Newsletter – Autumn 2014



I hope your summer was as good as mine! I got to “baby sit” a 6 month old cheetah, and I participated in the micro-chipping, DNA testing and safety collar-ing of a rhino. I still get goose bumps thinking about it – because I was so mindful of being “in the now” that it was deeply anchored in my pleasure box.

And hey, just because summer is “over” doesn’t mean we don’t have to be mindful anymore! In fact, it would be super supportive if we continued practicing mindfulness. Every day. This is why.
I read an article which was posted end of August. The title being very explicit enticed me to read it and the content was even more disturbing. The article is (sadly) about (horrible) global incidents that happened this summer. I ask myself why. What could the contributing causes be? I allowed myself time to be mindful of the content.

I recently conducted a 3 day Leadership Skills Seminar for international project managers working at one of Austria’s well known construction companies. The seminar includes (intercultural) communication, management (styles), teams (dynamics, compiling effective teams, development phases etc.), conflict (personal attitudes, why it happens and how to best deal with it) and giving feedback. As teams go, this group also went through Tuckman’s model of the 4 development phases spiced up with a bit of open tension amongst a few of the members! I know why. I know one of the main causes. It’s about (intercultural) communication…or rather, the lack of it!  For example:

  • People not separating people from the problem. People making people the problem. E.g. “It’s your fault that…” or “You…XYZ” or “It’s all because of you…”
  • People focussing on positions instead of interests. “In my opinion it is like this…and that is how it is going to stay”…which reminds me of another quote: “The belief that there is only one reality, is the most dangerous self-deception”. Paul Watzlawick
  • People not saying what they want or what they would prefer.  E.g. “No, I don’t want to…” or “I am not going to accept…”.
  • People “yes, but-ting…” – triggering argumentation which leads to invalidation of opinions, unmet needs and hurt feelings which leads to a form of conflict which …may…result in a “war of the roses” or better still…global conflicts…
  • People not generating options or solutions. E.g. “You must/should/ought to/need to…”.
  • People not doing or saying things because they want to “be nice”.
  • People being people.

And I get frustrated. Why?
Reason 1: There are notions like: We share a language so we “understand” and/or we’ve reached the level of “manager” so we don’t need any more “training” on social or even worse “soft” skills…the “notion list” is long.
Reason 2: When you(one) understand(s) the 3 most basic mechanics of communication (and I am most certainly NOT selling a “be nice” product) you realise that we – all of us – can contribute to a world of peace. Here’s the catch. The responsibility is yours. It starts with you.
Within me burns the desire to share the “what” and the “how”.
We could meet face to face, or on skype! You know where to find me.
I wish you a beautiful transition from the green tones to the igniting-ly warm orange tones!

The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire. Ferdinand Foch


PS 1: Extract from Leadership Now:
Effective leaders recognize their ability to achieve results from their direct reports – to generate engagement, to motivate, to get their team headed in the right direction – often succeeds or fails based on their ability to communicate. 

Their business results, and their ability to move people to action, are achieved by communicating strategically and doing it well; they are Leader-Communicators. 

In business, communication that has meaning is a difference maker. It can be used to build understanding, and make teams and individuals more efficient. It can be used to recognize good work and reinforce critical behaviors. It can be used to coach or mentor one person, or lead organizational change. It can share a vision, inspire confidence, strengthen a business and build a legacy. 

PS 2: Where passion, skill, and purpose collide, bliss resides.