspired leaders are also hopeful. They see the glass half full, and know that even in the darkest of times there is light to be found. In spite of difficulties, they remain positive and believe they will somehow be able to figure out a workable solution. They believe that all will be well, or at least as good as possible under the circumstances.

What makes an inspired leader inspiring to others? In my experience working with leaders who I considered inspired, there were four main areas of inspiration for me:

  • Functional Leadership Competence. Capable leaders build the trust of others because they are able to deliver. They know what they are doing, and they know to engage other talented people in what they don’t know how to do.
  • Mental and Thinking Competence. These leaders are able to learn and assimilate new information quickly, think critically, and apply their knowledge to solve complex problems. They are good decision-makers, and they are skilled at persuading others.
  • Heart and Spirit Competence. This area represents who the leader is as a person—the values, virtues, and character strengths that inform decisions, actions, intent and authenticity. Integrity, initiative, and the ability to build and maintain strong and positive relationships fall into this category.
  • Physical Competence. I am referring here to the physical presence of the leader. This includes how they communicate and listen, what kind of impression they make on others, and their self-awareness. Along with heart and spirit competence, physical competence can either foster a sense of authenticity and trust on the part of others, or it can create distrust if it’s missing.

To me, these competency areas hold the critical leadership behaviors and awareness that enable leaders to inspire others. It is not only what they do, but who they are, that inspires followership and engagement.

Holistic Leader Competencies - InspiredInspired leadership is one of the nine characteristics I have defined in my Holistic Leadership Model. Holistic Leaders embody the competency areas I listed above, and they do so with inspiration. Holistic leaders know how to integrate their character and values into their leadership, and they understand that they bring their whole selves to their leadership role—body, mind and spirit.

How does one become an inspired leader? I would suggest starting with three questions to reflect on, followed by actions that help build inspired leadership.

  1. How willing am I to look critically at myself, and open myself up to honest feedback and self-awareness that will help me discover areas where I need to grow—the characteristics, habits and behaviors I need to change if I want to inspire others?
  2. How open am I to learning from other inspired leaders to understand how they got that way—perhaps through coaching, mentoring, studying and reading?
  3. Am I willing to create a concrete plan of action, identifying what I can do to build the competencies and behaviors of an inspired leader—acknowledging that it requires a lifetime of learning and continued formation and development?

Let me conclude by saying that I don’t think being an inspired leader is optional. Inspired and Holistic Leadership is truly needed to navigate the complex relationships and responsibilities of leaders in the world today, whether in a small company, a large global enterprise, an educational institution, or a governmental entity. The question is, are you willing to make the effort to move outside of your comfort zone, to be a life-long learner and become what the world truly needs: an inspired, holistic leader? Take a lesson from the Olympians. It requires commitment, focus, practice, persistence, willingness to fail, and continuous improvement. Are you up for it?

Jim Funk is a consultant who helps leaders, teams and organizations discover and develop their full potential. He is passionate in believing that strong leadership competence combined with the leader’s personal characteristics, values and virtues are key to achieving goals and driving business results. In addition to his work at J L Funk & Associates, Jim has served on various boards and commissions, and is currently a member of the Economy of Communion in North America Commission. Learn more about Jim’s work at www.jlfunk.com and www.linkedin.com/in/jlfunk or e-mail him at jim@jlfunk.com

Is servant leadership all that great?

Posted on Updated on

By Jim Funk

Servant Leadership for Blog

In my years of working with executive teams, I’ve noticed a common expectation that good leaders must be able to do four main things:

  • Empower people
  • Inspire people
  • Create a shared vision
  • Lead change

Although virtually all organizations agree on these baseline expectations, many have set an even higher bar: being a servant leader.

This term can be a bit confusing because people typically think leaders are served by their reports rather than the other way around.  So, who or what does a servant leader serve, and why?

When I ask this question in one of my workshops, a common response is that by being served, people have the support and resources they need from their leader to do the work of achieving results. They cite examples of the servant leader making sure that people and teams have the direction, supplies, time, and talent they need to get the job done. The servant leader ensures everything is in place to make the team successful.

While that is true, when I observe leaders who I would characterize as servant leaders, I see much more than making people and teams functional and successful. I see leaders who have a disposition of service to others, putting others first even at the risk of short-changing themselves. These service-oriented leaders not only make sure people have what they need, they take a personal interest in them and care about their well-being. They put others’ needs ahead of their own. They are willing to sacrifice, and to take less in order to give more.

So, what difference does servant leadership make? Isn’t it the responsibility of everyone to simply do their part, and to be accountable for their results without having to be served? Let me give a few examples of why servant leadership is not only good leadership, it makes a huge difference in what can be achieved.

  • John Mundell is the owner of Mundell and Associates, an environmental consulting firm and Economy of Communion business. John took time and resources from his business to help start and support a non-profit, Project Lia, that gives women who are coming out of prison an opportunity to learn job skills so they can re-enter the workforce. Who or what is John serving: Individuals who are coming from a vulnerable situation, and arguably serving the community itself. The difference it makes: In all likelihood, these women will not commit crimes that would return them to prison. (Another re-entry program in Indiana has been able to reduce the 3-year recidivism rate in the state from the usual 36.1% down to 12.5%.) Instead they will become contributing members of society.
  • Joe Pickard is the executive director of The PEERS Project, which trains and develops peer leaders in high school to share their experiences with middle school students about how to make good decisions and avoid risky behaviors. Although the program went through budget cuts that eliminated funding and positions, Joe took on extra work to keep the program going. Who or what is Joe serving: The peer leaders, the schools, the students, and the program itself. The difference it makes: Without Joe’s selfless commitment, the program would have folded long ago. Instead, the community will continue to benefit from a program that helps local youths.
  • Loraine Brown was the interim vice president and chief mission officer for a major hospital system. Although the role was temporary, she chose to backfill her previous position to ensure things continued running smoothly in her absence. She did this at the risk of not having a position to go back to when her temporary assignment was completed. Who or what is Loraine serving: The people and hospital departments that need the services of her former position, and the mission of the organization. The difference it makes: Important services are provided, and the jobs of her other staff are preserved for as long as possible.
  • Grant Marsh is the general manager of The Guild House, a creative American cuisine eatery in Columbus, Ohio. He gave one of his waitresses the week off so she could see her sister who was moving away, even though it was a busy time and all hands were needed on deck. Who or what is Grant serving: The personal needs of the individual and her family. The difference it makes: The waitress feels cared for as a person, and will likely be a loyal employee for years to come.

These may each seem like small things, but when the leader’s first thought is of others rather than of self, there is an impact that will be felt well beyond the immediate situation and people involved. In each of these examples, there is a positive ripple effect that extends to other people, to the broader organizations, and even to whole communities. Relationships are also built and strengthened through service to others, and loyalty is developed when people experience the care and concern of a leader who is in a position to make a difference in their lives and work.

Holistic Leader Competencies - ServantServant leadership is an important characteristic in the model of Holistic Leadership I have developed that places the person at the center. It is based on the principle that work not only provides income to people and profits for a company, but it gives meaning. People want to contribute to products and services that are good for consumers and communities.

How does a leader develop into a servant leader?  Regardless of whether a leader is new in his or her role, or seasoned with many years of experience, there is always an opportunity to further develop the mind, heart and spirit of a servant. I say mind, heart and spirit because service is not only about taking outward actions, it is about the disposition of the person’s thoughts, feelings, and intentions. Start with these fundamental questions:

  • Do I think of others’ needs before my own?
  • Am I willing to risk losing my own ideas in order to promote the ideas of others?
  • Am I careful not to take credit for work that is done by my team, even though I am their leader?
  • Do I have true care and compassion for the people I lead, and take an interest in matters that are meaningful to them?
  • Do I look for ways I can help the people I lead rather than thinking of what they can do to make me look good?

These are starting points for reflection, but on a longer-term basis developing servant leadership requires genuine humility, love for people, and a desire to give rather than receive. I don’t know if any single workshop or book can develop the mind, heart and spirit of a servant in a leader, but an openness to feedback from others, and seeking a mentor who demonstrates servant leadership will go a long way. Give it a try. If you have ever worked for a true servant leader, as I have, you know it’s not only a good thing—it’s great for people, and great for business.

Jim Funk is a consultant who helps leaders, teams and organizations discover and develop their full potential. He is passionate in believing that strong leadership competence combined with the leader’s personal characteristics, values and virtues are key to achieving goals and driving business results. In addition to his work at J L Funk & Associates, Jim has served on various boards and commissions, and is currently a member of the Economy of Communion in North America Commission. Learn more about Jim’s work at www.jlfunk.com and www.linkedin.com/in/jlfunk or e-mail him at jim@jlfunk.com

How to keep blind spots from derailing your leadership

Posted on

By Jim Funk

mirror for traffic collisionAs a leader, what you don’t know CAN hurt you.  Especially when it comes to what you might be doing wrong, even unintentionally.

Take Stanley, who has been a member of the executive team for five years. He is reaching a high frustration level with the CEO, whom he reports to directly. Because the CEO is out of town a lot, he doesn’t make himself available for ongoing conversations once he has delegated a major assignment to his executives. When he returns to the office, however, he decides that projects are not usually done to his liking. He then blames his team for not asking enough questions ahead of time about what the end product should look like.

As another example, Jill is a member of the Human Resources leadership team in a large company. She is a star performer, takes her responsibility seriously, and is known as the “go-to person” for anything having to do with change management. But Jill is unhappy. She doesn’t feel appreciated, and her boss simply isn’t one to give much recognition to his direct reports. He believes that if you just do the job well, that is recognition enough. Jill doesn’t want to go asking for recognition, but her increasing dissatisfaction is getting to her.

Lastly, Kim is a highly productive member of a company’s sales team. After only three years of experience, peers think of Kim as a superstar. But in spite of the strong performance, Kim’s boss is highly critical of her and nitpicks every little thing. Lately, Kim has started to feel literally sick to her stomach when preparing for meetings with the boss. She wants to speak up about her feelings, but she’s seen her boss become irate when she feels offended.

What do these cases have in common? Well, several things that should be troubling to any leader. First, there is a reluctance to come to these bosses with feedback or concerns. Why? Because the employees don’t think their bosses will react well. If honest feedback has not been appreciated or welcomed in the past, employees may have felt cast aside or insecure in their jobs, and are now unwilling to bring up their concerns. Any leader who is not getting honest feedback because people are afraid to provide it is suffering not only from a lack of information, but also from a lack of trust. This can be hugely detrimental to both team and individual performance.

Second, these bosses are not aware of how they are impacting their employees, and have no idea that their leadership style is suppressing creativity and making even their best employees dissatisfied. They have not made an attempt to ask their direct reports specifically how they like to be rewarded, and how they, as their boss, can be more effective as a leader. Again, without the information about what they could do better, these bosses are in the dark, and their blind spots continue.

And finally, as a result of the lack of open communication, trust, and awareness of self and others, some of the best employees and leaders of these companies are nearly ready to walk away.  Replacing them would be a great loss of talent and a large expense. Many times, bosses aren’t aware of how people really feel about them because they don’t ask. And a number of companies either don’t do exit interviews, or don’t get much information because the exiting employees understandably don’t want to burn any bridges.

If you are working in an Economy of Communion business, or are a leader in any organization that wants to follow person-centered principles, you would certainly want to address these kinds of issues. But blind spots are indeed blind—we often don’t even know we have them, or at least we don’t know what they are. Awareness of self and others is critical because it is required for emotional intelligence, which in turn is a good predictor of leadership success. As described by Daniel Goleman in his book, Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ, awareness is key to being able to manage one’s emotions and relationships. When leaders don’t genuinely and openly seek feedback, or don’t receive it well, they can be derailed by what they don’t know. It doesn’t mean that every bit of feedback leaders receive is accurate, but it is a perception—and perceptions are reality for people. They have real impact. And we can’t act on these perceptions unless we are aware of them.

What behaviors do we see in leaders who are more aware of themselves and others? My Holistic Leadership Competency Model (© 2016 by J L Funk & Associates) describes several key behaviors that are observable, and that can be further developed. Leaders who are more self-aware know how to:

  • Learn from their experiences and mistakes
  • Build and manage collaborative and positive relationships
  • Effectively facilitate and mediate conflict resolution
  • Communicate and listen effectively
  • Seek and act on feedback from others
  • Put others at ease through their presence and disposition
  • Regulate their own emotions and make adjustments in their behavior as appropriate
  • Respond appropriately to the emotions of others

Why are these skills important? If we think about what leaders need to be able to do to be effective, it boils down to creating a vision, getting others to follow and actualize the mission and vision, and produce results. People follow leaders they can trust, and who are able to inspire them to contribute to the mission and vision with their full engagement and passion—not just to do a job. But when self-awareness and the accompanying behaviors are missing, fear and negative stress are created in the workplace. Thinking back to our three examples, these leaders are not self-aware. Their inability to effectively communicate and ask for feedback has left them in the dark about their employees’ concerns. As a result, they aren’t getting the full engagement of their team members, who may quietly move on to other job opportunities.

What can leaders do to boost their awareness of themselves and others? Here are 10 ideas you can implement, whether you are in a leadership role or a member of a team:

  1. Ask for feedback regularly, and thank people for giving it (even if it isn’t what you wanted to hear)
  2. Engage in reflective practices, such as meditation and mindfulness to increase focus and concentration
  3. Make an explicit and public statement of your intention to be aware of your blind spots, your presence, and to place a high value on your relationships
  4. Practice stress management techniques and improve your work/life balance
  5. Acknowledge your emotions, learn your triggers for negative emotions, and develop ways to change your emotional reactions
  6. Walk around, be curious about what people are doing and notice their reactions to you
  7. Practice active listening and validate what you are hearing
  8. Practice humility, acknowledging mistakes and asking forgiveness
  9. Check your alignment by comparing what you say with what you do
  10. Take a formal assessment of your Emotional Intelligence with a validated test instrument. I recommend the EQ-i2.0 by MHS Assessments, which must be given by an authorized partner. (There is a cost. Contact me for more information.)

We also learn a lot through our experiences, and from the experiences and stories of others. I invite you to share stories about how you have uncovered your own blind spots, and how you have been able to increase your own awareness. Further, share how this awareness impacted your own effectiveness as a leader. You can reply to this post, or contact me directly by e-mailing me at jim@jlfunk.com.

Jim Funk is a consultant who helps leaders, teams and organizations discover and develop their full potential. He is passionate in believing that strong leadership competence combined with the leader’s personal characteristics, values and virtues are key to achieving goals and driving business results. In addition to his work at J L Funk & Associates, Jim has served on various boards and commissions, and is currently a member of the Economy of Communion in North America Commission. Learn more about Jim’s work at www.jlfunk.com and www.linkedin.com/in/jlfunk.

EoC North America Meeting a Success

Posted on

19260653_10211968496840339_1565977300940687774_n

Approximately 44 attended the annual meeting of the EoC held in Hyde Park, New York, coming from not only the U.S. and Canada, but also from Italy, Philippines, South America and Mexico. One of the drawing cards to attend this year’s meeting was a review of the audience with Pope Francis last February. The video of the Pope’s talk to the group was shown, and several panel discussions and other presentations highlighted the affirmation as well as the challenges which Pope Francis gave to the EoC.

Other presentations at the meeting included an examination of social entrepreneurship, a Holistic Leadership model for EoC companies, entrepreneurial and leadership skill-building workshops, presentations of local EoC activities, and a discussion of a video by Chiara Lubich on the EoC. Participants reported they felt the meeting provided a good blend of success stories, practical tools, and ways to embed EoC concepts. Workshop break-out topics included Discovering Your Gifts, Hiring for Fit, and Effective Communications.

The video of Chiara featured her 1992 talk that highlighted the EoC as a new way of evangelization, and an opportunity to “give” and to “be” in new ways. The group also discussed ways to overcome the barriers of communion through actions such as living the present moment, identifying with the other person, going the extra mile, and sharing stories.

The priorities identified for the year 2017-18 included the strengthening of local cells and and supporting of new initiatives. In 2018 EoC North America would like to contribute both to the organization of and participation in a Pan American Summer School.