Why is this subject, “Dare to Be Naive,” important in the world?
I talk about this quite a bit in the introduction to Dare to Be Naive. We can’t ignore how most business is done today, especially in large corporations, in that it’s an incredible burden on our environment and society. Times are changing, whether we want them to or not. The how and why money is made is just as important as how much money is made.
Employees, consumers, and the world – they’re all demanding that businesses take a more heart-centered, conscious approach to running business. We need to continue to evolve the how and why work is being done. This shift is happening faster than ever before, and leaders have the opportunity to make true change. That’s why it’s so important for them to realize just how much of a difference they can make to not only their business but to the world.
What is the pressing issue right now, and how are you addressing it?
The workforce is changing, and it’s important that leaders keep up with it not only for business success but for protecting their team and protecting the environment. There’s a lot more transparency and flexibility needed when it comes to how businesses operate, and while a lot of businesses are working to adapt to these changes, there isn’t necessarily a firm understanding of their reasons for doing so, which can create some sticky situations. There’s a lot of confusion with all the unpredictability in business practices today because a lot of leaders are looking to others for answers, answers they don’t have with how we’re evolving into a time that’s far different from how businesses used to run, let’s say, even 15 years ago.
I talk a lot in my book about the importance of questioning your beliefs, as I think it’s crucial that leaders start to get more in touch with their deepest selves. It can help clear some of the muddy water about feeling unsure as we enter a new age of how business is run. It’s important that leaders not act on impulse or operate on autopilot and instead ask themselves questions like, “Is this thought or belief true?” and “Is there another way of doing this?” and “What do I gain or lose by holding this belief?” Navigating life as a leader needs to start with a firm understanding of who you are, so you can better help and serve others. This is why I believe these questions are so important, now more than ever.
The Chinese proverb asks, “When is the best time to plant a tree?” The answer would be 20 years ago. When asked the second-best time to plant a tree – the proverb says it would be right now. When we think about the ripples of impact that can be made in the world, it has to start somewhere. It takes time for organizations to evolve, for people’s consciousness to evolve, and for how they should treat other people and the planet, etc. It’s not something that happens overnight, so it has to start now. Especially with a lot of the issues that will continue to face us with climate change and some of the political unrest in the world; a lot of it, I think, comes from the failure of people to evolve in their understanding of their interconnectedness to all things.
Joshua Berry Biography
What is your background in this subject?
I’ve always had an inherent interest in behavior change and the potential that’s within people. I spent my first 10 years upon graduating, working for a company that believed in and worked towards the vision of “what the world would be like if everybody did what they were good at and enjoyed?” After that, my time was spent working with startups, mostly helping with corporate innovation and culture work. I spent another decade focusing on why and how people work. What I found was that I was always drawn to human behavior, especially with a focus on conscious capitalism and using business for good.
Over the last several years, my interest has been in those areas of the why and how people work, and specifically diving deeper in the research for my book over the last 2 years through interviews, books, and a lot of reflection. When thinking about the idea of using business for good, I think back to my experience in 2014 and 2015 with Jeff Cherry and Conscious Venture Lab. This time in my life had a profound impact on me, especially in rethinking how we could use business for good – and I share more about that experience in my book.
If you’re wondering about my background on the subject of being naive, I’d say my entire life. I’m sure people have probably thought I was naive in some sense, in terms of being curious or overly optimistic or overly trusting or not wanting to dig enough into the research. It wouldn’t be unusual for people to comment, “What’s going on with this guy?”
What is something that most people don’t know about you?
One thing a lot of people don’t know about me is that I was all set to go out to California to be an actor. I always thought it’d be great to be on The Second City or something doing improv. Instead, I ended up staying in Nebraska, which turned out really awesome because I was able to explore the business, but more importantly, was able to continue an amazing relationship with my beautiful wife, Trisha, and now my four kids.
What are your passions outside of your career?
My passions are my family – my wife, and my kids. I’m extremely passionate about just thinking about life and the interconnectedness of everything. My passions are more philosophical, challenging my beliefs and continuing to evolve those. I also really enjoy music. I’m passionate about people and their potential, especially people who are going through transitions to lean more into their authentic selves, which is why I think that that comes out so much in the book.
Are there any social causes that you believe in and support?
Certainly, I would say the first one that comes to mind is childhood education. One of the things that we’ve supported pretty much since the beginning of Econic is the Acton Academy in Nebraska and the Children’s Business Fair. The opportunities for kids to further practice the behaviors that help them develop critical thinking skills, creativity, ingenuity, and entrepreneurial skills, are all incredibly important to me.
Another social cause we’ve supported is RISE – specifically in how they are retraining skills for an incarcerated population to try to reduce recidivism. More importantly, helping people create opportunities for themselves in legal, moral, and ethical ways once they leave prison.
What is next for you?
We’re in book launch mode, so right now, it’s about bringing this book into the world and then finding opportunities to create space for people to reflect and grow around that experience – whether that’s through speaking or workshops. Additionally, with all the interest that we’ve been getting from the book, it’s working with our team at Econic to continue to build more workshops and programming that our clients and partners need to be able to help grow their people and their organizations.
Outside of the book, I have some art classes that I would like to start – special thanks to a gift certificate from my team. I’m also going to get a tattoo to celebrate the launch of the book!
Dare to Be Naive
Tell me about your book.
First off, it’s a short book. I don’t think the world needs more long books. It’s also not a traditional leadership book in that it doesn’t tell you the 10 things you need to do or all the steps you need to follow, as many leadership books do. In fact, my friend Diana Kander read it, and her first comments were about how it’s unlike any non-fiction book that she’s read before, and that’s what she loved about it. I think that people will find that it’s full of good stories, research, and anecdotes that make people stop and think. The most important thing for me is that it doesn’t tell you a bunch of things you need to adopt. Instead, it creates space for you to think critically and learn how to adapt. I think that what leaders need the most is to practice learning new models and learning new reflection skills so they can become better at adapting. That’s what Dare To Be Naive sets out to do.
Very practically speaking, Dare To Be Naive is divided into two parts.
The first part explores the misunderstood word – naive. It begins with a great story of a business leader who stuck to their convictions and values, even when they appeared naive, and they built a very successful, world-renowned organization. It then gives the reader their own questions to use to think about their own beliefs and convictions.
The second part of the book introduces chapters that present non-traditional business practices that some people might call naive – like encouraging your people to have side hustles, valuing employee development over organizational growth, being transparent with your pricing, or being more open with your intellectual property.
In each of these chapters, you’ll find stories and research… but more importantly, each chapter prompts each reader to think about whether they agree or disagree with some concepts that maybe they haven’t really stopped to think about. After that reflection, it asks the reader to consider what they gain and what they lose with their beliefs as it relates to the practices in that particular chapter.
Break Free From Your Legacy Beliefs(Opens in a new browser tab)
Where can people buy the book?
People can buy their copy of Dare to Be Naive by visiting DareToBeNaive.com. Prior to launch, they can join the waitlist; once the book launches, it’ll be available to buy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Google Play, and in IndieBound bookstores.
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