Monday, August 31, 2009

listening with an open heart

I believe that its the duty if every leader to listen to what is being told to them. Too often we have leaders in organisations who sit within their own "bubbles" and surround themselves with others who validate their current thought process that they lose touch with reality.

This is really sad because the whole organisation suffers as a result of it because mediocrity becomes a way of life. No one dares to question another for their "bad" behaviour instead they skirt around the issue , talk behind someone's back or pretend that it is not there.

Its a bit like families that have an abusive parent or a delinquent child, the rest of the family become co-dependants because they band together to hide that "family secret" thus perpetuating the lie.

If someone in the "family" dares to speak up and point out that there is a problem, this person is seen as disloyal for doing that. I heard about a little girl who did exactly that, she spoke to a counsellor about her abusive and alcoholic parent...instead of being relieved that the secret is finally out and addressing the problem, the other parent accused the child of letting out the family "secret" ...that her other siblings would not have done that.

The child's behaviour is just the symptom of the bigger issue, unless the root cause is sorted , this problem would perpetuate itself.

But how often do people really want to face their issues, isnt it easier to be an "ostrich' and bury our heads in the ground. and that boils down to the type of questions we ask ourselves. In the case of the abusive family .... anyone wanting to hide something will ask " how can I contain this? " .... " how do I prevent others from finding out because it makes me/us look bad?" The child on the other hand was asking " how can i end this abuse... what can i/we do to fix it ?" With one question, the ego is involved and it is about looking good, and the other is about finding a solution and accepting responsibility for what is.

Its the same with organisations, the leader needs to be asking " why is this happening and how do i change am I perpetuating this problem?" let's face it ... everything that happens within an organisation is a direct symptom of the leader...there is no other way to look at this. Its easy to find the fall guys and scape goats but did the exit of the last fall guy solve the problem the problem still there?

Sometimes people within the corporate world think that there is no room for emotions and they lock their heart away. But this is exactly where we need to show heart because this is where most wounding takes place. Besides, what good is technology/fancy process without people to breathe life into it. How do you reach the core of an individual and inspire them... except through the heart?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

proud to be me...

Sometimes when I face challenges I tend to take stock and review my steps and see if I could have done things differently. I guess i could have in most situations... but then again hind sight management is something anybody can do.... the more important question is " would I change anything if I had a choice? " ... I doubt it!

You see, I am a strong believer in the philosophy that life unfolds exactly as it should...meaning ...there are no accidents or coincidences... everything that happens is just right... and if i give it a chance it will unfold even better than my wildest imagination.

This then puts on twist on everything that is happening... it tells me that i should be me, no matter what.... like the DNA that makes up each individual, we carry our own energetic imprint in the world... mine always stands for the truth and for saying things as they are.

Of course I will piss off people along the way... mainly people who are unable to deal with the fact that everyone is different and have other view points.... at times it is also OK to agree to disagree. Otherwise we will all be robots...playing follow the leader. The trouble with many people, especially in the corporate world is that there is no room for individuality and they cant deal with differences in opinion. Maybe this is why many corporations are in trouble because of the "unconscious people" they put in power, who don't accept diversity, differences and new thought process..unfortunately this is seen as a deviance and deviance is bad. How do you create if you cant challenge what there is.... isn't it time we challenged our own ideas in pursuit of growth?

So when i look back at my life and things that have happened... I wouldn't change a thing. Of course it hurts to be misunderstood but those who know me, know where my heart is and know what i am made of. Reminds me of something my mum said when my dad passed away and I was making funeral arrangements, i asked my mum if we needed to wait an extra day to inform friends. To this she replied, "everybody who needs to know, already knows" . This is true, everybody who needs to know me , already knows so it doesn't make a difference if there are people who don't know me or misunderstand me. Besides,its their loss because they missed out on a opportunity to be generous in spirit and to give someone benefit of their doubt.

When my first business partnership broke up, I was in tears not because of the potential loss of the business but because I felt betrayed by my business partner and those who worked with me. I remember waking up one morning, crying and my dad said to me " don't worry about the money that is lost, You had the courage to go out and start a business when most people would have been afraid" I have always been the risk taker, the one who goes first... why should it be any different now... its who I am and I am proud to be me!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

getting ourselves Un -employed!

I overheard two women talking yesterday about their jobs and they both seemed relieved that they were not affected by recent re-structure in their company. And then it dawned on me .... how dependant most of us are on our jobs and employers and how any change to this part our lives shakes the very foundation we stand on.... to most people (at a basic level), having a job means being able to pay the bills, put kids through school and provide them the money to live the life they want/aspire to have. But the price we pay for this is too high, and we don't have anyone else to blame but ourselves. We have been "programmed" to believe that this is the only way to live .... where we spend most of our life working to support our lifestyle. Work is important if its meaningful and some people feel that they never work a day in their life and I know what that feels like ...if you have some control over where you are taking it. But most people have no control over their work life even if they are good at what they do (and even if they think they have control). Often in the corporate world, people think they are secure if they have the " right relationships" and these people spend more time "sucking up to their bosses than getting work done" Whenever we put our lives in the hands of someone else.... probably someone who is also in the same shoes as you ...meaning...they have given their power away to someone higher up... we end up relinquishing responsibility for our own lives.

Its a hard line to take but the more I spend time in the corporate world, the more I am convinced that people have to empower themselves and find ways to UN - employ themselves ( for want of a better word)

Sure , many of us are so ingrained into the idea of employment that its a hard thing to shake off ... and even if we did ...what do we move to??

I have a nagging feeling in me that there is something better. The young ones entering the work force are starting to question employment, mainly because for the first time in a long time, this generation will never see the same level of lifestyle and income as their parents. This makes them question the meaninglessness of being married to your job and they see works as a means to get something and not as a lifestyle. In other words, they are not tied to work, they plan mini-retirements along the way and earn enough to pay for the experiences they want... they don't wait for retirement to enjoy life.

Not all of us have that choice but I think its time to start questioning the reasons why we work and to explore if there was a way to "plug out" of the system and honour ourselves. To give ourselves approval to find meaningful work that adds to our lives instead of giving away our power to others. These "others" have different motivations, they don't know what we want and how can they be expected to add value to our lives?

I don't have the answers yet but I know that it lies inside self employment, barter and real partnerships. If we don't ask the questions, we will never know. We, as human beings have so much to offer the world , we are so creative and clever ...and yet why do we allow ourselves to be so dis-empowered in the work arena and become so powerless?? Surely there must be a better way... and maybe the new entrants into the work force like our children will teach us that...many have seen first hand what traditional employment has done to their parents who were either "married to their employer" and were absent parents or been "chewed up and spat out " by corporations by being made redundant or both. Either way, many in this group have been the victims of the "corporate life" that their parents chose and their outlook to work will be different...its only natural.
Despite this reality and backdrop staring at our faces, I still see parents advising their children on how to build their "career" and "future"...just because it worked for us , does not mean it will work for them. The basic assumptions have changed. Instead of trying to talk our children into walking the path we took, we need let them take charge and encourage them to do what's in line with their spirit. It may not seem like the "right" thing now...but do any of us have any idea of what their life will be like 40 years from now? We don't really know what their world will be like ....what's the use of pointing them to the rules of our current reality when they are slowly becoming obsolete? If we teach them to live a life that is congruent with their spirit, at least they stand a chance in creating something unique for the world and possibly be happy and successful..but successful in their terms, not ours!