A few weeks ago, I had a much-anticipated dinner with a longtime colleague whom I had not seen since before the pandemic. What should have been a joyful reunion turned into an awkward and uncomfortable evening. I was completely caught off guard by my colleague’s visible fear, anger, and paralysis resulting from the pandemic’s continued impact on what had been our normal lives. Her coping skills were clearly depleted and her prior “leadership energy” was long gone. I was thrown off by her negative state of mind and felt a twinge of guilt for my more constructive — even optimistic — state of mind. While I have known for a while that we have experienced the pandemic in very different ways, I had no idea how profoundly different our experiences have actually been.
Feeling troubled by that evening, I found myself reflecting for days about our vastly different responses to the pandemic. It wasn’t that I had escaped serious impacts from the pandemic (closing IONS beloved retreat center and laying off an outstanding team of people was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in my career), it was more about how we chose to respond and adapt to the crisis. While I have always been aware that my worldview is not shared by my colleague, I had no idea how dramatically my noetic perspective and practices have strengthened my ability to cope and lead through this time of radical change. But why is this?
A noetic approach to life and leadership acknowledges, respects, and honors our inherent link to the “nous” — the self-regulating cosmic intelligence that many refer to as the Source, the Oneness. I like to think of the nous as a force for good that can provide us with invaluable, transrational gifts such as intuition and insight that one can access through the cultivation of inner wisdom and an authentic embrace of interconnection.
As we were planning our upcoming Foundations in Noetic Leadership workshop earlier this week, executive advisor Alan Briskin commented that using reason alone is “too limited, too slow, and too compartmentalized” for navigating today’s challenges. The integration of the transrational is not only beneficial — it is essential for leaders of all types, especially leaders with responsibility for entire organizations, communities, governments, and movements. Alan and I reminisced about the “change management” initiatives of the past, when an organization would spend two or three years determining how it should adapt to remain competitive and relevant. Needless to say, those days are over! The warp-speed change of today requires a much broader toolkit that integrates the rational with the transrational — this is the cornerstone of Noetic Leadership.
The accelerating pace of change and challenge is not going to go away. It is here to stay for probably the rest of my lifetime. At this very moment, we are navigating yet another wave of the pandemic, raging wildfires, devastating hurricanes, a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan (and in far too many other places), and continued economic and political polarization. Our previous (and very comfortable) sense of control over our futures is evaporating before us. But rather than be victims of this new construct, we can flex and expand into what’s unfolding before us. I am convinced that a noetic approach — integrating the rational and transrational — is essential to not only surviving these changes, but actually thriving during them — as individuals and as organizations.
Reflecting back on that uncomfortable recent dinner, I am clear that we cannot afford to be paralyzed. These are very difficult times to navigate and I respect that we are each impacted in unique ways personally and professionally. Yet the tools do exist to invite in the insights, inspiration, intuition, and other forms of transrational information that can support us and profoundly augment our reason-based approaches, leading to creative and transformative solutions. The Noetic Leadership Initiative is an offering to the world at a time when we must help leaders thoughtfully and decisively. Please join us in the conversation as we explore, learn, grow, and support each together!
Foundations in Noetic Leadership
Session One: September 15 – Wednesday
Session Two: September 23 – Thursday
Session Three: September 30 – Thursday
All three sessions will be conducted on Zoom at
11:00 am – 1:00 pm Pacific Daylight Time
Whether you’re the head of a multinational corporation, a community non-profit, or a group with shared values and concerns, we invite you to participate in this unique opportunity and gain new skills and perspectives to enhance your career and your life’s journey.
Claire Lachance, IONS CEO
Claire Lachance serves as the CEO of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, leading a team of world-renowned scientists and experiential program professionals located primarily in Northern California.
Prior to joining IONS in 2016, Claire was founder and president of Inspiration Quest, Inc. where she led the delivery of comprehensive management consulting services to hundreds of nonprofit organizations, foundations, public agencies, and social entrepreneurs. Earlier in her career, Claire held executive positions at Pacific Bell and MetLife. She earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA magna cum laude in Economics from Tufts University.
Alan Briskin, PhD
Alan Briskin is an award-winning author, artist, and pioneer in the field of organizational learning. He is a consultant and an executive coach helping leaders apply practical wisdom to complex issues of organizational change and transition. His retainer relationships have ranged from five to twenty-five years and included organizations as diverse as the George Lucas Educational Foundation, Goi Peace Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Health, and the One Humanity Institute. He has co-led retreats with Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Reverend Lauren Artress, and Angeles Arrien. His workshops and keynotes have sought to join wisdom traditions with their applicability to daily life. He has written or co-authored The Power of Collective Wisdom, Daily Miracles, Bringing Your Soul to Work, and The Stirring of Soul in the Workplace. The Power of Collective Wisdom was the Nautilus Silver award winner in the category of Conscious Business and Leadership. Daily Miracles earned the American Journal of Nursing’s Book of the Year award in the domain of Public Interest and Creative Works. He was also a contributor to The Transforming Leader: New Approaches to Leadership for the 21st Century.