Zen Leader Blog

Summer In The City

Posted by Ginny Whitelaw

Jul 27, 2015 5:52:03 PM

If the energy patterns were cities... 


Springtime for Hara

Posted by Ginny Whitelaw

May 10, 2015 6:30:39 PM

We hear more all the time about the march of technology: how we’re approaching a singularity where machine intelligence surpasses that of humans, not only in one dimension of activity (which happened in arithmetic a long time ago), but in all. We hear how neurotechnology will soon supplant our failing memories and how nanotechnology could lead not only to bionic humans but also to a new species of self-reproducing nanobots – all within this century. As artificial intelligences advances, it’s raising fears among some of the smartest technophiles on our planet.


Focus On Winter, 2015

Posted by Ginny Whitelaw

Jan 5, 2015 12:08:05 PM

Comfort and Joy! 


The Final Flip

Posted by Ginny Whitelaw

Dec 31, 2014 1:11:00 PM

A publisher once told me that most people don't finish books that they start.  Well, it was the end of The Zen Leader that changed the whole book for one reader. Here are some reflections from Bernd Linsenbuehler on the final chapter of the Zen Leader. To know what dream he's talking about, you'll just have to read the whole book :-)


The Zen Leader Goes Home

Posted by Ginny Whitelaw

Dec 31, 2014 10:43:00 AM

Guest blogger, Theo Cade, shares his experience working with a number of the Zen Leader flips below.  You'll also see the wood model he built of the "fear fulcrum" to give people a salient experience of how fear gets heavier when we try to run from it.  Coming soon from Dr. Cade: an interactive game based on the flips of The Zen Leader. Love this man's practical creativity!

How does Zen go to work with you?

Posted by Ginny Whitelaw

Oct 10, 2014 10:06:36 AM

I’m working on a new book, Zen Goes to Work, on how we bring Zen to work with us, and also how Zen goes to work IN us. I’m hearing some great stories and examples from people and, whether you’ve trained in Zen for a few months or a few decades, I’d like to hear yours. I’m not looking for Zen-like profundity, but genuine experience of how Zen shows up for you at work, how it supports your development, leadership or even how you answer the phone. For example, I heard this yesterday:

"I used to hate when my phone would ring. I'd think 'who's interrupting me now?' But now what I do, is give myself a good long breath.  It’s almost like center, enter and add value (the first flip in The Zen Leader). I use my breath to center, then enter, go in open-handed.  Who is it?"


Topics: the zen leader, Zen goes to work, Zen at work

Losing Control – and Gaining Agility

Posted by Ginny Whitelaw

Aug 16, 2014 9:46:00 PM

We’re losing control.

At least in the traditional sense of being able to control outcomes, nail down all the variables, or compel others to do our bidding. This theme has stood out to me in everything I’ve been reading, writing, and doing – or trying to so J – this year. Here are just a few examples from my summer reading: Liz Wiseman reminds us that leaders who over-control become diminishers rather than Mulitpliers of the talent around them. They also become dangerous decision makers, not drawing on others’ perspectives, and their certainty can be completely misguided (feel free to forward this newsletter to Putin).  In Reinventing Organizations, Frederic Laloux traces how the strong control hierarchies of traditional organizations have necessarily given way to more distributed control and decision making that is more responsive to changing conditions on the ground, whether we’re talking a special forces team or a customer service rep.  He gives us a blueprint for a new kind of evolutionary organization emerging now where central control is replaced by self-managed teams guided by a unifying purpose. Eric Ries argues in The Lean Startup that businesses today need this kind of agility, which is more like steering a car moment-by-moment, than shooting off a rocket preprogrammed by a 3-year plan.


How a Zen Leader Can Reinvent Organizations

Posted by Ginny Whitelaw

Apr 16, 2014 2:36:09 PM

I recently read a most remarkable book, Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux. Ken Wilber calls it “spectacular…pioneering.”  Jenny Wade calls it “brilliant…a world changer.” I couldn’t agree more. Why it particularly speaks to me is that it is the organizational complement to the deep development we undertake individually in bringing Zen into leadership development. It is the blueprint by which a Zen Leader can reinvent his or her organization.

What Laloux puts into perfect context is that organizations – as a way of collaborating - have been evolving for as long as humans have been forming them. And that at every stage of development, a new form of organization becomes possible, which is better suited to the complexity of the times. He traces this development through the most primitive tribes, to might-is-right conquerors (e.g., street gangs), to organizations based on a conformist hierarchy (e.g., Catholic Church), individual achievement (e.g., Wall St. banks), and up to pluralistic empowerment (e.g., Whole Foods). Today we’re on the cusp of a new stage of human consciousness that he calls evolutionary, inspiring a new kind of organization. Twelve such evolutionary organizations became the research backbone of this book, from which Laloux distilled the culture, behaviors, structures, and HR processes that will reinvent organizational life.


Why not get in a top management position by reading “The Zen Leader”?

Posted by Ginny Whitelaw

Feb 22, 2014 8:26:00 PM

ladderCarl He, one of our IZL alumni and an active Zen student at our Shanghai dojo, sent this article shortly after he was hired for a General Management position.


 “I definitely like you. You’re hired!”

After a 6 hour long job interview for the top management job, it was clear that the owner was satisfied and decided that I was the right person for the job. Of the 6 hours, about 5 hours was my interviewer excitedly talking about the company and the projects that are currently running; and only about 1 hour in total was about discussing me or my qualifications. Clearly it was already decided beforehand that I was going to be hired.  


How To Get Stuff Done

Posted by Ginny Whitelaw

Jan 30, 2014 1:42:00 PM

conductor_handsI was meeting with a client some years ago – a great, bright leader – on what we were going to focus on in some work with his team. He cut to the chase: “A good day is when I get stuff done,” he said.  “Help me do that.” The practical groundedness of his answer has stayed with me. As much as we may equate leadership with its expansive qualities – setting a vision, modeling the values – grand proclamations are useless if we can’t get stuff done. Visions die on the vine if we can’t execute.  Dreams morph from motivating to maddening when we can’t bring them to fruition. This is as true for our personal aspirations as it is for businesses, organizations, or the hopes and dreams of a society. 

So how do we get stuff done? You may be thinking this is going to be a boring rehash of how to set SMART goals (i.e., specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound), how to apply good project management, or how to get people moving with you. Indeed, any of those may be called for, but that’s not where I’d start. Rather, let’s look at what we’re trying to get done from a broader perspective and apply a principle I learned from one of my Zen teachers, Tanouye Roshi, and that is: driving rhythm.


Welcome to the Zen Leader Blog

A blog that transforms:

This blog is dedicated to the concepts described in the book The Zen Leader by Ginny Whitelaw.  In this blog we discuss how these concepts are applied to a variety of current situations and applications, helping us all unleash the Zen Leader within us!

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