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.

Leaving a legacy – set your intention now!

I met amazing Philanthropreneurs this week – a mixture of Philanthroper and Entrepreneur – and was lucky to be on a panel discussing this new concept, originated in the US, now being embraced by many motivated entrepreneurs who wish to ‘give back’ in the way they know best. The event was for the charity Education Africaand they have a wonderful entrepreneurial spirit in how they are developing their teaching style with children in Africa to grow strong minds as well as healthy bodies.

I was inspired to be part of the evening panel ‘ Philanthropreneur – The next generation defined’ and to learn more about this style of being, in deed a way of innovating and taking risk around new business ideas, creating wealth and yet ‘giving back’ in an energetic business way that enables the receiver and the giver to become enriched emotionally, spiritually, physically and materially. I felt as if I had come home and it felt good to me to develop my business with this new style, giving back as we grow.

Philanthropreneurs have a plentiful ‘possibility’ mindsets, very open hearts, a great sense of timing and innovation, aligned to a high world vision with a well balanced self less ego, and of course a pioneering eye line to the future…nothing is impossible ! If we are to leave a legacy that lasts for many generations after we have moved on, this feels to be the right way, to start now.

A couple of summers ago I wrote my ‘obituary’ – sounds odd maybe, however it is a valuable way to put yourself into the far future and create your legacy statement now (it can always grow and change however once written you’ll be amazed at what happens as soon as it is on paper!!)

Having decided that I will live to 101 (at least) I then stretched my imagination into that year, closed my eyes and looked what I would love to exist for my children and my grandchildren and my world, for friends I know and those I have yet to touch and for all I may never meet but are part of my global family.

I envisaged a new harmonic in the air, an abundant sense of love in the world, where life and work were balanced, where women and men had healthy choices over their careers and family lives, where children were educated with an authentic love and emotional energy that grew strong caring imaginative intelligent adults, who respect the environment and enjoy the natural beauty of the world. A world where major powers are empowering their people rather than fighting to right wrongs; where poverty was irradicated; a world where men and women live in harmony recognising the limitations of our natural planet resources and using them wisely. There will be a new community energy across the land, magical conversations daily, wisdom and joy alive in both work and play, and who knows what other exciting unknowns!!

In my legacy, I had eliminated ‘bad behaviour’ in the workplace, and gone on to set up The SMILE FOUNDATION as a core part of education across the world providing core curriculum classes in Sound, Movement, Imagination, Laughter and Energy to underpin the range of skills based teaching to inform a new generation of healthy adults. I had also written several books gender, relationships, happiness and fun; had various TV series, married again and enjoyed a happy healthy family life myself!

I just read my ‘orbituary’ now two years on and I am amazed how much has already started to set my plans in place… the power of good intentions is strong and we don’t need to do more than that and act on it. So what has happened; I have meet the most amazing like minded people, found an environment, The Monastery, where magical conversations are starting to happen about ‘Corporate Spirit’ and ways to bring a Spirit and Purpose to all organizations to make this world a better place to be… and now the law of attraction has brought opportunities to me to meet the influential senior players, men and women, who can transform from the Boardroom to create ‘wellness’ in trusted cultures across the UK. There are possibilties abounding for TV programmes, my book is started and interest found, and I am thoroughly enjoying my journey. Smiling all the way!!!

Set you intention, write your legacy way into the future, make a contract with yourself today and join the conversation with us NOW.

“The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time”.
American President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

The debate – does your brain sex really matter

istock_000004583601medium1The last two weeks have been full of exciting conversations!!

On the 15th October I attended the Stone Club breakfast time debate, led by Dr Anne Moir, and a lively conversation about the neurological evidence uncovered over recent years and how to use this to benefit our world. Looking at the current situation of the balance of men and women at top levels of the corporate world, Anne exploded the myth that it’s all about equality!

I was delighted to be invited as a guest to this event, as my passion is always to understand myself more and how I relate to others in my life. The more I study and work with men and women in the boardroom and across the broader clusters of teams and management levels, and indeed in my own social relationships, I realise the need to continuosly improve and learn to communicate in open, heartfelt and authentic ways. Yet we have many ways of viewing ‘conversations’ and our sex gets in the way!!

I also recognise positive face-to-face interactions create the most energy but different types come to the conversation with different expectations and different intentions. As one commentator said, “as soon as words leave our lips, they become available for mis-interpretation, good and bad, this always happens.” Depending on our brain preferecnes and neuro-biological imprint, we might see the world one way or other.

Accordign to Anne’s questionnaire from BRAINSEXMATERS I score 6 on a 0-20 continum where 0 is fully ‘male brain’ and 20 is fully ‘female’!! Ah!! I knew it and have all my life, I don’t have a purely feminine female persona – I have a wonderfully ‘masculine’ brain (it can’t be male actually as I know looking in the mirror, I am truly female!! ) yet my mind and body together work in normal female nurturing, multitasking way!! so what does it all mean?

For me it really explains why I have a ‘sat nav’ mind (I don’t turn the map round!), drive like a man (so my sister says!) and can be spatially accurate to a mm!! yet I can honour being a woman in everyway!

What a healthy place to be to know and understand myself more and more!!

This morning’s Thought for Today is “Lost in translation” and it made me chuckle a lot as I recognised how splendidly diverse we all are and how magic our conversations can be when we recognise our starting point comes from inside and not through social constructs about me needing to act as a woman in certian ways – nowadays I know I can be always that which I truly am!

The last two weeks continued with fabulous conversations, a truly magical dinner party in Mayfair with 5 stunningly different friends; an opportunity to address 40 senior women for a special ‘Preparedness for the Boardroom’ event; and especially important for me, meetings with my new business team that fill me with great courage and amazing possibilties for our growth and success.

Wow, each week amazes me and I am truly grateful.

My journey continues….

Creating magical conversations…

Pauline Crawford

Pauline Crawford

As time moves on, it becomes apparent that business is still stuck in terms of men and women getting their act together at the top of the corporate world!

I hear so many stories about how we should have more women at the top of business; how we need to change the ‘track record’ of the criteria for women in the boardroom; and women still arguing the toss about whether if they had been in charge, the economic crisis would have not happened! Personally I would like to focus on what we can do together to evolve a new conversation between us all so that we build a healthy, loving, energised and engaged thriving work culture….rather than keep on going over the past!

This is the time to look outside the past restrictions which have stopped progress. I recently addressed 50 lively business women, many solo entreprenuers, some corporate players, some owners of small successful businesses, and my theme was simple… “Life, Love and Legacy” and my request to my audience was ‘what responsibility and ownership do we take for our lives?” How do we bring love and energy into our whole existence… as business professionals, and as mothers, sisters, friends, aunties, daughters and colleagues, as customers and suppliers, as multi-faceted, emotional, caring, intelligent, highly talented, visionary collaborators in today’s future.

I believe if we take a wise stance, draw on our ancient wisdom, our strength as females, be it of many different types and styles, generations and cultures across the world, we can embrace men and persaude, inform, influence and emerge new ways to work together.

My wise advice to these women was direct. Let’s play our best card, draw the female baton and hand it on to other women around the world; recognise the limitations, rules and regulations that have been placed on us yet also look at the special place we’re now at and work together to give reasoned viewpoints as to why and how we change these rules.

Women have fantastic opportunities now to get involved in business, in politics, in social change and in determining our children’s future. Yes it may be a long road of change, but it’s happening as we sleep, eat and go out to work day by day. More and more men and women want a more purposeful world, a world where work and life find a more compatable coalition. And magical conversations are occuring everywhere.

My questions to my audience of women;

What part did women play in the design of our current world? What can we be responsible for in our conversations?

What did each of us learn from our lives to date that give us skills that can play into what has been a male world for many hundreds of years?

How can we discuss, debate and declare our authentic advantage as women without threatening, fighting with or demoralising men?

And why will men listen and hear us in a way that extends an open hand of collaboration?
I am uplifted to meet more and more wise men and women, of all generations who think, feel and act in a space of conscious awareness of others and the community around them. I am being asked every week to bring these magical conversatiosn into a wider arena and that I pledge to do.

Women across the world are gathering, click this link to find out more about Women on the Edge of Evolution and conversations to be held every Saturday from Oct 17th…

‘A thought for today’ I came across this week …

Pause before you let your assumptions spin out of control. Try being less fast to jump to conclusions and judge people or situations. Why not challenge your assumptions by checking out the full story first and then forming an opinion!
Think about your discussions about women, who we are, why we are the way we are, and what we can bring to the table?

Men – please don’t make assumptions about women, we’re here to complement you and bring a balanced view to the table…
Women – don’t make assumptions about other women, don’t pretend to ‘be’ a man even if you have a masculine mind, and don’t sabotage other women who you feel are playing too soft… When women fall out – it confuses the hell out of men and puts them right off including us in business!

My advice to women – learn that men are not the enemy, however they are made differently like a PC computer to our MAC, we use common words, yet our dialogue tells different stories and the hard drive and core programmes are distinct so we often hear and feel different meanings! Magical conversations are when we seek to understand to be understood, we speak and hear, we laugh and learn, we engage and emerge together for mutual benefits!

I asked my audience to think about their legacy…what would you like to be remember for achieving in your life?

Living a life of love that leaves a legacy that lasts…I wrote my ‘orbituary’ a few years ago, an exercise in intention setting – dated 40 plus years onwards,2050, and I pledged to leave a legacy that minimises ‘bad’ negative behaviour at work. More about that legacy next time!!

Call me on 00 44 7976 512117 to continue this conversation and find out more about my work at Corporate Heart. My passion is to shape a new energetic, awake, aware, and alive experience at work!!

Who’s calling the shots?

Last night I attended a fabulous debate at The Stone Club, a meeting of minds …and it surely was. The debate was ‘does the media, the business world, the politians or the general public call the shots’.

A lively top and very media’ full audience listened and debated ..with Andrew Neil chairing with his usual hard hitting humour and Simon Lewis, No 10’s official spokesman, getting an ear bashing from Nick Ferrari, Breakfast Show Host. LBC 97.3, and the result – a draw between the MEDIA and the POLITIANS – and I reflected on the impact of women in this whole debate. If there were more women in Parliament and in Business, of the right sort of course, the authentic, heartfelt, loving and generous female type, would we see a more balanced viewpoint influencing the way we receive the news?

This week also saw the start of The Downing Street Project, with four workstreams launched in Committee Room 10, around 100 women clammered to get involved to set their sights high to bring about new ways for women to be great politians. Watch this space for more news as the next 90 days are targetted to make huge shifts in how women leverage their ‘soft power’ to make a HUGE difference.

Our first woman Prime Minister Margaret Thather surely “called the shots”..well at least for most of our role in NO 10. The Downing Street Project sets out to be sure of more women in Parliament, yet focused on a new type of politian, one which the general public can really feel holds their attention and their vote ..and their love.

What is this talk of love an ‘soft power’? This is the essence of what will make the new politians more human, still with their own views and manifestos for sure, but with a real understanding and value for honesty, integrity and courage. We observe this in President Obama in every speech and his ability to ‘call the shots’ and outsmart the media on many occasions getting round the White Press circle with ease. He calls for ‘mutual respect’ mutual understanding’ ‘collective thinking’ and ‘world peace’. Soft power calling the shots.

Who calls the shots in your life?

The economic climate seems to be calling the shots in many people’s lives. The climate calls the shots on sweltering hot days as now. The Boardroom calls the shots. People need to be able to call the shots in their own lives. Women and men alike more influencing the media, the business leaders and the politians we vote into place.

For a new way to see men and women, do read my the first chapters of JOURNEY TO PLANET BIZ, and help call the shots on how this story ends….

Watching women in a changing world

Watching the news on women aiming for the boardroom is fascinating. There is a lot of progress in one sense – Chairmen of major organisations are meeting a new cohort of potential senior women at last. Congratulations to Elin Hurvenes of Professional Boards Forum who has successfully held her first event in the Uk, where 20 top Chairmen met many senior women on May 5th and discused how the boardroom can become more balanced. We still have a long way to go however this is a fabulous start.

When top men start saying keynote statements such as Roger Carr, Chairman, Centrica plc and Cadbury plc “In my experience women add considerable value to the boardroom discussion. They help generate a more team oriented and thoughtful atmosphere that produces better board work. For that simple reason I want both genders represented on any board I chair.” …then we will start a quiet evolution towards creating a new economic order together.

My passion and that of my colleagues is create more magical conversations where men and women not only get to hear what each has to say, but they also listen and take on board the significance of this new merger of gender.

HOWEVER In all M&As the greatest test is to merge cultures successfully – and many mergers fail because due care and attention is not made to the differences between the cultures. The same is happening here with men and women as often not enough care and attention is being made to understanding each culture and oft times it is said ‘men and women are not different’ (Fawcett Society). Men and Women are different and thank goodness! and women are different to other women, men differenet to men, generation over generation, differences are all around. The choice we have is to value each other as individuals and bring both separate and combined ‘femaleness’ and ‘maleness’ in as a business benefit.

Just to focus here on women, enlightened women know that to be healthy in the boardroom, they need to be themselves, not someone they think they need to be… and not having to act and behave like a man. Even if women naturally have a ‘masculine-minded’ brain and a preference for action, directness, and traits often associated with men, or ‘feminine-minded’ women who bring natural intuition and softer people skills to the party, all women have inherent biological characteristics that add amazing benefits to business. Women are emotionally wired to nurture relationships, to multi-task, to communciate and build client rapport and customer service easily to name a few. Women love business and in general do things differently to men…but they don’t in general ‘sell’ themselves up the career ladder the way men do.

This is not about men or women being better or worse than each other – just different! More women than ever are setting up businesses today, even in a fragile and chaotic market! We’re enjoy business, often we don’t enjoy major corporate life, maybe because we’re not in ownership of the blueprint that has been designed by men for years and years!

Every women, any type, from tough tomboy type to the soft-power gentle woman, all can expand their business and interpersonal skills into a masculine boardroom bringing the required balance that business needs today. May be women don’t want to work on the male playing field anymore but don’t know how to change things.

Take Roger Carr’s view – he knows having a mixed board makes a different atmosphere and there is more evidence that mixed boards run more successful businesses overall in profits and sustainable growth. I see it over and over through our sessions with women over the last 6 months that women tell us that they want to be more tuned to their natural skills, their gender qualities, and their personal motivators and to go higher – but struggle to maintain their senior level confidence against a backdrop of beign a minority and rise up through the more male-run organisations.

Maybe we need to take a lateral view on this whole issue of women in a changing world… and change the groundrules rather than keep struggling on an old blueprint that is now out of date!!