Archive for January, 2011

Two little boys…

Monday, January 31st, 2011

A friend sent me this story about her boys playing in the snow in Canada, and said it had made her think of me.

“The boys were building a snow fort while under siege. Their walls kept collapsing under enemy fire, but they rebuilt and ducked and rebuilt again. They were persistent, till they reached a point where their sanctuary was strong enough that the snowballs that hit their walls stuck to the walls and were absorbed. The more it got hit, the stronger it got.  I’ve never believed in “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” But this, I can hang onto.”

We can use what Life throws at us, as well as what is thrown to us.  I’m convinced that inside every weakness is a strength.  Life isn’t fair but we can choose how we respond to that.  I was out driving today and the quality of the light this afternoon was a pure joy, but you have to open your eyes to enjoy that.

Be thankful

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

This is not original, but I thought it worth passing on as it makes a good point:-

“A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet. He held up a sign which said: “I am blind, please help.” There were only a few coins in the hat. A man was walking by he took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat. He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words. He put the sign back so that everyone who walked by would see the new words. Soon the hat began to fill up, a lot more people were giving money to the blind boy. That afternoon the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were, the boy recognized his footsteps and asked, “Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?” The man said, “I only wrote the truth, I said what you said but in a different way. “I wrote: ‘Today is a beautiful day; but I cannot see it.'” Both signs told people that the boy was blind but the first sign simply said the boy was blind.

The second sign reminded people how fortunate they were to have their sight. Should we be surprised that the second sign was more effective? Moral of the Story: Be thankful for what you have. Be creative. Be innovative.?Think differently and positively. When life gives you a 100 reasons to cry, show life that you have 1000 reasons to smile. Face your past without regret. Handle your present with confidence. Prepare for the future without fear. Keep the faith and drop the fear. It’s a beautiful thing to see a person smiling. But even more beautiful is knowing that you are the reason for the smile! Faith is not about everything turning out OK faith is about being OK no matter how things turn out.is a true reflection of most of us life. Be strong….”

I think it makes more than one good point.  Clearly being grateful and appreciating what we have is always important, but makes another point about how we communicate with others.  I shows the power of building rapport with our audience, of ensuring we don’t just communicate information but also feelings.  If you seek to influence someone, don’t assume that they will take the time to think about you what your message means to them, tell them!  And don’t be afraid to ask for help…

Trying to Read the Runes

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

I know people take very different views about this kind of thing but I try to understand the meaning behind the patterns I perceive in my life.  I know you can say it is all just random, and it maybe so, but I think the Universe has a way of communicating with us and not only that, but our unconscious finds all sorts of subtle ways to interfere with the plans made by our rational mind.  This week has seen a number of my “best laid plans” upset and meetings which have been long standing have been disrupted and postponed.  The net result is that my rather busy and focused plan for next week has been shot full of holes, and I’m left wondering “Why?”

I truly am not smart enough to understand what is going on or what the higher powers might be trying to steer me towards or away from, and I’m left with a feeling of frustration that my hard earned momentum is being stolen from me.  I feel a bit like on of those African women who have to walk 5 miles to collect water and who discovers their container had a small leak.

There are a number of responses one can have to this kind of situation.  You can get upset and let it throw and upset you.  You can do your best to pick yourself up and make the best of what is left, or you can ask if there is anything that you can use or learn.  I guess it is fair to say that I have done all three.  The thing is that this kind of disruption to your plans can affect businesses as easily as individuals and the way you deal with disruption to your plans is critical.  Change strategies often founder on just these rocks.  I believe that it is important to take the time to read ‘the runes’ and to ask what they are telling you.

“Mankind is notoriously too dense to read the signs that God sends from time to time. We require drums to be beaten into our ears, before we should wake from our trance and hear the warning and see that to lose oneself in all, is the only way to find oneself.”

Available on Amazon Kindle

Friday, January 28th, 2011

For those of you who like me who have fallen for this really great eReader , the Change & Stuff blog is now available on this platform for download and with 5 Star reviews too!

Download for Amazon Kindle, HERE, of course, you can read Kindle material on not only the Kindle itself but also on your PC, iPhone or Android device

“What’s the Difference between Management and Change Management?”

Friday, January 28th, 2011

I had this question posed today and it hit a nerve as I’d been talking about this the other evening. It’s a good question and I wish it were asked more often. The short version of my answer was

“The right answer should be very little, as I have always maintained that Change is the key job of management but I think that their focus and their results would be improved if managers realised that one key to success is constantly asking two questions|:-

  1. What needs changing?
  2. What is beginning to change that shouldn’t?”

Managers should be focusing on the strategic level and noticing what isn’t working; listening to customers and suppliers to find out how things could be improved. They need to be scanning competitors to see who is doing something new and also who is doing something wrong. All of these are signals to change things around. If they can find nothing in these categories then they should be wondering how they could do the same things better or cheaper or faster.

“Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.” — Confucius

The other side of the coin, which I feel gets far too little attention under the ‘change banner’, is where you are doing everything right and things start to change without you wishing them too. It takes effort to keep things the same and you have to pay attention to training and processes to make sure that they don’t decay as management shift their attention to the next fire.

“Management” (from Old French ménagement “the art of conducting, directing”, from Latin manu agere “to lead by the hand”) characterises the process of leading and directing all or part of an organization, often a business, through the deployment and manipulation of resources (human, financial, material, intellectual or intangible). …en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Management.

You can see from this definition managers should be constantly asking ”Where do I get the best ‘bang for my buck’?and this means both in terms of their personal time and energy and from the corporate resources they control. One of my favourite clients freely admits he is so good at putting out fires that he just loves rushing round in his fire engine, indeed few have a brighter, shinier, or faster fire engines! However, we all have jobs we like to do, jobs that make us feel worthwhile. These are often the safe harbours we pull into to avoid looking into the void of “I don’t know..” However, I’d suggest that really the good manager should feel that way at least once a day and probably hourly if he is focusing on the right things. If you already know all the answers you aren’t asking hard enough questions!

“Change is hard because people overestimate the value of what they have—and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up.” James Belasco and Ralph Stayer

It is trite to say it (but that has never stopped me before!), but Change management needs to start with you! If you are doing the same things every day then you are stuck in a comfy rut. I know there are hundreds or emails, tens of meetings and crises galore but if you aren’t managing the business.. who is?

© I-Change 2011

“Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times.”   Niccolo Machiavelli

The Wheel of the Heavens

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

This wonderful photo is the result of leaving the lens open on a camera set to a very long exposure and shows the movement of the stars relative to Earth (or more accurately the opposite.)  It kind of reminds me that we are part of giant system and it keeps going round and round whatever we  do and no matter how we feel about it.  Each and everyone of us has our upsets, our problems and frustrations and we can focus on them, and have a lousy time or perhaps recognise that in this giant cosmic machine they are totally irrelevant.  The thing you are worrying about today will probably be forgotten the day after tomorrow, so why not save yourself some grief and forget it now?

I’m not smart enough to know if what goes around comes around but I choose to live my life on the basis that it does and try to put out good stuff.  If we all pretended this was right, and acted accordingly, it would make a difference.

There is a theory that we all have a little bit of stardust in us (literally) and perhaps we need reminding of this.

In the words of Neil Young “We are stardust, we are golden”

I wish you all a golden day

Life giveth and taketh…

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

We are now 50 weeks from Carys’s death, and the anniversary is looming large on our horizon.  I find several thoughts coming to me at this time.  Firstly, and somewhat ironically, is a reflection on the Jewish burial customs & rites of the dead.  As as race that comes from hot climes, they bury their dead within 24 hours.  One year on, they have their stone setting ceremony which is much closer to the Christian burial rites.  When I attended these stone settings and was further from the epicentre of grief,it felt like this was a rather barbaric ritual that ripped open the freshly healing scars.  From the inside, it takes on rather different perspective, it feels much more like setting the seal on a year of grieving.  As a Jewish friend pointed out to me today, during this year you have been through one full cycle of holidays and anniversaries without them.

The other thought is not such a new one, but is none-the-less poignant.  If Carys had not been such an exceptional mother to my children, then their grief might have been the less.  However, it was her very gift that allows them to deal with this in the way that they have.  Life giveth with one hand and taketh with the other…

I don’t know how we will spend the day of her anniversary yet, but I intend to set her stone, albeit it in a ritual fashion.  I’d like to think that we might feel able to to go and have a nice meal and celebrate her life too as she was the very embodiment of ‘food is love’.

Can you avoid Change by standing still?

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

I know that Change is scary.  I know it is tempting to feel that if we keep a low profile maybe we can avoid it.  This is especially alluring if we are happy or being successful, but I’m here to tell you that this is an offer that you can’t refuse.  If you sit like this rock in your stream, it will rush past, whether you go along or not.  Everything else will change, whether you want it to or not.  And, (and here is the kicker!)… it will change you whether you invite it to or not!

Just as the river shapes the stone, so the environment out there shapes us.  Whether we are talking about our businesses or our families the same forces are at work.  I have been tuning into some of the changes that are coming our way as a result of the fall-out of the banking crisis; 30% cut-backs in the police forces, public forest being auctioned off to name but two.  Petrol will soon be £6 per gallon.  Like it or not Change is rolling down the ‘pike, better get ready now!

“In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins–not through strength but by perseverance.”    H. Jackson Brown

It’s all in the name

Monday, January 24th, 2011

I wonder if you would buy these Danish liquorice sweets… I suspect only as a joke.

There is a fascinating history or misnamed products that we attempted to export. Some old English favourites simply don’t do well in the States…

The thing is names have power which is why some primitive societies will not tell you their true names. 

When we make judgements about people and label them as “stupid”  “lazy”  “past it” etc. it becomes hard to see the person when all we see is the label.  Sometimes Change can begin with something as simple as changing our labels.  Think of all those Hollywood movies where the hero suddenly sees the love of his life as the plain Jane he has always ignores.   People hide in plain view because we forget how to look at all of them.

How’s about making the day you look a little deeper at the people who you no longer see?

BOOKS

Friday, January 21st, 2011

The Bridge Trilogy is made up of three books

  1. The Bridge to Tomorrow
  2. Across the Rainbow Bridge,
  3. The Bridge of Air

   

These books were written as a ‘channelled’ book, but I make no real claims about this and would sooner as the reader to make up their own mind. See if this helps you live your life more fully and then, if it is still relevant, make up your own mind about where this came from. What you see is exactly what came through. There was no planning involved, minimal editing (and then only for clarity’s sake) and any continuation of ideas or themes from day-to-day is entirely to the credit of the source.

I suggest that you will derive most benefit when reading this to do so one day at a time, and internalising the contents, rather than reading it from cover to cover. Dip into it and let your intuition guide you to the bits most relevant to you today. You may find it helpful to keep a journal of what you are feeling, what page you get, and what that makes you think /feel. If you subsequently come across the same page it may well lead you to different insights & feelings, and note the differences.

The Seven Steps is different.  It was a real experiment.  I wanted to see if it was possible to write a story using this guided method of writing.  I discovered this story rather than authored it.  I had no idea how it would resolve itself.  The only conscious decision was that where seven steps in this journey.  It is an allegorical tale a little in the style of The Celestine Prophecy.

These are all available as eBooks on both Amazon Kindle and Lulu.com