March 19, 2009

The magic of comunication

I would like to share with you a lovely poem I have just received from a client. It speaks of empathy and deep listening that form a magical space of true communication.

We sit across from one another
and speak of trivial matters;
of the weather, of your heartbreak
of your new cobalt scarf.

I touch the threads of that scarf
to get closer to you.

Now, no one speaks
and there’s room for the truth
In the quiet, while I hold on to that thread,
our masks slip away
and the gods and goddesses can finally enter.

Three of them:
sit filling the empty spaces between us
and take their tea.

In this circle of gold the lines between us blur
and we speak of mystical matters;
of the weather, of your heartbreak
of your new cobalt scarf.

a domani,

March 16, 2009

Make it light

Many people hate the idea of promoting themselves. It smells of "sales" and we all hate those sales people that knock on our door or call us on the phone.

Yet we have to promote ourselves at some time -- even if we have a job, we might be aiming for a promotion.

I have done a reframe exercise for myself. When I knock on the doors of organizations, 'll just ask, "what one small thing could I do that would have the biggest impact for you?"

Its the 20/80 principle -- 20% of what you do creates 80% of the result. It just takes identifying the 20%.

I'll bet they may have some good ideas.

a domani,

March 11, 2009

Stream of consciousness

I participate in a number of forum discussions through the social network "linked in" and find it annoying that many forum posts ask questions or propose discussions with the underlying (often blatant) agenda of eventually selling you something -- not a great way to build relationships among colleagues.

In any case, the discussion generally runs along with short interventions by each player.

Not on the Italian Coaching Forum!
The last discussion opened with a question about the distinction between a manager and a leader -- and boy did those responses come through!

A certain Giovanni left a one paragraph response of 497 words.
Then Fabio intervened with his thoughts that spanned another single paragraph of 467 words. The last one came in from Giuseppe at 427 words -- one paragraph. (and you know my cross-cultural moments with regards to paragraphs, see HERE).

Whew. Who can wade through these philosophical meanderings!

But at least there is no underlying agenda "sell,sell,sell" -- theirs is the sheer enjoyment of free-flowing expression.

Odd that they were all men -- must be that the women were too busy with their double duties.

a domani,

Creating reality

While down under with the flu, I read Amy Tan's "Saving Fish from Drowning". It is not a book with any pretensions of deep meaning, but I thoroughly enjoyed the bumbling adventures of a group of American tourists in Burma / Myanmar.

At one point they are kidnapped by a group of rebels -- although they don't know that they have been kidnapped -- and brought to a camp hidden in the jungle. They believe instead that they have been taken somewhere very special to experience real local people and traditions for a "Christmas surprise" (it is December 25th). Then they believe that the rope bridge has fallen down and that is why they are stuck in the jungle.

They have no idea what is happening, can't understand the language except through the rebel leader's confused translations into English, and have to somehow figure something out.

So, they create their reality -- just like we all do every day -- they gleen clues from the environment and construct their story. They choose which clues to observe, while ignoring some other important ones, and build a story that is so fanciful to be farcical.

They are tourist in a strange land, they are are open to new experiences, want to learn about these people and have suspended all their usual radar that would have been useful to sort out a better version of what was happening.

They no longer have a recognizable frame of reference on which to build their stories, so they also build a frame -- who these people are, how their society works, what they are saying.

It gets quite funny.

The tribe also has built a story -- that the young boy in the group is the savior they have been waiting for who will make them invisible to their enemies. The clues are there, he makes things disappear (by performing card tricks) and carries a black book with the title "Misery" and with the word "King" (actually the novel by Stephen King).

But somehow their stories come true!
The group focused on the positive aspects of their stay and, in the end, they come to no harm and return home.

The tribe twists their story to be saved by becoming visible -- through TV coverage -- so that the boy really was their savior.

We get what we focus on, what we believe will happen. The stories we tell about ourselves often come true. If we believe we can't do it, we won't. If we believe we can, then we will.

We can become the stories we tell -- and even save a rebel tribe in the jungle!

a domani,