Entries from October 2009 ↓

Angela Crawford

Under the title of ‘Do more of what matters’ was published a blog on the Franklin Covey site. Much has to be learned from the story of Angela.

Last week in our web broadcast, we had several questions submitted that we didn’t have time to answer. We thought we would take the next few posts and answer some of them here. One of our participants, a hospital administrator, asked, “How do you keep employee morale up when you’re asking them to do more with less?”

The answer: Don’t ask them to do more with less.

Instead, ask them to do less of what doesn’t matter and more of what does matter.

Morale has little to do with how hard people work or how tough the job is. People will do extraordinary things and work incredibly hard if they feel their contribution matters. Most of the day job consists of carrying out tasks that somebody has to do. If one person now has to do the tasks of two people, you’re obviously going to burn out that one person. Instead, re-think those two jobs. Which tasks truly add value for the customer? Which don’t? Are you asking people to spend time and energy on things that don’t matter much just because they’ve always been done that way?

Talk with the employee about it. What does the person really want to contribute? What does that person think his or her customer really wants? Then start shedding tasks that interfere with those things.

An emergency nurse in a Chicago hospital who found herself all at once trying to manage one bleeding patient, another who was having a heart attack, and another who couldn’t breathe—well, she quit. Who can blame her? Some situations are just ludicrous.

But another nurse, Angela Crawford, moved back to her homeland of Barbados after many years working in a Canadian hospital. There she found incredibly overworked nurses. But after selling hospital administrators on the continuous improvement philosophy she had learned in Canada, every nursing procedure went under scrutiny. Mentors were assigned to new nurses. Procedures were simplified and bettered. She has sponsored health fairs and other methods for preventing disease, thus reducing the workload.

Today Angela is president of the Barbados Registered Nurses Association. She is known as “the nurse who transformed the Barbados health care system” and eased the heavy burdens of hundreds of her co-workers.

None of this was in Angela’s job description. Like Angela, you can use your own resources and initiative to help your people do more of what matters and less of what doesn’t. And then watch morale rocket upwards.

How can you start to do less of what doesn’t matter and more of what does matter? What else is going on in your organization? We’d like to hear from you.

Social Learning Theory – Albert Bandura

It is through NLP, a cognitive behavioural science that I became very interested with learning. Was it a return to an old project? Deep inside myself I had some inner wish to become teacher. I recalled whilst I was in my early adult hood, I spent some time seriously considering a career in teaching. I dropped the idea after some time. Yet my urge for teaching has not subsided. Much later in my career, circumstances prompted me to exercise my talents as a facilitator/ teacher. After my training with the Covey Leadership Center to become a certified Covey trainer and the advent of the IVTB program encouraging businesses to train employees, I found a niche. Looking back to the numerous Covey seminars I facilitated, I could only rejoice. I had hopefully help out a number of persons and arouse in them the need to continuous learning.

The world of learning is taking forms that never before were imaged. Teaching should not be the focus. Learning is the centre piece.

And now with WEB 2.0, we are in the realm of Social Learning.  Albert Bandura is a Canadian born most cited  psychologists  behind Freud, Piaget, and Eysenck and is still living.

Social Learning Theory (Bandura)

People learn through observing others’ behavior, attitudes, and outcomes of those behaviors. “Most human behavior is learned observationally through modeling: from observing others, one forms an idea of how new behaviors are performed, and on later occasions this coded information serves as a guide for action.” (Bandura). Social learning theory explains human behavior in terms of continuous reciprocal interaction between cognitive, behavioral, and environmental influences.

Necessary conditions for effective modeling:

  1. Attention — various factors increase or decrease the amount of attention paid. Includes distinctiveness, affective valence, prevalence, complexity, functional value. One’s characteristics (e.g. sensory capacities, arousal level, perceptual set, past reinforcement) affect attention.
  2. Retention — remembering what you paid attention to. Includes symbolic coding, mental images, cognitive organization, symbolic rehearsal, motor rehearsal
  3. Reproduction — reproducing the image. Including physical capabilities, and self-observation of reproduction.
  4. Motivation — having a good reason to imitate. Includes motives such as past (i.e. traditional behaviorism), promised (imagined incentives) and vicarious (seeing and recalling the reinforced model)

Bandura believed in “reciprocal determinism”, that is, the world and a person’s behavior cause each other, while behaviorism essentially states that one’s environment causes one’s behavior, Bandura, who was studying adolescent aggression, found this too simplistic, and so in addition he suggested that behavior causes environment as well. Later, Bandura soon considered personality as an interaction between three components: the environment, behavior, and one’s psychological processes (one’s ability to entertain images in minds and language).

Social learning theory has sometimes been called a bridge between behaviorist and cognitive learning theories because it encompasses attention, memory, and motivation. The theory is related to Vygotsky’s social development theory and Lave’s learning theories, which also emphasize the importance of social learning.

Bravo Mr. Jacques Attali

I found the article of J. Attali which appeared on L’ express in France on the 20th October to be laudable.  We  do need a revolution and a new outlook to humanity.  It is disgusting to see the amount of Milk being thrown to the drain whilst we all know that billions of humans are starving else where.   I am specially aware by the issue as I have been reading the Papal encyclical: Caritas in Vertate.

While the number of people suffering from hunger in the world increases
(mostly in India, China, and Africa) farmers in Europe, and in particular those
in France dump their surpluses on the roads to draw attention to the
bankruptcy that awaits them.

At first it seems that their mutual interests are totally in contradiction:
farmers in wealthy countries want to continue to be funded (300 billion
euros per year) to produce and export, while those of the poor countries,
left to themselves, are unable to sell their meager productions and
constitute two thirds of the billion people who suffer from hunger today.

Only the economic crisis unites them (which is lowering the prices and
incomes of all) and the ecological crisis (which reduces everywhere crop

However, in the long term, their interests are convergent, because they will
have to answer together the great future growth of the global demand for
farm products: the world population increasing by one third by 2050 would
require agricultural production to increase at least as much. And even much
more, because economic growth will lead to the increase more than
proportionately in meat demand and therefore in the production of more
plants to feed the animals (you need 4 vegetable calories to produce 1
calorie from pig and 11 for 1 calorie of ox or sheep). And as we’ll need to
add to this the crop production for fuels agro needs, we’ll have in total,
to more than double the world agricultural production.

To achieve this, we will not be able to extrapolate on  the current methods: it
would indeed be necessary to double cultivated surfaces (1,5 billion hectares
today, that is 10% of land surface) and increase by fertilizers, the methods
of production which, in both cases, will have devastating consequences on
soil quality and people’s health.

This will require to survive, to start a reasonable revolution in which
everyone would benefit:

• First in the rich countries, eating differently, reducing calories intake
(4000 to 3000 per day), and in particularly those of animal origin (from
1000 to 500), which would also make it possible to reduce obesity, of which
the poorest are the main victims.

• Then, in the developing countries, to produce differently: better
training of farmers, strengthening their property rights, their cooperative
grouping, a credible resistance in the deforestation and in the
generalization of the usage of the most harmful fertilizers, an incentive to
develop subsistence crops rather than for export and better water management,
genetic improvement and reasonable use of biotechnology the safest ones.

• Lastly, to organize the worldwide markets differently, by giving the
means of stabilizing the prices durably, and allowing farmers to invest
without fearing ruinous evolutions of the stock market prices.

This revolution is necessary. It is within our reach, politically and
financially. If properly conducted, it can make the world a garden which,
since the dawn of time, humanity has been dreaming of.


Energiser or De-Energiser?

That’s where the Energizer Effect comes into play.

This is based on the work of University of Virginia’s Dr. Rob Cross and his associates.

Dr. Cross and his team’s research with over 60 organizations on how to create a more collaborative culture, has revealed something that was at first startling to the researchers, but not so surprising once you think about it.

What they found was that the number one factor determining an individual’s overall productivity, and whether they were perceived as a ‘go to’ person, was whether they were a…

…De-Energizer or an Energizer.

In other words, people who uplifted others, who encouraged others to explore possibilities, who truly listened, and who showed respect for different points of view…

…These people made things happen.

Conversely, people perceived as de-energizers were avoided whenever possible. People didn’t want to hear what they had to say and would find ways to work around them.

In his writings, Dr. Cross identifies core behaviours of both groups:


  1. Communicate a compelling vision when advocating an idea.
  2. Create opportunities for others to make meaningful contributions.
  3. Actively engage others when discussing issues.
  4. Facilitate progress toward a goal, without forcing their preconceived agenda, but not wallowing in unproductive meanderings and time wasting meetings.


  1. Constantly air negative viewpoints.
  2. Fail to listen to others.
  3. Favor their own solutions.
  4. Do not keep commitments.

When asked about the what makes someone a De-Energizer, interviewees repeatedly talked about how De-Energizers:

drained the energy of the other co-workers and groups, stifled creativity and hindered progress on initiatives“.

Conversely, researchers reported that:

To a person, (our interviewees) indicated that energizing interactions enabled them to see new possibilities by integrating different expertise or perspectives. Energizing interactions helped overcome natural disconnects between people with different backgrounds and expertise by creating the social space – the mutual respect, confidence and openness – that enabled possibilities to emerge.

In terms of implementation, energizers excel at attracting others to an initiative and convincing them to act on their ideas. The energizer’s ability to enthuse helps them get discretionary effort – and more of it – from those around them.

Source: “Charged Up: Managing the Energy that Drives Innovation” from The Network Roundtable at the University of Virginia.

Are You More of an Energizer or a De-Energizer?

To find out, answer the following questions in this simple self-assessment. While Dr. Rob Cross’s original self-assessment consists of 8 questions, I took the liberty to modify some of his questions and added a few more:

  1. Do you make an effort to include relationship development in your day-to-day actions?
  2. Do you keep your commitments (and if you drop the ball, to you apologize)?
  3. Do you address tough issues honestly, openly, and authentically?
  4. Do you look for how things can work, rather than why they won’t?
  5. When you disagree with someone, do you examine and analyze the idea, rather than judge the person offering the idea?
  6. Are you ‘present’ and engaged in conversations and meetings, rather than distracted or multi-tasking?
  7. Are you open to others’ point of view or is your goal to show others why you are right?
  8. Do you use your expertise and intellect to facilitate discovery, rather than to display your intelligence or find a solution quickly so you can end the conversation?
  9. Do you look for opportunities to catch people doing things right, rather than point out their mistakes or minor slip-ups?
  10. Do you use humor to lighten the mood rather than as a weapon to put others down?
  11. Do you offer help to others rather than focus primarily on how others can help you achieve your objectives?

How to Put This to Use

  1. Notice the people you interact with over the next week. Notice whether you feel uplifted or drained after dealing with them. Notice if they’re an ‘upper’ or a ‘downer’ and then examine what did they do to create that effect. Use what you notice to ask yourself “Do I do these things?” (whether Energizers or De-Energizers).
  2. Pay attention to what comes out of your mouth. Ask yourself “Is it primarily negative or positive?”

a. Negative = focusing on what’s wrong, why things won’t work, gossip, etc.
b. Positive = the positive aspects of the current situation, hidden opportunities ideas for making improvements, contributions people have made, how helpful someone has been, the positive aspects of the current situation, hidden opportunities, etc.

  1. Notice if you focus on things you can’t do anything about, or on those things you can influence.
  2. When people are bringing up ideas or talking about difficulties, notice if you get into “It won’t work” or “Ain’t it awful” type statements. If you do, switch to possibility talk. Invite them to explore possibilities and how you, together, can make the situation work.

By practicing becoming even more of an Energizer, you will be doing what you can to improve morale, teamwork, and overall esprit de corps.

Good luck and… if you and your team are doing a great job with this, I’d love to hear from you.

This article is written by David Lee

Henry Markram on TED

Henry Markram ‘s presentation is incredible…I am fascinated…

In the microscopic, yet-uncharted circuitry of the cortex, Henry Markram is perhaps the most ambitious — and our most promising — frontiersman. Backed by the extraordinary power of the IBM Blue Gene supercomputing architecture, which can perform hundreds of trillions of calculations per second, he’s using complex models to precisely simulate the neocortical column (and its tens of millions of neural connections) in 3D.

Though the aim of Blue Brain research is mainly biomedical, it has been edging up on some deep, contentious philosophical questions about the mind — “Can a robot think?” and “Can consciousness be reduced to mechanical components?” — the consequence of which Markram is well aware: Asked by Seed Magazine what a simulation of a full brain might do, he answered, “Everything. I mean everything” — with a grin.

Now, with a successful proof-of-concept for simulation in hand (the project’s first phase was completed in 2007), Markram is looking toward a future where brains might be modeled even down to the molecular and genetic level. Computing power marching rightward and up along the graph of Moore’s Law, Markram is sure to be at the forefront as answers to the mysteries of cognition emerge.

“Markram refers to the robot as “science on an industrial scale,” and is convinced that it’s the future of lab work. “So much of what we do in science isn’t actually science,” he says, “I say let robots do the mindless work so that we can spend more time thinking about our questions.””

Jonah Lehrer, Seed Magazine

Julian Treasure- Sound of Silence

I would like you to read this article from Julian Treasure.  If this content hooks you, then I would advise you to deepen your awareness on the effects of sound on your being.

The Sound of Silence

I’m just back from a short holiday in Northern Italy, where my wife is from. Doing what I do, I naturally listen to every place I visit and on this trip three experiences made me think about the subject of silence.

First was a visit to Isola S. Giulio in the middle of beautiful Lake Orta, near Milan. This small island houses a basilica and a convent for a community of nuns of a silent order, which is why it’s known as ‘the island of silence’. Encircling the island is a single footpath: La Via del Silenzio. Visitors are encouraged to walk the path in silent reflection, and every hundred metres or so there is a board showing one meditation on silence for the way out, and on the other side one for the way back. I was struck by these meditations because they are so universal. There is no hint of Catholic dogma; rather, they resonate with the deep wisdom mined by every spiritual path that has discovered the power of silence – which is most of them. I list these meditations at the end of this blog, so that you can use any or all of them without having to go all the way to Orta. Walking the path and internalising these reflections created a sense of deep peace and wellbeing, and of being fully present in the moment – which is probably saying the same thing in two ways.

Second by dramatic contrast was Milan’s railway station. This is a monumental building from Mussolini’s time, built on massive scale and with the acoustics of a cathedral. Sadly its grandeur is being eroded by the recent installation of many plasma screens showing a looped couple of minutes of advertising – with sound played through the entire station PA system. At first I thought they were playing opera, until the fragment repeated again and again as a small part of the loop, advertising as it transpired a mobile phone service. Opera in that space would have been interesting, pleasing and, with La Scala close by, very appropriate. The looped advertising sound felt intrusive, overbearing, irritating and even profane in that grand building, adding a gratuitous extra level of noise to the existing reverberating cacophany of train engines, footfall, voices and sundry machinery. When I lecture on sound I end with our Four Golden Rules for public sound. Rule 1 is: make it optional. Rule 2 is: make it appropriate. Rule 3 is: make it valuable. Rule 4 is: test it and test it again. The sound in Milan station breaks all four rules at once. (Incidentally, all the subway stations have two large projectors on each platform, again with sound booming out of them. Thank goodness that in London the projectors now being installed are silent.) I blogged earlier about the digital out of home industry that is putting screens up in every conceivable location, and about the need for these installations to integrate their sound carefully into existing soundscapes. Milan is a very worrying example of what could be the future in all public spaces if we’re not careful. Never did silence seem more valuable than in this awful noise.

The third experience was high in the awe-inspiring Dolomites, which I think are the most beautiful mountains on the planet. We trekked for three days, staying at rifugii up to 2,500m above sea level. The air was like crystal, the views were overwhelming and from time to time we heard the silence of the mountains. In my experience, the deep silence of nature is to be found only in high mountains or in deserts (hot or cold), because in these places there are no birds or insects. When the wind dropped and in between the intermittent high-altitude overflights by Ryanair, the Dolomites offered us that rare experience. This is where I agree with Evelyn Glennie, who said in her wonderful film Touch The Sound that silence is itself a sound, and not just the absence of sound. The deep silence of nature is rich and pure: it is the essential context for all other sound, just as a dress in black (the absence of all colour) is the context for what it contains. This silence is the sound between all sounds. Immersed in it, one can start to sense connection and resonance with all of nature.

As we traveled back, I reflected on the different kinds of silence. At the extreme is an anechoic chamber. With no sound source and zero reverberation, this is the purest silence humans can achieve (because we can’t survive in a vacuum, the ultimate silence). However, after a short time in such intense silence one starts to hear internal sounds: blood pumping, lungs and other organs moving, tinnitus in the ears. This overbearing artificial silence does not, it transpires, offer us the experience of silence at all.

In a truly silent building such as  late at night, silence settles on the listener like a warm cloak – but its overtones define the shape of the space. With eyes closed and without any sound, you can sense you are in a huge room. Indoor silence like this is rare and to be cherished, and is wonderful for meditation, prayer, contemplation, or even working. It has an entirely different quality to the silence of the mountains, resonating with all that is best about humanity rather than a deeper connection with nature.

The silence of nature is the finest of all, because in it we sense our connection with everything. However, it’s becoming a precious commodity. If silence was golden in the 60s, it’s a rare and precious diamond now. There are few remaining wildernesses which offer more than a short burst of true silence. Nature recordist Bernard Krause claims there is now almost no place on Earth – including the North Pole, Antarctica and the dense forests of Indonesia and the Amazon – that is free of aircraft overflights, the buzz of chain saws or other human clatter. Krause remembers when it took 20 hours to get 15 minutes of usable recorded material. “Now it takes 200 hours,” he says.

Away from wildernesses, there is a third kind of silence which comprises lack of proximate speech and machinery, especially cars, planes and trains. This is the silence one can experience at Orta: the soundscape is in fact quite rich, with lapping waves, birds, wind, and even distant human sound such as boats and high planes. It’s not total silence, but in this quietness there is still peace, as we found when walking the Way of Silence.

In cities, silence is something that most people actively avoid. Their first reaction on walking into a silent room is to turn something on – radio, TV, stereo, anything to stop the silence. They have become so used to urban noise that they feel uncomfortable without it. I think urban living has created an addiction to noise as a means of avoiding being fully present. This is fully expressed in the way so many people now walk around with iPods on or speaking on their mobile phones. In the noise of the city, we are becoming like ghosts: not really there at all.

Silence is a medium for growing human consciousness, an invitation to be fully present, and a doorway to a sense of connection with the universe, or God if you prefer. How sad that we have made it an endangered species – and that this process is accelerating. Will we in future trek across mountains wearing our iPods? Have we lost the desire to be present, connected and conscious? Or can we preserve the silent places and benefit from them in the ways of our ancestors?

If you hope for the latter as I do, then why not respond to this blog by posting some places you know where silence can be experienced. And then take some action to protect them. Maybe we can start to reverse the tide of noise and defend the silence in the world.

The silence meditations from Isola S Giulano, Orta

  • In the silence you accept and understand
  • In the silence you receive all
  • Silence is the language of love
  • Silence is the peace of oneself
  • Silence is music and harmony
  • Silence is truth and prayer
  • In the silence you meet the Master
  • In the silence you breath God
  • Walls are in the mind
  • The moment is present, here and now
  • Leave yourself and what is yours

Reflexion Dominicale

Mc 10,46-52.
Jésus et ses disciples arrivent à Jéricho. Et tandis que Jésus sortait de
Jéricho avec ses disciples et une foule nombreuse, un mendiant aveugle,
Bartimée, le fils de Timée, était assis au bord de la route.
Apprenant que c’était Jésus de Nazareth, il se mit à crier : « Jésus, fils
de David, aie pitié de moi ! »
Beaucoup de gens l’interpellaient vivement pour le faire taire, mais il
criait de plus belle : « Fils de David, aie pitié de moi ! »
Jésus s’arrête et dit : « Appelez-le. » On appelle donc l’aveugle, et on
lui dit : « Confiance, lève-toi ; il t’appelle. »
L’aveugle jeta son manteau, bondit et courut vers Jésus.
Jésus lui dit : « Que veux-tu que je fasse pour toi ? – Rabbouni, que je
voie. »
Et Jésus lui dit : « Va, ta foi t’a sauvé. » Aussitôt l’homme se mit à
voir, et il suivait Jésus sur la route.


Ce court récit du miracle de Bartimée m’a subjugué.

Notre pauvre mendiant, aveugle de surcroît, était assis au bord de la route, il était en attente et peut-être bien dans l’espérance de rencontrer le Seigneur, son sauveur.

Est-ce mon cas ? Suis-je en attente dans l’espérance de rencontrer nom Seigneur ? Ai-je le brulant désir de rencontrer mon Seigneur ?

Je vois Bartimée tressaillir  en entendant  la clameur de la foule nombreuse. Il persévère en crier pour pouvoir couvrir le bruit de la foule et proclame humblement sa condition de pécheur.   Dans le temps de Jésus la maladie était considérée le résultat d’un pêché.

Me reconnais-je pêcheur et est ce que je demande pardon pour mes fautes dès que Ta présence se fait sentir ?

Bartimée  insiste malgré l’interpellation vive de la foule car sa volonté de rencontrer le Seigneur est prioritaire sur les ‘on dit’ et regards des gens. A l’appel du Seigneur, il se dépouille de son manteau, peut-être bien le seul bien matériel qu’il possède, il bondit et courut vers Jésus. Je vois dans ce texte la spontanéité de Bartimée et élan qu’il dégage en entendant Jésus.

Combien de fois ai-je répondu à l’appel du Seigneur qui me parle ? Et si je cherchais plus souvent  à T’écouter ou à  Te solliciter peu être bien que Tu m’accorderas une audience ? Mon doute ou l’ardeur de ma foi, sont ils mes freins ? Suis aussi aveugle pour me pas  Te voir mon Seigneur ?

Fort de la leçon de Bartimée, je reconnais Seigneur ma faiblesse et mes fautes. J’entends maintenant Ta voix qui me demande ‘Que veux tu que je fasse pour toi ?’ Maitre Seigneur Dieu fais que je vois et augmente en moi la foi pour que je puisse être nourris  en tout temps de Ta présence continuelle et comme la foule nombreuse  de cheminer avec toi vers la nouvelle Jérusalem.

L’Amour dans la Verite

C’est avec un regret que j’ai manqué d’assister  aujourd’hui une rencontre et débat organisé par l’association de cadres chrétiens sur l’encyclique ‘Caritas in veritate’ de notre présent Pape Benoit XVI.

L’encyclique Caritas in veritate – L’amour dans la vérité – souligne fortement que le renouveau authentique de l’homme et de la société repose uniquement sur le Christ, qui nous transforme et nous rend capables d’agir dans la vérité et l’amour.  C’est la base de tout développement humain intégral et authentique ; force dynamique qui suppose, certes, la justice et, en même temps, la complète par la gratuité du don et du pardon.

L’encyclique ne propose pas des solutions techniques, mais demande que soient respectés certains principes essentiels pour construire un véritable développement humain.

Elle invite aussi  à entreprendre une réflexion approfondie sur le sens de l’économie et sur ses finalités, qui doit retrouver et faire sienne la logique du don.  Cela demande la collaboration de tous, à tous les niveaux de responsabilité individuelle, sociale et politique, et présuppose une formation des consciences qui donne force aux critères moraux dans l’élaboration des projets politiques et économiques.


1.      L’amour dans la vérité est la force dynamique essentielle du vrai développement de chaque personne et de l’humanité tout entière

a.      L’amour pousse les personnes à s’engager dans le domaine de la justice et de la paix

b.      L’amour a son origine en Dieu, Amour éternel et Vérité absolue

c.      Dieu a un projet pour chaque personne ; dans lequel elle y trouve sa propre vérité et son bien

d.      L’élan pour aimer de manière authentique est une vocation déposée par Dieu dans le cœur et l’esprit de chaque homme

e.      Jésus Christ purifie et libère l’homme dans la recherche de l’amour et de la vérité (révélation)

En 6 chapitres de son encyclique, Le Saint Père nous remet dans la lumière d’aujourd’hui  la doctrine sociale de l’Eglise du Pape Paul VI et le développement humain qui se doit multipolaire.  ‘La richesse mondiale croît en terme absolu mais les inégalités augmentent’. Au chapitre III traitant de Fraternité, Développent économique et Société civile, le pape insiste sur la gratuité du Don. La solidarité universelle est un fait et aussi un devoir est un thème développé au chapitre IV.  La collaboration grande famille humaine et le développement des peuples et la technique  sont couverts sous les chapitres V et VI. Le Pape dans sa conclusion, insiste qu’un ‘humanisme qui exclut Dieu et un humanisme inhumain’.

Le texte complet de l’encyclique peut être lu sur le site du Diocèse de Port-Louis.

Initiation to Literature

great expectations

I am so pleased to relive my teenage period, as I have received today a couple of illustrated classics which I was fond to read during the days I attended St. Mary’s college. The form has changed, as I am not reading the document in hard copy from the library in the early sixty’s whilst the content is still the same.

I owe much to these illustrated Classics which have enhanced my reading skills and provided me with much culture in a fun way. There was no way for a young boy of 12 to read Charles Dickens in the original old English version ,yet I then got a taste of great literature through the Illustrated Classics series.

Time has changed. There were no Manga’s in those days. I would encourage the youth of today to read these Classics which are still available in Comics strips forms and on a mobile telephone or any nomad instruments.

Itay Talgam Maestro Programs

You will recall in my earlier blog, I describe the wonderful experience I had couple of years ago in Melbourne attending an Ansett Airlines training seminar. Today, I watched a similar wonderful video on TED of Itay Talgam on collaboration and leadership.

Music and leadership are two of my favorite themes.

Itay Talgam finds metaphors for organizational behavior  — and models for inspired leadership — within the workings of the symphony orchestra. Imagining music as a model for all spheres of human creativity, from the classroom to the boardroom, Talgam created the Maestro Program of seminars and workshops.

Talgam’s workshops aim to help everyday people develop a musician’s sense of collaboration, and a conductor’s sense of leadership: that inner sense of being intuitively, even subconsciously connected to your fellow players, giving what they need and getting what you need. It’s this art of listening and reacting in the moment that makes for a swinging jazz combo, a sublime string quartet, a brilliant orchestra — and great teams at work.

“An orchestra … gives the conductor an opportunity to create an organized sound with one gesture. Everything is about nuance, and Talgam showed what nuance can do.”

“A chaotic cloud of sound hangs over the stage, while the instrumentalists of the orchestra practice their different roles in anticipation of the beginning of the rehearsal. As the Maestro raises his  hand there is a moment of silence. The magic then commences – from the hundred instruments comes one clear, unified and powerful sound. Led by the silent Maestro, each individual musician plays in perfect harmony working towards the shared goal – a magnificent performance”.

The “Maestro programs” were founded on the belief that, in the orchestra as in the work place, music has the power to create community and reinforce shared values. Music embodies knowledge and innovation, individual effort and collective achievement, and offers a work-environment that is full of opportunities for excellence and self-actualization – same as any successful business.

Why is music a successful metaphor for business?
Making music, in whatever culture and context, concerns such issues as communication, listening, rhythm, technique, preparation, improvisation and interpretation, rehearsal and performance. Concerts all over the world bring before us a great variety of performing bodies: large and complex symphony orchestras, intimate chamber music ensembles and jazz groups. Examining the diversity of organizational cultures raise questions concerning collaboration in general, including the roles (or the lack of them) of conductors, composers, soloists and accompanists. Different aspects of music making can provide stimulating insights into familiar management concerns such as leadership, teamwork, creativity, mentorship and personal development.

A new vocabulary, self-exemplifying process, fun
As well as being an excellent metaphor, music also provides an exciting new vocabulary for addressing these concerns. Entertaining in itself, and conceived as remote from the concrete tensions of the participant’s work environment, it provides a ‘safe’, non-threatening atmosphere for discussion and self-reflection.

In the process of learning, the “Maestro” facilitator-conductor orchestrates the individual voices and ‘rehearses’ with the participants, maintaining constant dialog, maximum sharing of ideas and viewpoints, in a way that calls for and encourages active participation. Thus the process is self-exemplifying of its messages.