Friday, February 24, 2012

The stories we tell and language we use creates our culture

We can shape our culture in society and in our organisations by the stories that we tell.  There is an excellent TED talk on this idea here:

What are the stories your organisations are telling about community, environment, ethics, sport?  What do we talk about at the coffee table?  Climate?  News?  Entertainment?  Sport?  

Know thy self - we need to know ourselves, who am I, in order to even start to be authentic?  Who do you want to be?  What are you doing to get there and how are you measuring it?  I always love the exercises of creating self trees of goals, aspirations, visions and who we are... At yoga teacher training my sister looked at the question who am I for hours on end... do we ask ourselves this question often enough or even at all?  Are we living the lives we want to live, do we even think about it, what effect does this have?  What effect could thinking about it have?  “every person has the right to invent their own wheel (Friere, Paulo)

Knowing thy self creates power in yourself, for yourself, it builds confidence, it makes you happy to be pursuing or working on what you know/want to work on and knowing that this is what you want and what makes you, you.  Knowing what makes one tick so to speak, knowing your plan de vida, allows you to work towards it.  Not knowing, not having a plan, can lead to neurosis, dis-empowerment, feeling lost...

So if we know the stories we want told and we start telling them to ourselves, about ourselves, in our organisations, in our communities, we just may start to see these stories come true.  What stories are we telling?  Hope?  Despair?  A beautiful sustainable vision for the world?  A world that loves all the children of all species for all time (McDonough)?

sharing thoughts from day x?? of residency, morning lectures and a little inspiration from classmates and professors.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

monsters and aliens or you and me...

I didn’t get it, I hated it, then I got a little of it, then I got a little more, then I liked it, then I loved it,

We are taking a class right now with a professor who lectures a little or even a lot like this.  Not as tongue and cheek though.  I imagine the message will be received slightly or even radically different by everyone who watches it, and I think that maybe part of the point.  Just the act of me writing about it now changes my perspective and means I am still thinking about it.  The critiques included try and focus a little more, would have been good with more focus and what the heck was he talking about?  What was he talking about, like I said it will be different for everyone.

I felt he was asking us, the privileged, to stand up, quit being a robot and live your life to the fullest.  And to the fullest cannot continue to mean a large house, a fat belly and a full wardrobe.  That helping even a few people is a wonderful place to start.  It almost felt like a challenge, like "what are you doing and why are you doing it".

Was the medium dis-organised, or intentionally designed to make the message linger in ones mind?  It's still lingering for me... "more to do with you versus yourself", "no boxes", "doing stuff just to do stuff",

"you cannot manage innovation"
"there is something about innovation that smells funny"
Innovators (aliens):
"not afraid to be an ass... sistant"
"they don't know important things like fashion and keeping up to everyone else"
"they are lost"
"they live life really large"
"always afraid of being afraid"
"self medicate with mediocre"
"make decisions once and leave it at that"
"they don't live large they just are"
"do something insane with your life or be a machine get stuff stuck in up into you and be mediocre"
"you are the ones who get to see things"
"you have heard 300 minutes of the worlds most inspirational stories what are you going to do with them tomorrow"
"now that I know what I know", what can you do with your resources, networks, and influences to make the world better?

tears flowing

Empathy, can we extend our empathy from our immediate friends and family to other human beings and species around the world?  This is one of the saddest videos I have ever seen:  After recently spending a week in the Canmore area and my parents are there now for the next two weeks, this is an eye opener, 5 million tourists annually....  Cat Stevens asked, "where do the children play?" and Bruce Cockburn added, "if a tree falls in the forest, does anybody hear...".  We are living in wondrous times, remember this the next time you get to be outside in one of these places...

While I can hardly hold back the tears, I am not sure if this type of narrative is effective or not.  We are learning about the psychology of change in classes this go round and as soon as I have some insights I will share.  Death and despair does not work it seems.  It seems there is something positive around teams and social networks and building social capital and a new social fabric that supports a different style of living... from my own research I found this takes time, and organisations may grow impatient quickly.

I saw a little bit of a video by Facebook called "A life in a day", encouraging us to think about the struggles and lives and loves of other humans around the world.  I wish/wonder if we can extend these thoughts and hopes to all other life forms who struggle to share this planet with us.  I think narratives like these help us do that... to start to think about other species and their perspectives in our busy busy lives.