Sarah Alexander is a highly successful business coach and author who, together with her team of coaches works with a signature model of development called Magnificence. Author of acclaimed books Spiritual Intelligence in Business and Spiritual Intelligence in Leadership, she works with entrepreneurs and business leaders to help them perform optimally with low stress.
Highlights of this Connected Conversation
Sarah and I ended up having a connected conversation about the whole history of psychology in modern times and how we have arrived at a place where spiritual intelligence as a critical pillar for the future of human development and finding a way to a connected planet where all life is valued. From Maslow to Goleman, we picked apart the different roles of leading thinkers and doers and in particular discussed whether NLP and the focus on goal-orientation in the 80s and early 90s sidetracked us from spiritual development in search of individual fulfilment – the ‘I’.
Sarah discussed what she sees as the world’s major stumbling block at the moment. Compassion. How are we going to move to a place where we can extend compassion for all other humans and life on the planet to include even people who are committing atrocities, and how current media content is continually forcing us to focus on hatred and division.
We looked at the kind of work that business leaders need to do to ignite the desire for compassion within them and within their organisations. Sarah’s 7 foundational principles include deep faith, and we discussed the role of faith, the language of spirituality and compassion, and how business leaders can make compassion more compelling than the language of competition and hatred. It’s one of my own challenges to trust my intuition, so we looked at what it takes to allow life to unfold naturally, to avoid stepping in and trying to make things happen, and to ‘fix’ life.
Quantifying the value of spiritual intelligence in leaders is often important during periods of change within an organisation so we discussed what difference spiritual intelligence makes to business leaders including in Sarah’s experience-
- As a result of a shift to a focus on serving, we see that is an attitude that spills out to everyone else.
- You can have an organisation that is less focused on performance objectives, but focused on helping a wider audience.
- The desire to be ‘good’ makes a business more attractive, more magnetic to clients for sales and staff with key results of achieving better involvement and motivation of staff, staff retention, healthier staff who are happier at work, and know they are valued.
Triggers which help leaders to get into the SQ space can vary. It depends on what we really enjoy. For some, like me, it’s engagement with nature. For others exercise, where it can be really easy to connect with that still place within them. But it can also include Art, artistic pursuits, Animals and even Gardening – a great place to still your mind and connect with the earth. Sometimes even the brilliance of what you do can bring you closer to connection – such as surgeons who are completely present. One of her recommendations is to find what form of meditation works best for us and acquire a high level of discipline to make it work for us.
We also spoke about the kind of business models of the future which may facilitate spiritual intelligence, which unsurprisingly don’t include short-term profit stakeholder models. Citing the Scandinavian countries, Sarah believes we will follow their models and that the biggest trend will be focus on family life. Where there is a balance between the people who are the breadwinners and those who are the caregivers in the family, and there is no negative connotation for whether that is the man, women or even young adults. We also considered the trend towards recognising the value of the feminine aspects of both men and women around the boardroom table, where the feminine aspects can bring forward much ore in the way of intuition, understanding others, which is also very good at generating positive visions for the future – so we can expect a greater reverence for inner wisdom.
Sarah’s Top 3 Tips for Business Leaders
- Continually ask the inner questions – how can I serve here? How can I bring the best of myself? How can I work for the greater good? Keep moving from self focus to other focus.
- A meditative practice. Stilling the mind take control of our thoughts on a regular basis throughout the day. Learn to witness thinking, how much is negative going out in to the world which is generating a lot of what we are witnessing on the global scale. Eliminate negative thoughts as much as you can to create a greater good in the world.
- Connect to your spiritual intelligence; there is an intelligence within each and every person that has the answers both individual challenges, smaller issues as well as the global issues that we are all facing in the world. Voice it, act upon it, trust it.
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