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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

 

Five Philosophies of Appreciative Leadership

Most individual and organizations go around carrying a cudgel of “what is wrong and who is to blame,” in all the businesses and the organizations we lead.

This approach of looking for problems may work for complex machinery and systems but fails drastically when it comes to human groups because human relationships are not just complex but are complicated.

Thus, a mechanical+rational+cognitive approach to resolving issues rarely work and barely sustainable. Over the decades, a new strengths-based, affirmative approach, a way of life has been delivering brilliant and beautiful results.

What will work better is “what’s working, what strengths can we employ and who is passionate about taking the lead?”

And, it takes five beliefs that can come handy in driving productive change:

  1. Every individual and organization is a beautiful mystery to be unfolded and unleashed.
  2. In life, and at work there are multiple realities and these realities construct according to how we perceive them collectively.
  3. The strengths and the resources that we most focus upon will grow magnificently.
  4. Every positive, empowering question we ask will simultaneously give rise to affirmative thought followed by action.
  5. When we filter, choose and select every grain, every word in our conversations for success and strengths, we build a beautiful world.

Appreciative Leadership is a personal and organizational leadership program influenced by Appreciative Inquiry, a holistic method and a process to initiate, drive and succeed affirmatively and sustainably all change programs.

Right after the Hospital Management Awards on September 7-8 in Vietnam, on September 09, 2016 sign up for a whole day workshop on Appreciative Leadership organized by the Vietnam Marketing Association.

Should you wish to sponsor, help promote this please call or send an email to Ms. Mai Nguyen (Ms.) | Workshop Project Manager of VMI at

P: +(848) 3507 3575  |  HP: +(848) 908 863 118  /  Email:mainh@vmi.edu.vn  to confirm. Website: www.VMI.edu.vn

Appreciative Leadership

Appreciative Leadership & Ha Long Bay

Individuals and Organizations are Mysteries to be Explored and Uncovered.

Individuals and Organizations are Mysteries to be Explored and Uncovered.

A few years ago, on a cruise, at early dawn we sailed into Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay. Not just the moment but the whole morning was nothing but magical, majestic.

The dark, dense water seemed to caress and draw the ship deeper into the bay. The giant rocks, strewn with shrubs, seemed to gently glide, bend and bow down inviting us to feel free and awed by the beauty. The sights were amazingly beautiful. The murmuring water was love-giving and the scents from the shrubs nourished our souls.

Today, as I relive the memory, part of me wonders why I didn’t find the dull darkness to be scary. Why didn’t the deep, dense water strike fear into my heart and why didn’t the jagged rocks remind me of the Titanic’s fate? I guess the answer to this mystery might lay in the fact that a part of me was expecting and looking forward to the sights, sounds and the smells of Ha Long Bay being beautiful and awesome. I also suspect that, over the years, the millions who visit and capture this beauty also undergo the same magic and majesty. They all come filled with a sense of wonder and an expectancy to witness the beautiful.

In a similar way, the underlying philosophies of ‘Appreciative Inquiry’ urge us to approach individual systems and organizations in a similar way, with the same wonder and a similar sense of being greeted by majestic beauty.  Appreciative Inquiry, a method of facilitation and developing organizations was first conceptualized by Dr. David Cooperrider of Case Western University in the 80s.

It claims, our default approach in looking at people, looking at teams and organizations made of people is to try and zero in on what is wrong with them and how do I, as a leader, fix that problem. It questions, what if we were to simply flip that first, defaulting assumption of ours and look for strengths, for resources, for successes? Wouldn’t that change our approach, our mind-sets and thus our behavior towards these entities, these systems and these living organizations?

Over the years, across the globe several leaders and change agents have discovered this secret and used it powerfully and fruitfully to turn individuals and organizations from good to great. It’s an approach, a way of life that adds power, beauty and strength into our initiatives to change and innovate.  The philosophical presumption is “individuals and organizations are mysteries to be explored and uncovered.”

On September 09, 2016 in Vietnam, in association with Vietnam Marketing and Management, I will be conducting a whole day, interactive workshop on Appreciative Leadership.  This follows the Hospital Management Awards being held in Ho Chi Minh City on September 7 & 8, 2016. On that day not only will I accompany you on this journey but also guide you into being able navigate your own ships into magic and majestic landscapes like Ha Long Bay.

Vietnam Marketing:  http://www.vmi.edu.vn/

Appreciative Leadership: http://www.vmi.edu.vn/news/pid/49/search/page/1/id/4544

My upcoming public workshops:http://www.informa-mea.com/hrsummit

Advanced Selling Skills in Vietnam: http://www.hospitalmanagementasia.com/cacnhadienthuyet?page=5

InSpire Like a CEO: http://www.genesistrainingevents.com/Raju/inspire.html

Appreciative Leadership: http://www.genesistrainingevents.com/Raju/AL.html

Corporate Storytelling in Dubai:http://www.hrsummitexpo.com/

Posts on Facebook: https://goo.gl/MXQEqU

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

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

Raju Mandhyan

www.mandhyan.com

 

 

 

 

Stories as Drivers of Engagement and Innovation

Stories may be truths wrapped in roses, rainbows, and rhythm, but they also create the future–that which is possible and which can indeed be beautiful.

When organizations slow down or arrive at a difficult bend in their developmental journey, people within the organization need hope.  They need new dreams and fresh inspiration.  Success stories from the past empower us, but it is the stories into the future–stories yet to be lived–that catapult us into action and success.

These words are etched on the mental corridors of workers in this company that supplies milk and milk derivatives to nearly half the world.

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the HeART of Story : History of Storytelling

Eons ago, when man discovered fire, he also discovered the wonder of telling stories around that fire. After a hard day’s hunt, he would gather his tribe and begin to converse and tell great stories. He told stories about the source of life, about the sun, about the moon and the stars.  He also told stories about the time and place where the sun was born and how the moon romanced it.  He told stories about how the moon pursued the sun and died every month to be reborn to love the sun all over again. He told stories about how every individual had a star of his own up in the teal and midnight-blue skies.

Connect, Engage and Influence your World Creatively!

Day after day, night upon night, from one season to another, man told stories –tales about love, courage, adventure, conquest, and wars. Around the fire, he told stories of ferocious Spartan warriors and heroes that battled one-eyed giants. He told stories about birds that could fly into the sun, burst into cinder, and then rise again from the ashes to fly right back into the sun.

Over the ages, stories of tradition, honor, and great courage ruled the air around the fires. There were stories told about great escapes, bold robberies, and giant shipwrecks. Discoveries were reported about new worlds, new wealth, and new people. Narrated with rhyme, repetition, and rhythm, all these stories were etched on the walls of the caves where our ancestors lived and into the hearts and minds of all mankind.  Shadows and echoes from the flickering fires left unforgettable legends visualized and represented on the walls of our current homes.  Today, many of these stories have become a large part of belief systems, of our culture and our tradition.

Storytelling Today

The ancient art of storytelling has turned into a science riding on the wave of television and technology as a laughing, talking, singing universe. This universe now surrounds us twenty-four hours a day and also reaches us through books, song, dance, stage-plays, movies, television, computers, and phones. It does not let go even when we are 10 kilometers up in the air and zooming across the skies at over 500 kilometers per hour.ccc

Stories grab us in news reports, magazine shows, commercials, documentaries, television serials, musicals, and films of epic proportions. Stories reach us through multiple media in formats like short episodes, interactive applications, gaming applications, etc.

The ancient, traditional face-to-face, oral storytelling has also morphed with the integration of poetry, improvisation, mime, and other forms. Seasoned, professional storytellers can keep us awe‑struck and engaged in their verbal and non-verbal gymnastics for hours on end.  Seasoned storytellers, thus, can influence and positively transform our worlds.

Leader as a Storyteller

 

 

 

 

 

Check out my book,the HeART of STORY, organizational and leadership storytelling…on Amazon

 

 

Enterprising Young Musicians

It is true that the cognitive business skills for starting, running, and succeeding at a business venture can be gleaned from a book and learned from business schools. But there is no entity that can impart and equip an entrepreneurial candidate with what economist Joseph Alois Schumpeter rather romantically described back in 1912, as “the will to conquer, the dream and the will to found a private kingdom, and the joy of creating, of getting things done.”

Most successful entrepreneurs do discover and master the science behind, “the will to conquer, the dream and the will to found a private kingdom, and the joy of creating, of getting things done.” But, after suffering excruciating pain and paying an enormous price.

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I hate brocolli!

I hate brocolli! I hate the sight of it. I hate it’s name. “Brocolli?” What is that? It sounds like some tropical disease. Like, “He’s got brocolli between his toes. She’s got brocolli in her armpits.  But then again, we do know its good for us. Its green and healthy for our insides and for our cancer fighting cells. And, some claim, it adds and multiplies brain cells.

Similarly, in my work-life there are things that I know that there are things we must do which will be good for us. Like learning to and keeping proper accounts. Learning to and keeping proper records and files of projects and programs. And, for professionals and small business owners like me, learning to build an active website and sustaining, nurturing it over time.

I hate brocolli!

I hate brocolli!

I knew this. I was told this, many a times, years ago by colleagues and friends in the industry and yet I kept thinking _assigning this to a professional or a professional team would be the smart thing to do. And, boy was I ever wrong! Nearly every other year, I’d look for to outsource this work and they’d come back and pick my brain, have me do the thinking, the brainstorming and making the website work for me and my business. ” At first I was doling out money in spades and getting aesthetically impressive returns. Then I tightened my fist and began to get function but no charm and no ease. All through, in the back of my head, I kept thinking…”I wish I was computer savvy. I wish I understood the internet as well as they do. I wish I were Generation X or Y or Z. I wish I weren’t a late-bloomimg baby boomer baby! Grrr!

Website building, maintenance and the world of internet marketing loomed over me like a huge clump of rotting brocolli.

Yet, a small voice kept telling me, “Go ahead, take a bite and start chewing. Go ahead, roll up and your sleeves, tie a nappy around your neck and dig in!

So, two week ago, I rolled up my sleeves, put a nappy around my neck, put on my reading glasses, plugged in the earphones and hauled my lap top closer to me and began clicking, punching, rewinding, undoing, doing, highlighting, reading, taking a power nap in between, and clicking, punching, rewinding, undoing, doing, highlighting, reading, listening until it began to make sense, until it began to take shape.

What you are browsing through right now is a still a rough draft, a skeleton of what is yet to come and grow. In essence, not only am I learning to eat my brocolli but I am also learning to plant, grow and make it flourish organically. That’s the way to go when it comes to learning and succeeding at something you consider hard and something that you figure you can set aside and a let divine intervention resolve it for you. No sirree! It doesn’t happen that way.

Can this same principle be applied for accounting, book-keeping and or maintaining records. Yes!
Nothing is more empowering and liberating than tackling any and all kinds of huge, ugly brocolli clouds that loom over you and slow you down. Hate that brocolli? Eat it first! It’s good for your soul;)

Inner Sun

An Unbalanced Life.

Most everyone is focused on living a balanced life. What exactly is a balanced life? Twenty fours divided equally between work, play, family, personal needs and service to the world? Or, is it stress at work, peace at home?