How do you react when you hear/read something that you perceive as negative/critical about your country/culture? Sad? Angry? Uncomfortable? Would you react differently if you heard it from someone who comes from a different country/culture than your own?
In honour of International Women’s Day, Juan asked me to name 5 awesome women; women who I appreciate, admire, have learned from and who I personally know. Well as it turns out I know a lot of them – definitely more than 5! Nevertheless, I have come up with my 5 awesome women (and hope to continue each year to come!).
Over Thanksgiving weekend in 2008 my maternal grandfather passed away. Even though I knew his time would come, I don’t think that made it any less painful. I luckily got to see him before his health started seriously declining.
When he passed, my brother wrote in his eulogy about my grandfather’s fierce pride of being Canadian; “My grandfather often displayed a sense of wonder and awe at the rate of social, cultural and technological advancement around him. Sometimes, in a profound moment, the immensity of it all would suddenly dawn on him, and tears would well up in his eyes. I recall my grandfather’s passion for this country, and his appreciation of all the things I took for granted in my youth. I doubt he could have ever imagined such a good life, or such opportunity, as Canada ultimately afforded him. This much is clear, just by taking stock of all the miniature flags he collected.”
This picture was floating around on Facebook last week:
It triggered an interesting conversation with Juan. I interpreted this picture as making a statement for people who talk about their complaints or talk about things they wish they would do and never take action to make it happen. But is action the answer? Action of course matters, but can become quickly pointless and energy draining if you aren’t gathering data on the impact of your action (= results) and if there is no purpose behind your action (= achievement). I’ve experienced a lot of people and organisations taking lots of action, and sometimes taking the same action over and over again, and not having any idea about the impact their action is having because they don’t track and measure their impact. Furthermore, their action starts to become meaningless because they have no objective or purpose so they can achieve.
What are your thoughts: Action – Achievement = ???
I was recently introduced to strategist Chin-Ning Chu via a discussion forum on Linkedin on the topic of the shortage of authentic women leaders. After watching a 40 minute speech she gave in San Francisco to a group of women, I am so disappointed to find out she recently passed away and I had not known of her amazing work earlier.
In this speech she is sharing from her book, The Art of War for Women. I’ve now watched it three times as I find what she is saying so insightful for women and men. The few observations which stuck with me are:
Yesterday I was watching Jill Bolte Taylor’s TED talk about her experience having a stroke. There is a moment when she described how she could feel herself losing connection to her left brain and being lost in the right side of her brain. When her left brain became silent, she suddenly felt euphoric, all of her ‘emotional baggage’ from the last 37 years disappeared, she felt bigger then herself, completed connected and part of everything around her. She called this ‘la la land’.
This morning in cycling class I was reminded again of that feeling of being completely present and part of the moment you are experiencing, when you do not feel a separation between you and the bike; you are just one being. Another way I can describe my personal experience is having a moment when I felt so powerful and so much bigger than the individual that I am in my own body; and when I’ve felt that way I’ve had a hugely positive impact on others lives (so they’ve told me…).
The recent Olympic men’s gold hockey final game got me thinking about this question. It was triggered when I watched Jarome Iginla make an amazing pass to team Canada’s captain Sidney Crosby, after which he shot the puck and scored winning Canada’s 14th gold medal.
How often do we spend time trying to take the glory for ourselves, rather than considering what we can contribute to a common shared goal/success? Working with management teams, I notice a lot more fighting for attention and recognition rather than cooperation; people looking out for themselves but not for the team. Teams require a few conditions to perform well together – I think this game definitely illustrated at least two of these.
I’m attending an event on Dutch leadership organized by De Baak and Amsterdam Bright City. It got me thinking of what reflections I’d want to share about Dutch leadership.
The characteristics of Dutch leadership I’ve noticed are sometimes useful and sometimes not – though the utility depends highly on the context, though some might not be useful irrespective of the context.
This is one of the first Canada Day’s that I’ve spent at home in quite some time. I suppose like many Canadians I represent those that are the curious world travelers. But not being home for some time has made me realize just how much I miss this country.
If you’re not a Canadian and have no idea what Canada Day is all about, you can read more about it here: http://www.pch.gc.ca/special/canada/11/canada-eng.cfm Courtesy of the Canadian Government.
Some of the things I love about Canada:
Several of the companies I work with do an annual employee engagement survey. This is a company wide survey that essentially asks employees questions about their manager such as, do you think your manager communicates what is expected of you, do you regularly receive recognition when you do a good job, does your manager provide you with timely and helpful feedback etc.
Not a single one of these questions asks employees what they have done to ask for feedback, to recognize their teammates, to ask questions about what is expected of them. I believe these types of surveys just reinforce the parent-child like relationship between managers and employees. As a team member, I need to take responsibility over managing my own work and ensuring I build the right kind of relationships with my teammates, clients, and boss so I can achieve what I want to achieve.