I read an article recently in the Globe and Mail about John Furlong (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/soccer/furlong-applying-midas-touch-to-whitecaps/article2424460/), the former CEO of the highly successful Winter Olympics. When Furlong was speaking about why he took the Executive Chair role with the Whitecaps soccer team – after declining many lucrative job offers in the wake of his stellar leadership of the Olympics – he talked about his rationale for accepting the Whitecaps position. “We all want a life of significance….To do something that matters.” With these words, Furlong demonstrates his well -developed “archetypal intelligence”: the ability to understand the deep, transcendent human need to make a difference, to contribute to something larger than ourselves.
Archetypal intelligence is one of the key elements in Balanced Leadership. Leaders who understand the profound link between what we have in the inside and what we do on the outside, as it were, are better able to bring out the very best in those they work with. Our interior worlds are united through the stories, myths, joys, sorrows, fears and passions that are deeply rooted in the human psyche. These archetypes – these ancient mental forms – transcend culture, history, race and circumstance and (often unconsciously) shape and influence what we do. Archetypal intelligence is the capacity to understand the link between our interior and exterior lives then apply that knowledge to create positive actions.
Leaders like John Furlong use their finely tuned archetypal intelligence to summon people to become their better selves. They don’t use coercive techniques, they don’t use manipulative strategies and they often don’t even use salary incentives. What they do use is the power of the deeply embedded archetypal energy within us all to foster extraordinary achievements from ordinary people.
Like the characters in the stories and myths we’ve read about, we want to make a difference, we want to matter. Tapping into that wellspring of aspiration is Balanced Leadership in action.