Phronesis: Practical Wisdom for Leaders with Scott Allen

Chris Lowney and Fr. David McCallum, Ed.D. - Reinventing Ourselves

September 20, 2023 Scott J. Allen Season 1 Episode 193
Phronesis: Practical Wisdom for Leaders with Scott Allen
Chris Lowney and Fr. David McCallum, Ed.D. - Reinventing Ourselves
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Chris Lowney chairs the board of CommonSpirit Health, America’s largest nonprofit health system with $33 Billion in revenues and more than 150,000 employees. He is a one-time Jesuit seminarian and later served as a Managing Director of J.P. Morgan & Co on three continents. He is the author of six books, including the bestselling Heroic Leadership and the multiple award-winning Make Today Matter. He graduated from Fordham University, where he also received his M.A. He was raised in Queens, New York, hates the Yankees, and roots for the Mets without feeling shame.

David McCallum, S.J., Ed.D is a Jesuit priest and leadership educator. He serves as the founding Executive Director of the Program for Discerning Leadership, a special project of the General Curia of the Society of Jesus, Georgetown, and the Gregorian University. The Program provides leadership formation for senior Vatican officials and major superiors of religious orders in Rome, Italy, and internationally. He lives in Rome and serves as a member of the Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops Commission on Methodology, supporting the Synodal process initiative by Pope Francis, and as adjunct faculty in the Institute for Anthropology, Interdisciplinary Studies of Human Dignity and Care at the Pontifical Gregorian University.

A Quote From this Episode

  • "If we're going to be successful in the long run, it means not just being ingenious once…we're going just to have to keep reinventing ourselves.”

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

About The International Leadership Association (ILA)

  • The ILA was created in 1999 to bring together professionals interested in studying, practicing, and teaching leadership. Plan for ILA's 25th Global Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, October 12-15, 2023.

About The Boler College of Business at John Carroll University

  • Boler offers four MBA programs – 1 Year Flexible, Hybrid, Online, and Professional. Each MBA track offers flexible timelines and various class structure options (online, in-person, hybrid, asynchronous). Boler’s tech core and international study tour opportunities set these MBA programs apart. Rankings highlighted in the intro are taken from CEO Magazine.

About  Scott J. Allen

My Approach to Hosting

  • The views of my guests do not constitute "truth." Nor do they reflect my personal views in some instances. However, they are views to consider, and I hope they help you clarify your perspective. Nothing can replace your reflection, research, and exploration of the topic.

Note: Voice-to-text transcriptions are about 90% accurate, and conversations-to-text do not always translate perfectly. I include it to provide you with the spirit of the conversation.

Scott Allen  0:00  

Okay everybody, welcome to Phronesis. Thank you so much for checking in with me wherever you are in the world. Today, I have a co-host with me. I'm excited about this. This is our first time co-hosting together. We have Fr. David McCallum, and he had a wildly popular episode a few months back that you definitely need to check out. He is a Jesuit priest and leadership educator. He serves as the Founding Executive Director of the program for Discerning Leadership, a special project of the General Curia of the Society of Jesus, Georgetown, and the Gregorian University. The program provides leadership formation for senior Vatican officials and Major Superiors of religious orders in Rome, Italy, and internationally.  I am going to put the rest of his bio in the show notes so you will have all of that information. And I also have Chris Lowney, and He chairs the board of CommonSpirit Health, America's largest nonprofit health system, with $33 billion in revenue and more than 150,000 employees. He is a one-time Jesuit seminarian and later served as a managing director of JP Morgan & Company on three continents. He is the author of six books, including the best-selling ‘Heroic Leadership,’ and the multiple award-winning ‘Make Today Matter.’ He is a graduate of Fordham University, where he also received his MA. He was raised in Queens, New York, hates the Yankees, and routes for the Mets without feeling shame. Sir, you know what? I'm in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Yankees were in town just a couple of days ago. And I was there, and I agree. Sorry for our Yankees and fans, listeners. And two of my favorite players of all time; Francisco Lindor and (Carlos) Cookie Carrasco, just incredible people, and so I'm excited for you that you get to root for them as Mets. Good human beings. Thank you for being with us, Chris.


Chris Lowney  2:03  

That's a pleasure. The Yankee hating tends to be very popular on one's resume, my best credential, and Mets loving, not so much.


Scott Allen  2:36  

Okay. Well, you existed in this very, very fascinating space. Obviously, you have written so much about the topic of leadership from a number of different perspectives. And you are actively leading a very large, complex organization. And I often say when I'm speaking with people in healthcare, I struggle at times to think of a more complex system to lead in than healthcare. Whether it's the 24/7 nature of the work, challenges, external challenges, like regulations, and COVID-19, and technology, and digitization, it's just incredible. And so, we're very, very excited to talk with you because you bring this incredibly unique perspective to the table and to this conversation. I know that David has a question to start us out of the gates. Sir, what do you think? 


David McCallum  3:30  

Yeah. Chris, I'm curious, we've known each other a long time, and we have a sense of our shared background as Jesuits. And then, as you made your shift into the corporate sector, I'm curious how leadership, per se, became a topic that really drew your attention. And what has, in a sense, grabbed your sense of passion for it as a topic which you've pursued in writing, in speaking, and now, in teaching for others?


Chris Lowney  4:00  

Yeah. As David mentions, we were both Jesuit seminarians, though a different era. You can't see photos, but David's a lot younger than I am. And he persevered as a Jesuit and I flunked out. And after my time as a Jesuit seminarian, I ended up working at JPMorgan for almost two decades in Asia, Europe, and New York. And so, now to come to your question, David, about interesting leadership. So, as anybody who works in one of these big places quickly realizes, leadership is kind of the never-ending flavor of the month. Everybody's interested in getting better leadership, everybody's interested in leadership formation, and nobody quite knows how to pull it off at the end of the day. Every month or so you get another one of these books about leadership, and some of them are great, and a lot of them are terrible, and so on. So, you can’t avoid being exposed to it, I guess, if you're in a big organization nowadays. And I used to think that some of the formation I had as a Jesuit was actually more relevant to a discussion about leadership in the real world than some of these goofy books I would be given every once in a while. And so, when I was leaving Morgan, I just thought it might be fun to write one of these leadership lessons books. Fun, I had no plan. And, people write these books drawing lessons from sports heroes, military figures, you name it. So mine was, in a very broad sense, patterned after that, although I hoped I was going to try to do something rather different, a little more substantive than a lot of these books are. That was my initial interest. And I guess that I'll mention the concerns that were on my mind, and then I'll stop, and we can go whatever direction you want to go. So, one of the things that was on my mind was that a lot of these books for corporate audiences. I realize you have a lot of academic practitioners listening, but a lot of the corp books tend to be very superficial, tip-driven. And there's a kind of inherent manipulativeness built into it, like human beings are just like monkeys, and if we know a few tricks, we can train the monkeys to do what we want. And I feel like there's something rather more substantive about good leadership. So, that was one theme in the back of my mind. And another one was that people tend to intuitively associate leadership with business, secular, material, in a way, things we can count, and measure, and you can certainly measure the impact of good leadership a lot of times, but, ultimately, there's something that seems to be very spiritual about good leadership, whether or not one has religious beliefs or any religious beliefs. So, that was a second theme, to think about leadership as a spiritual notion. And then, the third theme that was kind of on my mind was there's also a kind of a, in a lot of these works, a sort of a built-in split-lifeism, if I could coin a phrase like that. They kind of roll out as if leadership is an act, almost, that we put on in our professional lives, and we come home, and we're real people whoever we are. And, I feel like that's a dangerous kind of idea. And, anyway, in my working experience, the people who are most effective at the end of the day are not acting, they're like the best versions of whoever they are. So, those themes were a little bit on my mind. I wrote the book, and then, life takes its course. I didn't have any great plan, life sort of unfurled after that.


David McCallum  7:52  

Well, if I may follow up. So then, you've written a series of books, including one on Pope Francis and his style and this book ‘Everyone Leads.’ And I wonder if you could say something about how your thinking has evolved over the last 15 years that you've been writing and thinking about the topic. When you left J.P. Morgan, when you wrote the book, ‘Heroic Leadership,’ which was so much about these principles or pillars of heroism, creativity, courage, and compassion, what has changed over the last 15 years that you think is really notable?


Chris Lowney  8:30  

It's a very good question. And, I guess, part of the answer would be I only have like two or three ideas. So, I don't think I've really had huge, great new insights since then and I wouldn't pretend that that's what I'm doing. But, having said that, in the spirit of your question, I guess there are a few things that I've kind of noticed over the years maybe, and then tried to speak about, and let me mention those in an almost random-listy kind of way. So, one would be, Heroic Leadership talks a little bit about the idea that each person has a leadership opportunity and responsibility. And anybody who works in organizations, we try to convey that idea somehow. But it's really interesting to me how stubborn is the stereotype that, actually, leadership is only about the one person at the super top of the heap. And even you invite people to go through week-long, months-long, years-long formations as leaders, emerging leaders, and, in the end, they're still thinking about, well, this is about the CEO or this about me if I become CEO. So that is one thing that's been interesting to me, how stubborn is the bias that this doesn't have something to do with me at the end of the day. So, that's one thing I've kind of generally come back to a lot. Trying to invite, challenge people to think about, well, even if you're managing nobody, in some small, or large way, you're having some influence, and your life involves a direction setting, and people who are leading well are not sitting around waiting, “Oh, yeah, when they put me in the game as CEO then I'll kind of crank it up.” They're sort of embracing, whether they understand that explicitly or not, their leadership role. So, that was one thing that was kind of on my mind.


Scott Allen  10:33  

Chris, something that really resonates for me in that comment if you look at the Gallup numbers, literally, 70% of someone's experience of an organization is their direct manager. That's a fascinating statistic. And I was with an organization just a few weeks back with probably 30 frontline managers. And to your point, many of them said that they didn't even identify as leaders, that this wasn't even a part of how they thought of themselves as someone influencing the experience of these frontline workers in the organization. So, that leader identity piece, I couldn't agree more. That's hard because I think so many people construct it in their head as the leader is the person at the top or the C suite, and not them, when, in fact, they're the most important people in the organization, right?


Chris Lowney  11:30  

Yeah. And to extend your point, if you have frontline managers who don't perceive their own leadership opportunity responsibility, they're hardly going to be conveying to people who works for them, “Well, you have a leadership opportunity responsibility.” So yeah, it becomes a reinforcing bad cycle. So that was one thing I've noticed over the years. I guess the second thing I might say, David, is that I tended to write ‘Heroic Leadership’ and the other things I tended to write, in a way, were sort of more geared toward folks in -- secular would not be the right word -- but not primarily concerned with religious organizations, but with nonreligious organization might be a way of putting it, and the feel of the books were kind of like, “Here's some wisdom you can take away from our spiritual traditions.” I'm oversimplifying, but it would feel something like that. Although, of course, ‘Heroic Leadership’ is largely used now within faith-based organizations in universities like John Carroll, and many others, and so on. But when I wrote ‘Everyone Leads,’ which you mentioned, in a way, that kind of flipped the script because I feel like I'm a religious person myself, a Catholic, and it's been my observation that we have… At most, main-line religious or spiritual traditions have incredible challenges at the moment, incredible, very profound. And if ever there is a need for an enormous leadership effort, it's in those kinds of settings. And we're really kind of lacking, it seems to me, in tools about that. So a second thing, David, that I would say I've noticed and spoken about a little bit more recently than I did in the past was how people in faith-based or other kinds of settings might also look to practices that we see in organizational secular business settings and draw from that. For some people in faith-based traditions, that's anathema to think, “Oh, my God, you’re telling me that there's actually something I can or should learn from these horrific companies that I read about on the stock market and I hate?” And I guess my answer is, “Well, yes.”


David McCallum  14:06  

Yeah. Thanks so much, Chris. I think the learning has to go both ways. Another thing you’d mentioned, which I don't want to lead us into a kind of territory if it doesn't feel comfortable, but you've already talked about how there's something about leadership which is innately spiritual no matter what your denomination or not. And I'm sure as people have read the books who come from either non-Christian or nonreligious backgrounds, you've gotten feedback about how it, nonetheless, resonates with them. What do you think is essentially spiritual about the work of leading?


Chris Lowney  14:43  

Yeah. So, maybe I could start into that, David, an accounting riff I sometimes use. So, start with the most skeptical kind of audiences, so to speak, and that idea to them is, sometimes, at best, they would be ambivalent about it, but more likely downright skeptical, “We're in a bottom-line profession, that's what we care about. And the idea of sitting around with my head in the sky thinking spiritual thoughts is not what we need to do here.” And an observation I would make is if you look at the balance sheet of any corporation, the buildings have a clear value. We know how much it costs to put it up, we could put that on a balance sheet, so there's clear value there. The people who work in the organization have zero value. Maybe a little accrued salary or pension expense, but basically, they are valueless regarding accounting. But every CEO I've ever interacted with, no matter what business they're in, would be the first to agree, well, in fact, in the real world, these buildings have minimal value unless the folks who walk in and out of them every day are behaving in certain ways. That they are willing to collaborate with their peers, that they're courageous, that they're adaptive, that they have a certain amount of integrity, and on and on, and on. And almost every operational value that folks could or would list as being important to success are spiritual in the raw sense that they're not tangible, they're not material, they're not concrete, we can't measure them and put them on balance sheets. So, that, to me, would be a kind of an entree for the conversation as to why a lot of, as I would see it, what's most important about leadership is actually spiritual in that raw dictionary sense of the word. And then, from there, we might go to, or I would go to, for many of us, the sources of these values in our lives tend to be whatever faith or spiritual or humanistic tradition we're part of or the life experiences that we've had. So, it's often these aspects of our lives that become the entree, or the way of understanding for ourselves why these values are real, why I want to be a person of integrity, why that's important, why I should collaborate with peers and help them rather than compete with them in a Darwinian fashion. I don't think we first hear about many of these ideas from our spiritual faith tradition, but that’s how we often make sense of them. It gives us the language to put around things that we've seen or learned in families and schools, and so on.


David McCallum  17:53  

So I wonder, Chris, if you could build on how you're speaking about the values from an individual point of view and speak a bit about what you've learned about the power of culture in organizations and even the power of culture to in some ways, out influence, strategy, and intention, and all the kinds of planning, and structures that an organization might have, and also, how this applies to this complex organization that you're helping to lead in health care?


Chris Lowney  18:22  

That's a great question I don't think you asked by accident. It's clearly a preoccupation of mine, and I know of yours as well. I'm a great believer in that Peter Drucker line, I wish I had invented it myself, I hadn't, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast or lunch.” I guess there's some debate about what he actually said, or if he actually said it, like a lot of great quotes in life. I absolutely would see that, and let me mention maybe a couple of ways to try to give a little bit of concreteness to that idea and then come exactly to the question you asked about in our own health system. So when I started at J.P. Morgan, basically, it was a place where everybody showed up and worked there for life. It was an unbelievable… And it was kind of the end of the old era. And then, as financial services became incredibly lucrative, and grew really fast, we grew. And these places became places where folks were passing through. You grew very rapidly, lots of people came from different backgrounds, they brought with them their own ideas about how business should be done, and so on. One of the things that was very interesting and obvious to me and to some others is, in the old days, so to speak, when it was a collection of folks who hung together through time, that had some drawbacks without doubt, but I don't recall there was any statement of values or anything like that, but man, the culture was so palpable. And you didn't need any statement of values because if you were like a kid who showed up and you did something wrong, somebody else was going to eat you alive because, “Look, I'm going to be here for the next 30 years, if you're a screw-up, you're ruining my future,” sort of mentality. And then, when places start to grow fast, and that has become really the reality for most organizations nowadays, the people change jobs much more quickly, and I think it underscores how incredibly difficult it is to inculcate a culture. So, that's the first thing I would say, and how important culture is. And now, to underscore the issue of the importance of culture, another great line that I wish I had invented in the context of church organizations… Once I was doing a conference with another friend, and it was for pastors of Catholic churches, and one of them asked at one point, “What's the best program?” Because now, everybody looks for what's the program. What are the steps I can use to, let's say, revitalize my church or whatever the preoccupation may be? And what people want is, “Tell me the best one because there are different things out there.” And this other person's comment, which I wish I'd thought of, it says, “Any program will work if you have the right culture, and any program won't work if you don't.” It's totally true. And, to me, the core example I always use, which I think is relevant in all organizations, whether they're spiritually based, mission-driven, purely secular, is, for example, everybody knows that in a time of great change, like we're living in, to be adaptive is incredibly important, to be able to make good decisions, but to make decisions quickly, to take some risks, to be able to change course, to be able to recognize a mistake and change, to be able to recognize what are the trade-offs that come into play in any individual decision. And all of that has to do with culture a lot. In other words, what you often see is the CEO, department head, or manager standing up and screaming, “Oh, we need to be more adaptive, and this is really important,” but the nature of the organization is such that nobody can make a decision alone. If you got a decision, somebody will jump on you if they weren't part of it. We have these endless ongoing consensus processes. Not that consensus is bad by any means, but taking six months to make a decision you need to make in two weeks is bad. Those are all cultural factors. In other words, there's a way we do things that either does or doesn't match up well with the time we're living in and the strategies we need to be successful. And finally, I've spoken a lot so I'll just say a sentence or two, and then I'll shut up, David. Yeah, so therefore, in the health system, we kind of appreciate very much the value of, we need people who have a certain way of thinking about the world, and doing things. It's a 150,000-person organization, so it's not easy to do that, but I guess I would say this. I think an advantage that we have, organizations like ours, is that people are drawn to health care for certain reasons. So, in terms of some of our values around putting patients consumers first, and the importance of how we care for others, those who are drawn to work in that field, much less drawn to work within non-profit healthcare, tend to often bring that to the table for starters. And that helps a little bit. And I guess, I would say, it's really hard to create a culture if you have nothing to work with, like, in other words, if the people who show up, if none of them are coming to the table already caring about some of the things that you want to be important in your culture. So, yeah. So you have to, I think, leverage what folks bring to the table that aligns well with what you care about. And then, be very mindful of, “Oh, yeah, what are the things we need to instill here that folks may not intuitively care about when they come to us?”


David McCallum  24:33  

Thanks, Chris. A follow-up question, and at this point in your life, I would imagine you're doing some mentoring. As you're in that kind of accompaniment role with people who are up-and-coming leaders., what are some of the things that you find most important to, in a sense, convey to them or to help them to realize as they're moving through the ranks and taking on more responsibilities?


Chris Lowney  25:00  

First, I would say, I certainly interact with folks a lot in that frame, but I don't feel like I have the expertise to coach or mentor in any systematic way. And, of course, to me, one of the occupational hazards of life is anybody feels they could be a spiritual director, or mentor, or coach, or anything like that. And so, I hope I have the wisdom to recognize, no, actually, there are some skills there that I've never learned, and so on. So, my passes at being in that kind of role would be rather less extended and more informal. Okay, having said that, what would be the kinds of things I would notice in folks? To answer your question. One is, I think, a source of pain and suffering for a lot of folks is their felt mismatch between what they might care about and some of the values they see expressed in their own department or organization, and so on. So, for example, I want to be somebody who… Well, in heroic leadership, as David would know, I use the idea of love as one value. So, somebody might say, “That really resonates with me personally. I want to be somebody who wants the good for the folks who work beside me, and for me, and so on. But I feel like I work in a culture that, if I behave too much like that, I'm going to get eaten alive. This kind of thing. These kinds of mismatches I noticed people feel a lot. And whether it's trying to discover the resourcefulness or the courage to kind of be true to yourself in environments where you might not feel validated. That's one kind of thing that comes up. And there's also, I think, a kind of tactile learning there, like, what's the jujitsu that you can use to actually pull it off in a competitive environment? That would be one topic, David, I would feel comes up with people. And I had another one on my mind, maybe it'll come back to me, it's slipping my mind right now.


Scott Allen  27:19  

Well, I like your reference to jujitsu. And sometimes, it might be a completely different martial art. (Laughs)


Chris Lowney  27:28  

Yeah. Another great image that I've used mercilessly is, I was writing something once that was addressed to entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs, and I thought it would be useful to me to talk to folks who have… Or renowned at forming such folks, and so on. And so I did, I had a couple of friends. And this one guy, I said, “Oh, what are the things that you look for in folks who are successful entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs?” And the first thing he said was, “Good at guerrilla tactics,” which I thought was a great image that I've used many, many times since, and people always resonate with it when they understand it. And basically, what he meant, and which I found to be very true, is, by definition, if you're being entrepreneurial, you're doing something different. it's not like the standard way that it's been done. It's not like there's a playbook; it’s not like everybody is standing around waiting, saying, “Oh, yeah, let's do it this way.” And so, you can't count on the ways that things get done in the normal pathway. In other words, people aren't lined up saying, “Oh, yeah, here's money. Go ahead and try it,” or “Oh, yeah, let's get behind your idea. We've never tried it before, but yeah, let's all line up behind you and do it.” In fact, it's usually exactly the opposite of that. And so, his comment, which just validates things I couldn't bring together for myself is that people who are successful at that, they kind of get good at how do you do it when there's no money available? Or, how do you do it when everybody who has the money says no? Or, how do you do it when people don't like the idea and you somehow have to create, like a guerrilla army does, this coalition of folks who are going to fight against the status quo? Obviously, guerrilla fighting has horrific, ugly connotations, and we kind of have to put that aside in using this image. But I think it captures a lot that is true.


Scott Allen  29:34  

Well, and to go back to where we began, our conversation with baseball, if you're the manager of the Cleveland Guardians, and your whole payroll is about what Francisco Lindor is making, how do you put a winning team on the field, and how do you end the year above 500, and compete, and figure it out? And so, there's the mindset there of, given the realities of everything we're facing in the context, it is what it is. How are we going to compete? Are we going to quit, or are we going to compete? And are we going to work to find… And ingenuity. Going back to heroic leadership, how are we going to think about this differently so that we can make progress in whatever, however that's defined, right?


Chris Lowney  30:23  

Yeah. And I think the difficulty, to kind of run further with your baseball image, part of the difficulty of the modern age is… In [Inaudible 30:32] I spoke about the idea of ingenuity, being able to adapt to an environment that is going to keep evolving around you, that's a mark of leadership, a sine qua non. You're not going to succeed if you can't do that. Now, to come to the baseball context. So, this guy at Oakland was the very original story of, “We don't have enough money,” and he kind of invents this very statistical approach to baseball that brings a lot of success. But that only works for a while because, now, everybody else figures it out, and everybody else does it. So, I think part of the insight of your example is you don't get to do it only once. And that's true for every business that I'm aware of. But, well, I worked in investment banking for most of my professional career, and the half-life of most financial products is about an hour. If you come up with a new bond structure or a new way of doing something, it's 100%, transparent what it is. And so, to kind of maintain a… In other words, as soon as the bond has been issued, everybody else understands how you engineered this thing to save a few basis points for your customer. And so, you kind of are thrown into this world where you kind of understand, okay, if we're going to be successful in the long run, it means not just being ingenious once, but having, as part of our culture, to go back to David's idea, this predisposition that, okay, we're going to just have to keep reinventing ourselves.


David McCallum  32:06  

Great. So, Chris, on that score, what are you finding interesting these days? What are you reading? What's capturing your interest in terms of stimulation and learning? What's kind of grabbing your attention that you think you'd like to pass on to other people who are listening today?


Chris Lowney  32:47  

I don't know this very helpful answer for many folks who are listening, but, I guess I'm kind of sucked into the professional worlds that I'm part of. Healthcare, as you pointed out, it's a real maelstrom, very complex very hard to figure out. We're like a common spirit, which is not a system of hospitals, but that kind of is the tradition it comes out of. And kind of figuring out what is the pathway in the 21st century for these kinds of entities where you care a lot about health care for very poor communities, and where the history has been taking care of sick people in hospitals, and the future that you'd like to have is very much more keeping people healthy in their communities. So, kind of how that all sorts out. And understanding that is something that takes a fair amount of reading, understanding, time. And then, I'm on the board of Commonweal Magazine, which a few folks would probably know. It's a popular magazine that is addressed mostly at spiritual Catholic audiences, and kind of how to survive in the mid-early 20th century, 21st century as something that was a traditional publisher and has to adapt to this very, very different media landscape. 


Scott Allen  34:48  

Your answer makes perfect sense that, even in serving as the chair of an organization that complex, a lot of your time is spent, I imagine, working to understand any number of topics - value-based care, I had a little bit of a deep dive in that this spring, and, oh my gosh, the complexity in trying to understand how any of that works, it's Herculean, it really is. David, what have you been listening to? What have you been reading? What's caught your attention? I'm fishing for future episodes here, sir.


David McCallum  35:32  

Well, actually, I got to say, along the lines that Chris offered, I think tradecraft is actually pretty interesting. So, I've been reading, in my field, around dialogic organizational development and process consulting. And it's funny, doing so much of this work these days in the senior church leadership sectors here in Rome, and otherwise, reading the cutting-edge tradecraft is so stimulating. I find it inspiring, I find it challenging to my own assumptions. This past weekend, I had some time on my hands, I was sitting up on the roof of our Jesuit Curia enjoying the sunshine, some of the work I was reading from, really, some of the Gurus of the field, so to speak, about how to engage in the work of accompaniment of organizational leaders., but doing so from a stance of incredible humility, with a stance of curiosity. Really avoiding the expert trap, and asking the good questions, the genuine questions that open up people's thinking. It made me stop and think about the way that I'm approaching some of my work. So, I just want to, in a sense, endorse what Chris is saying about the importance of reading in our trades and allowing it to freshen our review, not just to give us new information but to really challenge some of our assumptions. 


Scott Allen  37:02  

You used a couple of words in there, David, that I just absolutely love. That humble curiosity. Each one of us brings a set of knowledge, and, as an example, these three years of conducting this podcast, if you had said to me, “Oh, do you know about leadership?” I would have said, “Sure. Yeah, I know about the topic.” Well, I've had a very, very important lesson in what I didn't know. It's a sea, it's an ocean. And each one of us can continually learn, develop, and grow. And as Covey would say, “Sharpen that saw.”


David McCallum  37:40  

And also, I saw the last episode of The Mandalorian last night, so…




Scott Allen  37:48  

I love it. Well, Chris, thank you so much for being with us today. David, thank you so much for co-hosting. I definitely appreciate your time and your wisdom. And for those of you who are listening, I'm going to put some links in the show notes to the books that Chris has written, and you will be able to access all of those there. And everyone, thank you so much for listening today. We really, really appreciate your time. Chris, David, thank you, gentlemen.


Chris Lowney  38:18  

It was a pleasure to chat.



[End Of Audio]




Leadership and Passion With Chris Launey
Leadership and Culture in Organizations
Leadership Challenges in Modern Times
Reinventing Ourselves and Trade Craft
Contributions, Co-Hosting, and Appreciation