What Do We Need to Do to Increase Engagement? →

Eric Barker, writing on his Barking Up The Wrong Tree blog:

Use your strengths as much as you can. Doing what you’re good at makes you six times as likely to be engaged and more than three times as likely to be happy with your life.

There’s lots of nuggets about engagement at work in this post. These two in particular caught my eye.

When we build on our strengths and daily successes — instead of focusing on failures — we simply learn more.

… if your manager is primarily focusing on your strengths, the chance of your being actively disengaged is just 1%, or 1 in 100.

If you’re leading someone, it pays to notice what they do right!

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Letting Go →

Jake Niall, writing for The Age:

In a sense, it had been Nathan Buckley’s intense craving for success that was almost his undoing. He wanted the grail too badly and couldn’t contain his zeal. This year, Buckley finally let go - and let the Magpies take flight.

While it won’t appeal to everyone, I found this a fascinating read. I’ve recently been re-reading Otto Scharmer’s book ‘Theory U’ and thinking a lot about the notion of letting go and letting come. This is a good example.

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The Quest for Real →

Simon Terry:

We need less crushing it and empty noise. We need to focus our efforts on our purpose, our relationships and realising our human potential. It’s as simple and as complex as that.

Ironically, Simon ‘crushes it’ with this blog post.

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Was the Buddha an Improviser? →

Patricia Ryan Madson:

Improvisation is founded on two principles that feature prominently in the Buddhist perspective: Impermanence and interdependence. The fact of groundlessness and constant change is a given in improv. Eternal instability: that is our playing field. The improviser practices her art on her feet with others. We learn that we aren’t in this alone. We need and depend upon our fellow improvisers. Only stand-up comics go it alone. Improvisers look to their fellows for help, inspiration, ideas and fuel. Improv training is a form of meditation in action.

A great blog post by Patricia Madson. I love her musings on this topic. And I find her reflections on the principles that guide an improviser — what she calls “the Five A’s of Improv” — to be so useful.

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Changing the World

I’m reading Meg Wheatley’s Who Do We Choose To Be?: Facing Reality, Claiming Leadership, Restoring Sanity, and this quote resonates strongly. We aren’t intent on changing the world; we simply try to work in ways that honor people and evoke our best human qualities. It nicely sums up my own work philosophy. I don’t have grandiose aims to change the entire world. And I’ve never felt the need to make a “d…  
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Driving Change →

Euan Semple:

Every time I hear the word “driving” used in the context of business I wince.

It reveals so many misconceptions: that the person using it is in charge; that people can be driven like cattle; that there aren’t consequences to using the word.

I agree 100%.

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The Paradox of Control →

Stephen Duns, writing for Leadership Victoria:

So the more we try to control, the more people will self-organise against our control and the less control we have. A paradox for leadership. The more a solution is imposed onto a system the more that system will self-organise against that solution.

What is the way through this paradox? The answer lies in another feature of complex adaptive systems – “a system will only accept a solution it is part of creating”. The solution is to use some sort of participatory process that allows the collective intelligence of the system to create its own solution.

This is bang on. It’s one of the most succinct, yet practical explanations of working with complexity I’ve read.

In simpler terms, imposing change on people increases anxiety and resistance. People own what they help create, so invite them to participate in creating solutions.

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Generative Questions →

During this podcast with Michelle McQuaid (16:27), Gervase Bushe shares these tips on asking more generative questions:

• They are surprising.
• They touch the heart.
• It takes them somewhere new.
• They build relationship between people.

I’ll listen to this again and again. Gervase’s work is truly inspiring.

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Heartbreak

David Whyte: Heartbreak asks us not to look for an alternative path, because there is no alternative path. It is a deeper introduction to what we love and have loved, an inescapable and often beautiful question, something or someone who has been with us all along, asking us to be ready for the last letting go. 1 Storm: Photo © Martin Gleeson. Gough’s Bay, Victoria. January, 2012 Rest in pe…  
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