I wanted to take a moment to share a recent podcast I participated in on The Inventions Show with host Tack Lee. Here is his excerpt from our chat: Live with your heart not just your head with Kevin Hancock, a sixth-generation family CEO of Hancock Lumber, one of the oldest companies in America which dates back to 1848. An extraordinary leader who is also an award-winning author and speaker. Simply Inspirational and transformational. Kevin shares his incredible journey of self discovery after being diagnosed with a rare neurological condition that made speaking difficult. How he had to think differently and reinvent leadership through dispersing of power. His mission to strengthen the voice of others and come into their own true voice.
So the article copied below fascinates me. I’ve been on this theme for a while but have not really known how to approach it. I’m trying to reconcile the following dichotomy – there are lots of American based multi-national corporations that want to lead for social justice in THIS country (which is great) BUT won’t touch the subject of social justice in China. The NBA caught my attention on this earlier in the year when the entire league refused to speak out for social justice for the people of Hong Kong…and now there is Disney with its latest movie – Mulan (the remade / non-animated version).
We watched the new Mulan as a family about a week ago. We all left feeling it was ‘ok’ and ‘oddly generic’ in the subject matter it approached and avoided. When a friend of mine sent me this article below from Jeff Jacoby of The Boston Globe – the ‘plainness’ of the movie came clear. You might give Jacoby’s article below a read and see what you think.
Here’s where I have landed – multinational corporations NEED China economically AND advocating for social justice in China will NOT help your cause so they don’t. Your economic success in the massive Chinese market depends in large part upon the Chinese Communist Party’s satisfaction with your behavior and messaging. In America advocating for social justice is seen as good for business – so they pretty much all do it.
I love advancing social justice in America. The only thing better, to me, would be to advance social justice globally but companies won’t take those risks. Corporate involvement in ‘social justice’ is still often a calculated business decision and until we get beyond that we will only be in limited and selective pursuit of a cause that should apply to everyone.
To do business with China you must placate China and I’m not sure if this current reality of this global economic phenomenon has yet been called into the light.
Disney Thanks the Dictators by Jeff Jacoby
I don’t subscribe to Disney Plus. But even if I did I wouldn’t spend $29.99 to view Disney’s ballyhooed remake of “Mulan.”
According to critics who have seen it, the $200 million picture is a mediocre piece of moviemaking. It reflects “a timid and studied thematic emptiness, an avoidance of any specific ideas or questions that might upset anyone, anywhere, at all,” writes Reason’s Peter Suderman. “Mulan fights for honor, for family, for finding herself and owning her power, which is to say she fights for vague and inoffensive banalities.” In the Wall Street Journal, critic Joe Morgenstern calls it “earnest, often clumsy and notably short on joy,” and concludes that “the film as a whole lacks the clarity of its animated predecessor, not to mention the earlier version’s gleeful showmanship, gorgeous design, and vastly wider emotional range.” Joshua Rivera, reviewing “Mulan” for The Verge , says it “feels like an anticlimax. . . . [It is] merely a serviceable film that’s rather easy to forget.”
The real problem with “Mulan,” however, isn’t its artistic failings, but its moral callousness.
Unlike Disney’s 1998 original, a key theme of which was self-determination and personal freedom, the remake heavily emphasizes the virtue of loyalty to family and community. In China, where the movie is set, loyalty is also a heavily stressed value — loyalty to the state and to the ruling Communist Party. It is not by coincidence that the new “Mulan” reinforces a doctrine so important to the Chinese dictatorship: Disney collaborated with Chinese authorities in making the film.
The company “worked closely with China’s government, all the while striving to present a main character and story line faithful to Chinese values,” reported the Wall Street Journal earlier this month. “To avoid controversy and guarantee a China release, Disney shared the script with Chinese authorities while consulting with local advisers.”
There is no indication that anyone connected with the movie objected to toeing China’s Communist Party line. When pro-democracy protesters were being brutally assaulted in Hong Kong last year, the star of the new movie, Chinese-born American actress Liu Yifei, publicly supported the security police suppressing the protests . That was appalling. But it was nothing compared to the discovery that “Mulan” was filmed within hailing distance of China’s Uighur concentration camps, and that in the credits at the end of the film, Disney thanks China’s rulers for the privilege.
Those credits, wrote Isaac Stone Fish in The Washington Post, are “the most devastating” thing about the movie:
Disney filmed “Mulan” in regions across China (among other locations). In the credits, Disney offers a special thanks to more than a dozen Chinese institutions that helped with the film. These include four Chinese Communist Party propaganda departments in the region of Xinjiang as well as the Public Security Bureau of the city of Turpan in the same region — organizations that are facilitating crimes against humanity. It’s sufficiently astonishing that it bears repeating: Disney has thanked four propaganda departments and a public security bureau in Xinjiang, a region in northwest China that is the site of one of the world’s worst human rights abuses happening today.
More than a million Muslims in Xinjiang, mostly of the Uighur minority, have been imprisoned in concentration camps. Some have been released. Countless numbers have died. Forced sterilization campaigns have caused the birth rate in Xinjiang to plummet roughly 24 percent in 2019 — and “ imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group” fits within the legally recognized definition of genocide. Disney, in other words, worked with regions where genocide is occurring, and thanked government departments that are helping to carry it out. . . .
Why did Disney need to work in Xinjiang? It didn’t. There are plenty of other regions in China, and countries around the world, that offer the starkly beautiful mountain scenery present in the film. But in doing so, Disney helps normalize a crime against humanity.
So what else is new? For years, Disney and other studios have kowtowed to Beijing, subtly and not-so-subtly adjusting the content of their movies to satisfy the demands of the world’s foremost communist regime. In a recent report , PEN America, a nearly 100-year-old organization that champions human rights and fights against threats to freedom of expression, condemned Hollywood studios for “increasingly making decisions about their films — the content, casting, plot, dialogue, and settings — based on an effort to avoid antagonizing Chinese officials who control whether their films gain access to the booming Chinese market.”
There are numerous ways in which Hollywood “compromises on free expression,” says PEN:
[C]hanging the content of films intended for international — including American — audiences; engaging in self-censorship; agreeing to provide a censored version of a movie for screening in China; and in some instances directly inviting Chinese government censors onto their film sets to advise them on how to avoid tripping the censors’ wires. . . . Steadily, a new set of mores has taken hold in Hollywood, one in which appeasing Chinese government investors and gatekeepers has simply become a way of doing business.
Needless to say, US moviemakers have no hesitation about portraying American leaders, attitudes, or history in unflattering ways. In PEN’s trenchant observation,
Hollywood enjoys a reputation as a place uncowed by Washington, and one that is often gleefully willing to speak truth to American political power. This reputation contrasts strangely but silently with Hollywood’s increasing acceptance of the need to conform to Beijing’s film dictates.
Disney and other studios are private companies, free under the Constitution to promote any message they like. But their willingness to truckle to Chinese censors has a terrible impact on the freedom of others.
Beijing’s influence over Hollywood . . . cannot be ethically decoupled from the Chinese government’s practices of suppressing freedom of expression at home. Beijing enforces one of the world’s most restrictive censorship systems, in which films and other creative endeavors are subject to a strict process of pre-publication review by the State. China’s media is similarly under state control. . . . Vast categories of protected expression are criminalized, with peaceful dissidents serving years-long jail terms for their critical speech.
Independent civil society does not exist within mainland China, and the country’s Great Firewall represents the world’s most advanced and expansive system of digital censorship. In the areas of Tibet and Xinjiang, the repression of civil rights is breathtakingly severe; in Xinjiang especially, it is no exaggeration to say that millions of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities are in detention camps or jail because the government has essentially criminalized their cultural and religious expression in the region. . . . Beijing’s imposition of near-total barriers to access for Western reporters in those regions, meanwhile, helps ensure that this narrative is unchallenged.
In short, the Chinese government works tirelessly to ensure that the only stories told within China are ones that it specifically approves. Beijing’s influence over Hollywood is part of this work.
So when Disney goes out of its way to thank Chinese government propaganda agencies and the public security department in Xinjiang, anyone with a functioning conscience should be nauseated. Disney’s Chinese partners in the making of “Mulan” are literally engaged in genocide and its attendant atrocities. For a parallel, imagine a Hollywood blockbuster filmed in 1930s Germany that made a point of thanking the Reich Ministry of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment in the on-screen credits.
Once, Disney had more backbone. In 1996, the studio produced “Kundun,” a movie about the life of the Dalai Lama. The spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists, the Dalai Lama is reviled by the Chinese government, which routinely blackens his reputation and has made it a crime even to display his photograph. Beijing was enraged that Disney had made the movie, and vehemently insisted that it not be released.
But in those days, Disney knew how to face down communist dictators. It announced that the movie would be shown in the United States as planned, China’s threats notwithstanding. “We have an agreement to distribute ‘Kundun’ domestically,” Disney’s spokesman said, “and we intend to honor it.”
When China retaliated by restricting Disney’s access to China, however, the company abruptly shed the backbone it had briefly grown. “We made a stupid mistake in releasing ‘Kundun,’” then-CEO Michael Eisner told Premier Zhu Rongji in October 1998.
“The bad news is that the film was made; the good news is that nobody watched it,” Eisner added. “Here I want to apologize, and in the future we should prevent this sort of thing, which insults our friends, from happening.”
To repeat: Such bootlicking should nauseate anyone with a working conscience.
Maybe Disney has no qualms about its open and shameless collaboration with the brutes of Beijing, but the rest of us should. Don’t reward that collaboration with your dollars. Boycott “Mulan.”
This is the most thoughtful, data driven, reflective, and objective considerations of potential strategic responses designed to achieve maximum and balanced health, economic, and social salvation from COVID that I have read. –Kevin Hancock
- “400 million jobs have been lost world wide.”
- “We are on the cusp of an economic catastrophe. We can avoid the worst of that catastrophe by being disciplined.” – James Stock. Harvard economist.
- “The economic pain from the pandemic mostly comes not from sick people but from healthy people trying not to get sick.”
- “There have been few attempts to truly define the goal.”
- “Nursing homes account for 0.6% of the population but 45% of Covid fatalities. Better isolating those residents would have saved many lives at little economic cost.”
- “By contrast, fewer children have died this year from COVID-19 than from flu.”
- “And studies in Sweden, where most schools stayed open, and the Netherlands, where they reopened in May, found teachers at no greater risk than the overall population.”
- “If schools don’t reopen until next January, McKinsey & Co. estimates, low-income children will have lost a year of education, which it says translates into 4% lower lifetime earnings.”
- “Bars, restaurants, and casinos accounted for 32% of infections traced in Louisiana.”
- “Masks may be the most effective intervention of all.”
The thesis is that more targeted strategies would have saved / and still have the potential to save / more lives AND simultaneously create far less social and economic disruption.
This article was refreshing because, for me, it transcended politics. When was the last time you over-heard or participated in a non-political / calm / rational discussion of potential COVID management strategies with data and balance for all priorities? When I realized a couple months ago that our national Covid response would be the primary campaign debate theme in November I knew it would result in polarized thought limitations. Winning strategies usually reside in the gray middle but our politics live on the extremes and it’s costly.
Hello! Just sharing the following podcast and op-ed piece that I wrote on the importance of shared leadership, dispersed power, and respect for all voices. If you like them, please share!
- The Enlightenment for Change interview with Connie Whitman was one of my favorite podcasts to date! Connie was a great host–our discussion was deep and really fun.
- I was recently interviewed by The Startup for an article titled, A Lesson in Leadership From the CEO of One of America’s Oldest Companies.
- Thrive Global has been a fantastic partner in sharing ideas since the launch of The Seventh Power. Today they published an Op-Ed piece I wrote titled, Ninety Days in the Heart of America: Creating Change in the Age of Dispersed Power.
Hello! I have some exciting news! My next book, The Seventh Power – One CEO’S Journey into the Business of Shared Leadership, releases on February 25, 2020. My publisher, Post Hill Press recently launched the ‘coming soon’ sale site on Amazon. Check out the link and help me share it with others! It takes a community of followers to help a book and its message go viral.
This book takes the reader on an adventure that stretches from the Navajo Nation in Arizona to Kiev, Ukraine. The journey uncovers seven lessons about the art of dispersed power and the benefits of shared leadership for organizations who wish to thrive in the 21st Century. I am looking forward to sharing the full story with you soon! In the meantime, here’s a quote from the front of my book that offers a clue or two about the adventure that’s in store:
“It is extremely hard to discover the truth when you are ruling the world. You are just far too busy. Most political chiefs and business moguls are forever on the run. Yet if you want to go deeply into any subject, you need a lot of time, and in particular you need the privilege of wasting time. You need to experiment with unproductive paths, explore dead ends, make space for doubts and boredom, and allow little seeds of insight to slowly grow and blossom. If you cannot afford to waste time, you will never find the truth.”
“Great power thus acts like a black hole that warps the very space around it. The closer you get to it, the more twisted everything becomes.”
If you really want the truth, you need to escape the black hole of power and allow yourself to waste a lot of time wandering here and there on the periphery. Revolutionary knowledge rarely makes it to the center, because the center is built on existing knowledge.”—Yuval Noah Harari, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century
Just click here and enter your email address to join the conversation about strengthening employee engagement through shared leadership in the workplace. Then share this link with others. It takes a village to create change.
Governor Janet Mills announced today that she has nominated six people to serve on the Maine Indian Tribal-State Commission. The Governor nominated John Cashwell, Robert Checkoway, James Cote, Kevin Hancock, former Senator Michael Pearson and former Senator Richard Rosen to serve on the Commission, an inter-governmental entity charged in part with reviewing the social, economic and legal relationship between Maine Tribes and the State.
“The Maine Indian-Tribal State Commission has the potential to improve and strengthen the relationship between the State and Maine Tribes,” said Governor Mills. “In nominating these qualified individuals, my Administration is taking a step forward in reinvigorating the Commission and empowering it to become a forum for substantive communication, problem solving, and dispute resolution.”
The Commission is composed of six members appointed by the State, two by the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, two by the Passamaquoddy Tribe, and two by the Penobscot Indian Nation. The thirteenth, who is the chairperson, is selected by the other twelve. The Commission has not had a full slate of members since 2013.
All state nominations to MITSC are subject to review by the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary and final confirmation by the Maine State Senate.
Governor Mills’ Nominations to the Maine Indian-Tribal State Commission:
For appointment, John Cashwell of Bangor has served as president of Black River LLC since 2008. He previously served as Director of the Maine Forest Service from 1987 to 1992 and is a United States Army veteran. Cashwell also previously served as a Councilmember and as Mayor in both Calais and Bangor.
For appointment, Robert Checkoway of Freeport, a retired attorney, formerly served as Assistant US Trustee for the US Department of Justice, responsible for the administration of all bankruptcy cases in Maine. Checkoway also formerly served as Assistant US Trustee at Preti, Flaherty and Beliveau and formerly as Associate Attorney at Skelton, Taintor & Abbott. Checkoway is a 1976 Maine School of Law graduate.
For appointment, James Cote of Farmington is a public affairs consultant with Bernstein Shur and specializes in policies relating to natural resources, energy, and economic development. Cote formerly served as president and CEO of Associated Builders and Contractors of Maine and as Director of Communications and Government Relations for the Maine Forest Products Council.
For appointment, Kevin Hancock of Casco has served as CEO of Hancock Lumber since 1991 and is the founder of Seventh Power, a non-profit organization that works to support Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Hancock is the author of the award winning novel Not For Sale: Finding Center in the Land of Crazy Horse and is the recipient of the Ed Muskie Access to Justice Award, Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Citizen Award, and the Habitat for Humanity Spirit of Humanity Award. Hancock is a graduate of Bowdoin College.
For appointment, the Honorable Michael Pearson of Enfield, a retired school teacher, formerly served as Old Town City Councilmember and as state representative and state senator, including as chair of the Appropriations Committee, representing the people of Old Town and Indian Island for more than twenty years.
For appointment, the Honorable Richard Rosen of Bucksport served as the Commissioner of the Department of Administration and Financial Services from 2014-2017 and for fourteen years as state representative and state senator. During his time in the Legislature, Rosen served as Senate Chair and Ranking House Member of the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee and as Assistant Senate Republican Leader. Rosen is also the former owner and operator of Rosen’s, a clothing and footwear retailer in Bucksport.
DO MORE GOOD by Kevin Hancock
“There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.”
– Margaret J. Wheatley
May 18, 2019: This past Friday I spoke in Lincoln, Nebraska at the DO MORE GOOD conference. Don’t you love that title, DO MORE GOOD?!
The conference was held at the University of Nebraska Innovation Campus in the shadows of the giant Cornhusker football stadium. It was an exciting opportunity for me because the event brought in some top business speakers from around the country. Jay Cohen Gilbert, founder of the B Corporation movement, spoke. So, too, did Rand Stagen, co-founder of the Conscious Capitalism movement.
The conference was a call to action for corporations to adopt a mission that was bigger than just making a profit. Have a purpose that’s bigger than what you make or what you sell. Stand for something important! Your corporate purpose should solve a real problem. These were the rallying cries of the conference.
My talk and personal mission were a good fit for this event. I spoke about losing some of my voice to SD and then traveling to Pine Ridge where I encountered an entire community that did not feel heard. The two events combined to give me the inspiration to use a company as a platform to strengthen the voices of others, and to create a culture where everyone leads. So, my proposal was to create an EMPLOYEE CENTRIC company where the first priority of the business is to enhance the lives of the people who work there, by creating a safe and dynamic space for people to express themselves freely and self-actualize through work.
At the talk, my mascot was my Ringling Brothers stuffed elephant. I introduced him as the ‘elephant in the room’, representing the traditional, top down, bureaucratic, power to the center leadership model. The new model I am advocating for is one in which power is shared and dispersed, so that every voice is heard and everyone leads.
I closed the talk by returning to the elephant. I acquired him on May 5th, 2017 at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. I was attending the last-ever performance of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. It was an historic event –a tipping point in social consciousness. The elephant, who originally helped make the circus and played the star role, ultimately helped end the circus and bring about its demise. But, why? The elephant hadn’t changed…
So, what did change? Human perception changed. The well-being of a handful of elephants had become more important to society that an entire iconic industry—the circus.
This subtle, but super important moment, is a sign of the times and a guide post for business in the 21st Century. The age of the individual is upon us. Corporations must do more than simply serve their own objectives. Specifically, they must become a valued place full of life and growth for the people who work there. If companies focus on advancing the lives of the people who work there, the people who work there will create—in turn—exceptional experiences for customers. In this model, profit actually increases, but it becomes an outcome of a higher calling.
Everyone attending the conference received a copy of Not For Sale: Finding Center in the Land of Crazy Horse in their gift bag.
Thank you for reading and please help spread this blog to others that might like to follow. My next book is coming in the Spring of 2020 and my publisher, Post Hill Press, wants me to grow my blog follower ship in advance! It takes a village to spread ideas and create change. If the ideas I am writing about are of value to you, please think about your own personal network and share the link to this blog and invite them to follow.
Finally, Rosie Freire, the owner of the Singing Horse Trading Post (where I stay at Pine Ridge) drove down to the conference and attended. I was able to introduce her to the audience during my talk as one of my personal heroes in business. What I said about Rosie during the conference and what she thought of the event is the topic for another post, soon to come!
The title of my next book has been finalized and I will share it here with you now…
THE SEVENTH POWER
One CEO’s Journey into the Business of Leadership
Thank you for sharing your voice!
Kevin Hancock, President + CEO
The Wall Street Journal recently published this article titled, Fast-Tracked Aircraft Certification, Pushed by Boeing, Comes Under the Spotlight
My next book is about, in part, OVERREACHING, and how leaders often go too far and take too much…
One of the common paths of overreaching, I have concluded, is GOING TOO FAST…and cutting corners in the ZEST to get there.
Nearly every book on Custer’s last stand indicates that he was in a hurry for a victory because he wanted the news to reach the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia before it ended. His rush for glory led him to attack before he KNEW the situation he was entering.
“We scouts thought there were too many Indians for Custer to fight…It was the biggest Indian camp I had ever seen.”
–White Man Runs Him, Crow scout
“Hadn’t we better keep the regiment together, General? If this is as big a camp as they say, we’ll need every man we have.”
–Captain Frederick Benteen to General Custer
“You have your orders.”
–Custer to Benteen
That story of defeat is also full of critical moments where the leader did NOT listening to those around him.
I have no way of knowing if Boeing hurried for certification or not, but I do know that hurrying is a form of overreaching and that overreaching always has consequences.
Click on the link below!
On March 28th in Washington D.C., my dear friend and NOT FOR SALE book star, Pinky Clifford, is receiving a distinguished award from the National Low Income Housing Coalition for her decades of work to bring home ownership opportunities to the people of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. I am very happy to see Pinky receive this recognition and I will be attending the ceremony in DC!
Today is a day to celebrate all the good we have done as parents…and to forgive any transgressions…and to contemplate fresh starts when necessary.
One great thing about life is no matter who you are or where you are there are always past events to be thankful for AND future chances to create something fresh and better. We always have the choice of celebration, forgiveness, and renewal. All three are part of a family experience I think.
Family is all just a chance to learn, love, and grow.
The University of Maine at Augusta and the Office of the Dean of Students have invited Kevin Hancock to speak about his experiences on the Pine Ridge Reservation as part of their recognition of Native American Heritage Month at the Augusta campus. This event is open to the public, and will be held from 12pm – 1pm on December 5th, at the UMA campus. The academic theme this year at The University of Maine at Augusta is TRUTH, and Kevin was asked to speak as they felt his experience and perspective would dovetail nicely with their exploration of this theme of TRUTH.
The first 40 attendees will receive a FREE copy of Kevin’s award-winning book, Not For Sale: Finding Center in the Land of Crazy Horse
It has been a really exciting fall, filled with speaking opportunities. Sharing our stories brings us together and open our eyes to new ideas. We hope you can join in this great opportunity at UMA. To hear some of Kevin’s recent talks, check out the videos section in the related links tab on our site.
The University of Maine at Augusta is located at: 46 University Drive, Augusta, ME 04330
9/26/17 – This past Tuesday, Kevin Hancock was invited to speak at the University of Southern Maine in Portland as part of the SAGE lecture series. SAGE provides academic lecture and discussion programs chosen by its members, in topic areas such as history, culture, the arts, geography, anthropology, and science. Using University and community resources, the SAGE program provides a format in which enthusiastic learners can discover new realms of intellectual challenge and academic pursuit.
Kevin was met by an enthusiastic group of 80 lifelong learners interested in hearing his recent journey through the Land of Crazy Horse. For 2 hours, the group heard from Kevin, watched a video he made during his trip, and followed up with a great Q+A session. Here is a link to watch the talk!
The book first launched in the fall of 2015 and we now have 6,000 copies sold or in distribution.
To celebrate, now through September 30th, we are having a big sale! For every two books ordered, you will receive a third book free! Order four copies and receive two free (and so on)! Enter coupon code BUY2GET1FREE at checkout! Shipping during this period is also free and all books will be personalized and signed. A single book is $20.
This new edition has an updated front and back cover, as well as some new inside cover material. Simply go to www.kevindhancock.com and place your order, as this special is not available through any other distribution sources (only on the book website).
Also, if this book has spoken to you, now would be a great time to post a good word for the book on Amazon, the book website or through your own social media outlets. As I am now fond of saying, in the Aquarian Age, readers (not publishers) sell books by sharing their experiences with others!
In closing, I heard yesterday from my friend Pinky Clifford at Pine Ridge that the South Dakota Governor was on the Reservation last week and Pinky gave him a copy of my book, which he tells her he is now reading!
Helping people seek, find, and share their own true voice is the mission of spreading the word and continuing to share the story! Thank you for being a part of that objective! Wopila Tanka (Big Thanks)!
Hello! I did a live Facebook podcast with the Maine Restaurant and Innkeepers Associations today! On October 24th I am speaking at their 1st annual Maine Hospitality Summit (www.mainehospitalitysummit.com).
Here is a link to the podcast…: https://www.facebook.com/MaineInnkeepers/videos/10154577491767282/
At their conference we are going to be talking about leadership strategies for pushing power out from the corporate center and strengthening the voices of others. The goal is to create an organization where everybody leads!
Check the podcast out and, if it speaks to you, pass it on!
Books can always be ordered at www.kevindhancock.com! All orders placed on the site are signed and personalized! $20 per book…free shipping!
On that note, we crossed a nice milestone recently passing 5,500 copies of NOT FOR SALE – FINDING CENTER IN THE LAND OF CRAZY HORSE sold or in distribution! As a result, we have placed the order for our 3rd printed edition which we be out this fall!
Thank you for being you and for being interested in the messages and ideas we are testing and sharing around new leadership models for the modern age!
I was blessed to be the key note speaker this weekend at the annual National Spasmodic Dysphonia Conference held, ironically this year, in the Music City of Nashville, TN. People with broken voices from all over the world came to the city of beautiful voices to learn, connect and share their stories. It was such a joy to share my story with the people gathered there.
At the conclusion of my talk about searching for my own voice in the Land of Crazy Horse I shared three ideas…
The first was on the idea of leaders doing less not more…of leaders pushing power out instead of collecting it in…of a future where everybody shares the opportunity and responsibility of leadership. I ended that idea with this quote…
“When the best leader’s work is done the people say ‘we did it ourselves’.” – Lao Tzu
The second idea I shared was to learn to SURRENDER to what comes your way…”What if Spasmodic Dysphonia picked you for a reason?” I asked the room full of people with SD. “What brings you here?” We will never know…but just pretend…what if SD picked you for a reason…what is that reason? What is that calling or opportunity? Earlier I began my talk by saying that my voice disorder was a blessing, one of the very best things that ever happened to me and that if a magic fairy appeared in the room and offered to take my disorder away I would not let her have it. SD has brought more blessings into my life than challenges. It was a blessing disguised as a problem. Without SD, I told the group, I never would have known that I was a story teller, a writer, a photographer, an activist or an advocate for reinventing leadership for the modern world. All of that came into my life becasue of SD. “What if SD picked YOU for a reason?”
Finally I shared the idea that despite the trauma that came with your/our disorder…”our true voice still lives within us”. At the opening reception the night before we shared a magical two hours as the microphone was passed around the room and a group of people who struggle to talk all introduced themselves and told their story. The broken voices did not bother anyone in the room. We all understood each other perfectly. During that process several times a broken voice would slip, even for just a few seconds into a normal voice. That true voice still lives with in us all. SD is actually a tool to help people find their voice, not lose it. I told the group we might not be able to totally cure the neurological disorder we share BUT that we could definately make it much better. I told them I didn’t want mine to totally go away anyway…it had been too good to me!
I closed with a reading from my book from a dinner conversation at the Singing Horse Trading Post with my dear friend Catherine Grey Day where she told me that “Change must come from within.” SD forces you to stop, sit still and look inward…that is the blessing of SD. It continues to be a joy to be connect Pine Ridge and the indigenous wisdom of the Sioux to the rest of the world! In the end we all belong to the same tribe and the borders that we think divide us are not real.
Last night, after the conference concluded, I went to the Grand Ole Opry and loved watching beautiful voices do their thing…just like I had at the conference full of amazing people with SD!!!! Blessed!
Hello! This is a great short (4:00 minute) video reminder about how we are all more alike than we are different. The ideas that we think divide us are not as big as they appear…
Kevin Hancock President / Hancock Lumber firstname.lastname@example.org
Books available at www.kevindhancock.com
This short article is by a friend of mine…Larry Miller…a lean management consultant. The article is titled The Ten Virtues of Leadership for a Collaborative World. This is a quick but brilliant read and just had to share this with you. I don’t use the word ‘brilliant’ very often…but this article is briliant!
I shared this with everyone at our company today and suggested that it describes Hancock Lumber’s real, modern day mission. Our mission is not lumber, or logistics or even making money…our mission is trying to model a new paradigm for how people work together…
Below is a link to Larry’s amazing post…
Thank you for being you!
I had the honor of being the dinner speaker tonight at Aetna’s world-wide finance team leadership conference in Hartford, CT. They had 400 of their finance leaders there from around the globe. Aetna bought a copy of the book NOT FOR SALE for each attendee. It was really fun to share the story of Pine Ridge and the story of Spasmodic Dysphonia and how both changed the way I thought about leadership with their team. The theme of their conference was transformational leadership and thinking about new models for leadership that engage the members of the team more deeply!
Here is an excerpt from my talk…”We have been looking in the wrong place for purpose, power, meaning, opportunity and guidance all along. Leadership does not live ‘out there’ somewhere in the hands of others. It’s inside us. We are each the source of our own power. We each are the leader we have been searching for all along. Each of us is the only one who can set things right.”
I shared a passage from the book of a dinner conversation I had one night at the Singing Horse Trading Post with my dear friend and respected elder, Catherine Grey Day as well…”Change comes from within,” Catherine explained. “Our progress as a people must come from within.”
It made me very happy to be a portal for connecting the wisdom of Catherine Grey Day, Dakota Sioux, with the entire finance leadership team at Aetna! :):)
The Aetna team had a great vibe! You know how when you spend a few minutes with a group you immediately get a feel for the spirit and culture of the organization? Their spirit of care and enthusiasm came through in a powerful way during my time with them. The room was filled with talented and motivated people who take pride in what they do and the impact they can have on health care in America. It made me think…the entire television debate about health care access and affordability is almost exclusively focused on what government is going to do…there is very little talk of all the amazing innovation, technology and fresh ideas coming out of the insurance industry itself. Instead, the insurance industry is often labeled as the ‘problem’ that the government has to ‘protect’ the people from. If you had spent the night with me in the Marriott ballroom in Hartford with the Aetna leadership team I am confident you would have left with good feelings. The room was filled with talent, enthusiasm, innovation and good values. It would be helpful if our political leadership would recognize the important work the private sector does to make health care in America better every day.
Aetna’s team was amazing and inspiring! Made me feel good about the future possibilities for health insurance and the positive power of the people working in the industry!
We had a great time! Learned a lot! Shared a lot!
Just sharing this 3 minute video…no one in the video over 10 years old…could solve all the world’s problems…
Hello! This video humanizes the Syrian refugee crisis. Whenever you humanize a situation the truth surfaces. President Trump’s current position of distancing America from refugee challenges is the opposite of what should be done and who we are as a country.
“Refugee” – a person who has been FORCED to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster…
This video follows Mohammed Alsaleh and his work to help Syrian refugees in Vancouver. He himself is a refugee…once tortured and imprisoned for wanting freedom for his people and country.
Mohammed Alsaleh quotes…
- “My generation was dreaming about having freedom” (before 2011)
- “It’s so normal now to open your computer and see the death of your friend (back home) on social media.”
- “It’s heartbreaking to see the country you grew up in get destroyed.”
The world around us can be very mesmerizing and distracting but at the end of the day our path always comes back to what we each choose to do on a local level. That’s the 7th Power, the power of the individual spirit, that lives within us all! We are not defined by what others do or have done. We are defined by what we do each day.
Thank you for being you and for staying connected!
I have been saving this video for Christmas. When you have 15 minutes you might enjoy this 60 Minutes segment on how love and ideas ended the 50 year old gorilla war in Columbia. It’s the best example I have seen of the new Aquarian paradigm of human engagement.
The New Columbia
More than Christmas is a day…it’s an idea…
Love to you! Merry Christmas to all!
I saw this quote today. It crystalized a thought I have had for some time for the people of Pine Ridge and the other reservation communities of the northern plains. This quote also speaks to the one concern I have had surrounding the protests at Standing Rock. More broadly, I think this quote is applicable to all humanity…
The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.
– Dan Millman –
I participated in a small leadership workshop recently where there goal was simple…acquiring a piece of new learning…putting an idea in your head that had not been there before. The program was a reminder that growth is an intentional act…you have to be looking for new ideas, wanting to think differently.
It all reminded me of the vision-quest rite of the Sioux. I have studied that rite and come to believe that the biggest step in the vision-quest process is the first one…seeking. “The spirits will meet you half way,” as the Lakota say.
Over a year after my book, NOT FOR SALE, launched I am still sharing and acquiring ideas connected to that story. Below is a link to a talk I recently gave to the Portland Rotary Club. I wanted to share it with you becasue it’s Christmas and ideas are one of the most valuable gifts we can exchange…
Mitakuye Oyasin! (We are all brothers)
Kevin Hancock’s award-winning book, Not For Sale: Finding Center in the Land of Crazy Horse, on sale for $20/each with FREE shipping, or, BUY 3 GET 1 FREE! Now through 12/31/16. Get your newly released 2nd edition copy with new cover & pictures, signed by the author for the perfect holiday gift! Enter coupon code: BUY3GET1FREE at checkout!
“I read Not For Sale: Finding Center in the Land of Crazy Horse in record time. I simply couldn’t put the book down. Kevin Hancock’s courage in laying out his vision quest so beautifully and humbly is a true inspiration. It is my hope that all business leaders will heed the message that it is possible to care for our souls and our businesses simultaneously. In fact, for true sustainability and health, we must.”
–Christiane Northrup, MD, New York Times best-selling author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, and Goddesses Never Age
“If you had told me a couple of years ago that my friend, Kevin Hancock, would set off on a quest for enlightenment, sparked by a long-distance astrological reading which would lead him to a sweat lodge in a remote Indian reservation well, let’s just say that ‘skeptical’ doesn’t come close to covering it. What happened next is the amazing story Kevin tells here; part history (and not very pleasant history at that), part spiritual journey, part moving portrait of some extraordinary people, and part leadership manual, this fascinating book will touch you and teach you on many levels.”
–Angus S. King Jr., US Senator
“Kevin Hancock’s story touched me, heart and soul. As I read his words, I kept having to chase ‘Amazing Grace’ out of my head. The archetype behind that song–the archetype of awakening and redemption–permeates every chapter. His is the kind of tale that helps restore my faith in human nature–and gives me hope for the human future.”
–Steven Forrest, author of The Inner Sky
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This is Phyllis Young, leader of the Dakota pipeline protest. We were together for 2.5 days non-stop as speakers at Kansas State U. I could give her speech and she could give mine. We agree on some issues and see many other issues differently…but we left UNDERSTANDING each other, seeing our common ground and humanity. A business man from Maine and an famous Indian activist from the Standing Rock Sioux are now close friends! Connectivity and engagement are, in and of themselves, powerful acts! Had to pinch myself a few times to make sure it all was actually happening and I was in the middle of it! I had to work hard at this one intellectually. So fun and energizing! Felt blessed!
Hello! I wanted to share this passage below from a daily reading web-site I subscribe to because it offers a powerful description of the 7th Power…how easily it can be lost…and, therefore, how easily it can be found…
“One of the most common ways in which we imprison ourselves is by comparing ourselves to others and, upon finding our situation inferior, placing blame — on circumstances that we feel are unfair, on the people we believe are responsible for those circumstances, or on some abstract element of fate we think is at play. The self-defeating catch is that we often end up judging our circumstancesagainst others’ outcomes, forgetting that hard work and hard choices are the transmuting agent between circumstance and outcome.
Joseph Brodsky captured this with piercing precision in the greatest commencement address of all time, cautioning: “A pointed finger is a victim’s logo… No matter how abominable your condition may be, try not to blame anything or anybody: history, the state, superiors, race, parents, the phase of the moon, childhood, toilet training, etc. The menu is vast and tedious, and this vastness and tedium alone should be offensive enough to set one’s intelligence against choosing from it. The moment that you place blame somewhere, you undermine your resolve to change anything.”
Luna touches on this perilous tendency as she considers the origin of Should:
How often do we place blame on the person, job, or situation when the real problem, the real pain, is within us? And we leave and walk away, angry, frustrated, and sad, unconsciously carrying the same Shoulds into a new context — the next relationship, the next job, the next friendship — hoping for different results.”
Here is the link to the full article…
Thank you for being you! Wopila Tanka!
Before 7 AM the streets of Boston belong to the runners and the homeless. This man was sleeping on a bench in Copley Square early this morning holding a small America flag. I walked past him, like everyone does…but could not get him off my mind. So I circled back. I didn’t decide lightly to take his picture but I could not resist. I wanted to share his presence.
I think we have become de-sensitized to what’s disturbing around us. People walk by this man all day and make sure not to look…but he is still there. I wonder why we don’t want to look too long or think too deeply about someone is those shoes. What scares us about that?
I come to Boston quite a bit and always bring a small pile of one dollar bills. I give a dollar or two to pretty much anybody who asks. In the process I always look the person in the eye and say hello…maybe exchange a sentence or two. I always leave seeing a real person there who is actually as smart and as human as the rest of us. There is one big black guy who “owns” the spot behind the mail box outside Dunkin Donuts on Boylston. He is very bright. His eyes light up when he talks. He sees me coming and smiles as we know each other now.
The acknowledgement that a person exists is more powerful than the one or two dollars I share. To feel invisible must be deeply painful.
It all reminds me a bit of my time on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Those who contemplate the “rez”or the homeless often find their minds moving to “solutions”, “strategies”, “initiatives” and “judgement”. I understand why…but…I don’t think it’s what is most needed. If it was, Pine Ridge and homelessness would have been “fixed” long ago. I think awareness and connectivity…one human to another human…is what’s needed most. Seeing and acknowledging a person that feels invisible is…in and of itself…a powerful act.
Wopila Tanka for all you do!
Not For Sale: Finding Center in the Land of Crazy Horse has been selected by the 2016 Independent Author Network Book of the Year Awards as a winner in the “Religion and Spirituality” category! The IAN category winners are now submitted for the Book of the Year Award and will be announced on September 1st.
The IAN Book of the Year Awards in an annual contest open to all authors who are self published, or published by independent publishers (small, medium or otherwise). Click Here to read more about the award!
For updated information and lots of new press coverage, or to listen to radio interviews from Kevin’s Radio Media Tour, visit our Related Links page!
The e-book is a unique digital experience with all the color and pictures of the printed version!
My book, NOT FOR SALE – FINDING CENTER IN THE LAND OF CRAZY HORSE began its global radio tour this morning LIVE on the Kathryn Zox show. Her show broadcasts live on “Voice America/World Talk Radio” every Wednesday at 10 AM EST.
My segment opened today’s show…which you can listed to via the following link:
The book received this radio tour as a result of winning the 2016 National Indie Excellence Award for independent books! I want to thank NIEA for helping to give my book and story this “voice”! In addition, it does make me laugh to know that the guy who wrote a book about losing his voice wins a RADIO tour as a prize! Haha!
This is the first of approximately two dozen shows I will be participating on throughout the summer and fall. You can keep posted regarding what’s next on the web-site…if you want to listen live someday…or simply replay an episode.
It was interesting to realize that pretty much every radio show today is broadcast WORLD WIDE! In the Aquarian Age anyone can share their voice!
Hello! I wanted to make my most recent pictures from Pine Ridge available! I just returned from visit #9. The book is gaining traction on the Rez and northern plains, which makes me happy! I also keep expanding my circle…going deeper with existing friends and making new ones!
AWARENESS + CONNECTIVITY = RECONCILIATION
That is the formula…I feel…for transcending the deep, deep wounds. Therefore anything you do to share this post…share past posts…or promote the book…contributes to the power of that circle. We all belong to the same Tribe! Love!
I know why coboys wear pants. I just keep forgetting.
Everytime I walk up onto the rolling hills and grasslands above the Singing Horse Trading Post in shorts…I remember.
I just spent the last 20 minutes picking tiny, tiny prickers out of my shins and ankles!
One a more thoughtful note…here is an excerpt from my newest Pine Ridge journal…written less than an hour ago on the ridge line above the Singing Horse Trading Post just north of Manderson. No judging it…the words just flow off my pen here sometimes…pure as snow, without really thinking about ego terms like ‘quality’.
“I am so still and grounded right now. There is no need to move.
I am planted in the earth, hands free.
Stillness brings power.
I am at this very moment…taking energy from the earth and giving energy back to the earth. There is only one energy, to which all things belong.
To try to understand this sacred source of power we give it human form…GOD…an old white man with a grey beard, knowing eyes, sandals and a white robe. How funny and self-absorbed that is when you think about it. White robes aren’t much more than 4,000 years old. The Earth is 4.5 billion years old and the Universe 13.8 billion! We try to humanize the energy, when it should be the other way around. We are the newcomers…but it’s all good either way!
I am the only person here…The only person every to see this sunset…from this spot…on this night. What did you see today that no one else every saw or will every see, from where you viewed it? Many things no doubt, when you stop to ponder it.
Meanwhile, the grass and the wind keep dancing. Another timeless rhythm plays its sacred song.
As I stand to leave the wind grows stronger…but of course it didn’t…it was me that changed.”
Later, as I drifted down the hill, past Rosie’s horses, a poem came to me (and I wrote it while standing in the dark):
“The sun is done and so am I…the fence cares not as I pass by.
The grass still blows to its own beat…a dance only broken by my two feet.
The horses graze without a care…be it night or day, they stay right there.
The rhythm of the Plains has its own flow…that a busy man shall never know.
But stop yourself and look around…for that which you seek can then be found.”
Just a little live taste from Pine Ridge! Thank you for reading! Thank you for being you! Wopila Tanka! Love!
Yesterday was on of my favorite days on book tour! I spent the morning at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham. I did a one hour book talk and visited with 20 men who live there. Then we moved over to the women’s correctional center and did a one hour talk with 8 women there. At the conclusion I donated 28 books…one for each participant to read.
The event was voluntary so only resident inmates who wanted to attend were present, BUT I was SO IMPRESSED with the people who were there.
They were interested, attentive and had lots of good comments, questions and perspectives. They appreciated being respected as thinkers…that someone would come speak with them and share ideas.
The event on the women’s side was perhaps the most inspiring. There was a bit of magic in the room as we sat in a circle and talked about the book. The group was so into the discussion that we collectively decided I would come back and have a book club discussion after they finished reading in a few weeks.
I was excited about this opportunity to go to the prison because I felt that many people there could relate to and connect with the ideas and messages in my book. The Sioux have a list of grievance so long and deep that it would be hard to count all the reasons they have to blame others for their situation…but…as I suggested at the prison…”The price for growth is to give up your grievances”…and that moving forward requires finding a path to forgive (not forget)…compartmentalize the past hurts…and look inward for the source of your own true strength. As Joseph Campbell once wrote, “We are the truth we seek to know.”
There was a lot of head nodding in the room as these ideas were shared.
Context is such an interesting thing. I was deep within the prison…behind 4 sets of double steel bar doors. All the participants in the book discussion were dressed in blue. There was no mistaking where we were. Yet…if we moved the book club to a library…and changed clothes…you would have had no idea it was a group of prisoners. Pretty much everyone waited after the talk concluded to shake hands, say thank you and share an idea or two of their own. Each person was smart, thoughtful and interested in the dialogue.
What everyone seemed to appreciate most was that they were being recognized. The mere act of going to visit them…of seeing them as important…worthy of a book discussion…that was what they appreciated most.
“They don’t even know we are here,” I have heard people say at Pine Ridge. Being forgotten and cast aside is hard.
“People are people,” I think this to myself all the time. Prison, Pine Ridge, Casco, China, Europe, Africa…it doesn’t matter..it’s all one tribe…and…people are people.
Wopila Tanka to Noreen Hopkins (activities director) at the prison for reading my book and connecting me with the people I spent time with yesterday morning! I loved it!
Kevin is headed back to Pine Ridge!
On Wednesday June 22nd from 1-3pm, Kevin will make his first stop of the trip at the Devil’s Tower National Monument where he will be on hand to sign books and personally discuss his story with people who are visiting one of the many locations he writes about in his book!
Not For Sale: Finding Center in the Land of Crazy Horse is a unique iconoclastic memoir that traces one businessman’s journey deep into Indian country, and even deeper into his own soul. In a corporate world hallmarked by the never-ending quest for bigger, better, more, this CEO of one of America’s oldest family businesses contemplates an organizational structure where the goal is to do less, not more. In a 24/7 internet- wired world consumed with roles, responsibilities, and external accomplishments, Kevin learns to look inward for meaning and purpose. Through a series of successive, solo trips to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Kevin learns the following powerful lessons:
– We all come from a tribe, and while the pull of the past is strong, the soul is here to individuate.
– Leadership in the new Aquarian Age is about doing less, not more. Those who hold the power often overreach; they go too far.
– Busyness is not living, and personal growth lies in looking inward, not outward.
– The boundaries that have been set to divide people are not real. In the end, we’re all one tribe.
In a modern-day adventure strikingly similar to the ancient Lakota Vision Quest rite, Kevin separates from his own tribe for the purpose of seeking a deeper sense of self. Along the way, Kevin comes to be thankful for the partial loss of his own speaking voice as he learns it was his soul’s way of getting him to stop working, stop leading, stop caretaking. In losing consistent access to his voice, Kevin discovers a pathway, a calling, to strengthening the voices of others, which he uses to think differently about the future of Pine Ridge, the future of Hancock Lumber, and the future of tribes everywhere.
Devil’s Tower is an astounding geologic feature that protrudes out of the rolling prairie surrounding the Black Hills. This site is considered Sacred to the Lakota and many other tribes that have a connection to the area. Hundreds of parallel cracks make it one of the finest traditional crack climbing areas in North America. Devils Tower entices us to explore and define our place in the natural and cultural world.
First, I want to share a link to the Muskie Access to Justice Award dinner, held here in Maine on May 25, 2016. The event was a celebration of what I suggested that night was the single most important idea in human history: “equal access to justice for all”. An idea so delicate that constant vigilance is required. An idea difficult to achieve but worthy of pursuit. Kevin Hancock Honored Muskie Access to Justice Award
The event also was another small step in advancing CONNECTIVITY, AWARENESS & RECONCILIATION for Pine Ridge, and other Indian reservations globally. Pine Ridge was reference repeatedly that night to an audience in Maine that otherwise might not be exposed to a story that is still unfolding. Columbus did not discover a new world. People already lived here.
A new day is ready to dawn however. That day was actually foreseen long ago by Black Elk, Crazy Horse and others. Depending upon the Lakota story that is told…six or seven generations after the beginning of the “Reservation era” (1870’s)…the circle would be made whole again…and humanity would begin to see itself as the single tribe it really is. The following quote was in the center of the Muskie event program last week. The power and potential of these words give me goosebumps each time I read them…
“I see a time of Seven Generations when all the colors of mankind will gather under the Sacred Tree of Life and the whole earth will become one circle again. In that day, there will be those among the Lakota who will carry knowledge and understanding of unity among all living things and the young white ones will come to those of my people and ask for this wisdom. I salute the light within your eyes where the whole Universe dwells. For when you are at that center within you and I am that place within me, we shall be one.”
The day that Crazy Horse spoke of long ago is upon us. It is time…but we must seize it. It is time…
“Attention is the rarest & purest form of generosity.” – Simone Weil
I want to start with something funny. One thing I love about Pine Ridge is the powerful sense of humor and playfulness that lives in the hearts of the people there. I recently gave a small amount of money to a friend from Pine Ridge. As soon as she received the money she sent me the following text: “OMG! Wopila Tanka (big thanks)! I am going to repay you as soon as we get the Black Hills back!”
I laughed all day from that one message!
I also wanted to share with you that my book (NOT FOR SALE – Finding Center in the Land of Crazy Horse) won another award from the National Indie Excellence Awards (NIEA) based in Santa Barbara, California. Each year, the NIEA gives out four “Sponsor’s Choice Prizes” to four books that they feel represent the best of what independent publishing has to offer. Each prize gets a major promotional package.
My book ended up being selected and awarded the “Radio Media Tour” promoted by Conscious Media Relations (CRM) (http://consciousmediarelations.com/).
As a result, the book is going to be professionally marketed by their agency to over 3,000 radio shows seeking “personal development/self-help/conscious living/wellness/spirituality/transformational” guidance.
You can read more in the link below. As someone who has helped me or been passionate about the book, I wanted to share this with you and say Wopila Tanka!
This all makes me happy because, for me, this whole exercise is about raising awareness & connectivity between the “tribes” of the world and inviting self-reflection on an individual level. As the Lakota knew long ago, tribes are made strong one soul at a time.
It’s not about selling books for me…it’s about sharing and spreading ideas…strengthening the voices of others!
Thank you for help me spread the word! In the Aquarian Age…readers (not publishers) sell books!
Hello! Just sharing a couple of exciting updates.
First, we recently learned that our book NOT FOR SALE – Finding Center in the Land of Crazy Horse won a national award for independent book excellence! Specifically, the book was selected by the National Indie Excellence Awards (NIEA) (based in Los Angeles) as THE 2016 winner in the “Leadership” book category. The book was also one of only three finalists in the “Spirituality” category. You can learn more at www.indieexcellence.com.
Second, our book was picked up by the National Grasslands Visitors Center in Wall, South Dakota! (http://www.blackhillsbadlands.com/parks-monuments/buffalo-gap-national-grassland) The book will soon be “for sale” there and is already for sale at Devils Tower National Monument!
We have nearly sold out our first printing. The book’s second edition is going to print this week, so look for it coming soon!
- Videos now available online! At the 2nd Annual Maine Live on March 24th, 14 speakers shared their stories of integrity, tenacity, and courage. For Kevin Hancock, CEO of Hancock Lumber Company, that story is about losing his voice to a rare neurological disorder and then finding it again after spending time on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. There, he learned an important lesson about power and the individual.“What if we could create an organization where everybody led?Where every voice felt heard, respected, valued, trusted, and empowered?” Watch now.
In addition to Kevin’s message above, here are a few of our favorite reflections from the day: (click here to watch any or all 14 speaker presentations)
- Mark Bessire | Portland Museum of Art: There doesn’t need to be conflict between the traditional and the modern; ideas from both worlds can coexist. There is power in creating meaningful traditions with family, friends, organizations, and communities.
- Jan Kearce | Lift 360: Ask yourself, “What am I a commitment to?”. Embody your purpose. YOU are enough to make it happen. Re-write your story – think about the obituary you’d write for the life you’re leading; now, think about the obituary you’d write for yourself for the life you WANT to lead. Take time to pause and reflect; don’t burn yourself out.
- George Neptune | Abbe Museum: Pass on tradition/language/stories of your tribe, so as to “save it for those not yet born”. Find balance, embrace your two spirits – it is OK to have feet in multiple worlds.
- Steve Malcom | Knickerbocker Group: Spend time “kicking the dirt”…having conversations about the “What ifs” and “Why nots”. Throw rocks (ideas) out there to make ripples and share ideas; it might take time for them to come back and become reality, but get your ideas out there. Take time to listen, really listen and be in the present without judging or making an opinion too quickly. The world is a dynamic place that is ALWAYS changing. Look for those moments to find opportunity.
- Tae Chong | Startmart CEI: Racism is a bad business model. Look at ALL kinds of people as an asset and economic opportunity in a state that is facing a major labor crisis. A few eye opening Maine stats that Tae shared:
- By 2022, 1 in 4 Mainers will be over 65
- 100,000 workers will be needed in Maine in the next 10 years
- 44 Median Age of Mainer
- Maine had more deaths than births in 2015
- Maine is older than Florida
- Maine is the oldest and whitest state
- Beth Shissler | Sea Bags: Sea Bags is green in product and process, sourcing USA materials and keeping manufacturing and jobs in Maine! Look for the FIT in the people you bring to your organization. HR is all about cultural fit.
- Ben Fowlie | Camden Int’l Film Festival: Don’t shy away from difficult topics; leverage the arts to spark local dialogue and create social change.
- Laurie Lachance | Thomas College: “Nia” = purpose. Let your life unfold down an unintentional path, intentionally, and you’ll end up where you’re supposed to be–but, only if you are paying attention during threshold moments. Pay attention. Listen. Stop. Pause. Reflect. Ask yourself, “What are my unique gifts?” and seize the opportunities in front of you.
- Leslie Oster | Aurora Provisions: Slow down and set a place for yourself at the table. Sharing your gifts and passion with the world will only be fulfilling if you put a seat at the table for YOU.
- Sara Shifrin | Gould Academy’s Family Ideas Center: View the library as a room full of ideas, possibilities and thinking – it’s not just a room full of books. Resist the temptation to find solutions; observe, learn, listen, and employ design thinking to bring new ideas to life.
- Yellow Light Breen | Maine Development Foundation: There is a distinct difference between feeling comfortable and fitting in. Sector jargon- “internal languages” – get in the way of making change; ideas matter, people matter, and take time to celebrate success. We all like to be on a winning team.
- Mike Katz | Camp Sunshine: Working with terminally ill children makes one very humbled and reflective. Acts of kindness make a lifelong impact. Volunteer; make a difference!
- Heather Sanborn | Rising Tide Brewery: Ask the ones you love around you what they want to do in life. “A rising tide lifts all boats” – there is such art and meaning behind naming a child, a non-profit, a business that you are passionate about. Think about the community and power in “helping a neighbor”, and leveraging the “spirit of collegiality” — the cooperative relationship of colleagues. A collaborative ethos is best; we are all a part of “Team Maine”!
Mark your calendars! May is a busy month and full of a variety of opportunities to listen to Kevin speak about this about his book and the lessons he learned and applied during his time on the Pine Ridge reservation. Here is a schedule of events:
- Friday 5/6 12:30-2pm: Architects of Tomorrow event at the East Auburn Baptist Church. Kevin will be the keynote speaker for this year’s event, Architects of Tomorrow: Build leaders within your organization. Join us to learn what is takes to become a strong leader who defines the path, clarifies the direction, leads the team and executes the vision. Register today by emailing email@example.com; $99 Registration, lunch and conference materials included.
- Thursday 5/12 6:30-7:30pm: Author talk & book signing at Falmouth Memorial Library
- Thursday 5/19 5:30-7:30pm: Author talk & book signing at The Mustard Seed Bookstore
- Thursday 5/26 12-2pm: Join members of the business community at a “Lunch and Learn” event at the Scarborough Public Library for an opportunity to discuss Kevin’s book!
Remember to check back often to the upcoming events section of our website, as this list continues to grow. We hope to see you at any or all of these events!
On the cusp of this great opportunity to share an article recently published in the New York Times about Kevin and his book, A Lumber Executive Loses His Voice and Finds Balance, we wanted to share something else too!
A few months back, Kevin shared an excerpt from his book of a written apology to the people of Pine Ridge that both recognized, and apologized for what happened. We were excited to see that almost 500 people felt the same way and were willing to sign our online pledge!
It is our hope that you will continue to share this excerpt with the people around you, because as it was said before, awareness, in and of itself, is a powerful act.
Please visit the apology written by Kevin at the following link:
Here, you can add your name and pass it on!
The town of Casco, where I live, has one traffic light. It only blinks, never turning fully red. Two buildings down from the old, red Hancock Lumber office on Pleasant Lake is the Casco Village Variety store. I go there most every day.
Inside the store, to the left of the door, is a small white marker board where Evelyn, the owner, posts a quote each morning. The short messages are so good that I have started going in to read them even if I don’t really need anything from the store.
This morning’s quote reads:
“Lend yourself to others, but give yourself to yourself.”
That one sentence is the essence of my book NOT FOR SALE. (took me 500 pages to say it!!!!)
Long ago, before the coming of the horses, the Lakota were given Seven Sacred Rites by the White Buffalo Calf Woman. One of those rites was the Vision Quest (Hanbleycheya). In the Vision Quest rite, young men coming of age and adults at transformation times in their lives, would leave their tribe and journey alone into the wilderness for the purpose of seeking a vision. The object was to gain a deeper sense of the connectivity all living things share with each other and the Great Spirit. Then, under those quiet and meditative condition, it was often possible to hear more clearly the whispers of your own soul (the soul always whipsers but the ego doesn’t always listen).
The idea was to gain insight into that which inspired YOU…to see…for a moment…your unique path and core values. Then you were expected to return to your tribe…share the vision you had received…and live your life in accordance with what you learned.
The idea was simple but powerful…if EVERY individual was strong because they were being true first to themselves, than the tribe would be strong. As Rudyard Kipling wrote, “The strength of the pack is the wolf”.
In this way, being selfish is selfless. When we listen first to ourselves…and follow our individual path of truth…we become the most valuable to others.
All that from the morning quote…on the left hand side of the door…at the Casco Village Variety store…
“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself, again and again.”
- Joseph Campbell
The New York Times features Kevin Hancock in their March 9th online article titled, “A Lumber Executive Loses His Voice and Finds Balance”.Writer Jennifer Van Allen recounts the past decade and Kevin’s journey – how losing his voice led to a series of unexpected events, ultimately helping Kevin redefine his role as CEO and share power more broadly within the 6th generation, family-owned organization led by its 458 employees. Anyone interested in learning more about leadership, opening oneself up to new ideas and experiences, and living beyond the definition of “roles” should take a look at this article and learn more about Kevin’s book.
What a day when the New York Times features your story! It is an honor to share these opportunities and lessons beyond the state, and connect with like-minded leaders around the country. Pick up your copy of The New York Times tomorrow, March 10th and share in our excitement!
POST WRITTEN BY KOURTNEY MCLEAN
Looking for something fun to do next week? Pick up a copy of Not For Sale: Finding Center in the Land of Crazy Horse and join us at the Bridgton Public Library on Tuesday, 3/8 from 4-6pm when Kevin Hancock will be on hand to discuss his book and sign copies! Books are for sale at the library now, or, the night of the event.
Copies can also be purchased at our newest bookstore in the Portland Museum of Art. While there, check out the amazing exhibit featuring the work of Edward Curtis, now through 5/29, featuring photographs he took while studying to write his book, The North American Indian.
In the upcoming months, Kevin Hancock will be making appearances at the Falmouth Memorial Library, The Mustard Seed Bookstore, Scarborough Public Library, and Raymond Public Library to discuss and sign copies of his book. In addition, you can now find the book at Gulf of Maine Books in Brunswick and Maine Coast Books in Damariscotta!
We also wanted to share this exciting review recently posted on Amazon from a reader:
“Kevin has written a very profound and moving book. What appears to be leadership lessons turns out to be a spiritual journey, in its deepest sense. It is personal and authentic, and written with a great style. We ALL can learn from this gifted author.”
Sharing your thoughts help share this story, and we would love to hear your feedback on our Amazon product page. To do so, simply click on the link below, view the customer reviews, and share your own thoughts about the book.
I recently appeared on the “HR Power Hour” radio show on WLOB news & talk. During the show I spoke about creating a work culture where EVERY VOICE MATTERS. Organizations where everyone leads and feels heard will outperform those where just a few hold all the power.
I feel this idea is valuable to any organization whether it is a business, a church, a sports team or an Indian Reservation. The last time the Lakota were powerful and independent, the individual was the center of the tribes strength. Today, government is the center and the people have lost their voice. When this is reversed, Pine Ridge will regain its strength and balance.
I hope you enjoy this podcast and find it relevant for the organizations and tribes you belong to!
Exciting things are happening as we continue to spread the word about Not For Sale: Finding Center in the Land of Crazy Horse! We are excited to share these updates with you, and share with you some recently added sections to our website!
The book is currently being sold in 17 bookstores in the New England and Dakotas regions and the number continues to grow! Just this week, we added The Book Review Bookstore in Falmouth, Maine to the list. Check out our new “Bookstores” tab to see a complete list of stores now selling the book!
In addition, we have been working to schedule a number of author events to create even more awareness about the book. Bridgton Books, The Good Life Market, the Casco Public Library and the Harrison Public Library have all hosted events, just to name a few. Please check out our events calendar during the upcoming year to see all of the author events taking place.
Here are a couple upcoming events to note:
- Author talk and book signing on Monday February 22nd from 6-7pm at the Auburn Public Library.
- Author talk and book signing on Tuesday March 8th at 4pm at the Bridgton Public Library.
There have been a number of articles in different publications featuring Kevin and his book such as:
- The National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association
- Maine Home + Design
- Lumber Co-Operator
- Prosales Magazine
A full list of these with links to the articles can be found on our website under the “Related Links” tab.
Lastly, we encourage you to check out HR Power Radio to listen to Kevin Hancock discuss his book on the radio show that aired this past Saturday!
We look forward to sending you updates as things continue to happen, and hope you find these exciting new additions to the website helpful!
I was driving through the Black Hills after my second trip to the Pine Ridge Reservation when the idea hit me. AWARENESS, in and of itself, is a powerful act. More government programs won’t change Pine Ridge. What is needed is a sincere, thoughtful apology; recognition of what happened. So I grabbed my journal…took out my pen…and began to write. I wrote an apology.
Then I had another idea. What if the apology went viral? What if thousands upon thousands of people signed it and passed it on?
Please visit the apology I wrote at the following link:
From there you can sign on to the apology…add you name to the list…and then pass it on!
If just 100 people sign onto the apology with me, and then share it with 10 more people each, in just 4 steps this apology will reach 1,000,000 people. In Sioux culture, the number 4 is considered sacred.
“Apologies aren’t meant to change the past. They are meant to change the future.”
-Kevin Hancock (Casco Village Church. September 27, 2015.)
Join the apology and pass it on!
Wopila Tanka (Big Thanks)!
“Now you can see today why the world is in trouble. What is the social field today? The social field is the planet, and there isn’t a single system of action that has to do with the planet. They all have to do with one interest group or another.” – Joseph Campbell
There was a time in human history when tribalism was necessary for survival. Today, tribalism is what often threatens survival. How ironic!
I wonder who see this among the world’s leaders today? For many who hold power, there must be fear in the notion of tribal integration…of connecting more deeply with people from away. The entire dogma of most tribes is built upon the need to stay separated. The power construct of the world today is dependent upon the compartmentalization of peoples into distinct groups. Distrust of the other tribes is what perpetuates the need for your own.
It is hard to break through the barrier of tribalism when there are those who will (knowingly or unknowingly) abuse it’s existence for the advancement of their own personal power.
I wonder who sees this among the people, the average citizens of the worlds respective tribes?
A thousand years from now what will humans think of all the tribal borders and boundaries that artificially segregate the planet today? How unnecessary, expensive and limiting will it all appear from afar?
Every time I leave the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, or the Black Hills, and drive into Wyoming I stop at the sign that tells me I am leaving one state and entering another. The border makes me smile and laugh out loud even though I am usually alone there!
“This border is not real,” I say softly, but defiantly, with a friendly smile. “It is an artificial construct claiming territory between governors and legislatures.” The wind and the grass and the sun care not about this invisible line.
The myth of tribalism will someday be one of the great awakenings of human social development. You can see the limitations and consequences of this myth at every turn. I see it today in the history that created the Pine Ridge Reservation.
Approximately 200,000 years ago, early humans began migrating north out of Africa. Over time, some travel further north into Europe. Others moved east into Asia. By boat and with the assistance of an Ice Age, the descendants of some of those who long ago traveled east moved down into the Americas. Eventually, the descendants of some of those who migrated west began traveling by boat in search of new lands; in search of new worlds. In 1492, the descendants of those who went east were reunited with the descendants of those who went west…both groups thinking they were meeting each other for the first time…neither group recognizing the other…neither group realizing that they all belonged to the same tribe…the human tribe.
“I stood upon the highest mountain of the world and I knew more than I saw, I understood more than I knew, because I was seeing in a sacred manner. And what I saw were the hoops of all the nations interlocking in on great circle.” – Black Elk
The Aga Khan is the spiritual leader of Shia Ismaili Muslims worldwide. He spoke recently at Harvard University about tribalism. The Associated Press summarized his speach as follows:
“He said globalization should not mean the creation of a single, homogenized society where all differences are erased, but one where what we have in common and what makes us different is respected.”
The Aga Khan was speaking of the relationship between the Christian and Muslim worlds but I also immediately thought of Pine Ridge.
I think that this cuts to the heart of the challenge for the Sioux reservations of the northern plains. On the one hand there is a desire for greater economic and social connectivity, inclusion and integration. On the other hand, lives the fear of losing heritage and culture. The problem is the feeling that we have to choose one or the other. That notion is limiting.
A new paradigm might be the embrace of both ideas. Easier said than done I am sure but in Lakota society the direction one faces is considered to be important…because it determines where you end up.
Hello! I want to share this short essay by Sophie Gregoire that my daughter Abby shared with me this morning!
To all my Pine Ridge friends – This quote reminds me of Pine Ridge…it reminds me of Casco, Maine…it reminds me of planet earth…it reminds me of being human. We are all one tribe and we are the truth we seek to know…
Why We Struggle to find ourselves and How to do it.
“For a long time I’ve had a bit of an obsession with coming home. Not my physical home, but HOME with a capital H. Being with myself. Knowing who I was. Leaning back into me and having that “AH” feeling of being totally whole and totally at peace. I felt like there was something missing, and that I needed to find that missing piece to complete the puzzle. I thought that if I found the right job, or met the right man, or had the right friends, or went on the right adventure that I would find it.
The journey to the self is much less of a linear path to be trodden and much more of a turning back to ourselves. It’s a stopping, a slowing down, and the realization that we are already complete and whole. But, it wasn’t until I stopped trying to get somewhere, be it the perfect future or the end of a spiritual path that I could see that I was what I was looking for. And, that I’m here not out there.
So call off the search. You don’t need to be found. you’re already here.”
– Jane Doherty
On Wednesday I spoke at the Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland annual “Raise the Roof Gala”. I enjoyed this opportunity becasue Habitat for Humanity is modeling the way for organizational effectiveness. Habitat for Humanity celebrates the power of the individual spirit. The volunteers and homeowners who are part of the organization are given important roles. Their voices are strong!
I suggested Wednesday night that the Aquarian Age is going to be about a transition from institutions holding the power to individuals holding the power. Organizations that celebrate the individual are going to attract people and support. Organizations that resist sharing power are going to lose ground.
Habitat for Humanity is an orgainzation that strengthens the voices of others. In doing so, their power goes far beyond building houses! They are a modeling the way forward for others!
I spent the day at our sawmill in Bethel, Maine yesterday. At the end of the work day, I gave each of the 103 people who work there a copy of my book, NOT FOR SALE – Finding Center in the Land of Crazy Horse!
The day before I had personalized each book…took almost 3 hours!
I wanted to do that as a show of respect. I never want people at Hancock Lumber to feel like they are only wanted for their physical work. I want every person to feel important for their ideas and opinions. That’s really what my book stands for…strengthening voices…at home and at Pine Ridge!
Sunday, I did a book talk at the Casco Library (my hometown library)! 1/2 of my former english teachers were there! That was a little overwhelming! Sold 20 books.
Yesterday we shipped 12 books from on-line orders to 7 different states!
Today I am giving a book to all 103 people who work at our mill in Bethel. Every voice matters! In addition, we are hosting a group of medical professionals from Central Maine Health Care at the mill today. We are sharing lean strategies for making the voices of employees and customers stronger in health care and manufacturing. I am giving them all a copy of the book!
The word is spreading! In the end, it’s all one tribe!
I want to share this great, short video. It summarizes what happened in just 20 years after wolves were reintroduced to the Yellowstone ecosystem. This story reinforces the Lakota view of the interconnectedness of all living creatures. Balance is nature’s optimal state. This also makes me think of human organizations and how easily they can fall out of balance if the needs of certain groups of individuals within the organization are neglected or excluded. It takes every member of the tribe to achieve optimal balance in a community (be it a reservation, a company, a state, a nation or a planet).
Mitakuye Oyasin (“All things are one thing.” “We are all related.”)
I had my first library event and book signing last evening at the Harrison Public Library! It was great to see how vibrant libraries are reinventing themselves!
There were 20 people there. We sold 14 books. Most refresing was the notion of an evening of discussion…a bit of a lost venue. No television…no internet…instead a discussion about my book and the themes that it plays off.
My book is about strengthening voices. I talked about my voice disorder and the calling it has come to represent for me to help strengthen the voices of others. At Hancock Lumber, that translates into a desire to create a company where everyone leads…where everyone feels heard and valued. At Pine Ridge, it translates into encouraging people to look inward for their own personal source of strength. This was the tradition of the Lakota represented in the Vision Quest rite of passage. Finally, for me, the concept represents listening to my own inner voice and allowing it to be free and served.
This book is definately striking a cord with people. I can feel it. They tell me…they write me. The feedback is incredibly sincere and powerful. I think there are a lot of people SEARCHING for a bit more meaning…SEARCHING to transcend “busyness”.
The book is off the a strong start and this makes me happy! This past weekend was Native American Sunday at UCC churches across America. I was invited to give the sermon at our church in Casco and it gave me a chance to speak about Pine Ridge. The UCC (globally) has repudiated the Doctrine of Discovery. The Doctrine began as a 15th century papal edict that gave European Christian explorers the “authority” to claim foreign lands they “discovered” for their Christian monarchs, so long as the native peoples were not already Christians. This papal “ruling” was the justification and basis for colonialism. It was great to learn that the United Church of Christ take such a progressive position. As I said in my talk…”apologies are not meant to change the past, they are meant to change the future.”
Apologies require awareness. Awareness, I feel, is critical to helping native peoples today feel recognized and acknowledged…which will, in turn, help more Native American communities let the past go a little bit more and more forward with more confidence and focused eyes on the future.
On Tuesday I did a radio show with Love Maine Radio about the book and tonight I am doing an event at a leading library in Western Maine. Over 1,500 copies have been sold and distributed! NOT FOR SALE – Finding Center in the Land of Crazy Horse is off to a strong start! Wopila Tanka! Help me keep spreading the word!
So my book launched this week! It has been great fun to share the story! This picture is from my office in Casco where I stacked books for shipment to all the people who helped make the project possible! All the great characters in my book from Pine Ridge received copies. I am thankful to everyone who participated in the project! Wopila Tanka!
The book is available on Amazon and in bookstores across Maine! The book is also available at the Singing Horse Trading Post on the reservation. All copies ordered on our website (www.kevindhancock.com) will be autographed!
The Lakota have a saying, “Mitakuye Oyasin”, which means “we are all related”. This book is about seeing the planet for the single tribe it really is. Enjoy! Help spread the word!
Books are currently for sale online at www.kevindhancock.com. You can click the yellow BUY NOW button to the right of this post. All books ordered on my web site will be signed!
Books are also available on Amazon.com.
The following retailers in Maine are currently selling the book:
- Bridgton Books
- Casco Village Variety
- MirarBella Salon
- Bowdoin College Bookstore
- Gulf of Maine Books (Brunswick)
- Longfellow Books (Portland)
Stay tuned for more store openings soon!
Help me spread the word! Wopila Tanka!
Hancock Lumber was recently selected as a “BEST PLACE TO WORK IN MAINE” for the second year in a row! This is an extremely difficult award to achieve. The criteria is based on confidential employee surveys in which the vast majority of respondents describe themselves as being “Highly Engaged” in their workplace. Since I lost the partial use of my voice to Spasmodic Dysphonia in 2010, I have found myself listening more, talking less, and seeking to strengthen the voices of others. An organization where EVERYONE leads is stronger than one in which just a few lead. Pine Ridge is an example of this. In the old days, when the Lakota were strong, the role of central government was very small. All the power went to the individual. The vision-quest rite of the Lakota is an example of the traditional values of their society. Each young man coming of age ventured out on his own to “seek a vision” of his true calling. Then, that individual was expected to come back to the tribe and live their personal truth and pursue that which called to him. It was believed that if each individual was strong than the tribe would be strong. Today, thanks to generations of excessive central control, the government (Federal and tribal) holds most of the power (land, money, jobs) and very little space is left for the individual. The ‘old ways’ of the Lakota show the path forward for modern organizations in the Aquarian Age…the path to strength lives in each individual LOOKING INWARD and seeking their own truth, speaking their own voice, and making themselves strong. Modern leadership structures need to support and encourage this individual strength, not squash it! As Rudyard Kipling wrote, The strength of the pack is the wolf.
Thunder Valley is a Lakota founded and managed non-profit at Pine Ridge that promotes economic independence through traditional values. They are beginning construction this summer on one of the largest housing developments in the modern history of the reservation. Nick Tilsen, the executive director, is one of my best friends at Pine Ridge and a leading character in my book. The following link will give you a GREAT glimpse of life at Pine Ridge and the amazing spirit of the people who live there!
I made the first journal entry, that would become the basis for this book, on Sunday October 28, 2012 on a flight from Chicago to Rapid City. A short while later, my now close friend (and tribal member), “Pinky” Clifford met me at baggage claim and hosted my first visit to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
Today, July 24, 2015, we sent the book (NOT FOR SALE) to the printer in Illinois! In about five weeks we will be signing and shipping copies! The book contains 200 original color photos that follow the story of my experiences in the Land of Crazy Horse. I have a quiet peace about me as this book completes its circle…
Wopila Tanka to all my friends at Pine Ridge and my book team back home in Maine!
June is high school graduation season in Maine. At Fryeburg Academy, not far from where I live, a senior by the name of Thu Pham gave a graduation speech titled – “Stay Gritty”. In her commencement talk Thu cited the work of Angela Lee Duckworth who has been studying the characteristics that define success in school. Angela has concluded that the #1 determinant of success is not IQ, social ability or good looks. The key to success is GRIT.
“Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.” – A. Duckworth
I love this idea and it immediately made me think of Pine Ridge, one of the grittiest places I have ever been connected to. The people of Pine Ridge have endured hardship and oppression for generations yet the reservation is still filled with big-hearted people who are resilient and proud.
If being gritty is the key to long-term success than Pine Ridge has good things coming its way! Stay gritty Pine Ridge!
I spoke today at the annual Maine Youth Leadership Conference (MYL) (www.maineyouthleadership.org). MYL is one of my favorite organizations. Each year it brings 10th grade “ambassadors” from every high school in Maine to come together for a program of leadership development, social tolerance and personal exploration. For the past two years I have given the Friday morning talk to the group, during which I have shared my learnings and adventures at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
My talk explores five themes:
- Overreaching. Those who hold the power in organizations often over reach. They go too far. Overreaching has consequences. The conquest of the tribes of the Great Plains during America’s western expansion is one such example (from which there are still communities among us trying to recover).
- We all come from a tribe. We all come from a tribe (family, neighborhood, community, region). Our tribes pull on us all to act a certain way and to do certain things. But we are all here on this earth to individuate; we are all here to hear our own callings and become the person our soul wants to be.
- When we serve ourselves we strengthen our tribe. In this respect, being selfish is selfless for when we find the people, places and activities that truly inspire us we give the most back to the world we live in.
- When it comes to leadership, less is more. In my talk, I share my story of losing my voice to Spasmodic Dysphonia (SD). SD is a rare voice disorder that restricts speech. I acquired the disorder in 2009. Sometimes I can talk freely. Sometimes I can’t. SD forced me lead differently and that turned out to be a blessing. I have since come to believe that every CEO should lose his or her voice, at least for a time. When you lose your voice, as the leader of an organization you…listen more, ask questions, pick your spots more carefully and share the leadership stage with others. I have since become passionate about creating organizations where everyone leads and strengthening the voices of every member of the tribe (be it Hancock Lumber or Pine Ridge).
- Mitakuye Oyasin. Mitakuye Oyasin is a Lakota phrase that means “we are all related”. This concept lives at the center of Lakota spirituality and it has scientific principles supporting it. Lakota philosophy believes that all things that live, have lived or shall live are related as everything that lives come from and returns to the earth. All living things are comprised of the same elements and particles. From the earth to the earth. It is in this way, for example, that the Lakota viewed the buffalo as their “four legged brothers”. I have come to believe that Mitakuye Oyasin is a hidden revelation for our planet. Once rediscovered, the idea changes the way people view the world. The boundaries we see all around us are actually artificial, not real. In the end, we are all one tribe even though we have convinced ourselves otherwise.
During my talk I told the students at MYL that after the Lakota were defeated in the 1870’s, they were sequestered out of the way on a series of remote reservations. For the next three generations, American public policy was to “remake” the Indians so they could live successfully in the white world. Children were removed from their homes (well into the 1950’s and 1960’s) and sent off to unforgiving Indian boarding school to be remade. Their hair was cut, their dress was changed, their language and customs were forbidden. They were conquered then colonized. The effects of this overreaching are still being felt as the reservations on the Northern Plains are to this day among the poorest and most self-destructive places in America. In elementary school we are taught that “Columbus discovered a new world” but people already lived here.
My experiences at Pine Ridge have shown me that the people who live there have all the skills and talents necessary rise above the transgressions of the past and to soar like their ancestors. No one needs to save or fix them. At the same time, the people who live there need to feel recognized, acknowledged and respected. “They don’t even know we are here,” is a common theme I hear at Pine Ridge.
At the conclusion of my talk, the program coordinators made me wait as a group of students went out in the hall. A few moments later they returned with dozens of back packs and school supplies they had organized for me to send to Pine Ridge as a gesture that says “you are not forgotten”. People cried, smiled and celebrated. A short while later, my Jeep was loaded with backpacks.
A guy from a lumber company in Maine and a group of 10th graders from the same state were together reaching out to the people of Pine Ridge saying…we are all related…you are respected…you are not forgotten…be well…go forth in peace.
So cool, I thought to myself as I drove away. Nowhere in my “job description” at our main office in Casco does it say I am supposed to be talking to students at MYL or increasing awareness at Pine Ridge. We all need to listen for our callings and not lose ourselves in the 24/7 churn of “bigger, better, more”. It’s all one tribe and each person on this planet is here to individuate and find their own true path.
In the fall of 2012 I made my first visit to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota just to see what modern day life was like for the people who lived there. What I experienced during that initial visit fascinated me. It called out to a spirit deep within me. I was not expecting the experience to be so powerful, but it was. I have since been back four times and have many friends there now. In the process…I have donated materials to build a new home there…hunted a buffalo and brought the meat to Pine Ridge to share with the tribe…launched a non-profit organization called “The Seventh Power”…and… I am now writing a book about my adventures at Pine Ridge that I expect to publish later in 2014. Pine Ridge is beautiful, desolate, historic, tragic, hopeful, spiritual, poor, forgotten, resourceful, energizing and much more. It is an amazing and important place that our country has forgotten about. The calling I feel is to help increase AWARENESS.
Pine Ridge is home to the Oglala Sioux Tribe and approximately 35,000 native people live there. The reservation is large and remote. It is 2.2 million acres in size and very few people go there. It sits in the southwest corner of South Dakota below the Badlands National Park and above the Nebraska panhandle. Pine Ridge is one of the largest and poorest native reservations in America. Unemployment is around 80% and the median income is less than $8,000. There is very little economic infrastructure at Pine Ridge. There is no grocery store, no car dealership and no motel. As a result, what little money the people do have is usually spent off the reservation. Poverty, alcohol abuse, suicide, drop-out rates, life expectancy and other social challenges plague Pine Ridge today.
The people of Pine Ridge are resilient, resourceful and fun to be with. Despite decades of cultural oppression their language, traditions and values are still intact. The Lakota people generally, and the Oglala Tribe specifically, have a rich and powerful history. They are the descendants of Red Cloud, Crazy Horse, Black Elk and others. Their ancestors are some of the most famous war chiefs and medicine men in American history. Their ancestors played a leading role in defeating Custer and the Seventh Cavalry at the Little Big Horn River in June of 1876. In December of 1890 Chief Bigfoot’s band of Minneconjou Sioux were massacred at Wounded Knee (located on the Rez). Wounded Knee became famous once again in the early 1970’s when leaders of the American Indian Movement barricaded the roads and entered into a prolonged standoff with Federal Marshalls over living conditions and fair treatment.
The people of Pine Ridge will sometimes refer to their modern journey as “first to worst”. Before the coming of the “Wasichu” (whites) in the mid-19th century they were free, self-sufficient and prosperous. Since the reservation era they have become among the poorest people in America. Today, government dependency is very high at Pine Ridge.
Below are two links I hope you will explore. The first shares a series of videos from my personal experiences at Pine Ridge. The second is a link to our new non-profit where you can see the mission we are pursuing.
Personal blog site featuring my Pine Ridge journey
(Follow my blog for more updates)
Seventh Power (Non Profit) Website
If this subject speaks to you let me know and share these links with others. I am not out to ‘fix’ anybody at Pine Ridge. I have met the people of Pine Ridge and I am confident they will chart their own course back toward economic independence through traditional values. I have no formal role at Pine Ridge. I just like it there. AWARENESS and UNDERSTANDING are, of themselves, powerful tools. Individuals just following their heart find themselves and impact others every day.
– Kevin Hancock
In the fall of 2013 I returned to Pine Ridge for the 4th time… during this trip I hunted buffalo in Wyoming… rented a truck… brought the meat to the REZ… shared it with the people… walked the grasslands… worked on housing issues… celebrated Halloween… recorded stories from an elder… traveled north to former tribal lands… had a vision quest there… walked the wagon tracks of the Oregon Trail… stood alone at Forts Fetterman and Laramie where treaties were made… then broken… then fought over… drove to Denver in a snowstorm… gave thanks for my family… learned that the Great Spirit forms a circle… and that the sacred number is four…
I am writing a book about the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota and the people of Oglala Sioux Tribe who live there. Along the way I enjoy sharing my experiences through pictures I have taken. This video follows my third visit to the Reservation where I; participated in a dedication ceremony for a new house that was built from materials our company (Hancock Lumber) donated, attend Pow-Wow and the annual rodeo, visited Black Elk’s abandoned cabin and traveled to the Black Hills to climb Harney Peak where I gave a prayer in honor of Black Elk and the Lakota people.
I encourage you to read the book ‘Black Elk Speaks’ and stay posted for my book coming in 2014! Please share this video with others as I am inspired to create more AWARENESS of the history of the Lakota people and more ENCOURAGEMENT for them as they let go of past injustices and build an independent future for themselves, their families and their communities. The spirit & depth of this video is meant to be watched on an I-Pad or computer (not a phone). It just requires a quiet 15 minutes for reflection. Thank you! Doksa Ake!
For the past 12 months I have been spending time on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the southwest corner of South Dakota. “The Rez” as those who live there call it, is home to the Oglala Sioux Tribe. The tribe has a rich history as they are the descendants of Red Cloud, Spotted Tail, Crazy Horse, Black Elk and other famous Sioux leaders. The Oglala Sioux were leaders in Battle at Little Big Horn in 1876 and the famous massacre site at Wounded Knee is located on their reservation. They belong to the Lakota band of Sioux Indians who, as late as the 1870’s controlled a vast territory stretching from the Missouri River to the Big Horn Mountains. Their land was guaranteed to be theirs by the U.S. Government through the Treaty of 1868 forever (“as long as the grass shall grow and the water shall flow”) but just a few years later gold was “discovered” in the Black Hills and everything changed.
The Lakota people referred to gold as the “yellow metal that makes the white men crazy”. Prospectors and settlers rushed into the Black Hills and the government told the Lakota people that the treaty could no longer stand. Instead, reservations were created in the least desirable places as far out of the way as possible. For the next 100 years government policy was to “remake” the Indians as white people. At Pine Ridge the Oglala Sioux were made to dress as white men and made to farm (even though much of the land is unsuitable for farming). It was illegal for them to gather or speak their language. Those “caught” practicing traditional religious ceremonies were arrested or sent to insane asylums. The children were taken (literally) and sent off to Indian boarding schools in the east to be remade. “First to worst,” is a phrase they still use at Pine Ridge to describe their journey.
Today Pine Ridge is statistically the poorest place in America. Unemployment is approximately 90% and the median income is about $4,000. The lowest life expectancy in the Western Hemisphere is Haiti. The second lowest is Pine Ridge where males today, on average, live to be 48. Housing is a major problem. The housing shortages is estimated to be 4,000 homes and many of the homes that do exist are over crowded and sub-standard. Many people live without electricity or running water. This is right in the middle of our own country.
This summer Hancock Lumber donated materials for a new home to be built at Pine Ridge. Those involved there refer to it as the “Hancock home” and tell me it was the only home built at Pine Ridge (2.7 million acres) this year. Pine Ridge is very geographically isolated. It is a 2 hour drive to Rapid City and 7 hours to Denver. People rarely visit here. Those who live here feel forgotten. The U.S. government promised to care and provide for the Lakota people in exchange for taking their land and forcing them onto reservations. These promises have not been kept. Sitting Bull once said, “They made us many promises, more than I can remember, but they never kept but one. They promised to take our land and they took it.”
I have since been to Pine Ridge four times. I have many friends there now. The people there are smart, resourceful and fun to be with. It is an amazing testimony to their fortitude that their culture survives. I am writing a book about the history of the Lakota people and modern day life at Pine Ridge. I have also started a non-profit organization called “The 7th Power” whose mission is to encourage a return to independence for the people of Pine Ridge through support of housing, education, traditional food sources and increased awareness of their story. Among other initiatives we plan to support more housing activity in 2014. It costs approximately $140,000 to build a home at Pine Ridge. With 4,000 additional homes needed that brings the total cost of the housing need to $560,000,000. Immediately after Hurricane Katrina hit the east coast the federal government made $900,000,000 available to repair housing and infrastructure. The housing shortage at Pine Ridge is over 100 years old and remains unaddressed.
“The 7th Power” in Lakota spirituality stands for the power of a single individual to make a difference. If you would like to join the effort or make a contribution you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail at “The 7th Power – attn: Kevin Hancock – P.O. Box 299 – Casco, Maine – 04015.
Thank you and as they say at Pine Ridge, DOSKA AKE (see you later)!
The Maine based construction company Cianbro has a sign up on their conference room in Pittsfield that simply reads, “No one in this room is smarter than all of us.” Another quote I like is, “If both of us always agree, one of us isn’t necessary.”
Back in April I toured every location to sit in on employee focus groups. At each mill and store I sit with 8-9 employees and hear their thoughts on their work experience at Hancock Lumber. I really am interested in people’s perspectives on our company. I describe these sessions as ‘No Judgment Zone’ discussions. I think we can all spend too much time evaluating people’s views to determine if they are ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ instead of just listening to what people have to say and respecting their perspective.
THOUGHT OF THE MONTH: There is no single truth about anything. Different people see the same topic from their own unique view. Getting every view heard is critical to gaining understanding. Gaining understanding is the first ingredient in improving.
Speaking up is a team sport. Managers need to ask lots of questions and listen with interest. Employees need to take responsibility for getting more involved in idea sharing and decision making. The more you lead, the better we will do. It is easy to fall into the stereotypical trap of letting the ‘bosses’ make the decisions, but please know that I do not want that for our company. I want you to think of Hancock Lumber as your company as much as you possibly can. What you see and what you think is a really important. The invitation for employee leadership is extended; the more YOU lead, the more YOU speak up, the better WE will do and the more valuable you will feel. We don’t have to agree all the time! In fact, think about how boring and limiting that would be if we did.
I have seen a lot of people get brave, take a deep breath and speak out at focus group meetings and it really inspires me every time it happens!
Last November I visited South Dakota and Pine Ridge Reservation, home of the Oglala Lakota Sioux Indian people. This tribe has an incredible history with leaders such as Red Cloud and Crazy Horse. They ruled the entire northern plains from the Missouri River to the Big Horn Mountains for nearly 200 years. They defeated Custer and the 7th Cavalry at Little Big Horn. One of their bands was the victim of the last great Indian massacre at Wounded Knee. Approximately 100 years later in the 1970’s they had the stand-off with Federal Marshall’s at Wounded Knee that lasted for weeks. In 1980 the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government violated their 5th amendment rights (taking without just compensation) in taking the Black Hills in the 1880’s. The court awarded $17 million plus interest. The tribe wouldn’t take the money…”Our land is not for sale was their reply.”
Today there are approximately 35,000 Oglala Sioux living on the Pine Ridge Reservation (+2,000,000 acres). I was really struck by the geographic isolation of the tribe, the lack of commerce and the degree to which the original reservation ‘system’ is still in place.
Geographically, they are on the road to nowhere. No white people travel through there for anything! Very isolated. I saw 5 white people in 3 days on the reservation. 4 of them were teaching at the Jesuit Red Cloud School. One was advising the tribal council.
The lack of commerce is hard to describe. There are no private businesses to speak of. There is no bank. There is no car dealership. There is no grocery store. There is no movie theater. There aren’t 5 restaurants. It is quite unlike anything I have seen in the United States. The unemployment rate is 75%. We have a national ‘crisis’ at 9%.
The original ‘agreement’ (Treaty) between the Oglala Sioux and the Federal Government was simple. If you (Indians) agree (in the end they had no choice) to come live and STAY on this reservation, we (Whites – Federal Government) agree to take care of you. We will cloth you, feed you, provide school, provide housing, provide the basic tools of agriculture. That was the ‘deal’ and I understood this original ‘deal’ from history. What I was NOT prepared for is the fact that this ‘deal’ is still in full force today. That is how the reservation functions today. The tribe has a dilemma. They feel strongly that the government needs to keep its treaty obligations but in return that perpetuates this massive culture of dependency and lack of independent economic opportunity. We are now 4-5 generations into this cycle and the cycle plays out in extreme isolation.
I stayed at the Singing Horse Trading Post with this German woman who married an Oglala and then divorced but stayed. As she puts it, “If no one ever showed you a trumpet, why would you want to play one.”
I am going to stay connected to this tribe. I will return there. I made some good contacts. Helping in a meaningful way is not that simple because of what I have described above. I started a journal which, in time, will become the foundation of a book I am writing about their experience and the overarching themes it touches about man’s relationship with their government and finding YOURSELF in spite of your ROLE.
“Customer intimate companies don’t deliver what the market wants, but what specific customers want. Their employees make sure that EACH customer gets EXACTLY what he or she REALLY wants.”
This is one of my favorite quotes for our business and I use it all the time – it is on pine plaques spread across the company, as well as in my email signature. Our collective job at Hancock Lumber is to listen to our customers and deliver exactly what they need and want, day in and day out.
I have often found in business that the most powerful concepts are right in front of us in plain sight. Builders and suppliers have always “worked together” but today at Hancock Lumber we see a much deeper commitment forming that is redefining what this means. In our new economy ACCURACY and EFFICIENCY are the keys to increasing profitability. When there was more than enough work to go around the supply chain inefficiencies could be dismissed or “out run” because everyone had so much work. Today, improvement comes from better planning and more collaboration designed to get things right the first time.Team sports have been a big part of my life. What I love most about this business is that we need each other to be successful and that our interests are aligned. When an order is filled on time and accurately we both win. When an order is incomplete, wrong or late we both lose. Getting things right is MISSION CRITICAL to you AND to Hancock Lumber.Across our company today I see builders and Hancock representatives coming together like never before to PLAN together to make orders accurate and efficient. In the last four years we have reduced credits (mistakes) in shipping and billing by 66%! In just the last 6 months we have increased our average delivery size by 35%! FEWER – BIGGER – MORE ACCURATE transactions benefit everyone. For our customers, reducing paperwork, reducing credits, reducing shipments simply means more time for YOUR core activity of building, selling and servicing your customers. Together we are making material procurement more streamlined and efficient and I am super excited about the benefits this will bring to our customers and company in the years to come. Time invested to get it right the first time is high value added activity and I see us partnering with our builders like never before to accomplish this. We are truly committed to being BUILT TO DELIVER for you! Thank you for playing a leading role in accuracy and efficiency!