Careers: Interviews
Lance Secretan, World Renowned Multi-Award-Winning Executive, Strategist, Best-selling Author/Writer, Keynote Speaker, Coach, Thought-Leader, Professor

This week, Stephen Ibaraki, FCIPS, I.S.P., DF/NPA, MVP, CNP has an exclusive interview with Dr. Lance Secretan.

Dr. Lance SecretanDr. Lance Secretan is one of the world's foremost thinkers about leadership and a renowned pioneer in innovative methods of inspiring people and organizations. The former CEO of a Fortune 100 company and an acclaimed business school professor, Lance Secretan works with a gifted worldwide faculty changing the lives of people and transforming companies and revolutionizing the way they think about leadership.

Thirty of Fortune's Most Admired Companies, and 11 of Fortune's Best Companies to Work For in America are his clients. He is the international best-selling author of fourteen books on leadership, an award-winning columnist, teacher, philosopher, corporate coach and mentor, and one of North America's most sought-after keynote speakers, retreat leaders, and business advisors. Voted one of the nation's top ten speakers, and one of the "top 21 speakers for the 21st century" (Successful Meetings), he addresses audiences around the world. Lance was the Chairman of the Advisory Board of the 1997 Special Olympics World Winter Games and former Ambassador to the United Nations Environment Program.

In recognition of a lifetime of caring about people and the planet, Lance was awarded the prestigious International Caring Award (often referred to as the US equivalent of the Nobel Prize), whose other recipients include Mother Teresa and Jane Goodall. The International Management Council has also recognized his contribution to leadership with the McFeely Leadership Award. Lance has several degrees including a Masters in International Relations from the University of Southern California (magna cum laude) and a Ph. D. from the London School of Economics. An expert skier, he divides his time between homes in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, and Ontario, Canada overlooking a 700-acre wilderness reserve where he lives with his wife Tricia.

Most Requested Topics:

  • ONE: The Art and Practice of Conscious Leadership
  • Inspire: What Great Leaders Do
  • Values-centered Leadership®
  • The New Story of Leadership: What the Best Leaders in the World are Working on Next
  • Reclaiming Higher Ground: Creating Organizations that Inspire the Soul

Books by Lance Secretan Include:

  • ONE: The Art and Practice of Conscious Leadership
  • Inspire! What Great Leaders Do
  • Spirit@Work® Cards: Bringing Spirit and Values to Work
  • Reclaiming Higher Ground: Creating Organizations that Inspire the Soul
  • Living the Moment: A Sacred Journey
  • The Way of the Tiger Gentle Wisdom for Turbulent Times

To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link

The latest blog on the interview can be found in the IT Managers Connection (IMC) forum where you can provide your comments in an interactive dialogue.


Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic

:00:35: Can you profile your current roles and work and the value delivered to your diverse audiences?
"....The work I'm doing is transformational. It's about converting the organization from what I call an old style of leadership to a new style of leadership. I also coach CEOs and we are just about to launch a program of certification....I teach leadership on the mountain in Colorado where I live...."

:01:51: Since 1939, what were the primary catalysts driving you to your current roles?
"...I had a very interesting education like a lot of people. I was in the theatre when I was young....My father was a very prominent scientist and diplomat......My mother was a world class concert pianist. They were very much into intellectual pursuits and into education....We spent five years living in Argentina so I learned how to speak Spanish....A PhD in International Relations from the London School of Economics....a Masters degree from USC....All that I think has helped to shape some of my thinking...."

:03:39: What were the key disruptive forces driving change in your life during these specific times: while at Manpower Limited; obtaining your MA and PhD; teaching leadership at McMaster and York Universities?
"....My teaching and my leadership style have all been around a peaceful, compassionate, caring, non-violent way of inspiring other people....In a nutshell I'm trying to teach people to be inspired and to therefore be inspiring. I think if we can pull that off we essentially become inspiring leaders...."

:05:08: You received the International Caring Award, whose other recipients include Mother Theresa, and Jane Goodall. What does this mean to you and to your guiding principles going forward?
"....The work that we've done is essentially about using the instrument of modern business as the most powerful device for achieving social change that there exists on the planet...."

:06:59: In 2003, you were awarded the McFeely Award. The award is given to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to leadership and management development. What does this award mean to you?
"....Part of my work is modeling what it looks like to be a male leader....Just the very use of words alone will make a big difference. This is the type of work that I've been pioneering over the years...."

:08:50:  Do you subscribe to this aspect that you can affect the plasticity of the brain and the neuronets and that you can shape that through thinking and this positive love based way?
"....Leadership theory up until now has been about manipulating, controlling, exploiting the behavior of other people. That's how we've built everything we know up until now about leadership and human resources and the organizational development theory with that model. Now if we think about what could be better. Imagine if we've done this well so far with that model, what would happen if we loved each other, told the truth, were compassionate, caring and inspiring (which we're not at the moment). If we did that all the time, without changing anything else....imagine how much better we could be...."

:11:15: Do you see some of these trends in terms of what you are thinking of as a transformational change and how leadership is done?
"....I'm not sure that I see a tipping point in thinking here yet. I think a few people get it and they are adhering to a very successful organizational style. But here's what I also notice....we've been tracking companies that we've been working with over the years to see where the sustainability lies because it's one thing to transform a company, but the next question is can you sustain it over time. The longest that any of our clients have been able to sustain the transformation that we've helped them to achieve is twelve years. I'm not saying that is the end point but it's just the experience that we've had...."

:13:05: What do you see are the key trends that are redefining leadership?
"....the trend that is very early and which I have been preaching about for a very long time now but which is beginning to finally get some traction is that the employee comes first....not the customer. The purpose of an organization is not only to meet customer needs. The purpose of an organization is to create an inspiring environment for people to work in because if they do that and they are inspired, they will take care of the customers...."

:17:30: Can you define Values-centered leadership and why it matters?
"....Values-centered is a bit complex to explain in this conversation. Let me just do a highlight of it...There are three principle values that we need to practice if we are to be effective. One is 'mastering' (doing things really well), the second is 'chemistry' (building relationships with other people), and the third is 'delivery' (meeting the needs of others)....We can't just wake up in the morning and do these things so we have to practice what we call the accelerators - three values which drive the first three I mentioned. They are 'learning' (which drives mastery), 'empathy' (which drives chemistry), and 'listening' (which drives delivery)...."

:19:48: What do you mean by Conscious Leadership?
"....Conscious Leadership touches on what I was talking about before, which is the soul...."

:21:33: Where and how can CASTLE principles bring value into organizations? Can you define what CASTLE principles mean?
"....CASTLE is an acronym...C is for courage, A is for authenticity, S is for service, T is for truthfulness, L is for love, and E is for effectiveness....These six principles are the opposite of what I just described and they represent the need to live together in our lives, not just at work but everywhere, which takes us to a place of oneness. And oneness is another way of describe Conscious Leadership...."

:28:00: What is the most important broader business challenge and its solution?
"....The biggest business challenge I think that faces most organizations is the capacity to find and to keep great people...."

:31:52: In your current role, what is the biggest challenge, and its solution? How does this relate to business?
"....It's kind of a juggling act between dealing with a lot of business activity on one hand, and trying to keep it modest and tight and under control on the other. To me bigness moves us in the wrong direction. That works for a lot of people and I don't mean to say it's wrong but it just isn't the way we work and think. Part of my challenge is to try to keep it all under control..."

:33:12: Lance shares a thought-provoking story from his work.
"....Even if you're right, it doesn't hurt to say you're sorry...."

:36:45: Can you provide your predictions of future Business leadership trends and their implications/opportunities?
"....The students (Gen I) are text messaging on their cell phone, downloading music and other images and messages, GPS-ing each other, and IM-ing each other, etc. through their devices....then they come into the classroom. It's like a new world - a world of blackboards, chalk, and at best computers but probably not terribly inspiring there - and then they leave again and go back to their world. Why wouldn't we make the two worlds the same? So that we connect them where they are at instead of forcing them to live in a Victorian sort of environment...."

:44:08: What do you feel is the top recommended resource and why?
"....Learning is the best one....diverse learning...."

:47:24: If you were doing this interview, what questions would you ask and then what would be your answers?
"....Why don't we get it?....If we know, intellectually speaking, that if we inspire other people to tell the truth, were loving in our relationships, wouldn't we get more with our results more quickly and for a longer lasting period of time?....If we know that, why don't we do it?....Why do people stand at the counter in an airport and scream abuse at customer service staff to try and convince them to get them on another flight or to give them a seat that doesn't exist or to change their schedule or whatever?....Do we really think that yelling and screaming and abusing someone will inspire them to do something that we want them to do?...."


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