Buddhist. Deadhead. Self-described freak. Those identifiers don’t usually add up to lawyer, but they are indeed part of corporate attorney and entrepreneur John Montgomery.
“In my family, I’m a fourth generation lawyer, but I’m a freak because I was a studio arts major/creative writing minor at Stanford and had no intention of going to law school,” he said, standing in his spacious, well-lit Menlo Park home studio. “But, I didn’t get into the MFA program I wanted and had applied to one law school as a back up. Even today, it’s not always easy reconciling my legal career with the creative and spiritual side of me.”
One way he’s done this is through working with entrepreneurs, experiences that proved the inspiration for his recently published book, Great From The Start: How Conscious Corporations Attract Success.
“I had one VC client, Gordy Campbell, who had a terrific batting average when it came to incubating start ups,” John said. “I decided to reverse engineer what was going on at a scientific level, which required me to become familiar with neuroscience and developmental theory.
“The scientific dimensions of leadership are really quite complex. Leaders need to tap into neuronal circuitry and leverage that in a positive way. The more creative and collaborative, the better they’re able to tap this higher brain function.”
John characterizes his book as a “tentative blueprint” for how to develop leaders who can lead in an optimal way — more effectively and more humanely.
“Because I’m comfortable living in the field of infinite possibilities, I can visualize an entrepreneur’s business idea,” he said. “And, the cool thing about a start up is that it’s a team sport. In a really good start up, the team experiences a collective flow state and sees that anything is possible.
“After all, every new business is the result of an idea from someone’s head.”
Photo by Scott R. Kline