19 August 2009 Posted in
Lecture 5 last week covered what Joseph Campbell calls in his hero's journey the "Call to Adventure". This call is always a combination of the internal call, (that is those core values, creative images and yearning for something more in life) and the external call (Your purpose in life or your contribution and serving your community). Crossing the threshold of adventure once these internal and external calls align can exciting but full of fear and your momentum can be crushed before you even get going.
Some classic movie examples that fit this idea are the sci-fi cult film "The Matrix" and "The Lord of the Rings".
This weeks journal questions:
1. Internal Call
What are you naturally good at?
What talents do you have?
What are the images you associate with you doing work that you love?
Think of the three greatest/most significant experiences/achievements of your life. What are the images that you associate with them?
If you were to do work in the future that you loved and that was totally aligned with these images what would it look like? How would it feel?
2. External Call
How much attention are you paying to your life?
What invitations are present in your life right now?
What is the unique contribution that you can make?
If you were to write a paragraph describing your calling doing worked you loved & making a contribution what would be in it?
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6 August 2009 Posted in
Yesterday was a great lecture, I really enjoyed the concept of flow
. I have definitely found myself in states of flow both in my work as a web developer (with hours of intense coding and creative brainstorming sessions) and in my hobbies of DJ-ing and Iaido.
Flow is that state of mind where time stands still, where you tap into the subconscious in something that your doing but remain in complete control with an intense sense of focus. This state of mind lets us operate at extraordinary levels of performance where our skills meet the challenge ahead of us.
I found it interesting that many of the people talking about leadership had the same ideas but different ways of saying it. People like Jim Collins
are pushing core values and a sense of purpose, Joseph Campbell's
idea of the "Hero's Journey" taps into the ideas of an internal and external call to adventure and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
talks about differentiation and integration. In all cases where our levels of each of the 2 elements intersect we find ourselves in a state of flow or complexity.
It can also be seen as a line in the sand that is our "limits" and by reaching states of flow and pushing past this line in the sand we can draw a new line, this then becomes our new, higher limits. On a side note a while back while I was at the Canterbury Kendo Dojo for my Iaido session, the Kendo instructor before our class was talking about this very thing. In Kendo (or to an extent all martial arts) you have a limit of energy, strength or stamina this is your limit, when you are at you most tired and exhausted from training you should push yourself to train that little bit extra. By doing this you will have pushed past your limit and set a new limit, this is now your limit, which didn't exist before. I am thinking there maybe a lot of crossover between ideas of leadership and Japanese Budo ideas, something to explore later I think.
Boiling this all down to me it seems that flow exists where we have internal feelings and abilities or talents if you will, and the world/universe has a hole/need/challenge that only our particular talents fit in. Perhaps where we can create flow in our work or personal life we can find meaning to what we are doing.
This weeks Journal Questions
1. Sketch a ‘flow' flowchart, mark on it at least 3 activities in which you experience flow.
2. Analyse those 3 activities, what core values and sense of purpose are present within each of them? and/or as a result of those 3 activities, how have you or how could you become more integrated and differentiated?
4. Draw a time line of your life, on it record times that may reflect what your 'creative images' might be. Also reflect and record what ‘invitations' might have been present.
5. Use your journaling and time line to reflect on what all this might suggest about your future work or calling.
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4 August 2009 Posted in
Lecture 3 of the Principles of Leadership paper had a focus on Scharmer's Four Types of Conversational Learning.
Scharmer's 4 types of conversational learning shows us how to progress a conversation by first working out which of the 4 conversational styles the person you are communicating.
Downloading - Polite routines, empty phrases, autonomous responses. For example asking someone how their day was and they quickly respond "fine..." even if perhaps they might have had a bad day.
Attentive - Includes paying attention, debate, rational thinking and conversation. This could be perhaps where one person involved has a different opinion about a fact to the other, they will each explain their thinking and reasoning around thins fact. One may change his or her mind and this can lead to a progression in the conversation.
Empathic - At this stage in the level of conversation you are operating with an "open heart" and putting yourself in the other persons shoes by trying to understand where the other is coming from. More often than not we attempt to converse attentively with people requiring an empathic level of conversation. My example of this would have to be the very evening after lecture 3 I was asked by my girlfriend to have a look at her design work and tell her my thoughts on it (She is studying video post production at the moment). My first instinctive response was to come up with some constructive criticism and things that could have been fixed or changed (along with some positive too of course).
This however was not the best approach, very quickly the conversation had turn into an argument. What I had failed to pick up on was her insecurity about her design work and that she needed a more empathic response where I should have taken I what she had to say about her design and only offered more positive response once I had understood how she was feeling about her design work.
Generative - Once we take things beyond empathic communication and the conversation starts to bring up ideas of the future and what might be we enter the generative style of conversational learning. I guess this would be classed as communication with an "open soul" where new ideas flow and change occurs. Once I had worked out that Julia (my girlfriend) needed empathic reassurance and I stopped, listened and we started communicating on the same level we were able to progress the conversation up to the generative level. We ended up talking for several hours about each otheres work and how we were both feeling about life and where we were seeing us heading in the future.
There are also times when instead of trying to go up the levels of communication you need to come down to the level of the other party in the conversation. If for example someone is having a particularly bad day, attemping to talk to them about it without first entering the conversation on the same downloading level as them can come across very condescending.
This weeks journal questions consists of:
1. Talk about a time when you have had an experience of having a conversation that evolved to an empathetic or generative level, what effect did it have on you? (I think I may have touched on this in this post)
2. From the Skills of leadership questionnaire what are your strongest skills with in the each of the four areas?
What skill development would be most beneficial and how would you incorporate it into you PDP?
3. From the Positive Leadership Assessment, What are your strengths?
What skill development would be most beneficial?
Is there anything to add to your development plan here?
4. Using Kim Cameron's term from his book 'Positive Leadership', who is it that could act as a 'positive energizer' for you and your PDP goals and why?
Again I find myself a bit behind on getting my thoughts on these questions up on the blog, the joys of a busy life!
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27 July 2009 Posted in
Last thursdays lecture covered a lot of ground in terms of what it is a "leader" actually does either in a position of leadership in an organisation or more importantly I think personally. Those 4 main tasks being 1. Envisioning 2. Engaging 3. Enacting 4. Creating a Hi-Performance Context or Environment I hope to write more about these point individually in a later post. We ran through a very interesting exercise during the lecture called the "five whys" exercise. Basically you pick an important event in your life (Or for an organisation a statement about what the organisation does). You then ask "why is this important" 5 times each time asking why the the answer to the previous "why" is important. Eventually you will get down to what is really important or a core value and purpose for that event or statement you stated with. For example, the important event that popped into my head when asked was winning my Iaido competiton a few weeks back. I was asked by another student "why was that important" and the flow went as such: I won my Iaido Competition > Important because: I was able to successfully apply some skills I had learnt > Important because: I enjoy learning new skills and knowledge > Important because: I have a thirst for new knowedege > Important because: Learning is most likely a core value for me etc etc The plan is to try this exercise on serveral import moments in life so far and try an boil down those core values that have threaded their way throughout my life and whether what I am doing now aligns with them or whether I need to start making a move to something different. Development questions for this week were:
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22 July 2009 Posted in
Righto here are the questions Tom Matthews proposed last week:
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