President and CEO of Communico Ltd.
Categories: Community Service
Sandy Wilder is President and CEO of Communico Ltd., which offers various consulting and training services to corporations. For the last 6 years, Communico has opened its Leading With Mastery program to anyone. "Since the public course is spiritually-based with Bible references woven into it," Sandy explained that "those who want to take it should be on a conscious, spiritual path." During our interview, Sandy shared how his career moved from playing professional soccer, to coaching soccer, to coaching in corporations; why he emphasizes a life of service, commitment, purpose, and living within the divine order; and more.
What have you taken with you from your time as a professional soccer player?
I loved it. One of the huge lessons was a fitness lesson. In my senior year in college, the soccer season ended in Fall. But try-outs for the American Soccer League were in March. So I trained by myself all winter to stay in the best shape. I tried out with 3 other guys, and we ran for 1½ hours. The other guys had all the skills that I did, but they tired out. It wasn't that I was better; I was just more prepared. I ended up making 2 teams. I played for 2 years (for 2 different teams). The coaches brought in players from other countries. In England, they played 45 games during a 10-month season, but in the US, we only played 12 games. While I kept learning from phenomenal players, I didn't get as much play time, which was understandable.
I remember the day that I decided to stop playing pro. I was asked to try-out for other teams. Each level requires a higher degree of skill. As you go from high school to college to pro, the play gets more aggressive, which the referees allow. You have to be able to control the ball when someone else is holding your shirt or punching you in the back. Not all the aggressiveness is negative, though. As with anything, you have to ask yourself what it will take to go to the next level, if you're committed to that, and if you have the desire. If the answers are yes, then they must be answered with action.
I was already training 2 hours a day, and I would have to go to double sessions if I really wanted to excel. I felt like there was divine intervention. I thought, "This has been good, but is this the path that's taking me to the deepest fulfillment?" I realized that if I took that commitment and channeled it towards studying and practicing the Truth, towards training and coaching others … think of the difference I could make! I knew in that instant that this was in closer alignment to my purpose. I ended up coaching college soccer for 8 years. Although I'm not coaching soccer anymore, I'm very much in the same mindset and working hard to progress on purpose.
What led you into coaching for corporations and individuals?
What is most important to me, what drives me, is progressing in my life and doing whatever I can to help others progress. I'm not interested in telling you what to progress in, but I am interested in helping you progress. If you have a good self-concept, can communicate effectively, lead others, and have a mindset of serving others, then there's no limit to how much you can progress. When I was helping people progress, either as a soccer coach, assistant dean, counselor, or teacher, I felt deeply fulfilled.
There came a time when it was right for me to leave the college where I was coaching. I did a career search and ended up with the training and development field. I started as an intern with British Communico, which focused on educational training. My work evolved into teaching people reading, writing, presenting, and listening. I started to weave in helping them understand their self-concept so they could get beyond ego-driven tendencies of thought and be more purpose- and value-driven.
It's very difficult to make money in educational consulting, so we began focusing on the corporate side. Then, I went to the parent company and eventually bought out the owner of the franchise where I was working. In 1992, we transformed the purpose of Communico: "To celebrate and live in Love and wholeness, inspiring transformation in ourselves, others and organizations." We don't often share this with companies, but it's the reason why we're in business and the underlying reason why we've been successful.
How do you work with companies?
Communico helps businesses create cultures so people want to work there and want to serve customers, as outlined in our vision statement. We deal with both the internal and external climate. Most organizations know the type of difference they want to make for the customers and can answer the question, "What's supposed to happen to the customers so that they would love to do business with your organization?" But the reason why they don't have a culture able to sustain this is that they have not answered the second question: "What's supposed to happen to people's lives because they work in your organization?" If you will engage a company to answer those 2 questions, you can help them create a vision and identity which will then help create a culture that can sustain great service.
At the cultural level, this is what our MAGIC (Make a Great Impression on the Customer) system is about. At the interpersonal level, we try to help make each communication so appropriate that the person with whom you're communicating wants to have another contact. Other services are listed on our website. We also have a book coming out, How to Talk to Customers.
Why do you place so much emphasis on service?
I think the way we're built is to serve. I think it's central to our purposes in life. Everyone has a purpose, but many have not discovered or remembered it. Our purpose is part of our identity. In indigenous cultures around the globe, you're not considered an adult until you know your purpose, which is defined in terms of what you're able to give back to the community -- if you're able to think of someone other than yourself, if you can be a coach rather than just a player. Your purpose is defined by the greatest difference you can make in the lives of others. When that is clear, your purpose acts as a compass and becomes a guide for everything you do, say, and think.
How does our purpose help and guide us?
We read in Matthew, "Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him…" (5:25). If thoughts come to you that are inconsistent with your purpose, you don't hold onto them; you just let them go. An example of an adversarial thought is one that would be judgmental or suggest that someone is other than the "image" and "likeness" of God (Gen 1:26). So when such a thought comes, I agree to let it go and instead agree with the godliness in each person, "lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison" (Matt 5:25).
If I have a lot of adversarial thoughts about someone, I don't have a relationship with that person; I just have a relationship with my misperception of that individual. So we have to look beyond that to what is true. Just because a thought comes doesn't mean it's true. Without the purposeful, unselfed, service mindset, we can get cast into prison by ego, personality, material theories, evil, sickness, etc. This would attempt to confine us by suggesting that we are limited and finite. But a service mindset taps us into our divine nature and reveals the divine order. That's what prophets do. We're all prophets when we know our purpose, listen to God, and live within the divine order.
What do you mean by the divine order, and why is it important to live within it?
We read in II Chronicles, "So the service of the house of the Lord was set in order" (29:35). The house is the consciousness of the Lord. This consciousness of Love and Truth is inherently orderly. It unfolds ideas to us that are in accord with God's will. If the divine order is the natural order or the higher order, then the ego-driven consciousness is the lower order or the "carnal mind," as Paul calls it in Romans 8:7. The carnal mind does not get you into a service mindset, does not let you heal, and does not bring blessings. The higher order is service focused; it's established for us in Truth.
In II Kings, we read, "Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order" (20:1). It's a commandment. God has already set His "house" in order. Is our consciousness in order? Titus was told: "thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting" (1:5). In Job, we learn that "we cannot order our speech by reason of darkness" (37:19). To me, limitation is darkness. The psalmist explains that "to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God" (Ps 50:23). We have this promise -- that when we yield to the divine order (and there's nothing more natural and innate to do), we have clarity, which is what we most need every moment. Confusion is not a viable option.
If we're thinking in the lower order, we find ourselves wondering what to do. But in the higher order, we don't have to make decisions; we just know and hear: "This is the way, walk ye in it" (Isa 30:21). Yielding to the higher order is the foundation of what I do. I work to lead others to their sense of the divine order. Yielding to Love's order forms our thoughts, feelings, actions, career; our whole life unfolds on purpose.
How do you use your soccer experience in the corporate world?
When I played professional soccer, the body was a vehicle for what I wanted to do. I didn't want my body to limit me, so I trained hard to overcome the suggestions that I was a limited mortal. I worked to express a sense of wholeness and to demonstrate a high level of fitness. If my body is not an issue, I can be completely aware of what's happening around me and can be of service to my team.
So when people in the corporate world are not concerned about themselves, they are free to focus entirely on what they're doing or whom they are working with or serving. But if their thoughts are based in incompleteness, not-enough-ness, I-wish-I-could-ness, or why-me-ness, they'll have a subtle desire to build themselves up or fix themselves in everything they do. This destroys their ability to focus on the other person or activity. This limits clarity and takes away their ability to follow the divine order.
It's really very simple: people want pure water, pure air, pure qualities such as grace, honesty, and authenticity. They want someone who is completely there to be in a relationship with them in a synergistic way. Rockefeller once said, "I'll pay more for the ability to deal with people than any other ability under the sun." He had a lot of money and could've had anything he wanted, but he wanted the rarest natural resource -- the ability to deal with people. Why is that? A lot of people get caught in the lower order of the carnal mind. When I'm coaching corporate people, I need to have a sense of how big a game they want to play. I've played at jr. high, high school, college, or professional levels, and I tell them that I will coach them at whatever level they want to play.
What's the difference in the levels as they apply to the corporate world?
A lot of it has to do with the level of commitment, accountability, and feedback those whom I'm coaching want. If they want to play at a professional level, I will give them more detailed feedback than if they wanted to play at a jr. high level and just learn how to work with others or put teams together. We talk not just about skills, but also about personal and interpersonal mastery, which is the continuous process of leading, managing, and interacting with yourself and others in ways that release potential within you and within the ones you lead.
Most people say they want to play at a higher level, but when I tell them that they have to be willing to train for a couple hours a day, their responses show that they're playing at a jr. high level. Anyone working at a world-class level must be willing to give up parts of his or her life to train.
Most of this is in the Leading With Mastery program, which has a 100-day commitment component that asks you to commit to doing something for a minimum of 10 minutes a day for 100 days in a row to help you progress. For a real professional, there's no excuse to miss. You don't go to bed until the commitment is done, so it becomes a priority. If you get to day 97 and miss it, then you start over again the very next day at 1. I have 13 commitments that I keep every day, which requires anywhere from 2-3 hours a day. I have gradually added them over the last seven years. This keeps me fit so when someone asks if I want to play, I'm ready.
What type of commitments are you talking about?
Some of the things I've committed to doing every day are to pray for myself, for my marriage, for something in the world. If I think I need to forgive someone, I do so, including myself. I make a daily list of what I'm grateful for. I practice tai chi. I do 100 push-ups and sit-ups. I read 2 chapters in the Bible and other inspired writings.
As I do my daily commitments, I find I need a lot less sleep because I'm doing holy work, which rests me. But I also say no to activities that a lot of others may not, such as TV and casual reading. What I'm doing helps me help others live our purposes more fully so that we never experience helplessness. It's basically about seeing more clearly and letting divinity embrace and draw out our infinite possibilities.
What would you say to people who are interested in getting into corporate coaching or a similar field?
The rarest communication resource is not speaking but listening. Most of my work is listening --listening in such a way that's not governed by my agenda but embraces the other person and needs and issues. I let God usher and guide the conversation, which can't happen if it's all about me. When you commit to making a difference, to living the disciplined and purposeful life of a prophet, the decisions are made for you, life unfolds. You're led into a space where you can bless. You'll naturally be drawn to whatever field of work that is.