Archive for the ‘Leadership Infusion’ Category

Is Leadership all about Performance?

Oct 30, 2010 // 6 Comments » // Leadership Infusion | Stories Retold

Picture source: pigskinliquor via Flickr

Picture source: pigskinliquor via Flickr

A friend (let’s call him John) who’s a Sales VP of a MNC organized a sales retreat conference for his team of 20 staff members. I was engaged as a facilitator to provide teambuilding workshop on the second day after the first day of long presentation amid the hill top of a luxurious golf resort in the southern part of Johor, West Malaysia.

Like always, the teambuilding ended in high spirit. During dinner, John seems troubled as he was unusually tranquil.

“How do you think the day went?” I asked.

“Oh, I think it went well…the folks seems charged up for the year ahead…but…” His tone was tapering to a whimper.

“But you think…?” I sensed a great concern lurking.

“Every year’s the same…we end up highly motivated, charged-up but it don’t seems to last the race…” He lamented.

“But you know the problem?”

“I don’t know…I mean I know but not sure if it’s true…” John was getting hype up in confiding…

“Try me. I am keen to know what you are not sure about…” saying while staying with him at eye level.

We took our drinks and walked towards the balcony over-looking the golf course, we leaned against the edge of the balcony ledge; as if we are afraid of anyone might eavesdrop on our conversation, John said:

“Allen, frankly, I am not sure whether all these teambuilding works for my people anymore…Don’t get me wrong, I think we need such motivation and coming together from time to time, moreover, my guys enjoyed it and it’s good to reinforce the importance of mutually supportive relationship. But I am sensing that we are missing something…some critical intervention…maybe something to do with our sales leader.. . ” He was referring to his six sales directors who work very closely with the sales managers and associates that are accountable to about 15% of their group revenue.

“I am keen to learn about your observation…” I realized the opportunity to have him tell me more of what he does know.

He look over his shoulder twice as if to make sure that no one was behind us, he went on to said: “Having work with them for more than 3-4 years, accept for Paul who joined us early this year, I can confidently say that they are good with driving numbers and making sure that the folks perform to expectation.” Referring to the sales directors who eventually will step up to take his mettle.

“So what’s your concern?” I threaded carefully and continue to look into his eyes…

“My concern?! Yes, I am not sure this is a concern but I am in fact less worry of them performing in terms of driving numbers per se but more worried for them relating and leading their direct report and people…” He was fiddling with beer mug on his right hand while sharing…

“Is that truly your concern?” I took risk in probing deeper.

“I am quite sure…in fact, many of my second tier managers had threaten to walk out just a few months ago…and the HR report shows that compensation wasn’t the main culprit.” John’s tone turn from serious to flat deadpan.

“So how do you intend to address this?” I somehow knew he might have an idea.

“That’s where I am not sure…you?” somehow he thought the same.

We spent sometime talking about coaching and leading people. We thought may be it would be timely to help the key leaders to identify their critical roles in leading the people to not just perform to their maximum potential but learning to lead others.

“Let’s organize a morning jog tomorrow before the nine-hole outing.” I suggested but to John’s amusement.

“Morning run?! What for?” he responded with suspicion.

“Trust me, you guys are going to enjoy the golf game afterwards…” I said confidently.

I remembered we spoke further on the idea and he still wasn’t sure the potential of bringing the message across to his people, but relented anyway. The next morning, we gathered as planned. The team was grouped in 3 with a fair-mixed of sales director and managers. A planned route of about 1.5km bordering the scenic view of the course garden wing. After some stretching and warming-up, the team was briefed on the route and I said:

“Go ENJOY the run TOGETHER and we shall gather for breakfast after this…” with tonal emphasis on the bolded.

As they set-off, John and I was heading toward the cafe set amid the garden wing awaiting their return. Not to my surprised, an athletic-looking sales associate arrived under 10 minutes followed by others in ones or pairs. Paul’s group was the only group of three that stayed together throughout the course. After some quick warm-down and water to quench thirst, we sat down in circle to have a debrief.

“Damien, you came in first. Tell us how was it for you.” I guessed Damien would be the most ready to share.

“I enjoyed the run. The air’s fresh, cool, nice surrounding and 1.5km is no problem for me, you know.” Damien professed with a wide grin.

“I am sure you do, thanks Damien. Who’s with Damien’s group?” I turn the attention back to the group.

“We couldn’t catch up with him…he’s too fast!” a lady by the name of Steff half-protested…”Luckily, Tony wasn’t!” referring to a senior sales director perhaps in his early 50s in the same group.

“I am an old man you know…” Tony followed-up with much laughter from the team and some nodding of heads…

“How about you Paul? Your group came in last but seems to be having fun and not breaking a sweat…” I turn to Paul’s direction.

Paul, looking rather embarrassed, responded: “I actually asked Steven and Judy to go ahead without me so that they finish the run early. But they decided to keep with me and we really ENJOY the run TOGETHER.”

“Did you?” Now facing the group to garner their response.

“WE did. It was fun running at an easy pace and being supportive of each other. We chatted along the way and enjoyed the company. In fact, we did so with much ease that the distance seems too short when we arrived…” Judy shared with obvious agreement from Tony and Steven.

“Yeah, for someone who’s hardly out in her jogging shoes…” Steven was jibbing at Judy pointing at her very new looking bright yellow sneakers.

“Thanks for the insight Judy and Steven. I would now like to invite you to note down three questions for your reflection later during your nine-holes…” I urged the team to take note.

“Firstly, what could we miss-out when Personal Performance took precedence?”

“Secondly, what else is important besides Performance?”

“And not least important, is Leading meant just Performing? If so, why? If not, how?”

John told me later they have one of the most enjoyable round of nine-holes that morning after a hearty breakfast. The folks continued to stay with the same group during their golf rounds and some of them even skip golf just to continue their sharing after breakfast. He wanted me to continue the work that we have just started with the sales leaders. As for the team, I was told that they organized bi-monthly run every alternate Friday evening – Together.

Points to Ponder:

1. Leading from behind, the view can be quite astonishing.

2. Guiding from the wing, the conversation can be quite engaging.

3. Coaching from within, the sense can be quite satisfying.

If you are not good enough – Volunteer!

Aug 28, 2010 // 3 Comments » // Leadership Infusion | Stories Retold

Picture source: ConversationCircles

Picture source: ConversationCircles

Voluntary – of Latin origins voluntarius “of one’s free will”, of voluntas “will”. Originally of feelings, later also includes action. I became interested in the meaning of voluntarism and seeing many volunteers coming from all walks of life committing their time and energy to the recently concluded Youth Olympic Games (YOG).

A conversation sometime last year with a group of friends on volunteering for YOG…

“I have submitted my name as a volunteer for the inaugural YOG next year.” I shared excitingly.

“Oh..good for you. Our organization has also been invited to propose some of our members as volunteers…but it is very difficult for us because the actual event are still so far ahead, we don’t know what and how they want us to volunteer…” a friend lamented.

“What do you meant by don’t know what and how?” I asked.

“The organizing body wanted a list of volunteers but did not tell us what are we volunteering for, how long must the volunteers commit their time…and not even the duration of period we are suppose to commit!” he explained matter-of-factly.

Hearing this I asked: “Wouldn’t voluntary mean giving willingly without precedented knowing?”

I would not elaborate on the rest of the conversation but it did set me thinking deeper into the meaning of voluntarism…

I still vaguely remember when I first volunteered; I was eager to join my classmates in a favorite school-recess game call ‘One-Legged-Chase’ which they have already started before I arrived. I “willingly volunteered” as I wanted to be in the game, I was told to be the ‘One-Legged-Chaser’ (usually the disadvantage role in that game) for me to be in the game; that’s my first sensed that volunteering entails some form of ‘sacrifice’…I was about 9 years old.

Since then, I would suppose that I have ‘volunteered’ countless time in school, home, at church and workplace; for friends, family, organizations and for the nation. But I have not learn about the meaning of volunteering until now. I am begining to understand that the true meaning of voluntarism. Briefly, they are:

  • Giving my time, resource and expertise to causes that benefit the receiving.
  • Doing something that not necessarily I am good at but I might be weak on.
  • Serving the needs and wants of others that may not necessarily satisfy my needs and wants.
  • Attending to the needs of others without attaining the need of self.
  • Ultimately, a calling to serve with a belief of one’s own FAITH.

It took me some time of reflection and realization to come to the above learning. The biggest hurdle for me is about “PERFORMANCE“. I was humbled to learn that volunteering is less of what I can give but what I am willing to give even I am not good at giving. The humbling help me to learn that by willingly giving what I am weak at is a way to learn how selfish I can be in those things that I perceived I am strong, good or of abundance. If I am only giving what I am good, strong or of abundance of, then I am most of the time choose how and when I can give, why I should give and even who should I give to…then I think that is not of WILL but WANT.

The six days and approximately 36 hours of volunteering at Youth Olympic Village enable me:

- to be vulnerable (not knowing what to expect from youth around the world),

- to be youthful again (promoting games and events for youth),

- to be managed by people half my age (leaders are mostly young adults),

- to be humbled by the experiences (the job could be mundane but necessary, total distance traveled about 480km in public transport).

Points to Ponder:

  • In which area of your life that you are good, strong and in abundance of? Start giving…
  • In which area of your life that you are not so good, weak and less of? Try giving…

INFLUENCE – beyond just Doing but Being

Aug 11, 2010 // 3 Comments » // HR Insights | Leadership Infusion

Picture Source: Alex_Bates via Flickr

Picture Source: Alex_Bates via Flickr

Two Sundays ago, after our Sunday worship at a local church; and after fetching my second boy Eiffel from Sunday school, I was waiting for my eldest boy Timothy from the children worship hall two levels down from the adult worship hall. He is always full of enthusiasm after his bible study; armed with many questions prepared to ask me…

“Dad, you throw a pebble into a still pond and caused a ripple…the ripples spread out beautifully through the surface of the pond. What causes the ripples?” He speaks with his usual clear and  a wee bit mature voice for a 11 year old.

“Hmm…the first ripple.” I was trying to be scientific about it and was prepared to explain the law of physics…

“Nope!” came a immediate negative ascertain from Tim.

“Uhhh…the pond! Without the pond there won’t be any ripples…” sensing there might be some riddle-like trickery…

“Noooo…that’s an obvious Dad…Think!” Tim was half laughing and staring at me.

“Oh…I know, I know…THE PEBBLE! Without the pebble there won’t be any reaction in the first place.” I thought I got it at last and saying in much confidence and matter-of-factly.

“No Dad, its YOU! You caused the ripples by throwing the pebble into the pond…” He replied with a tad of ridicule and as he finished, he ran away looking for his brother Eiffel down the hallway.

I stood there thinking and still smarting away from the implications of what my son has ‘taught’ me…and the whole of Sunday I was still thinking about the meaning of INFLUENCE.

A recent conversation with a client lead us to explore the notion of Influence; they recognized the importance of people managers being in the position of accountability and positive impacts on their people…

“So would you like to share with me about your leaders in this organization; especially the managers.” I asked.

“Oh, we have about 15 senior to junior managers across the functions, they are in their early 30s to mid-50s…” She lamented matter-of-factly.

When she has finished, I asked: “Who do you think they are to others?”.

“What do you mean?” she responded impatiently.

Sensing a window of opportunity to dwell deep…I asked: “As a manager, what would you say about your influence to others that matters in this organization?”

“Umm…I guess I am very much a positive influence especially to the younger colleagues and new staff.” She continued: “I for one is pretty new to this organization; therefore I have no historic baggage with me here…for example…”.

“That’s great! I am glad you did. So how do you think I may help this organization?” I asked in earnest.

“My colleague will agree with me that one of the biggest challenges for our managers in general are the willingness to take accountability so that they will influence others to do so…We hope they can be more responsible beyond their scope of work.” she responded spontaneously.

“Tell me more.” I sensed the flow…

“Don’t get me wrong. Our people are very good in what they are supposed to do and they are experts in their respective field…But we also happened to believe that we have great products that will change the well-being of people around the world, but we also understand that we need people that are willing to bring this organization to where we should belong…”

Cave Ripples_Donald Noble via FlickrWe have a wonderful conversation sharing and understanding observations, examples, behaviors and assumptions that gives me great insight to the probable challenges the people in this organization may face. One of the key message when we meet with the team next month, is to help them be aware of their behaviors and action that may influence others and how they may want to commit to change that may impact others around them and the organization.

Have you ever ask:

‘What is my influence to the people around me?’

‘What is the implication of my thoughts, feeling and my action to my colleagues?’

‘How can people that I care or people that I have yet know could be in the realm of my influence?’

From Compliance to Commitment – What’s underneath it?

May 24, 2010 // 5 Comments » // HR Insights | Leadership Infusion | Stories Retold | Team Intervention

Hierarchy of Commitment

Hierarchy of Commitment - ConversationCircles

Two recent news and current affairs got my attention.

For one, I read with interest this morning news about a man who has been arrested in connection with a power blackout at the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) casino last Wednesday. He is believed to be a disgruntled engineer employed by a subcontractor of MBS.

The other, the passing of Dr. Goh Keng Swee. His story, past speeches, his contribution as 1st generation founding fathers, political achievements and driving many government’s nation building initiatives into the modern Singapore today, were widely reported over the past weeks. One such report quoted his last speech before he retires from politics; Dr. Goh said (quote): “You are coming into this. You are joining a holy order and your job is to build on what we have done, not treat it as a pinnacle, but as a foundation to make it better”

I thought the two reports have put both Commitment and Condemnation into perspective…

If Commitment is the pinnacle pursuit of our Human Capital work, have you ever ask what it takes to reach there? What comes before that? How do we know?

In 2005, I facilitated a teambuilding program for a group of 30 staff from a not-for-profit organization that has several establishment such as healthcare, pre-school and family-care centers. The leadership team faced tremendous challenges to embed the values of commitment and sense of ownership with the team. At the end of the two-day session, when we all sits in a circle and I drew the Hierarchy of Commitment on the floor with white-chalk and asked:

“For a question that I do not need an immediate answers but your deep reflection on where you think you are on the level of commitment to this very organization that you call home. Where are you?”

I invited the team to stand, shoulder-to-shoulder, spent about 3 minutes of silence in the circle.

We spent the next 45 minutes debrief with tears, laughter, confessions and affirmation. When I left the group, many still continue their conversation in small groups, in pairs and in self deep thoughts.

Are you ready to talk about Commitment?

The true mark of leadership – got the guts to follow?

May 10, 2010 // No Comments » // Leadership Infusion | Stories Retold

I got this interesting video clip from YouTube and thought of a similar lesson learned…some years ago.

In 2004, I facilitated a management retreat that consist of eight senior management staff and several middle managers from a healthcare organization. The kind of retreat that people gather, get to know one another, talk and discuss, plan for the year ahead and some team-building exercise to basically learn something about themselves while having fun.

For one such team-building activity, the team were given a challenge to step on a series of numbers on the ground at the quickest possible time in a certain sequences which all the number-pads were marked out with tape at a certain distance. One of the rules implied that every member in the team will have to at least step once along with some other rules which the team have to comply…if not, the team will have to go back to the re-starting line. As the team has only 6 opportunities to complete the task with the best possible score (time), each unsuccessful try was becoming very intense for them especially so for the “leader” of the group.

On the last opportunity to ‘get it right’, the COO (Chief Operation Officer) planned to be standing right beside one of the team member who was ‘considered’ the weakest link because she was always slow in stepping her number pad. True to the COO worst fear, when the time came for the ‘weak-link’ to execute her task, she was so overwhelmed by the pressure to perform that she froze momentarily (which in turn wasting precious seconds). In that split moment, what happened next became a great learning point for the team; the leader himself physically carried the petite lady by her waist and just like ‘stamping’ a gigantic rubber-stamp on a passport, forcing her both feet unto the number-pad to complete her task! That action brought laughter all around including the poor lady and what followed during the debrief was very memorable for everyone…including me.

During the sharing session, the leader was full of thoughts and admitted that the eagerness to get the ‘result’ had got the better of him. When asked “Have you observed any behavior during the activity that is congruent to the behaviors back in the workplace?”

He spoke bravely: “Yes, the very behavior of me ‘carrying’ her to make sure that she complete her task was a realization of how I am most of the time guilty of being task oriented and not able to empower others; but more importantly I have often placed result and performance over and above all other thing that matters…especially the heart of the people…”

Silence followed after his sharing and I ceased the opportunity for their learning and asked: “Within the wisdom of this team, what matters and what’s possible?”

The leader continued: “Frankly, there is a lack of situational leadership within this organization and largely due to our zero tolerance of error. In that people becoming very dependable on ‘leaders’ making all decision…We can’t and this can’t continue. We need strong followers that are able to take risk and influence others to make things happen.” Wise words from deep learning…till today, he still head that organization and is now a member of parliament.

Are you in a position of leading but are adverse to others taking risk?

Do you think that leadership has been over-glorified and that there are few ‘affective’ followers in your organization?

Not sure? Let’s have a chat…

“Bottleneck” and “Dilly Dallying” – What do they have in common?

May 04, 2010 // No Comments » // Change Initiation | Conversational Circles | Leadership Infusion

Picture source: cscotte via Flickr

Picture source: cscotte via Flickr

Over the last weekend, labor chief Mr. Lim Swee Say and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew were at different public setting giving speech on entirely different topics and scenarios – Lim was at May Day Rally urging unions and workers-at-large to be prepared for global competition and probable economic storms ahead. While Lee was guest at Inter-Pacific Bar Association Annual Conference addressing climate change and legal practice. While reading the reports on paper, I found similarity with both sharing their thoughts on interesting terms such as “bottleneck” and “dilly dallying”. Let me explained:

Mr. Lim argued that all parties in labor movement should ride on this time of ‘upturn’ to identify “bottleneck” that limits productivity growth. He went on to emphasis that the “bottleneck” may go beyond the issues of just work processes and stages, working smarter and worker’s skills and knowledge; it is in the mind of the ‘bottleneck beholder’ that lurks within organizations that are unable to ‘see’ problems – which in itself is a “bottleneck” problem.

When asked what’s the key challenges facing the fights against climate change globally, Mr. Lee noted that the problem with fighting climate change is governments themselves. While he would not say that the Copenhagen Summit was a failure as it led to a meeting of world leaders’ minds on the issue — Mr Lee was pessimistic about future meetings securing a breakthrough in setting commitments on cuts in carbon emissions. He said: “There will be more dilly dallying internationally as every country focuses on its own internal problems.”

Both have different context, issue and scale; but I see of same problem – a problem of not ‘seeing’ I (or we) have a problem. In the same way, it could be that of ‘why not let’s hear your problem first before I tell you mine’ (in condition that the problem that you tell me is more serious than mine). Mr. Lim emphasis that the biggest “bottleneck” is in the mind of people – which is more difficult to identify than systems and processes.  Mr. Lee using the term “dilly dallying internationally” by country leaders focusing on internal problems also has a connotation of “self-preservation”.

Are you in a position to help someone ‘see’ the problem that they have but are not able to ‘see’?

Or could it be you that are not able to ‘see’ the problem? Or you that are ‘dilly dallying’ so that ‘change’ only happens when it ‘starts’ with others first?

What a weekend of learning for me!

Have you ever ask these questions?

Apr 20, 2010 // No Comments » // Change Initiation | Conversational Circles | Leadership Infusion

When I first saw this trailer in the Autumn of 2008, my immediate reaction was “I must watch this movie!”. I am not sure is it because of the controversial theme or because of its unorthodox genre, but it never reach our shore. But thanks to online shopping I managed to get hold of the DVD last year.

I am gauging the response using this blog-post of anyone interested in coming into conversational circle to share your view about this topic. If there is enough interest shown, I would like to hold a conversational circle in middle of June 2010 to watch this movie and invite you into the circle to share your thoughts. (More details in CC Touchpoint)

Everyone know that the ability to ask question is one of the most critical skill in contemporary workplace. When was the last time you have asks questions or for that matter, allow to ask question? When did we last heard the notion of ‘It takes two hands to clap’?

You may want to get hold of this movie/documentary titled “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” from your local video outlet or online at iTunes store.

360 Eulogy – How would you want to be remembered?

Apr 07, 2010 // No Comments » // Conversational Circles | Leadership Infusion

Picture source: James Neeley via Flickr

Picture source: Gone Fishing by James Neeley via Flickr

“This picture is dedicated to the late Mr. Koh Kong Boo. Mr. Koh passed away at the age of 82 while fishing on 3 April morning…his all time favorite past-time. May you rest in peace (and fishing) with our heavenly Father!”

I was at a friend’s father wake service last night. He lives a good and simple life – God-centered, Friends-focused and Purpose-driven. What struck me deeply was the eulogies given by three different generations of friends and love ones; his grand-daughter, his son, a close friend and a senior paster that worked with him closely in church ministry. I believed that when he eventually stand facing his eternal Father, he will received his crown with flying colors. As I listened intently to how he was remembered; though importantly what he has done in his living year, but most significantly for who he was to them.

That reminded me of the similarity to 360 feedback and appraisal most organization used to evaluate leaders in yearly basis.

I recently asked a friend whom assume a leadership role when posted to Shanghai.

“How would you want to be remembered?” I asked.

“That’s a good question, I did thought of it lately but I am always so busy and tied down with things…” came an almost apologetic respond.

“Why do you think this is important?” I sensed a possible personal realization.

” Well, I think at the end of the day is not what I do that matters, but who I am in relations to them does…” she revealed.

Who are you in relations to your colleagues?

What matters to you at work?

When was the last time you have connect with someone intentionally? Listening…really listen.

At ConversationCircles, we aspire to bring authentic conversation back to workplace environment. Helping YOU to find time and space to connect in safe and purposeful conversational circle. Do feel free to email me at to find out more about what we do.

Be inclusive in your talent strategy.

Mar 17, 2010 // 2 Comments » // Leadership Infusion

Picture source: Vestaligo via Flickr

Picture source: Vestaligo via Flickr

A matryoshka doll, also known as a Russian nested doll or a babushka doll, is a set of dolls of decreasing sizes placed one inside the other. The word “matryoshka” is derived from the Russian female first name “Matryona”. The word “babushka”  is the Russian word for grandmother.

Some years ago, I chanced upon one set of such dolls in a gift shop and was intrigued by the concept behind the design. I did some research and found that during Perestroika (Russian term for political and economical reforms introduced by Mikhail Gorbachev), the leaders of the Soviet Union became a common theme depicted on matryoshkas. Starting with the largest, Mikhail Gorbachev, then Leonid Brezhnev (Yuri Andropov and Konstantin Chernenko almost never appear due to the short length of their respective terms), then Nikita Khrushchev, Josef Stalin and finally the smallest, Vladimir Lenin. Newer versions start with Dmitry Medvedev and then follow with Vladimir Putin, Boris Yeltsin, Mikhail Gorbachev, Joseph Stalin and then Vladimir Lenin.

One story goes about how a chairman of a global firm called for a board meeting one day. At the boardroom table,  at the front of each boardroom members he placed a similar matryoshka doll. The chairman said: “Lift it up, its you inside…”. They went on to lift the doll one by one by opening up the top-half, for every bigger version they saw a smaller version and one after another it got smaller and smaller until revealing the smallest doll eventually. There’s a note at the end with the smallest doll that says: ” If you are conscientiously hiring people that are ‘smaller’ or less capable than you, someday we will become a midget organization. In contrast, if we put in effort in hiring talents that are ‘bigger’ or more capable and talented than us, we will be building giants for the future.”

Two years ago, I wrote in an in-house HR newsletter how we can learn from the matryoshka doll about leadership. Leaders in organization should embrace talents that are ‘bigger’ and more capable than oneself, so that you can help build an organisation of giants.

Are your next level managers hold the same hiring ideology? Are you decreasing so others may increase? Do you have your ‘generals’ in your organisation that are afraid of ‘decreasing‘ so others might ‘increase’?

At ConversationCircles, we can help you to infuse leadership concept and ideology in a way that is inclusive and embracing. Talk to me today at +65-96559409 or email at


Sharing story as a way to motivate.

Mar 16, 2010 // 2 Comments » // Change Initiation | Conversational Circles | Leadership Infusion


Photo source: Mr. Mark via

Photo source: Mr. Mark via

Every veins and  lines probably have a story to tell…

I have a friend whom recently become quite sought after in the circle of motivational speaking. He was sharing how excited he was and good money too given that’s not what his main income’s source…

“What would you speak about to motivate others?”

“Can people really be motivated by hearing from someone else?

“How long you think they will stay motivated after hearing you?” came my barrage of questions.

He responded matter-of-factly: “Sure they do, they like to listen to my stories about failures and successes, rags to riches and it never fails to resonate in them…they LOVE it!”. “Umm…as for whether they remain motivated or not, who knows; aren’t they suppose to be able to self-motivate?!”…

Last year, I attended a workshop organized by National Book Development Council of Singapore titled: ‘ Narrative Techniques For Business’. The two days seminar essentially help us to understand the value of stories (or ‘grapevine’ depending on how you see it) within an organization setting and how to use narrative-based activities to design change that impact organization. I was mesmerized by the intriguing process of Preparation, Discovery, Sensemaking/Intervention Design and Monitoring, and how this process; if apply appropriately are able to help organisation facilitate intervention from hiring or firing to mergers and acquisition decision.

Stories are everywhere.

Christina Baldwin, who had pioneered the field of journal writing and women leadership; authored a wonderful book titled: “Storycatcher — Making Sense of Our Lives through the Power  and Practice of Story”. In the book, she open with the preface that says: “Every person is born into life as a blank page – and every person leaves life as a full book.”

We all have stories that are uniquely our own. Even when we shared similar features in our story that we can find common ground of understanding and viewpoint. Last week, the Straits Times interview-report  the father of 3M’s Post-it notes scheme Dr. Geoff Nicholson, he commented that CEOs should do well in telling stories; and that will have profound impact to spur staff to be innovative, he stressed.

When was the last time you share with or listen to someone’s story?