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 …

How do I relate to others?

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How do you relate to others? When you look at situations the blind spot is yourself. As you are the source of attention, looking outward, it is not easy to “turn back the camera” and see yourself as part of the situation. Here lies an explanation for self-deception. You may conclude: the others are the problem, not you. Self-deception is …

Do you recognize these five fears?

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Brené Brown’s research showed that we have a shame-prone culture. Shame is the fear of not being worthy of belonging. Many suffer from shame – the fear of not being good enough. Shame also leads to blaming others as a way out of feeling this awful emotion. The remedy is to become shame-resilient and especially leaders should “dare greatly” and …

How well do you know yourself?

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Research shows that you deliver your greatest contribution if you know yourself well and use your strengths and work according to your values. Here are some exercises and questions to use. The Best Possible Self (BPS) exercise asks you to envision yourself in an imaginary future while everything turned out in the best possible way. Writing and imagining a BPS …

Teal Organizations and Cultures

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Let’s continue our discussion of the development stages as described by Frederic Laloux. In Evolutionary-Teal we shift from external yardsticks to internal ones in decision making. It doesn’t matter if I get what I want (Red), I conform to social norms (Amber), I am effective and successful (Orange) or that I belong and have a say (Green). Now, I check: …

Your positive impact anywhere, anytime, in any role

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Even if you work in a mean, power-prone, greedy, polluting, unethical corporation – you can increase your positive impact. It’s for you to decide whether you’d have more leverage within that hostile environment or outside, in another position or role. The point is: you can choose to start the change right here and now. If you stay, if you are …

How can one person make any difference at all?

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I’ve wanted to make a positive difference as long as I can remember. Since I graduated from Rotterdam School of Management, I’ve been working for over 25 years in varying roles as a change consultant, coach, trainer, communications consultant, entrepreneur, team leader, and author – aiming to develop people and organizations. At times, I’ve felt discouraged and disappointed during my …