I was recently working with one of my San Francisco Bay Area executive coaching clients – the president of a professional services firm. We had a collaborative coaching conversation discussing the comp0nents of wisdom.
My executive coaching client and I discussed how judgment, social intelligence and core values have influenced his ability to make wise decisions. I am coaching my client to tap into his wisdom and creativity.
8 Pillars of Wisdom
In Stephen S. Hall's book, Wisdom: from Philosophy to Neuroscience (Vintage 2011), the author breaks the concept of wisdom into its most salient cognitive and emotional components which he calls the "neural pillars of wisdom," in order to understand the science behind each. The book is recommended for better understanding the "science of wisdom" and its philosophical and psychological roots.
1. Emotional regulation
2. Knowing what's important: values and judgment
3. Moral reasoning
8. Dealing with uncertainty and complexity
According to Tom Davenport, professor of information technology at Babson College in Massachusetts, "Business intelligence is the systematic use of information about your business to understand, report on and predict different aspects of performance."
Davenport argues that sage leadership is the most important factor in cultivating this organizational thought process, citing as examples Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com, Inc., Gary Loveman of Harrah's Entertainments, Inc., and Reed Hastings of Netflix, Inc.
Warren Buffet, the investor, is known for his financial wisdom built upon a foundation of expert accounting knowledge. However, his true brilliance stems from a deep understanding of people and human nature.
A less appreciated aspect of corporate skill is social wisdom. Often termed "human relations," understanding and incorporating the diversity of "people factors" into business decisions is usually undervalued. So much of our physical and psychic energy is depleted by conflicts, stress, and competitive interpersonal tensions in business.
We know this, yet we continue to measure business success by the usual marketplace yardsticks of sales, profits, dividends and other bottom line results. We forget the other issues, such as job satisfaction, quality of workplace, sense of personal fulfillment, and innovative and creative opportunities.
What if we exercised executive wisdom by focusing on maximizing the potentials of both the organization and its employees? How would that impact leadership decisions? How many companies have floundered by focusing on the numbers while ignoring their people?
Almost any manager knows that a major part of their time is spent soothing, inspiring and fixing social relationships in the workplace in order to improve performance. Managing with farsightedness in the workplace requires extra effort in order to keep individuals working together smoothly. Therefore the entire group unifies around a greater common goal.
Is compassion compatible with good business? Recent studies suggest that those businesses that maintain a right-minded and socially aware focus develop strong and healthy bottom lines. One study compared financial results of companies with higher commitments to charitable giving and found they were more profitable.
A mutual fund run by Dover Management of Greenwich, Connecticut is based on investments in companies known for charitable giving. The idea for the fund is based on the assumption that only financially healthy companies can afford to be generous. The fund exceeded the returns on the S&P 500 index in a recent year.
Often organizations that are characterized as other-centered are run by socially compassionate CEOs. John D. Rockefeller spent as much time making money as giving it away. Nike and Avon have turned their philanthropic initiatives into brand awareness initiatives, which seem to please both employees and customers while adding to profits.
Are you working in a professional services firm or other organization where executive coaches provide leadership development to grow emotionally intelligent leaders? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to search for their executive wisdom? Wise leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to make wise decisions.
One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “How have I exercised executive wisdom?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching as part of their peak performance leadership development program.