We have something unique and special at The Junto Institute: nearly 50 Alumni who have been members of a JuntoForum over the past four years. Through the Forum experience, these company leaders have learned, practiced, and developed new skills and habits rooted in emotional intelligence, many of which have led to positive behavioral change in their lives and workplaces.
I know because I have been a Forum member since Junto's launch and have moderated three other Forums. The experience has transformed my self-awareness, how I view and manage relationships, and how I conduct myself on a day-to-day basis, both as a leader and as a person. And I've heard similar testimony from a number of our alumni.
So the day after the 2016 presidential election, I was inspired by the potential power of those alumni who have been in Forums. Like many, I was hearing and observing polarizing sentiments from across the political spectrum that flew in the face of all that I learned as a Forum member, and all that our Forums stood for. It was that day that I concluded we had a collective responsibility to use our skills and behaviors to bring greater love to the world at a time when, in my opinion, it was deeply needed.
As a result, the following day I sent a personal email to the JuntoForum members. Here is what I wrote.
from: Raman Chadha
date: Thu, Nov 10, 2016 at 8:41 AM
subject: Let's Fulfill Our Duty
Dear JuntoForum Mates:
Today, more than ever before, the world needs us. More than ever, the world needs what you and I are capable of.
Over the past 1-4 years, each of us participated in a process during which we were exposed to and reminded of virtuous practices designed to increase our self-awareness, self-control, empathy, social awareness, and relationship management.
Those practices took the form of skills and habits that each of us applied to varying degrees, some of which have stuck and become new behaviors. At first, we did them to help us become better leaders. Then we discovered that they were helpful at home, with our friends, and across the spectrum of life's daily moments and interactions; so we did them to help us become better people.
We are among a select number of human beings who have studied, practiced, and know how to listen, empathize, read others, reflect, appreciate, understand, deliver feedback, make others feel good, and confront conflict.
And today, more than ever before, the world needs that. Today more than ever, the world needs us.
You and I have a gift that we need to share with the world, both figuratively and literally. It is a gift that can help others improve, heal, move forward, and become better. And it is a gift that transcends political and social beliefs.
Like everyone, we are going to feel new emotions for completely new reasons. We are going to have new conversations in our family rooms, at bars, over Thanksgiving, and in our offices. We are going to witness and hear new things that we never imagined we would. We are going to speak with children who ask us what this new era means.
We will encounter new people who think the same as us but are extraordinarily passionate or entirely not. We will encounter new people who think the complete opposite of us and can't understand why. We will discover new things about our loved ones and dearest friends that will surprise us.
In every one of those situations, you and I will be challenged to listen to others and control our impulses, understand and empathize with them, and build and maintain relationships despite our differences.
And every one of those situations - every one - is an opportunity for us to use our gifts, to use our superpowers.
You and I know how to turn the negative into a positive. You and I know how to take people who are moving backward and move them forward. You and I know to take destructive dialogue and make it constructive. You and I have the ability to slow things down, show compassion, and share love.
So let's do it.
From this day forward, let's use our superpowers to improve humanity and show people a different way, a better way. Since you and I have the capacity and the capability to do these things, we now also have a moral duty and obligation.
Not for four years but forever. You and I.
Within minutes, the replies started coming in. Each one was positive, supportive, encouraging, and appreciative. Here is a selection:
"Each of us makes a difference. Every moment. Every day! I'm in!"
"Amen to that!"
"Great stuff and I'm in!"
"What an amazing Junto call to action!"
'Count me 110% in!"
"I commit and apprecate the Junto Tribe for your support."
Those replies and all the others were an inspiration to me and to our team. They represented a collective love that all of us at Junto are not only capable of sharing but that we are dedicated to.