Ep 20: Dean Newlund: Mission Statements and Intuition

This is a transcript of Erica Mills Barnhart’s interview with Dean Newlund on the Marketing for Good podcast. You can listen to the episode here and listen to more episodes on Apple Podcasts, or wherever you enjoy listening to podcasts. Enjoy!

KEY WORDS

mission statement, people, intuition, question, purpose, mission, organization, culture, thought, feel, clients, ideas, align, companies, engage, externally, process, create, serve

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Hi, Dean. Welcome to the show.

Dean Newlund 

Hi.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

So Dean, you are the founder and CEO of Mission Facilitators International, which is a boutique training and development firm based out of Phoenix, Arizona, although I just learned that you are physically based in Bend, Oregon, so I love that little mental mystery. So Mission Facilitators International, has the sole purpose of helping organizations become more connected to their purpose and their people. True?

Dean Newlund 

 True.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

So I’m curious out of the gate, how do you define purpose?

Dean Newlund 

Hmm, good starting off question there. Purpose can take on many different forms, but it’s on a personal level. I think when I started that exploration around purpose actually was a part of my coaching training way back like in the 90s. And there was a piece of that training that talked about having people identify what they thought their life purpose was, you know those big huge existential questions. The navel gazing exploration of why am I here? What is this life all about? What do I want to contribute? You know, something that was meaningful other than simply catching a paycheck or taking care of others. But you know, was there some sort of existential question that we were all asking? And I think that’s the case. And if it’s true of individuals around trying to figure out why we’re here on this planet, what this is all about, how do I want to contribute? Where do I add the greatest value? Then I believe the same is also true for teams and organizations. And so purpose is really that ultimate higher calling that sets into motion, energy and focus and goals and strategy and intention, whether it be on an individual level, a team level, an organizational level, and I remember one time I was doing a strategic planning session. No, it was a team development session with a group of people from Warehouser. And this guy stood up in the middle of this, he says, this has been great, we really got a lot accomplished, but I still don’t know what business we’re in. And I thought of all the people who would have a clarity around that particular question. He couldn’t answer it. And they had budgets that were very, very healthy. And they were the senior members of this whole group. And what caught me was that there was still a basic question about mission about purpose, even with those who had all the access to it and held all the privilege for it. So I think that everything falls into place. Once you have established that purpose. You know, you start setting goals around that you start aligning resources, you start to know what is inbounds and what is out of bounds, you start to know what I should say yes to versus no to. So it really becomes your Northstar. And I think that a lot of us are very much set up to be able to align with that.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

So where did Warehouser land in terms of a business their in?

Dean Newlund 

You know what, that we didn’t get to. That was a long time ago, but it was a good start. It sparked this, this fascination with me about at that time, the whole process of creating mission statements and they were so seen as these, you know, very dry almost, you know, create them and then put them on a bookshelf and never use them again. And I just felt that there was so much more that could be done not only in terms of what you could accomplish, but the way you could accomplish it that there was something about how we do what we do was as important as what we do. So the process of mission statement creation was an integral part of what this ultimate mission would be. So anyway, a long answer to a short question, but I don’t know what they ended up doing.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

So okay, you brought up mission statements so of course I’m going to go there, because I believe in mission statements. But they can you know, I’m gonna paraphrase what you were saying just now, which is they can end up being fairly transactional and uninspiring. And if you’re going to take the time to do them, that falls, you know, short of the mark I would say. But I love mission statements, I think for many of the same reasons you do which is that they can bring this clarity and you know, really serve as a North Star. Now I use Hildy Gottlieb very handy, she has a very handy thing that she wrote about in an article a while ago, which is if you add ARY to the end of vision and mission, you get a really clear sense of the purpose of a mission statement because I feel like where a lot of organizations and companies go wrong is that actually, they’re not sure what the mission and vision statements or purpose statements if you have those like what their job is, right, then they’re gonna lose sight of it. So then you bring all these people together then and I like let’s write a mission statement. And everybody yawns rolls their eyes, if you add ARY to the end of it. So you have visionary, right? So visionaries are the people who really say this is where we’re going, right. So for me, when I’m working with organizations, I put the why in the mission. And then the missionaries are the people who go out there, and they and they do the work. So that’s a little bit more about the what, who, how. However, if you look at the etymology of the history of the words, mission actually means to originally meant to remove or exchange, I think the religious spiritual sense that exchange piece is actually very interesting. And then later it meant to send, okay, so still in alignment. Um, but so in your experience, I mean, you’ve worked with Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, educational institutions, family owned companies in the US and 19 other countries. So I have a two part question one, do you think mission statements have a bad rap? And is there any, have you seen or what similarities, difference have you have you seen with different types of companies and cultures around sort of embracing and really leveraging using that word intentionally a mission statement?

Dean Newlund 

So first question, first or answer to that. Yes, I agree that there is a bad rap arounf mission statement. I think it’s for two reasons. I think that one, you made this comment that people roll their eyes around the idea of doing a mission statement. And it doesn’t have to be. People roll their eyes or bring in the analogy is sort of like getting your teeth pulled when doing a mission statements because the process is so dry if it doesn’t have much inspiration. And so here we are talking about maybe the most important thing that we’re doing and the process of that conversation is dry. There’s something wrong about that. So I think that part of the process, or part of the problem with mission statement creation is that we do it in such a way that is uninspiring. We need to engage people in the process of how we develop mission statements. It has to be fast paced, it has to be engaging, have to get the right stakeholders involved. And I love your analogies. I love the ARY at the end of it. I think that’s that’s a great way of describing it from a language perspective. I think the other reason why people have a bad rap or associated bad rap around mission statements is because they’re not used. They feel like the flavor of the month, they feel like we have to do this every year, to be able to appease the board of directors, we have to put it on our website. So let’s go crank something out. So there’s two hits against us with this respective mission saving creation. I really do think that if you can create moving to your second question about a mission statement that is compelling, that was fun, that was uplifting that the process of doing it brought us closer to meaning, closer to teaming, and that we felt really positive and hopeful about what you’re all about. Then if we make sure that we engage people in a process to follow through on that, this mission statement becomes like the hub of a wheel on a bicycle, and all of our strategies and goals and tactics come off of that hub and that we use this on a regular basis to help us make key important decisions. And what I’ve noticed in some planning sessions with companies is that they often will go right to goal setting and strategy without doing the mission statement piece first, and then we stumble over ourselves like, well, wait a minute, why are we having such a hard time with this? Well, because we haven’t taken care of these bedrock decisions first.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Yeah. Yeah. Well, and then, I mean, this is when I work with organizations and clients, I’ll say, like, what job do you want your mission statement to do? Because there’s this assumption about what it is now I’ve had, you know, clients who ultimately are like, you know, initially, we only want it to be for internal, you know, consumption, that’s all well and good. But what generally happens is, it is created by an internal audience kind of, it ends up being for an internal audience by extension, and then people put it on the website. So now we’ve gone from internal alignment, hopefully, to it being externalized. But if you don’t have that express intent from the get go your permission statements doing a job that it didn’t sign on to do, right? And then we get into what you were talking about, which is that, you know, your strategic planning, and we’re tripping all over the purpose, and then everybody gets very frustrated.

Dean Newlund 

Yes.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

What about similarities and differences? You know, and I guess I’m thinking about different types of companies, but also you’ve worked in a variety of different countries and cultures. Is there a difference? Is there more similarities or differences in terms of how folks think about connecting purpose and their are people?

Dean Newlund 

Yes, and that’s a much longer answer, I’m sure to your question. But the culture is going to inform how we view purpose and how we view vision. So although I never did any sort of strategic planning in mainland China, although we did do training in China, around leadership, but that particular culture, those mores, those political and economic systems are going to inform how people view what their purposes and view what their mission is. And so I think that the mission statement is always a subset or certainly aligned to those larger cultural norms and mores. And you have to take that into account. It’s, it is a reflection of the people, it’s a reflection of the thinking. And it’s going to change based on whether it’s a nonprofit or for profit, or where the kind of work that you do or the kind of community you’re involved in, or what country you’re from, or even what language you speak.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Yeah, yeah, for sure. Yeah. I love the nod to culture. Um, so you do leadership development, and then also organizational development. Do you when you work with leaders, you have them create a personal mission statement?

Dean Newlund 

Often yeah. When we do say a larger scale culture work or it could be organization development. My sense is that these are all scaled, these are all connected. So, you know, the best run organizations are run by people who have a personal mission that they can align to. When you’re doing a mission statement with a team, I think it’s important to ally what is that person’s purpose, those values of the individual and can we align them? Can we say, in order for me to fulfill my personal vision or my personal purpose or mission, I get to do that as a way to satisfy what I’m all about. But it also just so happens to connect with what the organization is all about. And so now I’ve got this alignment. I serve self in the process of serving others and now all of a sudden there’s connection and you know, talking about, you know, Daniel Pink talks about this in his book Drive, that that third motivator, he talks about autonomy, mastery and purpose. Now we’re connected to a purpose that’s greater than ourselves. I think even talks about this that we now are feeling like our life has meaning beyond serving myself, Maslow, you know, the higher order of things. Now, I feel like I’m part of a greater community that I get supported by and they also support and when that alignment happens, boy, rock and roll time.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Yeah, I had a Akhtar Badshah on the show a little while ago, and he, he is now a colleague of mine, fellow faculty member at the University of Washington, but in a prior iteration of his career, he was head of philanthropy for Microsoft, and he’s coming out with a new book. Oh, goodness, I’m going to get the exact title, wrong shift, or shift-

Dean Newlund 

Mind shift? Or Purpose Mindset?

Erica Mills Barnhart 

It is about it’s about mind shift. But it’s about shifting from a me to a we mindsets.

Dean Newlund 

Yes. Yeah.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

One I just you know, the me to we is always kind of not alliterative, but it’s like, you know, good, yeah, sound good. But he he is so passionate about that and then eloquent about putting in the context in different variety of contexts really, because he’s done so many things. And we’re recording this sheltered in place. And I mean, I’m sensing you know, from my very limited, very privileged vantage point is a yen for that shift to the we mindset in the collective, but with this tension of like, we cannot be in community physically very much, or, or if we are we need to be really mindful of that. I think that there’s a tension in that that is that is similar to what I’ve seen with, you know, clients that I work with, which is, you know, you line up all the individual, you know, the leaders mission statements or team members mission statements, however deep you’re going to go with that. And then there is this moment that I find where, you know, this depends on how you sequences work, obviously, whether it’s you know which one you do first. But there tends to be a moment where if you do it where you do the leaders mission statements first and then you do the organizational mission statement. I don’t know if you found this, that there’s this moment where there will be leaders who won’t see themselves in the organizational mission statement in the same way, possibly that they thought they would see themselves. And I’m curious if you found that in your work, and how you, you know, guide organizations through that?

Dean Newlund 

Yeah, if you have a certain level of trust in a team, where that kind of honesty and authenticity can come out where the individual has that aha moment goes, wait a minute, I figured out what my purpose is and it’s obviously not to be here. That happens. And when we do, you know, this sort of work large scale culture work, when we’re talking about organization development, those types of topics, we always tell the leaders be prepared, that there will be people on your team right now that might even be considered sacred cow, so to speak. That one, they will select themselves out, because they just don’t feel aligned with the direction you’re taking the organization, or they can’t rise up to it for whatever reason. Or you might have to say, we need certain level certain levels of behavior and leadership. And we now know what that looks like and you no longer fit. We’ll give you a chance to make those adjustments. But if you can’t, we will have to let you go. There is an organization out in Phoenix that we’ve done a lot of work with, and the leader was very clear. He stood up in front of the entire group of 40 people and he said, in the next two years, I would suspect that 30 percent of you will not be here. Not, because we don’t not because we don’t love you. And we do. It’s because you’ve sorted yourself out or in some of you just may not fit anymore. And so it was like, alright, you’re right. And that was true. He was absolutely spot on.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

I love that he was just so clear on that, because, you know, through clarity and attrition. And yet, well, you know, as humans, we crave progress and resist change that sort of fundamental level. So it’s quite rare for a leader to be able to see that far down and be like really quite okay with that. I don’t know. It seems like a lot of leaders interpret attrition negatively as opposed to being healthy. And don’t you want I mean, this is sort of waving a magic wand, and this can’t always be the case, but don’t you want an entire collection a team who every single one of them is here like clear on how they align with mission.

Dean Newlund 

Absolutely.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

You can be there and do you want to be there?

Dean Newlund 

Yeah and I think that’s one reason, that’s the hope that everybody has. And we talk about it very openly. But the work to make that happen is sometimes painful, because we have to engage in conflict. Yeah, we have to get clear, like, this is what we want, this is what we don’t want. And if it doesn’t fit, then we need to make changes. So I think that a lot of times we create these environments, wonderful environments for engagement. And we want people to come in, come and play in our sandbox, we want you there, we’re going to create all these different opportunities for you to engage with us. But engagement is a two way street. So I was accountability. And so some of us may not want to play in our sandbox, some of us may not want to hold to the standards of the team and the organization, the mission, does that mean that we keep them on? Maybe we shouldn’t, maybe now all of a sudden that becomes one of the issues that we now have to deal with and then, you know, the mission statement creation work and culture work and all the other stuff that we’re doing has a bad rap because we say the right thing, but we don’t follow through with it.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Yeah. Yeah. I don’t know how you, I have my clients tease me, sometimes my students tease me because I have such a specific way of approaching mission statements. Because I have a verb first approach to mission statements. So I don’t write and I don’t I don’t ever have clients write a mission statement out of the gate. I have them pick a verb. Do you have a similar? That won’t be the same thing but or do you let them write a sentence?

Dean Newlund 

I’ll tell you exactly what we do. Take it run with it and turn it upside down. And this is always evolving, right? But what we first do, one of the things we do out of the gate is we give everybody a chance to ask themselves, I mean, you can do a SWOT analysis and you know, kind of get where we are right now and all that kind of stuff. That’s that’s sort of like the first starting off point. When finally get into this whole thing about mission statement creation, we break it down into five questions, real simple stuff. Who are we? What do we do? For whom do we do it? How do we do it? And then the Big Kahuna, Why? And then we-

Erica Mills Barnhart 

And you put all of that into one statement?

Dean Newlund 

Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

How many words did they get? Because I only allowed 10 words.

Dean Newlund 

And it’s great. We all have a different, you know. Yeah. So let me back up, though, how did this happen? So then we give everybody a chance just to start off with words, answering those questions. Who are we? And they have three by five cards and they write down the answer to that question. They gotta really think about it. And then they go to another card, maybe it’s a purple card and write down the answer to what do we do and then we have another card and like, what do you, for whom do we do it? And then they get all these cards done, these five cards done, and then we collect them all up, shuffle them up, and then we get people into teams. And then one team is the Who are we team. The next team is that what do we do team, so on and so forth. They review all this information, they have to think about it, they have to then summarize it on a flip chart. And then we all take a look at all this information. This data, we got to talk about it. Sometimes the talking is the most important part because this is where the decisions happen. There was one organization I remember several years ago, they were in public, they were in promotional materials, and so forth, hats and scarves and coffee mugs and all that schwag. Yeah, they were great in that they were one of the bigger players at the time. And they all thought that they were clear on who we serve, ie who our clients were. And then we went through this whole process and went wait a minute, half of us think that our clients are this and the other half thinks our clients are that that’s why we’ve had so many problems on execution. That’s why we’ve had so many conflicts around what we should be pricing these things because half the people thought that we should give it to anybody who could write a check. And the other half said no, we should give it to only this type of high level client. And they didn’t realize that they had all these assumptions. And so what this does is it helps uncover these assumptions. And a lot of discussion happens. Finally, we get to the point where we get the teams to then write their own mission statement based on answering those five questions. And then we have at end of that, individuals have to go up and vote on each of these mission statements breaking it down into who are we, what do we do, for whom to do it, why? On a one to five scale, and then numerically we write we see from a numbers perspective, which is the best mission statement, which often is not. They get fives in all areas, right? They sometimes have to we have to,

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Oh so there’s a valence, so 1 to 5.

Dean Newlund 

Yeah. So they’d have to move it around a little bit.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Now, do you let people use dots, a really important facilitator question. Are you pro sticky dots or anti sticky dots?

Dean Newlund 

You know? Sometimes yeah, it’s not like the thing I have, like, I’ve got a big box full of stuff. That’s not necessarily the thing I do a lot of but you know, there’s other ways you can do voting, you can do electronic voting, you can do other types of things.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

But underneath the sticky, the sticky dot, which I hope all listeners understand what I’m talking about, it’s a little bit 90s even, you know, like, literally, it’s a little dot that you can stick on posters, or big sheets of paper or whatever. But underneath that, actually is a really substantive question, which I feel like isn’t always surface, and I like to surface really early in the process, which is what is the decision making approach that you’re going to take? And is it you know, isn’t democratic, so like everybody thought, less democratic and then what you’re implying and that isn’t everybody is an equal decision maker.

Dean Newlund 

Right on.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

So I’m curious how do you elevate that early in, you know, when you elevate that in the process, and then how does that you know, flow?

Dean Newlund 

Brilliant, thank you for bringing that up. Now that’s a really, really good point because a mission statement meeting whether it be two days, half day, whatever you’re doing,

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Some listeners were just like two days for the mission? Yes, people absolutely, yeah. And but it can be fun.

Dean Newlund 

Oh, tremendous. We have a tremendous, a lot of fun.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

I can tell that you have a lot of fun with your clients.

Dean Newlund 

Well, we also, it’s what we do, this is a sidebar to your question. So I want to get back to this other one. But I think that as you develop your mission statement, you need to continue to develop your team. They have to happen at the same time. Now you can’t accomplish everything in the matter of a couple of days. Right? Right. But we sprinkle in other types of things that help the communication, the trust, problem solving and to your point that decision making. So yes, this is a this is a meeting like any other meeting, maybe it’s two days, but even an hour long meeting you need to clarify upfront, what is the decision making process is this consensus, great then nobody leaves until we all decide but maybe the maybe the outcome is not appropriate for consensus. You know, the fire is coming in the house? Do we need to have a consensus right now? No, we need somebody to, you know, take control and lead us through this right? But or do we have, is this a meeting where we want just a lot of ideas, and then the subject matter expert of the team leader or a small group would decide from there, absolutely set that up in front because it informs the role that these people need to play. And then they don’t have to feel upset that their idea didn’t get used, because it was never intended to be consensus.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Yeah, I mean, with the process will often say I’m democratic at the start and draconian at the finish. And what I mean by that is, I think you just you know, you want everybody’s, it’s the mission for crying out loud and the vision and you depending on what work you’re doing, but you want everybody to be able to have their voice heard. And then I’m super clear, that doesn’t mean that your word because inevitably everybody has a word that they end up wanting to see in the mission statement. This is also by the way, how we end up with semi colons and mission statements which should never happened in my book. But you say up front, hey, hey, we want to know how you feel about this. This is important, your voice, your heart, all of it is important. But please, you know, just know that there’s gonna be a process. And at some point, what comes out the other side, you may not see your word but please know that everything you share with us is factored in. The adoption, uptake impact of those statements is so much freer, easier, greater just by that little and it’s just like a little teeny expectation management piece.

Dean Newlund 

So to speak on that real quickly. I think that if you want to include the people who are going to be in charge of implementing the mission statement in the creation of it, and I think you were alluding to that, yeah, better alignment. People like go, wait a minute. I’m now on the front line. I’m a manager of 20 whatever, I helped create this.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Yeah. And in a way to paraphrase that as I see myself in that statement, exactly. You know, and that’s, that’s so that’s empowering you and it gets you through the tougher days. Okay. I want to be sure that we talked about intuition.

Dean Newlund 

Okay.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Can’t only talk about mission statements even though I love them. You have a podcast called the Business Intuition.

Dean Newlund 

Yeah, I do.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

So the English essayist, who you probably know, Thomas, who wrote a lot about intuition. So he said, the intuition is “a superior mode of cognition, which is both simultaneous and holistic.” I read that and was like, well, that sounds amazing and awesome. Who wouldn’t want that? And yet, intuition, I feel like somehow in a business context is often seen as less than or not as rigorous as, you know, data and facts, empirical evidence, those types of things. So, you know, does intuition have a marketing problem?

Dean Newlund 

Absolutely it does and I think it has has gotten a bad rap, maybe in the same way that mission statements have. And I actually do think that there is a relationship between mission statement creation, which is all about purpose and what, what, where there is meaning and this idea about intuition. We’ve had such a long run on having companies say, we want database decision making. We want science to back up what we decide to do. And there’s nothing wrong with that, I would say, absolutely. I just think that it’s not the whole story. I think that we’re missing other types of information. I think we’re also not engaging people in conversations, simply because they’re not that subject matter expert. I’ve been in board meetings, and I’ve been in meetings with executives, and there’s somebody in HR, who has a strong feeling about something but doesn’t speak up because that person doesn’t have facts to back up that particular idea so they keep quiet. And when people start keeping quiet, then you start having organizations stop tapping into that whole innovative engagment power that they should be doing, and good ideas and, and extra effort starts being cut off. And that’s when you start having problems. And then it becomes a fewer group of people that are actually leading the organization, but with the whole organization sort of leading itself.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Yet the other troubling thing about that, well, one, and I want to underscore this for listeners, especially those of you who are leading organizations or teams, which is folks who and it’s often kind of a contrary, possibly a contrary view in a conversation, and then they don’t have evidence or data to back it up, it is based on their lived experience. And those if there is’nt the culture to back to your earlier point, a culture that supports speaking up they go quiet, and that is such a bummer for that individual. And, you know, I just I can I can envision many you know, working with so many clients and see these individuals and it breaks my heart because they don’t feel safe enough to say you know, my spidey senses are telling me this. But the interesting thing also about intuition is, so let’s go back to this idea of like, you’re going to do a mission statement and you do a SWOT analysis, which is strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats. I’m sure all of our listeners know that. But just every time we use an analogy, we should say what it means. Which is very externally focused, and rightfully so to a certain extent, but I also feel like we are so oriented. Externally, what do you think, what are other people doing? You know, what are other companies doing? And that there is a liability in relying to much on external factors and not being really centered on internal wisdom and the intuition and the lived experience which is an asset that sits within every single company and organization.

Dean Newlund 

Well put.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

That concerns me, I don’t know. It bums me out. I’m like you’re such a huge asset. What are you doing looking externally all the time, and part of this is FOMO fear of missing out, just to seeped its way in to company culture in such a way, it’s like, oh, you know, what’s our creditor doing? What’s also doing? It’s like, what are you doing? What are we doing?

Dean Newlund 

Right? Well, you know, our process around what you just described, you know, keeping things focused on data, and facts and information is really a function of our mind. And the mind is really focused on security and control. And so if that’s what we’re all about, then that’s what we’re going to get. Intuition is more about freedom and possibilities. And so it’s a great way to generate-

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Oh, say that again, Dean that’s so good.

Dean Newlund 

Freedom and possibilities.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Okay, so intuition is about freedom and possibilities. And data is about safety.

Dean Newlund 

For the mind, in the big M, you know, the left brain that the mind around our thoughts, you know, we think we talk about thought leaders, you know, these are ideas these are okay, but security and control is really aligned up with the mind. And then intuitions more lined up with freedom and possibilities. And there is, there’s a different word there’s a different lightness when you start imagining freedom and possibilities, versus security and control, right? And-

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Is one predicate, and on the other? I am thinking about Maslow’s higher hierarchy and how we need to feel safe like to cover off on the bottom of the pyramid in order to self actualize at the top of the pyramid.

Dean Newlund 

I don’t think that they’re related. I think that you do not necessarily have to have safety and intuition be somehow mutually inclusive, that you’re like, Okay, I gotta get myself safe. And then once myself is safe, then I can be intuitive.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Well, when you say it in that tone of voice Dean.

Dean Newlund 

I know it just doesn’t feel right. Right?

Erica Mills Barnhart 

I can still make a case for it, though.

Dean Newlund 

I know I’m sure you can.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

But I would use a different tone of voice.

Dean Newlund 

I am marketing my point very well. But you you’d have a sense. You have a sense. You might be able to and I think that the language you’re a linguist you understand language better than most is that we don’t have words to do the work of describing intuition. It doesn’t show up with our brain to find a word we struggle with it. That’s why we say I don’t know what it is. It just sort of feels right or feels wrong. And it shows up physically in our gut. Why we say our gut it’s not just a word. It’s there are biological reasons why there is a word that says it’s in my gut. We have tension in our shoulders, we have a big deep breath happens when we all of a sudden find truth. When we find truth in something there is a release the release is, at least I’m there, doesn’t mean our world has changed. I still might be in COVID-19 I still might be locked down in week 17 but at least-

Erica Mills Barnhart 

I think it is week 104,098.

Dean Newlund 

That’s what it feels like, right? But the point is, what do you feel-

Erica Mills Barnhart 

There is that there’s like-

Dean Newlund 

Yes. So intuition does not have to happen after you feel secure.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Yeah, I remember working with a researcher. And we were talking about intuition and that gut instinct. And she pointed out that actually, our gut instinct is data. It is millennia of, of data lived experience that accumulates, and each of us sort of possesses in this lifetime, some sort of share of that. And then we scaffold on our own lived experience. So a gut instinct is data. It’s just not necessarily externally quantifiable. And we’d like to be able to the touch stuff, you know, it’s that I can’t touch that.

Dean Newlund 

And we like to touch stuff because we want to have control over, if I can see it, smell it, touch it. It’s gotta be real. Yeah, there’s so many things that are far beyond that level of understanding the pattern recognition, you know, the it’s almost the subconscious starts getting involved. It’s like I go running and what I do after the end of my run is I always often not all the time, but there’s some things ideas start to come into my mind because I’m not trying to think of anything.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Yes, this is why I do value space consulting actually one of the many reasons but it’s because I say to clients, I don’t think you want me to bill you hourly because most of my best ideas for you are going to come when I’m running, when I used to be able to run, doing NordicTrack, maybe a little bar boxing. I don’t know running some hills, like really do you want me to bill you for those hours and are always like, Well, no, because you’re working out I’m like, getting some really good ideas for you. Right? Because it you know, jiggers your brain differently.

Dean Newlund 

Exactly. You gotta break the pattern of thinking otherwise you will continue to be addicted to the same pattern.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

I think yes, Dean. That word is really an Important, which is that we do get addicted, meaning we can’t stop something through our thought patterns. And I mean, I’m a huge fan of cognitive behavioral therapy for that reason. And you know, dialectical behavior theory, and that ability to disrupt and interrupt those thoughts, because and I don’t mean that in a judgy way, like, we’re addicted to bad thoughts. I have those too. We all have it. But how do you interrupt it and reprogram it? It’s so important.

Dean Newlund 

Often, it’s just you have to physically do something different. Like why do we always shave with the right side of my face first, and then go to the left? And why do I go to the grocery store on that street versus this street?

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Why do I always floss my teeth in the exact same way every morning?

Dean Newlund 

Why do I do it that way? Why don’t you just disruptive. So literally, the neural pathways in your brain starts to get rewired to other parts of your brain because you’re now doing something physically different than you did before. That’s why travel is so cool. I’m rewriting neural pathways. You have new experiences you meet new people, new cultures, new languages, new new foods, you know, all those things are so important. And that’s why this is so tough with this COVID is that we’re staying in the same pattern every day.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Yeah. I mean, really getting into pattern for most. Yeah. There’s also speaking of safety and security for many of us who like structure, like patterns. You know, please don’t hear Dean and I say break all your patterns, but I will, I will out that yesterday morning I generally floss left to right, then bottom and that, you know, and I tried it in the opposite direction, and was like, man, this is uncomfortable. I do not like this. It’s like, that’s so stupid and little, but I could feel you know, if I can quiet my mind, and my body’s just enough. It was like, oh, it’s I mean, it’s super cool when you do those little silly things. And you can feel the neural pathways almost like, you know, like giving each other a hug.

It’s true. My brother in law is  named Douglas Diehl that he actually, we have a podcast, as you mentioned, called the Business of Intuition and his episode went live today. And I was listening to it again. And he’s a fine artist. But he also has a lot of background in running businesses. And so he’s very analytical, but he’s also can use this very creative side and it’s very intuitive side. And he was telling me, he said, You know, I could actually feel my brain go from the left side to the right side of thinking, it’s a physical feeling when I start having an intuitive experience versus an analytical experience.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

I wish everybody could see you, Dean is on video and he has this like thing going on, where he’s like, both hands going from one side to the other side, one side to the other side.

Dean Newlund 

I started to pay attention to that myself and I begin to realize there is a physical sensation in your thought patterns inside of your head, going from one side to the other. And if you pay attention to that, I think you can start to also open up to more intuitive thinking and more intuitive experiences.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Yeah. I want to ask you about creativity actually, before I let you go, because creativity plays such a key role in marketing, and you have an acting background. And so based on this, I inferred I was saying assumption, but I mean, I’m just saying inferred instead because it sounds better, that you have some sort of creative streak or value creativity. I could be wrong on this. But I am curious if you’ve, you know, your thoughts on the relationship between creativity and intuition? And have you found anything to say that, like, creative people are more intuitive or intuitive people are more creative? Like, is there any interplay there, that listeners might be able to learn from?

Dean Newlund 

I’m just going to take a stab at this because I can’t you know, I’m not a neuroscientist and, and that’s one reason why I wanted to do the podcast so that I could learn more about this. It wasn’t just to get the word out. I think that the creative process is certainly intuitive, for sure. And it has a focus on the item in which you’re trying to be creative. You are a writer, somebody is a painter, somebody is a dancer and so the intuitive process has this creative mesh that’s going in a direction going in their mission going in their North Star, and it’s in its has the focus. And I do actually think that that is part of what intuition is about is that there is a question that we’re asking that the intuition is going out to scan the answer, and it might come now might come in the middle of your sleep. And so in a way, we’re giving the question, how do I turn this white canvas into a beautiful painting of the mountains? How do we turn this dance move into something that’s really artistic? So we’ve actually asked the brain to go to work for us on something and I think that intuition can actually happen the same way. It may not necessarily be about a piece of art, quote, quote, unquote, but it could be about what should the vision be for our company? How do I engage my customers in a in you know, the development of new product? How do we serve our community? In ways now that we’ve never been able to? How do we pivot in an industry that has been shut down by COVID-19? And how do we create a new approach to serving our community and at the same time making money at this? So I think we have to ask the question, and then let the intuitive mind go to work, the creative mind go to work, that at some other point might come back with some sort of ideas. If you’re paying attention.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Yeah, yeah. And if you’re in if you know, if you’re gonna voice that vocalize it, that you’re in a culture where you feel like you can do that and not have to have a spreadsheet necessarily to back it up.

Dean Newlund 

Absolutely.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

I do, you know, I feel like if we’re going to talk about intuition, we also have to talk about sort of propensity to project so to say that our experience will work for somebody else, you know, which is a bit of a liability. So just that there’s a difference between projecting your opinions. I always use the example of because I’ve worked with so many organizations where they’ll have like a really young, you know, marketing coordinator who’s like, let’s do events, I love events, don’t you love events? And yeah, you know, those of us who have, you know, kids, you know, you just like or you’re introverted, or you can’t get there now, you know, we’re like, I’m not going to an event. So it’s a classic like, bit of projection that happens isn’t necessarily strategic. But the intuition and strategy and being strategic are very complimentary. And I think as long as you’re aware of that propensity to project that you can mitigate that and yet still surface again, I think of intuition as an asset, an internal asset.

Dean Newlund 

I think you can mitigate that self promotion or that projection, as you were saying, If what you are really tuning into is a question around how do we make sure that we engage everybody? How do we allow for all, what is the highest and best for this team? What is the highest and best for this organization? What is the highest and best for this person? And if that’s your intent, and your intuition starts bringing you back some ideas around that, then it’s not about me. I am not here to serve self, I’m here to serve something higher than myself. I’m here to serve the community of us, versus the singularity of me. And when you have that sort of idea around what intuition is, and you feel that there’s a sense of like okay. Then you then what you do project out, when you do communicate is in service. It’s not in promotion.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Yeah. That’s, that’s great. That’s fantastic. All right. I asked every guest this last question. So the history and the root of the word inspiration means to breathe in. So to have breath and motivation means to take action. So I am curious, so we need both. We need breath inorder to take action. What inspires you and what motivates you?

Dean Newlund 

Hmm. So many things that inspire me. Beauty inspires me. Natural resource, you know, the outdoors inspires me and people inspire me. Their awareness, their insights, their, their joy, their love of life. I’m very inspired by other people, ideas inspired me. I’m giving you more than one answer. Motivation is to contribute, I want to contribute, I want to be a part of I want to be included. I want to include others. I want to build community and to fulfill on why I think I’m here and why others are here. And it’s really more than just, it’s about joy and it’s about self expression. It’s about freedom. And it’s about contribution.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

I love that. You’re a busy guy, Dean. And I appreciate you taking time to be on the Marketing for Good podcasts to talk to us about intent and intuition and to humor me and to have a long chat about mission statements because I really do feel like they are important.

Dean Newlund 

I love them. They’re great.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

They’re good. Thank you. High five.

Dean Newlund 

All right. Thank you so much, that was lovely.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Yeah. Thank you purpose driven listeners for joining us. Do good, be well and we will see you next time.