Compassion as a business necessity

Compassion is not religious business, it is human business, it is not luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability, it is essential for human survival. -The Dalai Lama

I was really struck by this quote and started to muse on why people in business are still not valuing their natural ability be ‘compassionate’ for each other in the workplace. Is it because it is deemed too emotional in its purest form to add value in monetary terms and therefore can’t be added to the ledger?

Yet compassion for me is the most valuable measure of business when seen in good leadership, a trusting workforce culture, and healthy retention of clients and customers. It is a natural way forward to preserve good health and vitality of our employees – and is core energy for getting on with everyone. I am talking here of a true compassion, as the Dalai Lama talks of, which embraces daily love, supports fairness, trust, respect and care for every man and woman.

Yet I am often told, you can’t talk like this in business, you have to talk about hard tangible benefits. Tough times need tough measures.

I disagree. This is exactly the time to turn around your life and your business, right from top to bottom, with love and compassion. Own it, be it, see the results. CEOs and top Boards are now seeing the growth of a strong female economy, changing requirements of women and men to be on par, accepted on their natural merits, each doing what they do best – together with compassion and not judgment.

How do you cope with adversity and chaos in today’s tricky economic climate? People too often blame others when the key to unlock is within. In hard measurable terms, if we don’t unlock this key, then we suffer, relationships suffer and business success goes out of the window.

I believe in our natural endless capacity to love and feel compassion for each other and that as a human race we have the ability and the desire to seek new ways and create a buoyant, abundant, collaborative world were all count, all add their own unique value, everyone counts. I know in my deepest essence that I am part of a whole existence that covers not just this day, but all the past and future that is. I share the responsibility for our world and see the natural energy of co-creation with us.

Working with men and women in diverse arenas, generations and situations, I see men and women holding the two halves of a whole solution, yet not creating a new blueprint together. Is it that, stuck as we are in an old pattern that does not serve us any more, we stubbornly refuse to believe that there is another way – the men stay tough and resistant to change, focused on targets, survival, power and profit; the women too often opt out of their feminine softness and take on the mantle of business the tough way. Neither side needs to stay fixed and rooted in either. I am encouraged by the ground swell of women today wanting to be in business and the news that the ‘female economy’ is being noticed by men when it comes to wealth managers and the growing wealth of women across the world. However we still haven’t got to grips with the bigger conversation that can embrace all women, their needs, all men and their needs, and most importantly the needs of a fragile changing world. Economies are constrained by overspend and cutbacks and we are told that we’re in for a period of austerity in the tabloid press. Women can make a difference to the future by stretching the new playing field into the natural domain of female needs rather than playing hard ball in a man’s world.

I believe there is a new magic we can bring to our collective conversations which honours our core strengths as men and women and allows for new energy of female growth to come into business as a whole. If we only calculate success of women by their wealth capability, we may ignore the contributions of those women who excel in other non-profit ways. We can ensure a more balanced ownership of true wealth to emerge easily when we add compassion to business and seek equity and fairness within every conversation. I know this will increase the profitline of the whole business and ensure everyone has a healthy life. Healthy, wealthy and wise may be a simple combination worth remembering.

My contribution is to teach people to step in the space they need to deliver their best. I help them to value their inner wisdom, and to be able to join every conversation with compassion.

I host “Magical Conversations” with invited groups of senior men and women to explore how to step into that natural space and be themselves, truly happy, to add loving energy to human business. My own life purpose is to bring harmony, collaboration and serious intention to merge life and business together, and to establish a simpler, more effective way to connect to likeminded people for greater success. I set up these conversations up to set a new pace for life for me and for my clients; a pace to think with my heart and to embrace a new truth about how I/we can co-create a wonderful new business plan for living and work merged together.

As in many mergers, we need to be aware of people’s needs, of bringing together differing cultures together. In the merger of men and women we still haven’t fully understood the natural value of our differences and how beneficial we are to each other. We need to explore how to dissolve all the confusion which goes with old thinking rather than new feelings and demystify the ‘gender code’ about stereotypes, barriers, egos and pre-conceptions. Let’s begin again with the best of the past and an open consideration for the future, and build a new blueprint for business that embraces life and measures love on the bottom line!

Transformed with compassion, the merger of men and women will grow a new culture of energy, loving intentions for growth and profit …and, most important to me, a era of positive loving business behaviour!

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Compassion is human business

At a time of unprecedented strife and uncertainty in our world history, it is time to take stock; review and resolve the core question ‘what is a good life?’ How do we, as men and women of all types, ages, cultures, creeds and abilities, come to the table to explore this, describe this, and create this without strife and argument? Is life and love important or does money and material gain drives us to exclusion of happiness itself? What is enough for each person to hold a meaning for life that is the best for them?

Compassion is not religious business, it is human business, it is not luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability, it is essential for human survival. –The Dalai Lama

I believe in our endless capacity to love each other and to seek new ways to create a buoyant, abundant, compassionate world were all count. I know in my deepest essence that I am part of a whole existence that covers not just this day, but all the past and future that is. I share the responsibility for our world and see the natural energy of co-creation with us. Working with men and women in diverse arenas, generations and situations, I see men and women holding the two halves of a whole solution, yet not creating a new blueprint together. Is it that, stuck as we are in an old pattern that does not serve us any more, we stubbornly refuse to believe that there is another way – and that the way forward could be easy as we each make choices in our hearts rather than in our heads.

In Donna Thomson’s new book ‘The Four Walls of My Freedom’ she says

“The life that we value and have reason to value is one that has at its heart caring and belonging. If life is a pie chart, money is only one slice. The care of vulnerable citizens is a corporate act on the part of society; it’s not just the job of social workers. It takes a village to raise a child, but it takes every citizen in every village to help sustain each other.”

Donna writes about her beautiful son Nicholas, who was born with cerebral palsy and is now 21, and how her journey and her family’s experiences alongside his own have been a magical, sorrowful and yet extraordinarily rewarding journey of love and determination. In reading her book manuscript, I encourage you all to read it for the powerful insights it brings on the whole social change we must explore if we are loving compassionate human beings. It is not only about major disability but a window on the vulnerability we all may experience one day. In finishing the book, I experienced a new perspective on our societal responsibility for the vulnerable in our world – a perspective that is not just to observe their presence and pay others to tend them, but to take full caring responsibility economically, politically and emotionally without condition or resentment as individuals and as a local or global community. If we are the materially-able contributors, we must be truly loving partners in the wholeness of life rather than be singularly selfish in greed of money and fear only our own situation. In seeing the whole we enable ourselves too.

My own philosophy of life and business

I am ‘me’ i.e. my natural self, and knowing ‘me’ is my first journey. If I love myself, respect and honour my life, I can share ‘me’ with all I meet in an open, respectful and loving manner; and all relationships are therefore down to ‘me’ and my flow in honouring others at all times (even difficult times). So together, ‘me’ and ‘you’ can thread all our respective relationships together (‘us’) and grow open, respectful loving communities (‘we’) that give everyone a sense of belonging and joyful inclusion and meaning of life. Giving to each other becomes a joy and capabilities shared are our abundant table of rewards which don’t have to all about salaries or financially orientated. The rewards can be a mix of material wealth and emotional joy.

My life rewards; emotional, spiritual and material; are therefore plentiful merely by ‘me’ being conscious of my own natural human gifts, by own my ‘being’ and ‘doing’ the best I can everyday.

I don’t need to try to be someone else – a different type of women, a bitch business women, a subservient wife or mother, or a victim lover; I can be all my roles as ‘me’ – a mother, grandmother, business women, writer, dancer, lover, friend, sister, daughter …all facets of ‘me’ naturally. I call this my “value cycle”, which becomes simultaneously “our community value cycle”. This can only spin more brightly if fueled by unconditional love from every ‘me’ into every community I am a member of. Do you honour “who you are” rather than the money you earn or the wealth you possess?

If we are to transform our world in all aspects of life – to be consciously committed to all human beings, to our families, our communities, our nations and our planet – then everyone matters in this “value cycle”; the able-bodied and the dis-abled-bodied, the advantaged and the disadvantaged, the young and the elderly, the healthy and the infirmed, men and women of all nations across the globe are each part of the whole. Yet many are still marginalized on our own doorstep.

What struck me about Donna’s story is that we will always exclude the vulnerable from our future plans for business transformation if we believe that business and life are separate.

I believe they are actually inseparable. And most women I know believe the same. Women know this from birth to death, their emotional imprint, born into this world, is to care and nurture all their lives and often not their own first. Women are, in the majority, the carers in the world, and are more likely than not to be caring for a dependant at some time of their life. I have an amazing Mother of 92 years and although currently well-cared for and reasonablely stable, is always on my mind as she reaches the end of her life. One call and my brothers and sister will be tumbling back into the concern we had last year when she was hospitalized many times and we felt we might lose her.

“everyone is some mother’s child”,

Women are often seen as the vulnerable players in business world, and are still marginalized on pay and opportunities, and for ‘having babies’! Yet women work all their lives without being measured for doing so. In the business model created by men, ‘giving life’ and ‘caring for life’ has never been factored in as a ‘credit’ value on the balance sheet. Yet “everyone is some mother’s child”, motherhood is a key ‘credit’ in creating new generations of men and women. Without mothers, we would have no generations to build this world for and on whose shoulders we will lean on graciously as we grow old. At the end of our lives we will without exception become a vulnerable member of society ourselves, men and women, as our elderly years decrease our ability to function. We are then no longer an employed person, a business man or woman, an active mother, father, student, academic, Politian, scientist and the like. Does our ‘usefulness’ to society disappear because we become a cost to society? Does our life depend on whether we ‘worked’ for our living when maybe we couldn’t or not to any capability that counted? Surely we are still part of the same world we built. We are still human beings.

Our business model to date seems to say that “that which cannot be counted for business is not useful”.

Business is always looking for cost equation, efficiency, bottom line profits, measurable improvements, tested quantifiable resources. Value seems to be only counted in when it can be quantified in £££s. Yet more and more we realize new sustainable business will grow due to two key aspects – wonderful relationships and good emotional behaviour – these count and can often not be counted in £££s! However we feel the pain both financially and emotionally when these two aspects are not present or rotten to the core. Money and measure are two obstacles in our way of finding a good life for all.

Albert Einstein said “Everything that can be counted does not always count; and everything that counts cannot always be counted.”

The question is – does life matter to business – or is business separate? Is business part of the whole and making money merely one of several spark plugs that drive the engine of our society and our care of all? Can we merge fiscal mechanisms with emotional fuel to drive future sustainability and abundance, care and compassion for all of us?

Over 200 years of business growth and industrialization of our western world, we have allowed material wealth and physical and intellectual power to count for more than emotion, to the extent that these dominate the complex matrix of our lives. Economically for sure we are driven by financial needs; politically we have created rules and regulations which often strangle the less advantaged, in policies, tax and allowances; and socially, we are suspicious of many factions in society, especially the divide between those who have and those who have not; those who can contribute financially and those who can’t. Paid work is the still the main criteria for “useful existence” in many sectors and most people’s eyes. Disability, motherhood, dependency of the elderly and ill-health are all seen as burdens on those who pay the bills. The vulnerable are seen as useless in the money game yet money does not buy us what is most important – unconditional love and happiness. We will all be vulnerable one day before we die. Maybe the original blueprint was OK back in the 1900s, but now we have a new horizon and the edge of the world is coming fast towards us. A new more compassionate, consciousness blueprint pervades our common desires. Men and women need to design this together.

Business is part of the pie-chart but money only one part of business.

The consequences of the global financial crash, the on-going recession and rising population demands continued to create chaos across markets, in our communities and in our very homes, the sanctuary that should be our place of harmony and happiness.

Men and women, families and parenting, education and dependency factors, and social cohesion are, for me, all on the pie chart of discussion alongside business. If we want harmony and joy as drivers for change then we need to open our minds to men and women co-creating the new blueprint together and counting human happiness and joy as a valuable part of human business evolution.

Money doesn’t buy happiness.

That is not to say wealth and good fortune cannot create joy as well. But money is only piece of the pie chart remember – it is about the whole that we seek redress. Women know that life is key to business and men had not planned it that way over many decades, so even though many top business leaders wisely see the value of emotion in business there is no ‘measure’ that everyone accepts as real. The selfish ethic of gain through effort rewarded is still core to the world we experience day to day.

How can we measure what is immeasurable? How can the vulnerable be accepted as core to the human business model and transform our hearts and souls to embrace all?

“Real generosity towards the future lies in giving all to the present” Albert Camus

How can we ‘generously’ transform our core business model to embrace men and women, life and social needs? Does business have to stand alone in a male task focused measureable way? Can we shift our thinking so that intangibles are factored in an interdependency model rather than an independence or co-dependence model? We need a model, a blueprint now that merges what men and women want, and that counts in vulnerable contributors for their emotional giving rather than seeing them as ‘debits’ on society’s balance sheet.

If we explore a change of mindset, using magical conversations, maybe we can set a tangible value on happiness as a key contribution to the state of our nation, and truly valued this emotional essential alongside physical tasks, competence and hard work. I propose that we piece the ‘pie-chart’ together in a loving compassion abundant yet practical manner.

Can we lead a truly compassionate business experience day to day that creates a society that truly cares? For this to happen, I believe that women need to own their core natural differences that contribute magnificently to business and life. They need to honour their own wide range of capabilities as different types of women, support each other both as business women and mothers (as desired). I believe that men need to recognize the power of the natural woman, of all types from masculine task focused women to feminine softly focused women, all whom complements men’s male energy and bring a flexibility and emotional dexterity into business success in ways that men cannot do alone.

Don’t forget, we each are unique, beautiful and perfect as human souls; we are all the same and all different.

Nicholas is perfect in his own existence; he is only vulnerable because society makes him so and his condition brings him an existence of pain and challenge on a daily basis that many of us can never imagine. He is courageous in his determination to live. Can we be as courageous to transform business so it takes on responsible approaches to life so that all who are vulnerable are valued in equitable ways?

We will all be vulnerable in some way at some stage of our lives and don’t let it be too late when you turn around and wish for the future we can embrace right now.

Magical Conversations set out a new way to explore the unexplored; to journey into “what is a good life for all”; to bring men and women together to merge their experiences and viewpoints and gather everyone’s contribution in a magical manner out of which anything can happen. The first London based Magical Conversation commences July 22nd 2010. A review will be posted after the event. Your comments welcomed.

Expansion and contraction – the natural ebb and flow of life and business?

Expansion and contraction – the natural ebb and flow of life and business or are we forcing the issue?

Summer breathing as June passes the Summer Solstice, and here in the UK, we enjoy the wonderful heat and the expansive noise of England winning through in the World Cup, during a time of daily contraction of our financial power in a budget geared to collective restraint, I wondered about the power of our own natural reserves?

Swirling despair or growing pains?

Everyone I know is experiencing swirls of despair and exhilaration, no day is the predictable day we expected. The past is past. The future is ours to grow. And one person’s point of view can be positive or negative over the same situation depending on their nature, their life experience and their current status. Naturally we all perceive the world differently, we are all different, yet we are also the same; living breathing human beings. When we are facing tough challenges (as the world is right now) we polarize to our core point of view and find obstacles and limitations around us.

Why do some of us face each day with energy and vivacious capacity to smile regularly even when the chips are down? And others become despondent and cynical about possibilities and strains that don’t fit now, don’t adhere to our expectations born of past promises! We have a world that needs re-order at a fundamental level, expanding collaboration and contracting chaos. We have choices, many on a daily basis about survival, growth and the future for our children – and our children’s children. We are all connected and inter-connected. What we do right now affects everyone eventually in the whole world and for generations alive when we are gone. We are all connected – yet do we believe that really? Everyone is some mother’s child; we all are born of human stock.

Choices – yours or mine? Do we believe and own our own choices that connect into the collective responsibility – especially in our own families or communities or workplaces when there are so many disagreements, negative behaviour and possible abuse? Can we be open-minded in conversation and listen to everyone, holding their perspective with our own? This is especially relevant to bringing new conversations together between men and women, within women’s group and within men’s groups. Gender confusion still lies at the heart of broken relationships and abuse.

Do men and women face these current difficult times differently?

I believe we do – yet one gender is not better or more right than the other.We need an ‘and/and’ mind shift to create a world together not an ‘either/or’ world of separate parts. Men and women are both responsible and both need to be engaged in the foundations and a new start. There are many different approaches that build society and economic reform together – these approaches economically, politically, socially and spiritually differ in core roots of maleness and femaleness, the yin and yang of life and energy. The former male energy builds strong direction, provider drivers and tenacity of mindful, clever ‘brainy’ ideas – while the latter female fuel, underpins the life force of relationships and community coherence, brings emotional and mental intelligence in a pre-packed integrated package. Although some women are tougher, more masculine than others, some are gentler more cautious, less confident, all women want their lives to honour life and common sense prevail. Women have enormous untapped talents to bring a balance future to our world.

Together men and women are more powerful. Separately we fight for airspace, not listening to the other’s need.

We rival each other for position on a past plan headed for bankruptcy and social disorder – when we now have a choice to co-create a new future. Here is an example of a new way of thinking and being.

A new style together

I had the great pleasure to join a wonderful community in Geneva last weekend for ‘Friends of Humanity’, a foundation set up by Graziella Zanoletti CIO (Chief Inspiration Officer) of Elite Rentals. Graziella’s great success in the commercial world is now partnered by her great passion to give back to many good causes in less developed countries such as India, earthquake suffering in Nepal, South American rainforests and children in Tibet. 100 people gathered to hear the news on these projects and to come together, men, women, and their families adding back many £1000s by being part of this intention.

I met many extraordinary people especially my host Fabienne Feldman, helped to run this amazing event. We watched and joined in with likeminded people to gather together, hold magical conversations, listen to wonderful music and song, chatter about life and purpose and those projects on display; we eat fabulously well yet abundance for all and enjoyed the wonder of the day – it was an example of people coming together who didn’t know each other and who now form bonds across the world… from Boston to Goa, from London to LA… proving that communities can so easily come together in harmony for a common purpose across the world.

I explored with Graziella the nature of a new approach to “business, life and giving back” when we met last month for our first Magical Conversation at Fabienne’s home. Integrating commercial success, building personal and collective wealth, giving back, creating social cohesion and sustainable communities – bringing social enterprise into main stream business ethics – these are core to our conversations and those of many other female conversations I experience…and with many wise men too who feel tuned into this new multi-streamed way of being, business and life. How do we each measure up to these intentions in our own life?

Magical Conversations are about ‘life’ and business and society – about truth and trust, respect and relationships, humanity and prosperity – and becoming more keenly aware of what matters to others as well as our own. Everywhere I go, wise men and women are speaking with their hearts as much as their heads…and allowing their inner spirit to guide them more times than not. The nature of magical conversations is to embrace expansion and contraction in all we do and not get out of balance in our own lives and in our world. It is being aware of where and how one needs to expand effort and operate at a level of financial viability – consistently contracting efforts where obstacles appear, adhering to rules and regulations, “and and” being our mantra in expanding in relationships, respect and trust in our lives and in our businesses. It’s about exploring a common reason for giving back, feeding and educating those in the world less well off, both in developing countries – and more importantly, lovingly, at home in our own communities.

“It’s not so much about what you do, it’s about the loving you put into the doing that counts” Anon

How can we mend the world when we are not mended (healed from the inside out) first? This all starts at home with love… with loving yourself, your closest friends and family and community first.

Like breathing in and breathing out, expansion and contraction underpins our life force. Masculine and feminine energies do similarly ebb and flow; male dominance is necessary for strength and getting tasks done while the feminine energy flows, nurtures and heals the cracks so that communities can gain sustainable results. Together this alliance of men and women brings abundance in the true gifts of our natural life to be self sustaining for all members. Get to know your own natural gender nature and recognize different perspectives are valid too. It’s the ‘common purpose’ of conversations, built on trust, that includes all points of view, which will help our future come sooner.

Our ‘BIG SOCIETY’

We have a long way to go in the UK, our political leaders talk of a ‘big society’; many male CEOs talk of attracting women into the top positions, mixed boardrooms leading better; many communities, public and private make noises about community cohesion. I applaud their words, the rhetoric, the opinions…. however I don’t believe we invite all the right people to the conversations and listen well enough?

I don’t yet see enough evidence that the best, most aware, intelligent, experienced women are invited to really, truly, openly explore ‘what women want’. Maybe they don’t get noticed or don’t speak up enough. We’re in a world that doesn’t allow women to be women, to grow naturally, be business women and mothers, to grant that life’s natural family pressures are accounted for without marginalization financially or limitations in job prospects.

If we keep going round the same old arguments and propositions, guess what we get the old emerging again. We need to explore more, the new awaits us on the horizon of our awakening to possibilities without judgment and favour.

Magical Conversations count

We can’t create a ‘big society’ based on the old blueprint of business and life separation (the male plan that has traditionally separated ‘making money’ and ‘life’ into two camps)– there are more core principles of evolution to be explored (a female plan for business would combines ‘making money’ and dealing with ‘life’ issues).

My invitation to YOU I now implore my sisters, women of all types, generations, creeds and cultures to put aside the past and grow strong views on ‘what women (and men) really want’ and join our brothers, all kinds – tough guys and gentle giants – in the conversation of co-creation – and magical conversations.

Time for transformation – and magical conversations!

The month of May has brought transformation in my life as well as in the political climate in the UK.
This time of the year always has a transformational nature; with blossom arriving and grass freshened with the spring dews. The sun warms us up and helps us to feel happier. We watch this happening with all-consuming regularity and do not necessarily value the natural evolution right in front of our eyes.

May has brought new leadership in the UK – a coalition of two parties, two leaders, David Cameron and Nick Clegg, a duo walking together from two different points of political view with one singular common purpose – to make the UK a strong, safe, robust and healthy place to live! Watching these two men come together in the Rose Garden at No 10 on May 11th, an astrological day of relationship harmony, was truly magical. They walked, talked and lead in what appears to be a trusting, open, sharing yet purposeful manner. Their personal natures subtly entwined, sharing a wonderful blend of masculine and feminine energy in their presentation, even though both are men.

Why do I observe and comment on this?

Not because of “the politics” – but because I observed, on that day and since, we are watching the natural possibility that two differing political ‘enemies’ can now work together as ‘allies’, and can actually create far more together than separately! Many of my female friends suggested that there should have been more females in the cabinet – and I reflected in my last blog that there was considerable lack of female opinion running up the election. Although I too desire a more balanced number of women in politics – I’m happy that this partnership is, at this moment in time, the best partnership. Cameron and Clegg are very different in terms of their gender dynamics and yet similar enough to be good collaborators in a world that needs them to be so. This is the right ‘male’ partnership to challenge the “old boys club”, the traditional ‘nay sayers’ who don’t believe significant transformation of our society is necessary. This partnership can give birth to a new balanced opportunity for survival and growth that embraces all types of men and women, from all generations and of all diverse natures. We now need to help them do this, planting a new ‘playing field’, one which harvests new types of crops that feed both male and female needs in totality.

Cameron and Clegg are two very different gender types from the male gender and can naturally bring balance. Cameron has a more ‘masculine’ male brain yet intelligently has learned to use a highly tuned relationship style of language that complements Clegg’s natural softer, more lyrical ‘feminine’ male brain, using more intuitive and emotional language. They both grasp the need to use strong male energy and direct serious actions while keeping focused on the possibility of a UK vision and a future sustainability yet unknown but desired by most. For me, the fact they are both men gives the duo leadership a solidarity that is needed to counter the many cynical alpha men who believe our current difficulties in the markets and across social disturbances are merely a blip and we will return to ‘normality’ once the crisis is over. We need a wholly new way forward and that does mean, I hope, that these men recognise the need to bring in more female players but it’s important that they do this for the right reasons and not just for a quota.

The magic continues for me. The Cameron-Clegg partnership shows that anything is possible and we don’t have to do the “same-old, same-old” which has brought us to catastrophic economic downturn, problematic social issues and environmental disasters. We can build new possibilities and bring together new collaborations without knowing exactly what will result from discussions; we can come together with a common purpose – that impacts all of us!

I believe that this opening up of explorations for innovative solutions for economic and social change is exactly the journey we are required to face up to as a human race. There is no return to the past. We need to shed a new light on how we engage everyone, all stakeholders in society and use our natural resources, and especially recognize how men and women, together, co-create a more sustainable model for our society, our economy and our world.

For me, it is key that we bring a new plan into place – a plan that allows for all men and women to get together to co-create a new future for this planet. A big plan starting with each of us…for me, Cameron and Clegg have opened up a political ‘magical conversation’ at the top level and opened the floodgates for me to explore the unexpected in my own work with my corporate clients about how they can step into the future via conversation.

“Exploring the future” comes to life for me in the many conversations I have had in my life – and I am delighted that in May, being that transformational birthday month for me, I launched my first official ‘Magical Conversation’ last Monday in Geneva.

I had been researching, talking, and discussing these ideas for 9 months since September 2009. I had brought my own transformational path together within my Corporate Heart consultancy and my personal passion to eradicate ‘bad behaviour’ in the workplace and evolve a healthy natural excellence, a work culture that is balanced, connected, purposeful and performance at its best.

So now, building on my twenty year study of people in business and watching the current challenges, I decided to bring ‘Magical Conversations’ to the forefront of my work. In a world of amazing synchronistic links, I found myself hosted by a wonderful woman, Fabienne Feldman, in her beautiful home in Geneva on May 31st and welcomed 10 highly inspiration business women together. Our goal in this first conversation was exciting – to explore the relationship of women, business and life – and discuss how we might transform the current imbalance of prominent women in a world so often designed by men for men, and share our stories that create our history as women, in the business world, in philanthropy and in social communities.

‘Magical Conversations’ are designed to bring small groups, up to 12 people together at a time, in a safe sacred circle of open chairs, to contribute openly and with perfect self expression, respecting everyone’s view and looking at innovative possibilities around current topics such as economic revival and social change. The intention is to ensure everyone enjoys contributing: everyone learns, shares and leaves more enriched than when they arrive: knowing what they will do differently; and why they will continue to explore and expand their own magical conversations wherever they go.

Last Monday’s magic worked, we were in a perfect place, and the atmosphere was loving and giving, 11 women intent on creating a new vision for our world. Our conversations inspired, challenged, probed and opened our eyes to the ‘feminine’ attributes that women bring to the party, the nature of ‘giving back’ that entrepreneurial women often seek, and the passion we all have for being part of the solution with men – we challenged each other as to how women can be heard more on a world stage for justice and true equity – and we explored the issues of sisterhood that we don’t always get right yet!

We agreed that, in order to transform our world, we each will take responsibility for our own actions; and, leading by example, share our stories in a format that can be heard by all. We pledged to return to hold more conversations and to attract more women – and men – to explore in the same way. The magical journey of transformation begins…

May has brought Spring – new growth, green shoots, bright light and great hope; June now sets the summer into full swing, turns up the heat and sets the magic alight, how often nature shows us the way and we only need to look and listen more to know the truth.

What will the Autumn bring? We can harvest the magic or the misery, let’s make an inspired choice.

The orchard by Gallaher

Little seeds we tend to sew
create a world of life unknown,
Around each corner around each bend,
The fruits of labour blossom begin..
What kind of seeds do we choose to sew?
Are we aware, do we know?
Observe the harvest as it will tell
A life of heaven …or a living hell?

“Magical Conversations” will be held in Geneva and London on regular basis, we welcome top business men and women to explore the key issues of today. Call + 44 208 998 7032 for more details.

Economy at risk – do women have the missing boardroom ingredient?

In Corporate Boardrooms across the world, it matters that all voices are heard, valued and accounted for in the major and minor conversations that build sustainable success. Many factors influence these conversations in today’s tough economic climate and it is now recognised that men and women together make a positive difference to results. Yet each player brings different, and uniquely valuable, natural traits into this mix. However most women are not heard unless they use masculine styles of behaviour.

As men and women converse in the Boardroom (and elsewhere), it is critical to understand gender dynamics not just between males and females and their biological make-up, but between different natural styles of men and women from masculine to feminine, generation to generation, culture to culture, set against the backdrop of social and economic necessity and key platform issues (good and bad) of our world today – issues such developing technology, fast pace of business, overload and pressure, social unrest, poverty and mis-justice, desire for reform, family and life agendas…. and so much more.

Today I see that too much confusion is forming about women and their role and this has been caused by social stereotypes of women and the historic rise of feminist challenges that were necessary to make women’s voices heard, and a lack of open conversations about our own place in society and the economy at risk. Women are movers and shakers – financially, as consumers, as more than half of the world’s population, yet we are seriously unheard.

Even after the years of feminism (and I am not a feminist myself) I don’t believe that women really want the emasculation of men. We want to be heard and listen to and taken seriously and to play our part – on our terms in a world that we truly co-create with men. I do see that women do not want to be dictated to by the ‘past’, that created by an old world view of business, money and power.

Women love men, but do men value women and really listen to our needs? Do we clearly articulate what we have to offer from a future perspective without being defined by what has been to date?

Today’s contemporary leading business woman is ready for action in a wholly different way. An entrepreneuial mindset, a philanthrophic heart set and a wide scope for integration and collaboration, she has been blocked in the past yet now desires to bring a balanced viewpoint into an economy at risk. She wants to be a contributor in her own right… and heard by both men and women.

For a desirable cohesive balanced mix, where women become equal contributors to the Boardroom conversation, it is vital that female leaders understand how to operate from an informed level in both their professional acumen for boardroom efficiency but also in their personal awareness of gender attributes and natural traits that serve them well yet often get hidden away.

The most effective woman in the boardroom knows who she is as a leader and a woman; she has the confidence to value her contribution and her personal business style as a woman. She will however be faced with a range of communication styles and relationship obstacles from different types of men and different types of women, each with their own personalities, motivators, experiences and perspectives that vary from her own. Learning the elements of a mixed gender group is key. The right conversation, underpinned by a new ‘gender dynamics’ perspective, will increase her effectiveness. With this expert knowledge, a female leader will be heard and can then influence the outcomes desired by all parties, male and female. Men will appreciate her viewpoint and readily add this to their advantage. She can then more easily leverage her natural skills in the Boardroom with regards to key issues such as decision-making, conflict, risk taking and team collaboration.

This new perspective looks at the behavioural and language elements of Gender Dynamics for both men and women in the Boardroom mix; recognising personal and professional style from six different perspectives; and underpins key changes in language patterns that ensure everyone is heard. This is not the same argument as the past… quotas and playing a male game. This is about truly new ground, getting into an ‘and/and’ discussion about what both parties need and not making assumptions that the world designed by men over the last 200 years is actually the way it needs to continue.

It is fascinating to watch the ensuing pressure on our politicians to make a deal – get sorted quickly because the economy is the pressing issue and the ‘£’ our only measure. This does not take account of the human issues and the fact that maybe a too quick decision will leave us trying to solve last months issues with last years resources. Have we not learned that last month is obsolete?.. let alone last year! There is a theory ‘U’ that says it is best to take time out to resolve tough challenges, time out to reflect and open hearted, open minded conversations bringing new ideas together to bring the best solutions. Men are geared to ‘solution finding’ as a primary biological driver… this is why we need a more feminine viewpoint to counter balance this tendency (whether in men and women, this feminine energy looks beyond the task to whether the solution brings benefits to all not just the economy) Women do not separate key issues as men do … and a female ‘logic’ is needed to drive this home!

Together men and women make the best team, in today’s world this is still undervalued by all parties. More than half the UK population is female and yet we are under represented in politics and business. Now maybe proportional representation is about the gender divide as opposed to party boundaries?

We didn’t see women prominent in this election – and the media have slated us for that… Why did that happen? That is a dialogue needed among women which is continuing now in every conversation I hear. However in the business Boardroom, women have more opportunity and can make the changes happen if the men are willing. And some wise CEO’s are willing. Will men and women take up the challenges and create a new blueprint rather than more of the past?

Who will be brave? Are you? Watch this space, magical conversations start this month…

The games people play…

Watching the country enter the election frenzy, I am reminded of the games people play and how, without awareness, we get trapped in repeated patterns with people around us. An email arrived about this as I pondered and I again reflected how when we’re aware of intention, we receive what we need directly!

The email was about Eric Berne’s work on Transactional Analysis (TA) and his work on the parent/child/adult laid out in his book ‘The Games People Play’ in 1964. The goal way back then, as “training” emerged for the first time, the new idea was to understand how people behaved especially when things went wrong and to learn ways to break dysfunctional patterns that damaged results. During the 70s, 80s,and up to now, many more aspects of human nature, behaviour, personality make-up, relationships and community cultures have been disected, examined, profiled, repatterned and worked through. From early Carl Jung days through Eric Berne and many more psychologists, academics, therapists, nlp practitioners, coaches and infamously management consultants (and not forgetting the innovative theory of positive psychology from Professor Martin Seligman as late as the 80s), we have evidence about how humans behave… yet the learning is still in its infancy. We regularly observe ‘bad behaviour’ occuring right in front of us daily, on TV, in Parliament, on the streets of Britain, in the Boardroom and across society.

Back to our election role models tearing each other apart on TV, in the Media and across the gambit of party political ‘bad behaviour’, for what reason do we allow this? I am not accusing anyone more than another. It appears to me that ‘bad behaviour’ is a norm in our cynical masculine world. And women are at fault too of taking on a more aggressive stance than their true gentle feminine nature can provide. And gentle guys don’t always stand up for their softer side when overtaken by alpa males. ‘Bad’ seen as OK behaviour is everywhere — we love to ‘roast’ celebrities, highlight the bad guys and never honour the good. Strange behaviour to me in a world that cries out for ‘kindness’ and ‘compassion’, ‘trust’ and ‘authenticity’ and social responsibility at work and at play.

So where is my thought process going?

This is not about ‘men are bad’ and women are good’ indeed bad behaviour has no gender or generation bias, we can find bad behaviour everywhere. It is about the definition of ‘bad behaviour’ and the consequences of it as the ripples spread. And it is for me, understanding that one person’s point of view and perspective can easily affect another negatively …however it is the way one delivers one’s point of view and the value attached to both the other people and the context of the situation that are key. If we turn up to every situaion, every conversation, every interaction with an intention to a) be present b) seek understanding and c) focus on outcomes that benefit each and the whole simultaneously …then we can rise above the most diverse challenges and opinions with honour and respect for those involved. How great would that be? How healthy the mind set and the result will be?

Maybe an election where politians came out with only their own positive message and actually appauled that which has been achieved so far. With the economic chaos we have and the downturn, ‘togetherness’ might be a more appealing campaign – and capture the ‘hearts’ of those disenchanted voters like myself.

I heard recently of a female CEO who encouraged her management team to focus on being ‘kind’ and was regarded with distain by her male colleagues, yet research suggest that ‘acts of random kindness’ produce outstanding response in customer service…let alone conscious acts of kindness as part of a service promise delivers high results every time! There is also clear evidence that this ‘kindness’ approach brings good health, community cohesion, trust and renewed energy …and could help us deal with what is becoming critical i.e. financial and social recovery.

I am very passionate about my world…your world…our world… I have a new grand daughter, now 6 weeks old, and she and her brother aged 2 and a half are the new generation looking forward to a future that we now have the responsibility to co-create a new way that builds on social and economic integration, maybe leverages social enterprise, values of philanthroprenuership and feminine/masculine joint partnership… is it a dream? A world that values human life above profit yet values the mixture of work and play that enegises both people’s personal fulfillment and their bank accounts.

I am not a fluffy female insisting on women on board for numbers, I truly believe that as our world evolves we all , men and women alike, add our natural talent to the pot, we all create our communities and we all have roles to play – not games. If we are to play games, then let’s play them from the heart and embue a new co-collaborative healthy competition, a ‘together’ ethos and/and a nature love for who we are ‘warts and all’.

I love working with my clients, people who want to improve, explore, change their ‘damaging’ patterns and want to learn to be more alive, more naturallly motivated and more successful – I help them play the game for love not fear. Maybe our politians will learn that one day, however I believe in that political arena, we may need to seriously change the playing field first before the players can learn a new game!!!

In a world of constant disruption, do you feel lucky?

I know I have been lucky all my life even when times have been challenging (both personally and professionally) – and to be honest I believe the key to having ‘luck’ is believing in yourself and trusting that wherever you are, you are lucky to be alive. Sometimes in today’s world where ‘constant disruption’ is the most consistent aspect of our lives, many people feel unlucky. I feel enormously lucky to be a mature capable business woman in a world that needs ‘wise women’ at the top… and where men in business and in life…and in politics… are looking for a solution to a problem that has passed its sell-by-date!

At the Post Bureaucratic Network Conference Monday 21st February, the talk was about how we all deal with ‘constant disruption’ as the core nature of our problems and how we needed to build solutions based on transparency, technology and decentralization from the keynote speaker, David Cameron. Maybe so, I pondered on who deals with ‘constant disruption’ best and so the lucky ones in this moment in time.

Women are naturally brilliant at managing ‘constant disruption’ and all of those issues quoted above. Women only have to enter the realm of motherhood/parenthood to know that – to be running several roles at once, to have dependents in your life from elderly parents to sick or disabled family members, and hold a business role or run their own affairs – to know about how to manage ‘constant disruption’! And this is not to say men can’t do this some of the time; however it’s not so natural biologically for men who function best when focused on one task at a time. Men are essential to operational excellence and great when managing risk or certainty, and reducing collateral damage from the recessional fall out, however men generally don’t take the major dependency roles in the ‘home service arena’.

Once again it occurs to me that although men and women are designed to run this world together, this simple fact does not appear to speed up the changes we need. We want more women at the top but aren’t prepared to change the baseline rules and the language and behaviour that many male boardrooms exhibit. This is not about men at fault but about understanding that as well as the needs of the market we need to value the needs of women alongside men who have been in charge over 200 years, it is their natural default position. We moan about the numbers of women and quote ‘quotas’ from Norway and soon Spain and France. We keep on about the ‘glass ceiling’; yet we don’t think about a new script. Women and men together can change the plan – but this needs to be a conversation together. We could change the numbers and the quality of women in business easily if we redraw the script and build a new stage for the corporate world. The play might perform better and gain more applause from the audience. In many women-run business the evidence is already of more success and more longevity.

We need to go back to the drawing board if we are serious about changing main stream business at the top and right through. With a few simple changes in perspective, we can create, together, a desirable sustainable future where I hope we appreciate how lucky we all are to be the resources we naturally are.

Do we believe this yet? NO. Otherwise we wouldn’t be having this conversation … and I would be happily out of a role! We would already have the ‘right’ numbers of women at the top and in politics. We would have adapted the blueprint of business to encompass such things as multi-roles, dependency, maternity, parenthood, sickness and so much more that women are usually the prime owners.

I believe that we still have not entered the real conversation at the heart of our ‘troubles’ in a way that men listento women and women hear men. The core question is how do men and women truly share this world, what responsibilities come naturally and which are necessities we co-own? What needs are central to men and differently central to women – and what does business require to serve all for sustainable growth and healthy living for all in our society.
Is that a ‘pie in the sky’ idealistic view? Maybe, but I don’t apologize for this. I have too many magical conversations across so many sectors now that I know change is afoot and luck is on its way – if we look to notice it!

I believe we can co-create a great world where business and life co-exist and profit both social needs and material requirements. We can observe that when people value their own personal well-being and have healthy relationships, they work better, their brains function faster and when working well together as a community, they produce more innovative and successful results.

”Love and meaning” are freely available on this menu and so we are lucky as (if we choose) we can alter the course of our world, and each choose to utilize our natural value to its full – or to die. Sounds drastic but I see too many people in major businesses who are tired of the corporate stories, unsure of what their next step is, feel doomed to years of misery, men and women jaded with the lack of luck – or so they believe. Yet it is sitting right there inside them.

Was I born lucky? YES I chose a family who laughed, lived, loved and last a long time together. My mother is a lively 92, a wise and intelligent woman; my father (the wisest man I knew) died at 91 – I have a large family, brothers and sister, nephews and nieces, and my own two fabulous children. I am also very lucky to be blessed with an enjoyable motherhood period (past now), a long ex marriage, and now grand motherhood where my wisdom can give to and learn from a new generation who see the world afresh! Between my many roles (several in business and several in life), I observe my luck and am grateful daily for my path which is often challenged by ‘constant disruption’. I aim to do more, give back more, laugh more! I have an instinctive courage to keep going even when told I am being too optimistic!

As Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry said “do you feel lucky?” well I do – how about you? What choices will you notice, what luck will you take, it’s all around you – just take a look.