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

You Tube Videos : https://goo.gl/3HEepD

Books on Amazon : https://goo.gl/Uabo7f

 

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

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.

 

My Books 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

Trust Video : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=so64MyKrENQ

 

 

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.

 

_________________

 

 

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

Five Ideas to Improve Meeting Productivity

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The whole world is constantly participating in meetings. “Let’s have a meeting,” “I am in a meeting,” “Call you right back after the meeting,”

Five Ideas to Improve Meeting Productivity

are statements you hear all the time. Sometimes, it makes me wonder if most everyone I know is so often in one meeting or another who then, in heaven’s name, is minding the, proverbial, store? Who is building the bridges and who is baking all the bread in the world?

The truth is that a lot of time, across the world, is being wasted in and during meetings. Should we be able to salvage all the wasted energy from the din and noise generated during meetings then we would have no energy crisis. We’d be cutting down lesser trees, digging up lesser oil and, leaving lesser carbon foot-prints on the face of this lovely planet. The air will be cleaner, the oceans will start cooling down and the birds won’t always have to fly south.

A typical meeting usually starts late and it involves catching up with others, waiting for the late-comer, listening to his excuses and a traffic-report of the city; bringing him up to speed, ordering coffee, re-reading the minutes of the last meeting, plugging the computers, logging onto the net and rushing through the true agenda so as to catch up with the next meeting at another venue…ad nauseam.

If this is even partially true for you then here are five quick ideas to bash up the beast of bad meetings. Five ideas is a good number because it represents the number of sensory inputs and outputs and research in the field of neurosciences has shown that the conscious mind can only juggle and manage seven plus minus two chunks of information at a given moment.

Idea One: Email everyone, a substantial time before the meeting, a five-point agenda that is more illustrative than narrative. Use sketches, diagram and flowcharts because pictures are easier to remember than words. Assign expectations and tasks for every individual. Keep it simple and to the point.

Idea Two: During the meeting issue a little more detailed version of the same illustration to everyone with their roles and tasks color segregated. Allow space for that individual to make and takes notes. Look up Edward De Bono’s ‘Six Thinking Hats’ and use the science behind Five of those hats. Throw out one of the hats or use it as a pan to collect penalties from the late-comers and hecklers in meetings.

Idea Three: Choose one big, hairy goal for the meeting and less than three minor goals to be achieved as outcomes of the meeting. Hang a large sign of the big, hairy goal where everyone can see it before and during the meeting. The large visual aids focus, and like bees to honey, such that everyone will keep directing their conversations to the big, hairy goal. The minor ones will easily fall in place just like dominoes do. You have heard this, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.”

Idea Four: Allow a few minutes before the meeting ends to stamp “Done!”on the big, hairy goal sign and the small illustrative notices that you sent out. Capture the outcomes of the meeting in an illustrative format and sketch out the measures and the next, big hairy goal for the next meeting. Oops, scratch out the last sentence! Your every meeting should be good enough for you and your team never to meet again.

Idea Five: All research, option generation, plans, milestones, measures are elements of cerebral thinking but true choices are made from the depths of our hearts. Treat each other with respect, kindness and empathy so as to nurture their emotional sides and also allow deeper experience and wisdom to evolve. Sure, shoot down the late-comers and the hecklers too!

Practice these five ideas if you like or chuck them out the window. It is best to just roll up your sleeves and bake that bread, build those bridges or chill by the beach instead of participating in meaningless, chaotic meetings.

Here’s hoping your meetings are always lean, mean and the rest of the year be happy, healthy and and very productive for you and your teams!

Raju Mandhyan

/ www.mandhyan.com

Unleashing Comunication Excellence!

When and How to use Why, or, How to Replace it with a What

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Exactly a year ago, I wrote “STOP AT WHY: HOW GREAT COACHES INSPIRE SELF TRANSFORMATION,” and I left the question “When and How to use Why or How to replace it with a What?”

So, just to recap;

  • When you use “why” you hit the rock bottom of your client’s beliefs.

    WHEN AND HOW TO USE A WHY AND WITH A WHAT?

  • When you use “why” you challenge their deep set values.
  • When you use “why” you enter the zone of their conscious and unconscious programs.
  • When you use “why” you, often, challenge their personal charades or “rackets” as some schools of thoughts like to call it.
  • When you use “why” you are, often, throwing them into an arena where they can get defensive.

Of course all these do not count if you have acquired massive and loving trust where the client is open and feels absolutely safe with you or, if the client is high on self-consciousness and open to being coached.

Now to work into the ability of how to replace “why” with a less edgy, less sharp “what” or a “how.”

Let’s take a very simple example of “Why are you late?”

You’d get a response of “because I…yadi, yadi, ya!” Or, worse, you may get “What’s it to you?”

Now try replacing “Why are you late?” with…

“Traffic on the streets?” This will give you a yes or a no. If you get a “yes” you get labelled as “understanding” and he/she relaxes, smiles and unwinds. If you get a “no” then the fact that you gave him/her an option out will be followed with the real reasons that made him/her come late.

Now, let’s take a much complex and a serious example of “Why are you always late?”

This one is bound to push all the red buttons and he/she can give you hell in return. So be cautious and replace “Why are you always late?” with something that gets you the answers you need without cornering your client and, often, empowering them a bit. Here are the options;

  • You have been late often recently, what are the reasons?
  • What has been making you come late these last few days?
  • Any ideas on how you can make it on time for these meetings?
  • And, a supportive one, anyway we can help you come on time?

You get the drift?

As a coach and a business leader, or even a supportive parent, it takes time an effort to refrain from using “why” carelessly and by default. It takes deeper mental effort and time to think through your query and reframe it in such a manner that it draws no blood, so to say.

Beyond just taking effort and time, it also requires a long-term dedication to changing the way you communicate and lead others. It takes practice, and it takes patience, and it takes powerful intention to coach and empower others benignly.

Using “How” and “What” instead of a “Why” is like shaving with the grain rather than against it. It converts relationship friction into traction. So spend a little time every time to flip your “Why” into a “How” or a “What,” it’ll do you and your relationships a ton of good.

Those are my ideas on why not to ask why often.

Article inspired by my book, the HeART of the CLOSE, which contains a section on sales coaching.  Further work on Appreciative Inquiry is taken up in my workshops on Appreciative Leadership.

 

https://goo.gl/IqWjmS                                Facebook/Raju Mandhyan

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https://goo.gl/7JHKrs                                the HeART of CLOSE

https://goo.gl/b6aChH                               the HeART of STORY

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

 

 

Change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change.

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by Carlos Castaneda

Zig Ziglar shared this story a few decades ago,

“Growing up on a farm, I’d have to be up way before dawn and one of assignments was to milk the cows. The cows did not know that it was their job to let me get milk from them. My assignment was always tougher in the winters of the great state of Texas. The milk inside the cow, in my mind, was usually frozen. I hated the job and hated the cows.

Over time I realized the more frustrated I was at the job and the cows, the harder my job became. And, I am sure the cows also went out of their ways to make my life miserable too. Then I decided to change the way I looked at my job. I decided milk was good. It brought health and nutrition and income for the family. I began to look at the cows with kinder eyes. I even went out of my way to have a chat with the cows before I even touched them.

“Sally,” I’d say to the eldest of the cows, “you look good today! It seems like you had a good night’s rest.”

“And Martha,” I’d say to the youngest, “that smile on your face is gonna’ take you places, y’know!”

“You cows have no idea how much we enjoy and appreciate all that you do for us. If not for you guys, our breakfast tables would be dull and boring. Thank you. Really, thank you!”

He had no measure for it but Zig Ziglar was sure that on the days he appreciated the cows and thanked them for being who they were, he usually picked up a few extra quarts of milk.

People at work and, in life, aren’t any different. All of us need appreciation and grace from each other. All of us need to learn regard each with respect and kindness. When we look at each other, when we behold each other our eyes need to zero in on the potential and grace that lays hidden in each of us. Yes, it does!

The moment we seek, zero in and stay positive about that hidden potential our attitude and our outlook becomes the water and sunshine that unleashes that potential. When we change the way we look at people, the people we look at will change and grow into and fill the frame we perceive them through. This is powerful medicine. It is the truth and it costs nothing. Nothing at all! In fact, it is like oxygen to your own wellbeing and happiness.

On those cold, wintry mornings the cows, I hear, also returned the favor to Zig Ziglar  with a “Thank you for a warm hand on a chilly morning.”

Listening With a Willingness to Change

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Listening by Raju Mandhyan

It sounds like a mouthful compared to active listening, deeper listening or, even, empathetic listening and yes, it is.

After having had thousands of discussions and practice sessions in communications, coaching, sales and other leadership workshop I realize I can put this in a nutshell.

When wanting to listen and listen well, what do we do? We sit up. We shut off other thoughts. We pay attention to the lips that pour out the words. We turn up empathy and, yes, we smile-nod-twinkle and go uh, uh. Yeah!

Or, again, there are times when we are doing all that externally and internal parts of our self are going “what time is it, I wonder?” “is she wrapping by now?” “this is not what I came here to listen!” “he has no idea what he is talking about!” “I am so much better a thinker-communicator-what have you!”

Active listening is all bright-eyed, big smile and nodding approval kind of a listening. Deeper listening is reading between the lines and “feeling” things rather than just hearing the words. Compassionate listening is, really, getting ready to say “Oh dear, I know exactly what you are going through but let me tell you about the time… yadi-yadi-ya!”

Real listening is all of the above on the surface. Underneath, deep inside you the communicator, leader or a coach needs to be ready to give up all that is bright and beautiful inside you. You need to be ready to surrender all beliefs that you hold dear. You need to forego everything else that you have been planning to bring to the table.

  • You need to surrender your position of listener-leader and be a follower.
  • You need to give up the idea of wanting to offer wisdom, create value.
  • You need to accept, lovingly and respectfully, the thought that what is presented may be better and productive.
  • You need to become ready to let go of all that you think make up you.
  • You need to be listening with a readiness and a willingness to change. Yes, change!

Listening with a readiness and willingness to change from the depths of your thoughts and the bottom of your heart, you need to be ready and willing to change. That is listening.

Any movements towards change can only come about if the cornerstone of our interactions is an honest-to-goodness willingness to change. All this, mind you, happens in fractions of seconds. That fraction of a second will make you a leader that was ready to change.

The Night of the Jitters

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Leticia Ramos-Shahani

I was once invited to compére a dinner function where there were several speakers. The chief amongst them was a lady Philippine presidential candidate. My job was to stay within the theme of the evening, introduce the speakers, and keep the transitions lively, entertaining and contextual.

Easy? Yes, if not for an audience of over a 400 people!

Weeks and days before the event, I gathered the material, read the resumes of the luminaries, prepared my lines and timing. On the day before the event, I had everything down to a pat. But at night in bed, the next day seemed bigger and scarier than most other days.

I tossed and turned restlessly until late into the night. Finally, when I did sleep, I had a nightmare. In the nightmare, I was up on the stage next to all the speakers. The lights were strong on my face. Awed by the crowd, I was in a state of shock. Suddenly, from nowhere the lady chief guest walked up to me, handed me the microphone and said, “Raju, it is your turn! ”

My turn! I grappled with the dozen or so pages in my hands and walked up to the lectern. At the lectern, my papers flew from my hand and circled around me in slow motion. The microphone turned into a cobra and stared me down. And, when I looked down at my finely dressed audience they had changed. In their place were people of all kinds. I saw fishermen, street hawkers, and gaunt-faced ladies with cigarettes dangling from their lips. On the floor there were hundreds of crawling babies screaming at their mothers to stop smoking and pay attention to them. My wife was in the crowd begging everyone to calm down and listen to me, the speaker!

The back of the hall had somehow changed into a railway compartment with dozens of big, African-American men playing basketball in it. Big, burly men with beer mugs in their hands were watching the game while the train of my speaking moment was hurtling away towards nowhere!

In the nightmare, I heard someone knock at the door of the railway compartment. Covered in cold sweat, I woke up with a scream in my throat! As I sat up in bed, I recognized the absurdity of  the whole situation. The demons of anxiety and fear were playing games    with my mind.

The knocking on my bedroom door was real, and I walked up to it and opened it. There stood my little 7-year-old daughter, crying for her mother. I picked her up and held her against me. My fears subsided and a smile took over my jitters and doubts.

I was overcome by an inner peace and calm. I went to sleep assured that tomorrow, I was going to perform for a crowd not go to war with the world. My fears were gone and the material that I had been working upon became mine. The next day I dazzled the crowd and the lady chief guest at the dinner  function.

 

Note: I post this in honor and the love I, like, many have for the late Senator Leticia Ramos-Shahani of the Philippines who just passed away this morning of 20th March, 2017.