Of Vulnerability, Belonging, and Intimacy

Have you ever read a passage in a book and said, “I wish I wrote those words?”

While I have found my voice and the words to express my thoughts, there are writers focused on leadership whose voice and words impress me to no end.  One such author is Max DePree.  Indeed, his words are poetry and nearly sing out for us to hear.

Leadership is an Art, by Max DePree is a classic in leadership literature.  He wrote the book in 1989, right as I was starting in business.  Max was Chairman of Herman Miller, Inc. and a business visionary.

It is an easy read.  It is a difficult read.  Easy with few words and pages.  Difficult with deep concepts and challenges to our way of thinking.

Indeed the Chicago Tribune said, “A book in which every sentence could be a seminar topic”.

Today I grabbed my old copy of Leadership is an Art.  I was in search of inspiration to write.  Honestly I have been adrift recently finding no words to my voice. I have stayed away from this place.

Yet it is time to step into the light and write again.  Max’s words, so good, indeed inspire me anew.

If you lead people.  If you inspire to lead people.  Read the book for yourself.  Make it yours.

I opened the book with a challenge to write today on the words found in front of me.  My fingers landed on page 70, essentially the middle of the book.  As I read the page, my inspiration to write returned.  I suspect I could write on any page of this book, but this one held deep meaning.

Here are the words of Max DePree from page 70.  May you share my desire to make them your own.  Max is writing of how to create an inclusive approach to organizations vs. the exclusive approach still too often witnessed.

  • We need to become vulnerable to each other.  We owe each other the chance to reach our potential.
  • Belonging requires us to be willing and ready to risk.  Risk is like change; it’s not a choice.
  • Belonging requires intimacy.  Being an insider is not a spectator sport.  It means adding value. It means being fully and personally accountable.
  • Last, we need to be learners together.  The steady process of becoming goes on in most of us throughout our lifetime.  We need to be searching for maturity, openness, and sensitivity.

Leadership is indeed Art, as well as Science.  May each of our organizations be filled with artists.

– WeMoveTogether

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