Living compassionately with Scott Shute

Sep 8, 2020

Not many people can claim the title of Head of Mindfulness and Compassion programs at one of the world’s leading tech companies. But that’s exactly the role that Scott Shute holds at LinkedIn where, as Vice-President of Global Customer Operations, he led a global team of 1000 employees supporting 700 million network members around the world.

Throughout his life’s journey—which has taken him from a family farm in America’s heartland, to the hiking trails of Nepal, and the boardrooms of major tech companies across the US, Japan, and the UK—Shute has been engaged in a practice of discovery about humanity, from what tears people apart to what brings people together.

We are so thrilled to be working with Scott on his spring 2021 release, The Full Body Yes, in which he will share his remarkable vision and insights of bringing compassion and mindfulness to the work environment. Read on to learn more about Scott and his unique worldview.

Which three words best describe you?
Adventurous, creative, balanced.

What is your book about?
In my work I talk a lot about compassion: how we can be compassionate, how we can lead compassionately, and how we can build a compassionate company. Our capacity to be compassionate is based on our own development. This book is about that journey of personal development, moving from the Me to the We. It’s set in the work context, drawing from my own experiences—times when I’ve failed, times when I’m starting to figure it out.

I’ve come to believe that the workplace is just as valid a context for development as a monastery or ashram. When we learn to drop all the daily noise for a bit and tap into that deepest part of ourselves, then compassion happens naturally.

Whom do you most admire?
My parents: they showed me how to be a good person. My dog: he showed us how to love unconditionally. And anyone who does what they really love.

What is the last book you read?
I’m currently reading Lori Gottlieb’s Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. I appreciate her vulnerability and honesty. She’s funny and poignant and she’s a good storyteller.

What is your idea of a perfect weekend?

I love photography and nature, so I would pick somewhere in the wilderness that I’ve never been before, exploring, and getting up to shoot the sunrise and meeting the new day. Each sunrise is like a wrapped Christmas present—you never know what you’re going to get, and there’s joy in the anticipation.

I would follow that with some hiking or mountain biking with friends and loved ones. Maybe a nice meal, with homemade cherry pie for dessert! Then more photography at sunset, and some star photography after dark. (Hmm, do you see the theme here?)

Who is your favorite author?
I really enjoy Malcom Gladwell’s work. I appreciate his intellectual curiosity and bringing us along in the journey. I also very much appreciate Harold Klemp’s work on practical spirituality. He’s done an amazing job of blending eastern philosophy and western pragmatism, combining the divine and the mundane, to provide us a roadmap to something bigger.

Where do you get your best writing done?
I like to write in the early morning. I get up while the house is quiet, go outside and meditate under our big California oak tree. Depending on the season, the sun might be coming up, and it’s this beautiful transition time between sleep and wakefulness. Then I come inside and write in my office—all before checking email or officially starting the day. This way it feels like the writing, like the sky, comes from this place of transition, connecting this busy world and the quiet of sleep and the inner worlds of our dreams.

What is your personal motto?
One of my father’s pieces of advice that has stuck with me is, “A good attitude will solve most of your problems.”

Where do you find inspiration?

If I’m open, there’s inspiration in every moment. In photography, it’s great to travel and be somewhere wild or exotic, but often that’s not possible. So when I’m home, I like to do macro (close up) photography in our neighborhood, while walking the dog. If we look very closely, there’s beauty everywhere—the patterns in the tree bark, a bee inside a flower, or the mathematical sequences found in a succulent.

The same is true in my life. Sometimes it’s the big, grand experiences that leave a mark and that inspire. Sometimes it’s a quiet moment with my loved ones. Sometimes it’s in a failure that makes clear where I still have to grow. I’m trying to learn to love every single moment.