Last week I was in Silicon Valley at the Wisdom 2.0 Conference.  The conference brought together over 300 dynamic people from around the world to explore the conscious use of technology.  The energy in the room was amazing!

Wisdom2Several people have already written good posts summarizing the conference.  Two I recommend are Mei Mei Fox’s  Social Media + Mindfulness = Infectious Enlightenment and Beth Kanter’s Wisdom 2.0: Living Consciously in a Connected World.

Given that you all are passionate about conscious business and success, I wanted to share with you some of the more surprising messages we heard from leaders at companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Zappos, and the like.

Here are the 3 Most Surprising Success Lessons From the Wisdom 2.0 Conference:

1) Inside factors contribute twice as much to success. Meng Tan of Google is a software engineer turned “jolly good fellow”.  Really – that’s what his business card reads.  Meng qouted research that says our Emotional Intelligence skills are twice as important to long term success as our outer skills.  Google created their School of Personal Growth because it’s good for business.

While few would deny that having strong career skills are important, it’s easy in the daily shuffle of our work lives to treat Emotional Intelligence as a luxury.  Meng and other conscious business leaders reminded us that it deserves priority treatment.

Tony Hsieh

Tony Hsieh

2) High touch is more effective than high tech. Tony Hsieh is the CEO of Zappos, a company that does more than $1 Billion per year of online shoe and apparel sales.  He told us that the most effective sales technology that Zappos uses is “the telephone”.  According to Tony, too many businesses get lost in the shiny new technologies of our age and forget to build “genuine emotional connections” with their customers.

The Wisdom 2.0 panelists reminded us that technology is just a means to connect with more people.  They advised us to treat every interaction – each phone call, tweet or web page – as an opportunity to build heart to heart connections with real people.  “High touch is more important than high tech” is Tony’s motto.

3) The most important connection is the one with yourself. Tami Simon is the founder of Sounds True.  During a panel called Wisdom Teaching in the Internet Age, she said, “The most important connection with technology is the one with yourself.”

Tami spoke very candidly about the tendency to “reach for the Blackberry” when we’re feeling nervous or down.  Instead of going for that momentary rush of an email or Facebook update, take a moment to notice your emotional state.  I came away from the conference with a deep commitment to notice my inner state before I push the send button.

If you weren’t able to attend the conference live, all of the sessions were video taped and will be posted for free over the next few weeks at the Wisdom 2.0 site.