Monday, June 19, 2006

The Brain of a Leader?

Read: idealawg: Leadership: It is as easy as brain surgery

Sounds very interesting, particularly the conclusions from the article it links to, like:

• Behaviorism doesn’t work. Change efforts based on incentive and threat (the carrot and the stick) rarely succeed in the long run.

• Humanism is overrated. In practice, the conventional empathic approach of connection and persuasion doesn’t sufficiently engage people.

• Focus is power. The act of paying attention creates chemical and physical changes in the brain.

All based on research, and worth a further read.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Power of Personalisation

We hear about totalitarian regimes and it kind of washes over us. But when a story like Save Nazanin comes to our attention, it's impossible to ignore.

Nazanin is an 18 year old girl facing severe consequences for killing a man in self-defence. The site features a photo of her so we know this is a person, not a statistic or some faceless foreigner.

The original penalty was death; thankfully, that has now been overturned. But she still faces severe difficulties. This is an opportunity for the blogosphere to show some leadership - some people power.

This post is my tiny attempt to help Nazanin. Visit the site to find out how you can help.

(Thanks to Juha for alerting me to this on his blog)

Whole Messages

How many times have you wanted to say something but not had the nerve to say it? Or worse still, it came out in the wrong way, or at the wrong place, or at the wrong time ... or all three!

Change Your Thinking has a fantastic chapter on communication, something we all need to do every day. This chapter is so vital that I've actually summed it up on one page and stuck it on my wall.

Part of this chapter is about whole messages: messages to help us get our message across and avoid alienating others.

Here's what a whole message looks like:

  • Observation: I noticed you've been drinking more often than usual lately.
  • Thoughts: I don't think it's that healthy for you.
  • Feelings: I'm worried for your health.
  • Needs: I'd like to find out if anything's troubling you, and if you're okay.
Of course, some of these messages will be difficult to deliver, so a simple preliminary statement can help, saying you're uncomfortable saying these things. If the other person knows you're uncomfortable, they're likely to feel less threatened.

What do you think about these guidelines? Perhaps, like me, you initially reacted against the idea of rules or a framework around relationships.

But as I thought about it, and about uncomfortable situations I've been in, it made more and more sense. This type of information is very valuable.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Work it out with a paper clip

A lot of Change Your Thinking is either common sense, or stuff I've already heard on Doctor Phil.

That's not to say it's not worth reading - it's absolutely fantastic to be reminded of common-sense stuff that's not really that common.

And sometimes there's a completely new gem from out of the blue, like this:

An exercise I occasionally do in my workshops is to ask participants to come up with fifty possible uses for a paper clip. Sounds impossible at first, but when I reassure people that our record is 102, the creative juices start to flow ... When we believe that solutions exist, we are much more willing to look for them and, as a result we are much more likely to find them.

Love it.