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How to Receive Love Letters from Customers

 

No matter how much digging and deep diving we do, we end up recognizing that leaders excel when they align thought, words and action. Across the world and overtime, wars have been waged because leaders and nation said one thing and then did another. Organizations stumble and collapse because those in power think of one thing, say another and, eventually, end up doing something that was miles apart from the original thought.

When you, your organization think, say and do things in alignment with each other then people, your customers and the world begins to appreciate you and follow you. Being authentic automatically influences you world.

Recently Wegmans Food Markets, a New York based supermarket chain was chosen as one of the top 10 companies to work for by HRD, USA because for nearly 100 years now the company has been living up to its word. The word being Every Day You Get Our Best. They have a 94% approval rating and dedicated followers who promote the organic-style approach to healthier living. – so much so that they beg to Wegmans to open a franchise in their neighborhood.

The core reason for this love from their customers is that Wegmans Food Markets think of providing quality products and services to their customers. They publish and promote their desires and their plans plainly and then they follow through with the right execution over time. No punches pulled and no hidden agendas. It is a tough and noble thing to do. Yet, when as a leader, you commit and strive to think, say and do things in alignment with each other then the world around takes notice, pays you the respect you deserve, and follows you to the end of the world and to the end of time.

So every single day show up like the sun, roll up your sleeves and cultivate your world such that you leave it shining and green.

 

 

Other Side of the Mountain 

It has been the biggest crisis of our lives. It is visible out on the streets whenever I dare to venture out.

People are walking around as if they were in frenzy. In shops, groceries etc., we look at each other suspiciously. Making as if each one of us was out to harm another.  Even though the traffic congestion is half as bad as before, cars whizz past you discourteously and even aggressively. And, mind you, we are all still nice people, essentially kind human beings.

We have been traumatized by the fear, the facts, and the fierceness of this virus. Consultant friends of mine, over an online meeting, claimed that those in power and the world at large is ignoring the trauma. My response was that the average Joe and Juanita are unaware of how that trauma manifests and how it plays out in the end.

It manifests in the form of excessive boredom, doubt, depression, forgetfulness, and even uncalled for anger over petty things. What constructive things can we do to lessen the impact of this mishap?

Acknowledge the fear and accept the facts: Over an online meeting with fellow coaches and consultants it came up that we as a people are ignoring the trauma caused by the current circumstances. My offer was that way before ignore we need to learn to become aware of it and acknowledge its existence. That, by itself, is half the cure already. Take time out to sit down, mediate reflect or have a gentle, non-melodramatic, chat with family and friends. Discuss your feelings, the facts and the existence of fear. Leave out the news and the toxic gossip that is flooding your phones.

Work your body more than your mind: I do not have to have to tell you how intricately mind and body; body and mind are connected. You know it. Working your body will stretch you healthily. A well-stretched body rests better and sleeps better. It takes you away from dark, fearful and pointless imaginings. It snatches you away from gadgets and indulging in trashy news and information. In the last seven months done I have done more walking, biking, gardening, cooking, meditating, yoga and carpentry than I have done in any other seven months of my life. This does not I read, write, study, facilitate, train, speak or coach less for my profession. Surely, business has dropped but I have kept my shop and services open and sensibly active.

Perk up your faith: Yes, the religious kind and, even the faith in self and the universe. Make a deliberate mental effort to keep your self-talk positive, affirmative and optimistic. Focus on the possibilities rationally and hard just as you would use your neo-cortex, analytical brain to solve a math problem, focus upon thinking positively and affirmatively repeatedly.

There are a hundred other things we can do to traverse through these times but I assure you that these three practices will be at the core of all other suggestions. Take them to your heart and work at them using your head and your hands. We will soon be seeing other at the other side of this mountain.

R E S P E C T, Earn it by Giving it!

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Respect is an essential currency of exchange with family, at work and with society.

The ABC’s of earning and accumulating respect are quite similar to earning and accumulating financial wealth. You can be born, or get married, or sneak into a position of power and demand respect.

On the other hand, you can honestly work your way up and become a self-made man of respect.

You can also go flat broke at it.

Several years ago, a c-level department head came to me claiming he had lost a lot of respect among his workers. He was the head of logistics, had seven managers and another 200 people working under him.

My people do not like me, engagement has dropped and work is suffering, he said.

He was new to the company, to the culture and the country. After an hour or so of probing, we uncovered the root cause. One time, he confessed, he had spoken harshly to an elderly colleague in the presence of all others. She was hurt and insulted; he had robbed her of respect. Her teammates and eventually the whole department empathized with her. In return, they too turned cold and indifferent towards him.

It has been six months, Coach Raju, what do I do? He cried in pain.

R E S P E C T

Can I go and apologize to the person? Nope, it will not help. It is a shy, relationship-oriented culture.

Can I call them all over for dinner and do some bonding? Nope, it will seem like a bribe and cause more harm.

Go the front end of your logistics department. Work with the drivers, the maintenance and the messenger boys. Treat them with courtesy, care and respect first. Be humble, remember their names and get to know them better, I offered.

He agreed and worked at it diligently. Six months later things began to look up. Slowly, he began to get into the good books of everyone. His respect balance sheet began to glow in his favor. He was getting it back because he was giving it away authentically, truly and humbly. His changed behavior began to influence the company culture. He was a happy man.

With tiny errors such as his our respect, our reputation can come crashing down like a sheet of glass. When it has to be put together, it has to be put together piece by piece, shard by shard. Sometimes, it can never be put back together.

So I use what I call the ABC’s of Respect.

What are the ABC’s of earning respect?

The A is Awareness. Become highly aware of the ambiance, the atmosphere and the accoutrements of respect around you. Watch people, appreciate diversity and understand rituals. Find your place and niche in the world. Your heightened awareness will improve your appearance in the eyes of others. And, they will return that favor to you.

The B is for your Beliefs. Do you believe the world is a lousy, unhappy and a sad place? If yes, then your behavior will follow your belief. Do you believe that it is a dog eat dog world then your behavior will bark at others. Generate an abundant mentality and your behavior will become affirmative.

The C is for Conscientious Communications. Select each letter and word as if you were picking flowers. Morph them positively. Bead them like a garland towards energizing others. My father, a tailor in India, used to say “Son, measure twice and cut once.” The same applies to communicating, think twice and speak once.

Do all this consistently, compassionately and with authenticity. Overtime you will notice that respecting others is a fruitful investment that brings you exponential returns.

Sometimes, money is called the root of all evils. Respect surely is the fruit of all that is good. Yes!

That is true and authentic power. That is how to grow and thrive

Trust by Raju Mandhyan

How to Trust and Acquire Trust

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Tony Meloto is to the Philippines what Mohammed Yunus is to Bangladesh and what Jimmy Carter is to the United States of America. They are all founders of these NGOs that support the underprivileged. Tony Meloto gave up a lucrative career to build and grow Gawad Kalinga, which means to bestow care and support. In the last 25-30 years

Trust by Raju Mandhyan

Trust and Acquire Trust

they have built millions of humble homes across the Philippines, Asia, and the world. The initiative is creative, colorful and has succeeded with flying colors. Money, support, and volunteers flood in from all walks and all parts of the world.

One day at a conference that I was hosting, I cornered Tony Meloto and asked him how he manages this incoming wealth and support. How does he screen, filter, sort, and keep the whole thing transparent and running ethically? Are you not worried about corruption, politics, or fraud?

He paused, looked at me gently, and said, “We begin with trust.” We begin by first giving it abundantly at the get-go level, at the face value of the donor and the volunteer. In return, he said, we get it back trust back in spades and shiploads. That is how the system is structured, and that is how it works and it has not failed us so far. When we grant trust to people, they rise up to our positive expectations and often surpass them.

Such is the essential nature of trust and humankind. We wish to be trusted, we wish to trust others and the exchange occurs when we lead by offering it first. The offering of trust journeys through three phases. Call them the ABCs of trust. That is it needs to journey through appearances, behaviors, and communications with others.

When we regard another human being our deepest brain, the Amygdala, and the Hippocampus sections, within seconds makes an assessment of whether we like them or not; whether we should fear them or not; whether we should trust them or not. Thus, at this appearance level take in this assessment as data to be used for an integrated analysis of whether they can be trusted or not. Refrain from passing judgment just yet. Refrain from taking any action just yet. This information is only a third of the information needed to come to a conclusion.

The second phase is that of us watching and sensing their behavior. From years of watching and dealing with people each, one of us has a storehouse of behavior matching cards and metrics by which we assess likable or dislikeable behavior. Take note of these feelings, nudges of thoughts triggered by past memories. This is valuable data. Perhaps enough to come to a conclusion and then act but exercise pragmatism and hold back from judging the book by its cover.

The third phase is that of us listening to their words, their thoughts, their ideas about work and life. Hear them out totally. Maybe their appearance and behavior might be the total opposite of what they say, claim and commit.

Now you have data gathered from three different sources, three different modalities of communications. You have data gathered from sight, sense, and sound. Each of these sources has provided fodder that is data to crunched by our three brains; the deepest brain known as the Reactive brain which processes in the most primal way. We have behavioral data to be processed by our mid, limbic brain known as the Romantic brain and then we have data, cognitive-spoken kind, to be processed by our neo-cortex known as the Reasoning brain.

When all this data is done processing by these three brains and the final analysis compliments each other then you have found congruence. Then you have found trustworthiness. Now you can move ahead, take action.

That is the neural pathway, the journey of the thing called trust. That is how we trust and that is how we begin the process of trusting. Tony Meloto and Kalinga warriors, of course, do this in an accelerated way. They do it in a way that works for them fine and fruitfully.

What does it take from us, from leaders to trust others, and let our minds journey through these three neural phases?

It takes observing people through lenses that have the least possible bias. I am not saying without any bias, I am saying with the least possible and by staying conscious of our biases. If we observed people without any bias then we would have no opinions whatsoever. Thus, watch people closely, wholly, and gently.

It takes becoming sensitive to people’s behavior. It takes noticing and understanding of why people do what they do. It takes recognizing what kind of emotions are triggered with us when we watch and sense other people and their actions. It is about awareness, sensitivity, and being intelligent about emotions.

Finally, it takes active and acute listening to take in all that is being said and also exploring and understanding parts that are, sometimes, left unsaid.

These three phases of trusting others are tied in to three things we need to do, and all of them are in alignment with the structure and processing system of our triune brains. When we gather optimum data gently and process it quietly and thoroughly our abilities to assess and trust others improve.

 

Acquiring trust, on the other hand, is the reversal of this three-phase journey. When we want others to trust us then we must offer them the correct and honest appearances and presentations of ourselves. We need to let them see us plainly and openly. Masking our appearances is going to give others the heebie-jeebies over us. We need to become conscious of our behaviors and actions in the presence of others. Raising your voice, moving frantically or even positioning yourself where there is a lack of light will make others wonder about us. Lastly, thinking well before speaking gently and succinctly about things helps others get a clearer picture of us. It helps them go through the process of integrating the data and the analysis through the three phases and with the triune brain efficiently. This when practiced with consistency builds relationship trust. We can do the same with acquiring trust in our competencies; be good at something consistently.

Building a culture of trust in other organizations is an enhanced and a multi-layered approach of this interpersonal process of giving and acquiring trust. When the process becomes clear to the leaders of any organization, they begin to live out the process. Living out the process makes it habitual and, eventually, becomes second nature to leaders. When leaders are good at giving and getting trust then the philosophy and the practice cascade across to become the culture of that organization. Trust me.

The One, Most Important Thing in Public Speaking

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It did not take me long to think about when I was asked the question, “What is that one, most thing about succeeding at public speaking?”

Well, some people call it the fear of public speaking and the naturally shy people call it nervousness. My choice of the word to represent this malady is anxiety? Most people, whether they are the front-liners or the head honchos of an organization, they are all anxious about having to face an audience.

So, before we go into how to manage it and succeed at the interaction let us consider the source of this anxiety and the cause of this malady.

In my opinion this anxiety is generated from two aspects, two sources.  First, it is generated by the fact that the speaker thinks that the audience may be too good for her. That means, they may be too knowledgeable, way too intelligent and way to classy for her. And, that they may perceive her wrongly and may judge her too harshly. The second source to this is that the speaker may feel that he is too classy, much too knowledgeable and much too advanced for the audience he is to address.

Both these extremes rise from the dimension of a misplaced self-image, a warped self-esteem or the manifestation of a false ego, if I may. This internal misperception and an external behavior that makes an effort to put on a show create a discord, a dissonance and a lack of congruence in the speaker. That lack of congruence is seen and sensed by the audience and thus, they too tune out. When they tune out, the speaker and his performance come crashing down too. This does not just happen on the speaking stage but also occurs on all leadership platforms. Scroll down the history of the world and you will see that leaders came crashing down, when they did not say or do what they meant or meant to do what they had said they would.

How do you manage to survive and thrive through this?

As a speaker just before you speak and throughout speaking you need to be stepping out of your own skin and stay vulnerable. You need to stop excessively focusing upon how good you look or not; how well you speak or not and how perfectly placed your content is for the event and the customer- audience. Your heart, your mind and, sometimes, even your smartphone needs to just living and breathing in kindness and a deep desire for creating value for the audience. To make the customer king, while speaking is to get out of your own way; get out of your own skin.

How is this done?

Considering that you have done all the homework you need to have done before the speaking event, you need to calm down. You need to let go all concerns of not doing a good job. You need, also, let go of the entire negative and excessively brittle and moral self-talk. You need to deflate. You need to bring your attention to how you are breathing. When your breathing stops sounding and feeling like you were pumping iron or when you choked your breath upon the sight of a dog that you were scared. Your breathing needs to even down to like that of a baby at sleep. It needs to go easy in, easy out and through the diaphragm. Rhythmic and calm with your shoulders, eyes and tongue as relaxed as possible.

The moment you deflate, ground and calm down then your attention will stop obsessing with yourself and move towards being present and conscious of your audience’s space, their current state and then their learning needs. It is then that you can and will begin to shine as a speaker, a great communicator and a leader that inspires and makes her world evolve beautifully. At this stage your interaction with your audience becomes a dance of love, of engagement and co-creation.

That which works in public speaking, works in running fruitful meetings. That which works in public speaking works in bringing the best out of others. That which works in public speaking, works in leading your world a brighter tomorrow. This is the one, most important thing in most everything in life; being in the here and now and then taking the world into their future with humility and with compassion.

Attend the one day workshop of The HeART of Public Speaking in Cebu on September 24, 2019. Register Here:

 

 

 

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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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

Stories as Drivers of Engagement and Innovation

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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.

Corporate Storytelling by Raju Mandhyan

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

Individuals are shaped by different experiences yet our shared values enable us to combine our strengths to make us innovative and successful. There are just four simple truths that guide us: spirit of co-operation, doing what is right, challenging boundaries, and making it happen.

These values are images that are colorful and crystal-clear to the farmers and managers of Fonterra of New Zealand. The clarity and vividness make these values a dynamic living image.  It is the vision and the story that serves as the springboard for creating an unfolding future, a future they continue to create.

Made up of over 400 members, this co-operative has been around for over a hundred years. They have been steadily growing for decades and have consistently and continuously become efficient and innovative.  Why? Because where they have come from is clear in this organization, and where they are heading to, is just as crystal clear.

The vivid, colorful story of the future in their minds drives them to easily implement relevant changes every day. The living, dynamic, future-projected story is a compelling magnet. It becomes a self-driven desire to change rather than something that the organization members need to be cajoled and pushed into. Furthermore, this story of their future is easily communicated and has the potential of naturally turning viral in the organization.

As a leader, in any position, of an organization if you’d like your people to stay engaged, empowered and enthused…

  1. Pick out a colorful incident from the history of your organization. If it was about a person, a member of your organization who drove change then tell it from the perspective of how her beliefs and actions impacted profits of the company.
  2. Pick out the period when one of your companies’ product had made it well in the market-place, then tell the story about the persons behind the ideation, the design, the production and the promotion of the product. Why and how did the product do well because of these people.
  3. Pick out a project from past which succeeded rip-roaringly then tell the story about the values and the purpose of the whole organization that made it such a success.

This is a process of blending two different things to build a story that inspires and drive up the overall performance of your organizations.

Hope you like it. It is taken from my book, the HeART of STORY, and is an integral part of a workshop I run on Corporate Storytelling.

 

Raju Mandhyan

Author, Coach and Trainer

www.mandhyan.com         Unleashing Inherent Excellence!

On Higher Ground

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Years ago when my friend, Adrian Martinez, had shared this story with me it got stuck and has stayed until now. I know not the author but here it is the way I heard it and I hope you like it.

A traveler came upon an old farmer hoeing in his field beside the road. Eager to rest his feet, the wanderer hailed the countryman, who seemed happy enough to straighten his back and talk for a moment.

“What sort of people live in the next town?” asked the stranger.

“What were the people like where you’ve come from?” replied the farmer, answering the question with another question.

“They were a bad lot. They were all trouble-makers and lazy too. They were the most selfish people in the world, and not a one of them to be trusted. I’m happy to be leaving the scoundrels.”

“Is that so?” replied the old farmer. “Well, I’m afraid that you’ll find the same sort in the next town.

Disappointed, the traveler trudged on his way, and the farmer returned to his work.

Sometime later another stranger, coming from the same direction, hailed the farmer, and they stopped to talk. “What sort of people live in the next town?” he asked.

“What were the people like where you’ve come from?” replied the farmer once again.

“They were the best people in the world. They were hard-working, honest, and friendly. I’m sorry to be leaving them.”

“Fear not,” said the farmer. “You’ll find the same sort in the next town.”

Today, every time I work with people in my coaching sessions, I refer it to as “the eye cannot see the eye,” and our job as leaders and change drivers, every one of us, is to constantly and consistently work at shedding our, conscious and unconscious, biases.  Not that we can totally do away with biases and not that we do not need many of them for survival, for navigating our lives into safety and then growth but to be able get closer and closer to the objective truth.

The objective truth as we must understand is an ideal to be achieved. And it can only be achieved when we look in, look out, look in again and look out again as frequently as possible and as rapidly as possible. It’s called being agile. It’s called being resilient and it gives us a handle on our views, on our knee-jerk reactions. It helps us make better, empathetic and, even, holistic decisions in life and at work.

Thus, when faced with a new environment, with diversity or with what you might think others are obstructing your progress, ask yourself these questions:

  1. How much of my past experience is wrongly being projected on current reality?
  2. What if I was wrong about everything I perceive to be true?
  3. How open and flexible am I to new ideas, to diversity?
  4. How much of it is hard data which can be endorsed to be factual by a third party.
  5. After I speak up or act, will I be okay with what I have done and said? Will I have remorse?

There is never an end to this sort of reflection but yet, there can be always be a kinder, gentler and an all-around win-win way out.

When Adrian Martinez had shared this story with me he had begun by saying, “Wherever you go you carry your land with you Raju.”

I’d agreed as I agree today. And, I’d like to add is that you can place your land down and use it as a stepping stone to get to a higher ground.

[More on Appreciative Leadership]

Raju Mandhyan

Speaker, Coach & Learning Facilitator

www.mandhyan.com  
A World of Clear, Creative & Conscientious Leaders! 

My books also available on Amazon

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Wanna’ become a Good Storyteller?

Wanna’ become a good storyteller? Here, five quick steps. Catch!humor-launch-20062

First memorize it like crazy, then forget it for a while. It will have found a hiding place for itself in your deeper brain.

Second make attempts to tell it from memory in your own words, like a casual chat. You will feel like and become OWNER of the new version.

Third, tell it from the perspective of one of the characters in the story. If there are no characters other than you then let any inanimate object, say a chair, from the story tell the story. It’ll help you enhance the drama when you really tell the story next time.

Four, have someone else tell you or read the original or your new script. You will discover new areas where impact and engagement can be increased.

Five, go all out when you tell it. Live your dream-delivery, model your storytelling hero. Enjoy. Unleash yourself unashamedly. Stories are meant to be told so they inspire and motivate others so why hold yourself back? Go! Fly! Shine!

Five point five, buy the HeART of the STORY from Amazon.

Or, catch me here at the Dubai, HR Summit