Did you know that the word collaboration comes from the Latin word “concerto” concert and harmony and from “concertare” to bring into agreement or sing together (as in con + cantare = to sing)?
I was raised on music – a well balanced mix from rock to pop and classics. The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Moody Blues, Cat Stevens, Vivaldi, Tchaikovsky etc. A lot of time and money was spent on my “big C” cultural upbringing. I was indulged in many magical ballet performances by the local Performing Arts Council) and regularly dragged off to the open rehearsal sessions of the Durban Philharmonic Orchestra in the Durban City Hall.
What I really didn’t like was the instrument tuning and warming up that went on before a performance – to me it sounded like a cacophonous wailing. I needed the conductor to bring congruence and harmony to the clamor and commotion.
Our neighbors, were a family of musicians completely immersed in the world of classical music; they played in the orchestra, sang in choirs and taught music. Diana, one of the daughters, encouraged me to listen out for individual instruments, and to pick out the conducting elements (tempo, dynamics, cue-ing and articulation) as she had taught me to listen out for in Sergei Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf”.
And then, as if by the wave of my very own baton I was skilled in aligning the instruments – discord became harmony! A symphony!
The word comes from the Latin “the Greek word “ “ +
Much of the interpersonal discord I have witnessed can be likened to the uncoordinated and un-conducted sounds of an orchestra warming up – much like the “forming” stage of a new team on a new project. Imagine you are a musician in a group of players where each musician thinks they know best and know what needs to be done (play what they have to play) when and how they want with little regard for the other musicians? Need I say more?
Achieving cross cultural collaboration must feel the same to a team, as an orchestra (and conductor) getting a standing ovation. It can only, happen when everyone; the leader(s) and team members pay finely tuned attention to the group and listen out for the individual “instruments” articulating their particular skills and talents in order to be instrumental in co-composing congruent collaboration.
This is cross-cultural competence; the ability to bring voices into agreement for conversational harmony. You want to play? Would you like to improve your skills? Contact me.
A 10 minute read on how to master your cross-cultural competence, a good book recommendation, a short video and 6 empowering questions that guarantee collaboration!
I was asked, just this week, what I do. I told them. Someone then said: What exactly is that?
In a nutshell? Culture is the way things get done around “here” and the way things get done around there, and over there and also over there. My job is to support people in bringing their various ways of doing things, together. In biz talk? Two words: team alignment.
Culture – is known as folklore, habit, knowledge, lifestyle, way of life and development. It is taken from “cultura”(Latin) which comes from the verb “colo” or “colere” which means to tend, care for, look after and cultivate. It also means to till the soil, farm, grow and plant.
What do I do? I tend, look after and cultivate cross-cultural connections and collaboration through clarity in conversation.
Why? To facilitate a change for the better people need to change their thinking and to change collective thinking demands a change in the conversations they are having which then leads to a “rewiring” of the brain (mindsets) and which ultimately leads to aligning new (and better) behaviors because…
But first we need to understand that modern day cultures can be described as the outcome of many different external influences and circumstances as experienced by those who set up home up in various parts of the world l-o-o-o-n-g before you and I came along.
The lessons in survival that were endured by one clan in the Saharan sun and heat, and another tribe wading their way through steamy mangrove swamps, had to be completely different to those of a group freezing their way through the Siberian cold and dark winter, don’t you agree? And, the frequency of their repeated “lessons” became genetically imprinted values and norms over time. “Solutions” became and continue to become a part of our everyday lives – we adopt, adapt, integrate and embody new sets of skills so often that basic assumptions become an unconscious and unquestioned reality which we, mostly, take for granted.
Repeated behavior, healthy or not, becomes a collective programming and an unquestioned group think. It’s this group think that defines a culture and creates differences. #groupbias #whywestereotype
Monday’s Brain Massage: “Dogs bark at things they don’t understand” Heraclitus.
I picked up two Indian street-puppies at the beginning of the monsoon in June last year. Experiencing life through their eyes has been, albeit a challenge, full of wonder. They remind me almost daily (it’s sadly getting less) to “understand” their barking. Whenever they see someone or something for the first time they bark, are apprehensive in their approach and, until they’ve sniffed it OK, they continue barking at it. Some people and things never get their OK, and that is OK because they gave it a try and a good old sniff. Not their problem anymore.
When we are confronted with things new and “strange” we (mostly) immediately switch into negativity-bias mode. We bark at the unfamiliar. We bark our criticisms at the ideas, things and people and turn our butts to any possibilities and potential.
Where did you learn or who told you to do that?
What if you started “sniffing” a few “what if?” questions instead of bellowing “what is”? We all know that your “what is” and my “what is” isn’t really what is.
And what if, this week, you try some “what-iffing” and if you hear something you, at first, want to spontaneously bark at, try saying “hey, that’s interesting, give me some time to chew on it”. You never know what new aromas and fragrances might drift your way to make your week and day!
Wishing you a fan-fun-tastic week,
Contact me if you need a guiding “bark” at https://salt-pro.com/contact/
Titles, entitlement and the sweet success of serving!
Discovering more about ourselves, our values, cultures and how to contribute to a better world through the sweet success of serving others. Written by Hester Bergh-Appoyer. Published in Business Goa Magazine, April 2017
Sweet success. Have you ever asked yourself why success is referred to as sweet? The sweet taste or smell of success? Here’s a thought. Some of us have stronger sensory filters than others, we can see, hear, feel, taste and smell success and there is the linguistic idea that sweet has been used metaphorically to refer to something pleasing since 888 CE. The earliest mention of it being used with success is 1684.
I started my career in an American company well known for its baby products and less known for its enormous global market share in surgical and optical products. But I’m not sure those “formative” years of my professional life, which have been the foundation of all my business interactions, were always to my benefit. Sometimes it served me sweetly, other times not.
So what was it that made such a big impact on my rookie mind?
It was the sweet sound of being called by my name. (Not the tone my mother used to use when she was less than pleased with me – but that is another read!)
On my first day at Johnson & Johnson I was welcomed at reception, shown around and taken to meet lots of people. Important people. I met truck drivers, warehouse packers and managers, kitchen staff, accountants, telesales staff and some of the big shots sitting in plush floored offices (bigger than my newly rented flat) as well as the CEO who was introduced to me by his first name. He already knew mine.
The embodiment of J&J’s company culture and credo is consistently demonstrated by the way they extend value to their patients, clients and employees. Click on “credo” above. Enduring mutual success is a spirit of serving that smiled and smiles through the offices and corridors in the sweet absence of titles and entitlement.
It was with this spirit to serve and eagerness to sample my own sweet success that I later went into the big wide world of international business.
Fast forward to Kuala Lumpur and I have joined an international educational institute as lecturer in charge and head of department for the business and marketing department. Sounds grand doesn’t it?
A lexical approach to discovering more about ourselves, our values, life, cultures and creating a better world through the words we choose to use.
Have you ever really, I mean really thought about the words you use? The ones you sow like weed seeds without thinking? Or. The power behind the words you use? Words that belittle, demean, remove dignity and if used “en masse” cause world fear – even war?
And, do you take the time to think about the words you choose to use? The ones you hand pick with care when you’re at your confident best and sure about what it is you want to communicate? The words that uplift, encourage, speak of love and peace.
You haven’t really had the time to pay it much attention have you?
7 THINGS YOU’RE DOING THAT GET YOU MORE REJECTION THAN AFFECTION
An excerpt from The Collaboration Kickstarter which offers straight talking tips on how to get real heartfelt collaboration – right from the start!
You’ve got it made.
Compliments like “you’ve done/achieved/come far…” aptly praise whatever it is that you define as being a success – at this point of your life – and up to now you’ve systematically ticked off the things that lure and promise eternal rewards and recognition. But. Not everyone is buying and in some areas of your life – be it work or play – you’re getting more rejection than affection.
Family, friends and some colleagues are always going to support you with things you want and like to hear. That’s why they’re still on your party invite list. Unsavoury and un-nice behaviour can be dismissed with a host of adjectives. And, to support you, you live in a world that promotes and perpetuates wonderful and awe-inspiring you. But. You know and I know that you are still turning people off. Relax. You’re human and you really are awesome but you might be doing too much of one of the following: blowing your royal trumpet, taking too much, talking ill of others, too right, righteous and opinionated, making too many excuses, demonstrating favouritism, bias or racism, and last but not least, whinging too much. Which one is it?
Cultural core values are a huge big thing when it comes to honesty and harmony. Just like cultures differ in what they value as nice or not, some cultural groups demand a more straight forward tell it like it is way of talking while others, appreciate a more…
It’s the fifth day into the new year! You’ve been gifted with 5 new days, and a “how to” get your butt going in 5 easy steps (or 5 seconds – see my post on the 3rd day) with a little F.O.R.C.E. I am adding to that: personal accountability, apologising and giving attention.
Hopefully, you’re now (re)energised and ready to rescue and light up the world – or – do whatever is in your ability to make this year a whole lot brighter than the last one!
You’ve made the almighty decision, you want it bad, you’re going to get good at it and stick to it like glue!
Go for it! You will make an absolute cracker-jack kick-start kick-butt contribution to collaboration through conversation and here’s some more tried and tested A-1 tips to support you – 3 x A’s.
A1: Accountability. Or answer-to-ability. Or own-up-ability. The ability to take account for and of your actions is a personal choice to rise above your circumstances i.o.w’s stop thinking and behaving like a victim. take ownership and achieve your goals. Embrace it! Don’t get stuck on the yellow brick road. And if you don’t believe me read The Oz Principle.
A2: Apologizing. We get taught to and then we either forget or choose not to. Why? Is it defensiveness? Pride? Because you don’t want to let the person you should be apologising to, “off the hook”? Are you an non-apologiser? Is your not apologising protecting your fragile sense of self? There’s no need to ask “what have I gotto do” anymore – it’s not always easy, but it is simple. Apologise.
A3: Attention. Remember that? Remember how you felt when you weren’t getting it from a parent, lover or your boss? Think of flowers that don’t get attention. They wane and wither. What would happen to your business if you didn’t give it to your attention? What should happen to your conversation if you don’t give it your all? It’s so easy to spread our attention (thin) across our devices that we’ve become mind-full and not mindful. We’re losing the all-important life skill of staying focussed. And contrary to the saying that you must “pay” attention, attention is absolutely free and comes with the bonus that it generates interest (financial and personal). Attention leads to meaningful conversation. Attention determines how well you do something. You earn and learn with attention. Attention could (even) save your life.
If you cannot gift someone with your presence by being present, get out of the conversation!
Frankly? It’s madness and arrogance to think you can keep doing the same old stuff and expect different or better results. If you’re not getting what you want and you have a bunch of new exciting ideas for your new year then drop your old unserving habits and start doing things differently. And, if you have been taking accountability, apologising and giving your attention you are more than likely content with how things are turning out for you at work and privately so not breaking your head over things you think you have to achieve. That’s AWESOME!
Let’s do this. All year long. And for as long as you breathe.
Embrace the deeds of accountability, apologizing and attention. Honor them and celebrate your integrity!
your no-buts kick-butt sparkplug cross-cultural communication and collaboration keynote speaker and coach. If you’re interested in getting more contact me!
2016? Holy cow! It’s been a ride of “deestings”, unabashed trumpery, distractions and Being Nice Isn’t Enough!
Remember me telling you at the beginning of this year that sex and taking drugs, eating sleeping and doing good deeds had this “gimme more” effect. That you should get addicted to good deeds and the more you do it the more you want it? Do you remember my 3 to do’s and 5 reminders to help get you what you want? No? Then go here before you go making any new resolutions. Yes? Good. I’ll be adding a few more life hacks to those. Read on.
This 2482 word reflection is a no bullshit message of peace containing
– colorful cows, female distractions and other fun and sexy life lessons
– idiotic idiomatic and old English expressions
– a pre-view of a good book to read
– 4 tips on how to get others to start a sparkly collaboration revolution with you
– a peace mantra
all from an expat-in-India perspective.
You know what it’s like. Come the end of anything you start looking back, taking stock and perhaps, reflecting. Read more
A quick update on more of my kick-butt activities – including a keynote – between September and December 2016!
Sept to Dec 2016 – I arrived in Austria and had one day to get my head out of slow-go-Goa speed and into inspirational kick-butt training mode for a three day seminar with international project managers on communication and leadership of the multinational construction company, STRABAG AG. I love working with and engaging people from such diverse backgrounds. It was a wonderfully successful event with a lot of AHA moments, sharing of personal mishaps and successes and a coming together through the understanding of different values, acceptance of conflicts and developing trust. Then…
Tarra! Tarra! I’m doing some personal trumpeting (no trumpery)! On September 21st, 2016 I was invited to do a keynote speech at the United Nations in Vienna on the topic of my book Being Nice Isn’t Enough – a how to cut through the “niceties” and get to real cross-cultural collaboration. Again it resonated so well with the audience and the more they became involved the more excited I became! It was a beautiful and mutual exchange of information. I rocked – but not without a little help from my friends; my Pastor Matthew Laferty (ESUMC) and my husband Bernhard!
I also got to spread the written but not yet published word in seminars, workshops and one on one coaching with banking, legal and other professionals in the EU. A busy 2.5 months in the Autumn of 2016 and a wonderful opportunity to “dress up” again.
I returned to Goa end November to do the final tweaks on my non-fiction book manuscript and book proposal and submitted it mid-December to a publisher in the USA.
My final newsletter of 2016 with insights from India will follow shortly!
Lots of love and remember to kick some sparkly communication around, Hester
Exclusion is in-the-box thinking and an unwillingness to get out. Here’s the thing; you (unconsciously) expose and express exclusion of others in words like “we, us, our” and “they, them, those people”.
Have you tuned into yourself lately? Have you heard yourself speak in meetings and between friends? Are you expressing the wish to collaborate and connect or are you expressing exclusion?
Being Nice (certainly) Isn’t Enough is food for thought and speech! An excerpt from my book!