Hey Leaders, Your Greatness IS Your Organizations Greatness

Dr. Relly Nadler: We have Tevis Trower here, today who is going to talk about Your Greatness IS Your Organization’s Greatness. So, we are going to get into that in just a moment. We will introduce her.

Cathy, welcome to the show.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Thanks, Relly.

Dr. Relly Nadler: Let me say a little bit about Tevis. And then, Tevis, we have some questions we are going to ask you.

Tevis Trower is a leadership futurist. She’s an innovator in optimizing corporations through fostering greatness in their leaders. She was heralded in the best-selling megatrends in 2010 as Corporate Mindfulness Guru for the new millennium.

Even in 2010, just the world mindfulness – twelve years ago, we weren’t using that as much as we are today.

So, Tevis also has assisted powerful organizations ranging from Disney to Morgan Stanley in optimizing their most precious asset, the human being. She’s worked for a variety of organizations, including Bloomberg, Viacom, and Google. You can find her profiles and expert advice in a variety of magazines, including Forbes, Fortune, and Business Week. She’s been on TV; MSNBC, and Fox.

So, Tevis, welcome to the show.

Tevis Trower: It’s such an honor to be here. And congratulations on your sixteen years. That’s amazing.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Thank you. Thank you so much.

Dr. Relly Nadler: Sixteen years and we started off –

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Tevis, we like to start the show with a meaningful question. That is, what brought you to where you are, and who has been the most influential in your career? Is there anyone in your life that you can think of?

Tevis Trower: Oh, wow. That’s a lovely question. You know, I think what really brought me to where I am, I had hippie parents; neither were corporate. I was exposed to Montessori. You guys are learning nerds so, I have a feeling that you probably know a tiny bit about it.

For those who don’t, it’s an Italian method of education that basically says that the mind is absorbent. The child’s mind is super, super absorbent. What humans want more than anything is they want to feed their minds with information. That natural curiosity is kind of our birthright. So, the question she asked, which I think most OD people ask, and most leadership experts ask, is what conditions are necessary for humans to thrive so that the organization can thrive.

A couple of things have to be true. One is there has to be social order. Now, that social order isn’t intended to be rigid because in that the mind can’t create. But there should be enough social order that that sense of social safety is present. Physical safety must be present. Stimulation must be present. This idea of community relationship.

If you back up from this as a leader and you think about your company, you probably go, “Ah, that’s all the stuff we do in culture. That’s all the stuff that we are always talking about.”

Whether we talk about a redesign, whether we talk about learning and development, whether we talk about up-skilling, whether we talk about burnout, like all these things that Relly brought up about the great resignation, it is really key and part and parcel.

So, when I think about what really led me to where I am, it’s definitely that. And being a history nerd in college, I got to study a lot of great societies, and great thinkers. When I found myself in corporate America after getting an MBA and I started watching why is it that we get out of bed every day and above and beyond going there and showing up, everything that happens in between is really a function of how we process and how we interact.

I started really thinking about what is it that is necessary for those conditions to be present and to be optimized. And how do leaders influence that?

I don’t know if that answered your question, Cathy, but I’m certainly hoping it did.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Oh, absolutely. Before we get into this subject that you are an expert on, it’s important for us to recognize – some of us are meant to be in social groups in a corporate environment and some of us are not. I think during covid, a lot of people have really established the parameter which you talked about as the Montessori school foundation, which I’m very familiar with.

I think some of us have gone out on our own, if I can speak collectively for those of us who just don’t fit in corporate America, we are okay to work inside of corporate America either as coaches or people who come in as consultants, but I know, for myself, of being a radical change agent and working with leaders who wanted to do the same; it’s hard. It’s hard for them to be authentic and live inside these organizations.

I think what you laid there, the foundation, for our conversation is very powerful. So, that was terrific.

Dr. Relly Nadler: So, following up on this, Tevis. I understand from what you were saying in organizations, and we talked about certainty for the need, what do you bring, is it as a consultant, is it as a coach, or is it as training? What is the vehicle to bring your knowledge and expertise to organizations?

Tevis Trower: Yeah. Well, I think the reason companies reach out to us, specifically, the great resignation and covid and all the shifts happening in society right now, in some ways, I would call it more the great revelation. That we are stepping into and seeing the fault lines in corporate culture and collective culture, globally, that have really always been present. We just felt like we had to put up or shut up.

The wonderful thing, I’m sure that you’re aware of this as well given you guys’ longevity in which you’ve been in this space, is that stuff organizers like us have been watching, thinking about, scratching our heads about and saying, “Oh, how come? Does it really have to be this way? Does it really have to be that someone who is authentic to themselves doesn’t have a place in corporate America, to go back to Cathy’s statement? Or that they feel that they have to choose between being true to themselves and having the security and structure of a corporate role.”

So, what this great shift is doing is it’s actually exposing these conversations above and beyond folks like us. These are things, now, that are being brought to broad attention. Can we keep highly creative, expressed people? Can we keep activist employees because they, in the end, will do the most to move our needle creatively?

All of these questions.

The way that companies have turned to my company is because we got into this in the dark ages, kind of like you said, Relly, back in 2010 they called me a mindfulness expert. I think most people who saw that scratched their heads and said, “What the hell is mindfulness?” I’m sick of my mind.

But, the way that we first got into this space was really asking this question; how do we optimize self and work in such a way that our leaders from the top down are setting a tone and a pace in aligning culture with strategy in such a way that everyone who comes through the door has a fighting chance to not only feel like it’s a sustainably successful endeavor for them to be there but such that the organization is going to thrive, they are going to hit their goals and their metrics?

How does that happen?

In general, a company will have a pain point. They will have some recognition, some high holy oh crap moment that something is not functioning the way it could or should and it is causing leakage of energy to the organization. It’s causing inefficiency.

This is really rampant, at this point.

You can listen to the complete interview above by clicking on the play button.

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