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How to Build Up Your Confidence in Presentations

How to Build Up Your Confidence in Presentations

Confidence is the main component of a successful presentation. This premise is easy to state and accept—it is not so easy to work out how to build up your confidence. However, it is worth a try.

  • Knowledge. Know your material thoroughly and take time to check the facts and verify source. Do not agree to present subjects you only half know about, no matter how tempting and persuasive others are. Be clear about the one big issue you are going to present. Get the scope right so you are not sidetracked and go off on aimless tangents when researching and compiling likely material to support your ideas. It is not just knowledge, it’s ‘knowledge of what exactly?’ that you should be asking yourself at the outset.
  • Time. Put enough time into the task of preparing your material—“It always takes longer than you expect’ (Hofstadter’s Law)—and aim to complete your rough script/slides with a couple of days to spare. You need time to ‘sit on it’ without doing anything, to let it sink into your mind naturally. Remember how you used to cram for exams right up to the last minute and how you later felt?
  • Congruity. Make sure your words, tone of voice and body language are congruent, particularly if taking a strong position and expressing your own feelings and attitudes. According to Albert Mehrabian, professor emeritus of psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, people rely more on the combination of what they see and hear than on any text alone. They look at slides, so do not read your slides—the audience does that—refer them to the point you are making and talk them through it. Always aim for simple structures so listeners find it easy to follow. Reiterate points in a different form of words to reinforce your message.
  • 'How to Speak with Confidence in Public' by Edie Lush (ISBN 1509814531) Practice. Take an example from theatre actors who learn their lines and rehearse their actions. Although you don’t memories your lines, practicing them out loud nevertheless builds a familiarity, not only with the words and ideas themselves, but also with how each part links with the next. Good linking controls the pace of your performance. This constant working through also helps you measure the timing of the presentation—and being aware of these invisible clues leads you seamlessly through your mental script. Only Icarus was dumb enough to “wing it on the day.”
  • Attitude. You are not going out there to fail. You are not there by chance and you have not left anything to chance. Everyone in the audience wants to hear a good presentation, to be entertained and stimulated. Start from that premise and believe in your ability to deliver it. You have agreed to present in order to demonstrate that you can communicate your ideas clearly to others—allow this simple idea to lodge in your mind.
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Posted in Education and Career Life Hacks and Productivity

We Are What We Repeatedly Do

We Are What We Repeatedly Do

How do we come to be strong as people? How do we come to be brave, patient or persistent? Are we born that way?

Sayings such as “Practice makes perfect” exemplify the well-known fact that repetition improves learning. This was discussed by abundant ancient and medieval philosophers and was demonstrated empirically by Hermann Ebbinghaus, the first academic to carry out a protracted series of experiments on human memory. In a classic 1885 book, Ebbinghaus showed that retaining of information improves as a function of the number of times the information has been studied. Since the time of Ebbinghaus, innumerable investigators have used repetition to examine learning and memory.

Without any knowledge of how the brain works, about 2,500 years ago Greek philosopher-scientist Aristotle pretty much nailed it by using common sense to explain what he observed in human behavior:

Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.

It may sound a lot like the truism, “Practice makes perfect,” but Aristotle is accurate that being who we are comes from repetition of performance to form behavior patterns.

These days, neuroscientists explain that behavior patterns happen when the brain cells concerned in the behavior become physically connected to each other in a network called a neural pathway. We aren’t born with this efficient hard-wiring. More exactly, the separate brain cells involved in the behavior are stimulated by usage to grow tiny filaments called dendrites. By reiterating the behavior over and over, the dendrites ultimately connect the cells with each other into a network called a neural pathway. At this stage the behavior pattern is said to be entrenched, meaning the mental processing is so efficient it feels effortless and automatic. Indeed, the behavior may be implemented even without conscious thought.

We use words like skills, habits and personal strengths to describe these behavior patterns. We can learn bad habits as well as good habits—any kind of behavior pattern at all. All it takes is replication over time. We can develop addictions as well as character strengths. As Aristotle said it so well so long ago, “We are what we repeatedly do.”

Thus, repetition need not lead to enhanced learning. Rather, repetition leads to increased opportunities for learning to occur. Whether learning takes place will depend on the type of information that has to be recollected and the amount and nature of dispensation that a person carries out.

Because the brain cell connections are physical, the patterns they enable are hard-wired…and everlasting. So if you want to break a bad habit, your challenge is to grow a new substitute neural pathway. You don’t actually get rid of old, undesirable behavior patterns. You learn new ones that give you more satisfaction, which means you’ll use them more and the old ones less.

The good news is that once you learn how to swim or ride a bicycle, the skill will stay with you for the rest of your life, even without using the ability for years.

More good news for people practicing a learning journey: You can grow stronger by simply doing the right things constantly over time. The behavior may seem awkward and clumsy at first, but it becomes easier the more you do it.

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Posted in Philosophy and Wisdom

Generousness Brings Enjoyment, and Discipline Happiness

The Prose of Everyday Life

Young couples occasionally look back with nostalgia on the romantic beginnings of their love. The bonds, which now link them to each other, are real and deep, yet they remember the earlier exhilaration, when each encounter was an adventure, long anticipated, and long remembered. They sometimes feel as though all the sparkle, all the poetry has gone out of their lives.

The Prose of Everyday Life Their complaint is in some sense true, but they do not fully understand the meaning of the change, which has taken place in their lives. The excitation was a necessary stimulant to courtship. It was necessary to overcome the resistance to the loss of independence, which is in some respects inevitable when two lives are to be merged into one. A tree, in the early stages of its transplantation needs special nurture, and so do young people at the time of the most radical change in their lives.

That stimulant recedes when it has accomplished its purpose. Indeed its persistence might become a hindrance, since some young people whose pursuit of each other has ended with the prize won; now have other things to do. They must begin the prose of everyday life. They must begin to share the rigors of living, to face common tasks, to help each other in their climb towards the new horizons opening in their life together.

The thin kindling wood gives off a brilliant flame, but that flame cannot last, and does not give out warmth. Its function is to ignite the heavy log, which will burn with less sparkle, less glitter, but with the most glowing steadiness. The fire of later years is not as brilliant as the blaze, which burned at the beginning, but it is firmer, surer, and warmer.

It was made of clay, effortlessly chipped, and coarsely painted. The universal arrangement is the time-honored one of a thoughtfulness of the anatomy of the cerebellum from a descriptive point of view, followed by a segment on experimentation, with, in the end, a detailed account of the diagnostic of affections of this portion of the brain, and a discourse of the relation of the brain to motility.

Happiness is Simple-minded Than Suffering

Happiness is Simple-minded Than Suffering Let us not permit the kindling wood to flare up and burn itself out in a beautiful but brief exhibit of flame, without being sure it ignites the thicker log for the more enduring fire.

Would not this require vast strength to effect? Pretty standardized is the force that the muscles of the arm exert in raising the whole length of the arm, and the weight of the hand beside. Our lives are not determined by what happens to us but by how we react to what happens, not by what life brings to us, but by the mindset, we bring to life. An affirmative mental attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events, and outcomes. It is a medium, a spark that creates extraordinary results. Our reputation is an instrument, then-not, hopefully, for creating or maintaining our self-esteem but for pragmatic pilot age through daily life, a good one smoothing out the travel somewhat, a bad one causing doors to slam in our face and testing our self-confidence in ourselves. German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche writes in Mastery,

Do not talk about giftedness, inborn talents! One can name great men of all kinds who were very little gifted. They acquired greatness, became ‘geniuses’ (as we put it), through qualities the lack of which no one who knew what they were would boast of: they all possessed that seriousness of the efficient workman which first learns to construct the parts properly before it ventures to fashion a great whole; they allowed themselves time for it, because they took more pleasure in making the little, secondary things well than in the effect of a dazzling whole.

Given these and other benefits, I can think of very few grounds entrepreneurs would skip physical exercise to work on their business. The research says that exercise is working on their business. This is why happiness is simple-minded than suffering, which is incessantly working so hard. The unicorn of happiness is allergic to advice and Little Me’s elaborate schemes are not interesting to her. She is a free roamer with no fixed terminus or shape; her hooves are in the Tao.

Nonetheless, when the lights diffuse to the corporeal matter, then the light becomes seeable and is revealed to the senses because of the heaviness of the corporeal matter. Many people find this to be one of the most difficult aspects of the mindfulness practice. They were all grateful that he was the one who was hit by the bus and not them.

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Posted in Philosophy and Wisdom

A Life Frittered Away by Detail

'Walden' by Henry David Thoreau (ISBN 1505297729) From Henry David Thoreau’s Walden,

Our life is frittered away by detail. An honest man has hardly need to count more than his ten fingers, or in extreme cases he may add his ten toes, and lump the rest. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail. In the midst of this chopping sea of civilized life, such are the clouds and storms and quicksands and thousand-and-one items to be allowed for, that a man has to live, if he would not founder and go to the bottom and not make his port at all, by dead reckoning, and he must be a great calculator indeed who succeeds. Simplify, simplify.

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Posted in Philosophy and Wisdom

Lead with Your Presence by Animating and Engaging People

Lead with Your Presence by Animating and Engaging People

In the military, officer candidates are drilled on the power and practice of the manner of a leader-focused, attentive, and engaged. Command presence is not about control, it is about connection; it is not about power, it is about partnership. Leaders with command presence convey character.

Davy Crockett had command presence. “Crockett seemed to be the leading spirit. He was everywhere,” wrote Enrique Esparza, eyewitness to the Alamo, in a newspaper article following the legendary siege. Great leaders are all about spirit-being, not just doing. They focus on being there, everywhere, not in absentia. And, when they are there, they are all there-focused, attentive, engaged.

Great leaders hunt for genuine encounters. They upset the pristine and proper by inviting vocal customers to boardroom meetings. They spend time in the field and on the floor where the action is lively, not in carefully contrived meetings where the action is limp. They thrive on keeping things genuine and vibrant.

Leadership is being (Spirit)

Leadership is the act of influencing another to achieve important goals. It is not about rank or authority. Authority is the last resort of the inept. Leadership is about being-the conveyance of spirit. “You don’t have to know that Susan is the leader,” a manager said of his leader, “You can feel it the second she walks into the room. A warm connection reaches out of who she is and pulls you in. Some people might call it charisma, I call it caring.”

Spirit-full leaders let go of proving who they are in exchange for being who they are. They are givers whose curious interest in others drives them to be completely absorbed in whoever is on the other end of their conversations. They are patient listeners eager to learn, not anxious to make a point.

Great leaders are passion givers. They embrace the concept embedded in the word and pass it on to others. They show their excitement in the moment and optimism for the future, regardless of how much sleep they got the evening before or their worry over hiccups in the balance sheet. Great leaders are pathfinders who light the way with their positive faith. They would rather facilitate than challenge. They cultivate confidence rather than breed caution.

Leadership is Being There

Leaders are present. They don’t just lead by wandering around; they lead by staying engaged. They don’t just know the facts and figures; they know the stories and struggles. Because they make it their business to do their homework on customers and associates, they can affirm on sight without benefit of cue card or staff whispers. They call associates at home to congratulate them on something important to the associate. They thank customers for their business with sincerity and obvious gratitude. They hold meetings on other’s turf.

Great leaders bring perpetual energy and intensity to encounters. They are always wide awake. When it comes to their role, they are never lazy, disinterested, or indifferent. They care enough to bring their best. They show up in life with completed staff work.

At the annual managers meeting, Macy’s Director of Stores, Randy Scalise, gave out 15 awards to outstanding performers in the Northeast region. On the outside, the awards ceremony looked normal-applause, handshakes, an award presentation, and photos. What was unique was how many stories Randy told about his personal experiences with the award winners. He was an important customer for many of them—he had been there, up close and personal.

Great leaders are passion givers

Leadership is Being All There

The myth of leadership is that of a knight in shining armor without warts or clay feet rushing in to charismatically compel people to greatness through the sheer power of his persona. Real leaders are superior and inadequate, strong, and weak.

“He gives us so much courage,” a senior leader said of Doug Borror, CEO of Dominion Homes, and a large home-builder in Dublin, Ohio. “Doug is not perfect. But, he works hard to be the best he can be. When he makes a mistake, he owns it; he forgives himself so to speak. And he is willing to confess in public. That encourages us to reach for higher goals, knowing that if we fall short reaching for the moon, we’ll still end up among the stars.

Real leaders are real role models-not “be perfect like me” models. They are open about their struggles and invite followers to enlist. Positioning leaders as perfect models is unfair to leaders and disempowers associates. Real leaders stumble and blunder, just like normal people. Greatness comes through self-forgiveness as you “get back on the horse.” Real leaders serve as role models best when they reveal their vulnerability and demonstrate their humanity. When leaders own their mistakes, they signal to all that concealment and CYA antics are deviations from corporate custom.

Davy Crockett held no official position at the Battle of the Alamo. His command was expressed solely through his presence-one that cultivated confidence and promoted passion. Coronal Jim Bowie wrote, “David Crockett has been animating the men to do their duty.” Command presence is the embodiment of animation. And animation is what separates maintenance managers from truly great leaders.

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Posted in Education and Career Life Hacks and Productivity

Building Rapport Using the Mirroring Technique for Effective Communication

For customer service providers, it is just as critical to listen as to speak

Building Rapport Using the Mirroring Technique for Effective Communication In customer service, is it more important to be a good sender of information or receiver? For customer service providers, it is just as critical to listen as to speak. Is there an art to being a good listener? Yes. Does it come naturally? I think not. In fact, research indicates that we hear half of what is said, listen to half of what we hear, understand half of it, believe half of that, and remember only half of that.

That means in an eight-hour workday, you spend about 4 hours listening. You hear about 2 hours worth. You listen to 1 hour’s worth. You understand 30 minutes of that hour. You believe only 15 minutes worth. In addition, you remember just under 8 minutes worth.

How important are the nonverbal aspects compared to the actual words we use when communicating? Your words are about 7 percent of your communication, tone of voice 38 percent, and body language about 55 percent, and yet, most communication training centers on the use of words.

Often we fake attention because our thought-to-speech ratio. We can think five times faster than the other person talking can. Now you can do something productive with that extra lag time in your thought-to-speech ratio.

Leadership consultant Tom Peters notes: “Good listeners get out from behind their desk to where the customers are.” Do you give your full attention to the people who talk to you? If not, learn a powerful, technique that will improve your listening and help you gain rapport with anyone you meet. This technique comes from the science of neuro-linguistics programming (NLP,) developed by John Grinder and Richard Bandler. By incorporating NLP into the way we work with people, we can “read” people more sensitively, establish a positive relationship more quickly, and respond to them more effectively.

Mirroring is the Art of Copying Another Person’s Behavior

Mirroring is the Art of Copying Another Person's Behavior Mirroring, one of several NLP techniques, is the art of copying another person’s behavior to create a relaxed communication situation. We tend to like people who are like us. If we look like someone (and 93 percent of who that person is, is nonverbal), they will subconsciously say to themselves, “I like this person. They are just like me.” In addition, if we like someone, we trust him or her and want to do business with him or her. Think about the potential this has for promotions, building business, and building relationships and friendships.

Specifically, this is how you mirror: First, match the other person’s voice tone or tempo. If they talk fast, you talk fast. If they talk slowly, you talk slowly. When I speak in New York, I cannot speak quickly enough. If I am in southern Texas, I slow my pace down to match their pace. One way to help you match the other person’s tempo is to match the other person’s breathing rate. Pace yourself to it. Match the other person’s body movements, posture, and gestures. If the person you’re mirroring crosses his or her legs, you cross your legs. If the other person gestures, you gesture. Of course, subtlety is everything. You may want to wait several seconds before moving.

The process of mirroring is natural. You do it naturally with people you like and have built rapport with.

Morton Kelsey said it well when he said, “Listening is being silent in an active way.” If you think of it, if you rearrange the letters in the word listen, it is equivalent to silent. We would be more effective in customer service if we would listen more and talk less.

I hope that this listening technique will help you gain much wisdom and that as a result, you will have to repent very little.

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Posted in Education and Career Life Hacks and Productivity

Faithfully Plant Seed in the Spring for a Noble Harvest

Originative Thought Shapes Your Destiny

Youth has been called the springtime of a man’s life. It is an appropriate comparison, as spring is the time when nature mobilizes all her energies for new adventures, and youth is like that too. It is the time when every fiber of one’s being is glowing with vitality, and the readiness for bold new tasks. It is the time for the dreams and visions that beckon us.

Nevertheless, spring is not merely the time for adventure; it is also the time of preparation, the time of planting and sowing. In spring, the world awakens to make ready for the harvest of tomorrow. Events, too, have stirred his way. Youth also has this task of preparing its strength to bring into the world the ripened fruits of maturity.

Originative Thought Shapes Your Destiny We now shall turn over the several faults in the constitution at this period of life; and the diseases rising from them. Each of us has the capacity to render some service to our fellow man. Be they much or little, distinguished or humble, the good deeds we perform are the fruits, which our lives were expected to produce for humanity. Nevertheless, our capacities will remain asleep in our souls unless they are encouraged to develop, for they are the seeds the Lord placed in our beings at birth, and we must prepare the soil for them to germinate and yield the fullness of their promise. Evangelos Christou, Professor of Applied Physiology and Kinesiology at the University of Florida, wrote,

Validity in psychology can be seen as resting on three different possible foundations. One is on logic, the second is on experiment, and the third is on meaning. If your psychology rests on logic, then it’s going to be deductive. … If your psychology rests on experiment, it’s going to be more physicalistic and empirical, potentially behaviouristic. But if it rests on meaning, then psyche can be the focus.

One of the questions, which every young person ought to ask himself, is, “Will I develop sufficiently to yield some precious fruit at the time of my harvest?” Am I storing up a fund of knowledge about man and the world to draw upon in later years? Am I imbibing the thoughts of great masters from whom I may find guidance in my own tasks in life? Do I offer my mind the stimulation of diverse ideas, the exhilaration of the uninhibited search for truth? This is how we prepare the garden of our lives so that the precious seeds imbedded there shall germinate and come to fruition.

Being a Good-luck Charm

Being a Good-luck Charm No material can possess all of these qualities and thus some compromises must be made. From this it appears, that a body reduced to powder can be thrown but to a very small distance, the resistivity being cracking, because the bodies in motion are but small a fowler who shoots with minuscule shot, is reasonable that the charge can carry it but a short way, if compared to the distance to which a bullet would go.

If the facts sometimes seem obscure, it is because they are cloaked in a “disguise” in order to outflow the censor. The key to deputation is finding people that know the functionality of requisite tasks, but that also know how to conform to particular procedures.

Next are considered in order the following topics: The objectiveness of mental contents, rational contents, and selfhood, and the all-embracing philosophic implications of the respective theories. Real, constructive mental power lies in the originative thought that shapes your destiny, and your hour-by-hour mental behavior produces power for change in your life. Formulate a train of thought on which to ride. The nobility of your living as well as your happiness depends upon the centering in which that train of thought is going.

Their ship’s company remaining healthy has amply rewarded those who have had the doggedness to make their men practice it for their trouble. If it becomes otherwise, it is uncorrupted. In proportionality as our inwards life fails, we go more incessantly and urgently to the post-office. So much for being a good-luck charm.

Barren men whose lives contain no nourishment for the fruit of the human soul are pathetic indeed. They are as pathetic as the barren trees, as the barren earth, which can only produce weeds.

O God, do Thou watch over our youth and guide it to make the ways of its spring a prelude to a bounteous harvest.

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Posted in Faith and Religion

Your Life is Not Your Own

The Heart and Benevolence That is God

Your Life Is Not Your Own “It is my life. I can do with it as I please.” How often have you heard that defiant declaration of independence? Yet, it is based on no more than a half-truth. Nevertheless, if this were the case the ill results of neediness from sleep would tend to accumulate and hence become more evident after such deprivation had consumed for a number of years.

It is true that every man has a duty, not to speak of a right, to live by his own lights. No man was meant to be a duplicate of another, or echo someone else’s voice. The Creator made each of us a distinctive person, with a mind of his own. Presumably, He wanted us to live by it, to justify making us what we are. Yet, our life is not entirely our own, and we do not have an unqualified right to do what we please. Our parents, our friends, our society too, have all made investments in us, and what we do makes a difference to them! We are obliged to consider whether we are conserving or dissipating their investments.

The greatest investor in our lives is God, Who conferred existence upon us, and who endowed us with potentialities waiting to be awakened by us to active life. The Creator’s work is never without a purpose, so there is then a goal, a commitment to which our lives are charged. A man may refuse to pay his bills, but a record exists. A charge is entered against every name and we are all in duty bound to redeem our outstanding obligations.

It strengthens your purpose to stick with your resolve not to do harm again. As if, happiness is somewhat reciprocally, symmetrical to desire. It has been suggested that only such tests should be used which all-normal persons without exclusion can fulfill (Zhen). American Psychologist Lorne Ladner writes in his The Lost Art of Compassion,

We all naturally want to be happy. However, …. when we approach life in a self-centred way, focusing primarily on our own protection, security, possessions and well-being, happiness always eludes us. Seeking happiness in this way unintentionally but inevitably leads to insecurity loneliness, neediness and misery. By contrast, when our approach to life is base on love, empathy and compassion for others, happiness flows to us in an ever-increasing stream. ….

Many people agree that compassion, like … charity, is a good thing. However, people are so in the habit of seeking happiness outside themselves that it’s extremely rare for anyone to even consider taking this idea literally—which is how it’s intended—and experiment with cultivating compassion as the main path to happiness in their lives.

Inspiration Comes Only from Reverence Toward the Achievements of God

Reverence Toward the Achievements of God Would not this involve immense strength to effect? Similar is the force that the muscles of the arm wield in raising the whole length of the arm, and the weight of the hand beside. To fortify their case, they also sought through all uncommitted project documents and data files, many of which recognize from the days when computers relied on punch cards for data entry and stored data on nine-track tape.

If everyone else around us is consuming material things and giving in to craving, it is more hard to maintain our mindful awareness. In less than a century, it had entirely lost those traces left by the shoes of George Washington. Trying to cut a three-iron around a tree, he alternatively deinked its trunk, the ball rolling back at him, scoffing.

Manifestly, imagining the pleasure they would feel from humoring in an unavailable enticement distracted the children even more than cognitively restructuring the way they thought about the enticement before them.

The ability of newborns to imbibe everything around them straightaway dictates the intention of a particular environment for them in the hospitals. My intuition is that self-knowledge and experience play a theatrical role in reconciling happiness vs. meaning, short-term versus long-term.

“My life is not my own.” It is a trust for which I am responsible. I have no right to do with it as I please, but I am under an obligation to discharge the terms of the trust.

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Posted in Philosophy and Wisdom

Do the Best You Can and Don’t Take Life Too Serious

Do the Best You Can and Don’t Take Life Too Serious

The Wisdom of Living

The Wisdom of Living The finger on the dock of time turns inexorably. We are sometimes saddened when we realize that time moves on, that the years are slipping out of our hands, yet these thoughts need not really depress us. Evils in the journey of life are like the hills which alarm travelers on the road.

The wisdom of living consists in making the most of what we are given. We cannot weave without threads, but it is our skill with the threads that determines whether we shall fashion a beautiful tapestry or labor without producing anything of use or beauty.

God does not fashion life for us. He does not determine the shape of our dreams, or our accomplishments, but He gives us the threads… He has endowed our hands with energy, our minds with power to reason, our hearts with the power to feel, and He placed us upon the scene of nature abounding in the raw materials with which we can build to our heart’s desire. Both appear great at a distance, but when we approach them we find they are far less insurmountable than we had conceived. Both of these, when their nature is examined, are equal.

Cultivating Gratitude Makes Each Day Worth Living

Only a fortunate few experience unadulterated synchronicity of such allegiance. Given this four ways gratitude can profit us, we have some very good reasons to return thanks more than once a year. Cultivating gratitude makes each day worth living and might even give us more days. Although some students take more than four years to discharge their degrees, most juniors and seniors are comparatively young compared with students in urban communities where working masses take part-time loads and evening classes.

An artist who has spent his days fashioning a thing of beauty rejoices in his labor when it is done. He does not fret that the days, which have passed, have made him older. Only empty days, futile days, wasted days, are a tragedy. Only the passing of days such as these is depressing. Alan Garner wrote in The Voice That Thunders,

The purpose of the storyteller is to relate the truth in a manner that is simple: to integrate without reduction; for it is rarely possible to declare the truth as it is, because the universe presents itself as a Mystery. We have to find parables; we have to tell stories to unriddle the world … The job of a storyteller is to speak the truth; but what we feel most deeply cannot be spoken in words. At this level only images connect. And so the story becomes symbol; and symbol is myth

Develop interest in life as you see it; in people, things, literature, music—the cosmos is so rich, simply throbbing with bountiful treasures, beautiful souls and interesting citizenry. The only well-founded ground of judgment of conviction would be that with the personal tastes and self-regarding concerns of individuals the public has no business to interpose.

Life Wastes Itself While We are Preparing to Live

Life Wastes Itself While We are Preparing to Live How are we using the threads that the Lord has given us? At the New Year, we ask this question. It is a disturbing question, because on its answer depends the sum of meaning in our lives. Investing a fixed sum of money at regular intervals prevents you from buying too many shares when stock prices are over-inflated, as many market seers consider them to be right now, thereby threatening your average cost per share and increasing your return. The latter tells of a German who showed various feats of this kind at Greater London, and who performed before the king and a part of the imperial family. Anyone who is perfectly certain about a belief is likely to be wrong.

Wasted threads, badly used threads, show up in the final design, but when we weave with skill, and fashion life into a pattern of harmony and goodness, and then our existence becomes permeated with serenity and peace. We can laugh though die days pass and the years go, for then we have given only time in exchange for achievement.

During this season of the year, we often recall the Psalmist’s prayer, “O teach us to count our days that we may get us a heart of Wisdom.” No, it does not really mean to count days. Anyone can do that. It is rather a prayer to make the days count. That is indeed the supreme wisdom of living.

In short, a great and brilliant plan of Almighty administration is in part opened; and nothing is omitted that may give humanity the mystifying sense of their being all the subjects of the moral regime of God. The company of concordant friends will be the best medicine in an evening; and good broth his primed supper. The risk of taking one or a handful of circumscribed experiences and generalizing them across our aggregate life.

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Posted in Philosophy and Wisdom

Participative Leadership to Reduce Resistance to Change

Participative Leadership to Reduce Resistance to Change Resistance to change is observed by many as their biggest problem today. Why? Because change is constant, and yet most people get stuck. People resist changes done to them, but they develop a sense of ownership on the ideas they generate. So, I share a simple approach to reducing resistance to change by generating participative involvement and team support for new initiatives. Many teams and organizations tend to operate like the team below:

  • The person in front symbolizes leadership or management—anyone focused forward. Leaders get insulated by their rope to the bumps and thumps of many realities of the journey. They work hard to pull the organization ahead. Their intentions are positive.
  • The people in back represent frontline employees and supervisors who can’t see far ahead and feel every bump in the road. They push but have to trust the leadership to steer. They have no “big picture” of where they (or the wagon) are headed, but do what is expected of them. They lack perception and vision. Intentions are positive.
  • The body of the wagon is well made and sturdy, much like the basic core of any organization. It will do the job for which it was designed. Its nature makes changing direction quite difficult, but it works like it always has. We find that identifying and celebrating early adopters of the behaviors a company wants to instill can create positive infectivity.
  • The Square Wheels represent the traditions, the way things have always been done, systems and techniques to respond to quality and service initiatives, or other relevant issues to the group. They may also represent interdepartmental conflicts. They increase costs of doing business and are inefficient and ineffective.
  • The Round Wheels represent new ideas for innovation or improvement, coming from within the organization. Top management makes public the factors on which it will judge the team’s performance and how that evaluation fits into the company’s regular appraisal process.
  • Customers generally ride on the wagon, being aware of the thumps and bumps of the journey forward but often unaware of the specific causes. Often, they encounter policies and procedures that are not customer oriented. Occasionally, they may feel like they are under the wheels!

Companies make the mistake of worrying mostly about the time it will take to implement change programs. They assume that the longer an proposal carries on, the more likely it is to fail.

Nothing Happens Without a Readiness to Change

Nothing Happens Without a Readiness to Change A great deal has been said about middle managers who want to block change. We find that most middle managers are prepared to support change efforts even if doing so involves additional work and uncertainty and puts their jobs at risk.

On the whole, the visions about the journey forward are difficult to communicate effectively to everyone, and changing direction is hard. Yet continued motivation is necessary to keep pushing forward, and people must trust the leadership to lead the way. After approaching for a long time, however, people in the back may lose interest in where the organization is going or needs to go and become resigned to the Square Wheels. The organization crashes along, and most know it. In the process, we exposed a provocative lens and language to help change managers better understand their mission and methods. When I share this illustration with people, I hear such comments as:

  • Communication between pullers and pushers is difficult. The process of exploring one’s communication styles, behavior and fundamental aims in life is a overwhelming task for most people.
  • Shared vision is crucial. It is very interesting to observe that the essential role of a leader when progressing a shared vision is one of unselfish motives.
  • It’s difficult to change direction. It suggests that the configuration established by cooperation is an effective way to accomplish our goals on a fast-paced world.
  • Teamwork, trust, motivation, and collaboration are needed. Leaders can help people throughout the organization expound systemic comprehensions.
  • Measuring progress is part of individual and team motivation. Progress that is observable tends to be explicit, teachable, autonomous, attachable, it also easy for challengers to reproduce.
  • Issues of cost, productivity and quality are always present. A shared vision is fundamental on the productivity of any business where a leader has so many individuals and groups to attend to in a transparent and selfless manner.
  • Progress is generally not about people—it is about systems and processes. Every organization creates and uses this information. The dispute is that few seem to essentially learn how to manage it, apply it, mature through it and use it successfully.
  • Poor systems are like bumps that demotivate those trying to move ahead. On the other hand, when regarded in systems terms immediate improvements often comprise very substantial long-term costs.
  • Ideas for improvement always exist already within the wagon. Those actions comforted employees that the organization would challenge the layoffs in a professional and humanitarian fashion.

Another reality is that the round wheels of today become the square wheels of tomorrow. Improvement is about continuous improvement, since change is a continuous event—you can’t complete a change initiative.

Probability of Leadership Change Management

Probability of Leadership Change Management There are four things that successful change leaders do well. The probability of change is related to four factors:

  1. The current level of discomfort with the way things are now. This is all about people feeling that things could be different. If they are not satisfied, they are likely to change. If something gets acknowledged as a Square Wheel and not working properly, a Round Wheel possibility likely exists for making an improvement.
  2. The attractiveness of the vision of the future. This one is all about motivation and teamwork. The view from the front of the wagon is different than the view from the back; and apprehending goals and expectations will reduce resistance to change. If the vision is engaging, it is attracting. Making the vision more attractive is straightforward.
  3. The person’s or group’s previous success with change. If the last time people tried to change they felt successful and rewarded, they will repeat the behavior. What gets rewarded gets repeated. But if the most recent attempt was met with criticism and negative comments, they likely won’t be interested in trying again. The same thing happens with team-based initiatives.
  4. The peer or workgroup support for the change. Obviously, if others are supportive, it puts positive peer pressure on an individual to change. But, sadly, most organizations have a tendency to add “mud” to the journey of most teams, bogging things down and making progress even harder for teams struggling forward. The mud can be the bureaucracy, politics, measurement systems that don’t support the goals and expectations—any form of glop that hampers people and clogs systems.

Successful change leaders embrace these tensions even though they make the challenge more complex. This meant nothing short of building new organizational capabilities based upon collaboration and client-first thinking, which not only meant developing new systems and processes but building a collective mindset that would make aspiring to being a one-company culture a reality.

Enlisting People in Change Initiatives

Enlisting People in Change Initiatives So what do we do? Well, let me suggest a couple of simple scenarios.

The first idea is this: Get out of the ditch and get up on the road. This is simpler than you might think. I ask people what things get in the way of making progress, let them brainstorm, perhaps even vent a little, then I ask if there are any incomparable Mud Managers out there. This reframe causes people to consider what others in the workplace are already doing differently and what underlies high performance in an environment where there are two feet of ditch for every foot of road. Invariably, people can generate ideas that are already proven to work. It is not about inventing new ways of doing things as much as it is about identifying ideas and then doing something differently. This increased managers’ understanding of business conditions and boosted employee engagement—and sales rose.

Where you can go from here is a bit surprising: Roll your wagon backwards! Because you have begun to generate a little partner support, you increase the likelihood of change. Now, you should work with the group to generate a list of possible Square Wheels—things that work but that do not work smoothly.

After playing with these themes and asking about “mud,” generate a list of possible issues to address: things that do not work smoothly. Set the stage for some possibility thinking. Get a long list, but resist the tendency to straightaway start fixing things. A week or so later, select one of the Square Wheels and generate some possible Round Wheels to try.

The Hard Aspects of Change Management

The Hard Aspects of Change Management Let your team do the thinking—you focus on maintaining the focus. Paint a picture of what will be different if a few Round Wheels are implemented. You are creating some uneasiness with the way things are now as people discuss the things that can be improved and suggest ideas that they could try to make things work more smoothly. Corporations will always require a hierarchy, but peer role models can successfully lead projects within a change initiative.

You create a higher likelihood of change because people become less comfortable with the way things are and create an alternative shared vision of the future. They build on some feelings of previous success and they work together, as a group, to make things better. Celebrating the reversal of a relapse can help desired behaviors regain momentum.

Participative leadership can reduce opposition to change. Managing change is tough, but part of the problem is that there is little agreement on what factors most influence transformation initiatives. Visionary leadership is often vital for change projects, but not always.

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