The Business of Shared Leadership with Kevin Hancock

Feb 10, 2021

Today’s guest is Kevin Hancock, the Chairman and CEO of Hancock Lumber. As one of America’s oldest family businesses, established in 1848, the company is fully integrated across the forest products and building materials industries. It is headquartered in Casco, Maine, and it is represented by 565 employees who lead the activity of the businesses across nine retail stores, three sawmills, and a truss plant. Hancock Lumber also grows trees on 12,000 acres of Timberland in Southern Maine, and the company is a recipient of multiple awards, including being the six-time recipient of the Best Places to Work in Maine Award, the Maine Family Business of the Year Award, and the Governor’s Award for Business Excellence.

Kevin is also considered a pillar in the industry, as is evidenced by a diverse range of acknowledgments of his own, such as the Ed Muskie ‘Access to Justice’ Award or the Habitat for Humanity ‘Spirit of Humanity’ Award. Also an award-winning author and public speaker, Kevin’s first book, Not For Sale: Finding Center in the Land of Crazy Horse, won three national book awards and his second book, The Seventh Power: One CEO’s Journey into the Business of Shared Leadership, was published in February 2020.

In this episode, Kevin shares his wealth of wisdom about the business of shared leadership, from creating a safe community for people to feel trusted, respected, valued, and heard to building companies that exist to serve the people that work for them. Tuning in, you’ll find out about the systems that Kevin has in place to ensure that his employees feel trusted, respected, valued, and heard, and how this philosophy has positively impacted the company’s bottom line, as well as his advice for those with the strength to think differently about developing human potential. Tune in today!


What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Get a glimpse into the ancestry of the family company, Hancock Lumber.
  • How, despite having other interests, Kevin came back to the business when his father fell ill.
  • The challenges of that generational transition, when Kevin took over from his father.
  • Breaking through into his own authenticity and acknowledging that he was part of a much larger economic system.
  • What Kevin realized he had to do differently when he was forced to lead without speaking.
  • The seventh power; what it is and how it has impacted Kevin’s perspective of leadership.
  • What it looks like to have 500 people leading a company and the safe community it creates.
  • Kevin asks what it would be like if everyone on earth felt trusted, respected, valued, heard.
  • Why they are a lumber company that grows trees: being smart about consumption is key!
  • How Kevin’s vision for the company is different to that of his forefathers: the company exists to serve the people that work there.
  • The systems in place to ensure that employees feel trusted, respected, valued, and heard.
  • How Keven’s philosophy has impacted his bottom line, including increasing performance.
  • Kevin talks about his book, The Seventh Power, and the seven lessons about dispersing power in the age of shared leadership.
  • Kevin shares his perspective on the evolutionary period that humankind is currently in.
  • Why Kevin believes that, for leadership to change, followership has to change too.
  • On the cusp of social change, Kevin encourages the patience to think differently about how we develop human potential.



“I had to learn how to lead without talking very much. That was the event that ended up transforming me in a really beautiful way and totally changed the way I think about leadership. That’s what got me to the seventh power, this journey into the world of shared leadership.” — Kevin Hancock [0:12:13]

“As with anything sustainable, being smart about consumption is the key. We don’t want to over consume or consume in ways that is not necessary.” — Kevin Hancock [0:23:24]

“In the period at which we stopped focusing only on the company’s experience, and made the bigger priority the people, the performance of the company skyrocketed.” — Kevin Hancock [0:31:00]

“For leadership to change, followership also has to change. Both have been ingrained.” — Kevin Hancock [0:42:26]


Facebook Posts:

“I concluded that, historically, leaders of institutions have probably done more, to limit, restrict, coach, and direct the voices of others than to liberate them, free them, honor them, and celebrate them. That’s when I had this epiphany, because I was leading an organization, the CEO of a company, that maybe I could leverage the partial restrictions of my own voice into a culture that gave others a bigger voice.” — Kevin Hancock [0:15:49]

“How do you advance humanity? You do it one person at a time, by really making sure each individual feels trusted, respected, valued, and heard. The flip of script, that I’ve tried to put on top of our business values is that the company exists to serve the people who work here. If we do a great job at being meaningful to them, they will, in turn, take world class care of our customers and the company itself.” — Kevin Hancock [0:26:40]

“The traditional leadership model is still from the past. It is empire-centric, power to the center, the individual is sacrificable for the good of the empire; that’s still the prevalent leadership model. But what you’re seeing in all this discontent around the world is that more and more individuals are not satisfied with that. People are yearning for something different and I do believe the agile are going to provide it first and that largely means it’s going to come from forward-thinking private sector companies.” — Kevin Hancock [0:38:45]

“What we should be developing young people towards today is coming into their own power, coming into their own voice, to recognize their own innate sacredness and capability. That’s how you pave the way for a planet of shared leadership in which everybody is valued, trusted, respected, and heard.” — Kevin Hancock [0:47:22]


Additional Resources:






Links Mentioned:

Not For Sale:

The Seventh Power:

Best Places to Work in Maine:

Small Giants Community:

The Sacred Gap:


Sharon Spano: