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Service? What service. June 21, 2012

Posted by wooddickinson in 1st National Bank of Omaha, Change, consulting, executive coaching, executive leadership, Flo, KitchenAid, Life Coach, Progressive, service, Systems Thinking, Thermador, Tom Peters.
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For the most part customer-service has become an oxymoron(1). As of late when I call customer-service the answer is “no way.” For example, we have a KitchenAid trash compactor sort of for the last five years. I say that because we’re on our third one. In five years I remind you. For the last of those five years the compactor has worked about 20% of the time. That’s probably generous. The same part would break and the unit wouldn’t stop trying to work when it was supposed to. It would crush the trash then the Ram would come back up but it would never stop. We’d have to jerk the door open to stop it. Beyond that if we put trash in and close the door it would start up on its own. I would finally switch it off and get our huge trash can from the garage. It looked good in our remodeled kitchen.

We’d call the service man and after the customary wait of 3 days he’d show up between 9 and noon. Say the same part needed repair, call and leave while we all waited for the part to come in. What I thought was a hoot was instead of the serviceperson returning to the shop to get the part it would be mailed to our home! We’d have to call the service company and do all this again. He’d put the part in and with in 2 days it would do the same thing.

Finally after a year they seem to have fixed the stupid compactor. I called “customer-service” and told them I’d paid for a service contract for the last year and had virtually no use of the compactor so now that it is “fixed” I wanted a year service-contract for free. Does that sound like I’m asking too much?

I was. I got told by everyone up the chain of command, “No way.” In those words. Really, that’s what they’d say. I finally got ahold of a person in the corporate office and repeated my request. I asked if Mrs. KitchenAid would mind having this unit in her house? I’d pay the shipping and installation. The response was I’d get my free year service-contract. It took me hours to accomplish this so I wouldn’t recommend KitchAid for anything.

Now I’m going through the same things with Thermador for a gas range and freezer. They haven’t worked properly since day one. Now 5 years down the road I offered the same deal. I’d pay shipping and installation to see if Mrs. CEO of Thermador was happy with these products. Of course she wouldn’t so some repair company is coming out today to “evaluate” the units. In the words of Queen Victoria, “We are not amused.”

This week my online banking with 1st National Bank of Omaha stopped working. Calls to customer-service only told me I had lost several accounts and my wife could not talk to anyone because she didn’t have my social security number. She is on all the accounts by the way.

Again I just asked for the president. I got the ubiquitous “someone” in the president’s office. I find that so funning. When I was president of Dickinson Theatres that someone in the president’s office was me. I didn’t have any “people.” I asked this women where the president was and she said she didn’t know! You think I was really talking to someone in the president’s office? I don’t think so. How insulting. She did fix my online banking though. I’ll give her that.

Okay so that’s KitchenAid, Thermador, and 1st National Bank of Omaha. All with no can do customer-service that required hours on the phone and requests to speak to the presidents but the presidents were all to busy doing something more important. Maybe playing golf.

Now it is Progressive Insurance (thankfully not my insurance company). Anyone know Flo’s number?

The point here is simple. The most important person in all of these companies isn’t the CEO or President. It’s me. The Customer. If I wasn’t around where would they be? Mr. And Mrs. KitchenAid wouldn’t have a job. You get my point! I’m so over this kind of “customer-service” I’m sick. It’s everywhere. No one can answer a phone, no president of any company will talk to a lowly customer. I guess that’s like getting your hand’s dirty. Oh god not another customer!

Help me Tom Peters. You’re my only hope…

 ________________

1 a combination of contradictory or incongruous words (as cruel kindness); broadly : something (as a concept) that is made up of contradictory or incongruous elements (military intelligence) – Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

Where do ideas come from? June 7, 2012

Posted by wooddickinson in 7 Habits, Change, consulting, executive coaching, executive leadership, family coaching, Family Crisis Group, FCG, Hope, Life Coach, Neurobiology, shared vision, Systems Thinking.
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I was watching a YouTube video of Tony Faddall addressing the question, “Where do ideas come from?” For Tony the answer was FRUSTRATION. I think that’s a great source for someone involved in engineering. My daughter was in the Apple Store a couple of weeks ago with her new iPad. What she wanted to do is create a document and have it be on a cloud so she can update that document from any computer where the file resides. I’m a writer so this seemed elemental. But currently it can’t be done in a transparent fashion. The tec helping her said that he understood her concept and it was a good idea. Well Duh. We all live with frustration in our daily lives and it is getting worse.

I’ve noticed over the last year a disturbing trend in large corporations. For instance, our KitchenAid trash compactor has been broken most of time while my maintenance contract was ticking away. The rest of the time we just sat thinking about calling the repairman. So when I got the renewal contract in the mail I called KitchenAid service and told them the situation and suggested they should give me another year on my contract for free. Now what I just did was ask the person on the other end of the phone to walk to the moon. So, the answer I got was “Impossible.” No way. We don’t do that. Ever.

So with the challenge set, I went on a mission to get the “impossible” done. I called supervisors and got the same Impossible. Now my wife had been around with them before so she had a number for someone in the corporate office. I called her and suddenly the impossible became possible.

This super negative ‘there’s no way in hell’ attitude seems to be permeating business. When I ran Dickinson Theatres I’d ask the receptionist to direct all complaint calls to me the President/CEO. I had fun solving their problems and keeping a happy customer. I guess that’s old fashioned.

Frustration? Yes it breeds ideas and sometimes a smart person may solve the problem if he/she doesn’t get fired for doing so. Now I’m a creative guy. I write movies, short stories, books and do photography. These ideas come from a bit different place. What I say is, the day dreamers in the room will probable have an idea and do something great. Those who couldn’t daydream if they tried need not apply.

I find my ideas come from a convergence of information that at first may not look related. I also love the “what if…” game. The point is creativity is not just the property of a few but the property of all no matter if it’s computer design or programming or painting or writing a novel. Here is a good LINK to start.

For you writers out there a fun tool is The Observation Deck.

The number one biggest helper in the creative department is curiosity. My computer defines curiosity as a” strong desire to know or learn something.” Curiosity may have killed the cat but it truly is the well from which ideas flow.

A New Initiative July 11, 2011

Posted by wooddickinson in Change, consulting, family coaching, Family Crisis Group, FCG, Hope.
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Patti and I have been helping other families for a very long time. We have 30+ years of experience in parenting (and we aren’t done yet) and in that time we have experienced some bumps and a lot of joy. We increased our knowledge by taking parenting programs, continuing education, keeping current with the literature and being involved in our community.

Currently I serve on the Advisory Board at Ozanam Home (a residential treatment facility) and I’ve worked with families and boys through the Boy Scouts for over 20 years. I have worked with Lone Scouts and as a Scoutmaster. Patti has spent years involved with the PTA. She worked with schools raising awareness of the homeless and has written an introspective book entitled Four Ordinary Women. She is a licensed educator and has taught K through 8th grade. Some of that time was spent teaching in schools in ethnic neighborhoods learning as much as she was teaching. Patti and I co-authored No Windows No Doors – On the Threshold of Homelessness. The book was created for the 20th anniversary of Uplift. We have spent many evenings riding in the back of a truck bringing meals to the homeless where they live. Currently Patti volunteers her time at the Kansas City Free Health Clinic.

I have an MA from TCU in Communications. Communication seems to be an issue that’s at the heart of family problems as well as a challenge for kids of this current generation. I have taught The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People since 1994 and worked with individual schools and school districts in implementation of this program. I’m developing a new workshop called HOPE based on a foundation developed by Dr. C. R. Snyder who was the leading expert on hope theory.

Experience is one of the best teachers. I think that’s why people “practice” law and medicine not just “work” in those fields. Society is in rapid change, destabilizing business, science, economics, politics and families. After helping other families I mentioned to Patti that we should formalize things. We have made contact with so many excellent resources (also called people!) and been a guide to so many families that it seems very natural to create what we now call The Family Crisis Group or FCG.

We had our first client family before we even announced this initiative. This family had a teen who was spiraling out of control. We walked them through the predictable feelings of grief, shame and heartache. We wanted them to know that a family can heal, marriages can be repaired and relationships restored. We can help you walk that road. FCG is composed of professionals from psychiatrists to addiction specialists and educational consultants.

Patti and I will stay with you as the point people in your effort to regain control. We will coach, teach, listen, recommend action then be there through the action so you know you can pick up the phone 24/7 and we will be there to help. As a matter of fact, you can call us now. We are non-judgmental, supportive, and objective. There’s no blame, no shame — only advocacy for parents and families. The out of control teen causing this maelstrom is a person crying for help.

We try very hard to bring an intensive therapeutic environment with us so residential treatment can be avoided. We can facilitate addiction intervention, and represent your plan to help your child in court. If residential treatment is the only option we work with an excellent educational consultant who will guide you through that maze and try to leave you with some money in your bank account.

The teen may not like us but that doesn’t matter. We have a great team that’s got our back so we can have yours. Parents are so often the forgotten piece in all this and if you are involved with the social services or juvenile justice system you know what I mean. You need an advocate for you with the goal being to repair your broken family.

Family is the most important thing we have. Call and we’ll talk. Together we can take steps toward better days. Until then, God be with you.

 http://www.familycrisisgroup.com/

Control June 17, 2011

Posted by wooddickinson in 7 Habits, Change, consulting, family coaching, Life Coach.
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It’s Friday and a wonderful rainy Friday to boot. As I woke this morning I mourned the fact I couldn’t stay in bed and enjoy the sound of the rain and just relax and think. This is becoming a huge problem not only for me but all of us I fear.

I met a friend for breakfast then came home to sort through tax issues before going in to work. Work is something I’m trying to move to my home. Having an office these days is silly. It’s an expense that returns little value and mostly is a pain due to landlords who are rude and ungrateful. I have plenty of space in my home to work and Starbucks or Panera for my meeting rooms.

The real problem I have (and I don’t think I’m alone) is time and its organization plus managing my to do list. The reason is the constant flow of interruptions. In 7 Habits we talk about actions we take being broken into 4 quadrants. The idea is if we can spend more time in planning and preparation then we’ll reduce the emergency issues that eat away at our time. Urgency. I think maybe the world has driven us beyond this simple idea. It isn’t simple urgent issues that beg for my time and my control over stopping urgent issues isn’t just a matter of better planning and preparation. It now has become the decision not to play in this relentless world of immediate gratification.

I write an email and expect an answer immediately. I text and wait for the reply. I am accosted with volumes of blogs I’m made to feel are essential to my success as well as leaving comments, blogging myself and doing everything just right to build my “social presence.” All of this could fall under planning and preparation when it feels totally urgent and might just be a total waste of time.

Confusion is what has been created in the world today. I look at my kids who are in college and high school and they are knee deep in a world that exercises more control on them than they have on themselves.

I think maybe it is time to look at our models of time management and recreate them to match the chaos that is the environment we currently live in. I look at my father-in-law’s life (now in his 80s) and he has none of this chaos not because it isn’t all around him but he doesn’t choose to respond to it. Kids growing up in it right now are wiring their brains to contain this chaos but at the price of personal relationships and times of reflection and peace. Instead they withdraw into activities that are time wasting. Escape I think. Excessive sleeping, television, texting and general disconnection to real life and the social and political realities around them.

How to change this? A total reboot of the social system? Abandoning the Internet? Something must change and maybe it is one person at a time deciding your problems are not my problems. I start my day doing what I want. Phone off, no email running, and looking at my to do list with intentionality. Planning to do email for thirty minutes or so before lunch and again at 4:30 in the afternoon. Ignore text until lunch time. No Internet except for directed activities needed to fulfill my to dos.

If this leaves Facebook not visited today, so be it. My “social presence” isn’t important to the real work I want to accomplish today.

When Life Is Chaos! May 24, 2011

Posted by wooddickinson in Change, Hope, Systems Thinking.
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It’s really funny (or aggravating) when life decides to take a detour from where you think you are going. I’m in the middle of a huge detour right now. These trials are upsetting and aggravating primarily because you think you have a handle on life and a focus on what you want to create and how to do it. Then life happens. Out of your control some system or person decides to throw you into chaos. Like when I came to work the other day and I turn on my computer only to find my DSL line from AT&T was suspended with a message telling me to call them now!

My world grinds to a halt as I wait on hold for 30 minutes. When I get a person I ask what the frozen DSL line and nasty message are all about. She, in the best of self-righteous ways, tells me I haven’t paid my bill and if I would like to take care of that she could help me and unfreeze my DSL line. It took all the patients I had not to take this woman’s head off. I counted to 10 then asked her, “Didn’t you receive a check?” She tells me to hold and clicks off. A dangerous thing to have happen after a 30 minute hold time. She clicks back on sounding meek and not nearly as self-righteous. She said, “Yes, I have a check for xxx amount and your current balance is xxx and everything is just fine. She will get my DSL back up and have a nice day.” Click.

This is what is passing for customer service these days. I have had Shell call me telling me I’m so past due and they want a credit card number now. Oh sure, I just give anyone who calls all my credit card information. I asked for statements to be mailed to me so he asked what my account number was (now he called me) and since I don’t use gas cards I said I didn’t have a clue. What came next just blew me away. Suddenly I didn’t have an account with Shell. This was the most confusing call. I asked how I could owe anything if I don’t have an account? He didn’t know and hung up.

One of the best calls I experienced was one I made. I was going over a credit card bill and noticed a charge for AAA auto club. I can’t remember ever signing up for that. Currently I drive a Mercedes and it comes with roadside assistants. I called the number listed on the bill and got a marvelous customer service lady. I said that there was a charge from AAA and I never order it so I want it off my bill. She began to argue with me that I did order it. It was an automatic renewal. I just love auto renewals because it is near impossible to get them stopped. Finally I asked when the charge was started. She said 1985 so I told her I wanted a refund from 1985 to the present for all the AAA charges. She hug up on me!

Now that just doesn’t work on me. I called them right back. Of course I got a different person and this guy was very nice and helpful. The last lady had removed the charge after she hung up on me. I told this gentleman what my experience had just been and he was very sorry, took an incident report and promised it would be taken care of. We parted friends.

Citi Corp calls day and night because I’m past due on my bill for $8. They spent more than $8 collecting that debt. These companies are so reactive now that they alone can create a lot of chaos which in the end does them more damage than good. A sign of the times I guess.

I understand people are hurting now. I’m one of those people. I don’t care what Washington keeps saying this “economic recovery” seems very unreal. This is a time for compassion and looking for ways to put together deals with customers that help the company get paid and doesn’t over burden the customer or charge an exorbitant interest rate. But do they do that? No. Conflict is what they like and the customer feels shame at being in this position and the company doesn’t have a clue that when you shame a person you have just hurt yourself as well. The person shamed will either strike out at them or strike out at himself. Both actions have negative consequences for the company.

And so it goes. Business in the 21st century…

Family May 1, 2011

Posted by wooddickinson in Change, consulting, family coaching.
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When the family finds itself in crisis what should it do? Quick! Have the answer? When a child in the family falls into the high risk category and you never planed on having a high risk kid, what do you do? Quick! I need the answer. When my kid explodes turning the entire family into a rage and creates unbelievable stress on the marriage, what’s the plan? Hurry, the answer please!

Unless you have lived this situation you have no idea what it feels like. You think you are a good parent. You teach values and are there for your kids. But despite your best efforts the calls keep coming from the school everyday with the “bad” report.

The answer is you flat out don’t know what to do. Suddenly you are in territory you never planed for with problems you never thought you’d see. Not in my family.

Maybe you run to your kid’s doctor only to find out they don’t really know what to do and don’t really have a referral. Maybe she prescribes some drugs but she really doesn’t have the pharmacological background to be effective.

Then you make a big mistake and run to a clinic in a large institutional hospital. You find half committed doctors and social workers that offer to run yards of test and weeks of therapy only to be at the same place but two months down the road.

By now the stress on the marriage and family is too much. Mom screams, “We have to get him out of the house!” How do you do that?

The truth is the struggling teen is hurting as badly as everyone else. No one likes him, he has no advocate and he feels abandoned and scared. The shame of the situation is driving his actions.

What you need is a family coach/educational counselor. You need a friend that can do a breakdown of the situation and make lists of basic needs that need to be met. This person can help ease the panic and frustration and show you that there is a direction to go. Remove your vulnerability.

I have had to deal with at risk kids in my home. They are all doing well now but the road was very bumpy because I didn’t have an advocate to ride shotgun the whole way. I have had to go to war with hospitals like KU when they were wanting to follow a treatment protocol that clearly wasn’t indicated. Me against five doctors and one rabid social worker. I’ve had to get in the face of school administrators to get them to open their eyes to what they say their mission is. And so it goes.

All this is very intimidating which a lot of the time is exactly what the powers that be want. They are the experts and you should sit down and shut up. Some recent events outside my family has shown me again that an individual is needed to talk a parent through a hard choice. I was wishing that I could have met with the family and assessed things myself then gone to the facility chosen and see if they can really do the job. I found I was wanting to remain the advocate for the child and parents until things were under control. That way you can help a family through the entire process and after care choices and family reintegration.

I’ve never really thought of doing this kind of work but really thinking about it I feel more and more intrigued by the challenge. I have worked with educational consultants in the past but they are placement counselors. They don’t follow progress on a proactive basis through treatment. What do you think? Is there work here and an opportunity?

And so it goes April 22, 2011

Posted by wooddickinson in 7 Habits, Change, consulting, executive coaching, executive leadership, Hope, Life Coach, Neurobiology, shared vision, Systems Thinking.
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There was a full moon this week. I’ve run into other people who have said the same thing. That’s the origin of the term lunatic. In the Victorian era when many of the college campus size asylums were built they called them lunatic asylums. Now that work lunatic has taken on negative connotations like changing what you call it will change what it is. This exchange was invigorating and made me think! I enjoyed John’s view and hope he felt the same. Life’s to short for anything else.

my answer:

This is an interesting view on life and I thank you for sharing this with
all of us. As for a manual I really meant a copy of the 7 Habits book. I
agree that the imprint of infancy, the first 18 months of life, does leave
a basis for making choices in life. I just feel sometimes we don’t know
what it is that happened in the past that drives the choice today. These
events may be unrelated to current stimulus you are encountering. I suffer
with PTSD. There are two kinds 1) sudden onset and 2) Grand Canyon. The
* may never become activated so it doesn’t pose a problem but if it is
activated then searching for the root cause so memories can be properly
integrated can be a real trip. This is what I have and I’m here to tell you
it is no fun.
Principles govern. I believe that. Fight natural law and you will lose. Our
task is to bring our personal values in alignment with natural laws. An on
going process and a reason I keep compasses everywhere. When a plane takes
off from NYC bound for LA it spends something like 60% of its time going
the wrong way and needing attention from the pilot or auto-pilot. Scary
thought. Thank you for sharing your view. I’ll file them away with the
other info I collect on these subject.
Best regards,
Wood Dickinson

And John Said… April 22, 2011

Posted by wooddickinson in 7 Habits, Change, consulting, executive coaching, executive leadership, Hope, Life Coach, Neurobiology, shared vision, Systems Thinking.
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I think you’ll see that the steam is running down so I work to bring this to a close. It’s very difficult to debate philosophy via the internet! What I do hope is that these divergent views can be freely explored without anger or malice. I don’t think we got to a true dialectic here but much closer because neither John or myself closed the door saying your flat wrong. I know I learned and he gave me something to think about. All of this reinforces the wiring in the brain to build more pathway for understanding not fighting.

Greetings to Wood Dickinson.

I suggest that proactivity is as I have experienced it and how I have observed everyone else experiences it. I am not here to support or deny Stephen Covey. My response is therefore based upon my experience of observing Coveys ideas in action. I have not previously gone out of my way to look for flaws in his practice (as opposed to the principles I believe he is attempting to communicate.

Personal experience, not Covey, shows me at all times, that provided only that I do not let my monkey brain get in on the act, I am always able to respond in a good, true and beautiful manner. The extremes of these three parameters can also be expressed as subjective specification, objective evidence and subjectively and objectively aligned conclusions, each versus its complete opposite. It is these hopefully subjectively and objectively aligned but more often misaligned conclusions that provide the ongoing minimal adjustment to each person’s proactivity. In other words, each person relies upon the fixities of their infancy, childhood and adolescence instead of at all times questioning as to the alignment of their beliefs (expedient) and their actual experience (honesty).

Personal experience, not Covey, also shows me at all times, that provided only that I do not let my monkey brain get in on the act, it is awareness (not limited self-awareness but rather cosmic self-awareness) and intention (not selfish limiting stupidity, but rather cosmically responsible will) that is the basis of consciousness. Total consciousness would be total certainty on all things. This would be the ultimate (an absolute) proactivity.

Personal experience also shows me that the reactions for which we need to take responsibility are the consequence of our belief systems, each of which is stuck in infancy, childhood, adolescence and possibly young adulthood. By transferring from the use of belief system nonsense to reliance on personally verified universally applicable principles, we shift from illusion (the school, subjectivity and cramming) to certainty (the farm, objectivity and pragmatic behaviour. The more we operate as a farm, the more proactive we become. Covey’s four endowments to me seem somewhat out of alignment. Aware-Will most certainly, through their paradoxical mutual opposition and mutual support evolve into Aware-Will-Consciousness (another way of describing proactivity)

Imagination is a tool, created by aware-will (along with the other tools of Requirements and Expectations) for the purpose of playing around with the materials of Belief Systems (Beliefs and Attitudes, Feelings and Thoughts, Options and Decisions). In the absence of intentional ongoing honesty, these nine components of belief systems are the nearest to proactivity we ever get. However, through systematic honesty we can question everything that we experience as negative and turn it from shit (bad, untrue and ugly) into proactive fertiliser (good, true and beautiful).

I do not have the Facilitators’ Manual, so I am unable to comment on that. I use the Pythagorean Enneagram as a universal flow diagram. Having applied it to many superficially very different natural processes I have never been able to find any flaw in its predictions. The underlying 7 habits, plus 2 more (subjective quality assurance or the school, after habit 3, and objective quality control or the farm, after habit 5) provide the entire circuit. It is actually the systematic alignment of Quality Assurance (as pumped into us at school) and Quality Control (as experienced in our actual lives) that leads to Quality Leadership (the honesty based integration of subjective and objective experience.

 The feedback loops are shown on the enneagram as arrowed lines. Going with the arrows leads expediently (like the school cramming) into less and less proactivity. This is when you are your own worst enemy. Going against the arrows leads somewhat more effortful alignment (i.e., into proactivity and consciousness) . This is when you are your own (and also everyone else’s) best friend.

Dr. Siegel is absolutely correct. In the infant mother relationship there is a mutual “tuning” of psychobiological states between mother and child. It seems that this early bonding is central to the creating of secure attachments later in life. Biological, psychological and social domains do begin to lose meaning and mostly do disappear completely in reference to developmental and cognitive neuroscience.

Visit Helen Palmer’s website at http://www.enneagram.com/. It is rich with details of how actuality loses its hold as subjective beliefs systems take over and how self knowledge can eventually lead not just to self-knowledge but on to interpersonal knowledge and eventually pan determinism.

What I Think April 22, 2011

Posted by wooddickinson in 7 Habits, Change, consulting, executive coaching, executive leadership, Hope, Life Coach, Neurobiology, shared vision, Systems Thinking.
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I’m a communications guy but I also feel over the years I’ve become somewhat a philosopher. One thing I love is a lively debate. In essence to create a truly interpersonal relationship you need to construct a dialectic. Now I’m sure I’ve lost you so hang on. A dialectic is simply a framework where two (or more) people come together with the idea of learning what the other person thinks and feels. It is based on the idea of a dialog. The word discussion is percussive and doesn’t really address talking at all. If I grab one of my kids for a discussion they hear lecture. In dialectic relationships I always want to be in you and you in me. That way we can understand the underlying reason for your action and you might understand the source and reason of my fear.

With  this we learn and change. This is why I feel habit 4 doesn’t go far enough and it comes too late. Thinking win/win is all fine and everything but it’s just words. If I have worked on myself to the point where winning is meaningless then I will live for establishing a dialectic with you so I can soak in who you are and give you who I am.  I think Jesus said it best and with a lot fewer words, “Love one another as you would love yourself.”


Now for my answer to John:

John Lester,

I think you have the wrong idea about “Be Proactive” as Covey explains it. I’ve taught this habit to a lot of people and the reactions I get is what drove me to look deeper. Covey states clearly that between a stimulus and a response is a space. This space is our place to chose the response we want to give. Covey thinks if you work on your 4 human endowments (self-awareness, Imagination, conscience and Independent Will) you can strengthen your proactive muscle and widen that space between stimulus and response so you are truly choosing your response not just reacting. This is the information I’m asked to teach on page 128 of the facilitator’s manual. Look at that section in the book if you have a copy.

I agree there is nothing new in the 7 Habits and Covey as much as says so. It’s common sense organized. Elements I feel are good is the see do get model. This is a rudimentary approach to using systems thinking (which includes feedback loops) and people understand it right away. It shows how you can be your own worst enemy. These constant actions that validate a point of view that isn’t right builds strong wiring in the brain.

There is no doubt in my mind that the 7 Habits contains a lot of truthful and useful information. I grew from my contact with it. What I’m saying is in the last 10 years a lot has changed. Neuroscience has shown us that there are remarkable connections in the brain but still we don’t know where the mind is. We understand much better the role of cognition in a person’s life and that’s good.

7 Habits challenges us to look deep inside, into that deep interpersonal life and bring about alignment and discover what it is I want to create. Mission, vision, values. Empathic listening is vital but really empathic relationships is what we are looking for. That creates the true interpersonal. I like the inside out approach and the idea the private victory precedes the public victory. I think all these ideas help us place those somatic markers that guide our thinking.

Dr. Siegel posits that in the infant mother relationship there is a mutual “tuning” of psychobiological states between mother and child. It seems that this early bonding is central to the creating of secure attachments later in life. As a matter of fact Siegel points out that biological, psychological and social domains begin to lose meaning and might disappear completely in reference to developmental and cognitive neuroscience. I’ll leave it there for now and blog a bit more in depth about these issues.

Best,
Wood

From John Lester April 22, 2011

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enneagram

This next section is a reply I received from John Lester, a member of the group. I think this shows how wide an interpretation can be made of the same material. If you are running an organization and I think my way and John his then we are not aligned in our vision, mission and goals. That isn’t to say we all have to be 1984 robots; I’m talking about core values.

You and I can agree that education is important so the problem comes in the “how” it will be done. If you think about I bet most confrontations you have in your life are based more on methods not meaning. That’s why as a leader you focus on outcomes. Tell a worker, this is what I want at the end of the day. How you do the task, I don’t care just don’t break the law. This is a form of delegation focused around trust and respect. Many of us want to micro-manage the person doing the task. In that case, just do it yourself. If the point is to gain more time for other tasks and promote pride in the team then micro-manage is out.

I’ll go more into delegation later but for now here is John’s reply:

Mr Wood Dickinson appears to have a misunderstanding regarding the concept of proactivity. He states that “much of what the 7 Habits proposes is false”. Self determinism, group determinism and pan determinism are all demonstrably down to earth practical objectives.

It is temporarily sad that his “continued research” has led him up a dead alley, but at a later date he is likely to discover that his research was not wasted, only clouded by his own misunderstanding.

Each person’s proactivity is nothing more than their own current reality, which is the same as the implementation of their beliefs as they gradually convert dodgy beliefs into eventual knowledge (personally experienced certainty). Every time we cycle through the Seven Habits (or through any other experience for that matter) we finish up drawing conclusions. These automatically combine with our previous realities, changing or consolidating our beliefs and our operating basis at the same time.

It may be that Stephen Covey, by suggesting that “Be Proactive” is the first Habit rather than the last, confused the entire subject. Even a new born baby has a high level of animal need reaction (proactivity) and security need reaction (proactivity), plus a high level of demand for relationship (proactivity). Proactivity is the point from which every process begins its next cycle.

A Perfectionist Personality (such as a religious evangelist or a religious terrorist has a highly consolidated and totally locked up proactivity that leads both of them into their own personally chosen form of hell.

Similarly a predominantly Carer, Promoter, Romantic, Observer, Questioner, Adventurer, Asserter or Peacemaker Personality will have their own appropriately self prejudiced proactivity. The ultimate proactivity is to synergise all of these nine differing “godlike qualities” into each person’s own unique personality. This is what religious people call salvation and psychologists call self realisation.

Stephen Covey is not actually teaching anything new. He is teaching ideas that are as old as Pythagoras (500 BC) and Plotinus (500 AD) in a very modern down to earth practical manner.

Mazlow taught exactly the same principles with his Seven Universal Needs. The psychologists who specialise in Enneagram Studies teach exactly the same principles. The Seven Deadly Sins and their corresponding Seven Heavenly Virtues are teaching the same thing. Only the practices vary. It seems likely to me that Mr Wood Dickinson only taught practices and that he has never understood the universality of any of the many seven step principles.

I trust that Mr Wood Dickinson will tell us specifically which of Covey’s ideas he considers to be false. I hope he will also explain his (presumed) research into more than just Covey’s Habits. Maybe his experience will enable him to explain why Mazlow’s Seven Needs, The Psychologists Seven Psychological Types and The implied steps of the International Standards Organisation’s Quality Management System Model ISO 9001 are all also false.

Regards

John Lester
MSc. C.Eng. M.I.Mech.E., F.C.Q.I

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