The Mindfulness of Cross-sector Leadership

blogimage_mindfulnessleadershipOne of the first things most of our cross-sector leaders tell us during the interview is that they would not have been successful if they had taken on the project themselves – it was a collaborative effort. Their project worked because they found a group of likeminded individuals with the resources and the commitment finding a solution to a problem, and who put that commitment ahead of any ego they might have. These characteristics help define the leadership style of intersector leaders, and are just part of what makes them so successful.

This shift toward an inclusive style of leadership has been gaining traction as part of the localization movement. What started as a push to make food cycles more sustainable, has now evolved into a broader movement focusing on localizing investment, manufacturing and production. To this end, Otto Scharmer, Senior Lecturer at MIT and Founding Chair of the Presencing Institute, identified two main themes that characterize the “next frontier” of the localization movement: Broadening and Deepening.

According to Scharmer, Broadening in this sense refers to expanding the scope of the movement from focusing on buying and investing locally, to a focus on policy changes, “more on empowering marginalized communities, and more on cross sector collaboration.” Combined with Deepening – “expanding the conversation about transformative leadership, mindfulness, compassion, sources of well-being, creativity, and spirituality” – the next frontier of localization mirrors shift toward mindfulness and focus on “who do we want to be tomorrow?” that has emerged in areas such as health, education, and leadership.

Through cross-sector collaboration, many of our leaders have demonstrated a shift toward this style of thinking – often their concern is for the well-being of their community, and the sustainability or preservation of resources for the next generation. Pooling their resources together, and creating an inclusive approach to problem solving, one that engages their communities, and understands the challenges and issues facing each particular situation, these leaders are able to craft better solutions. As there is no one-size-fits all solution to complex issues such as healthcare, education, or environmental sustainability we hope that the stories of our intersector leaders will help inspire others and will help provide a roadmap that can help leaders guide their communities through these challenges.