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Archive for the ‘Change’ Category

You know the feeling… everything seems to be going according to plan and then all of a sudden you discover you have a problem. Something unexpected happens and you’re thrown off course.

Situations such as these have the potential to seriously affect our ability to perform. We often lose our focus. We rant and rave and complain. We throw our hands in the air and wave them furiously. You know the story…

A consistently effective way to react when a problem suddenly arises is to ask yourself this simple, yet powerful question:

What’s good about this problem?

This question reframes the problem and enables you to see a way around it. It also keeps you in a good state, which is essential for being able to perform at your best!

Try this for yourself and let us know how well you get on…

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In the latest edition of Coaching for Performance the author John Whitmore, who is one of the leading pioneers of coaching, says the following:

“Throughout this book I more often use the masculine gender, not because I am sexist, which I am not, nor because I abhor the literary clumsiness of “he or she” and “his or her”, which I do, but because it is men who need to heed its message most. On the coaching courses my colleagues and I run, women have consistently shown more natural ability to adopt a coaching philosophy. It is more in line with their style.”

What do you think?

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In his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the late Stephen Covey (RIP) wrote about being proactive. He pointed out that despite our prior “programming” in life we always have a choice point between stimulus and response should we choose to choose it!

To the degree that you choose not to exercise your choice point you become reactive… you let events and the world outside you determine your destiny. In effect, you surrender your personal power!

Are you a prisoner of your own thoughts?

A problem many of us face is that we are not taught that we have this choice point. There are many others, particularly those in authority, who prefer that we don’t exercise our choice point for obvious reasons. Thus, many people are unhappy because they don’t feel that they have control over their lives and, worse still, they don’t believe that they can have control over their lives. Sadly, they become a prisoner of their own thoughts. Covey refers to Viktor Frankl’s remarkable survival in a prisoner of war camp during World War 2 as an example of someone who chose to exercise his choice point.

We’re curious about what you think and first we suggest you watch this clip of Covey being interviewed as he explains this Choice Point…

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On July 16th, 2012 the world lost a great thinker. One of the world’s best-selling authors, his The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is widely regarded as one of the most influential books ever written. It established him (at the age of 56) as one of the leading thinkers of our time. In the book he challenges us to go beyond what he called ‘personality ethics’ and live our lives according to ‘character ethics’. His 7 Habits presented the core principles behind his thinking.

Taking responsibility

At the heart of what he proposes is a system to enable us to better adapt to change and take advantage of the opportunities that changes in our lives often bring. A central theme is that we are largely responsible for what we create in our lives and by taking responsibility for who we are and how we relate to others we can profoundly influence the direction our lives take.

A deep well

I’ve always been impressed with Covey’s ability to synthesize and present these core principles because they are so closely aligned with the core principles of something else we’re passionate about: NLP. For his Doctoral thesis Covey apparently studied over 150 years of the American self-help movement. The 7 Habits would appear to represent his core learnings from that Doctoral thesis. NLP draws on this same deep well of knowledge and wisdom and through its emphasis on modeling excellence translates many of these principles into tools and skills so we can actually experience the “difference that makes the difference” in our daily lives. Therefore, NLP and The 7 Habits complement each other.

Being the change…

What I personally admired about Covey was his modesty about what he had set out in his challenge. Unlike other authors who often claim to be greater than thou and in private rarely live up to what they postulate, Covey himself strove to live these 7 Habits. He also advocated that true learning is achieved through doing. I have met many leaders who claim to have read the 7 Habits and it’s clear that it was wasted on them as their actions rarely demonstrate that they’ve truly tested them out and embodied them in their own lives.

I’ve met others who dismiss Covey’s work because they’re so caught up in their heads that they lack the Emotional Intelligence to appreciate and genuinely try on his principles and notice the improved results they can attain. This is because cognitive awareness is rarely enough to learn something. It’s only by practicing a skill that you can get it into the muscle so it becomes a habit.

Words of wisdom

I’ll leave you to ponder these words of Wisdom taken from the Foreword of the 15th Anniversary edition of the book:

“As you now commence reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, I also promise you an exciting learning adventure. Share with your loved ones what you are learning. And most important, start applying what you are learning. Remember, to learn and not to do is really not to learn. To know and not to do is really not to know.

I have personally found living the 7 Habits a constant struggle – primarily because the better you get, the very nature of the challenge changes, just like skiing, playing golf, tennis, or any sport does. Because I sincerely work and struggle every day at living these principle-embodied habits, I warmly join you in this adventure.” ~ Stephen R Covey

May he Rest in Peace…

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Where are we?

Due to travel, many exciting projects and fast approaching summer holidays we haven’t been blogging as much as we would like to.

We will blog occasionally during the summer period and will get back to regular blogging with many exciting news in September.

It’s worth waiting for as we are preparing something very special for you over the next 3 months.

In the meanwhile, here are some insights from our current change work:

Change is the only constant. -Heraclitus

You can also stay in touch by connecting with us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

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The Map is not the Territory

The phrase was coined by Alfred Korzybski in the 1930s. In other words, the map (our language) is not the thing mapped (our experience). Words are not the objects they represent. Words only indicate the structure of the experience. Words are far more limited than the experience itself and mistaking the two can lead to pain and frustration.

Source of conflict

Confusing the map with the territory is a major source of conflict in the world. Korzybski maintained that humans need to be properly trained in the use of language to prevent unnecessary conflicts and confusion that arise from confusing the ‘map’ (words) with the ‘territory’ (sense experience).

A useful way to try this on for yourself is to think of the times you’ve gone to see a movie with some friends. You leave the movie theater and your friend says: “That was a brilliant movie… I loved every minute of it” and you’re thinking “That was one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen… I didn’t enjoy that at all.”

The movie is the “territory”, your and your friend’s thoughts about it and the words you use to describe it are two “maps” of the “territory”.

In organizations it is useful to appreciate the variety of “maps” or mindsets that are describing your “territory”. Another interesting thing is to look at the collection of maps (often referred to as the Culture) and review how these are referencing the territory.

A map can never be true, only more or less useful.

Appreciating difference

By accepting these first 3 Empowering Beliefs it means that you can easily begin to understand and respect difference. Often this is referred to in organizational life as diversity.

Just imagine a world where people are more tolerant of differences, learn to accept and live with them and look for and appreciate similarities. How many less conflicts would we have? What would the news headlines be like?

For the next week, begin to appreciate the richness of the territory and look, listen and feel for ways to enhance your awareness and expand your map…

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How to Change MindsetsWhich of the mindsets/conversations is your dominant one at work?

Read each of the following statements and decide whether you mostly agree with it or disagree with it.

1. Your intelligence is something very basic about you that you can’t change very much

Mostly Agree / Mostly Disagree

2. No matter how much intelligence you have, you can always change it quite a bit

Mostly Agree / Mostly Disagree

3. You can learn new things, but you can’t really change how intelligent you are

Mostly Agree / Mostly Disagree

4. You can always substantially change how intelligent your are

Mostly Agree / Mostly Disagree

5. You are a certain kind of person, and there is not much that can be done to really change that

Mostly Agree / Mostly Disagree

6. No matter what kind of person you are, you can always change substantially

Mostly Agree / Mostly Disagree

7. You can do things differently, but the important parts of who you are can’t really be changed

Mostly Agree / Mostly Disagree

8. You can always change basic things about the kind of person you are

Mostly Agree / Mostly Disagree

We’re curious to receive your comments…

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