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  • Writer's picturethanelawrie

Warren Buffet, Leadership and a Zen Garden

What have I been thinking about this week? Well I have spent

some of my time thinking about Warren Buffet, leadership and Zen gardens! What this says about my mind I do not know but I shall continue regardless.

Every now and again an image strikes me as being so compelling that it stops me in my tracks and I am forced to think about it. This image on the right had this very affect on me recently.

To me the image is breathtaking. As you might have guessed by now I love all things that are Zen Buddhist and a Zen garden is no different. But there is something different and particularly special about this photo that made me think.

What really made me say 'wow' when I saw this photo were the two chairs and desk. Most Zen garden photos I have seen don't normally have chairs and desks in them. This got me thinking. A theme of my book 'The Buddhist CEO', which will be published in December, is how my main character Hamish, deals with difficult characters, whilst sticking to his Buddhist principles.

A common theme for most leaders I have talked to about their leadership journey, has been the challenge of dealing with difficult people. I have seen it many times myself, people entering the meeting room with their prejudged position, ready to do battle and win the day.

I wondered though, what if every meeting took place in the above Zen garden. What would happen? I wondered if the serenity and beauty of the garden and the placement of the seats and desk would disarm the most difficult person? Would the spellbinding beauty of the garden reveal the pettiness of their views and bring forth a more enlightened response to whatever the meeting was to discuss? I have a feeling it would. This photo for me shows that the deep held prejudices and positions that we all hold, really are on the surface. And when faced with such profound beauty we can see the futility of many of our deeply held opinions.

On the same day as seeing this photo I also came across a quote attributed to Warren Buffet that also stopped my in my tracks. It read as follows:

Surround yourself with people

that push you to do better. No

drama or negativity. Just higher

goals and higher motivation. Good

times and positive energy. No jealousy

or hate. Simply bringing out the best

in each other.

I love this quote. In reality my own experience tells me that these are wise words, but are very hard to achieve, but are definitely worth pursuing as leader.

This photo and quote left me feeling inspired for a few days at least. Can I challenge myself when I am in meetings or around difficult people, to respond as if I am sitting in that Zen garden? Why not? Surely my interactions would be more graceful and peaceful and I'd have more chance of achieving the outcomes I have set for myself? Would I be a better leader if I could do this? Would my teams and staff respond to me more positively? Would it set the tone for an inspiring workplace culture?

When I am choosing the people I am to be around. My friends, my team, my leadership team, other staff, volunteers. What should I look for? Their skills and experience? Or would I be better to consider their character and choose them on the basis that they are moral, positive, believe in themselves but also others, will tell the truth and work for the greater good? I wonder which is the best option?

What do you think of the photo and the quote? Did they inspire you?

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