Entries Tagged 'Entrepreneurship' ↓

Lucky! It is a skill to learn.

A decade ago, I set out to investigate luck. I wanted to examine the impact on people’s lives of chance opportunities, lucky breaks and being in the right place at the right time. After many experiments, I believe that I now understand why some people are luckier than others and that it is possible to become luckier.

To launch my study, I placed advertisements in national newspapers and magazines, asking for people who felt consistently lucky or unlucky to contact me. Over the years, 400 extraordinary men and women volunteered for my research from all walks of life: the youngest is an 18-year-old student, the oldest an 84-year-old retired accountant.

Jessica, a 42-year-old forensic scientist, is typical of the lucky group. As she explained: “I have my dream job, two wonderful children and a great guy whom I love very much. It’s amazing; when I look back at my life, I realise I have been lucky in just about every area.”

In contrast, Carolyn, a 34-year-old care assistant, is typical of the unlucky group. She is accident-prone. In one week, she twisted her ankle in a pothole, injured her back in another fall and reversed her car into a tree during a driving lesson. She was also unlucky in love and felt she was always in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Over the years, I interviewed these volunteers, asked them to complete diaries, questionnaires and intelligence tests, and invited them to participate in experiments. The findings have revealed that although unlucky people have almost no insight into the real causes of their good and bad luck, their thoughts and behaviour are responsible for much of their fortune.

Take the case of chance opportunities. Lucky people consistently encounter such opportunities, whereas unlucky people do not. I carried out a simple experiment to discover whether this was due to differences in their ability to spot such opportunities.

I gave both lucky and unlucky people a newspaper, and asked them to look through it and tell me how many photographs were inside. On average, the unlucky people took about two minutes to count the photographs, whereas the lucky people took just seconds. Why? Because the second page of the newspaper contained the message: “Stop counting. There are 43 photographs in this newspaper.” This message took up half of the page and was written in type that was more than 2in high. It was staring everyone straight in the face, but the unlucky people tended to miss it and the lucky people tended to spot it.

For fun, I placed a second large message halfway through the newspaper: “Stop counting. Tell the experimenter you have seen this and win £250.” Again, the unlucky people missed the opportunity because they were still too busy looking for photographs.

Personality tests revealed that unlucky people are generally much more tense than lucky people, and research has shown that anxiety disrupts people’s ability to notice the unexpected. In one experiment, people were asked to watch a moving dot in the centre of a computer screen. Without warning, large dots would occasionally be flashed at the edges of the screen. Nearly all participants noticed these large dots.

The experiment was then repeated with a second group of people, who were offered a large financial reward for accurately watching the centre dot, creating more anxiety. They became focused on the centre dot and more than a third of them missed the large dots when they appeared on the screen. The harder they looked, the less they saw.

And so it is with luck – unlucky people miss chance opportunities because they are too focused on looking for something else. They go to parties intent on finding their perfect partner and so miss opportunities to make good friends. They look through newspapers determined to find certain types of job advertisements and as a result miss other types of jobs. Lucky people are more relaxed and open, and therefore see what is there rather than just what they are looking for.

My research revealed that lucky people generate good fortune via four basic principles. They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities, make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition, create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.

I wondered whether these four principles could be used to increase the amount of good luck that people encounter in their lives. To find out, I created a “luck school” – a simple experiment that examined whether people’s luck can be enhanced by getting them to think and behave like a lucky person.

I asked a group of lucky and unlucky volunteers to spend a month carrying out exercises designed to help them think and behave like a lucky person. These exercises helped them spot chance opportunities, listen to their intuition, expect to be lucky, and be more resilient to bad luck.

One month later, the volunteers returned and described what had happened. The results were dramatic: 80 per cent of people were now happier, more satisfied with their lives and, perhaps most important of all, luckier. While lucky people became luckier, the unlucky had become lucky. Take Carolyn, whom I introduced at the start of this article. After graduating from “luck school”, she has passed her driving test after three years of trying, was no longer accident-prone and became more confident.

In the wake of these studies, I think there are three easy techniques that can help to maximise good fortune:

  • Unlucky people often fail to follow their intuition when making a choice, whereas lucky people tend to respect hunches. Lucky people are interested in how they both think and feel about the various options, rather than simply looking at the rational side of the situation. I think this helps them because gut feelings act as an alarm bell – a reason to consider a decision carefully.
  • Unlucky people tend to be creatures of routine. They tend to take the same route to and from work and talk to the same types of people at parties. In contrast, many lucky people try to introduce variety into their lives. For example, one person described how he thought of a colour before arriving at a party and then introduced himself to people wearing that colour. This kind of behaviour boosts the likelihood of chance opportunities by introducing variety.
  • Lucky people tend to see the positive side of their ill fortune. They imagine how things could have been worse. In one interview, a lucky volunteer arrived with his leg in a plaster cast and described how he had fallen down a flight of stairs. I asked him whether he still felt lucky and he cheerfully explained that he felt luckier than before. As he pointed out, he could have broken his neck.

Richard Wiseman is a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire.

Gary Hamel

I was lucky last week during the APM convention in Lyon to have got some insights from the very famous Gary Hamel of Strategos. Wall Street Journal, named Gary Hamel as the world’s most influential business thinker last year. His message could be summarised in 3 chapters: 1. Speed of change 2. Intensity of Change 3. The transition from the knowledge economy to the creativity economy.

I went through the series of articles which I held from Gary Hamel which although written in 2003 remains valid and up to date.

The challenge of systemic, radical innovation leads to two questions: How do you generate breakthrough ideas? And how do you manage that process to achieve breakthrough performance?

Innovation typically comes from looking at the world through a slightly different lens. In talking with innovators, four perspectives—four lenses—seem to dominate:

1. Radical innovators challenge the dogmas and the orthodoxies of the incumbents.

When most people think about the future, they typically take 98 percent of the industry orthodoxy as a given. Before they start, they’ve already limited their potential for innovation to about 2 percent of the available “space.” To innovate, you need to spot the absurdities that no one else has spotted, to ask the stupid question that no one else has asked, to take some existing performance parameter and push it so far that suddenly you have illuminated a new possibility.

A good place to start is by looking for trade-offs, situations where a competitor is telling itself or its customers, “You can have one or the other.” Twenty years ago, the U.S. auto industry said that you could have either quality or low cost. Toyota offered both. The U.S. airline industry said that you could have the lowest fares or the highest customer satisfaction. Southwest managed to deliver both. When you hear “or,” it’s an invitation to innovation.

2. Radical innovators spot trends that have gone unnoticed. I’m not a big fan of forecasting or scenario planning, because you can’t predict the future, but you can ask, “What things are already changing that most people (especially my competitors) haven’t noticed yet?” The way to find new answers is to look where your competitors aren’t. Every CEO needs to spend some time on the fringe of technology, entertainment, fashion, and politics where new possibilities first present themselves.

3. Radical innovators learn to live inside the customer’s skin. This is not another plea to be customer focused. Getting “close to the customer” rarely provokes real innovation, because you’re talking to customers whom you already serve, and you’re listening to what they’re saying—not paying attention to what they’re feeling.

Innovation almost never comes from an articulated need; it comes from an insight into an unarticulated need. We never asked for eBay, Starbucks, or downloadable music, but somehow, we got those things. Radical innovators have a boundless empathy with human frustration that allows them to see beyond articulated needs to the unexpressed need.

To get to the unexpressed need, you must develop an experiential sense of what it means to be a customer. My company recently worked with a major hospital that was trying to create a more customer-centric experience. We took a slice of the hospital’s employee base—a dozen or so people—and we asked them to list their 10-best service experiences. Maybe it was a day at Walt Disney World or a first-class flight to London on Virgin Atlantic. Then we asked them to take cameras and notepads and go enjoy some of those experiences. Anytime something they experienced evoked a great feeling—anytime they felt respected or had their expectations exceeded—we asked them to take a picture, make a note, and tell us exactly what happened.

Next, we asked the same team to live through the experience of being patients in their own hospital, to lie in bed with an IV, to use a bedpan, to traipse around in one of those gowns that flap open in the back, to put up with a procession of medical personnel poking and prodding them. Not surprisingly, the inpatient procedure teased out some not-so-great feelings. You have to do two things to get at deep, unvoiced needs: Get an experiential insight into what it feels like to be your own customer, and assemble an inventory of first-person analogies (like the Disney World or the Virgin experience) from which you can draw out potential solutions.

People get the courage to try new things not because they are convinced to do so by a wealth of analytical evidence but because they feel something viscerally. Until you feel something in your gut, until you’ve experienced it and know it to be true, you simply won’t have the courage to act.

4. Radical innovators think of their companies as portfolios of assets and competencies. The real foundation for growth and innovation consists of a company’s assets (its brand, its customer relationships, its subscriber database) and its competencies (its skills and the ideas that are locked in people’s heads). One trick you can use is to think of the world as a Lego kit of different competencies and assets, owned by different companies, that you can put together with the skills and assets that already exist in your company. One company that has done just that is Swatch.

Revolution/Evolution

CEOs are starting to understand that without radical innovation, decline is inevitable. We all must start to take innovation more seriously.

Still, barriers to innovation seem to be everywhere. But what sustains me—and everyone who wants to build an organization that is consistently innovative and allows us to bring the full measure of our creativity to work—is this: There was no such thing as a large corporation 150 years ago. There was no AT&T, GE, GM, or Sony. These are products of our imagination. We invented them—and we can reinvent them. There’s no law of nature or act of God that keeps us laboring in organizations that treat people as mere factors of production.

Let’s respect that the large corporation has brought us unmatched material prosperity. If you have two cars, three televisions, and a couple of PCs, you have industrialization to thank for that. We have built companies that can efficiently churn out products and services by the zillions. But in building those companies and in reaping those efficiency gains, we have also made a burden for our own backs to bear.

We’ve produced organizations that aren’t much fun to work in and too often fail. And as they fail, so do the aspirations of the people who have devoted their lives to building them. What we invented can be reinvented. We should take revolutionary steps to achieve evolutionary goals.

We’re not going to build companies that are capable of systemic, radical innovation in one gigantic leap. We’ll get there the same way we have gotten to total quality and real customer service: through a series of steps where we build the new skills, metrics, processes, and values that turn rhetoric into reality.

The challenge is to know where you’re headed, so that those steps can lead you in a new direction. And then, one day, you’ll find yourself in territory where no one has gone before.

Greener Paint in Mauritius?

How much Paint is used in the country and how much chemicals are used to produce paints & solvents?

Is it not time for the rules to change to better our environment?

Why should we go BIO?

I have inquired with the two largest paint manufacturers. They told me that they are not producing paints that may have the eco green label?

The authorities have the vision to make Mauritius greener could well move towards making a plan and implementing it?

Why Use BIO Product

NON POISONOUS
Makes your home and your environment a safer place using Bio Products.

BREATHING WALLS
BIO Products do not seal your walls. They can breathe.

SOLVENTS
Our product range is totally free of dangerous solvents, like toluene, xylene, glycol ether derivates etc.

PIGMENTS
Typically our pigments such as earth or metal pigments are naturally occurring substances.

PRESERVATIVES
Natural ingredients act perfectly as a preservative.

HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT
By using BIO Products you are promoting the maintenance of a healthy balance between mankind and nature.

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

Introduction

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.

Territorialisation 2030

Un groupe d’experts multi-disciplinaire d’un réseau structuré pose des scenarii. Je suis en pleine lecture des scenarii sur différents sujets qui me semblent  probable. Bien sur la prospective ne sera jamais la réalité, mais aide à appréhender le future. N’est ce pas le propre de l’entrepreneur  eclaire que d’anticiper le futur avant les autres?

Réflexion sur les thèmes : démographie, habitation, mouvements des populations, communication  mondiale et écologie.

En 2030, la population mondiale était légèrement inférieure à 8 milliards, proche des prévisions minimales de l’ONU en 2006. Le changement climatique avait ruiné la vie de centaines de millions de personnes. L’énergie demeurait un pro­blème majeur, malgré la diminution de moitié des taux de croissance par rap­port à l’ère pré-2012. De fait, confrontées à une situation d’urgence permanente, les administrations et les entreprises n’avaient pas vraiment investi pour modi­fier leurs modes de production.

Les individus avaient pris une longueur d’avance en raison des contraintes éco­nomiques, et parce que des millions de chômeurs avaient inventé de nombreux emplois de proximité : taxis locaux (souvent à 2 roues) sur demande, collecte sélective des ordures, gestion du recyclage, répare-tout, etc. Ces nouveaux mé tiers finirent ainsi par jouer un rôle social essentiel.

Les multiples équilibres locaux qui avaient émergé de la post-mondialisation ressentirent vite le besoin de redéfinir (et de défendre) leurs territoires. Elles voulaient affirmer et vivre leurs nouvelles valeurs, définir qui leur appartenait et qui leur était étranger, protéger leurs fragiles économies contre la concurrence. Après la Cata­logne, beaucoup de régions européennes, ainsi que certains Etats d’Amérique du Nord, obtin­rent– au moins de fait – un statut de quasi-in dépendance. Des villes comme Barcelone firent pratiquement sécession. Des passeports internes apparurent dans plusieurs pays et les frontières furent bien entendu rétablies (dès 2020) dans l’Union Européenne.

Les réfugiés climatiques et politiques avaient également be­soin de territoires. L’une des rares initiatives internationales de cette époque aboutit à la création de trois « Refugistans », achetés à la Russie, à l’Australie et à la Tanzanie avant d’être via­bilisés. L’histoire de ces nouveaux pays reste à écrire, mais leurs premières années font penser à la naissance de l’Australie à la Conquête de l’Ouest américain.

Les « territoires » n’étaient toutefois pas tous géographiques. Qu’elles soient re­ligieuses, ethniques, culturelles ou autres, des communautés finirent également par constituer leurs propres frontières, définir une notion de citoyenneté, créer des règles et des institutions et utiliser l’Altronet pour fonctionner de manière cohérente. L’état quasi-indépendant de Californie fut le premier à reconnaître leur existence en révisant sa constitution pour devenir un « Etat des Commu­nautés ».

L’Altronet joua un rôle majeur en permettant à de nouvelles formes d’organisa­tions fédératives d’émerger. Les devises locales et les systèmes d’échanges l’uti­lisaient pour le commerce et la compensation des échanges entre eux. Plusieurs conflits opposant des communautés furent réglés grâce à l’Altroverse, la fédé­ration libre des univers virtuels qui émergea dans les années 2015 sous le nom de « Metaverse », et qui fusionna avec l’Altronet quelques années plus tard. De véritables procès, avec juges, procureurs et avocats, furent ainsi été organisés dans cet espace en 3 dimensions. L’Altronet permit sans nul doute d’empêcher de nombreux conflits depuis sa création, même si, bien sûr, il permit aussi de multiplier d’autres formes de conflits, moins meurtriers : les cyberguerres. Cer­tains pensent que l’Altronet est le mécanisme qui permettra de regrouper effi­cacement les nombreuses communautés entrelacées dans une nouvelle com­munauté internationale, plus ouverte.­

4Ms of a good Leader and Comunicator

I took some of the insights of Dr. Laurie Anderson a professional executive coach and business strategic planner to work out my 4 Ms formula. You would imagine the number of ways the 4 Ms could be put to use. I was asked recently what method is used to do my coaching work.

To start with, I have to establish credibility with the coachee and work out his need. I normally use first the NLP SCORE method. Then we agree on the outcome after much questioning and listening. The 4Ms is used to describe the project.

A road map is then devised carving in sizeable chunks the overall agreed outcome.

Again using the 4Ms – Mission, Message, Method & Metrics each chunk is translated in a session project. Like a Russian doll each element of the 4M’s is subjected to the 4Ms methodology:

Mission standing for the WHAT and WHAT FOR,

Message standing for the HOW and translation in communications,

Method standing for the HOW TO, devising the most adaptable channel and ways to transfer the mission and finally

Metrics standing for HOW MUCH, the measurements to assess the tracking to the set outcomes.

Assess Four Elements

Answering these questions isn’t easy because these questions force executives to assess four key elements that should be, but are not commonly, top-of-mind:

1. Mission: Are you clear, articulate, and intrinsically connected to your purpose as a leader? Can you easily identify the core operating principles, values, or behaviors that you are committed to modeling as a leader? Would people who know you well be able to see the authenticity of your leadership platform, or does it sound generic?

2. Message: Do you have a concise, differentiating, understandable, relevant, timely, memorable call-to-action for people to follow? Do people know what they should start doing and stop doing to manifest this new state, or do they think you are just asking them to do more (what you want now in addition to what you wanted yesterday)?

3. Method: Have you figured out how your particular call-to-action should best be achieved? Can you, with confidence, show the way? Do you know the critical success factors and the elements that will guarantee your failure? Remember: people want to win but in the most effective and efficient way. Beyond surviving a change, they want to prosper with it and through it.

4. Metrics: Have you selected the core measures that you will track to ensure progress? Are the metrics credible and simple to remember, track, and report? Does everyone know and agree with how success will be determined?

It is interesting to note each element above described is subject to the scrutiny of my 5 Wifes & 2 Husbands methodical tool which is my universal questioning tool.