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Time to do something. Now.

11 februari 2014

A couple of different events the last couple of weeks have made me go red. Really red. I am a native swedish tongue and have a hard time cursing in english. But I get so angry and pissed off from all the crap we humans do around the globe! It started with a thread in Facebook about the whale slaughter in the Faroe Islands. It’s an old link from 2008 and discussions roam around that it isn’t Denmarks responsibility at all, but rather the autonomous Faroe government. You can read more in Wikipedia – Whaling in the Faroe Islands and Hoax Slayer – Denmark Whaling. Both describe this phenomena from different perspectives and there is an actual risk in being trapped in the fact about who is responsible for stopping the cruelty. But facts are clear to me. What I have seen from the slaughter, it is a mean way to kill animals and not worthy human beings nor the animals. I was horrified and put this on my list of all illnesses of the world today. But instead of sinking deeper into the dirt of doubts and just share the dissatisfaction. To change hopelessness over mankind. And not letting this viral Facebook message float along. I choose to act and try to change the flow of universe.  You can look at the example at Causes – End The Faroe Islands Whale Killing Festival. It is a web site for you who want to take a stand and make a change. You do that by signing a petition of names to hand over to the minister of Faroe Islands. So I signed. And I hope for some results.

Next event was an article in Amnesty International’s february members issue about Amila Filali who took her own life after being forced to merry the man who raped her! The article also contained information about the new law in Morocco which changes the way rapists can escape punishment by merrying their victims. This is a positive example of how activists inside Morocco and internationally can cooperate to mobilize pressure towards governments and change a country’s legislation to be more human. But in the same time a sad and horrible example of how cruel and heartless we humans can be towards each other.

But does signing petitions and protesting on the internet really work? The success in Morocco is a result from a combination of local protests inside the country and an international outrage. Besides my tears of grief for a life spilled, I feel hope that the world can change. If ever so slow. If I react. The world can be better. If we want to use our influence. Which feels good. So I sat down and looked for more signs of success in changing the behaviors of the rulers of the world. And I found a lot of examples and descriptions in this matter. One of the better I read was Care2 make a difference  who had a post just about the effects of activating through the internet – Slacktivism: Why Snopes got it Wrong About Internet Petitions. There are a lot of improvements throughout the world which people have accomplished by taking a stand and made their contribution on the net. Writing petitions and raising your voice. And what’s cool about it. You don’t have to spend all days writing petitions. If we all took one active step every year we’d have millions and millions of more contributors. And maybe once a month. Or once a week. With web sites like The Petition Site we can sign petitions as easy as we click like on our friends yummy dinner pictures on Facebook!

But what actually kick started my rage tonight was a call out from Ailish Schutz who through Facebook asked us to sign a petition and protest against the military and government in Kenya who burn down homes and evicts one of the indigenous people, The Sengwer people.  Her passion for mother earth and the energy that I felt in her outcry mobilized my powers and made me change the course for this nights activities. I followed her wishes and signed the petition. Towards all the madness in the world. And I wrote this post to help spread the word of helping the world.

Screenshot 2014-01-20 20.04.38

You can also sign by visiting Avaaz – Stop the Forced Evicitions. The military of Kenya is putting homes in fire and let houses, clothes, beds, school books, toys, everything burn to ashes. By calling these people squatters the government make them homeless and drive them shelterless and clothe less deeper into the forest. Read more at DGR News Service. But make sure to sign the petition and make your voice heard against violence like this!

So. You have read this far. You have gained a broader consciousness. Of the state of the world. Of what you can do to help. This expanded consciousness gives you a choice. You can’t escape. Do You want to? Help. Or not.

So. It is time to do something. Search a good cause. An activity to change the world to the better. You will find suggestions on sites like The Petition Site.

So. Do something. Now.

The day I tripped myself

27 januari 2013

About a year ago I spent two weeks in Österström, a conference center in a beautiful and green environment just outside Sundsvall. I was attending Phase II of The Human Element in order to become Licensed Human Element Practitioner. It was two intense and explorative weeks where we participants socialized and studied from early morning to late evening and the need for rest was imminent. However, we managed to negotiate one free half-hour every morning. The requirement from our facilitators Ron Luyet and Per-Åke Sundholm was to use this time to reflection or mindfulness. I used it to get out and run in the darkness and cold. It became a very nice start to the day even though I am not a morning runner.

Österström Konferens

A particularly beautifully dark morning, I felt really refreshed and strong despite the early morning hours and the lack of breakfast in my stomach. I kept an eye on the watch and noticed that I had a really good pace on the way out on the 320. Just before the turn after three kilometers, I realized it might be my first workout with a sub 5:00 pace of this winter season. I felt happy and excited and I kept the speed up to continue the fast pace through the three kilometer mark. I felt strong and went on for another kilometer or so when it suddenly hit me that I was measuring my outside results again, and that I had tricked myself back to the same old behavior of being satisfied over a possibly good running result!

I had spent time with Ken Wilber’s quadrant for over a year and worked with myself to get away from all the high requirements of delivery and physical performance. During my first THE with the management team at Frontwalker in January 2011, I realized that I had a habit of criticizing myself hard for deficiencies in my performance, very hard. Deficiencies that are not really about poor quality or low work capacity but rather badly calibrated acceptance levels based on a lower self-esteem than I wanted. I realized during these exploring days that I found it hard to accept myself for who I was, for the inner qualities and values I carried within me and definitely hard to accept my inner fears and shortcomings. And this was something that I for one year had worked with before I went to Phase II, which made me more and more able to appreciate my ambitions, I could laugh at my great need to be relevant and competent and that I liked myself more and more … just for being me.

But now I ran at 12.5 km/h and I realized that I had returned there again – to the outside! For sure I measured myself on the outside, and I knew I wouldn’t be very happy to come back after six kilometers in a time well over 30 minutes. That’s not the way it should be, this was not the person I wanted to be, so I started walking. With my arms crossed over my chest. I dragged my legs after me in anger to show to myself that it was not important with time and performance. I was at this Phase II program to learn to appreciate my inner self, not my outer appearance, so I punished myself to prove my theories.

Runkeeper

After a few minutes of stubbornly walk it felt both strange and stupid. I was also terribly bored and started to freeze out there in the winter cold. I started searching for the emotions I thought would be so important, and I wondered if it should be like this. Did I really want to have it like this for the rest of my life, would I not be able to compete anymore? Suddenly a new insight hit me from yesterday’s topics on self-concept and self-esteem. I had not really understood those concepts about the behavior towards myself – ”I include myself” and ”I control myself” and ”I’m open to myself”. I suddenly realized how parts of this fit together. It’s not about avoiding the external measurements and requirements on performance. It’s not about focusing only on the internal characteristics and values. It’s not high self-esteem to be indifferent to my external results.

High self-esteem means that I can include myself and all my physical sensations from both inside and outside, that I control my life to the degree I want and can in the current situation, and that I am open to myself and allows me to think and feel without internal censorship. High self-esteem means that I do not stand or fall with my external results, that I am not my feelings and thoughts. I released my crossed arms and began to speed up lightly. Thoughts swirled and I felt I was close to a quantum leap. High self-esteem means that I can look at my watch and see that I’m in for a good result for this run, put some strength and focus on it during the session and then be able to handle my disappointment when I don’t reach my goals! I increased the speed even further. I looked like a steam train when breathing moist air heavily out in the cold air. I realized with anger that I was minutes after my five-minute pace, and that I would not make the thirty minute limit, but at the same time I thought that I liked and accepted myself so much that I could take it. With one kilometer left I increased the speed even more, reaching a speed of almost down to 4:00 per kilometer.

Over the last few meters towards the luring breakfast, it dawned on me that I was involved in a process which resembled everything in life. Sometimes we experience wonderful moments and we make great results and the feelings are light and comfortable to be in. At other times we are in difficult moments and times when we do not live up to our own requirements and expectations. Feelings become harder and requires more energy. But that’s the way life is, and it is these contrasts that allows us to appreciate the good moments. If we can’t be in the pains and feel the dark thoughts, then we can’t fully embrace the wonderful times in life when everything feels euphoricly good.

Positivt och negativt

With these insights, I stumbled into the breakfast room. I felt angry and sad, and I was very disappointed in myself and my childish behavior during the workout. But I was also very happy that my stronger self-esteem allowed me to fully embrace those feelings, without any fear that it would mean that I was rotten or worthless. On the contrary, I enjoyed myself and I valued myself very high in that moment while I was experiencing turbulent emotions inside.

This paradox has meant a new beginning in my view of the inside and outside, self-acceptance and self-criticism, and I am very happy that I one year ago tripped myself and got the chance to experience life’s paradoxes in a short half hour out in the Swedish winter morning. Well, a good half hour, it should be …

Sustainability and The Human Element

17 maj 2012

I have a dream that we can improve our society and leave a world to our children that we can be proud of. A society that’s more equal, less greedy, better in sharing resources, more in line with the environment and with an atmosphere where we are gentler and nicer to each other. Once in my life I thought it could be done with great IT systems and advanced tools, many years ago I realized that we would revolutionize the world with sleek processes and efficient methods, but I have in the recent years been convinced that it is we humans who need to understand ourselves and our place in life. And this is where the long term sustainability is created. Today I get a chance to work with this on Frontwalker and although we are a small office in Sundsvall, we have amazingly high skills in all these areas!

But after reading Ken Wilbers amazing book A Brief History of EverythingI got hooked up on Integral Theory where the basic idea is that we can reach even greater heights by integrating different disciplines in the same change stream. In addition to the effects of an Inside and a Outside that I described earlier in the Breakfast Introduction – The Human Element, we can see a huge momentum when we merge tools, processes, and human aspects into one combined model and in the same plans and work streams. As a result we get a powerful integrated sustainable development in which the multi facet work in change management ensures that we reach both the Inside and Outside and in which we develop both tools, smart methods and people at the same time. We will achieve a more sustainable society – socially, healthy and environmentally.

Max Hamburger has worked many years with sustainability in several areas, both socially and environmentally. To achieve these effects they send all their managers to leadership training with The Human Element because it gives every manager insights and self knowledge which makes them more effective and feel better. They stay longer at Max, and they become better managers of their employees. It also creates a culture that is spreading all the way out to customers. A good example of this is one of their sustainability initiatives where the customer can choose their food based on the impact on the environment that the meal offers. Openness, Own choice and Self-awareness is the basic elements of The Human Element and that is exactly what characterizes Max’s work with their employees and their customers. See the inspiring lecture by Pär Larshans by Max Hamburger.

Evolutionary evidence of Green Zone advantage

10 maj 2012

Researchers discover evolutionary evidence of Green Zone’s cooperation and trust. A new computer simulation support a long-held theory that social interactions may have triggered brain evolution in human ancestors showing that Green Zone behavior have been a long evolutionary advantage.

We green zone evangelists often talk about the optimal outcomes in human encounters, trying to minimize the strong urge to maximize our individual benefits and instead encourage a win-win approach. Those who use Radical Collaboration and have played the game, or those who have been cheated upon and tried to regain trust, all know what it’s all about. To be able to give away the chance of maximum output I need to feel a certain amount of trust that my co-op pays me back, ”the giving 30 approach”, without going for full maximum profit on my behalf. Now researchers have been simulating this behavior in neural networks to see how human brains have evolved. For us green beleivers it is obvious that the experiment with different games (including the intruiging Prisoner’s dilemma) showed that cooperation and win-win is superior in evolutionary terms. This can be seen as a nice empirical view and a concrete example of the green zone theory.Effectively used in both Radical Collaboration and The Human Element.

To use for number crunching, outside quadrants beleivers that want scientific proof beyond egg red zone production measurements ;)

Dive deeper and read the full Scientific American article at Cooperative Neural Networks Suggest How Intelligence Evolved.

Breakfast introduction – The Human Element

26 april 2012

Today, we conducted a small two hour long program with twenty participants to promote Frontwalker, show our expertise in organisational development, and introduce The Human Element as a theory and as a method. We did not want to do a normal lecture, so instead we structured the two hours in the same way as any other THE program we run, whether they’re a single day or a series of sessions over a longer period of time. In this way, we managed to deliver high value in a very short time!

Of course we put the chairs in a wide circle with no tables in the way. We cleared the room from unnecessary tools to creatde a peaceful environment. We started by welcoming all participants, presented the agenda for the exercise and described ourselves and our background as practioners. Then we travelled around the circle to let everyone present themselves. Today the presentation was briefly about themselves, the organization they represented and why they were with us in this excercise. With twenty participants this took quite a while. Some of the participants kept their self presentation short but others used quite a lot of time to tell us more about themselves, their experience in leadership programs, thoughts and feelings of self esteem or anything else that felt important at the time. This is an important step in any group process and a vital part of all Human Element programs. One of the success factors is openness, to myself and to others, and when we start by giving everyone some time to tell the group about myself and my current situation we encourage everyones participation of the groups openness. Everyone in the room, including we as practioners, needs the right amount of feeling important, competent and liked.A small fraction of this is accomplished by the talk-around where everyone gets a share of the attention, show that they know things the group don’t and that we can laugh or cry with their stories.

As in every Human Element we present some binding theory and guidelines beforehand. Today we ran a very short theory just to provide a base of knowledge and credibility, stimulate thoughts and ideas about everyday life and personal situation and to relieve some of the performance anxiety that may exist. The last not least as one of the basics of the methodology and the approach is that ww all have issues, and we all have something to explore and develop. With this mindset we beleive that with a stronger concept of self, and a stronger feeling of self we avoid criticizing others and ourselves, defining right or wrong and blame games with guilt as the important part. Too often we hear the little critic inside us who think we should know more and understand more. We therefore try to cover this early in the program, and use it as a reminder during the whole journey, trying to see ourselves as those we are, instead of focusing on what we must or would or should improve.

Today the theory was brief as we had a small window. We talked about the background of FIRO and THE and team performance in harmony with the individual’s development. We discussed the fundamental approaches to explore and challenge rather than blame and categorizing in right-or-wrong. We showed the different sources for self awareness that we use to explore during the programs. We also showed the strong pattern in Human Elements Openness – Self awareness – Self determination. We want to promote greater transparency, both for individuals and groups, to gain access to a larger portion of our thoughts, feelings and internal processes. It gives a gradually increasing self awareness in which we individually have a better understanding of ourselves, and where a team learns more about every participant and the common results. Individual and collective self awareness brings increased opportunities to choose more in life. As I understand why and how a situation arises, my future action can de determined by conscious choice rather than an unconscious reaction. When I am open with myself and others, when I know better who I am and how I work I can turn the wheels in my life in the way I want to. I will communicate better, connect better and work better with the group. The I will feel better and we will become more efficient in the group.

Wilbers quadrant, as shown below (please read more in A Brief History of Everything), provided a framework to show how we work with the individuals and groups insides and outsides. These need to be in balance in our lives, and not least when involved in change management, but often we lose the inside eager as we are to move forward and produce visible results. Still, we need the inside to reach the major effects within ourselves and our communities.

After the brief theory we let the group try an exercise to see how some of the sources of self awareness in the program is performed, but also to give all participants the possibility of an ounce of greater self concept. We did an imagery that this time was all about emotion. After a short relaxation the participants were led into three different rooms. The first is full of people who think you are important, the second room is filled with people who consider you to be very competent and the third is occupied by people who all like you very much. The imagery in the different rooms might give you different kind of thoughts, feelings or body sensations that are interesting to explore. The discussion afterwards dealt with which room felt most comfortable, and which room felt most uneasy or resulted in discomfort. The reactions from the group were very different, because we are all different, and that’s ok, and different rooms were important in different individuals. Not everyone had the strong effects and sensations during the visits in the rooms, but everyone had something to explore afterwords.

The conversation then turned to the emotional impact on behavior. The important core that explain our external behaviors relationship with our inner experiences is self concept and self esteem. With examples and reflection, we tried to get the group to understand how low self esteem greatly affect us as we get pushed within significance, competence and being liked. If everything I am and everything that’s important to me, if my whole existence boils down to how other people act and feel about me, I will be very weak. For an example, if I do not feel important in the way I want to and I get into a situation where I was not invited and not involved, and if I do not even understand the situation and my feelings, chances are that I respond automatically with anger, sadness or inaction. With self-awareness and self-esteem, I am better equipped to take action and choose my behavior.

At this point, ten minutes from the end of this short program, the experience based conversation met the initial theories from the introduction, and we got the opportunity to summarize the basics of The Human Element and reflect on the short two hour joint process that we’ve been creating together. As in all our programs we wanted to check out in order to get to a good ending for all participants. Todays checking-out was short, just over seven minutes, and consisted of reflection upon the question ‘What do I bring from this session?‘. It resulted in very different answers. One participant shared her deeper understanding about herself, and another participant reached another level of understanding situations at work, and yet another realized openly that personal development is an eternal journey. I totally agree on that one.

We arranged a similar breakfast program in Stockholm on Tuesday and we will come back with more of theese in the future. Because, as one of the participants so clearly stated, the region needs a leadership fueled by this type of properties!