The word “philosophy” means love of wisdom. Wisdom is not contained in abstract concepts, nor in academic mental gymnastics. Such exercises can be effective as they sharpen our ability to think critically. But philosophy at its core has always been about living a great life, aligned as best we can to the highest imaginable good.

Life optimized!

We had an opportunity to chat with Paul LaLonde, Vice President of People and Culture at the Community Economic Development Association of Cook County (CEDA).

Paul happened across a modern perspective on the ancient work of Epictetus. He grabbed this book in the bargain bin at the bookstore and this philosophy continues to impact his personal and professional life.

Among the wisdom gems you’ll glean in this conversation:

  • At the end of the day, you can only control one thing – You. The starting point is always looking at your thoughts, feelings, learnings. The way to a prosperous, happy life is doing the right thing, the best you can. You can start small and stack buildable wins.
  • Your best is a moment-by-moment choice. Perhaps you didn’t handle something well, or a person you work with had a failure or setback, you can always learn and begin again.
  • Find folks that are looking to serve others. Servant leadership is more than a buzz word, it is a philosophy that fosters better work and a better world.
  • If you want to attract and retain the younger generation in the workforce, meaning matters.
  • What is right and good regarding compensation, titles, and benefits? The fact that there are limited resources, particularly in a nonprofit environment, is not an excuse for less than best. This requires creativity, thought, and yes, philosophy to find ways to acknowledge good and meaningful work and compensate fairly for it.
  • Lasting success always starts with self-awareness. From there, we need awareness of the people impacted, and lastly of the work that needs to be done to live our mission. Using Predictive Index has been transformative at CEDA to understand drivers at the individual, team, and organizational level.

Stay tuned for the release of People Fusion: Best Practices to Build and Retain a Strong Team. Paul contributes the chapter entitled “The HR Philosopher: How Philosophy Can Be a Difference Making Pursuit for Business Leaders”. Available on Amazon on January 20th. We’ll post links as soon as they are available.

Follow and connect with Paul:

We thank Paul for the inspiration and wish our community a year filled with wisdom as we meet the challenges of meaningful work through – and with – optimized talent!

We invite you to join us in conversation. We need YOUR wisdom.