About Process Facilitation

Go Forth and Multiply the Good!

What is it?

Let’s say you were born with the gift of knowing how to drive but had never driven on the streets. Then the traffic policemen, who guide you, through the mean streets of Metro Manila with all their support systems and rules are ‘facilitating’ your process of you reaching from where you are to where you want to go.

Let’s say you are a lawyer and there are two different companies who want to pool in their strengths, resources and their value propositions as a single entity and you are helping them merge then you are ‘facilitating’ them through well-tested processes and processes you are competent in.

Or the best example is, say you are a couple who are pregnant with a new life forming between you two and then there is this kindly midwife who is there to set up things,  calm nerves, offer advice,  guide you through childbirth and then help breathe out a brand new and beautiful life into your world, this world. She then is your ‘process facilitator.’

All of the above three professions and thousands of others similar to the these three have a certain set of rules to follow, practices to perform and capabilities to master in their chosen field of facilitating. And they all generate synergies, resolve challenges and create fruitful results.

The threads that run commonly among professional facilitators are that they have no personal objectives in the world that they are helping bring about; they have no stake in the outcomes that are created. They are mostly external observers, guides and encouragers who help build the support system for you to go from where you are to where you want to go.

What are the essential qualities of a great facilitator?

One, a very high sense of spatial awareness loaded with kindness and compassion for fellow human beings because all process facilitation impacts the wellness and well-being of mankind.

Two, a desire to help others bring forth newness, progress, productivity, life and/or whatever good they desire to bring forth. There necessarily need not be any personal agenda for the facilitator in bringing about the intentions and objectives of their clients. Yes, ‘clients’ is a safe word to use because professional facilitators, often, need to be compensated for their efforts. They can bear not being compensated if what they are facilitating are their own advocacies.

Three, virtuoso facilitators need to be very good at their own game and they need to have all the little and big skill sets required of them to be useful and excellent at what they do.

Across the world there are individuals and organizations who help professionalize all sorts of facilitation practices and interventions in the industry. One of the biggest and the most respected organization is known as the International Association of Facilitators Worldwide and proudly for us, here in the Philippines, there is a brand new, national, chapter that has sprung forth called the International Association of Facilitators, Philippines, Inc.

In the last three years this group has held, more than twenty, extremely low-cost but high-impact learning sessions serving the needs of teachers, trainers, coaches, consultants, lawyers, social workers and even powerful business leaders. Their intention and vision is support, nurture, guide all sorts of conversations, across the seven thousand islands, which are generative, positive and life-giving. Their services and advocacy include not just learning and development but also community and country development. It may help organizations of all sorts to tap into the fountains of compassion and competencies that flow through this global professional body.

Come to think of it, if you envision synergistic growth or giving life to another entity would you not want an experienced, objective and a kindly midwife to help you guide you through the process? Well, okay not really a mid-wife “mid-wife” from days gone by but a well-trained, correctly certified medical professional.

Yes?

Okay, in that case let’s go forth and multiply the good. Let’s go from where we are to where we want to go with the help and guidance of a professional facilitator.

 

Raju Mandhyan

www.mandhyan.com

Faith and Humility in Leadership

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A few months ago by a bunch of professionals and then a few days ago by a bunch of human resource practitioners, I was asked, “What makes any professional move from being good to great?”

The answers to such a question usually are ‘experience, character, courage, persistence, passion etc.’ My quick and candid response to the first time it was asked of me was ‘Faith and Humility.’  First their jaws dropped instantaneously and, as I began to defend my thesis their eyes kinda’ glazed over. But people generally being nice as they usually are, especially here in the Philippines, they all smiled and nodded their approval. In my gut, I knew that I hadn’t sold my idea well enough. But the second time the same scenario occurred, I got several ’Whoas’ and ‘Awesomes’ to my defense of ‘Faith and Humility’ to move from being good to great.

Now, the why and the how of faith and humility in business and life:

First when I say faith, I mean trust and acceptance mixed with some loyalty. Second, I mean faith in oneself, faith in your perspectives and faith in your deeper intentions. And, by saying this I am also not excluding your faith in any structured form of religion. The neuropsychological benefits of all kinds of faith are amazingly similar.

The faith I am talking about is not surrendering of reason and logic and neither the blind acceptance of reason and logic.  I am talking about the power of goodness hammered into us, into humanity which constantly yanks us towards our higher self.  Yes, the synonyms can be trust and confidence in self. Yet, the faith I am referring to hails and applauds a much larger system, intelligence and consciousness.

A business leader that carries this special chip on his shoulder doesn’t just increase the chances of his own success but also inspires the growth and evolution of others around him.  A quick story that comes to my mind is that of salesman from a small town was out beating the streets of New York seeking work for a small graphic-designing business. Three days of being turned away and offered no work his morale took a plunge. He began to lose ‘faith’ in himself and in the system. At the end of the third day, his wife who also worked in the business said to him on the phone, “Honey, I just made it big in our small town lotto this afternoon, so worry not about bringing home any business. We are rich!”  The next morning, back on the streets of New York, very strangely, business did not just pick up for him but it began to pour in. Back at home on Friday night with a load of work in his bag as he hugged his wife, she told him that she really hadn’t won any lotto and she’d just said that to cheer him up.

I admit that her approach may not have been all too right but it did act like a placebo to attitude delivered positive results. His faith in himself, in the system and the world had jacked up and so did his business.

My way to reach such a state is that before every important interaction, I step away from the hustle and bustle of life, find a quiet place and pause. In that moment, I ask myself: Do you have faith in yourself? Have you done all the homework that needs to have been done? Will your agenda create value for others? Do you care for the people you are going to deal with? Are your objectives more selfless than selfish? Do you have faith in the system and in the world?

When I get a ‘yes’ as an answer to all of them, I open the door and step in and miracles happen.  That is my way to faith. That is my first step I take when I do not have a glimpse of the whole staircase.

Now for the ‘why and how of humility’ for moving from good to greatness in life and at work:

One of the best explanations of it was probably a quote on the walls of my daughter’s school, Colegio San Agustin, in the Philippines. I cannot remember the exact words but the gist of it was that the moment your mind highlights for you, or even others, that you are being humble then all humility flies out of the window.  If and when you say you are being humble, you are not.

Yes, the moment you make a claim towards it then it fizzles and turns into the monstrosity of overconfidence, pride and arrogance.

Thus, humility needs to be exercised quietly and with strength towards the very same reasons from which you gather and accumulate your faith. So, not just before, during and even after of all interactions and interventions the questions I ask of myself in quiet moments are: Are you even-minded and true about you and your achievements? Do you have quiet confidence in the homework you have done and are you ready for it to not serve you? Are you prepared to be rejected, turned down and left out? Are you open to the possibilities of failure? Will you be able to accept that however selfless your ideas and intentions are they may still be regarded as self-serving by others?

These questions serve me well in failure and success. I am not claiming that I always succeed at practicing these habits. I am not claiming that these practices will guarantee growth and will catapult us into everlasting greatness. I am saying that in my observations and study of leaders these habits are a huge part of their natural traits. Some of my favorite teachers, consultants and leaders of faith straddle these two paths of faith and humility to move from being good to becoming great.

Raju Mandhyan

P.S. Catch me at Dubai, HR Summit in November

 

Authenticity and Influence in Sales

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The other day at a business gathering someone asked me, “Raju, what, according to you, has changed in sales and selling over the decades?” Slightly offended by the inclusion of the word decades in the question I quickly brushed it aside by saying “nothing has changed” and moved on. Late at night, I lay wondering and thinking about my experiments and experiences in selling.

At my first honorary job with my father, which was to run errands and try selling for his small school-bag making business, I’d sell nothing at every interaction. I’d walk into his customer’s shops and stand against the wall; tongue-tied praying the shop-owner would leap out from behind his glass counter and beg me to send him school bags. That never happened. I sold zilch. Dad lost hair worrying about my future as a business person.

At my second job, after making it as an engineer, I was assigned to sales. Sales in the engineering company I worked for meant filling up a large wad of papers with numbers, descriptions and a covering letter called proposals. There were templates to follow, listed prices to tally up but there was barely any people to people interaction. The wheeling, dealing and the closing was done by those big-bellied guys called bosses.

At my third job selling futures in pork-bellies, orange juice, barley, copper and gold my then ‘balikbayan’ boss Ricky Ho saw me suffer at selling and called me aside and said, “Hey Raju, recognize this, people sell for two reasons: one to get rid of something and two to make a profit. What do you want to’ do?” I owned nothing and thus nothing had to be gotten rid of, so I supposed I’d had to make a profit. After that epiphanous moment I learned to sell.  The need to survive taught me how to make cold calls, how to qualify, analyze, integrate, pitch, offer, present, solve, offset objections, sooth, meander, negotiate, upsell, cross-sell, resell, negotiate, close, re-open, serve with maximum subtlety and suaveness.

Thus, decades ago, uh-oh, there is that word decades again. Decades ago, or before the turn of the century, the “ABC” selling was, as Alec Baldwin screamed in the 1992 movie Glengarry Glen Ross, was to “Always Be Closing.” But as the previous century began to wind up entered the ‘internet of things,’ and Alibaba, and explosions of access to all avenues of humongous information. The days of just selling to get rid of something or make a profit out of something began to slowly and steadily began to be replaced by terms like relationship selling, consultative selling, solution selling, ethical sales, selling to serve, selling to solve, selling to not just create value but to co-create value. Sales and selling had merged into resolving needs and serving customer desires. No, it really had moved beyond finding solutions and serving needs. The seller and the buyer had to tear down walls of privacy and secrets between themselves. It wasn’t just one against another but both, together, towards a faster, better and a cheaper world.

Individuals and companies which did not adapt to this reset got covered in cobwebs and then in white sheets. Rest in peace names like Kodak, IBM, Mattel, Tower Records, Sears, etc.

Yet there was a certain element of truth to my response of “nothing” to the question, “Raju, what, according to you, has changed in sales and selling over the decades?”

Yes, the sales environment has changed. Yes, the rules of the game in the marketplace are different. Yes, the tools of the trade are niftier and swifter. Yes, even the attitude has taken a turn and is still transforming for the better. What hasn’t changed is that every transaction whether it is to get rid of something, to make profit out of something or to serve a need and find mutually beneficial solutions is that all of them require trust. Trust, raw and unadulterated trust.

The oldest profession in the world requires a certain element of trust. The used car salesman, no matter how sleazy, requires to become worthy of trust. Ricky Ho my former boss, needed to earn a lot of trust to sell bellies of pork upon which all his big time investors never laid eyes upon. The guy who sells Boeing airplanes to the airlines of all nations needs to acquire trust and so does every other sales and service professional that sits behind a monitor and hacks away at a keyboard to sell unseen products to unmet customers.

The why and the how of earning trust from one to another hasn’t changed and might never change till the end of time.

The prelude into earning trust is authenticity. Here, not just the salesperson but every person and every leader needs not just have an attitude but believe and act out of a hutzpah made out of originality, honesty, openness, courage and vulnerability. A person with that kind of a hutzpah stands out because he stands up and steps in the right direction consistently. He now becomes trustworthy. To earn trust he needs to blend consistency with competence and compassion for the customer, for the stake-holders. Overtime such a leader becomes a champion at earning trust.

The obvious postlude to trust is that your people, your followers, your partners, customers gently and surely move in the right directions that you and them take together. That is influence.

In the coming decades and eons all that we see and hear as innovation, may innovate further, but the backbone of all growth and positive change in sales or any service will always be authentic influence.

Raju Mandhyan

Author, Coach and Trainer

www.mandhyan.com         Unleashing Inherent Excellence!

http://twitter.com/RajuMandhyan

Three Essentials to Authenticity

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Talk about being authentic and, often you will hear this one: “We are in such a hurry to grow up, and then we long for our lost childhood. We make ourselves ill earning money, and then spend all our money on getting well again. We think so much about the future that we neglect the present, and thus experience neither the present nor the future. We live as if we were never going to die, and die as if we had never lived.” By Paulo Coelho

Most all our lives, we desperately struggle to find ourselves. We strive to live, and live out our lives exactly the way we want to but end up creating and living in contradictions. It is not that in the deepest of our hearts we do not know what we want. We do, but adapting and adjusting to a demanding world we let our true selves get corroded, get covered with gunk. Yet from deep within there is that being, that energy and that soul that yearns to fly, to go and grab a fistful of the sky and claim it as how own. 

In the history of mankind there have been a few who have flown so high and so purely in the skies of their own choosing. And, there are almost all of us who for scores of times in our lives have dug a window through that corrosion and that gunk that surrounds and made our presence felt. We have, at times, lived out our dreams and desires loudly and boldly. The question that arises is how do increase the frequency of these liberating moments and sustain them so that at the end of our days we can feel that, hey, I am ready to die because I have lived a full, fruitful and an authentic life. Inspired by an interview, I conducted of Dr. Peter Senge a few years ago, it struck me living an authentic life at work and in society when we:

Step Up: In all circumstances, especially the most challenging ones our options eventually get boiled down to just two. Should we take the well-treaded and safe path or should we step up and take the road less travelled. The roads less travelled, or the right decisions that will make us stand apart and away from others  are always packed with risk but the person who steps up to the calling of his inner voice, scales up the mountains of authenticity. Yes, it takes courage to be authentic. Yes, it takes gumption to stand up, speak up and move towards what your heart, mind and soul tell you are the right things to say and do.

Step In: Daniel Goleman in his book, Focus, talks about how a bunch of preachers-to-be on the road to take up tests in compassion and kindness totally ignore a homeless person on the street asking for help. In their case, it was probably about lack of awareness but often in life, we prefer to stay away from trouble that doesn’t belong to us. In a highly interconnected world most everything does, in a way, belong to us. The other day, someone sent me a video of some folks torching the tongue of street dog. The thought in my mind was why would someone take a video of that and not stop the carnage? Or, when we see others dumping toxic waste and plastic into our rivers why don’t we step in. Stepping in into murky situations, if our conscience calls for it, is the authentic thing to do.

Stand Tall: Dr. Peter Senge in that interview, available on you tube, claims that the eye cannot see the eye. We don’t ever know what the objective reality is because our perceptions, our lenses towards the world are tinted with our biases, our own agendas. Some of these, surely, are unconscious but a large number of those stains on our glasses are of our own making and the cleaner our windows are to the world the better we see it and the taller and prouder we can walk. Coming from clarity and approaching situations conscientiously will allow us to be ourselves, walk and stand tall in a volatile, uncertain, changing and an ambiguous world.  Said once my favorite childhood author, George Bernard Shaw, “Best keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you see the world.”

Authenticity is not just honesty, it is not just being frank and outspoken but being authentic is being true to you inner calling moment after moment. It is about stepping up to challenges, stepping into situations where the right thing needs to be done and also keeping your values and your visions clean.

We live in a world that is constantly changing. We do not have to be the change because every breath we take, every though we think, every word we utter and every action that we take creates change. We do not need to apply force neither do we need to use undue power. We just live out our life with authenticity and gentle influence.

Raju Mandhyan

Author, Coach and Trainer

www.mandhyan.com         Unleashing Inherent Excellence!

http://twitter.com/RajuMandhyan

http://www.mandhyan.com/insights/

http://www.youtube.com/user/RajuMandhyan

 

 

The Subtleties of Authentic Influence©

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TODAY, I complete and count nearly twenty-one years since I entered the world of public and then professional speaking. Within the first year of being part of a very elite group of professionals at the Executive Toastmasters Club of Makati, the club appointed me president.

Surely I’d had some experience in leading teams, building businesses and even being the chief honcho of other business-oriented organizations but I’d never had the experience of being at the helm of a team made of people coming from different walks of life. A group made from diverse backgrounds, and with no material stakes and agenda in the organization except the fact that it was a self-learning volunteer group.

For groups such as this, the leader really has very little assigned power at his disposal and is needed to still drive, succeed, and make the organization flourish.

Towards this end, I thankfully, consider myself to have been blessed to have an amazing mentor and coach in the form of the group’s former president, one Mr. Horacio S. Sese. Nicknamed Rexy, as many people in the Philippines are, he used to hailed as “Sexy Rexy.”

Rexy used to have this amazing way of making me think, visualize, verbalize, and then act and follow through with what was needed, what was productive, and everything that moved the team forward. A team that was loosely gelled, tender, and had haphazard stakes in doing so. I must also add to this that whatever Rexy guided me into doing was also always ethical and in service of others, something bigger than myself.

Though it has been over twenty years since then, here are a few subtleties about Rexy, about Authentic Influence,  and his styles which led me to perform better and grow:

Reputation. In my first few interactions with him, I picked up cues that Rexy knew what he was talking about and doing. Much more important than my own assessment of him almost everyone spoke well of him and looked up at him. This kind of presence and reputation isn’t and wasn’t downloadable from any source but it had been built over the years brick by brick and inch by inch. It was rock solid, dependable, and his reputation always walked into the room way before the person behind it did.

Respect. I was and still am twenty years younger than him. I was and still might be twenty years greener than him in many areas of life and in a world where power is wielded hierarchically; Rexy never let these differences show. For him, in reality, they did not exist and he treated me and all with others with massive courtesy and respect with every little word and every little micro-gesture. He never spoke at me. He did not highlight my lack of experience and know-how. He never disturbed my time without first seeking my permission.

Rapport. You can already guess by the fact that he allowed young and old to address him as “Sexy Rexy,” that he was also a fun and easy-going guy. There was barely any hot air in his hairy head. He had this uncanny ability to meet people in their own way, at their own level and use lightness and respect to win their trust and rapport rapidly. Regardless of how unique, urgent or ambiguous the tasks at hand were, Rexy made it a point to acknowledge and care for the person behind the task, namely me.

Research. This probably is not the precise word for the point I am trying to make but it fits into the theme and the scheme of things. Every time there was work to be done or little tasks that were probably behind time, Rexy’s conversations would start with exploring the background of the tasks at hand. After that he’d explore my thoughts and feelings about the work at hand. Gently, then he used to check if I had the resources and the support. Towards closing the conversation he’d get confirmations in such a way that would make me feel as if I were the lead and as if all the ideas were of my generation and which, in fact, was usually true. In our conversations, his open-minded, exploring way of guidance had me bursting with ideas and intentions to flourish. He never ever delegated. I owned and was accountable for all that I put out.

Request. Now just in case, wherever he had a need and not that I remember him having any, his mode, his demeanor was, always, as if he were making a request. I didn’t know how he did that. I don’t know where and how he acquired such a skill set but it was and still is mind-blowing. Over the years I have tried to imbibe that behavior and that demeanor and I am not sure if I have it. It is is a powerful competency and shall always remain on my wish list of things I want to be. I want to be like Rexy the Sexy.

In a world, today, that has exploded into the virtual domain where people live half their lives stuck to their smartphones and laptops; where social and business interactions thrive in the digital space these five subtleties of Authentic Influence can and will always rule all forms of dealings and interactions.

Your abilities to authentically influence the marketplace and your stakeholders will depend on your reputation, respect for them, rapport with them; your abilities to research their needs and turn your own needs into humble requests will make you social and business leaders who innovate and influence authentically.

On Saturday, the 18th of August, at 9:00AM Philippines, I am running a no fee webinar, please drop by and pick up or add a few things to the subject of Authentic Influence. Here’s the link for signing up:  Authentic Influence© by Raju Mandhyan

 

 

 

A Bird in Hand

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A Bird in Hand.

 

“What do you want, birdie?”

“What exactly are you saying little birdie?”

“Are you hungry, or just dazed birdie?”

She just stayed there atop my index finger and kept blinking, opening and shutting her mouth as though she were talking to me. There was no sound but I could swear that she was trying to say something to me.

It was a full three and half minutes since I’d rushed out of a classroom full of a hundred and fifteen teachers-in-training at the Presidio in San Francisco. We had spent nearly four days conversing about mindfulness, emotional intelligence and compassion for leaders when I heard this bird crash into the huge glass windows and drop into the bushes.

There was another classmate in that room, Ahmad Faiz Zainuddin from Indonesia, who I first asked to go help the birdie in distress but he’d hesitated and I’d jumped into action instead. He happily took pictures with his phone.

When I reached her she’d just stood up, and was looking really lost. I slowly moved towards her and thought of stroking her with the back of my fingers. Surprisingly, she easily let me. That gesture, for me, usually worked with dogs and I was awed that a little bird fell for it too. I turned my hand around wanting to pick her up and carry her into the sunshine when, deftly, she hopped onto my fingers and stayed there.

A good number of my classroom companions were watching and I was amazed that such a tiny bird was offering me her trust. I’d seen dogs, cats and sometimes, even, butterflies endear themselves to people but a bird? This was a first! I felt honored and extremely responsible at the same time. I had to do something about a bird in need. Maybe the crash into the glass pane had numbed her such that she had no idea what she was doing. Maybe she was thirsty, hungry. Where could I find an edible worm instantaneously? There was nothing around except beautiful sunshine, a breeze and a lot of green fauna. Then, after nearly three and half minutes of chatting soundlessly with me she, suddenly, upped and flew away.

Today completes exactly sixty days since that beautiful experience. For every single moment since that day I have been wondering, why did that happen to me? What was the bird trying to say? Why me? Was there a message in that incident? What is the meaning of all this?  Why would such a scared, helpless, beautiful creature trust me?

Thus, this morning I sat myself down, quietly and firmly, for a very long time. I ran through my head all the images of that moment and the millions of thoughts before and after that. I browsed through all little and big conversations I’d had with friends to come to some conclusion about the bird. The billions of neurons in my head, heart and gut needed to know. I needed to know. I kept the pressure on, upon myself, for hours. I’d heard and I know that insightful answers evolve when you think really hard about something or don’t think about it at all. Finally, after a long time thought integration occurred and I had an answer. Aha!

The answer was that I did not need to have an answer. I do not need to know the answer even today. I can live without giving meaning to every incident, every conversation. Not everything, every being, every perspective that surrounds me needs to be known by me, thus controlled by me. In fact, isn’t it I who constantly reminds myself to just “be.” 

All experiences are journeys of exploration and they do not need to have a singular, intelligently defined destination. In fact, the very reason I was in that class with a hundred and fifteen others was to explore mindfulness not knowledge and intelligence. Being mindful means being aware, awake and open-hearted to everything; open to constantly changing and multiple perspectives from all directions, all the time.

Thus, I step back from wanting to give shape and meaning to a moment of life; a moment that a bird spent with me. I can live in a space and time that is changing and ambiguous because it keeps me vulnerable and open to life itself. I think that is what the little bird told me that October morning in beautiful San Francisco.

I also think that I ought to stop theorizing about a bird in hand.  I need to surrender to not knowing the how and why of a little bird’s momentary trust in me. I ought to let a bird hand be, just that, a bird in hand and not worry about the hidden two in the bush.

Raju Mandhyan

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Subtle Influence, a teacher’s story.

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Growing up in India, I went to a Zoroastrian School.  It was a good school and as with most schools, it had all kinds of teachers.

Some were nice and some not so nice.  Some were passionate about their work and some regarded their work as just a job.

I remember them all, the stuff they taught us and the way they taught us.  As I now train, facilitate and coach others in personal and organizational development, the subject of learning and the quality of learning transfer often comes up.

Of them all a teacher called D.N. Irani at the Sardar Dastur Hoshang Boys’ High School, stands out and apart in my memory.

D.N. Irani had a remarkable way of teaching, behaving and carrying himself when he traversed the corridors of the school.  He was tall and lanky, with very little fat on his body. He wore his salt-and-pepper hair closely cropped and was always clean shaven.  He was about the size and shape of Clint Eastwood, as Clint Eastwood looked in his fifties.  In a light blue short sleeved, bush shirt with khaki chinos and soft brown leather sandals he seemed to serenely glide from the classrooms to the library and the to the faculty room.

When approached in the corridors or in class D.N. Irani never seen seemed hurried or tense; he always heard everyone out fully before he responded.  No sounds, no momentary movement or novelty in his surrounding would make D.N. Irani flinch.  He remembered faces and the conversations he had with those faces even if all the faces of the boys in a highly populated Indian school looked much alike.  In this school with its reputation of toughness, D.N. Irani walked tall and spoke slowly but always carried a big chunk of subtle influence.  The boys would part in the hallways to let him pass, like Moses’ Red Sea, although nothing in his attitude or behavior demanded such from the boys.

Whenever other teachers or even the school head master was faced with a hooligan crowd in class they would always send for D.N. Irani to come and restore peace.  And D.N. Irani never failed at quieting down a class simply by turning up and planting himself in silence. In the middle of all storms his mere presence would, somehow, make everyone see the bright and beautiful side.

What is it that D. N. Irani did for him to be so respected and revered in the tough Sardar Dastur Hoshang all-Boys High School?

D. N. Irani had presence. He was grounded and totally at ease with himself. When he looked at you, he saw all of you, in appearance and in demeanour. When he listened to you, he heard everything you said and everything else you made the effort to tell him.  He rarely interrupted and did not jump to conclusions while watching and listening to you.  He never passed judgment about people and their issues until he had gotten maximum information. He was never hasty or mad about expressing his point of view.  And when spoke,  his expressions and opinions were unequivocal and stated in simple, direct language with a mellow tone to his voice.  Even when his statements  were not in your favor, you always felt he gave due respect  to your individuality and humanity.

Today as I look back, I am more and more convinced D.N. Irani’s sense of seeing, hearing and kinaesthesia (which is feeling, touching and smelling) were razor sharp. He cognitively and deliberately made efforts to always keep his senses alert, alive and empathetic.

You see, everything we are, think and do is devised, developed and deployed by our five senses. Researches and scientists talk about genetics–our DNA and our traits–as codes in our birth cells  transferred from our parents.  These codes may be in chemical or energy form but they’re all accessible and recognizable through appearances, sounds and behavior. They are also referred to as visual, auditory and kinaesthetic codes.

Everything we learned from the time our mothers conceived, carried  and nurtured us has been  written and is stored in our brains using these codes. From our formative years through our youth, and into our adulthood, everything we learn and everyone we interact with happens through the function of our five senses.  Our knowledge, values, principles and belief are all stored in our memories.  An inventory of this storage is maintained in the format of our five senses and a combination of these five senses.

In his classic book, How to Think like Leonardo Da Vinci, Michael Gelb talks about Arte/Scienza – the art and science of improving the quality of our thinking.  Michael Gelb suggests we improve vision by studying art, landscapes and beautiful sights. He recommends   listening to classical music, sounds of nature, inspiring speeches and creative stories to sharpen our sense of hearing and our minds.  To improve our sense of taste, smell and touch, he encourages activities that alternatingly  soothe and  stretch these senses, thus strengthening and sharpening them.

Stronger and sharper senses improve our ability to think and we become more aware and sensitive to other people and to our surroundings; therefore, improving our ability to interact with our world.

Individuals like my former teacher, D.N. Irani, knew this at an  intuitive and  cognitive level.  Perhaps they had no chance to explain these paradigms they lived by, but they became living examples of this acute awareness and practice.

Here are five practices to enhance your sensory acuities, heighten  your awareness and improve your ability to live in the moment;

  • Start with a clean state of mind. If any recent visual, auditory or kinaesthetic experience is on your mind–perhaps an unappealing sight you have just witnessed, a song humming in the back of your mind or the scent of pungent food- then consciously let go of the experience using the Reasoning Brain. Let it all be erased from the desktop of your mind.
  • Enhance visual acuity. Whenever you see an object delve a  bit more on its shape, size, and color. Think of it as visually studying something in detail. This works equally well when observing  human facial expressions.
  • Enhance auditory acuity. Listen to music and  distinguish the sounds of the different instruments involved. Make an effort to mentally dissect the high notes and the low notes of the   This works equally well when listening to another person. Listen for pitch, power, percussion, pauses and the parlance. It’ll help you better discern messages they may not be actually verbalizing.
  • Enhance your kinaesthetic acuity. When for example, you carry a puppy, feel his weight, his fur, his nails, his bones and all the features th

    Subtle Selling Strategies from the Neurosciences and Neuropsychology

    at make up a puppy. Feel his body temperature, the moisture or the coarseness of his fur. Pay attention to his smell and breathing. Note how of all this impact your thinking and feeling towards the puppy. This also works well when you are in the presence of another person. Take note of their presence, their skin, their scent and how all this impacts your feelings and opinions about this person. You might have heard the statement, “there’s something fishy about him.” It doesn’t mean he smells like a fish. It means his presence, behaviour, and communication gives you an uneasy, suspicious feeling.

  • Integrate the data gathered from all sensory inputs when dealing with others. When talking to strangers, notice how their appearance and the quality of their voice make an impact on you.  Observe how their scent influences your impressions. Integrate data from all these sources, but be aware the impact on you does not truly represent them. Gather all this data and then let the Reasoning Brain investigate them objectively.

Enhancing sensory acuity is firstly, about becoming conscious of all the inputs and noting their impact on our three brains and secondly, about cognitively segregating the useful from the non-useful data. Sensory acuity can store up good knowledge and wisdom in the triune brain. High quality cognitive knowledge and empathetic wisdom will turn us into D.N.Irani, a person of subtle influence and power.

Taken from book, the HeART of the CLOSE, available at Amazon

Creating Collaborative Learning

“Learning to learn is the most important ability one must acquire to succeed and excel at anything,” said Noel Mendoza on ExPat InSights, then a Director of Application Services  at Hewlett Packard, in response to my question of what got him to where he was today.

Creating Collaborative Learning by Raju Mandhyan

This was something that had been impressed upon him by his father who had, for years, been a professor at the Asian Institute of Management in the Philippines.

The statement made a home run with me and brought to assimilation everything about learning and facilitating that I’d been thinking of.

Today, to me, learning is more than just accumulation of data, know-how or mastering a set of skills. Learning is becoming open and accepting to a multitude of things and a diversity of perspectives.

In class and across all developmental conversations it becomes our moral obligation to create an access and an environment for our clients to acquire such learning abilities.

Of the many steps, we as learning and process facilitators must take “creating collaboration” to learn and develop among our audience and stakeholders is the first step.

What is collaborative learning?

It is the state and the atmosphere where many dialogue, share, challenge, resolve and, often, come to a consensus about a subject at hand and own the outcome individually and collectively.

There are many ways to create this state and atmosphere and here are just five tiny steps:

  1. Set steady and, yet, soft objectives: This means have goals but be open to serendipitous outcomes.
  2. Build trusting and open communications: This is best done by being a laughing, talking role model yourself first and then acknowledging and appreciating candidness of others.
  3. Take on real life challenges: In the book, The Power of MindFul Learning, author Ellen J. Langer claims there is no better classroom than the classroom of life. A facilitator’s task is lead the class out, spiritually, onto the streets on Monday morning and just help capture the learning.
  4. Flex and dance: No single approach or technique will work. What will work powerfully are good and right intentions towards the client and the facilitator’s ability to flex and dance towards shared the steady and soft objectives.
  5. Seal the deal: No, not really needed if the whole process has been deep and invigorating enough. Yet, allowing for mental atrophy, it is prudent to capture the outcomes, colorfully and visually, on paper. Oh, okay iPad!

These tips are just a preview into the vast field of Process Facilitation and Learning Facilitation. Come October 17, 2017, consultant and trainer Beth Hoban of the International Association of Facilitators, Philippines will run a half-day session on Creating Collaborative Client Relationships.

Please do come and learn to flex and dance towards better learner-client relationships.

https://www.youtube.com/user/ExpatInsights

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jC750ZBn_vQ

https://www.linkedin.com/in/elizabethhoban/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1456410221316887/?ref=br_rs

Inner Sun

Trust in Spades: How to Give, Gain and Build

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Trust: How to give, gain and build it over time has been a challenge that scores of leaders struggle with at work and in life. In a world filled with strife, struggle for survival and fear of the unknown trust is a rare commodity and the only currency that can procure us progressive, productive workplaces and, probably, a more peaceful world.

The perennial queries have been:

How much can I trust her?

Why should I trust him?

Are they a trustworthy kind?

How do I make them believe in me?

How do we sustain this relationship over time and changing circumstances?

Now, usually, the answers to many of our work-life challenges lie in intricacies of our languages. So, it helps to look at what exactly is the meaning and maybe the etymology of the word trust is.

By the dictionary, trust is a noun which means “a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something,” or trust is a verb which means “to believe in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.” The key words stressed here are ability, reliability and strength. Likewise distant synonyms of the word trust are confidence, expectation and dependence.

Robert Kegan, in his book Immunity to Change, provides a workable formula to buy, build and grow trust in reflection and in response to the noun and the verb “trust.” Trust, he claims is the sum of an entity’s credibility, consistency and care for another entity and is inversely proportional to its’ own self-focus.

                                 ___CREDIBILITY + CONSISTENCY + CARE___

TRUST       =            ______________________________________

                                                                 SELF-FOCUS         

Credibility lies in your past performance but is depended upon today. It takes time to build and is built (Video) step by step. Everything you have done and are dong gets imprinted upon some memory and is tapped into again and again.

Consistency, across changing circumstances and times, is a matter of strategy, will and beliefs. As any manager or even a family head, you need to make efforts to become the person to go to. A certain amount of rock steadiness is needed of you to buy and build trust.

Care is the outcome of cognitive and affective empathy and compassion for others. We all have needs, weaknesses and thankfully, a consciousness too. As we all need care and compassion, a leader needs to make conscious, cognitive efforts to understand, feel and offer support to others.

The downside and the scary side of this denominator is that if all three elements are active and are performed with an objective to win brownie points or to serve an agenda other than the agenda of the person across you or an agenda that is not mutually beneficial than the trust equation collapses-drastically.

A few years ago while hosting an event I had the good fortune of spending a private moment with Tony Meloto, the founder and lead behind Gawad Kalinga of the Philippines. Gawad Kalinga, a very successful community building organization, is our version of Habitat for Humanity in the Philippines.

“Tony” I asked, “Gawad Kalinga is receiving so much funding and hundreds of volunteers are pouring in to help, do you not have security and trust issues with all these newcomers and walk in supporters?”

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“Don’t you have pilferage, conflict, personality conflicts and trust issues?”

“Ah, I know what you are implying! I have a straightforward philosophy and an approach to it. When volunteers come in, we take them for their word and trust their intentions to be good. We load them with responsibilities right away___without doubt, without malice. And, all these years this approach has worked and I feel that is one of the secrets behind our success.”

“Hmmm, wow!”

“Yes, wow is right, we hand out trust in spades, right away, and usually get it back in wheelbarrows,” he smiled.

I was and still am ashamed to have been coming from a sense of lack but I am glad I asked that question that day.

The first step of the formula to gain trust, today for me, is to give trust to the credibility, the competencies and the compassion levels in all my partners and colleagues. It is to set aside all my doubts and biases and take people’s word for what they can do and what they state their goals to be. It is to approach people with a judgement of charity and graciousness. Yes, surely, people can let you down but if I start with assumption that they can let me down then I haven’t really started anything have I?

The second step to build and accumulate trust in myself, across time, from my partners and teams is really do well what I am responsible and for what I am qualified and appointed for. My job description could be general or specific but I must focus on becoming the person to go for those needs by my partners. I must follow this habit of making effort of being he best I can be with a long-term consistency. I cannot build a reputation or a resume by being efficient and productive sporadically, I must be consistent across changing circumstances and times.

The third habit, not just a step, is to approach people with compassion and kindness regardless of what our work-life scenarios and our backgrounds call. In the Philippines, we uphold a value called “kapwa tao.” This means to regard all people as human beings and kindred spirits and to do unto them as you would have them do unto you.

The fourth habit is to deliberately and diligently reflect upon why you think, say and do what you think, say and do. Reflect upon your agendas and your true purposes. Run your intentions through the test of fire. If your thoughts, words and actions benefit you more than they benefit others than the previous three steps will never gain you anything, ever. People study and measure your words and actions to assess your true intentions all the time and the only way to clean up your true intentions is to really and truly clean them up.

That is how to Give, Gain and Build Mountains of Trust for yourself and within your communities.

Video on Trust

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Power of the Pause

TIME AND MONEY!

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There are in the world only two currencies-time and money. Discussions and forums, worldwide, about money happen in abundance but there are very few discussions about “Time Literacy” and the intelligent and optimum usage of time.

Time and Money

Yes, surely, from an extreme philosophical perspective there is no such thing as time and it is an abstract, a “construct” of society. But here on earth and in the marketplace of life for achieving measurable, tangible successes time, always, is money.

And, just like money it must be earned, saved and employed for personal and organizational growth and development. Unfortunately, like money, it cannot be accumulated and re-used as an investment. Through the banks of time we only pass once and this once must be used intelligently and wisely.

Now there are hundreds of opinions on how to use time wisely and productively. The top seven best practices being:

  1. Plan The Day!

Have a plan per day, per annum, etc.,

Just like if you were to invest a million dollars into a project, you’d need a budget and a forecast of how that money will be utilized.

Plan and budget a given unit of time. It can be a day, a year or even a life-time.

In my personal point of view, it should be a life-time.

  1. Set Time Bound Goals.

Get crystal like clarity on what exactly needs to be achieved and focus and work at one project, one task at a time. The idea of multi-tasking has been debunked a hundred times in recent months. Clarity and focus gives you speed, momentum and success.

  1. Optimize Technology.

Don’t do by hand, what can be done by a machine unless of course the quality requirements call for organic and low-tech processes. Also do make sure that you don’t drown yourself into technology such that the machine becomes your master. Yes, put that smart phone down if you are picking it up just for the heck of it. Yes, put it down a hundred times a day, its dope, not technology.  As and when you do pick it use it like you’d use a razor_to get a job done.

  1. Eat the Frog!

Eat the frog, says Brian Tracy. If you keep putting aside a job, habitually, because it is hard, dirty, difficult to do or it calls for you to have a paradigm shift but your meta-intelligence and mind says it must be done because it will give a great leverage in the future then, by golly, do it.

Putting up and managing a personal website for me was a yucky, slimy, ugly-eyed frog. One day I put my foot down and swallowed the amphibian in one sitting.

  1. Just Say No!

Ayn Rand said there is a virtue in selfishness. And, yes I absolutely agree with her. Selfishness that is not mean, deceiving, greedy but selfishness that looks after me and the limited, finite amount of the treasure called time.

Take a class in healthy assertiveness and don’t commit yourself to things you cannot do, don’t want to do and do not fit into the big picture of your life, work and higher purpose. Say no to a couple of beers if you’d set that time aside for a jog. Go, jog first!

  1. For Heaven’s Sake, Delegate!

Here’s where you swap money for time. Here is where your accumulated money may buy you someone else’s time_psuedo-time.

And, here is the most important lesson that I wanted to share with you when I typed in the title of this article.

I repeat, there are only two currencies life and they are time and money. The quantity of time is finite but the quality of it can be worth billions if you learn to use it right. The quantity of money circulating in the world in all its forms is still limited and its value is directly proportional to how you use your time.

A wise old man once told me, “Raju, when you are young you chase money and when you age you chase time. Instead if you chose to mind and manage time better when you were young you’d ‘automagically’ be wealthy when you grow old.

Since that advise, I have been living out these seven tips that I, today, share with you. Hope you like them. They are inspired from the contents of my book, the HeART of the CLOSE.

  1. Fret Not Over Failure

Finally, should you fail at budgeting your time, setting the right goals, optimizing resources and making great choices in life then realize and recognize this that your idea of success is subjective. In your failure lays the wisdom to succeed at your next attempt.

Fretting over failure is like gunking up and, unconsciously, corroding the time that still lies is in your bank and stays available to you. There, that is the seventh tip_fretting is a gross waste of time. One needs to consistently get up and get going because lady time, she awaits you to live out your life’s purpose.

 

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My books also available on Amazon:            http://goo.gl/OZSMj8

Talks on You Tube:                                           https://goo.gl/dVclfm

Choice Clips from ExPat InSights :               https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjf3sHaZBSo