Ancients believed you have to name something for it to come into existence.  I would add you also have to have a shared understanding of what that name means.  Today there are lots of exciting ideas being explored on new perspectives in leadership.  We are delighted to post this guest blog by Janice Marturano that explores the meaning of Conscious Leadership.   I recently attended a Leadership retreat offered by The Institute for Mindful Leadership (, led by the Institute’s Executive Director, Janice Marturano and her colleague, Dawn Macdonald. The retreat was a very positive experience, one I highly recommend.

guest blog

Janice has kindly agreed to be our guest blogger.  Her point about “pausing” and resisting the habitual response, and the great Rumi poem she quotes both speak to values shared by Balanced Leadership.  Enjoy – and check out the Institute’s website for upcoming programs.


Sometime ago; I was guiding an extended meditation session for a group of about 20 General Mills leaders.  Near the end of our time together we collectively engaged in an exploration of the meaning of ‘conscious leadership’.  As you might imagine, there were many definitions but as the inquiry progressed, a few threads seemed to tie them together.  One of those threads was the importance of knowing when it is time to pause, to simply use the space of the moment to be open and present, and to resist the conditioned response to do something familiar or expedient.  It is perhaps in those moments that we can notice something more, something that provides a bit more clarity or something that highlights the need for greater compassion.

Our discussion brought to my mind this Rumi piece entitled Two Kinds of Intelligence:

There are two kinds of intelligence:  One acquired,

as a child in school memorizes facts and concepts

 from books and from what the teacher says,

collecting information from the traditional sciences

 as well as from the new sciences.


With such intelligence you rise in the world.

You get ranked ahead or behind others

 in regard to your competence in retaining

information.  You stroll with this intelligence

in and out of fields of knowledge, getting always more

marks on your preserving tablets.


There is another kind of tablet, one

already completed and preserved inside you. 

A spring overflowing its springbox.  A freshness

 in the center of the chest.  This other intelligence

does not turn yellow or stagnate.  It’s fluid,

and it doesn’t move from outside to inside

through the conduits of plumbing-learning. 


This second knowing is a fountainhead

from within you,  moving out.


The Essential Rumi, Translation by Coleman Barks with John Moyne,

Harper, San Francisco, 1995.

It may be that Rumi’s description of the “freshness in the center of the chest” becomes more accessible in the space we create when we stop.  Our ability to be increasingly conscious leaders is supported by our ability to purposefully pause, collect ourselves and be present.

Warm regards,

Janice Marturano

Executive Director
Institute for Mindful Leadership
Author of forthcoming book
‘Finding the Space to Lead: A Practical Guide to Mindful Leadership’
to be released January, 2014