Four Key Traits of Conscious Leaders

Four Key Traits of Conscious Leaders

Leaders who have an effect for good or ill hold three common attributes: vision, discipline, and passion. The differentiation is conscience. When conscience governs, leadership endures and changes the world for good. Moral authority prepares formal authority work. When conscience does not oversee, leadership does not prevail, nor do the institutions created by that leadership. Formal authority without moral authority collapses.

Leadership for good lifts and lasts. Mahatma Gandhi’s vision, discipline, and passion were driven by conscience, and he became a servant to the cause and the people. He had only moral authority, no formal authority, and yet he was the father of the second largest country in the world. When vision, discipline and passion are governed by formal authority void of conscience, it changes things for the worse. Rather than elevating, it rescinds; rather than last, it fails.

Key Traits of Conscious Leaders #1: Vision

Seeing a potential state with the mind’s eye is vision. It’s applied imagination. All things are created twice: first, a mental creation; second, a physical creation. Vision starts the process of reinvention. It signifies desire, dreams, hopes, goals, and plans. These dreams are not just whims—they are reality without physicality, like a building blueprint.

Most of us don’t envision or appreciate our potential, even though we all have the power, energy, and capacity to reinvent our lives. Memory is past. It is finite. Vision is future. It is infinite.

'The Conscious Leader' by Shelley Reciniello (ISBN 098528644X) The most important vision is having a sense of self, a sense of your own destiny, mission, role, purpose and meaning. When testing your own personal vision, first ask: Does the vision tap into my voice, energy, and talent? Does it give me a sense of “calling,” a cause worthy of my obligation? Acquiring such meaning requires overwhelming personal reflection to rise above our autobiography, rise above our memory, and create a high-mindedness of spirit toward others.

We need to consider not only the vision of what’s possible “out there” but also the vision of what we see in other people, their unseen potential. Vision is about more than just getting things done; it is about unearthing and enlarging our view of others, affirming them, believing in them, and helping them discover their voice and realize their potential.

Seeing people through the lens of their potential and their best actions, rather than through the lens of their current behavior or weaknesses, produces positive energy. This affirming action is also a key to rebuilding broken relationships. There is great power in viewing people apart from their behavior and upholding their inherent worth. When we acknowledge the potential of others, we hold up a mirror to them, reflecting the best within them. This affirming vision unshackles them to become their best and frees us from reacting to bad behavior.

Key Traits of Conscious Leaders #2: Discipline

Discipline represents the second creation. It’s executing, making it happen, doing whatever it takes to realize that vision. Discipline is willpower personified. Peter Drucker noted that the first duty of a manager is to define realism. Discipline defines reality, acknowledges things as they are, and gets totally immersed in solutions. Without vision and hope, accepting reality may be discouraging. Happiness results from subordinating or foregoing immediate pleasure for a greater good.

Most people associate discipline with an absence of freedom, with coercion or duty. In fact, only the disciplined are truly free. The undisciplined are slaves to moods, appetites, and passions. What about the freedom to forgive, to ask forgiveness, to love unreservedly, to be a light, not a judge—a model, not a critic? Discipline comes from being “discipled” to a person or a cause, often subduing an impulse in obedience to a principle or sacrificing present for future good. Successful people may not like doing things that failures don’t like to do, but their hate is subordinated by the strength of their purpose.

Key Traits of Conscious Leaders #3: Passion

Passion comes from the heart and is discernible as optimism, excitement, emotional connection, and determination. It fires remorseless drive. Enthusiasm is deeply rooted in the power of choice rather than circumstance. Enthusiasts believe that the best way to foresee the future is to create it. In fact, enthusiasm becomes a moral imperative, making the person part of the solution rather than part of the problem of feeling hopeless and helpless.

'The Conscious And Courageous Leader' by Tracy Tomasky (ISBN 0692725229) Aristotle said, “Where talents and the needs of the world cross, therein lies your vocation.” I say, “Therein lies your passion, your voice, your energy, your drive. It keeps you at it when everything else may say “quit.” When life, work, play, and love all revolve around the same thing, you’ve got passion! The secret to creating passion is finding your unique talents and your special role and purpose.

Courage is the crux of passion, and is, as Harold B. Lee once said, “the quality of every virtue and acting at its highest testing point.”

Skills are not talents. Talents, however, require skills. People can have skills and knowledge in areas where their talents do not lie. If they have a job that requires their skills but not their talents, they’ll never tap into their passion. They’ll go through the motions, but need external supervision and motivation.

If you can hire people whose passion intersects with the job, they will manage themselves better than anyone could ever manage them. Their fire comes from within. Their motivation is internal.

When you can give yourself to work that brings together a need, your talent, passion, and power will be unlocked.

Key Traits of Conscious Leaders #4: Conscience

'Awakening Corporate Soul' by Eric Klein (ISBN 0968214932) Conscience, this moral sense, this inner light, is universal and independent of religion, culture, geography, nationality, or race. All major traditions are unified when it comes to basic underlying principles or values.

The thesis developed by authors Eric Klein and John Izzo in Awakening Corporate Soul begins to explain how leadership and working with conscience, compassion, and commitment are relevant to individuals. They write,

There is, at this time, both a crisis and a longing that permeates organizations across North America. We call one the commitment crisis, the struggle of organizations and their leaders to discover ways to ignite commitment and performance in a rapidly changing insecure climate. The other is an awakening that is slowly occurring within traditional businesses—the awakening of the Corporate Soul. It is a nascent movement that seeks to reclaim the spiritual impulse that is at the heart of work. It is about people wanting work to have meaning and even more, to engage more of them at the deepest levels of their capacity and desire.

  • Conscience is the moral law within—the voice of God to his children. Hence, there is an innate sense of fairness and justice, of right and wrong, of what contributes and what detracts, of what beautifies and what destroys, of what is true and what is false. Culture translates this basic moral sense into different practices and words, but this translation does not negate the underlying sense of right and wrong. There is a set of values, a sense of fairness, honesty, respect and contribution that transcends culture—something that is timeless, which transcends the ages and is also self-evident. Conscience is the still, small voice within. It is quiet and peaceful.
  • Conscience is sacrifice—the subordinating of one’s self or ego to a higher purpose, cause or principle. Sacrifice means giving up something good for something better. Sacrifice can take many forms: making physical and economic sacrifices (the body); cultivating an open, inquisitive mind and purging oneself of prejudices (the mind); showing deep respect and love to others (the heart); and subordinating one’s own will to a higher will for the greater good (the spirit). In business, you know those who are honest with you and who keep their promises and commitments. You also know those who are duplicitous, deceitful, and dishonest. Even when you reach a legal agreement with those who are dishonest, do you trust they’ll come through and keep their word?
  • Conscience tells us the value of both ends and means. Ego tells us that the end justifies the means, unaware that a worthy end can never be achieved with unworthy means. It may appear that it can be, but unintended consequences that are not seen or evident at first will eventually destroy the end.
  • Conscience transforms passion into compassion. It engenders sincere caring—a combination of sympathy and empathy where one’s pain is snared and received.

People who do not live by their conscience will not experience this internal integrity and peace of mind. Their ego will try to control relationships. Even though they might pretend or feign kindness and empathy, they will use subtle forms of manipulation.

The private victory of integrity is the foundation for the public victories of establishing a common vision, discipline and passion. Leadership becomes an interdependent work rather than an immature interplay between strong, independent, ego-driven rulers and compliant, dependent followers.

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A Value Investing Checklist from ‘Poor Charlie’s Almanack’

'Poor Charlie's Almanack' by Charles T. Munger (ISBN 1578645018)

From Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger

Risk—All investment evaluations should begin by measuring risk, especially reputational

  • Incorporate an appropriate margin of safety
  • Avoid dealing with people of questionable character
  • Insist upon proper compensation for risk assumed
  • Always beware of inflation and interest rate exposures
  • Avoid big mistakes; shun permanent capital loss

Independence—“Only in fairy tales are emperors told they are naked”

  • Objectivity and rationality require independence of thought
  • Remember that just because other people agree or disagree with you doesn’t make you right or wrong—the only thing that matters is the correctness of your analysis and judgment
  • Mimicking the herd invites regression to the mean (merely average performance)

Preparation—“The only way to win is to work, work, work, work, and hope to have a few insights”

  • Develop into a lifelong self-learner through voracious reading; cultivate curiosity and strive to become a little wiser every day
  • More important than the will to win is the will to prepare
  • Develop fluency in mental models from the major academic disciplines
  • If you want to get smart, the question you have to keep asking is “why, why, why?”

Intellectual humility—Acknowledging what you don’t know is the dawning of wisdom

  • Stay within a well-defined circle of competence
  • Identify and reconcile disconfirming evidence
  • Resist the craving for false precision, false certainties, etc.
  • Above all, never fool yourself, and remember that you are the easiest person to fool

Analytic rigor—Use of the scientific method and effective checklists minimizes errors and omissions

  • Determine value apart from price; progress apart from activity; wealth apart from size
  • It is better to remember the obvious than to grasp the esoteric
  • Be a business analyst, not a market, macroeconomic, or security analyst
  • Consider totality of risk and effect; look always at potential second order and higher level impacts
  • Think forwards and backwards—Invert, always invert

Allocation—Proper allocation of capital is an investor’s number one job

  • Remember that highest and best use is always measured by the next best use (opportunity cost)
  • Good ideas are rare—when the odds are greatly in your favor, bet (allocate) heavily
  • Don’t “fall in love” with an investment—be situation-dependent and opportunity-driven

Patience—Resist the natural human bias to act

  • “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world” (Einstein); never interrupt it unnecessarily
  • Avoid unnecessary transactional taxes and frictional costs; never take action for its own sake
  • Be alert for the arrival of luck
  • Enjoy the process along with the proceeds, because the process is where you live

Decisiveness—When proper circumstances present themselves, act with decisiveness and conviction

  • Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful
  • Opportunity doesn’t come often, so seize it when it comes
  • Opportunity meeting the prepared mind; that’s the game

Change—Live with change and accept unremovable complexity

  • Recognize and adapt to the true nature of the world around you; don’t expect it to adapt to you
  • Continually challenge and willingly amend your “best-loved ideas”
  • Recognize reality even when you don’t like it—especially when you don’t like it

Focus—Keep things simple and remember what you set out to do

  • Remember that reputation and integrity are your most valuable assets—and can be lost in a heartbeat
  • Guard against the effects of hubris and boredom
  • Don’t overlook the obvious by drowning in minutiae
  • Be careful to exclude unneeded information or slop: “A small leak can sink a great ship”
  • Face your big troubles; don’t sweep them under the rug
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Bernard Baruch’s 10 Rules of Investing

Bernard Baruch (1870–1965) was the son of a South Carolina physician whose family moved to New York City when he was eleven year old. By his mid-twenties, he is able to buy an $18,000 seat on the exchange with his winnings and commissions from being a broker. By age 30, he is a millionaire and is known all over The Street as “The Lone Wolf”.

Bernard Baruch's 10 Rules of Investing Born in Camden, South Carolina, and raised in New York City, Bernard Mannes Baruch graduated from the City College of New York in 1889. His original job on Wall Street, at the brokerage firm of A. A. Housman & Co., paid $3 a week, but he became a millionaire by the time he was thirty. He was a director of the New York Stock Exchange, a front-runner in mining finance, and an irregular investor in properties ran by the Guggenheim household. Even though he did not sell out just before the stock market crash of 1929, as fable has it, he did recover the bulk of his fortune.

In his two-volume 1957 memoirs, My Own Story and The Public Years, Baruch left us with the following timeless rules for investing

Being so skeptical about the usefulness of advice, I have been reluctant to lay down any ‘rules’ or guidelines on how to invest or speculate wisely. Still, there are a number of things I have learned from my own experience which might be worth listing for those who are able to muster the necessary self-discipline.

  • Don’t speculate unless you can make it a full-time job.
  • Beware of barbers, beauticians, waiters—of anyone—bringing gifts of “inside” information or “tips.”
  • Before you buy a security, find out everything you can about the company, its management and competitors, its earnings and possibilities for growth.
  • 'Baruch My Own Story' by Bernard Baruch (ISBN 1607969130) Don’t try to buy at the bottom and sell at the top. This can’t be done—except by liars.
  • Learn how to take your losses quickly and cleanly. Don’t expect to be right all the time. If you have made a mistake, cut your losses as quickly as possible.
  • Don’t buy too many different securities. Better have only a few investments which can be watched.
  • Make a periodic reappraisal of all your investments to see whether changing developments have altered their prospects.
  • Study your tax position to know when you can sell to greatest advantage.
  • Always keep a good part of your capital in a cash reserve. Never invest all your funds.
  • Don’t try to be a jack of all investments. Stick to the field you know best.

Baruch would afterwards continue from Wall Street to Washington DC as an consultant to both Woodrow Wilson and to Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II.

Later on, he became identified as the Park Bench Statesman, due to his keenness for debating policy and politics with his associates in the open air.

He lived until a few days before his 95th birthday in 1965. You could do worse than to invest and live based on these facts.

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Quotes from David Ogilvy’s ‘Ogilvy On Advertising’

David Ogilvy famously said his secret to success was simple: “First make a reputation for being a creative genius. Second surround yourself with partners who are better than you are. Third leave them to get on with it.”

'Ogilvy on Advertising' by David Ogilvy (ISBN 039472903X) Imaginably no other advertising practitioner has been so liberal with sharing his knowledge and experience than David Ogilvy.

In Ogilvy On Advertising, Ogilvy’s judgements on advertising and his appeal shines through his guidebook to the advertising business. His words are a discovery into consumer behavior. His love for the art and science of using words (and sometimes pictures) to coo and coax is fascinating.

Written with sincere enthusiasm, each chapter begins with a frontispiece describing a personal experience that demonstrates a basic advertising concept. Consequently, the reader’s attention is engaged and is brought into the situation immediately.

On The Power Of Advertising

The first thing I have to say is that you may not realize the magnitude of difference between one advertisement and another. Says John Caples, the doyen of direct response copywriters:

‘I have seen one advertisement actually sell not twice as much, not three times as much, but 19.5 times as much as another. Both advertisements occupied the same space. Both had photographic illustrations. Both had carefully written copy. The difference was that one used the right appeal and the other used the wrong appeal.’

The wrong advertising can actually reduce the sales of a product.

On ‘Creativity’ in Advertising

I do not regard advertising as entertainment or an art form, but as a medium of information. When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it ‘creative’. I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product. When Aeschines spoke, they said, ‘How well he speaks.’ But when Demosthenes spoke, they said, ‘Let us march against Philip.’

On the Pursuit Of Knowledge

I asked an indifferent copywriter what books he had read about advertising. He told me that he had not read any he preferred to rely on his own intuition. ‘Suppose’, I asked, ‘your gall-bladder has to be removed this evening. Will you choose a surgeon who has read some books on anatomy and knows where to find your gall-bladder, or a surgeon who relies on his intuition? Why should our clients be expected to bet millions of dollars on your intuition?’

This willful refusal to learn the rudiments of the craft is all too common. I cannot think of any other profession which gets by on such a small corpus of knowledge.

On the underestimated weapon known as Direct Mail

One day a man walked into a London agency and asked to see the boss. He had bought a country house and was about to open it as a hotel. Could the agency help him to get customers? He had $500 to spend. Not surprisingly, the head of the agency turned him over to the office boy, who happened to be the author of this book. I invested his money in penny postcards and mailed them to well-heeled people living in the neighborhood. Six weeks later the hotel opened to a full house. I had tasted blood.

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Zen Koan #30: Parable of Calling Card – Buddhist Teaching on Understanding and Awakening

Zen Koan #30: Parable of Calling Card - Buddhist Teaching on Understanding and Awakening In the commencement, the Buddha wasn’t composing stuff like that and it had more effect in those days—there were lots more people who seemed to be doing a lot better in their Zen Meditation with fewer diversions—things were simpler. People used to just cogitate and heedfully aurally perceive the construal of the words. To come to a retreat merely out of curiosity shows a lack of faith in yourself and in the practice; it would be impossible for you to get good results.

Generally, people enjoy living in the world of confusion for the reason that it is much more entertaining. So long as your mind is filled with greed, hatred, or ignorance, you will be immersed in vexation and suffering. There are two types of food for the body: nutrition and contact. Later when your Zen Meditation is not as pleasurable, you may try to analyze how you sat so well that one time and why you are so uncomfortable now.

Disassociate yourself from the part of your body that is painful. Trouble can only develop in a state of discrimination. The more you go after it, the more it eludes you. The more you want benefits from Zen, the further you will be from obtaining them. Practice is a foolish endeavor, like climbing a crystal mountain covered with oil.

Zen Koan: “Calling Card” Parable

Keichu, the great Zen teacher of the Meiji era, was the head of Tofuku, a cathedral in Kyoto. One day the governor of Kyoto called upon him for the first time.

His attendant presented the card of the governor, which read: Kitagaki, Governor of Kyoto.

“I have no business with such a fellow,” said Keichu to his attendant. “Tell him to get out of here.”

The attendant carried the card back with apologies. “That was my error,” said the governor, and with a pencil he scratched out the words Governor of Kyoto. “Ask your teacher again.”

“Oh, is that Kitagaki?” exclaimed the teacher when he saw the card. “I want to see that fellow.”

Buddhist Insight on Understanding and Awakening

The uncontrolled harm of things is limitless. Take a few minutes off your daily chores, sit down in a quiet place, and be mindful of your thoughts. That doesn’t mean that we have to go off in a hermitage, but our household life, our driving, our interpersonal relations, they are our considerate practice, and they require some working with. She wrote this note after a couple of days of trying meditation awareness. The British meditation teacher Christina Feldman and American vipassana teacher Jack Kornfield write in Stories of the Spirit, Stories of the Heart,

In spiritual life there is no room for compromise. Awakening is not negotiable; we cannot bargain to hold on to things that please us while relinquishing things that do not matter to us. A lukewarm yearning for awakening is not enough to sustain us through the difficulties involved in letting go. It is important to understand that anything that can be lost was never truly ours, anything that we deeply cling to only imprisons us.

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Posted in Faith and Religion

Death is Not Extinction

Destruction is a Prelude to New Creation

Destruction is a Prelude to New Creation Death is not a total extinction of life; it is as if the sculptor is smashing of a clay model. The form is destroyed; but it returns to its raw matter out of which the artist will attempt some new creation.

In the economy of God’s universe, there is a conservation of elements. We may disintegrate an atom, but the essence survives in the stupendous energy, which has been released. Similarly, death cannot destroy the body or the soul. The body returns to the treasury of primordial earth from which all physical life emerges and to which it returns. It decomposes into its constituent elements and continues to be part of the cycle of unending existence. The soul is invisible and it returns to its invisible living source. In addition, if we have lived with any beauty or goodness during the span of our years, then that beauty or goodness has entered the permanent reservoir of life’s assets, and it will continue to exist in newer incarnations; our deeds will be an inspiration to other lives.

Even our individuality is not wholly lost. For the seeds of immortality have been planted in us, and out of these seeds spring new life. For the Creator is infinitely resourceful and He employs the same stuff of life in eternally novel ways. Yet in that new life, we live on, for it is flesh of our flesh and spirit of our spirit.

Destruction is a prelude to new creation. It enables the Architect of our existence to wipe clean the slate at intervals and to start over again. The loss of the old is vindicated in the new—in the fairer copy, which comes after it.

Living and Lifelessness

Living and Lifelessness In searching for happiness in all the unseasonable places, we continually perpetuate the canonical misapprehension that we exist. Let those who are subject to slight complaints of this kind avoid wine, and supply its place by beer of a due potency. As a dripping-stone will not grow enough for a ship’s company, the following expeditious method may be practiced. We promptly attain the level of the triumphant ones. This is unconditioned love, love that does not expect or need a return, love that sees past the petty differences and disputes in life to the cosmopolitan longings for happiness that we all share. You cannot service two masters. Then follows the actualization that the differentiation between living and lifeless is a human conception.

We would see them inspiring individual religious belief and public dedication; restoring graveness of manners and simple mindedness of life; promoting in every man contentment with his lot, surrender to ecclesiastic designation, and continual regard to the blessing of heaven. –We may glorify riches and traffic; but, in truth, the preponderance of such principles of public virtue and concord forms the real strength and glory of a nation. The second half of a man’s life is made up of nothing but the habits he has acquired during the first half. For illustration, although the particular correlation between the powers of speed in different performances has been found to come close to zero, this need not inevitably be at all the case as regards preferences of rate; on the contrary, the person who likes to do one thing in a measured manner is very likely to prefer deliberation in other things also. American psychologist James Hillman wrote in Kind of Blue—An Essay on Melancholia and Depression,

Fundamentally everything in inexplicable. If doesn’t matter what you go into deeply enough, you realise there is no answer, because because there is no reason. Probably melancholia gives you the feeling of coming to the end. It affects the feeling level. It isn’t that your mind can no longer understand what is happening to it. But you have the feeling that there is no way you can go on. And that reason itself has come to a stop. They say time itself has come to a stop, or the mind has come to the end of its tether. That’s its importance though; that it stops the mind’s inflation that it can understand everything or come to grips with anything.

The happiness of life may be greatly increased by small good manners in which there is no parade, whose voice is too still to tease, and which evidence themselves by tender and lovesome looks, and little kind acts of attention.

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Stress: A Catalyst for Change

Stress: A Catalyst for Change “People don’t like change.” I perhaps hear this statement at least once a week. Regrettably, it perpetuates the thinking that people will try to avoid change. The reality is quite the opposite.

Change is an essential part of our living experience. We change to live. But we don’t live to be changed. When you understand this difference, you can use the stress of change as a potential energy source.

Hans Seyle originally defined stress in the 1930s. He identified it as a biological and psychological response or condition brought on by events outside of the person, such as a marriage, a divorce, getting a new job or losing a job.

Stress is often characterized in terms of “good” (eustress) and “bad” (dis-stress). This view of stress limits its potential as a catalyst for enabling change in your organization. To unlock your organization’s change energy you need to shift your thinking away from stress as an end state toward stress as an energy source. As energy, stress is needed to ignite and propel your change forward.

Viewed from yet another angle, it can be a spur for personal growth and enlightenment. Stress can be used as a justification to play the victim card, and it can also be the force that thrusts you forward into a better existence. Stress can be used as the motivation you choose to become numb through drugs, medication or alcohol, and it can also be the reason you are led to education, exercise and nutrition.

Successful Change Needs Stress

'Thinking for a Change' by John C. Maxwell (ISBN 0446692883) In his book Thinking for a Change, John Maxwell notes that all change feels awkward and uncomfortable, and if it doesn’t it probably isn’t really a change. Organizational change can only happen when people feel a strong disconnect between where the organization wants to be and where it is now.

It is the tension between the current state and the desired state that creates the stress necessary for change. At this critical point where new meets old you have the chance to excite people with the prospect of the new opportunities or paralyze them with the fear of uncertainty. It all depends on the beliefs your organization holds about change and the actions you take based on those beliefs.

Being under stress truly is an absolute growth-opportunity—none better. Rather than numb it or suppress it with drugs and alcohol, or run from it in denial or as a victim, why not use it as a catalyst for learning and change. During my life, my moments of intelligibility as well as my biggest achievements, individually and in business, demonstrated themselves just after the most stressful and painful times in my life. No matter how bad it can get, something good can always come from it. You just have to be open enough to see it through all the pain, misunderstanding or upset.

Enabling organizational change requires you to create enough stress to allow people to act on the need to let go of their current state without generating so much stress that they are immobilized with dis-stress.

'The Tao of Personal Leadership' by Diane Dreher (ISBN 0887308376) Diane Dreher compared conflict to electricity in her book The Tao of Leadership. The same comparison could be made about change; like electricity, change can either light up your world or destroy it. It all depends on the appropriate and careful use of stress.

Here are a few tips to help you balance the stress to dis-stress continuum:

  1. Enable the time and opportunity for people to recognize the need for change.
  2. Encourage and guide people’s need to make the change meaningful for them.
  3. Enable active participation in the “creation of their destiny”.
  4. Talk about the change and its transition (especially) when you think you have nothing to talk about.
  5. Recognize and acknowledge the discomfort of the change process—support people’s journeys.

Using Stress as a Catalyst for Change

Profound organizational change unavoidably produces stress. Those who lead change often try to suppress stress in an effort to sustain positive energy and forward movement.

Nevertheless, attempting to squash stress is a mistake. Successful leaders actively use stress to help transform organizations. To turn stress into a catalyst for change, implement these four practices:

  1. Build a shared mission to hold the core group together;
  2. Leverage the power of dissident voices;
  3. Give the work back: let others resolve conflicts;
  4. Raise the heat to uncover conflicts that need to be addressed.

Recognizing that employee engagement can help build a deeper sense of purpose, your team can develop a one-of-a-kind strategy that encourages employees to spend four hours a month, during the business day, volunteering on creating change.

Stress may not be pleasurable, but it can be beneficial.

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Glimpses of History #3: Prehistoric Migration out of Africa

Glimpses of History: Prehistoric Migration out of Africa

The spreading out of modern human populations in Africa 80,000 to 60,000 years ago and their initial exodus out of Africa have been uncertainly linked to two phases of technological and behavioral innovation within the Middle Stone Age of southern Africa.

The genus Homo evolved in Africa a little less than 2.5 million years ago, characterized by increasingly large brains that equipped them better for survival—their predecessors, the australopithecines, became extinct soon thereafter. Mary and Louis Leakey became famous for their discovery of the Homo habilis site in Tanzania’s Olduvai Gorge—a small ape—like biped that was skilled with stone tools (hence the name).

'Africa History Migrations' by Akan Takruri (ISBN 1976711592) These include surface and buried soils, windborne dispersal, human motion, excavation techniques and toolkits, and field attire has on archaeological sample quality. The announcement of Homo habilis was a defining moment in palaeoanthropology. It shifted the pursuit for the first humans from Asia to Africa and began a debate that persists to this day. Even with all the fossil evidence and analytical techniques from the past 50 years, a convincing hypothesis for the origin of Homo remains elusive.

Later hominids were larger, stronger and more anthropomorphic. The fossil record shows that hominids spread from Africa to Europe and Asia in multiple waves beginning about 2 million years ago (exactly how many species were involved, and how recently some survived, remains uncertain). They appear to have developed vocalization, hunter-gatherer social groups and the use of fire over the next million years.

The current scientific consensus, supported by DNA studies, is that modern humans arose in Africa 200,000 years ago, before spreading out, replacing and interbreeding with other hominids.

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Posted in Hobbies and Pursuits

The Different Types and Varieties of Rice

The Different Types and Varieties of Rice

Rice is usually divided into three general categories: long, medium and short grains. All have their special bites, textures, sizes and colours.

  • Long-grain rice, as the name denotes, is long and thin. It has a fluffy texture when cooked, and its grains remain separate. Parboiled rice is similar in appearance and texture to long-grain rice, but has been steamed and cooked before being milled.
  • Medium-grain rice is slightly shorter and fatter than the other types. It absorbs more liquid and has a creamier finish when cooked.
  • Short-grain rice is very short, and absorbs an immense amount of liquid during cooking, making the end result sticky and wet.

Primary Dietary Staple

At just under 400 calories for every lOOg in its raw state, rice is the main dietary staple of half the world’s population. From standard white grains to nutty-flavoured brown, to creamy risotto rice, to the exotic wild, rice offers something to tantalise most appetites.

  • American Longgrain: you’re bound to have this as a staple in your store-cupboard. American longgrain is the most commonly available rice, and a standard in the kitchen.
  • White Basmati: from the foothills of the Himalayas, this rice, with the bran taken out, is full of flavour and aroma. Serve with curries or other dishes which have a sauce to mingle with the rice.
  • Brown Basmati: the same as white basmati but with the bran left in. Use this like the white variety.
  • Carnaroli Rice: these tubby grains release starch as they cook, which is why Italian risotto is such a great comfort food.
  • Red Camargue Rice: this is French rice with a distinctive red colour and nutty flavour. It’s good when served with fish, meat or in salads.
  • Sushi Rice: this small, chubby Japanese grain is the perfect rice for making sushi because it gets so sticky when cooked.
  • Thai Fragrant: this is grown in the paddy fields of Thailand; it becomes fluffy when cooked and has a faint jasmine fragrance. It is delicious with any Thai dish.
  • Wild Rice: this is not true rice but an aquatic American grass. It must be cooked for longer, but the texture is satisfying and the nutty flavour is delicious. It is good mixed with white rice, but you can’t cook the two together. Cook them separately, starting the wild rice ahead of time, and then mix them together.

The highest consumption of rice per capita is in Myanmar (Burma), which is perhaps not surprising when you consider that Burma is smack in the middle of territory where rice cultivation most likely originated thousands of years ago. Radiocarbon dating of strata containing grains of rice found in south China indicates rice was cultivated as far back as 7,000 years ago. Researchers say that rice may have been indigenous to India and then moved eastward to Indochina and south-east Asia.

Rice is a Primary Dietary Staple It is amylose—a linear polymer of glucose—in cooked long-grain rice that causes it to seize up or harden when refrigerated. This is called retrogradation; the starch cells collapse, squeezing the moisture out and causing the realignment of the starch molecules. Much to the chagrin of the cook, the rice turns hard. Retrogradation cannot be avoided, but it can be reversed when the rice is reheated. Don’t keep cooked rice in the fridge for long. Cooked rice is one of the most common causes of food poisoning, brought about by the bacteria Bacillus Cereus, which develops when cooked rice is left too long in the fridge. Cooked rice should be cooled rapidly and stored in a clean, sealed container within an hour of cooking. Treat it like meat: no more than four days in the fridge.

Rice is gluten-free and easily digestible, making it a good choice for infants and people with wheat allergies or digestive problems. A half-cup of cooked white rice provides 82 calories; an equal amount of brown rice provides 89 calories.

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10 Leadership Lessons from JFK

10 Leadership Lessons from JFK

John F. Kennedy remains a popular president. He was one of those rare presidents who became more popular during his time in office. In the last Gallup poll before his assassination, Kennedy’s approval rating stood at 70 percent!

Some pundits have dismissed Kennedy as “all profile and no courage.” But a closer look reveals that behind the charisma, smile and bold rhetoric, lay courage aplenty, plus vision and substance.

  • Craft a compelling vision. By 1960, a new generation of “Baby Boomers” was coming of age. What was to be their challenge? In his Inaugural Address, Kennedy gave them one: “Now the trumpet summons us again-not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are-but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation-a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself. Can we forge against these enemies a grand and global alliance, North and South, East and West, that can assure a more fruitful life for all mankind? Will you join in that effort?” He dared young Americans to take on the status quo and to push themselves to the limit.
  • 'JFK and the Unspeakable' by James W Douglass (ISBN 1439193886) Face adversity with a smile. John F. Kennedy was born with an unstable back, which he aggravated further in sports and in the PT-109 incident. Also, he nearly died of scarlet fever as an infant, was mistakenly diagnosed with leukemia as a teenager, developed Addison’s Disease, which could be controlled only with painful cortisone treatments, suffered from allergies, bad eyesight, slight deafness in one ear, and much else besides. Born into a wealthy family, yet cursed with a sickly body, Kennedy could have given in to self-pity and sat on the sidelines. He refused, facing his maladies with a smile and joke. He was thus well-prepared to deal with the frustrations of political life.
  • Don’t follow the crowd. John F. Kennedy set his own course in life, always wary of being seen as anybody’s “man.” As a young man, he spent much time in Europe watching his father make blunder after blunder as U.S. ambassador to Great Britain, and young Kennedy resolved not to repeat them. He rejected his father’s crabbed isolationism in favor of a robust internationalism personified by Kennedy’s hero, Winston Churchill. He and his brother Bobby investigated corruption in U.S. labor unions, particularly the Teamsters. He also took on the American Legion, the House Democratic leadership, the Pentagon top brass.
  • Educate yourself. A passion for self-education might be one of the most reliable markers of leadership: Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and Ronald Reagan were mostly self-taught. Jack Kennedy became a reader during his childhood illnesses as he lay flat on his back in hospitals. History, biography, and historical fiction, such as Churchill’s History of the First World War and King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, were among his favorites. Before becoming president, Kennedy traveled the globe, visiting places few Americans had ever been, such as Vietnam. The contrast he witnessed between pre-war and post-war Berlin demonstrated vividly the possible consequences of world war, especially if it became nuclear.
  • 'Churchill: The Power of Words' by Winston Churchill (ISBN 0306821974) Learn to communicate. Kennedy was a poor public speaker at the start of his career. He spoke too fast, failed to pause for audience reaction, tended to speak from the larynx rather than the diaphragm and so wore out his voice quickly. He spoke with a pronounced regional accent. He dealt with this by keeping his talks short, and leaving time for questions. But he worked hard to improve himself, hiring voice coaches and a speechwriter, Theodore C. Sorensen, who helped him craft memorable phrases and imagery. Kennedy was also one of the first politicians to receive media training. His live press conferences became a White House tradition. He cultivated reporters who wrote favorable stories about him and his family and declined to write about his affairs and illnesses. He used his communication skills to rally the nation to fight the Cold War, soothe its fears, inspire unity, and achieve its highest aspirations.
  • Don’t let crises manage you. Perhaps the most important quality a leader can possess is the ability to manage a crisis without letting the crisis manage the leader. Kennedy projected a calm confidence that communicated to those around him and to the country. For example, during the Cuban missile crisis (October 1962), Kennedy remained calm and refused to retaliate. To prevent future miscommunications, Kennedy and Khrushchev agreed to establish a “hotline” between the White House and Kremlin.
  • Build a team and find your “Bobby.” No one gets to the top alone. To reach and hold a major leadership position, you need to build a team. Kennedy learned early how to get along with people from all walks of life. He could charm European aristocrats as well as bell hops and cab drivers with equal felicity. His intensity and purpose proved irresistible, and most people who worked for him remained devoted to him (no member of the Kennedy circle ever wrote even a remotely hostile memoir.) When Jack’s first Senate campaign manager proved incompetent, he turned to his brother Bobby, who impressed Jack with his organizational abilities. Bobby took charge, firing those who failed to perform and promoting those who showed drive and determination. He became indispensable to his brother, who defied the charges of nepotism to name him attorney general. Everyone at the top needs someone whose advice he can trust implicitly.
  • Add a touch of showmanship. When Kennedy became president, the presidential aircraft was painted in an orange-white-and-black paint scheme with the phrase “Military Air Transport Command” stenciled on the side. For the New Frontier, this simply wouldn’t do. So Kennedy called in Raymond Loewy, a great industrial designer. Loewy came up with the pale blue and white paint scheme and the words “United States of America” stenciled on the fuselage. Kennedy also discovered the aircraft had a codename: Air Force One. That was too good a name to keep secret, and Kennedy began using it publicly.
  • 'Profiles in Courage' by John F Kennedy (ISBN 0060854936) Learn from mistakes. When Cuban exiles invaded that country with U.S. support early in his administration in an effort to overthrow Fidel Castro, the effort collapsed ignominiously. Kennedy did not blame the previous administration, whose idea it was. Instead, he accepted full responsibility, saying, “Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.” Still, there were consequences. The director and deputy director of the CIA were both sacked. The Joint Chiefs of Staff were required to give their opinions to him in writing. Never again would Kennedy simply trust anyone’s word. Instead, he questioned his advisers to ensure all options were explored.
  • Do what’s right. Courage is a leitmotif running through Kennedy’s life. He possessed enormous physical courage, playing rough sports like football and starring on the Harvard swimming team despite his fragile frame. Before the United States entered World War II in 1941, Jack enlisted in the navy. After the PT-109 was sunk by a Japanese destroyer, he joked with his men to keep their spirits up. His best-known book is called Profiles in Courage, which chronicles the stories of United States senators who risked their careers by supporting unpopular causes.

When African-Americans were agitating for their civil rights, Kennedy at first hesitated to embrace their cause, fearing it would damage him politically. But on June 11, 1963, he did so wholeheartedly. Kennedy was the first president to call for equal rights for all Americans. And his words could not be taken back once he had spoken them. In addition to his physical courage, he had inner courage as well.

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