Creatively Entrepreneurial

with Carl Nordgren

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Adopting good qualities naturally

Carl Nordgren

Creative Populist, Author, Guide

Lessons Learned

The better you serve someone, the more authority they will grant to you.

Bottoms-up self-organization occurs in nature & our human environment. Look for what is emerging.

Do you want to have a really good idea? Have a lot of ideas!


Lesson: Creatively Entrepreneurial with Carl Nordgren

Step #7 Forces: Adopting good qualities naturally

I learned about servant leadership without knowing that I was learning about servant leadership. My first job when I was 15, 16 years old until I was 19 years old was as a fishing guide in Canada. And as a 15-year-old, 16-year-old, I was in the back of a boat and there in the boat with me were two 50-year-old, 45-year-old, very successful businessmen and I was in charge as a 15-year-old.

And without, again, being conscious of it––and the best lessons that we learn are those, I think, that we're not conscious of. Without being conscious of it, I learned that I could be the leader by being the servant. That if I took really good care of these people, if I met them at their cabin the morning with a hot pot of coffee as they were wakening and grab their fishing stuff for them and brought it down to the boat, if I just lavished them with service, that they would grant me authority.

They would want me to take care of them if I demonstrated that I was doing an extraordinarily good job of taking care of them. The best job I did of taking care of them meant that they would just grant more and more authority to me. And I was able to take two very successful businessmen on a three or four-day fishing adventure and tell them what to do because they knew that I always had their best interests in heart and mind.

And as I became a CEO of businesses, I came to learn that's exactly how the very best employees want to be treated. They want to be cared for. They want to know that there is somebody legitimately looking out after their personal development that can say to them, "We're not only going to get work accomplished here but we're going to get work accomplished here in a way that's going to serve who you would like to be. That those folks, man, they want to work for you and they want to work really hard for you."

In my experience, when I find a business concept that has got both altruistic pleasure for me, I feel good when I'm a servant leader. I feel good walking into a room of people and genuinely caring for them, with them. But it also has such wonderful pragmatic value because the people who are in that room being cared for by me inevitably want to do their very best work for me. They want to accomplish that much more than they could have accomplished otherwise. And so it's got this great power of both creating the right vibe in the organization as well as the best performance of the organization.

So much of my insight into the creative process comes from the fact that I just spent all my life outdoors or in a barnyard, watching animals. And there are natural creative forces that exist. Again, the environment is a complex one: lots of independent individual entities in relationship with each other, responding to each other. Adapting to each other is the world of nature. And there are some creative forces that you begin to identify that are natural creative forces that if you can plug into those creative forces, you've got that additional energy working for you. One of them is this quality of emergence.

How interesting it is that a molecule of H20 doesn't suggest wetness. There's nothing about a molecule of H20 that in any way can be measured, suggested, analyzed and determined that there is a quality of wetness there. There isn't. It's only when enough of those molecules come in relationship to each other that this brand new, radically new quality of wetness emerges. And so when you have an appreciation for this wonderful bottoms-up self-organization that occurs in nature and has this outcome of new qualities emerging and you can begin to engage in the climate control leadership behavior that makes it most likely that those qualities you would like to have emerge, emerge in my businesses.

If you want to have a good creative idea, have lots of ideas. Linus Pauling, the only individual to have ever won two Nobel prizes as an individual in two different fields. I forget if one was medicine or chemistry and the other one was a peace prize. He says, "You want to have a really good idea? Have lots of ideas. " Well, nature demonstrates that. Nature shows how important it is to be throwing lots of effort out into the world with the hope that some of it is going to be successful. Nature also teaches us the power of the increment. It doesn't make a radical new step into a new environment; it slowly, slowly works it way. There are lots of lessons that come from nature.

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