Jul 07

I have been doing a lot of reading this summer, however one book directly applies to our topic of thinking together. This approach comes from a different angle.

Six Thinking Hats: by Edward De Bono; 173pages – I read a chapter per workout on the stairmaster -seemed to work out just fine.

De Bono resets the way meetings function to communicate information, brainstorm and create new ideas. It has been nearly 15 years since it was first published. The revised edition brings in real world examples of this work with phenomenal success. Using this method he shows how what would have been a frustrating four hour meeting can be reduced to 45 minutes with impact and intention.

Part of the reason meetings take so long and don’t seem to go anywhere is because of all the private agendas and cross purposes. De Bono’s method focuses the groups thoughts and conversation in specific direction. You play a role. For example when you wearing (figuratively or metaphorically) the yellow hat in a meeting all comments are to be of a positive, constructive nature. All doubts, devil’s advocate statements are reserved for when the group shifts to black hat thinking.

Everyone in the group participates from the thinking perspective of the hat on the table. This focusing of intention allows the ideas to not get blocked by extraneous thought agendas.

I have effectively combined conversaton circle and Six Thinking Hat principles to lead board meetings, R&D teams as well as regular teams.  It is an incredibley efficient use of energy, resources, and time.

If you are interested in experimenting with it or have experience using it, please contact me and lets grow together.

Jul 07

DANC Conversation Starters

Do YouFeel A Vocation To Be Fully Human

From time to time D.A.N.C. (Dinner And Nifty Conversation) comes forward with interesting quotes and references. This was a starter piece for a conversation about friendship.

Conversation Starter Quote 1:

Source:  Margaret WheatleyTurning To One Another: Simple Conversations To Restore Hope To The Future.
Pp 58-59

Do I feel a vocation to be fully human?

Paulo Freire was a Brazilian and world educator who believed in people. Many times he stated that we have “a vocation to be fully human.” He demonstrated that when poor and illiterate people learned to think, they could understand what was causing their poverty. Once they understood this, they then acted powerfully to change their worlds. His approach to education has been called a “pedagogy of love.” But what does it mean that we have a vocation to be fully human?

The notion of vocation comes from spiritual and philosophical traditions. It describes a ”call,” work that is given to us, that we are meant to do. We don’t decide what our vocation is, we receive it. It always originates from outside us. Therefore, we can’t talk about vocation or a calling without acknowledging that there is something going on beyond our narrow sense of self. It helps remind us that there’s more than just me, that we’re part of a larger and purpose-filled place.

Even if we don’t use the word vocation, most of us want to experience a sense of purpose to our lives. From a young age, and especially as we mature, people often express the feeling of life working through them, of believing there’s a reason for their existence. I always love to hear a young person say that they know there’s a reason why they’re here. I know that if they can hold onto that sense of purpose, they’ll be able to deal with whatever life experiences await them. If we don’t feel there’s a meaning to our lives, life’s difficulties can easily overwhelm and discourage us.

This sense of a purpose beyond ourselves is a universal human experience, no matter our life circumstance. We don’t have to be comfortable, well-fed, or safe I order to feel purpose in our lives. Often those in the most terrible circumstances of imprisonment or poverty are the best teachers. How they endure tragedy and suffering gives us the clearest insight into what it means to be have a vocation to be fully human.

I was told the story of a pregnant Rwandan mother of six whose village was destroyed by massacre. She was shot first, buried under the bodies of each of her six slain children, and left for dead. She dug herself out, buried her children, bore her new child, and soon thereafter, chose to adopt five children whose parents had been killed in the same massacre. She expressed her belief that her life had been spared so that she might care for these orphaned children after losing her own.

This young African mother teaches me what it means to have a vocation to be fully human. I believe we become more fully human with any gesture of generosity, any time we reach out to another rather than withdraw into our individual suffering. To become fully human we need to keep opening our hearts, no matter what. At this time when suffering and anxiety continue to increase, when there is always reason to weep for some unbearable tragedy inflicted by one human on another, I try to remember to keep my heart open.

In my own experience, I notice that I like myself better when I am generous and open-hearted. I don’t like who I become when I’m afraid of others, or angry at them. There are many people whose actions anger me and make me afraid – But I don’t like how I feel when I respond to them from fear. At those times., I don’t feel more human but less. I become more fully human only when I extend myself. This is how I define for myself what it means to have a vocation to be fully human.

Conversation Starter Quote 2:

Pema Chodron (ibid p57)

We don’t set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people’s hearts.

Jul 07

DANC Conversation Starters – Friendship

From time to time D.A.N.C. (Dinner And Nifty Conversation) comes forward with interesting quotes and references. This was a starter piece for a conversation about friendship.

Conversation Starter:

Kahlil Gibran The Prophet
Writings on Friendship

And a youth said, speak to us of Friendship.

And he answered, saying:

Your friend is your needs answered. He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving. And he is your board and your fireside. For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace.

When your friend speaks his mind you fear not the “nay” in your own mind, nor do you withhold the “ay.” And when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart; for without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed.

When you part from your friend, you grieve not; for that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain. And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit. For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught.

And let your best be for your friend. If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also. For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill. Seek him always with hours to live. For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness. And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.


What thoughts come to mind?

What kind of friend are you?

What would life be like with friends like this?

Jul 07

ThinkingTogether – the Ultimate Knowledge Management Tool

Are you gathering information or Expanding Knowledge?

ThinkingTogether – Live Expansive Knowledge Management

Conversation Circles Are image © 2002-2004 Matthew Rochte

In these uncertain and volatile times corporations are digging in. New ways of leading can access a corporation’s greatest resource opportunity – their people with their vast knowledge base. Learn how Conversation Circles can unleash the power of collective thought. Witness how people can “think together” to find new solutions to issues that matter. Knowledge management up front and personal. Time to become Leader as Host.

Give me a calllet’s talk and think together about this.

Matthew Rochte, Green Business Coach, WorkingIntentionally.com 612-332-1642