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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Book Woman – Heart/Mind-Centered Leadership Presentation Enjoyed by All!

The Book Woman event was wonderful. The Mind/Heart-centered Leadership presentation with some of Austin’s mind/heart-centered leaders is pictured here.  Thank you Book Woman for providing us such a great venue to interact!

Common wisdom says “Don’t preach to the choir.” Think again. How well does the choir sing together in the overall domain of a community’s leadership? Besides, if they’re at the highest level on a scale of 1 to 4,, they will be the ones who will bring the 3’s they know up a level. The 3’s will bring the 2’s along. Leave the 1’s alone entirely. They will only come along when they’re all alone. :)

How many people do you know who try to enroll the 1’s? It is not the best investment of your energy. Why not lead with clarity, focus, ease, and grace?

Ingrid Martine, MA, PCC, author of The Un-Game and mind-ZENgineering coach works with organizations and individuals to empower them to move their lives from a 7 to 10 at work, home, and play.  For her FREE report, “Reap the Harvest of a Quiet Mind:  Empower Self, Empower Others”, or “Management Training for Business as Unusual”, visit:  http://www.yourleadersedge.com, or connect with Ingrid at:  www.Twitter.com/ingrid_martine and www.facebook.com/coachmartine.  .

 

 

Question: When Is “How to” Advice the Booby Prize?

Un-Game Principle: You may be working harder than you need to be. Figuring “it” out is not always your most effective play on goal. 

question mark imageThe days when we confidently asserted “Information is power” are gone. We still want difference-making information, but please, condense it, or we won’t take the time to engage with it.  Come on. Give us a “how to” list.

We like “how to” lists. Lists are comforting. Readily digestible. We hope to implement them quickly and with ease.

It’s true. Lists appeal to our need for order and control.  Let’s see where “how to” lists work and where they have questionable value.

Let’s say you’re a manager. “How to’s” are great when you have a technical problem. Technical problems have a technical solution. If your computer crashes, you can reboot it, investigate the alertness of the anti-virus software, go on the hunt for and the elimination of corrupted files, etc. A “how to” list is the answer to your problems even if the answers emerge from trial and error initiatives.

A “how to” list is also good for that new employee who’s in training for a low-level technical job. But empowering you, the manager, to notice when employees are constrained rather than supported by your directive input is NOT a technical challenge in search of a technical solution. It’s an adaptive challenge. How do you know you have an adaptive challenge? You have an adaptive challenge when you and others are in a relationship for some common purpose and fulfilling that purpose is impeded by something other than a technical problem.

The list of steps (from the last workshop you attended) to support your employees appropriately in challenging situations—for example resolving intra-team strife—is guaranteed to be incomplete and be subject to multiple interpretations. You need a change in behavior, not a “how to” list to win the real prize when you have an adaptive challenge. A “how to” list focuses on steps (as if there were a finite and absolute list of steps for an adaptive challenge!), without consideration of the thinking that may be creating the challenge in the first place. With hundreds of ways of “seeing” a challenge, the “how to” list mostly becomes a non-starter.

If your direct report, Leigh-Anne, thinks her team-leader is a jerk, she’s been a busy prosecutor making her case for “My team-leader is a jerk.”  Oops! With people’s capacity to deceive themselves, Leigh-Anne is likely to say “I have a great attitude toward my lousy team-leader.” Everyone but Leigh-Anne can plainly see it’s not so. How would you as her manager manage the team’s challenge?

Allow me to offer you an alternative to “how to” and to “figuring it out.” Questions!

I encourage you to ask:  “Is the challenge I’m trying to address a technical or an adaptive challenge?” If it’s technical, you’re probably great at finding the resources to help you address your concern. But this is an adaptive challenge, and you’re not confident to move forward. So consider these questions.

“What do I assume about myself as Leigh-Anne’s manager that makes it hard for me to talk to her and the team about this?” “What conclusions do I have about intervening in conflict that stop me?” “Do I invite and ask for support?” “If not, what do I assume about support that stops me from asking for it?”  “Do I assume others think I’m stupid/incompetent or don’t have my own answers if I ask for support?”

What’s going on here? Shouldn’t we be focusing on Leigh-Anne and the team? I want her to stop dragging the team down.

Forget about Leigh-Anne! Look to where the power is. Look to where you might be in a fog. Might the answer not even be with Leigh-Anne?  Stop to notice the impact the questions have on you. If you engage with questions, it may surprise you, but the questions themselves can change you! You are likely to make some adaptations to your behavior. What ease! No figuring it out. Just letting answers emerge. “Ah ha. I got it!” Or “I’ll talk to George about this.”  Then notice how your changed behavior impacts the team! One intervention in a system changes the system! Leigh-Anne is not immune to the change. Hmm. Interesting? It’s true.

Learning to inquire appreciatively in the face of adaptive challenges has benefits to the rest of life. There are many questions anyone can ask to meet those challenges. Here are two.

  1. “Am I willing to be a contribution in this matter in order to produce an extraordinary result?” Notice if your answer is no or maybe.
  2.  “What might I not be seeing about me, my positions, beliefs, opinions, and conclusions, the seeing of which would be useful to us right here and now?”

Asking questions with curiosity and a receptive mind is powerful. AND it’s a process. It takes what we think we don’t have…time. And that makes the ubiquitous “how to” list so seductive. But the list is not more effective. Wrongly applied, it usually results in do-overs that delay solutions. What if instead of asking “How can I do this quickly and effectively?” you asked “How can I do this with clarity, focus, and without struggle? Living into the answers might win you the real prize instead of the sure-to-disappoint booby prize!

 

Ingrid Martine, MA, PCC, author of The Un-Game and mind-ZENgineering coach works with organizations and individuals to empower them to move their lives from a 7 to 10 at work, home, and play.  For her FREE report, “Reap the Harvest of a Quiet Mind:  Empower Self, Empower Others”, or “Management Training for Business as Unusual”, visit:  http://www.yourleadersedge.com, or connect with Ingrid at:  www.Twitter.com/ingrid_martine and www.facebook.com/coachmartine.

I Need It, You Need It, He Needs It, She Needs It

Un-Game Principle: To be an agent of change, we need to become fog-busters.

I ‘m the one who points out the elephant in the room. Always have. Always will. Most people hate that job. Making the elephant imageelephant visible is NOT Business as Usual.

What’s needed now, however, is Business as UNusual. Look at the shape the world is in—from our families, neighborhoods, and businesses –to the destruction of life-support systems throughout the world. So I’m going to show you the elephant in the room and what’s in it for you to look at it and be curious about the beast.

Bear with me. I’ll get personal in a minute.

If you live in the US, you grew up thinking you are free. We equate freedom with the absence of physical control.  It is on this basis that we see other countries like Russia, Iran, Syria, China as unfree.  That way of thinking makes us feel superior and denies that we are also unfree.

 Ah, the pitfalls of comparison! When we’re sure we live in the best country in the world, we fail to look critically at the degree to which various public and private institutions and agencies control, cajole, and manipulate us without our knowledge.

 It’s social control and far more dangerous than the physical control that’s so easy to spot.

Of course many would be disgruntled with the implication that we in the US might be naïve, gullible, and not exceptional. I prefer to think we’re just like everyone else—only human beings. It puts me in a learning frame of mind. I’m awake and alert.

We are reluctant to cop to undesirable social control as part of our American landscape. We have imperfections which we’re willing to acknowledge (It’s not the 1950’s anymore, after all). But that’s conveniently benign. It shows the power of language to obfuscate and mitigate one’s experience. Imperfection is ok. Control is not. We can be smug as a bug in a rug.

Imperfection doesn’t allow for the dangers we face from intentional campaigns of persuasion designed to engineer our consent. We need to look no further than to relentless advertising and to what passes for news these days. Who cares about the facts? CNN spins it differently than FOX News. (For direct contradictions “journalists” and politicians blithely commit, watch Jon Steward who’s masterful at showcasing them). Or look at populations that stand to gain the most from a particular political party’s alleged agenda but who vote counter to their own interests without perceiving their choices as harmful to themselves.

Be mad at me, but I’m still going to say it. No, we are not free. That’s why I need it. And you need it. I can keep building the case for the presence of questionable social control which is the preferred method in the US until it doesn’t work anymore (Remember Kent State student massacre in 1970 by National Guard troops or the more recent Occupy Movement forced removal in Oakland?). But I want to talk about us. Why I need it. You need it. He needs it. She needs it… if we want to be free!

Need what?

Need help in seeing what we aren’t seeing, the seeing of which would set us free to design the life we want to live, a life characterized by clarity of purpose, by direct focus of our energies on what matters deeply to us, by lack of struggle, and by gratitude for the privilege of playing this game called life (You haven’t read this far if that doesn’t matter to you).

A society determines largely what its citizenry thinks, and what we think determines how we act. Beliefs like  “The command and control management model is the best”, “The well-being of a business is reflected solely by the bottom line”, “Fossil fuels will last forever”, may have loosened their hold somewhat,  but others like “New is better” hang tough.  What smart-phone do YOU have?

But those are merely examples of beliefs. These are more personal.

  1. There’s something wrong with me.
  2. I can’t (get what I want, get what I deserve, make the right decisions).
  3. Life is too d… hard.
  4. I’m not sure, and I should be.
  5. I don’t know, and I should know.
  6. People are jerks. (Substitute boss, team member, neighbor, spouse).
  7. Whatever this is, it isn’t it. There must be more to life than this.
  8. I’m stupid.
  9. I’m dumb.
  10. Screw you. I should do it my way.

There are many, many other beliefs which are either invisible to us or appear as solid, unmovable truths. They remain unexposed as lies whose purpose it is to keep us doing what we’ve always done hoping against hope for different results.

How well is that working?

Acting out of these beliefs may have us survive, but it will not allow us to thrive. So to summarize, we all have blind spots.  I need, you need, your boss needs, Roberta needs, we need, you all on your team need,  John and Mary need … coaching to see what we aren’t seeing that constricts our freedom to design the life we’re meant to live in order to contribute that which only we can offer. Contact me to learn about coaching. I’ll help you find your match.


Ingrid Martine, MA, PCC, author of The Un-Game and mind-ZENgineering coach works with organizations and individuals to empower them to move their lives from a 7 to 10 at work, home, and play.  For her FREE report, “Reap the Harvest of a Quiet Mind:  Empower Self, Empower Others”, or “Management Training for Business as Unusual”, visit:  http://www.yourleadersedge.com, or connect with Ingrid at:  www.Twitter.com/ingrid_martine and www.facebook.com/coachmartine.

Stop Should-ing on Yourself and Start Living

doctor's imageWhat do you do when you hear that pesky little voice telling you what you should and shouldn’t have done in a recent exchange with your boss, co-worker, friend, spouse, or child? Do you try to ignore it only to notice it won’t shut up? Do you indulge it to the point of considering talking to your doctor about OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder)?

You may have heard this: “Regret is a waste of spirit.” There’s wisdom in that. Try as you may, you can’t have a do-over for a particular regret.  So let that one go. It is what it is. If you did something you wish you hadn’t:

  1. Apologize if you think it’s appropriate.
  2. Ask how you can make amends.
  3. If the other rejects your apology, remind yourself that they’re acting from fear. Tell them when they’re ready; you’re still interested in making it right. Walk away.
  4. If they suggest a way to make the wrong right, say “yes” if it makes sense to you.
  5. Say “no” if it doesn’t. Consider making a counter-offer for a suggested amend you rejected.

Don’t:

  1. Make your apology dependent on how well or how poorly the other receives it. Poorly receiving your apology has nothing to do with you. The other is acting out of fear.
  2. Try to convince them of your sincerity.
  3. Cave. If you mean “no,” don’t change it because of pressure from yourself or from the other.
  4. Be defensive. It’ll break the communication down.
  5. Be attached to a “must have” outcome.

Regardless of how it turns out, you will have acted out of a longing to be a good friend, family member, team player, leader. You will have demonstrated your longing in courageous action. You feel good about yourself. You are energized. That’s the experience of being alive.

YOU may be the one who feels injured.  But instead of talking about it with the person you perceive to be the cause, you stuff it, keeping company only with the voice that’s should-ing on you.  What the voice is NOT telling you is that a part of you wants to do something different but is being held in check by the pesky, critical voice whose job it is to keep you safely doing what you’ve always done, even if it causes you pain.

You could have a conversation with the person who you perceive has hurt you. However, why not begin your journey from should-ing all over yourself to feeling energized and alive, by examining  the beliefs that come up for you in the hurtful exchange. If you do that, you’ll quickly come to expectations you have of the other (He should’ve been more sensitive). You’ll quickly come to the rules by which you expect yourself and the other to play (She should have kept her promise). Seeing those rules can bring you relief. Aah! Would it be ok with you if life got easier?

Expectations are said to be premeditated resentments.

  1. Breathe! Step out of the fray. Notice what the expectations are in a given specific situation.
  2. Observe them.
  3. Talk to someone who won’t collude with you (tell you you’re right or say “poor you”) to get another perspective.
  4. Be willing to talk about your expectations.
  5. Be curious about the other’s expectations.

To be human is to have expectations. However, have as few expectations as possible (What does it mean to be sensitive? Do you expect the other to read your mind?).  Having few expectations will give you and others breathing room— the space to come from an open heart. It’s freeing and it becomes possible for both to express your natural generosity. In such a sweet space, even at work, it’s possible to speak about expectations and to bring them to the table for inquiry. Are they shared, and if not, can you create expectations that you can all embrace? In such a space, when someone fails to meet an expectation, you wonder together about the lessons that can be learned from the breakdown, not how to use it as a weapon to “should” on each other. Try it. Curiosity and wonder open us up to the life we long to live, one filled with sweetness and possibility.

Ingrid Martine, MA, PCC, author of The Un-Game and mind-ZENgineering coach works with organizations and individuals to empower them to move their lives from a 7 to 10 at work, home, and play.  For her FREE report, “Reap the Harvest of a Quiet Mind:  Empower Self, Empower Others”, or “Management Training for Business as Unusual”, visit:  http://www.yourleadersedge.com, or connect with Ingrid at:  www.Twitter.com/ingrid_martine and www.facebook.com/coachmartine.