#27: The Daily Inquiry with John King; Developer of Tribal Leadership
May 6th, 2022 by Eric Schleien
Eric Schleien, the founder of Transformational Leadership Associates, invites John King, the founder of Tribal Leadership, to share about the Daily Inquiry Practice in his classroom. This is an inside look at one of the Tribal Leadership seminars.
About Eric Schleien
Over the past decade, Eric Schleien has trained thousands of individuals, including board members of public companies and several Fortune 500 CEOs. Eric specializes in organizational culture and has become a leading authority on corporate culture in the investment industry.
Eric Schleien has been investing for 15 years and has been using breakthrough coaching methodologies for over a decade. Eric had the insight to combine proven coaching methodologies with shareholder activism techniques to create an entirely new model for shareholder activism that was more reliable and created greater sustainable results in a short period. On average, Tribal Leadership produces a 3-5x increase in profits of culturally troubled companies within an average of 24 months or less. Eric currently resides in Philadelphia, PA.
About John King
John is in demand as a keynote speaker and is nationally recognized as a senior teacher, coach, and program leader. Clients of John's coaching practice have been featured on all major television networks and in The Wall Street Journal.
John is part of the leadership development team at Sierra Health Foundation and is on faculty at Collier's University, CB Richard Ellis University, and The California Leadership Institute. John is also a frequent guest lecturer in the Marshall School of Business and the School of Public Policy, Planning, and Development at USC.
Connect with Eric Schleien
Transformational Leadership Associates
This episode is sponsored by Transformational Leadership Associates (TLA) started by Eric Schleien. TLA is an ontological coaching firm that will help transform your culture of your organization within 2 days of training. Over the next 24 months, performance (whether it be profits or fundraising) go up on average of 3-5x. Of course, I am biased since I run the damn thing, but give me a call, and happy to see if I can help you and/or your organization.
[00:00:00] John: You're always swimming in a cultural conversation. What is the highest and best that you can swim in? With the, in my case, I do something different every day of the week. I have a different idea or inquiry for every single day of the week.
[00:00:17] John: And then I have a different scene. And then I have a different practice, which is a virtue and Wednesday, tomorrow the theme is going to be passion and the practice is going to be justice, but the question is going to be what is my highest aim. So what's going to be in the background all day long tomorrow for me is I wake up and I wake up into, what day is this Wednesday?
[00:00:42] John: Oh, what is my highest state? And that today is about passion, passions of discovery. It's not something that the world owes me. It's something that I have to unfold. And and then the virtue that goes along with that is justice.
[00:01:06] John: Yeah, rub it in your hair.
[00:01:13] John: They done a, bait in the virtue bathe and the practice bathe and the theme babe, in the, whatever it is that you have designed that is your ecology for like today. Today is a day that's organized around relationship and the, and for me and did the and the virtue is one of temperance.
[00:01:42] John: That goes with relationship because there's, while there's nothing more fulfilling, there's also nothing more annoying than ongoingly being in relationship and having to adjust and having to allow for and everything. So temperance is a very powerful thing. And then of course, the question of the day on Tuesdays and so where my partners, so it all goes together.
[00:02:08] John: So have you basically crafted like the hierarchy of learning into almost a model for creating your week? Yeah. I call it my weekly. And every single day, seven days a week, I have a question or an inquiry that is in the background and then something that is a theme. That'd be the distinction actually.
[00:02:32] John: And something that is a practice. That's the virtue. The idea being practice, the practice of virtue creates character and character on film unfolds destiny. So if I do this long enough and I do this consciously enough, over the period of a year, I will have done the same set of virtues 52 times the same set of practices, 52 times that same inquiry, 52 times, and I'll start getting better at, as I go along and it begins to in a very, it starts to adjust my my access to all that stuff.
[00:03:22] John: That was points one and 0.2. The part about the college of your, the environment of what you're into, it just begins to. Have a huge influence on what that is now. Why is that important for a leader? Because generally speaking, we're living in a reactive world, things happen, we react to it. Things happen.
[00:03:44] John: We react we live what is called a throne life. We, something happens, we're thrown in a certain way, but leadership is a particular design kind of conversation. It's a particular kind of conversation that is a life given by design. So if it's going to be a life given by design, at least it seems to me it's going to be a life that's given by design.
[00:04:11] John: Then every single day, I should have some kind of inquiry that is empowering me being in the question of all day long, some sort of distinction that is in the background as of a practice of virtue like that. And over time that will, if I surrender myself to that, I don't try and improve it.
[00:04:33] John: I don't try and fix it, but I just go this is useful for me. You do it, if you happen to be a Jewish and you're Orthodox, you take a look at what it is, what there is at the. And you practice, what you learned in the Torah. If you happen to be Christian, you've got the commandments, you've got the basic fundamentals of it.
[00:04:57] John: If you happen to be a Muslim, there are all of those verses of the Koran that get up underneath you and help you and remind you to be who you are, and really are reminding you to be the best human being that you can be. So this is just another version of that, it's just another way of getting at it.
[00:05:20] John: There's a lot of ways to get to happen. And I'm just making the case for that this particular leadership path. That's been one way. Yeah. My synopsis are just firing off as you're speaking. And I'm like, cause I love the way you frame it and I'm hearing from myself, some virtues for me are laughter and wonder beauty and I would say relationship, but gratitude from a space of gratitude.
[00:05:46] John: And it's know some of those things are things that light me up and just move me to the wonder, like that's someone, Dylan, Bob, Dylan always brings me to. So like the other day I was really lost, not grounded. What what is the answer? What do I do? was talking to my triad, talking to Eric and like dealing with the breakdown and.
[00:06:04] John: And it was like one looking for the answer. And then it was like always Dylan always bringing me back to the question. And so that's wonder for me. Yeah. That's remarkable and really smart or be thrown all day long and have no value. And okay, maybe tomorrow it'll be better and you wake up or you actually go to that, which sources you in your case, Dylan, that which sources you to be your highest and best.
[00:06:35] John: Yeah. Just really great. We all have to find our own way. Yeah. Yeah. Dylan or Guthrie will just bring me right
[00:06:43] Eric: back to
[00:06:44] John: greater than me. Yeah. Yeah. They're up to something, that's really, what triads are about is the, up to something bigger than you.
[00:06:54] John: Yeah. Somebody once said to me, they were describing me to another person, but I overheard them when I went. It was when I was on staff at landmark. Yeah. And cause I was always taking on things that were just too big. And the person said, I think it's the, actually the all-time greatest compliment I ever got back.
[00:07:18] John: He said, John loves to work on projects, worth failing.
[00:07:22] John: That's what your life is your pride and your life is a noble project where it's failing at and you will fail.
[00:07:32] Eric: I need
[00:07:33] John: to hear that. Thank you.
[00:07:37] John: Look what those young people are doing in Carlos, they're taking on something that's bigger than them and they may fail at it, but they're actually revolutionizing some sort of access to education and who's going to benefit or their children.
[00:07:57] John: Wow. Can you just go over those things, the daily things again, in order with pure inquiry, distinction practice. Yeah. There's an inquiry, which is always a question that has no answer. And then there is a, what I call a theme. That's really the distinction, but it's really the theme.
[00:08:18] John: Are
[00:08:18] John: you? Left-handed there? I am. All right. We're taking over, so there's a scene and then there's a practice, but the practices of. When you get that the definition of virtue is the practice of the habit of choosing the main between the too much and too little in the matter of your actions and in the matter of your emotions.
[00:08:42] John: So it's a virtue of PR, but we call it a practice so that it's easily accessible for everybody. And there's one for every day. So if you start on Sunday, because Sunday is the beginning of the week, Sunday, the inquiry is the word why, and Sunday, the theme of Sunday is designed. So you look out into your week and you design, but your week is going to be like to whatever degree that you do.
[00:09:14] John: You can look out and you can see I've got something going on here on Tuesday. It's something going on here on Thursday. And I dunno, what's in between, and you spend the day design and the virtue is called inspiration. The word inspire is an interesting word, but it means it is filled with the breath of God.
[00:09:34] John: So you allow yourself to be filled with the breath of God, and then you designed from there. And then you question the design with the question. Why? So that's my Sunday Monday for me is about. So the question on Monday is going to be, who am I? The theme is health and the virtue or the practice is one of courage.
[00:10:10] John: It takes a lot of courage to be true to yourself in the matters of your own health, in the mental and physical and spiritual and psychological and physiological part of who you are to actually maintain your integrity. That takes a lot. It takes a lot and it takes courage. It's not bravery, but courage has as the root the word curse, you are, which is a French word for heart.
[00:10:39] John: So it takes heart to be healthy. So Tuesday Tuesday, the question is who are my partners? And the theme on Tuesday is relationship. It doesn't matter what you're doing in life, you're in the relationship business. And once you get past your question of who am I. The next question is to where my partners and it's all about relationship.
[00:11:13] John: And the practice since relationships are so annoying is one of temperance.
[00:11:22] John: And then Wednesday, the question is what is my highest thing? That's what I, that's where you want to be inspired. So the theme is passion and the virtue is justice.
[00:11:37] John: And then Thursday is the question is what are we building now that you've gotten, who am I, who are my partners? What is my highest stain now? It's what are we building? And you could add the word together. What are we building? And the the question, that's the question for the day and the theme for the day is discovery.
[00:12:05] John: And what goes along with discovery is intuition. So you're actually empowering a way of being in life on Thursdays of being in life, discovering, not knowing, not trying to figure it out, but allowing it to come to you inside of a conversation called what are we doing? And then on Friday, the conversation the inquiry is who do we touch?
[00:12:35] John: So we've gone through Monday, we've gone from who am I, who are my partners, then what is my highest stain? What are we building together to who do I on Friday who do we touch? And that is a conversation that is about a contribution. And the contribution conversation is enriched by, your service and so on.
[00:13:04] John: And you're really looking at crude. In other words, doing it in a measured and intelligent way that the Saturday you complete your way wait, gonna in the completed the week, the theme is completion. The question is, what difference did it make? So you look back on your week and you look back to see what difference did it make its completion.
[00:13:32] John: And the virtue that you're practicing is one of reflection. So you start the week with design and you end the week with completion, and then you live your week. And those five days that you live Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, the theme for each one of those being health relation, passion, discovery, and contribution are the five pillars of of a school of art called minimalism.
[00:14:03] John: So ultimately it's about living your life as a work of art
[00:14:10] John: and what you're doing is designing it. And then you start over again on Sunday. So on Saturday is what difference did it make in compassion? And what was the third?
[00:14:23] John: Did I miss the second one? No. What difference? What difference did it make? That's the week you're looking at the rate and the theme is completion. Yeah. You're completing your week and you're completing it inside of an inquiry called what difference did it make you remember? You started off with why?
[00:14:43] John: Yeah. Now you're answering that question. You worked the whole week and you've grown the whole week and now you take a look and then you complete and you complete with what difference does it make? And the virtue that you practice in that is one of reflection.
[00:15:05] John: So it's a. I might need compassion. I wrote down compassion and I thought, Wendy,
[00:15:13] Eric: This will all be emailed to you. Awesome. So this is amazing. One of the things we're going to do, so just we'd do our daily boxes. You have your trying to call. Yeah,
[00:15:27] John: this is not as stage one, two or three conversation.
[00:15:29] John: This is the stage four. It starts at stage four, because you're just not in a place to sustain this conversation authentically and stage two or three, you're struggling, and you're struggling to survive and living your life as a work of art is something to do that goes beyond survival.
[00:15:49] John: So you actually have to design yourself into this conversation rather than being thrown into this conversation. So stage two and three, your throne, and then stage four, you actually design what you're going to do. And one of the ways you can design for yourself and that you can support each other in triads.
[00:16:09] John: And so I'm like, that is one of the tools, just like the daily boxes. One of the tools is this what I call the weekly.
[00:16:18] Eric: So we'll have that in an email to you. And then just as we do the triad practice and the deli boxes practice, this is going to be an additional practice that we take on that gets behind everything else we're doing in here.
[00:16:32] Eric: There's a method to the madness. This is not a conversation we have on week one because you remember, I don't know what a week, maybe three or four, I slowly planted that seed and introduced what was to come here, but slowly introduced that, living your life as a work of art.
[00:16:48] Eric: Now, do you remember what happened after I brought that up? Do you remember the initial reaction who remembers it? The class got a little bit thrown when I brought that up. You guys remember that? No. The first reaction was Shay goes, so you mean drinking waters or work apart
[00:17:10] John: coming
[00:17:11] Eric: back to you, Kevin.
[00:17:14] John: I do remember that
[00:17:15] Eric: now. So now that we've been living inside these spaces of the cultural map.
[00:17:20] John: Interesting. That's interesting. That's a, that's an interesting level of cynicism. Yeah, really interesting. Yeah,
[00:17:33] Eric: but you can all hear the spaces now. So this is a conversation not for week one or two, but a conversation for week 13.
[00:17:46] John: It's an unfolding. It is it's, it's an ongoing unfolding. I really have to say I I have an admiration for you to say, okay, you know what, I'm going to actually take some formal time out of my week and lean into this conversation, consciously on a weekly basis. And then you'll go away and you'll do your week.
[00:18:04] John: But as time goes on it has to impact you and it has to impact you at the inner level. This is a tribal leadership is an inside out kind of process. And so you're really literally working on yourself, spiritual. Yeah.
[00:18:27] John: That's why it's easy to get cynical about. Is there so many, it's like, there's no way to get to,
[00:18:40] John: there's a place to come from and that's what people don't get about leadership. They get. We have a point of view, that leadership is somewhere where we get to that. And we come in someday. Somehow we're a leader. Instead of that, what you're doing is you're coming from your highest and best inner spiritual self.
[00:19:04] John: And that's where your leadership is grounded. And it's distinct to you. That Wendy's space of that is harmonizes with resonates with someone else's, but it is purely Wendy's. It's purely, Carlos's purely Kevin's. And so it's really, that's why we asked the question on Monday of who am I,
[00:19:43] John: it's a motherfucker.
[00:19:55] John: Beautiful.
[00:19:58] Eric: You all excited to take that on for the rest of this program?
[00:20:08] John: This is why we call it what you call your program, but I would call it a dialogue. It takes everybody's conversation to make it happen. And it's different every week. And you're a different human being every week. And, tribal leadership is just a name I made up, but there is something tribal and there is something regarding leadership about it.
[00:20:33] John: So it does seem to go well together, but there's nothing sacred about that when you should just call it top of the cake, yeah. It was, yeah. It's something to rub in your hair,
[00:20:49] Eric: the shampoo who would like to that's our next offering. Wait, just wait. Who would like to read number four of a chocolate cake that you're rubbing your
[00:20:57] John: hair formerly known prevalent? For sure.