The power of purpose

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You probably know the story of three masons chipping chunks of granite from large blocks. When a bypasser asked what they were doing, the first Mason said: “I’m cutting stones”. The second man replied: “I am building a wall.” The third, who was humming a tune as he worked, smiled, “I am building a cathedral!” Job, career, or calling? That …

Involving and empowering others

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Today, let’s focus on developing a positive, productive culture from a leading position, so you can involve more others than as an individual positive agent. How could you work with your team or organization? Invite By involving – I mean inviting others. A positive, productive culture is built on intrinsic motivation and its energy. People contribute because they are energized …

Valentines at work

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Hey, Valentines. We were talking about meetings on this blog but, this week, we’ll make the workplace kinder. Let’s spread some “Valentines” at work. Random acts of kindness Random acts of kindness are the easiest way to develop a more positive culture at work. You can do them anonymously – and on the go. It fits any culture type. But …

Are you Downloading, Debating or in Dialogue?

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Welcome back to the Positive Power series. Here’s part 3 at the team and organization level of “WE”. Let’s see what interactions you see happening around you. Otto Scharmer discerns four levels of conversation in organizations. Downloading People are talking nice, they are polite. They reenact the rules of conversation. They “download” a conversation format. They hear what they expect …

Do you take it personally?

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Did you ever receive clumsy feedback on the identity level that made you feel hurt, scared and worthless? Most of us did… The distinction between the levels of being and doing might help to receive feedback gracefully. If you imagine two circles, the inner circle is your being. It is not directly visible on the outside, but it is inside …

Are you afraid of feedback?

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Without honest, constructive and engaged feedback there can be no learning. You need to know whether to continue and all is well – or whether to adjust what you do. Feedback is simply information from the system. When you go bowling feedback tells you how many bowling pins you floored. Your HR dashboards tell the number of sick days and …

How do you respond to gossip?

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How do you feel when someone gossips or complains about someone else? It depends, of course. It can be great to agree because it creates a feeling of bonding. “The two of us agree and it’s us against that person or that issue”. It can be such a relief to vent. But it may not be what you’d like to …

How to train your listening skills?

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The counterpart of Inquiry is Listening. As we are often in telling mode and we value doing over being, listening may not come naturally. I assume that we could all use the exercise below and repeat it from time to time. I myself have to slow down, focus my attention and practice patience. I’m always tempted to jump in and …

What do you ask to influence others?

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In our culture of telling, to ask can be judged as ignorance while leaders are supposed to know what to do. Telling is expected and respected. And it feels so good to give advice, thinking we have solved someone else’s problem! But wise leaders use questions to engage people and encourage them to take ownership. Looking at the lack of …

The art of asking

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Humble Inquiry is the art of asking questions to which you do not already know the answer. It is building a relationship based on curiosity and interest in the other person, says Edgar Schein in his book Humble Inquiry. Our culture is biased toward telling. When in telling mode, we hope to educate, impress, or to entertain. Western, egalitarian and …

Silence, Violence or Flow?

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What kind of interactions are taking place around you? A helpful discernment is whether there is silence, violence, or a natural flow in a conversation – as described in Patterson’s a.o. book Crucial Conversations. In crucial conversations there is a lot at stake and we often hold things inside by going silent until we can take it no longer—and then …

Personal Positive Power from me to YOU

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Welcome back, positive people! I hope your summer was energizing! Are you ready to continue your path to being a positive agent and contributing to positive change, regardless of your position? If you’ve been following this book that I blog online, you’ve done your personal preparation and you’re ready, willing and able to be a positive agent. If you just …