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Friday, March 4, 2011

The Joy of Meeting People!

At a recent conference I attended in DC, I had the privilege of dining with a former CEO from a large company headquartered here in Minneapolis. 

He was a favorite of mine from his profile featured in Gallup's Strengths Based Leadership book and I remembered his strengths: Input, Ideation, Context, Learner, Connectedness - an interesting line-up for a CEO - more on the thoughtful, curious, creative side, than the competitive, commanding, driver you'd expect at the top of a large, successful corporation. 

I also remembered that he loved going around and asking his employees great questions (unconditionally positive questions) and learning all he could about the current state of the business from their perspective.  It was a thrilling conversation - autotelic, for sure.  I found myself engrossed, interested, inquiring, and totally in the moment seeing another with such depth, understanding, knowledge and experience open up with joy. 

I'm reading Jackie Kelm's outstanding book Appreciative Living and was reading about Appreciative Inquiry's Simultaneity Principle living in 'wonder' and this defined the experience, "In living from a place of wonder and awe, we unleash the spirit of inquiry from deep within, where we are sincerely interested and curious about things in general.  We develop a child-like sense of discovery and openness to what life presents.  If we live from this place of wonder, positive questions begin to flow naturally as we eagerly inquire into the world around us."  I felt so alive, completely in the moment, intrigued by talking with this fascinating person and open to what he had to say and teach me, thankful for the opportunity and his graciousness in sharing.

In reflecting on the mountaintop experience, it hit me...what would my everyday interactions be like if I was this curious, intrigued and interested in what makes the people I come in contact with tick?   Looking for evidence of their strengths and positive core?  Seeking to learn from their experience, life journey, knowledge?  I would like to try to duplicate this in my interactions with guests, employees, strangers and friends! 

Gallup's Strengths Based Leadership  This is the best book I've read about Leadership - so actionable, what your followers need, a BIBLE for leaders!  I created a personal 'rule' with the action items from my strengths and refer to it often.  Create More Joy in Your Life! 

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