Business And Politics

I asked an Explorer who is a business person in Canada to suggest ways in which our Way of Life might be applied to business. He has sent a feast of material, from The Daily Routines of Geniuses by Sarah Green Carmichael, a senior editor at Harvard Business Review to material from Lance Witt’s book about a healthy church leader Replenish: Leading from a Healthy Soul. Elements in our Way of Life which bear on business leadership include simplicity, building community, conflict resolution, establishing balance, values of trust and compassion.

Howard Espie, another friend who now lives in Canada has started a business which mentors leaders. He has named his new business Kil-Caim "a journey together in apprenticeship and learning, rooted in the commitment of love.” This is an extract from his new website The name Kilcaim originates from Celtic monks of old. These monks placed a high emphasis on apprenticeship, travelling in small groups into unknown lands to serve different kings and kingdoms. The Gaelic word for these bands of journeying learners was “Kil.” Over time, these travellers put down roots, establishing a church bearing the name of the founding monk. Ireland and Scotland contain many places named in honour of a Celtic saint (e.g. Kilkenny, Kilmacolm, Kilpatrick).

Kilcaim seeks to emulate this notion of learning and growing together. The Celtic monks saw themselves rooted in something far beyond their strength and abilities, they lived from a place of grace that sustained and shaped their way of being in the world. As they embarked out into strange lands, or onto the high seas in tiny coracles, they would encircle themselves and each other with a blessing. This act was called a “caim” prayer. It enabled them to remember and abide in the love they had experienced through the gospel. The Zulu people of South Africa have a beautiful phrase: “Ubuntu,” it means, “I am because we are.” As human beings, we exist in and for relationship. Leadership is so much more than management or administration. The role of a leader is to inspire others around them to be all that they can be, rooted in the shared culture of their organization. Self-reflective and secure leaders enable those that they lead. That’s why at Kilcaim we don’t just focus on the transmission of ideas and information. Alongside this, we highly value the place of imitation in leadership development. The adage is true, “if you are preaching measles but carrying mumps your people are going to catch mumps.” It is not just what you say, but it is the way that you live out your words that helps shape and define those you lead. Kilcaim is also rooted in that same commitment of love as the early Celtic monks. People often ask us, what does love have to do with the business realm or organizational development? Love is a verb, a ‘doing’ word. Love leads to action and to change. When you view life through the lens of love you see yourself, your team and your commitments through new eyes. Love yields a tremendous return on investment in organizational life; impacting the productivity, effectiveness and self-worth of all in the living system.

To change the subject, democratic politics in Europe and USA is hardly shining with honour at the moment. However, a friend, who attends the annual conferences of different UK political parties in order to build up lasting values, says in his report that political leaders have taken note of conclusions in the book Spirit Level. I quote this book in my The Cowshed Revolution. It suggests that in countries where the poorest and richest alike feel that they are in one large home and remain connected with each other, well-being flourishes and crime diminishes. Pray for inspired leaders in politics.

I am still ‘camping out’ while we await completion of the Berwick house purchase.

Posted at 01:23am on 12th October 2016
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