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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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.

Communicating across every media!

Rather than going over past facts, such as why there aren’t enough women in the boardroom, and why markets are troubled by the recessional impacts of the last year, I believe we need to enter a phase of reflection and sensing, communication and conversations, without limitations.

Wise leaders question the world today in many different ways. These leaders come from younger generations as well as mature CEOs – at either end of the age spectrum – and they view the troubled world around us in new ways. These leaders know they need to engage and communicate in new ways with all those around them from their top teams through to their customers. All parties in the business chain add value and if we get the conversation right we can open up many new possibilities together.

This got me thinking about my recent conversations I have had this year with amazing leaders and change makers across different market sectors about how we might ‘reform’ our economy might require now. Does change need to be dramatic, rules bound and regardless of people? – or can it be reflective, sensitive and opportunistic, engaging people right across the business spectrum in energetic and exploring converstions? We need forward looking conversations rather than those of the past; driven by authentic desire to take account of every human diversity and business need. We need to regard people, men and women alike, as they are the fuel of the new economy!

I reckon we need a great stirring of wisdom into the mix!

When we mix wisdom into every conversation, and focus on higher world values, a good touch of conscious awareness and a renewed sense of human energy, I believe we will find new solutions that touch our core community needs.

Don’t let’s get stuck on old rules and restrictions. I wholeheartedly believe we can transcend all issues and focus everyone on a common agenda that can save the planet as well as our businesses. I suggest maybe by listening to the younger generations, men and women, we can find just the right ingredients that create magic!

Creating magical conversation involves a few ground rules; we need a safe yet inspiring space where everyone can share their truth, be listened to, contribute and create collaboratively. I sense we need to build community work cultures with an energetic nurturing atmosphere and inspiring environment, self and group awareness of all personalities involved, a clear intention set at an emotional level, and an openness for men to co-create a new world with women at senior levels as well as across all areas of business and life.

“Charles Darwin understood: “it is not the strongest that survive – but those most responsive to change.”

I aim to host many different types of magical conversations in 2010 that inspire everyone to really look at the serious factors of business, wellbeing and life coming together. I recognise we need to understand technology within these conversation styles as there are now so many ways to connect face to face!

In this new digital age, with social media and with amazing new technology such as Video Conferencing, Webinars and Tele Presence, I see the way forward is to bring back to the true human interface and personal skills we need to communicate through all medias. We need a personal context across business that understands human emotions and seeks to build truly healthy relationships and communities of trust. Whether at the end of the email, screen or teleconference, social and business communication needs the human touch of conversations.

Little things count in conversations. Great eye to eye contact never dates as far as I can see!! Great human inter-connections grow faster over the airwaves with love, for the heart knows where the authentic truth lies! The more we communicate well, with heartfelt care – whatever the media – the faster we can co-create a world that takes response ability for people, profit and the planet at the same time!

In 2010, I intend to create many magical conversations with people who are wise and forward thinking, I invite you personally to take part in these conversations with me!