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Dalai Lama quote

The World Doesn’t Need More Successful People

This is something that has been running around in my head for almost a year: the world doesn’t need more successful people. I’d like to believe that one of the positive outcomes coming out of COVID-19 is our collective ability to pause and reflect on the bigger picture. How did we get here? Why is this happening? What do we do now? To answer those questions involves time and space to think. To really think. And as I’ve been thinking, I’ve come to the conclusion that the world doesn’t need more successful people. And what this means for leaders like you and me is that we might need to course-correct to become something the world needs more of. What would that look like in the modern workplace?

It would look like people managers spending more time in the mindset of “We” versus “I” and optimizing their time for bringing teams together, galvanizing against a bigger vision, and creating collaborative webs across the organization built on trust.

It would look like senior leaders spending their time with their most junior-level or most under-privileged employees to understand how things get done at their level and how they can help make things easier for them to off-load pressure they might be facing.

It would look like more people looking down rather than up. It would look like more people at every level bringing other people up with them from diverse backgrounds. It would look like people managers truly investing in training, coaching and developing their talent to set them up for success.

It would look like more smiles on Zoom calls and less soap box presentations.

It would look like people who usually have the microphone stepping back from the spotlight. It would look like colleagues, especially leaders, who listen more, speak less, and show openness to hear others’ perspectives.

It would look like every employee supporting employees and teammates who are especially hit hard during this time and validating their struggles with our attention, support, and empathy.

It would look like slowing down our capitalistic targets in service of our human values and priorities. It would look like a company managing expectations with the street on tampering growth while giving back to the planet and to the community and to employees.

It would look radically different from most corporate environments today.

I am a firm believer that change starts with each of us showing the courage to show up differently. This year onward, I choose to optimize for something other than my own success. I choose to optimize for healthy and happy teams around me, inclusivity, integrity, and human-centric workplaces. I am far from perfect, I will make plenty of mistakes, and therefore I will surround myself with people who will help me stay on-track and mentor me through this. But I am already feeling a radical change in how I approach work in my day-to-day. And I invite you to do the same.

The world doesn’t need more successful people. The world needs more builders, mindful leaders of teams, positive storytellers, and creators of beautiful things.

Dare to lead differently today.


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