MPs Brexit Divorce End of Term Report, Grade; D – Must Try Harder

Into the Valley of Stupidity Rode the 600, MPs

Warning – Contains Humour, flashing lights and insults for BOTH Labour and the Conservative Party – It is Insult Inclusive!

Must Try Harder – Poor Communication

600 MPs campaigned for the UK to remain in the EU. They did so because it made sense for trade, defence, jobs and the NHS.

And they did such a poor job of campaigning that, evil marketing genius, Dominic Cummings and the Leave campaign, easily kicked their collective arses and won. Ouch.

Must Try Harder – Arrogance

Before getting D – for communication skills, they cockily assumed that no one would be exposed to 1000,000,000 Facebook adds containing, persuasive, attractive but wholly untrue slogans – Take back control, Britain for the British, A Leave vote will save the NHS, We will get back our lost UK Sovereignty, Save the bendy banana, etc. MPs assumed an easy referendum victory and then overcommitted – The Government did not set the bar high enough requiring a 66% result before a constitutional change was triggered – Even, not-so democratic Turkey, managed that. They said that this vote would be final, thus changing an advisory referendum into a vehicle allowing the educationally deprived British public to make direct British law for the first time in history – INSANE.

Must Try Harder – Rat-Ification

And then the Labour leadership got behind job reductions, economic recession, loss of foreign investment, NHS staff shortages and the Tory and right wing media ideological coup that is Brexit, saying they would deliver a secret rainbow, paradise and unicorn version of Brexit where Bambi’s mum would be brought back to life and everyone would go to work on hover-scooters. (You can’t say that I am wrong because no one has ever seen their plan!)

Must Try Harder – Forget Britain

And whilst this shaming and shameful charade has been playing out, like the end of the Roman Empire – None of the real British issues have been dealt with. We have lost time, money and the political will to sort out key systemic UK problems because these very British issues have all now been blamed on Brussels – INSANE.

It was not Brussels that made some regions of the UK poorer than others – The EU offered salvation to these troubled poor spots with regional EU investment money. After Brexit, that cash lifeline will now disappear. They did not cut Government support for local councils by 60% – The UK Government did that to top up the coffers after bailing out failed UK banks after the 2007 – 2008 UK / US Sub-Prime bank scam. It was the UK Government that chose to let in all the EU workers in 2004 – They were needed then and are needed now to fill jobs, work hard and make a net positive tax contribution to this country – We could have controlled the flow of incoming hard workers at ANY time. There has never been a Brussels / EU legal directive that Britain has disagreed with. Why should there be? Why would 27 reasonable states cook up a law that was repellent to us? They wouldn’t. And we have always had a veto on adopting new EU laws anyway. Even the UKs stupidest negotiator, Dumb David David David Davies admits that we have never disagreed with any new EU laws, “It is the principle”, he says with the sort of simple arrogance that makes you want to cry, laugh and puke, all at the same time.

Must Try Harder – Selfish Selfish Selfish

MPs and Head MPs continue to put job security and their personal ambitions before country. This is, morally…treasonous. TMPM just and only wants to hold on to her job for another week, and another week, and another week. That is all – She does not want consensus, a great deal for business, solutions for the regions, or a safe and protected NHS. No – Just her job, for one more week. Last week was proof of that with, “I will go off to Brussels to ask them to re-open the closed UK-EU negotiations and remove the backstop, which took 2 long years to agree upon.” Impossible (or as the right wing press would tell you – A great victory of TMPM) All she wants is the PM job… for another week.

Funniculì funniculà dancing in the office

My Local MP

Must Try Harder – Jezza

F knows what he wants. A not so secret Euro super sceptic, he has played an awful tactical long game, hoping not to be PM (he never wanted that) but for labour to walk over the bombed out Tory rubble of a failed Brexit, into power and Government. A fairly avoidant strategy, based, not on his successful leadership (there hasn’t been any) but depending on Tory humiliation and British people leaving their Brexit CULT of their own free will (Maybe he needs further education on Cults to realise that people trapped on the inside of them almost never leave of their own free will.)

Oops – What he didn’t reckon on was the uselessness of MPs, the power of the media to make Brexit still seem like a reasonable option (Brexit was at no time a better economic plan than staying in the EU. There was never a Brexit plan. There couldn’t be one, and, there is not going to be a better choice than trading from WITHIN the EU, any time soon.)

God knows why JC wants an election – TMPM would probably get an outright majority by the time the press has made Jezza into Soviet Satan and the majority of good British people finally admitted that they STOPPED THINKING, READING OR CARING about Brexit, sometime in Autumn 2016 and now, simply, wanted it all to be over.

Must Try Harder – Facts Fact Facts

All the facts are against what 600 MPs are going to do next – MPs will now be fully complicit in grinding out some sort of half-cock divorce with the EU, and, then grinding grinding out 5 to 10 years of post divorce EU trade negotiations with 27 states, where UK PLC will move either from, our current, First Class and Beneficial EU trade agreement to a Second or Third Class Non-Beneficial Agreement. – MPs will now “help” their 70 million constituents by deciding whether we shoot ourselves only in one foot, in booth feet OR, in the head! That is what our 600 MPs will decide for us. Well worth their £77,000 salary, topped up with some dodgy expense claims. And, well worth our votes and continuing support…?

OMG.

 

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Deep Culture or Cult? Are you being lured into a CULT? – How Everyday Cults Draw In Intelligent People.

 It’s never too early to sidestep a cult

We don’t have to stretch and think of Waco, ISIS or the Moonies to find examples of Cult recruitment methods at work today. There will be many attempts to recruit you this year, much closer to home.

Whether it is Veganism, Brexit, continued support for Trump’s wall, Sci-entol-ogy, The NRA or Jehovah’s Witness – All have disturbing aspects of a Cult and we need to be more aware of the mechanisms they employ to protect ourself and our loved ones from being inducted against our conscious will.

BTW – If you are part of one of these groups, reading this article will in no way change you. Your programming will enable you to easily resist the 5 points below – In fact you will have already been inoculated against anything in written form that calls your group a cult. And, articles such as this one will drive you in deeper as they act as proof that the “enemy without” exists, thus reinforcing your commitment to your group.

Bizarrely, it is the phenomenon of your inoculation that forms part of the proof that your group is… a cult.

arrow of crowds

5 False assumptions about cults.

We think of US extremes and people being taken away from their families, being brainwashed to reject all outside communication and performing any act to support and show loyalty to their charismatic leaders – Including bringing in cash and actively recruiting new members. Yes that describes the obvious destructive cult, but be warned, there are other versions that can be equally bad for your rights, your agile mind and your future.

  1. Destructive Cults only prey on the weak – As you sit amongst your small family, reading a newspaper that is supposedly part of the free press, you may feel pity for the poor saps sucked into some a remote compound or made to sleep with their cult leader.

But, is it time the alarm went off? Actually, the sick, simple and poorest in our community are not the main target of cult recruitment. It is YOU. The hypnotic mechanisms of an effective cult induction programme are, actually, reasonably sophisticated and work best on the educated mind. Most dangerous is the thought that your education is sufficient to protect you from cult messages or you will never be inducted into a cult because you live your life exercising choices, freedom and your wits. Remember. there are those that went to investigate and never came back…

  1. Negative force is used in the recruitment process for cults

Whilst the mechanisms are manipulative and powerful, force is not normally part of the initial process. The opposite is the case. Love, energy and acknowledgement of the individual are the tools that will attract you in at the beginning (You will be enslaved later.) In my work with corporations as a soft skills trainer, I see that tough love by management is used as part of a behavioural regime of intermittent behavioural reinforcement, that conditions executives to work extra hard, buy into stretch goals and sacrifice more of their free time and other choices in the service of the main corporate mission and a big company vision.

With cults, a dirtier and more subversive version of this happens later in the conversion process and cult induction journey. To start with, the targeted individual is showered with praise, positive affirmation and is deliberately encouraged to feel fabulous and great about themself. This aims to break down the barriers that any sane individual would have when contemplating joining a band of isolated extremists.

The subtle part of the process then follows. The target passes through a barely noticeable series of non-return doors. These suck the prey in and make resistance difficult. Think about yourself at this point. You are really nice, middle class, and an educated person. With a good level of self-worth? So, what will it be difficult for you to do in these surroundings – being showered with love by decent and, supposedly, like-minded people? The answer – Be rude, ask challenging questions, get angry or walk out. (For the Brits it is, “I didn’t want to make a fuss.” This allows the brainwashing to take hold…

  1. They keep you there by force

The mechanisms of the one-way route during your induction into a cult are ingenious by design. Once your mind has flipped over from resister to congruent follower, You will be filled with a simplified alternative version of reality and “educated” that all other ways are not just wrong but that they threaten the existence of the cult itself. Brilliant gas lighting. When you are fully under the spell of the cult, you will eventually be trusted to venture out on your own. You will be theoretically free to run away – but you will not.

hand in jail

And, it is YOUR mind that will keep you there.

You will, by this stage, super-believe in the tenants of the cult. Hour upon hour of repetition of the key cult messages and models will have worn you down and ensured your compliance with the beliefs of the cult group. And, you will be super-inoculated against all attempts by outsiders to rationalise with you, contact you or plead with you to leave.

So clever is the communication strategy, that the more you plead the more the new cult recruit will smile and say, “They said you would say that.” Evil genius – Your newly brainwashed logic circuits will assign the role of “testing your faith” to outsiders where their pleas make you an active participant in maintaining the cult’s parallel universe. The outsider’s logic will ensure the new cult recruit now believes that the all-wise cult leader was RIGHT all along!!! In a twisted way – you have to admire their dirty craft.

  1. I live in a democracy and am, therefore, immune from cult recruitment

No, there will be a point in your life when you will be vulnerable. This will come when you are in a state of emotional flux – The death of a parent / child / friend, divorce, recovering from long illness or after being made redundant.

At this point in your life journey, your normal programming about, “Life being fair” or “You get out what you put in” etc. will fail you. In this moment there will be no easy answers at hand. It is now that you will find yourself most open to external warmth, love and the “meaning” of a cult. This is when their powerful weapons of persuasion will work best on you.

Your uncertainty and doubt is their opportunity.

Think of young offenders in prison – lonely, frightened and confused – perfect fodder for the clear, simple story of a radial preacher – Providing a richer context and narrative for their poor and low value lives. It is almost too easy.

  1. Charisma won’t work on me – I am too rational

People are not rational. That is a myth. We buy emotionally, hate irrationally and our fears can be manufactured quickly, grown cheaply and exploited simply. We are herd animals with the additional hindrance of actively seeking out stories, membership to tribes and having a desperate need to be loved and approved of.

Time and again in Europe, South America and the USA, a population has been swept away by a charismatic leader, only to pay a great cost later. Cult mechanism fuelled the growth of Soviet communism, Chinese communism, Nazi propaganda, the messages of Brexit, and, the divisive communications of British Trade Unions in the 1970’s and the persuasion of the many to give up so much for the benefit of the few. (- please note the balance.)

A Cult Leader

A great public speaker, who understands rhetoric and the key fears of their target audience, can quickly work out, practice and find a platform to deliver cult promises representing a clear and simple alternative to the current state of business.

You too can become a cult leader…

You could do it yourself – Just jot down all the complaints of your community (no matter the actual origin), work out which faction to blame (it does not have to be this targeted group’s fault), come up with a simple alternative reality (it does not have to work) and, hey presto – You have a cult and a speech that will definitely start to draw people in and have them loyally follow you.

You will grab the hearts, minds and wallets of the people who resonate with your list of rapidly cobbled together complaints – just about every time.

For good or evil, a repeated message of clarity, simplicity and improvement works – Obama’s “Yes we can”, Blair’s “For the people”, May’s “The will of the people”, Trump’s “We are going to build a wall”, Thatcher’s “No one has to remain working class – vote for me and your can own your own home”, or, Boris and Dominic Cummings’ “Take back control and save the NHS with lots of money we currently pay to the EU.”

Irony

It is so much easier to start a cult than fix real core problems. Problems are

complex, multi-sourced and require intelligent consensus, time, money and commitment from a disparate range of stakeholders. Gathering the necessary support requires… a compelling vision, a charismatic speaker and the recruitment of followers. OMG – we are back here again!

And a democracy (multiple groups having a say and being listened to) makes it much easier for one strong and clear alternative cult guru’s voice to be heard and followed.

Irony stacked upon irony

And once in, there is no quick way out. Rational debate is not possible. The time for listening will be over. Facts will fail.

For the cult member, the need and desire to stay congruent with the cult’s key messages, to feel consistent, loyal and belong to the cult in-group, requires violent rejection of logic and all alternatives. And, more – Rejecting, even the possibility, that their cult might have got it wrong.

And it is this dynamic that generates aggressive words, physical intimidation, lawyers letters, or, at its most miserable extreme, fighting to the death in a foreign land, whilst deluding yourself that you are dying for something valid and real, and, you are dying as a sainted martyr.

Man ear listening, copy space background

Stay vigilant people

Your next cult recruitment message promising a good and simple alternative the complex issues we face today will be coming your way today or tomorrow. Wake up and smell the coffee before you end up being asked to drink the Kool-Aid!

 About the Author

Matthew Hill is an Intercultural Trainer, Speaker and Marketeer.

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“A blank slate? Brain Science and Cultures” Florence, 4 – 6th April 2019

Roberto Ruffino reminds us that registration is now open for this important International conference taking place in Florence on 4th to 6th April 2019, Please visit the conference site;

PROGRAMME  – A BLANK SLATE?

NEUROSCIENZE E CULTURE / BRAIN SCIENCE AND CULTURES

AN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE

Florence Firenze, 4th-6th April 2019 

Thursday 4th April (3.00-6.00 pm) – Inaugural session

Palazzo Vecchio, Salone dei Cinquecento

Roberto Ruffino, Fondazione Intercultura                    Benvenuto/Welcome

Issues about the transfer of culture

Steven Pinker, Harvard University                                The Blank Slate  (video presentation)

Lamberto Maffei, Università di Pisa                            Guardare, vedere, immagini del tempo

Peter Richerson, University of California                     Not by Genes Alone: How Culture

Transformed Human Evolution

Martin Gessmann, Hochschule fur Gestaltung                         Mind Meets Brain: The True Impact of Neuroscience Offenbach am Main                                                     on Philosophy

Mai Nguyen Phuong Mai, Amsterdam University          There is no blank slate. The role of genes,

neurons, behaviour and geography in the

reshaping of cultures

Panel Discussion (9.00 pm)

Firenze, Hotel Mediterraneo, Centro Congressi

Milton Bennett IDRI Institute – Ying-yi Hong, Chinese University of Hong Kong:

A debate “Culture, Cognition, and Consciousness”

Friday 5th April (all day) – Parallel Workshops

Firenze, Hotel Mediterraneo, Centro Congressi

09.00 -11.00 – We are all human beings

Shalom H. Schwartz, University of Jerusalem              Universal values across cultures

Lilach Sagiv, Hebrew University Jerusalem

Richard Nisbett, University of Michigan                      Culture, genes and intelligence

Andrea Moro, Scuola Univ Sup. IUSS Pavia                Sintassi, cervello e lingue impossibili

Alberto Piazza, Università di Torino                            La conservazione della memoria genetica

Giuseppe Mantovani, Universià di Padova                  L’educazione interculturale al tempo dei sovranismi

con Simone Giusti                                                     Storia globale e traduzione nella scuola

Mark Pagel, University of Reading                               Origins of the Human Social Mind

Adriano Favole, Università di Torino                           Nature e Culture: l’irriducibile pluralità

Stefano Allovio, Università Statale di Milano              dell’umano

11.30 -13.30 – Cultures and the unconscious

Sudhir Kakar, Psychoanalyst, Goa                               Cultures and Psyche

Paolo Inghilleri, Università di Milano                          La cultura e i geni non si trasmettono da soli:

il ruolo della mente

Hannah Monyer, University of Heidelberg                   Brain Plasticity and Memory

Giacomo Rizzolatti, Università di Parma                       La doppia vita delle espressioni emozionali

Fausto Caruana, Università di Parma

Neil Levy, Macquarie University           Sydney              Neuro-ethics

Shinobu Kitayama, University of Michigan                    Interaction between culture and brain

Romano Madera, Universita di Milano Bicocca             Dalla pseudospeciazione al capro espiatorio

15.00 -17.00 – Cervello, coscienza, culture/Brain, consciousness and cultures

David Sloane Wilson, Binghamton University              Cultural evolution is a blank slate in the same way                                                                              as other evolutionary processes

Joseph Shaules, Juntedo University                            A Deep Culture Approach to Intercultural Learning:                                                                            Culture Cognition and the Intuitive Mind

Milena Santerini, Università Cattolica Milano             Educazione morale e neuroscienze

Franco Fabbro, Università di Udine                             Basi neuropsicologiche dell’esperienza religiosa

Marcello Massimini, Università di Milano                    Definire e misurare il valore dello stato di coscienza

Guido Barbujani, Università di Ferrara                                    L’invenzione delle razze

Saturday 6th April (morning) – Plenary session

Firenze, Hotel Mediterraneo, Centro Congressi

  • Video-summary of items from previous day’s                                                                           workshops
  • Dialogo su culture, cervello, geni e valori/ A dialogue                                                                        on cultures, brain, genes and values:
  • Ian Tattersall, NY Museum of Natural History
  • Susanna Mantovani, Università di Milano Bicocca
  • Francesco Cavalli Sforza, Università San Raffaele di Milano

12.00-13.00                                                                 Wrap up and Conclusions

  • Roberto Toscano, Presidente Fondazione Intercultura

Credibility Part 2 – The 11 Essential Components – How many do you have? by Matthew Hill

If you haven’t got cred, why get out of bed?

Whether you are a university professor battling your painful way up the academic ladder, an independent trainer providing stimulating sessions in a classroom, or, a coach drumming up new clients, there will be one thing that walks into the room before you do Your Credibility.

It is the label that attaches to you. If you are late for a dinner party or social gathering you will be introduced with that label or property – “Sarah Smith is coming, you know, the one who XXX.” Where XXX represents your reputation / key knowledge asset or the story that sticks to you most.

In the next post – Credibility Part 3, we will outline the key actions you must take in order to boost your credibility to the max and escape any negative aspect of your reputation that is holding you back.

So, what are the components of your credibility? Let us skim the surface with just 11.

*1. Skills and competence – We would not be having this conversation if you were not talented, brimming with potential and waiting to add value to various groups and communities. It is the things you know, can apply and that have an effect that are important.

red vector bubble banner credibility

Skill after skill after skill

Action – Make a note of all the skills, competences and value you have and can bring to a group. When you carry out this exercise with true diligence, the breadth of your list may surprise you.

  1. Benevolent energy – Basically are you a nice person, doing nice things for people who have a clear need? It is the opposite of malevolence – wanting something bad to a happen to a group of people – Imagine the rare instance of a racist politician (hard though that is to imagine.)

Action – Take a brief look in the mirror and ask yourself if you want something good for your target audience? We wish you well with your answer.

  1. Consistency – When you keep your promise, show up on time and deliver results, your credibility will skyrocket. It is simple, though many fail to recognize the importance of this component.

Action – Honesty test – Are you a woman / man of your word?

  1. Look and smell like a winner. As I write this piece it is London Fashion Week (It seems like it always is.) Magazines, Hollywood gossip or Friday night at the pub – The focus is on outer appearance. We are simple forest creatures and we pick our mates and leaders visually. So, you do need to look the part. Tall people do better. Blondes outscore brunettes and bald men are paid less that the lion maned – Nobody said life was fair.

Action – I did attend a serious conference in Germany a few years back that included a specialist on this topic and she concluded that we should all rush out and get a lift, tuck and liposuction! Food for thought…

  1. Eloquent Connecters – We have included two components here for expediency. If you can start with your audience – Work out who they are and communicate effectively with them, you will gain great credibility rapidly. It is less about you and more about them. On top of this if you have a memorable and effective public speaking style, then you will gain bonus credibility points and will experience more control over your own destiny.

Action – Study influencing techniques, learn advanced presentation skills and book yourself some singing lessons this week.

  1. Quality – “Good is not longer good enough. You now have to be remarkable.” (Seth Godin) Excellence is the new normal and we all have to step up in ALL areas. Charm will take you just so far (my spelling mistakes are charming to all those who are not full-on OCD.) Taking your work and output to a new level of accuracy, depth and style will make a big difference.

Action – Use editors and designers, and, practice your pitch in front of constructive critics to take your game up a level.

excellence award - red blurred stamp

At the top of your game

  1. Be a problem solver (and not the problem) The parenthesise refer to Princes and Princess who are perceived as being high maintenance. This becomes their label and overshadows talent, value and core message. There is nothing more attractive to an audience than a fixer, travelling through work and life being willing and able to untangle cables, solve the issue with the numbers, and, move on to deliver results, solve the puzzle and allow others to win.

Action – Please attempt to be user friendly. Practice root cause analysis and problem solving. Learn how the world works and give away your victories.

  1. Reframe pessimism as optimism – Are you a radiator or a drain? Do you suck the life out of a room or illuminate the space in front of you? When you replace low energy passivity with realistic enthusiasm, you will be loved. When you take the negative and reframe it positively, you will be respected. It is easy to join in with a depressed bunch and chime in with the collective moaning – misery loves company. Please do not be tempted to do this. It will become your label. Whinging Winston / Wendy. Nobody will want you at their party.

Action – Practice reframing low energy, blocked and negative group input constructively and positively, adding energy and inspiration into the mix for good measure.

  1. Become the Go To Expert GTE – Taking a couple of the points above, there is a space waiting for you as a Subject Matter Expert – SME. This is about depth and breadth –Mastery of content. When you get there you will, automatically become the GO TO EXPERT person. Is that what you crave? Can you handle the pressure? Are you prepared to step up, take on the role? And deliver?

Action – Study, learn, read, ask to become an SME in your chosen field.

The Winnr is...

  1. Opinion Leader – Subtly different from point 9. Being an OL is a specific role that combines expertise with communication. It is the embodiment of Credibility in action. It actively connects the value that you have with the attention, need and desire of your audience to engage with you, follow you, relate to your purpose and DO WHAT YOU SUGGEST. When you are at this level (the top of the mountain), you will have the power to drive audiences to take meaningful action. You will be able to direct attention to a fruitful and ethical agenda, and, you will be able to make a leveraged difference through the crowd you have gathered. It is an awesome space with a large quotient of moral responsibility. SO – PLEASE – USE YOUR PLATFORM WISELY.

Action – Decide upon a utilitarian path, do the work to get to the top, use your powers for good, and, DO NOT BELIEVE ALL THE HYPE.

Conclusion

You will have noticed the common themes of selflessness, great communication, inclusion of others, putting in the work and keeping to an ethical stance. The rest is up to you.

Question – What will precede you into the room in one year’s time? That depends on what you start doing now.

About the Author – Matthew Hill is a trainer, coach, facilitator, author, public speaker and broadcaster, helping executives and leaders to uncover their soft skills talent, strengthen their competences and, whilst reaching their own potential, benefit their teams and their environment.

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Collaboration Post 2 – 4 Tools To Create Constructive Collaboration by Matthew Hill

Most people, most of the time, are not in collaboration mode – they are pursuing a totally different agenda

Tool 1 Active Listening

Before you dismiss this with a, “ ‘been there, done that, know it all already!” (that would indicate that you are overdue for a listening refresher course), let us remind ourselves that most people, most of the time are not listening actively. They are more likely to be;

*Waiting their turn to give their version of what has just been said, and, if they are super competitive, to story top and WIN! This is not active listening.

Team

Selfless Working

*Asking WIIFM? “What’s in it for me?” This person mines your data looking to extract personal gain and advantage from your content. It is a search function akin to selective attention. Test this by throwing in some test words, “Sex, beer and Netflix” and watch thier reaction. When they twitch they will know you are on to them. This is not an empathic activity.

*I know best. The Listening Observer Critic sits high up, even whilst standing, and allows their privilege to leak out with advice, constructive (or undermining) criticism to let you know that they are just a little bit better than you. These people lack empathy and their contribution may leave a bitter residue.

And now the real thing – Active Listening

The missing elements include;

*First attempting a broad understanding of what is being said and then taking a further empathic step – to understand the speaker as the SPEAKER intends to be understood. This is the Platinum level of listening.

*Psychological proof. This stage is not attained by the listener repeating what they have heard. A smart phone can do that. They are tasked with processing the information from their own perspective, attempting empathy and seeing the matter from the speaker’s Point of View – POV and, then, expressing what they think they have heard. Here we may add, checking for clarity and the confirming the intention component as well. This will sound like, “So, IF I have understood you correctly, I heard XXX. Is that the message you wished me to receive?”

*Letting them finish. The talking stick remains with the speaker for as long as they wish so they finally can feel they have said their piece.

Shocked girl eavesdropping.

Listening?

Miracle

The first time you try these ideas out with a passionate person, the results may overwhelm both them and you. This may be the first occasion when they have actually felt listened too with respect, depth and acknowledgement.

Good luck

Tool 2. Point of View – POV

This is a POV and reconciliation exercise that can be practiced as a training exercise and then used in real conversations. The training version is simple. Split the group into 3s. The first person takes the role of Finance Director, the second, New Young Executive and the third, the Project Delivery Leader. The context is set – The 3 of you are discussing the progress of a critical 90-day work project for your Golden Goose customer. As it stands, you are not going to hit either the quality mark or the tight deadline. Q. What do you do? The suggestion that you are now going to form an opinion on is; PAID OVERTIME. Are you for it or against it in this instance?

+ The first task is for the 3 to get into character and give a one-line opinion, yes or no, with, maybe, one line of explanation.

The answers are normally the expected ones – The Finance Director says, “The new money is not in the budget – No,” Etc.

+ The second task is to work out a strategy for how to reconcile the 3 points of view to reach the required quality standard, and, put in enough work hours to finish the job and end before the deadline.

There normally follows some creative thinking, challenge to opposing positions and a reconciliation that ends come up with a strategy that is, 1) paid for, 2) creates more hours of labour to complete the project, and, 3) can be agreed upon by the 3 people in the discussion.

This exercises mirrors what is required of a Collaborative Working Group – the robust exchange of truths, creating options, reconciling differences and mobilising around a common outcome to stay focused on the task, and, not get distracted by difference.

Once the training version has been completed it is time to have a go in the BWW – The Big Wide World.

Tool 3. Letting Go of Defensiveness

If there were just one freeing exercise that was mandatory for all boards, groups and committees, this would be it. Humans are emotional, primal and full of fear. It is mostly misdirected fear around the participant’s core needs not being met that causes so much grief and delay.

Group Of Young Business People

Stop crossing your arms!

When a board member’s core needs are threatened, defensiveness can easily follow. The 3 needs are;

*Significance – Privilege, status, power, importance or position – When this is threatened or exposed, defensiveness will never be far behind.

*Competence – Another key component of a board member’s identity tool kit is their ability and skill level. When this is challenged, called into questioned or undermined in real time, defensive will surely follow.

*Likable – To generalise – We all have a deep deep desire to be admired, liked and approved of. It is a critical part of most of us and the one need that is examined the most – “Do they like me?” “Will they like me?” “Am I being likable now?” Etc.

How does defensiveness manifest? We can make progress when we spot the symptoms of defensiveness, spot them early and interrupt the negative behaviour that will inevitably follow.

Examples include; plunging into sulky silence, The “poor me” victim script, All or nothing, polarised thinking, wanting and needing to be right, spreading the blame or shame, experiencing a sudden drop in IQ, experiencing energy ripping through the body, doom mongering / catastrophizing, needing the last word, obsessive thinking, Needing to pour out information or saying, “I don’t really get defensive.”

Action – With self-awareness, each board / committee member can learn to notice their own pattern of moving into defensiveness. The next move it to interrupt that normal course of events, reset, and, move in a different direction.

If you start to witter when you feel attacked – Stop, centre yourself and remain silent. If you suffer a drop in IQ, stop and focus on an intelligence enhancing strategy such as collecting symptoms from the recent conversations and attempting to derive a root cause that can be dealt with. If you feel like pointing the finger, interrupt yourself and focus on environmental causes not ones originating for any individual in the room. And so on.

Tool 4 The Licenced Pessimist

If you are familiar with Edward De Bono’s Six Hat Thinking Model, you will know that the Black Hat is tasked with thinking of the biggest risks and the worst outcomes. This function is essential if a group is to combat GROUPTHINK. Groupthink happens when overly homogenous groups, often lead by a strong or charismatic leader, get behind an idea and really go for it. When it is a particularly extreme point of view, risk management goes out the window and, suddenly, something bizarre ends up being carried out by an enthusiastic lynch mob. Remember the HSBC credit officer who saw the 2007 subprime loan property disaster unfolding in the US and spoke up. He was fired by the group-thinking board and disaster followed shortly after.

Asking people to rotate and take a turn to act as the devil’s advocate is a great way to stress test all ideas, and challenge all assumptions before bad outcomes occur.

Hint – It is best to keep rotating this role through the group or an unconscious bias will grow and that single Black Hat will begin to be seen as not playing a useful role but OWNING their tasked negative perspective permanently.

Conclusion

We hope you have benefited from these 4 tools and ideas and will implement them with your committees, boards and teams.

Please like and share if you are going to take action or think others could benefit from this input. Thank you.

About the Author – Matthew Hill is a trainer, facilitator, coach and public speaker helping executives and leaders uncover their soft skill talents, develop their communication competences and, whilst reaching their own personal potential, help others to enjoy a better work life and great business outcomes. Contact him by telephone;  07540659995

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Collaboration Part 1 – What stands in the way? Matthew Hill

                                    Are we making assumptions and mistakes?

Our many many assumptions only delay the building of effective collaborative structures and getting to positive team collaboration.

The assumptions about collaboration, and, how we should all be able to instantly achieve this nirvana like state, give insights into the difficulties we face, and, they often betray our cultural origins too.

In this, the first of 3 short posts, we will explore the barriers to collaboration in order to confront them, raise self-awareness and, finally, be able to put together a blueprint for effective collaboration across place, time and difference.

Teamwork and cooperation concept

What stops us from working collaboratively?

                                                10 Assumptions and Mistakes

  1. Its all about the goal – Action based organisations or individuals are all about starting fast and ending with the achievement of a goal – growth, profit or the production of a new object etc. Whilst this approach has been enormously effective (with only 5% of the World’s population, the US accounts for 23% of the World’s economy), the magic that creates collaboration happened between the start and finishing lines. We can easily find ourselves looking in the wrong place and focusing on the wrong things.
  2. Nail down the strategy – We are taking a large step closer when we talk about strategy and the HOW? How will we get there? Here, however, the focus, all too often, again, misses out the human, the relational and the emotional. The assumptions made are like an engineer in a factory – building a sausage machine, fill it with sausage meat and casings, and turn it on. We look at process and give emphasis to the technical, whilst again, overlooking the human.
  3. Measurement improves business – You get more of what you measure? Why? Because that is where you put your energy and attention. It is easy to manage activity, and compare input with output – Notice we are back with the sausage machine analogy. This risks drifting into Stephen Covey territory where we are super-EFFICIENT without being that EFFECTIVE. There is a critical difference we must become aware of. You can be driving in a super-efficient way – in the WRONG direction!
  4. Man management will get us there – So we have reached point 4. Are we finally, going to to deal with the emotional human and how we can get them to collaborate? Not quite yet! Historically, humans have been treated as muscle machines; expendable commodities whose freewill must be minimised and whose bodies must be made fast, and, whose minds must be made compliant. Take a moment and consider how obedient are you expected to be in order to continue to receive your pay? It is a little scary. There is an unwritten subtext where you must sublimate much of yourself in order for your face and behaviour to fit in.

I remember my Welsh English teacher, Taff Davies, beginning the year with exactly this metaphor. “What is the key characteristic of an efficient machine?” He asked. Silent running was the answer, he wished to extract from the class.

  1. Privilege – Do you notice who gets promoted? Class based advantage helps promote pale males ahead of others. This happens because of the two confidences – Theirs and ours.

Their confidence is drummed in – Noblesse oblige, duty, leadership, expectation (BTW – This is not a walk in the park – There is a large promise that must be delivered upon by our silver spooned chewing heroes.)

Our confidence comes in the form of preferring to deal with a middle class white male when it comes to anything important. We are ALL compliant in this skewed system.

Society has programmed us to accept a specific and prescribed minority as the dominant leaders in our community. This is historical, political and economic. We have spent much less time, money and energy working to create the conditions necessary for wider, productive and sustainable collaboration.

  1. Me me me – Either from the elite in point 5. or coming from the wide lands around them, the personal agenda of the individual can so easily compete for attention and resources as to undermine the chances of everybody playing nicely, collaborating for something worth achieving, or, the key audience being served at all. Just look at the ego of that person in your own group. You know who I mean.Collaboration - letters written in beautiful boxes on white background
  2. Defensive feelings – It is too easy to get passed people as machines model only to take everything personally. This leads to drama and personal battles that have little or nothing to do with the mission, the team or the service that is to be delivered. – Defensiveness is at the heart of most escalations, team malfunctions and litigation. It is a primal human reaction and will not lead to 1000 create collaborative moments.
  3. The oppressed marginals are included – The opposite of 5., those stuck in the margins have learnt behaviours necessary for them to exist, persist and survive. Their voice is quiet and avoids critical challenge, licenced pessimism or contributing their own innovative ideas. No risk – no punishment. That is the motto of the un-empowered came up with to keep on living.
  4. I don’t do bias – The problem with us humans, is that we think we are objective, intelligent and sophisticated creatures – That we are above the fray. We subconsciously dismiss the views of outsiders, outliers and those not in our gang. And we only vote for our own and take comfort in the tranquil voice of the social leaders as with point 5. We all have plenty of unconscious bias that has been programmed in via parental chat, education, entertainment and, particularly, with every political speech we have heard.
  1. Pleasing people pleases people – We end in irony. Groups comply rather than offer rational challenge for a reason. It is because they wish to enjoy harmony and for each member to be liked.

The assumption is that nice people, doing nice things for the needy is the way to go. It is not.

People pleasers don’t please people. We get nowhere and the wheels eventually fall off the bus. Group thinkers take wild decisions, create unsustainable levels of risk and cannot self-correct.

When we replace groupthink with licenced criticism, we start to create the conditions for GOOD conflict, robust exchange and the possibility of progress. This is challenging in most subcultures, where confrontation is actively avoided (How many times do the Brits say, Sorry, Sorry, Sorry, Sorry every day?)

Being nice is not always a necessary condition for collaboration.

Conclusion – A raft of assumptions and mistakes stand in the way of forging effective teams, committees and communities that can act with purpose, from a strong based of shared values to achieve worthy and sustainable outcomes.

Next time we look at some exercises that can get us from the 10 assumptions and mistakes mentioned above and move towards behaviours supporting full-on collaborative teams working in a robust, courageous and effective way to fulfil their mandate.

About the author – Matthew Hill is a facilitator, presentation coach and leadership trainer, working with commercial and voluntary organisations to help them operate as robust executive teams, fulfilling individual promise and delivering overall results that are extraordinary.

Lead Magnet

Come work with me…

*** SIETAR Congress in Malaga *** – Matthew Hill and Susanna Schuler will be running a workshop on the second day of the 1st SIETAR Spain Congress in Malaga. Saturday, 29th September 2018. After lunch. Do join us if you can…

Matthew Hill – 07540 65 9995

Help! Everyone is a China Expert – by Ardi Bouwers

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To read the rest of Ardi Bouwers’ post and find her blog too, just click on the link;  http://www.chinacircle.nl/help-everyone-a-china-expert/

About the Author – Ardi Bouwers is a China and communication expert. She plays with perspectives, jumping from China to the Netherlands and back, to help her clients deal with those difficult direct Dutch or the cautious circling Chinese, in order to build greater mutual trust and understanding.”

She can be reached via ardi@chinacircle.nl

“Coaching with career and AI in mind” A new book by Coach and Interculturalist, Adina Tarry.

Finding your space, being resourceful and keeping optimism in this expanding digital age.

This intense and packed book attempts to bring together a cross-disciplinary view linking the individual to the wider context of the modern digital world, as we face new challenges and opportunities in our working life, in a world in flux, impacted by technology and at the cusp of the 4th industrial revolution.

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Coaching with Careers and AI in Mind.

Adina Tarry shares with us her experiential findings from more than 2500 hours of coaching with over 600 individuals. She explores key themes such as: personality, invisible drivers and values, age, personal branding and working internationally. Tarry employs research and scientific models to support her experiential findings. Probably the most useful part of the book is her digest of a large body of research on the wide impact of artificial intelligence and robotics, not only on work but also on education, governance, regulation, society and capitalism itself. All this is pitched at the individual, outlining their options in this wider system.

No book is perfect and this one could be seen as overly ambitious, attempting to tackle a vast array of subjects in a limited space.

How does it end?

The last chapter, far from being pessimistic, presents a constructive view of the future, shouts out a call to action and contains an optimistic message for the building of a resilient and flexible self, able to work through the changes and volatility that is coming.

Adina seems to have softened some theory and case studies to make the book readable, digestible and applicable. The narrative is in plain language making it accessible to both interculturalists and a wider audience – students to professionals, coaches, parents and HR practitioners and psychologists – anyone who takes an active interest in the way their working life is going to change in the future.

Overall, Adina Tarry’s book provokes thought and feeling in equal measure and is a practical tome that will certainly help those helping others or whom, personally, are moving through transition or doubt in their careers.

Getting the book

Follow this link: https://www.routledge.com/Coaching-with-Careers-and-AI-in-Mind-Grounding-a-Hopeful-and-Resourceful/Tarry/p/book/9781782205838

About the Author.

Adina Tarry is a Romanian born Coach and Interculturalist, who having lived in 5 countries, now works in London.

Coach and Interculturalist Adina Tarry

Classroom Training for Companies is NOT Dead! And, here is the business case.

10 reasons why classrooms beat screens – An opinion piece by Matthew Hill

At the moment I am battling with a large client to “save” classroom face-to-face training against the passionate arguments from a few of their senior directors who wish to take ALL content on-line and deliver educational content via virtual E learning packages.

Their logic for this centres on time, money and travel.

Time Management Course

The way they state it, in the long run, if the company builds, say, 100 units of virtual training, the job is done – There will be relatively little further expense. In their utopian vision of the future for education, the company will not have to move people around, book flights and hotels, repeat live training or pay for group suppers and trips to the local town amusements etc. From a purely financial perspective this is both understandable and correct.

But, What is missing here, and what is going to be lost?

Save the Classroom – 10 Things to Consider…

  1. Realism

The classroom affords a much more realistic representation of a corporate meeting, a heated discussion or a simple live pair dialogue. It is this realism that will adds educational value later when the participants are locked in conflict and combat for real.

Studies in learning impact mostly conclude that the closer a learning simulation is to reality, the greater the transfer is, making the new competence ready for use in an actual live and important work scenario.

So, the 3D simulation of realistic soft skills, leadership and change exercises found in classroom encounters is going to almost always be more fresh, alive and more nuance that its virtual equivalent.

You don’t learn to ride a bicycle by reading a book.

  1. Stimulation

A half decent facilitator will bring the room to life, the group to life and the material to life. They will add energy, manage the group dynamic, warm up the participants and use humour, drama and stories to illustrate many key points and, at just the right moment. This makes a difference in driving home the learning and makes any training session, special and memorable. Let us contrast this with many conversations I have had with corporate executives bored and frustrated with long, repetitive and “averaged out” on-line training materials. Just the delivery channel alone represents an unwelcome addition time tying the stressed executive to their laptop.

We are suffering from a plague of screen fatigue.

Change management course

  1. Tailored

A live training does not have to average out the talent in the room and cater for the median delegate. There will be the strugglers, the walkers and the sprinters too. They have different needs, separate learning style preferences and each has an ideal individual tempo. In a live encounter these subtleties can be serviced in many ways to help everybody to get to progress, satisfaction and a fuller understanding of the learning on offer.

One size does not fit all.

  1. Concentration

A great trainer will sense the corporate commercial context they are walking into and feel the energy in the room. Have some awful financial figures just been released? A round of redundancies announced? Has a product or service just failed? Or, is there a tension due to an on-going external threat such as Brexit or US trade protectionism?

The trainer is there on the ground and can shape the day and absorb concerns whilst leading the group to the commercial and educational objective via adapted strategies and behaviours that respect the bigger picture and the current perceived reality.

And, they can respond to the energy levels in the room by scheduling a break or putting in an extra exercise to manage the concentration or mood of the group live, as opposed to guessing the concentration span of the average participant months in advance and having to ignore any real time distractions.

Live energy management adds to great transfer outcomes.

Diverse group of people at a community center. Meet and greet.Group exercises

  1. Exercises

Spending live time with people gives more possibilities – Role play, team building initiatives, group discussion, feedback – giving and receiving, physical breakout groups and the live reconciliation of differing opinions, learning styles and behavioural preferences as experienced when any two or more people get down to business.

Dynamic simulation exercises leads to excitement leads to retention.

  1. Questions

The effectiveness of the classroom is realised when dealing with magic learning moments that are thrown up by a group interacting around critical topics in the intimate and personal space of the classroom.

With on-line delivery, exceptional cases beyond the obvious ones cannot be catered for, as the learning piece must, by definition target a lowest common denominator of material and methods.

When an average person gets stuck, they represent more than themselves. Live, the teaching can be paused as the facilitator illuminates the troubling topic from a new perspective to ensure understanding. It can be in these simple moments that the “aha” breakthrough occurs for many. Or, when the genius delegate spots something that even the experienced facilitator has not come across before. These incidents can be special and make the live event stand out in the memory of the participants and lead to the company attaining a level of awareness or breakthrough.

More,

Those break-time chats or questions can save lives and careers, starting when a quieter member seeks out help. They can do this because the facilitator has established a safe space with sufficient levels of trust and confidentiality for the confession or enquiry to occur. Early intervention can make a significant difference to outcome.

Cater for the exceptional, the quiet and the cautious to help the whole corporation.

  1. Networking

The opportunity in the classroom to meet new people, experience the philosophy of other departments and gain knowledge of alternative points of view from a variety of counterparts can be a major contributor in gluing together a disparate multi-site organisation of virtual workers so creating an esprit de corp that will produce a lasting benefit experienced in elevated levels of cooperation and exchange during a project or around the creation of a new product in the future.

Inspiration can be all around us.

  1. Retention

When pre-reading is assigned, this can be tested for comprehension in the room. During the session, simple memory techniques can be applied to help the learning stick. When a trainer asks what have you learnt to each participant, something powerful and effective occurs. There is a richer processing of the materials, a personal commitment to owning content and a chance to challenge any part of the material just covered.

Profound and intense exercises are the way to max the stickiness of material, and, a post training conf. call can further aid retention with 3 questions; What do you remember from the day? What have you applied and it is working? And, what have you attempted to apply and it is not working?

Deeper interaction leads to greater retention and better application.

  1. Collective Mistake

The best argument for the live classroom comes in the training moment when a collective company-wide misapprehension is revealed. If everybody at Company X believes something to be true and the trainer can show that an alternative explanation or method is valid, there can be a step evolution in outcome. The magic of modern time management or leaving the comfort zone during change are two excellent examples of this, where the majority view does not always represent the “truth” of the matter.

Live training can challenge group-think in a unique and powerful way.

  1. Cost

The number one reason for the shift to on-line learning platforms is cost. But, classrooms do not have to be so expensive and a more dynamic version, blended in with any pure on-line can really make a difference.

When training days are attached to regular conferences or regional meetings, the travel costs have already been apportioned. When the benefit of constructive networking, trust building in reducing escalations or the forming of profitable collaborative partnerships is added back in, the cost per head becomes more than attractive again.

And, in the spirit of constructive compromise, when a summary film is made, pre-reading materials are edited to boost charisma and energy, and, follow up training is delivered by live webinar, the live and virtual costs can be averaged out. When we otimize the cost of classroom and virtual live exchanges and create better non-live materials, we help the finance department to approve investment in training. This then helps generate exceptional knowledge retention to please the L&D department and stimulates and helps create competent and connected workers who now enjoy training sessions put on by the company.

A networked, trusting and collaborative team will beat a siloed one, every time.

Action

Please like and share if you agree with the arguments we have put forward, if you enjoy classroom training, or if, you feel that the classroom is a relevant space for learning, development and business improvement. Thanks.

Have I missed anything?

Can you add to the business case?

Please add any constructive comments that will add value to this piece. Thanks.

About the Author – Matthew Hill is a soft skills trainer working in Europe delivering dynamic group training live in the classroom.

 

SIETAR Netherlands Code of Ethics Film – Webinar 25th June 2018.

 

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To see and hear the whole webinar in recorded form simply click on the link and follow the instructions.

https://register.gotowebinar.com/recording/566268671271223042

And for the Code of Ethics itself.

SIETAR Netherlands Code of Ethics July 2018