Goals are good. And, there’s an invisible counterpart to accomplishing goals that’s rarely given due diligence. Consequently, leaders are often blindsided by underlying issues that they never knew were there. Goals are future oriented and, what’s often overlooked, is that only they’re only realized when the present is strong. Sages and wise souls through the ages all talk about the importance of being grounded in the present moment, fully mindful of the full spectrum of the dynamics around you.

If you think of leadership as a pie, goals are a significant slice but if all the other ingredients of the pie chart aren’t strong, you’re unlikely to fulfill on the goals slice. The more present you are in any given moment, the better you are likely to negotiate that moment. And the better you negotiate moment after moment after moment, the more successful you’ll be. That’s the “heuristic” way – meaning decision-making from the “zone.” We know from meditation studies that accessing the zone on a regular basis produces inspired action. What leaders need to figure out is, in standard organizational cultures where

So, the first step toward realization is doing what it takes to clear
the clutter. Because the zone doesn’t go anywhere – the access is always present. It’s all about choices.

When we’re in the zone, we realize what matters. We’re creative, productive and usually in harmony with what’s going on around us. Not that you can’t be productive, creative and in touch when you’re not in the zone – it’s just that you can count on it a lot more when you are. The most successful people are divas about getting enough zone-time. It matters. Because knowing what strengthens you is just as important as knowing your strengths. Because your strengths are your assets: being clear about what your strengths are and aren’t is a make it or break it issue for a lot of careers.

Goals as dreams => better valuation of values

Seems that a pretty lot of people, mostly women, experience the zone of parking but it’s experienced in unique ways – sensing which sports team will win, which stocks are good, who needs to be called, when to ask a follow up question or dig a little deeper…

Even though zone territory shows up in uniquely different ways, there is something remarkably consistent about how people experience it. The zone is hard to describe in words but most agree that you know it when you’re in it – or at least when you can look back on it later.

it wasn’t just about finding the space I needed. It was about a missing element – something I’d had that I couldn’t access. Life and work were out of balance and I knew there was “interference” in my own zone.

I am highly intuitive and so realizing that I couldn’t even see my parking spaces anymore meant that I was highly compromised in my zone territory.  a radical but highly efficient way to bolt myself back into zone access mode. Staying with headhunters in the jungle demanded a level of presence in the zone that more than compensated for how long I’d compromised it back home.

The jungle is a long way to go for a parking spot. But it worked. Plus I found ways to harness what I got there so that I can better serve clients access to their own zones. Because that’s where they do their best work and have the most fun.

Realizing what’s up is not only about being present and knowing how to leverage the zone. It’s especially about appreciating what is so already. And it’s about having a vision to be realized. There’s nothing like the entrepreneurial spark that sees what it can create and then makes it happen. There’s nothing like an organizational leader whose vision is so developed that s/he inspires others to keep bringing that vision to fruition.

I’m blessed with extraordinary clients who have plenty of ground for self-acknowledgement yet, in being so focused on what’s possible, they sometimes lose perspective on what’s already so. Current research on appreciative intelligence is confirming what I’ve experienced in over 25 years of coaching successful professionals and entrepreneurs: people who spend time realizing how much they have to be grateful for are the happiest and their relationships to their treasures are the healthiest.

But the most satisfied clients I have are those who feel the urging of a big dream. Not everyone can quite articulate it when we start out, but there is an inner drive that sees a way to a better world. And I submit there may even be an evolutionary pull at the moment for people to succeed who have the capacity to dream themselves a fully realized personal and professional life as well as a more compassionate and just world. It’s turning out that values-driven leadership is legacy leadership.

If you are a values-driven leader you have unique concerns. There are lots of professional development opportunities but very few places where socially conscious leaders can develop the unique fundamentals of their professional lives. Values-based leadership can make magic happen but it’s different than standard leadership styles.

In actuality, full potential is an unlimited capacity for future development or achievement. It’s not a destination; it’s a constant unfolding of vision and the capacity to realize it. It’s a flow, a zone, a vibe, a knowing. Full potential also implies high productivity. However, our current productivity models are under-developed and over relied on. For example, the economic crisis in September of 2008 wasn’t reflected by leading economic indicators until the 11th hour. That’s in part because current standards of productivity don’t account for ethical action and good citizenship. We are beginning to develop the instruments to quantify so-called “softer” indicators, but it will be generations before we can fully integrate “flow/zone/vibe/inner knowing” measurements into organizational assessment tools. When we do, we’ll also begin to capture the moral spark that fuels best practices.

Living our full potential means that we are able to realize, to make real, our essential spark. It’s about core strength. Realizing potential requires staying conscious of an inner radar that provides amazingly accurate navigational data on life’s paths. For example, what if Ken Lay, who was CEO of Enron when it failed, was right in his claim that he himself was blindsided by his CFO and President? Where was his internal radar that would have alerted him to body language and other cues during meetings and during their yacht and golf excursions? Leaders can only be empowered by raising up yin values for developing inner resources.
by Dr. Joni Carley
Author: The Alchemy of Power: mastering the invisible factors of leadership


  • Dr. Joni Carley

    Values-Driven Leadership & Cultural Development

    Dr. Joni Carley, author of "The Alchemy of Power: mastering the invisible factors of leadership,"  applies her expertise in values-driven leadership and cultural development at the United Nations where her activities include Vice Chair of the UN Coalition for Global Citizenship 2030 and Advisor and Senior Fellow at NonViolence International, New York. Her Advising and Consulting practice serves private and public sector leaders by helping them create values-driven systems. Joni uses data-based methodologies to support development of transformative ideas into inspired actions - ensuring that activities are measured and managed in in such a way that they effect deep, systemic, quantifiable change.