Mary Oliver once said “And now I understand something so frightening, and wonderful – how the mind clings to the road it knows, rushing through crossroads, sticking like lint to the familiar”. (izquotes.com). She’s captured in such a succinct way, how we effortlessly run on automatic pilot, repeatedly doing what we always do, without really thinking about it. Yet if we always do what we’ve always done, we will always get what we’ve always got. If we want to make changes in our working and personal worlds, we need to know our habits and patterns; know how they work for us or against us; and look beyond the familiar and the comfortable, to what might be possible, if we slowed down when faced with life’s crossroads, and allowed ourselves to consider alternative beliefs and different routes.
Category: Sue’s Blog
They’re used relentlessly, as this recent article in the Daily Mail (UK) reveals:
In Jasbindar Singh’s October 2015 blog she highlights Margaret Heffernan’s latest book ‘Willful Blindness’. Margaret explores why individuals (all of us) tend to ignore the obvious, to our detriment; offers explanations why we may do it, and the difficulties inherent in seeing, then naming, what is going on in a situation most people want to avoid noticing. It is an excellent summary of her key points. Jasbindar’s blogs are always a mine of information – and well worth subscribing to.
This phrase was used recently by the All Blacks coach Steve Hansen. Hansen (The Press, Sept 11, 2015) suggested it was important to look at situations with honest eyes to see the inconvenient facts (the stuff we can’t deny, despite our wish to do so) that lie within them. Once we’ve faced the facts, we can then do something about the situation in question. What a great notion: it’s simple, elegant and very true.
John Izzo talks about a bank that operated on a 100% responsibility/ 0 excuses policy. The premise was that every employee, regardless of their role, were 100% responsible and accountable for doing the very best for their clients and the organisation itself. To hear the principles behind it, watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WdpvaMX1Gw
What barriers would get in the way of it working in every organisation?
Meeting rooms, air conditioning, uncomfortable chairs, harsh lighting and meetings that go on, and on, and on. The traditional way of having a meeting with a colleague or two may be harmful for our physical and mental health in so many ways. A healthy alternative is to have walking meetings: get out of the office, gather the colleagues together, select the issue that needs attention and walk and talk until the desired outcome is reached or you’ve come to your
favourite cafe. Once refreshed, continue walking and talking business until you are back at the office. There is something in the automatic rhythm of walking out in the fresh air that works wonders.
Julian Treasure believes the world around us is getting louder and louder yet we aren’t listening. He offers 5 ways to listen better with this acronym RASA: receive, appreciate, summarise and ask questions. To hear his TEDTalk (7.46mins) go to
Kerrie Noonan’s Groundswell project that promotes ‘death literacy’ has some amazing posters to highlight their Dying to Know Day on 8th August 2015. My favourite one cites one core statistic that many individuals in a death-denying culture may not be aware of, that is: ’10/10 people die. Are you ready? ‘. Equally enlightening is the poster that says ‘Talk about death. It won’t kill you’. With that assurance, there’s every reason to get chatting about it now, no need to wait until the 8th.
Amazing work is being done in Australia to educate the public on death literacy, which concerns encouraging people to have conversations and community action around death, dying and bereavement. All of which are topics many people wish to avoid thinking about, let alone discuss! What’s your death literacy like? For inspiration, see www.dyingtoknowday.org
Regular meetings without a clear purpose and focus are costly time wasters. If that is your reality, consider a WRAP: a weekly review and action plan.