I’m at a loss to know where to start!
I guess from the beginning.
Byron Katie : The Work
First up was Byron Katie and “The Work”, which was quite ironic as someone pointed out, as Emma Kirkman have started “The New Work” meetup. I was interested to find out about this original work. As it turns out, its a bit different to our “new work”.
Byron Katie is an expert at shifting people’s beliefs. She’s also the type of person whose energy you can feel from 30 metres away. She’s also funny, compassionate and real. Basically I fell in love with her 🙂
Her premise is that if we can identify our thinking and believing then can put an end to our suffering. Especially if we can explore our thinking and beliefs with an “I don’t know” frame of mind – at the moment in time when you’re doing this there is no arguing or judging in that space. There is no right or wrong, there are just feelings.
She believes that taking your “wild child” thoughts and putting them down on the page means they can’t move from there, they’re stopped, still, and you can work with them. She advocates getting very very still and looking for the barely there thoughts – like the princess and the pea, you know something is there, it may be tiny, but there is something there. That’s why this process (below) is best if you take some time on it.
She believes that we do a lot of false identification, and if we identify with something that is anything less than kind, its not true. Her belief that there is no one and nothing that isn’t here for us. We can ask people around us to help us blow our own cover, as many of the things that make us miserable are beliefs we have that aren’t true. We can stop fooling ourselves and enter a fearless state of mind. Nice.
She also had an interesting question which I think I’ll find helpful 🙂 – “Who’s business are you in?”.
She has a “Judge your neighbour worksheet” that you fill out about someone that you haven’t forgiven yet. You answer six questions:
1. In this situation and location, who angers, confuses or disappoints you and why?
2. In this situation, how do you want them to change? What do you want them to do?
3. In this situation, what advice would you offer to them?
4. In order for you to be happy in this situation, what do you need them to think, say, feel or do.
5. What do you think of them in this situation? Make a list.
6. What is it in or about this situation that you don’t ever want to experience again?
Then investigate each of the above statements using four additional questions and really get still in the moment and feel what comes up. Then turn each thought around, e.g. “I don’t ever want to” becomes “I’m willing to” and “I look forward to….”.
The four additional questions are:
1. Is it true?
2. Can you absolutely know its true?
3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
4. Who would you be without the thought?
I witnessed a man who was brought up onto stage move through this process and quite honestly it was the most powerful thing I have ever seen. It seemed like magic.
Fred Kofman – Conscious Business at LinkedIn
Fred is an awesome guy. A brilliant intellect coupled with empathy, compassion. He’s pretty memorable.
He advocates that most people and business behave in ways that make sense in the moment but don’t make sense in the long term. And this concept is very very easy to understand cognitively but extremely difficult to apply – kind of like a game of chess, its easy to know how to play chess but takes a lifetime of perfecting to play it well.
He believes that Conscious Business Principles are grounded in three basic truths:
1. Responsibility – make responsible choices
2. Have humility – you never had the full story, so always remain curious.
3. Integrity – share and live by your values everyday (even / especially on the hard days).
He gives himself the title Chief Spiritual Officer. He sees “spiritual” as an animating force that helps people stay connected to whatever animates them. He drew a linkage between how this sits in with the Buddhist path to enlightenment – that the picture denoting the tenth step to enlightenment is not being in a zen like state, but coming back to be helping hands at the market. He drew a linkage between this notion of enlightenment and coming back to the market with helping hands to making a profit and being sustainable in business along with doing good.
He talked about a quote and I don’t know who its from but it was “after the ecstacy, the laundry”. He sees himself as doing the laundry at LinkedIn; in that he helps connect the dots of vision and everyday laundry conversations; in order to help the team win from any role. I guess he sees the CEO Jeff as being the visionary one and him as the enabler.
He believes that change comes for him from people he trusts making a change in their life, not from curated articles, and this mirrors with this belief that its not in the knowing but its in the doing that you can change things in life or in business.
He was asked a question about making sacrifices, e.g. for profits over people or the other way around. He likened this to a game of chess, where the key theme is to win the game. When you see it in this context there is no real sacrifice, because if you sacrifice something in order to win the game, you are still winning the game. I guess this begs the question, in your business, what is the aim of the game? Is it the customer? Is it money? Is it around doing good? Is it around providing an awesome workplace? Because when viewed in these terms there is no true sacrifice.
He talked a little bit about the difficulty of incentivising people in a workplace – do you incentivise on local metrics and have local incentives? No, because then you are not evaluating the whole. Should you incentivise people on global metrics and have global incentives? No, because then you are not evaluating the individual output. He didn’t have a clear answer other than to say that to hold people together through growth its important to connect to the mission and translate that mission into hard daily conversations.
In terms of getting something off the ground, like mindfulness practices, the conclusion was to iterate it often, go viral and grass roots and give people a choice – don’t mandate it. The Skippy Buffy exercise is apparently worth googling, haven’t heard of it, but when I have more time I will. Apparently this gives people a direct experience themselves.
His last remark was stop seeking momentary pleasure and find a life of happiness. Truer words have never spoken!
Culture Building Roadmap
This was a guide for culture champions, tribe-builders and people Geeks and change agents.
The steps covered were:
1. Reveal what your default culture is and what it is costing you.
2. Design a Culture Code that is value based, behaviourally explicit and an expression of your highest possibilities.
3. Activate a shared context of “culture as daily practice”. Provide training for common language and behaviours.
4. Embed your culture code through organisation – hiring, on-boarding, managing performance, decision making, role definition and organisational design.
5. Amplify – find the people who already demonstrate the culture code and encourage and amplify their efforts.
6. Iterate – track leading and lagging indicators to measure progress and continuously improve.
Connection and Collaboration with Eileen Fisher
Eileen Fisher is big into mindfulness practices at her business.
Some things that work for them:
- a chime at the beginning of each meeting where everyone has a minute or so in silence to connect in with themselves
- a checkin – everyone has a minute or two to talk about something that is going on for them right now.
- dialogue walks – as part of off sites people go in pairs for 20-30 minute walks and talk (time split evenly so one talks and one listens). Great for building connections across the company.
An inspirational moment in time with this guy.
Some quotes that I thought you might like:
“Focus on this breath because the next one is not guaranteed”
“Don’t mistake thoughts about reality as reality”
“There’s no better place, you just get older”
“We’re all here to learn, none of us know much of anything. Its like a love affair, take a seat”
“What is your job on this planet?”
Kai Kight – finding harmony in the interplay of dissonance and consonance
Last presentation of the day. This guy is a violinist and speaker. He spoke of the night his mother broke the news to him that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer and the regret in her life of never having lived her dream of opening a jewellery store and working with her hands on making the jewellery.
In that moment the paralysing stage fright he had experienced for years in his violin performances just dissolved and he started to see them as an opportunity to learn and grow and basically feel the fear and do it anyway.
He likened it to learning to play a difficult new note on the violin – maybe your fingers need to contort themselves to play this new note and its really uncomfortable, but in time you build up muscle memory and you can play it without thinking. The same can happen in your life if you are prepared to make your own unusual way in the world.
By the way, his mother recovered and is now thriving.
That was just the presenters
I’m getting just as much goodness from everyone I am meeting here, and each has in their own little way added to this growing something that is inside my head. Its so freaking great!
So, now I’m off for Day 3, and I promise when I have more time and perspective I’ll craft these blog posts into something truly awesome.