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Episode #28: Transforming Your Business Through Conscious Leadership with Diana Chapman

Caneel Joyce:

Welcome to Allowed. I'm your host Caneel Joyce, do you have this problem? You are a single leader working in a larger team or organization or in a community. You are doing your best to lead consciously, to have a growth mindset and yet all around you there are people who are undermining your ability to make progress. If any of this relates to you, I really feel you, many of us have been in organizations that have felt toxic and I want to just name, that's a real thing.

 

We affect each other, we impact each other and while there are many tools that we can use to really bring ourselves into the space, into the mindset that we want to have, the effective culture is quite real. It's quite contagious and it tends to attract, like attracts sort of brings in more of the characteristics that are the ones that you are wanting to get rid of. So this issue of I'm the only one and the rest of my team or my organization doesn't get it.

 

What do I do about it is one that many of you have emailed me asking about. It's one of the most common questions. Today's show features the incredible creator of the Conscious Leadership Group, author of the book, The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership. She was a guest on the show talking about how she actually lives this conscious leadership model in her own personal life, her sex life, her family life. I really encourage you to check that out today. We're welcoming Diana Chapman. And Diana, I really hope that you can lead us the way. What do we do when it's just us and we're trying to swim against the tide and change our whole entire culture?

Diana Chapman:

Well, you start with yourself first. So before you get your attention over on anybody else, you're going to start taking a look at, am I myself being reactive? Am I myself in a state of threat or am I in a state of trust, that's the first thing you're going to do. So we call that locating yourself. Can you locate in this moment as whatever is going on around me is happening, where am I? Am I reactive or am I responsive? Am I in a state of threat or am I in a state of trust? Am I close and defensive or am I open and curious? But that's the first thing all conscious leaders are asking themselves is that, where am I?

Caneel Joyce:

Where am I? Well, I'd love to role play this with you a little bit. I've done some of this work with my clients and I've heard some responses a few times in a row. So I want to see how you'd handle this. Here we go. So when I hear you say, I need to do my own work first and I need to locate myself, it's not me, it's them. I'm above the line. They're below the line.

Diana Chapman:

Great. How do you know you're above the line?

Caneel Joyce:

Well, I'm feeling pretty good, I'm pretty pumped about the year ahead. No problems, doing my meditation today and feeling good. I just want us to focus on the results.

Diana Chapman:

Great. And is there any part of you making this other person wrong for being below the line?

Caneel Joyce:

And here's where on the inside of their head they're thinking, I didn't make them wrong, they are wrong.

Diana Chapman:

Any part of new judging them for being wherever they are for doing whatever they're doing. Is there any part of you judging that or blaming that?

Caneel Joyce:

Well, I have my opinion. I judge it. I mean we're supposed to be focusing on our results and I'm just seeing a lot of drama swirling around me and they really need to pull themselves up above the line.

Diana Chapman:

Yeah, I hear you, results really matter to you, but I also hear you really wanting to be right that, that's the way and that these people should be on board with what you're onboard with and that's how you want to be right. Can you see that?

Caneel Joyce:

Oh, I don't want to, but I can.

Diana Chapman:

Right.

Caneel Joyce:

Yes, you're right. I'm trying to be right.

Diana Chapman:

Perfect. And that makes total sense. So what that tells me is you're a little above the line and you're below the line because you're scared. So one of the next questions you ask yourself is, can you accept yourself for being scared? I hear how much success in getting to the goals matter to you. And I imagine it feels like a threat if you don't get there. And so these people who you perceive as not in support of getting to that goal look threatening to you. And so you're scared. So can we just for a moment except the scared part of you?

Caneel Joyce:

I don't think I'm scared. They might say they might have been hot and tell me that there's something else. They might go up into their head and describe their thoughts about something. We're going to the future or the past. They might have a hard time accessing that emotional layer or they can and then they own that they are scared. Yes, I can accept myself as being scared.

Diana Chapman:

Yeah. And if they do say, I'm not scared, I'll say, "Great," and I'll see if I can get them to come back on that drama triangle, which you know so well, and then they can see it. I've never had anybody not be able to see it once they really get to move around and observe themselves on those bases.

Caneel Joyce:

Wonderful. Yes. So thank you. That was really, really fun to play that out with you. I'm wondering though, where do we go from here? So after I have learned to locate myself as a leader, and let's say that I'm even doing my work around this, I'm in a book club. I am working with a coach and I've been on my journey for a couple of years and I feel like I'm now pretty solid and I've gotten myself above line. I'm patiently waiting for my ability to change my organization, and I want to do so from above the line.

 

I have a vision for what this could be and it really matters to me, right? I really care about our mission and I really care about these humans and I so much potential here. So I want to be of service and I want to participate and I'm ready to play. Where do we go now?

Diana Chapman:

Okay. So I say, great. I hear you have an idea of where you'd like to take the company. Before we do that, I need you to understand how you created the scene the way it is first. So...

Caneel Joyce:

What? Hold on. I created this. No, I don't even want it to be this way.

Diana Chapman:

Right? I get that. I believe you that your mind doesn't want it to be this way. But what I'm more interested in is the results and the results show that some part of you has been unconsciously committed to create just the way it is. And I use the word unconsciously because it's not like you woke up this morning and said, "Yes another day to have poor communication in my company." You didn't say that consciously, but unconsciously you're organizing yourself in some way to create the result.

 

So just imagine you have been asked as a professor to teach a course on whatever the problem is you're dealing with and you're going to teach the course, to teach us how to create the exact same problem and tell us what would we need to do, not do, say, not say, feel, not feel, et cetera. So we too can have this same challenge in our organization as you.

Caneel Joyce:

And here, I would often hear what you mean. How do you not have the challenge? What do I want to do differently?

Diana Chapman:

No, I want to know how did you create it just the way it is. What I tell people is, you can take a look at how you have created it and I've never seen anybody not get that if they just look for a minute. They always can start to see how they've been organizing themselves to create the result.

Caneel Joyce:

Great. So now I'm beginning to see as I unpack that question, teach the class, how did I create this? I might notice some things such as I was unwilling to have accountability conversations with my managers and my frontline staff. And so I hired a heavy to play my COO. And the heavy is the one many people are pointing to that's creating a lot of sense of threat, judgment and entitlement on his behalf. A lot of othering, but I see, I actually sought that out on purpose.

Diana Chapman:

Yes. And then maybe you haven't been listening to the feedback, you haven't been in taking action steps. You haven't been supporting that leader who is the heavy with asking them to listen and that's how you create the result.

Caneel Joyce:

Right. And then they own it?

Diana Chapman:

And then they own it.

Caneel Joyce:

Diana, I've witnessed you doing this with over a dozen CEOs, founders, venture capitalists, and you have certainly done this with myself, and I know that on the other end of it, what comes out is I suddenly can take responsibility. And in so doing, I recognize all of the areas in my life that I actually have some creative control over where I can step into that role of being a creator of my own reality.

 

But we all know that changing culture takes a very long time, and I believe you do some holistic work with organizations that begins with the individual, but then becomes, now you're working with the culture and I think our listeners would really love to understand for themselves, even if the path is somewhat long, what would that look like? What are the steps?

Diana Chapman:

Yeah, so I always say, and you've heard me say this before, all drama happens because we're not co-committed and we don't have clear agreements. So if we're going to change a culture, that's the first thing we have to do. What are we going to commit to? We're going to commit to reveal versus conceal. We're going to commit to no gossip and we'll talk directly to each other.

 

We're going to commit to keeping really clean agreements with one another. In doing what we said we're going to do or we'll agree to go and communicate a need to make a change to that agreement. So we get co-committed and then we talk about how will we give feedback? What's the agreement there? What's the agreement when we do want to change some agreement that we have with one another? What's the agreement for how we're going to support each other's emotions?

 

And when we have all that in place, the culture can can shift. And my experiences quite rapidly if everybody really co committed and has clear agreements.

Caneel Joyce:

So the clarity of the agreement I think acts almost like a light bulb or a candle where suddenly what is inbound and conscious behavior versus what is reactive or non-conscious behavior or perhaps a below the line. And this is essential in being able to have any intentional effect on a culture I have found. Diana, your team at CLG, the Conscious Leadership Group has done an incredible job with an organization that many of us may have never heard of, but almost all of us have one of their products in our home and this little candle burning behind me very well could be from Alene candles.

Diana Chapman:

Yes. Alene candles is a manufacturer of all kinds of candles for lots of different brands. So it's very likely most of us have one of their candles in our home. And I met Rod Harl who was the CEO many years ago through his YPO forum and I had been hired to come in and facilitate them and he realized that his culture was in trouble and that the things

 

I was teaching his forum would likely be really of service to his company. And so we went in to an organization that was really struggling culturally. They had a general manager who was not working for the teams and there was a lot of angst between those people who were on the manufacturing floor and the managers. And so we came in there and taught these tools and got them co-committed with clear agreements and they radically shifted their culture.

 

They practiced regularly and I really give a lot of credit both to Rod and to Heidi who runs their HR department. The two of them together were diligent about making sure that everybody practiced because it's one thing to understand these concepts intellectually. It's another thing to have the courage to reveal to one another, to make room for emotions, to learn how to listen really well, to end blame and really take responsibility. Those are all things that they did and it's a very different place now. A couple of years later,

Caneel Joyce:

Well, I'm guessing what you just described, many listeners cannot even imagine what their company would look like if it was operating this way.

Diana Chapman:

Yeah, that's my experience. I hear lots of people say, "Boy, could that be amazing, but I don't know how we could do it." And what we've learned is it really requires the leader of the organization who has the most decision rights to first step in and commit themselves and to start to learn how to live this way both at work and at home, and then really stand for the value of others learning to live this way at work. And when there's a conviction for that, there can be swift change.

Caneel Joyce:

Is there a better or worst time in the life cycle of a company to initiate work like that?

Diana Chapman:

I think it really helps when you start it from the beginning and the reason for that is then you start to attract, you start to state this is the kind of culture we are, these are the agreements that we have and how we learn to relate to one another. As we consider hiring you and you consider joining us, is that something you want to. So you attract people for whom they all want to play that same game, it's like, "We're playing basketball, do you want to play basketball?

 

And if someone's like, "Well, actually I'm more into softball." It's like, "Okay, this probably wouldn't be the place for you," versus if you wait later, you've got a lot of people who came into a culture who all want to play different games and it's a little harder to herd everybody into the new game because we've got lots of variances and so it's a little slower sometimes to get all of us on the same track.

Caneel Joyce:

Slower but possible.

Diana Chapman:

But possible for sure. It's possible at just by practice, practice, practice. We say you want to change your body, you've got to go to the gym or whatever version of gym you have and it's the same thing. You want to change your consciousness, your reactivity. You've got to go to the gym every day with your practices.

Caneel Joyce:

On the last episode where you are our guest, you were talking about how you practice conscious leadership commitments in your own life and in your own family. I'm wondering what is it like for leaders who are living these commitments at work and are they bringing it home? What changes have you seen there?

Diana Chapman:

It's fun actually. We hear so many people, whether it's the leader of the organization or others who say, we are changing here, but actually my home life is really where I'm noticing the difference. And we hear stories of my parenting is improving. My relationship with my spouse or parent is improving. I feel more or less stressed out. I'm sleeping better at night because of some of the dynamics that are changing and so we find often it can be easier to practice at home in the beginning and so we're fine with that. Just say, practice as much as you can at home so that you can build those skills to be able to be stronger at work.

Caneel Joyce:

I believe there's a story of you sent you a sitting in a room and listening to these stories.

Diana Chapman:

Yeah. When we come back to Alene candles, throughout my time working with the various teams, we didn't have the CEO in the room so people felt more comfortable being vulnerable, but at the last session I said, come with me and come listen in on all these meetings and let's learn together. What's changed for people in the six months that we've been practicing. And we got to hear such beautiful stories from people in all levels of the organization.

 

And I remember many times looking across the room to the CEO with a beautiful tear rolling down his cheek with so much gratitude for what was going on and the changes that were happening in these people's lives and just deeply satisfying. And he was saying how grateful he was that he was able to make a difference both at how much they were enjoying their work, but also how much they were enjoying life outside of work.

Caneel Joyce:

I've noticed for myself personally as I've done this work, I feel like my experience of even being in my own body is really different. My nervous system is wired differently and so therefore the change is more like at the B level for me, it's how I'm being in addition to what I'm doing. But when the change happens at that B level, the doing comes naturally and easily.

Diana Chapman:

Yes, that's my experience and it does. It feels a little like you get a little bit of a higher note inside your body. Everything gets a little more inside and that feeling state is that ease, that ability to respond that then like you said, it's easier to understand then what do I want to do from this more relaxed place.

Caneel Joyce:

Yes. Now I'm sure right now our listeners are saying, I want it. I am ready, I want to get started. But there's often a but, but this might be a big investment of my time. I focus my team's energy. We've got a lot of big goals to hit. Why is it worth the investment?

Diana Chapman:

Well, my experience is that I prefer not to suffer, suffer inside of myself, suffer in relationships around me or suffer with a larger broader world. And this kind of practice supports me in ending my suffering and that's worth a lot to me. It supports me in finding more access to joy, possibility and creativity and connection and all those things turn me on. And that's what motivates me to dedicate to your point, a lot of time and energy. It does take time. It's like if you want to learn to be a black belt, you're going to be at the dojo a lot. So I'm here having this conversation because I went to the dojo a lot and so, and now I'm reaping the rewards of decades of practice.

Caneel Joyce:

And you know for our listeners, if you have not been through anything like Diana is describing, you may be experiencing some of the symptoms of not attending to this dynamic to your context, to your consciousness and your company. We know that about 60% of startups with co founders fail because of that co-founder relationship. And the co founder dynamic in the relationship as the team expands over the year, really does begin to play out throughout the entire organization. So I totally agree with you Diana, about starting early, but there's a very, very real cost in terms of the time and energy we can sink into drama. And that's the bottom line stuff.

Diana Chapman:

Yeah. I was just teaching at Stanford the other day and they're calling it drama tax. That companies have a drama tax they have to pay. And what would it be like if you didn't have to pay that drama tax?

Caneel Joyce:

Whoa, I love that term, drama tax. And that happens at home too. That happens at home, on the train and traffic four or five absolutely. Diana for our listeners who I'm sure are sitting at home really ready to get started with bringing some of this work into their organization and as well as doing the work on their own. Is there a tool or a resource that you could point our listeners to for them to get started?

Diana Chapman:

Yes, I really like this handout that we have called the willingness questions and it's a key to seeing once I've located myself and I've accepted myself. The next question is, am I willing to shift? And this willingness handout has all the questions that you want to consider to see if you're actually willing to shift. And so we have that all created there for people to use as a resource and because once they're willing, then the next step start to feel a lot easier.

Caneel Joyce:

It's all about the willingness.

Diana Chapman:

Yes.

Caneel Joyce:

Willingness is everything. So thank you Diana for helping to stoke all of us to be more willing to experience our full loudness and our full potential and to have the impact that we would like to have in our organizations and our communities.

 

The resources that Diana mentioned are going to be linked to in our show notes at caneel.com/podcast and Diana, they can visit you at conscious.is where you have tons of great resources, videos, tools, handouts, and you may also buy a copy of her incredible book, The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership and I know hardly a leader who has bought only one because once you buy your own, you want to share it. Thank you so much, Diana, for joining me and taking the time to provide our listeners with so much valuable information on conscious leadership and what this could look like in their own culture.

Diana Chapman:

I just want to tell you, I've been thinking today as we're doing this podcast how profoundly grateful I am that you yourself are embodying these principles and that you are sharing it so broadly with others. I was just feeling the relief of having you join all of us here and making these tools and ideas available to more people. So thank you so much.

Caneel Joyce:

Thank you Diana. That means a lot to me and it helps a lot that you've opened sourced a lot of your materials, which is just another move that I know was very intentional and thoughtful and a very much of service for all who are able to download those materials. So please go to conscious.is. I'll link to everything in the show notes and you can find the links to all of these things plus transcripts, videos of Diana and I having our chat, a little behind the scenes' stuff and tons and tons of tools and resources and quizzes.

 

All of that is at caneel.com/podcast and if you have not done so yet, please hit subscribe in your podcast player right now to make sure that you can go back and listen to the last conversation with Diana and who knows, perhaps there'll be another one in the future. Thanks again Diana. Have a good week everyone. Thank you for being here, making space for yourself to learn, grow, and expand what is possible for you. See you next week.