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Dr. Lance Secretan, providing inspiration in the Cloud

August 13, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

When talking to business leaders about their relationships with their staff, Dr. Lance Secretan does not hesitate to use the word “love” and mean it.

“Employees are the new ‘customers,’” he said, “First take care of the employees and they’ll take care of the customers.”

“Inspired” employees equal the best workers, with the longest tendency to loyalty. This is Dr. Secretan’s message to the world of business, based on common sense, yet revolutionary philosophy of how to be a leader in business, bringing a focus of attention away from self toward others.

His is a revolution that he began in 1985. Dr. Secretan had established and been the CEO of Manpower in the U.K. He moved on to teach business leadership at MacMaster and York Universities here in Canada, where he noted, “The books they gave me to teach from were so bad that I wrote my own – which became a best seller – and I taught from that.”

Our interview with Dr. Secretan was held over Zoom: he prefers the visual to the strictly auditory, “so much better to see a person’s eyes and read their body language.”

The day prior, this writer was invited by Dr. Secretan to join a gathering on Zoom, of people in different countries and under different time zones. We were assembled, as it were, for Dr. Secretan’s “Inspiration in the Cloud.” This was a conversation among us, based on individual words taken from cards each of the others had in hand.

The first card was “Learning.”

Leading the conversation, Dr. Secretan played an excerpt from the film, The Dead Poets Society, starring Robin Williams as a teacher in a boys’ school. They read some verses and he asks them, “Why do we learn poetry?” Answering the question himself: “Because we are human beings, with passion.” Posing: “You may contribute a verse but what will your verse be?”

The very interesting exchange, within our Zoom’s fold, brought new ideas about learning and teaching and how inextricably interwoven teaching and learning are: a teacher teaches and, in so doing, learns.

“…to learn with an open mind…”

“There are four levels of learning: superficial, intellectual, emotional, spiritual..”

“What are you teaching when you’re not speaking…”

“[just to be] skilled at helping others pull out their verse…”

One person was five hours ahead of us in the U.K.; another was in a harbour on her boat that she calls home; others were in the States; one was closer to home. The tone of conversation was intense but respectful; open and searching; honest and authentic.

There were other cards chosen – on Promises and, again, on Lightness, both of which led to inspiring comments, stories and reflections. (“Will you approach the world with Lightness today?”)

This is Inspiration in the Cloud. This is Lance Secretan’s alternative to his frequent flying to give talks about inspiring and leadership. It is his answer to continuing his work during COVID-19.

“It’s a way – people get to learn so much and respect each other,” he commented about the process at the beginning of our interview. “We also do team sessions for 13 weeks, one hour once a week. The collaboration of the team brings them together. We were approached by the executive team of a big company having the worst year in their history. So, we did these sessions for 13 weeks and by the end of the 90 days, they had bonded and were having their best year ever.”

He went on to explain the cards. “In 2002, I took all our work and identified the key words used in business. There were 77 of them. So, I wrote a big fat book, with one chapter per word. And one poem each. Then I created a set of cards, each with one of those words about corporate life. It is the only deck of its kind in the world.”

Covid started this: his business was about getting on an airplane “twice a week.”

In February, 2020, he was in Cancun, Mexico, but his next engagement was cancelled, so, that was his last [in person] engagement.

“That was the end of my travelling,” said Dr. Secretan. “I was trying to find ways with technology. Some people don’t have their video on but I like to see the people I’m talking to.”

Early on in Covid, once he had decided how to manage the technology for these sessions, Dr. Secretan offered one hour free Inspiration in the Cloud for front end workers. He did it for a month and then stopped. However, the sessions had helped front end workers deal with their stress so well, there was an appeal for him to continue. He ran them for another four months until they came to an end.

Then, he and his team realized that this is good material for the Secretan Centre, from which all his programs flow.

The big news is, he has opened his Inspiration in the Cloud weekly sessions to the public: 45 minutes of “confidential conversation to unlock and explore ideas that will help them to lead inspiring personal and professional lives.”

There is a graduated approach for corporate teams, to change the “level of respect, compassion, awareness and love that the team [develop] for each other during our time together,” for one hour per week for 13 weeks.

Finally, as he outlined with real satisfaction, “For leaders from all over the world, we offer The Wisdom Circle: two hours once a month – it has been amazing the difference these sessions are making.”

Overall: “It always happens,” he promised, “That makes it very empowering.”

This is a new way for Dr. Secretan to run his business, his life: “I do 20 of these a week,” he told the Citizen. “Most of my work has been with leaders. We have (at his Secretan Centre) the High Ground Community, the Pathfinders to find a path to move to a more inspired world.”

In recent years, the business of inspiring business leaders has found reception in Europe, primarily among German speakers. This is happenstance of the person in Germany with whom Dr. Secretan’s team best connected: “When the student is ready, the teacher appears. There’s a lot of learning going on and they’re fabulous.”

On the Secretan Centre website, “One of the things we’ve done recently is a ‘likeability survey.’ A lot of people don’t like their leaders.”

The task is to discover why.

“This has been a very interesting journey,” Dr. Secretan certainly admitted. “It’s not a change in the message but in the way we’re presenting it.”

There are 60 people at present in Europe and North America now building a Higher Ground Community.

Said Dr. Secretan, “What I want to do is teach teachers. I hope we can build it to thousands.

“We are very ambitious. When a company says, ‘We are a large hospital doing Inspiration in the Cloud’ and then, their mental health services improve, that’s a great thing.

“We’re not going to change your world. But you can come once a week and leave with something bigger than what you’re doing now.”

Dr. Secretan told us: “Then, we’re making progress.”

For details and to engage with Inspiration in the Cloud, go to www.secretan.com/inspiration-in-the-cloud-summary/


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