Entries Tagged 'learning' ↓

Milk Glut in Europe

I feel ill at ease at the sight of  the tons of milk being thrown away by the European Milk Farmers whilst on the other side of the coin the millions of humans starving from hunger in Europe and elsewhere. I feel it is a crime to humanity to throw away Milk!

I fully understand the European Farmers’ anger to have to sell below the cost of their cost of production. It would seem that there is an overproduction of Milk in Europe for the time being. Any business has it share of uncertainty. Few months ago the French Milk farmers were accusing the intermediaries – supermarkets- from making too much profit. The Farmers are marching on Brussels to put pressure on the Ministers of Agriculture of Europe.

Is it possible as has been done before to constitute stock of milk turned into Milk Powder until the level of overproduction is curbed? Could the stock of milk constituted be donated or discounted to poorer countries?

I am reminded that before the last world war, there was a glut of coffee and the producers  used  coffee beams as fuel in trains.

I have yet to see a solution to the milk issue these days? Are we in Mauritius seeing a drop in the price of milk?

quote from the press

BRUSSELS — After months of complaints by European dairy farmers angry over low prices, protesters in Brussels on Monday poured milk onto the streets, hurled eggs and other missiles, and started fires that filled the air with black smoke.

Police helicopters hovered overhead as hundreds of tractors — and some cattle — blockaded the area outside the European Union’s headquarters while agriculture ministers met in an emergency meeting.

The gathering of ministers, convened after pressure from France, failed to produce any breakthroughs apart from a decision to set up a committee to report on the dairy industry in June.

Monday’s protest was the latest by farmers who dumped around three million liters of milk on fields in Belgium last month.

“There’s a very serious crisis in the milk sector,” said the Swedish agriculture minister, Eskil Erlandsson, who headed Monday’s discussion. “We didn’t take any decisions today, but we identified areas where the future policy needs to concentrate on.”

The protest organizers, the European Milk Board, said that more than 1,000 tractors and 5,000 people took part on behalf of “more than 80,000 dairy farmers”.

The group said milk prices are below 75 percent of production costs. Another European farm union organization, Copa-Cogeca, says that milk prices have plummeted 30 percent in a year and that dairy producers will lose up to 14 billion euros before the end of the year if nothing is done.

The European Commission, however, said that the average milk price increased slightly in the last two months and that the price of butter and skimmed milk powder had risen 7 to 9 percent in three months.

The commission said it expected to spend up to 600 million euros supporting butter and skimmed milk prices this year and proposed to continue this policy throughout the winter.

In recent years the European Union has sought to reform its subsidy system and aims to phase out milk quotas, which limit production, by 2015.

Some 20 of the 27 countries in the European Union have called for changes that would give producers the ability to organize more effectively so as to increase their clout in dealing with supermarket chains and dairy companies.

Other critics want more export subsidies and some would like to keep the quotas — though that has been ruled out by the European Commission.

Harald von Witzke, professor of international agricultural trade and development at Humboldt University in Berlin, said the protests were the symptom of the pain caused by a gradual reform of rigid controls on the dairy sector.

“The system has postponed the pain being felt, but now the pain is even greater,” he said adding that making concessions to the farmers “would make matters worse in the long run.”

Love in Business! Agape in Business!

There are increasing numbers of writers, gurus and now even a few business leaders who advocate greater love, compassion and spirituality in corporations.

There are also various interpretations of these ideas about love and ethics, about compassion and spirituality. This is fine. It’s normal for any significant concept to have several interpretations, and these reflect the different ways of applying the concept in different situations.

Some interpretations have a compassionate or spiritual foundation; others are quite rightly incorporated within wider issues of corporate social responsibility and ethical business. Other ideas approach the concept from the environmental angle, or sustainability, or ‘fair trade’.

The challenge for modern managers and leaders to develop an interpretation of love and spirituality that will work for your own organisational situation.

Here are some ideas about love in business and management, from different perspectives. They are two different interpretations. Hopefully they will help you see ways that love and compassion and spirituality, which are tricky to measure and describe in tangible specific terms, can be applied in a practical sense in work and organisations.

The first article is by Barbara Heyn, a Cincinnati-based consultant, who helps organisations develop relationships and capabilities among people and teams, particularly in response to challenges of globalisation and cultural diversity.

The second is a piece by Sonia Stojanovic, a McKinsey consultant, which features in Soleira Green’s book, ‘The New Visionaries: Evolutionary Leadership for an Evolving World’.

Please accept the use of US English and UK English spellings for certain words on this page and in the featured articles – they reflect the mixed authorship and audiences of these materials.

barbara heyn

Barbara Heyn sees love and spirituality in organisations from the perspective of feminine instincts and behaviours. This is not to say that men are useless at it; not at all: men, like women, can actually do anything they put their minds to. Everyone can.

The concept of ‘feminine spirit’ emphasises that the biggest challenges in modern work and organisations respond to what we traditionally consider to be ‘female’ strengths and styles.

Globalisation is creating these new organisational challenges:

  • managing and developing global teams – which requires far more sensitive treatment than traditional localised structures
  • approaching cultural diversity as a strength not a hindrance – which requires great perception, awareness and openness to possibilities
  • creating inclusive responsible plans, and making ethical decisions – which requires a strong sense of what is right and good, including compassion, humanity, and spiritual connection

Most of this is traditional ‘female’ territory, but it must now part of the ‘male’ compass too, because these are the big issues facing all managers, leaders and organisations today.

As such, this is a call for everyone in management and business to be more loving and spiritual – to be more sensitive and understanding and compassionate – and a warning to all paid-up members of the Genghis Khan School of Tyrannical Leadership (male or female) to adopt more ‘feminine’ ways of doing things.

business and the feminine spirit – barbara heyn


Love in business. A novel concept. Most of us are probably used to a traditional culture at work where ‘proper’ reserved behavior is expected. People keep their distance and approach work and relationships with a sense of formality.

What if that paradigm were to shift towards a more compassionate and spiritual model?

In the past, traditionally male behaviors such as tough-minded decision-making and competitive aggression were the standard. At job interviews and when assessing performance and potential, leaders would assess whether the employee had ‘fire in his belly’ or was a fist-pounding-on-the-table kind of guy or gal. There was little tolerance of sensitivity, never mind tears. Now however a sea-change is occurring that recognises the value in management and leadership of feminine traits such as warmth, affection, nurturing and intuition.

Some would identify this move as introducing love into the workplace.

In fact, love flows naturally when you create a space for it. People are naturally inclined to good. It’s the business world that makes us resistant and sceptical.

If you are open and accepting, people can feel comfortable around you. People feel better when they are allowed and encouraged to connect on a deeper level with others, especially with managers and superiors. Fear and anxiety is no help in organizations. Connecting openly dispels anxiety and makes for harmonious relationships.

An increased sense of humanity and trust positively impacts the bottom line, because people – and entire organizations – work far better when folk are happy.

Here are some pointers for creating a humane and productive business environment, for anyone who seeks to make a positive difference in their work:

1. Establish a collaborative mindset

Your peers can be an excellent support system. View your colleagues as potential allies rather than threats – especially people in ‘warring’ departments. Ask for their opinions and listen to what they have to say. Incorporate their input into your decision making. Work on inclusion and resist exclusion.

Business processes often encourage unhealthy competition, exclusion, alienation, lack of consultation and non-collaborative behaviors, so look out for these negative situations, and use collaboration and cooperation to remove tensions.

Look out especially for policies and systems that discourage (unintentionally or intentionally) collective working and team-work, especially between departments.

In the belief that it raises overall performance standards, certain leaders encourage unhealthy competition and ‘free-market’ methods which are designed to see only the best performers survive, leaving less experienced or less capable people to struggle. Of course this can raise performance at the top level, but it’s not a recipe for building strengths in depth, nor for organic growth and self-sufficiency throughout the organization.

In such environments traditionally female strengths such as relationship building, empathy and listening skills are suppressed if you allow them to be, so instead consciously use these capabilities.

The ability to work in partnership and collaborate with others is a behavior that should be encouraged, rewarded and leveraged.

Foster collaboration ahead of competition.

2. Reach out to others

Find ways to connect personally with others on an honest human level. Ask sensitive questions and identify common areas of interest. Proactively look for opportunities to help team members in a meaningful way.

Do something outrageously kind for a co-worker with no expectation of anything in return. Maybe unexpectedly treat the colleague ahead of you in the cafeteria line to lunch. Just for the heck of it. Throw surprise parties for people, or baby showers (US-speak I know..) for soon-to-be moms and dads.

When engaging with anyone – managing, co-working, collaborating, networking, directing, following, whatever – focus on what you can do to benefit the other person, not vice versa. Your positive, genuine efforts will have a lasting impact.

Some people use the word ‘Karma’ in referring to this sort of concept, and while Karma has other deeper and complex meanings in Buddhist and Hindhu ideaology, one of the central principles is quite irresistible when you get the habit: namely that people who do good things generally find that they experience good things as a result. The universe – or whatever life force is out there – does seem to keep checks and balances..

3. Use your intuition

There’s much truth to the concept of ‘female intuition’. Intuition is invaluable especially in dealings with people. This skill isn’t limited to the female gender. Men have it too if they simply tune into it, rather than denying its existence or relevance as can be the tendency.

Take note of your physical and emotional feelings associated with intuition. Your hunches are often correct and are based on information that may not be readily apparent to your consciousness. We all know deep down whether something is right and good.

You develop your intuitive abilities by first of all accepting that you have them, and then by practising paying attention to your feelings. Trusting your intuition is a wonderful way to enhance your decision-making skills. Listen to your instincts and afterwards, debrief with a trusted colleague or mentor. What decisions did you make? What were the repercussions of these? Do you notice any patterns? Does your intuition play a larger role in certain areas, (people, processes, teams, aims, tactics, problem-solving, etc) so that you might transfer the intuitive approach to other aspects of your decision-making?

Note the outcomes of your intuitive decision-making and capture them in writing. You don’t need to write a book – just jottings or little diary notes suffice for many people. This way you’ll remember things and be able to refer back to them, which means you are more likely to spot the connections between your intuitive feelings and actual results, which helps develop intuitive ability. It’s in all of us, or the human race would not have survived. Did you ever see a caveman with a spreadsheet or a psychometric test? Of course not – they used their instincts and intuition to succeed and survive. Or a big stick of course, but we don’t want to go back to that..

4. Meditate daily

First we need to debunk a few myths about meditation. For example meditation is not just for hippies and Buddhists, and you don’t need to adopt that funny cross-legged pose and fill the place with patchouli smoke to do it.

Meditation, like love and spirituality, is an option that’s available to us all. Anyone can do it. It’s essentially a deeper state of thought and relaxation than we normally achieve, because simply we normally don’t bother. If you put your mind to it, literally, you can do it and get better at it, and maybe one day even try the cross-legged thing too. And there are plenty of other fragrances if patchouli doesn’t do it for you.

Incidentally the reason why darkened rooms, fragranced candles or incense and soft music or other soothing sounds are used in meditation, is similar to why we bathe toddlers and read them a story before bed – it all helps condition and trigger the mental response towards the intended feeling and behavior. Logically if you want to relax, it helps if the body is encouraged to do so through as many senses and sensations as possible – your brain is part of your body remember – if your body is being distracted and kept ready for action because of lots of simulation, then relaxation and meditation is a bit trickier to achieve. Instead, do things to relax your body, and your brain will relax too. And don’t get the children all excited before bedtime or they won’t go to sleep..

Meditation, aside from being good for health, healing, de-stressing, and general relaxation, is an extremely powerful way to heighten your connection to your intuition, and is also remarkably good for bringing forth your ‘feminine’ aspects (for men and women alike).

When you meditate you help your mind and body to be ‘centred’ again – to restore your natural balance. In this way helps awaken and enhance ‘feminine’ strengths that we all possess to one degree or another, that are commonly suppressed by the pressures of work and life.

Meditating is bit like running a ‘full system restore’ on a personal computer – it’s cleansing and helps get us back closer to our ‘factory settings’.

Start by meditating once a day for ten minutes. A quiet darkened room helps, but really you can do it anywhere – even in the car, although best not while driving. It’s even possible after a little practice to sneak a quick two minutes of meditative re-charge or relaxation at your desk in front of the PC any time you feel the need. Obviously the environment has an effect on the ease and depth of experience you can achieve, hence why a darkened room is a good idea for beginners or serious sessions.

If you fancy it, lighting a scented candle or playing some soothing sounds can help. The crackle of an open fire is good for some people. The sound of water and waves also help. Whatever, it’s a matter of what makes you feel comfortable.

Focus on your breathing and if thoughts come to mind, don’t fight them, just accept them, and then let them go.

View your mind as a chalkboard (or wipeboard if you prefer a modern slant) and mentally erase all thoughts from the space. As a beginner, if you are able to hold your mind clear of thoughts for one to two minutes, you are doing great.

Our ‘monkey minds’ are constantly jumping around and it takes a bit of discipline and practice to slow or eliminate our thoughts. With practice and repeating the sensory ideas that work for you, you will soon be meditating like a Buddha.

Build up to meditating twice a day for ten minutes, and any other time you feel the need to re-charge or relax. You’ll find yourself grounded and attuned more closely to your feelings. And the incense will make you smell great.

5. Build your confidence

Appreciate what you have to offer and encourage open dialogue with those who may share different strengths. Professionals who are truly comfortable in their own skin are often the most competent and humble. By valuing your inner worth, it will be much easier to rid yourself of jealousy and competitive thoughts.

Rise above petty conversations at work. Refrain from initiating or contributing to gossip. Judge no-one. If you need to assess situations and performance focus objectively on behavior and causes rather than subjective personal criticism.

Feel comfortable wearing clothes that express your personality. Go ahead and don a soft blouse, flouncy skirt and sandals that set off freshly painted toenails. Women can do this too…

It’s a question of celebrating your personal style – even if the dress code for your situation is a bit restrictive – find ways to be yourself.

Relaxing and lightening up is more helpful for confidence than taking yourself seriously. Remember the laid-back teachers at school who were always calm, and who never seemed to lose their temper at anything? The ones who always had that air of confidence? Being relaxed and calm about things – ‘counting to ten’ instead of blowing up – is a way to build confidence, as much as it is a sign of confidence. You can be the same.

In addition, a little self-deprecating fun can lighten any situation. Someone who can break the ice – or the tension of a difficult moment – is regarded as a mature and calming influence. People who cannot take a joke might be stern, but they are almost always regarded as lacking in self-assurance too. If you have the strength to enjoy a laugh at your own expense you automatically exude confidence.

6. Put yourself out there

Take a risk. When it comes to connecting with others, challenge yourself outside your comfort zone. Although this may go against the grain in traditional corporations, initiate emotional engagement with other people, and maybe even a bit of physical contact – within acceptable boundaries of course. It’s safest with someone of the same gender, unless you know the other person well.

Physical contact is an immensely powerful thing. Many people really enjoy a good hug – in fact sometimes it’s the only cure when people are upset or angry. Physical contact does however carry certain risks in the workplace because of the risks misinterpreting signals, so if in doubt don’t use it. Nevertheless there are times when you can trust your instincts and reach out to people in this way, even if it’s a gentle touch on the arm, or a pat on the back.

Being friendly though is perfectly safe. Go out of your way to greet a colleague you haven’t seen in a while. Be the first to say hello. Never ignore someone because you think they ignored you first – they probably never even noticed you because they were still thinking about the big game last night, or whether they left the oven on.

The world is full of people who wait for the other person to initiate contact. No wonder people don’t generally communicate well – they are all too busy thinking they’ve been ignored, when in fact nothing can be further from the truth. Everyone longs for the other person to initiate content and give them a big friendly smile.

And that’s the way it starts – then you do begin to do it more often, and then other people try it too because they see it’s safe and nobody dies, and before long everyone on the floor is happy to make the first move, then it spreads to the whole building. Because everyone realises it’s okay to be open and friendly.

Individuals at all levels of an organization welcome being treated as a full person, not just a workmate or a phone extension, or an email address.

So put yourself out there: approach people as people – in a genuinely friendly way – be affectionate and caring – through hugs and pats when it’s okay, or simply through a big warm smile.

7. Do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do

Demonstrate integrity and stand up to unethical comments or decisions. Move past your own discomfort when it comes to doing the right thing, even (and especially) when no one is watching.

Challenge that inappropriate joke or derogatory remark. If it’s wrong don’t laugh because everyone else does and it’s difficult not to. It’s not always necessary to challenge things vocally – sometimes staying silent is challenge enough.

Stand up for people who are not represented in the conversation. You’ll be recognised as a leader for enhancing the conscience of the group or organization.

Sometimes it’s very difficult indeed to do the right thing, especially if the whole organization and all the people around you are advocating and accepting something that’s wrong. But often all it takes is one brave soul to ask a sensible question, “Do we all really believe that this is the right thing to do? – I mean is this really ethical and good?” Or to say, “I’m really sorry but actually I can’t go along with that because to me it’s not right.”

And then lots more people will feel strong enough to say they don’t agree either, and then you have a real basis for building something good and ethical. Sometimes all it takes is one brave soul, and that can be anyone. It can be you.

Use your deepest instincts to decide what is right, to feeling centred and confident, and to connect with and value other people. These are the behaviors which enable organizations to respond successfully to the challenges of the modern world.

It’s not about table-thumping or shouting, and it’s not about costs and profit. It’s about fundamental spiritual things like love, caring for and respecting people (including yourself); the quieter gentler ‘feminine’ strengths and skills that all of us possess – men and women – and which we all must now to be able to use.

Organizational culture-shifts happen not because someone at the top makes a pronouncement – a culture-shift happens when the attitudes and behaviors of their people change.

At the root of any successful change you will increasingly find the qualities of love and trust, which together create the freedom for us to make the right decisions, to connect with others, to challenge and to innovate.

A trusting organization that values and encourages the softer ‘feminine’ traits among all of its people is one that leverages diversity and harmony. And that, in anyone’s book, makes good business sense.

Extracted from www.businessballs.com

Love & Compassion in Managment

Compassion for humankind – and other ethical reference points for good leadership and management in business and organizations

I pick that excerpt  below from a business web site and I thought to myself: indeed why can’t we talk of compassion in business and management?

“No cord nor cable can so forcibly draw, or hold so fast, as love can do with a twined thread.” (Robert Burton, 1577-1640, English writer and clergyman, from The Anatomy of Melancholy, written 1621-51.)

Love is a strange word to use in the context of business and management, but it shouldn’t be.

Love is a normal concept in fields where compassion is second-nature; for example in healthcare and teaching.

For those who maybe find the concept of ‘love’ too emotive or sentimental, the word ‘spirituality’ is a useful alternative. Spirituality is a perspective in its own right, and it also represents ideas central to love as applied to business and organisations, ie., the quality of human existence, personal values and beliefs, our relationships with others, our connection to the natural world, and beyond.

Some people see love and spirituality as separate things; others see love and spirituality as the same thing. Either view is fine.

In business and organisations ‘love’ and/or ‘spirituality’ mean genuine compassion for humankind, with all that this implies. We are not talking about romance or sex. Nor are we referring to god or religion, because while love and spirituality have to a degree been adopted by various religious organisations and beliefs, here love and spirituality do not imply or require a religious component or affiliation at all. Far from it. Anyone can love other people. And everyone is in their own way spiritual.

Given that love (or spirituality, whatever your preference) particularly encompasses compassion and consideration for other people, it follows that spoiling the world somewhere, or spoiling the world for future generations, is not acceptable and is not a loving thing to do.

Love in business and work means making decisions and conducting oneself in a way that cares for people and the world we live in.

So why is love (or spirituality) such a neglected concept in business?

Lenn Millbower Learnertainment

I have been in admiration with Disney ever since the first time I set foot on Disney Land in California in the very early 80’s. The quality of service and the settings of the place were absolutely stunning. In terms of entertainment nothing in the world can match Disney.

I came to know a fairly bit of the mode of operation of Disney when I attended a training seminar with Ansett Airlines of Australia in the early 90’s. The training was given by a subsidiary company of Disney, specialised in the concept of Fun Learning.

Down in Melbourne where Ansett was headquartered, the whole world wide organisation went through a 2 day program to know better Ansett and more importantly to understand the concept of team work within Ansett. It was just before the company went on a public listing on the stock market. The training company commissioned a theatre for six months and set up the place to give you the feeling of a Fun as if you were at a Disney entertainment park where we all had fun whilst learning. I was really amazed with the lessons I learnt whilst enjoying with fun and laughter…

I recall very clearly as I was impressed. To show us the need to play in tune with the organisation, we were assembled in the theatre and each of us was assigned a musical instrument:

1. An analogy to the company where each individual has a specific role as in an orchestra.

2. Each role has to be played to the best of our capability whilst respecting the music score.

3. To perform the best music, in respecting the beat, timing, volume, intensity etc.

4. Each musician whilst playing his own score has to be aware of the harmony of the orchestra.

Reading the profile of Lenn Millbower, today I can only suspect that he was involved with setting up similar learning seminars.

Lenn Millbower has coined his present business after working for years with Disney: Learnertaiment.

From Disney training leader to published author, from musician-magician to college professor, Lenn’s lauded Learnertainment® techniques have taught more than 1 million business leaders, trainers, educators and presenters how to keep their audience ‘awake so their message can take’.

Using the secrets of show biz, Lenn’s interactive brain-based entertainment-fused learning events, e training coaching system, open enrollment workshops, and keynote presentations Lenn can help you and your organization deliver the interactivity your audience wants and the results your organization needs.

His published works – including the CLOUT Creator Inventory©, Show Biz Training and Training With A Beat – have been used by instructional designers, trainers, educators, and speakers throughout the world to design and deliver five-star Oscar worthy learning programs.

On the other hand the creativity of Walt Disney himself is awesome. In NLP we have a special chapter where we study the creativity strategy of Walt Disney.

Frequent professional speaker at ASTD ICE, NSA, MPI, IAL, and other national events; workshop leader for Offbeat Training seminars including the Learnertainment® Skills Development Lab, From Out to CLOUT™, Learning With A Beat™, That’s Learnertainment™, Razzle Dazzle Design™, Cultivate Your Creativity, and Business Brainstorm™; and author of The CLOUT Creator Inventory©, Training With A Beat, Show Biz Training, Cartoons for Training, Game Show Themes for Trainers.

Past Present and no Future

Last week I was having some serious talks with a friend about the future of Mauritius. Do we in Mauritius have a long term plan or a road map we are following? I for one have heard nothing on this score and my friend who is an economist said the same to me.

Are we on a ship heading the nowhere destination? Is there some guys thinking of Mauritius by year 2020 or even further?

As far as I recall in my younger days, the people governing the affairs of the country used to have a 5 year plan which is reviewed every year: a sort of revolving 5 year plan. Are we living from hand to mouth, the nasty unsought present? I understood that there was a Ministry of Planning in the previous governments. Who is today looking or imagining our future? We know too well that the legislative term of a government is only five years. I am of opinion that  we need to have a longer term vision for the Mauritian children of tomorrow. Is not it wise to build now and in the near future the destiny of our children and grand children?

I went through the Mauritian Government web site to find out. I saw only two future looking strategic plans: the Draft Long term Energy Strategy 2009-2025; and the draft education and human resources strategy plan 2008-2020. I note that the two documents are still in draft form. Would that mean that no roll out plans are finalized?

It would thus appear that we have a governing body that is of the past and present with no heed of the future? Is there a strategic plan for each ministry? I feel uncomfortable with a situation when the country is not clear where it is heading, unless the leaders know and  they do not feel comfortable to let the public know.

For years I have been training on the necessity to know as an individual : where do you come from?; what are you doing now? and where are you heading too?  I was told that success are granted to persons who give themselves a sense of direction and a mission and refuse to live like a drift wood on the river.

Meetings: Attending & Organising

Have you ever between taught ‘how to attend a meeting or how to run a meeting’? Meetings is a communications tool that is used most of the time in any organisation, yet almost most persons have not thought of the organisation of meetings or its improvements.

At toastmasters, all members are requested to attend meetings and are trained in the optimum use of the important communications tool called ‘meetings’.

I came back from my Syndic meeting of the property where I reside last Wednesday, frustrated in the way the meeting was held. Yesterday, I attended a meeting of the shareholders of an association; I was again horrified by the way the meeting was run and prepared. I am now pondering in the waste in time, money and personal irritation occurring throughout Mauritius in meetings of any sort.

Patti Hathaway, a certified professional speaker who I came to know through my AMA membership offers some tips to make our meetings more effective.

Ten Tips for More Effective Meetings

By Patti Hathaway, CSP

Love them or hate them, meetings are an everyday fact of life for most businesspeople. If you keep these ten tips in mind, everyone involved will be able to use their time more productively—assuring a positive experience.

Provide specific goals and objectives

Every person attending a meeting should be able to answer these key questions:

  • What is the purpose of this meeting?
  • How can I contribute?
  1. It is essential to send out an agenda prior to any meeting. List your meeting objective (i.e., the purpose for the meeting) on the agenda.
  2. Outline any preparation you would like the participants to do prior to the meeting. Also, a list of any materials participants should bring to the meeting.
  3. Invite only those people who can contribute to the meeting.

Avoid the “information assumption” trap

  1. Avoid lecture meetings. Is there a more efficient way to distribute certain information instead of calling a meeting?
  2. Prepare action item minutes.
  3. Get participants actively involved in the meeting: appoint a timekeeper and ask for help in facilitating the meeting.
  4. Have participants attend only for the time they are actually needed.

The “platinum rule” of meeting success

  1. Are your participants “big picture” or “detail” people? What format should you use for the project team’s final report? What kind of meeting minutes will best meet the needs of your participants?
  2. Start on time. Also set (and adhere to) an ending time when scheduling the meeting.
  3. Keep in mind that Robert’s Rules of Order does not necesarily increase the effectiveness of meetings. Develop your own rules of the road to best meet your group’s specific objectives and needs.

Success must be earned.

John C Maxwell wrote a book entitled ‘Talent is not enough’. I believe that too much talents inhibit success.

Talent is often overrated and frequently misunderstood. When people

achieve great things, others often explain their accomplishments by simply

attributing everything to talent. But that is a false and misleading way of

looking at success. If talent alone is enough, then why do you know of highly

talented people who are not highly successful?

Leadership expert Dr. John C. Maxwell knows that people are never

successful by talent alone, and he outlines 13 crucial things you can do to

maximize your natural talents and become a “talent-plus” person. He is

weighing in on the subject of talent –– and, as always, his opinion and his

insights might surprise you.

A long-time admirer of great talents in sports, business, leadership and

philanthropy, Maxwell says that what separates the talented from the truly

successful is making the right choices. In Talent Is Never Enough, Maxwell

lays out a road map for anyone interested in making the most of their

natural abilities.

“People who neglect to make the right choices to release and maximize

their talent continually underperform,” writes Maxwell. “Their talent gives

them an opportunity, but their wrong choices can shut the door.” Talent, he

contends, is a given, but success must be earned.

I t I took pleasure in memorising the topics which Dr. Maxwell developed in his book:

1. Belief Lifts Your Talent

2. Passion Energizes Your Talent

3. Focus Directs Your Talent

4. Practice Sharpens Your Talent

5. Perseverance Sustains Your Talent

6. Courage Tests Your Talent

7. Teachability Expands Your Talent

8. Character Protects Your Talent

9. Responsibility Strengthens Your Talent

10. Teamwork Multiplies Your Talent

Persuade with integrity

I have been watching an hour long youtube presentation on persuasion by the author of The Art of Woo: G. Richard Shell. Woo with integrity was his last chapter!

This reminded me of an article from Daniel Williams on a similar note which I had kept to read once in a while.

Today leaders must cut through the clutter, focus their leadership agenda, and endlessly persuade.

What do you think is the most needed leadership skill in the digital economy? A top priority should be communicating your leadership agenda. Why? Because business leaders are under enormous pressure to sell their corporate strategies to their best customers, employees, and partners—just to retain them. In an economic downturn, communication and influence skills only increase in importance.

In my experience, the best leaders use a thoughtful and systematic approach to communicating their leadership agenda. These leaders master six skills.

  • Listen. Your leadership team has forged a new strategic direction. Now it’s time to execute. But before you do, you must listen, to yourself. Start with some inward reflection. Think through what you want to say and why. Once you have found your authentic voice, listen to others. Test your arguments and explore new ideas. Far from being dogmatic or arrogant, the best communicators learn about the people they hope to influence, their needs, aspirations, and concerns.
  • Prepare. Influencing requires careful preparation and planning. Take time to research and develop your ideas. Think through an influence strategy before you start communicating. Don’t go straight from inspiration to communication without preparation and testing.
  • Align your messages strategically. Remember, everything you say and do sends a message: Your passion, the clarity of your ideas, your policies and business practices, the structure of your organization, who makes decisions, who gets promoted, who gets fired, and media relations to the press and analysts. The best communicators ensure that all their messages—whether formal (corporate speak), organizational (policies and practices), or personal (what you say)—are aligned with their core business strategies, personal values, and behavior.
  • Feel passionate. Pursue the ideas and values you feel passionate about. Communicate that passion to others. If you don’t, you will never connect emotionally with your audience and win them over to a shared vision and course of action. The best leaders draw upon their emotions to get buy-in. They understand that peoples’ hearts and souls are often greater motivators than pure reason alone.
  • Use vivid language and compelling stories. To influence, you must position your arguments and present vivid supporting evidence. As one executive said, “There’s just as much strategy in how you present your position as in the position itself.” Use graphics to enhance your message. And tell a story. Story telling is a powerful tool in a leader’s literary basket.
  • Influence continually. Seldom will you win over all the critical stakeholders to your leadership agenda in the first try. Rapid communication can never replace a systematic and thoughtful approach to winning people over to your agenda. The best leaders view influencing as an ongoing process that is linked to a larger strategy for change. Persuasion often demands listening to the people you are trying to influence, testing your message, incorporating feedback, developing new messages, retesting, making compromises, and then trying again. Yes, this process can be time-consuming and difficult. But the credibility and influence you gain will make it worth your while.

Coaching Marshall Goldsmith

Last night, I spent two hours listening to the recordings I took during the eye opening seminar I attended by a Philosopher. The material was so dense that I had to stop the recording on and off to reflect thereon. I then mentally reassess my position in the light of Bertrand Vergely point of view. By so doing, I found that by using an ‘observer’ perceptual position, I could better judge the position to take, in melting some of the good sense that Bertrand Vergely was driving to some of my own convictions. I totally adhere to the thesis of Bertrand Vergely on Primary Intelligence (reptilian) and Creative Intelligence which was for me a new way of defining the type of intelligence.

Today whilst reading, an article of coaching it was suggested that one could be one’s own coach by imagination and the use of our creative intelligence. In NLP, we call this the ‘what if’ frame. This is at least how Marshall Goldsmith & Patricia Wheeler start off their script on Coaching.

The best coaching advice you’ll ever receive in life comes from a wise old person. Listen carefully:

First, take a deep breath. Now, imagine that you are 95 years old and about to die. Before you take your last breath, you are given a wonderful, beautiful gift: the ability to travel back in time and talk with the person you are today. The 95-year-old you has the chance to help the you of today to have a great career and a great life.

The 95-year-old you knows what was really important and what wasn’t; what really mattered and what didn’t; what really counted and what didn’t count at all. What advice does the wise “old you” have for you? Take your time. Jot down the answers on two levels: personal advice and professional advice. And once you write down these words, take them to heart.

In a world of performance appraisals, this may well be the one that matters most. At the end of life, if the old you thinks that you did the right thing, you probably did. If the old you thinks that you screwed up, you probably did. At the end of life, you don’t have to impress anyone else—just the person you see in the mirror.

Four Recurring Themes

When a friend once talked with old people facing death and asked them what advice they would have given themselves, their answers were filled with wisdom—and four themes:

1. Take time to reflect on life and find happiness and meaning now. A frequent comment runs along these lines: “I got so wrapped up in looking at what I didn’t have that I missed what I did have. I had almost everything. I wish I had taken more time to appreciate it.”

2. Look to the present. The great disease of “I will be happy when…” is sweeping the world. You know the symptoms. You start thinking: I’ll be happy when I get that . . . BMW . . . promotion . . . status . . . money. The only way to cure the disease is to find happiness and meaning now.

3. Don’t get so lost in pleasing the people who don’t care that you neglect the people who do—your friends and family. You may work for a wonderful company and believe that your contribution is important. But when you’re 95 and on your death bed, very few of your fellow employees will be waving goodbye! Your friends and family will likely be the only people who care.

4. Give it a try—follow your dreams. Older people who tried to achieve their dreams were happier with their lives. None of us will ever achieve all of our dreams. If we do, we will just make up new ones! If we go for it, we can at least say at the end, “I tried!” instead of, “Why didn’t I at least try?”

When we interview high-potential leaders worldwide and ask them: “If you stay in this company, why will you stay?”, we hear the same answers: “I’m finding meaning and happiness now.” “The work is exciting, and I love what I am doing.” “I like the people here. They are my friends. This feels like a team—like a family. I might make more money if I left, but I don’t want to leave the people here.” “I can follow my dreams. This organization gives me the chance to grow and do what I really want to do in life.”

To make a new beginning in life or in your leadership, look ahead to the end and then decide what to do.

Growing Into Success

Why do some people reach their creative potential early while equally talented peers don’t? We’ve all seen the near-misses: people who have talent to spare but never quite make it; and those, like the tortoise in Aesop’s fable, who enjoy eventual success that once seemed out of reach to most observers.

If you believe you are born with all the smarts and gifts you’ll ever have, you tend to approach life with a fixed mind-set. However, those who believe that their abilities can expand over time live with a growth mind-set—and they’re much more innovative.

As coaches, we encounter people who have a stellar track record, off-the-chart IQ, great technical expertise, and a track history of success—but who then reach a career plateau. In contrast, we work with individuals who, despite a rather pedestrian early track record, lack of Ivy League pedigree, surpass those who appear to be the “chosen ones.” How does this happen—and what can you do about it?

This is good news for those who do not grow up feeling chosen or special. Feeling much more like the tortoise than the hare, you may stumble along while others seem to sail through life easily and successfully—or so it seems.

In reality, the pampered and pedigreed are often the ones who stumble, due to adopting a fixed mindset. We’ve all seen folks who were tapped as stars early in life. Cheered on by doting, praise-lavishing parents, they develop the sense that their talents are God-given qualities that they can count on for future success.

What’s the problem with this? They feel entitled to succeed and become risk-avoidant, fearing the embarrassment of failure. They deal with obstacles by giving up, feigning disinterest or blaming others. Or, having enjoyed so many early wins, they keep on doing what made them successful, despite all the changes around them—not a great recipe for ongoing success.

Mark was a bright, results-oriented VP in his company and yet he offended his peers with his brusque style and impatience. His manager doubted that he could, or would, change. And Mark had no patience with fluff. He needed a clear business case for making any behavior change. Once he understood that listening more and increasing his patience would lead to better buy-in from others and improve his department’s product, he embraced the change enthusiastically. Mark implemented his development plan diligently with great results—to the astonishment of his manager.

What propelled Mark’s progress? He embraced a mindset of growth. Never a natural star or charismatic presence, he’s a regular guy who approached challenges with curiosity and saw roadblocks as signs that he needed to change strategy, increase effort, stretch himself, or try new behaviors (high emotional intelligence).

In our early meetings, Mark took a learner’s approach to his 360-degree feedback. Although surprised with the negatives, he didn’t deflect or blame his stakeholders. Although a very private man, he faced his fear of disclosing more about himself to others to enhance his leadership. In other words, he embraced the possible.

You can adopt an attitude that enables you to grow and change.

First, listen to yourself—to the internal music and lyrics that you hear inside your head? Are you telling yourself to give up? That your challenges are the fault of others, less wonderful, less “enlightened” people? Or do you tell yourself that you can figure out what abilities you need to grow or stretch toward to succeed? These belief systems are the underpinning of the success—and failure—of many.

Second, create a regular time and space to reflect on who you are—your beliefs, your vision, your inner dialogue. This will be unfamiliar and uncomfortable for those who value speed and are used to a track record of stardom. My advice: do it anyway.

Third, find a partner to serve as “spotter” and dialogue partner as you grow. This could be a trusted colleague or an experienced executive coach. They’ll help you leverage your strengths and stay out of the way of your blind spots.

Recently, Mark described how he now observed patterns in meetings. “Now that I know myself better,” he said, “I see how other people use different behaviors to manage stress. I’m less impatient with them because I know what they’re trying to do, and I don’t let it get to me.” In fact, Mark now uses his new knowledge in developing and mentoring others. His department is delivering results more effectively, and other leaders are asking him and his team to participate in highly visible and strategic projects.

So what started out as a simple self-improvement project by an ordinary guy has turned into a big win for his company—largely because he has a mindset of growth.

Self- Esteem to Empowerment

Together with a team of social workers when and where I had the wonderful time working with the poorest of the poor of the Mauritian society, I discovered in practice, one of the main issues that keep these poor humans from moving to improve their conditions. They were not only the rejected of the society: they were themselves rejected by themselves. The poor Worthless! The non Humans!

The team at Caritas, after much thinking and reflection put up a program to boost up first the team of social workers to boost up their self esteem to initiate in them their capacity to take charge of themselves. The larger picture or objective was to put Caritas in the mode of Empowerment. The way to  empowering the organization, Empowerment of the social workers there in and Empowerment of the poorest of the poor was the new mantra.

Looking back 5 years after, I am amazed with the work accomplished but more importantly pleased with the positive effects that the impact of the program on the society. The government through IVTB is now asking the Caritas program to run some programs. Under the new branded name ‘life skills management’ a good team of voluntary social workers are now deploying training programs to empower the neediest of the society.

At source, building up the Self Esteem of the individual is the prime objective and the initial spark. Learning to love self before sharing love. Was given to me last night by a friend an audio course by Nathaniel Braden which I found most interesting.

The Psychology of High Self-Esteem

By Nathaniel Branden

1. The Importance of Self-Esteem

Self-esteem, key to success. How poor self-esteem is a root cause of every known psychological malady. The two components of self-esteem. What growth leads to. Nurturing self-esteem. A victory in the evolution of consciousness.

2. Self-Concept Is Destiny

Self-concept defined. Withdrawing your investment in false values. Is it wise to “tap into” the child-self that dwells within? What happens when the child-self is integrated? Exploring your own feelings toward the child you once were. The story of Charles. Eva’s story.

3. The Question of Selfishness /
Living Consciously

Social consequences of high and low self-esteem. The vices of a person with a weak ego. Ethics of rational self-interest. Humoring the self. Living consciously. The core biological fact of your existence. A commitment to awareness. Examples of living consciously and unconsciously.

4. Living Consciously

The different paths people take, as illustrated by the stories five men and five women tell, taken from actual case histories. Intellectual independence. A pen and paper exercise. Taking responsibility for starting.

5. Self-Acceptance

The challenge. Why self-acceptance is required for growth. Respect for reality. The alternative to being at war with yourself. Handling fear. A way to explore the world of self-acceptance. More actual case histories.

6. Self-Acceptance (Cont’d)

A powerful technique for enhancing self-acceptance. What accepting yourself entails. Facing what you dread. Why self-acceptance is a truly heroic act. Experimenting each day with new instances of self-acceptance.

7. Assessing Behavior / Liberation from Guilt

Feeling guilty because we choose to, or because we think it’s what society expects. Valuing your judgment over that of others. Is it really guilt, or is it undealt-with resentment? Or fear of self-assertion? Behaviors that undermine your sense of integrity. Why people become attached to guilt. The internal drama.

8. Integrating Our Younger Selves

Can you embrace and “forgive” the child you once were? How current rejection could have roots in your past. What do you want for your child-self—assimilation and integration into the total self … or alienated oblivion? Ways to befriend and integrate your child-self. Meeting and dealing with your teenage-self.

9. Living Responsibly

Why you must hold yourself responsible for matters within your control. Self-responsibility as an exhilarating and empowering experience. An exercise for those serious about increasing self-esteem. What you must grasp to enjoy an active orientation to life.

10. Living Authentically

The lies most devastating to your self-esteem. What high self-esteem demands. The incorrect teachings and admonishments of our elders. Basic issues to confront for living authentically. What to do if you feel you are presently living lies.

11. Nurturing the Self-Esteem of Others

Lessons from top psychotherapists. How effective therapists conduct themselves. What we must do to understand others. Inspiring the best in others. The value of presenting them with a rational impression of reality. By honoring the self, we help build a community of persons with healthy self-esteem.

12. The Difference It Makes

Living up to the supreme value of your life. Protecting your self-esteem. Serving self-esteem by living benevolently. Six behaviors to raise your self-esteem. Why growing in self-esteem may mean leaving your comfort zone and striking out for the unknown. Expect a sense of disorientation. Why some regress. The rewards of this program.