Mining for your Purpose

Posted by Mike Kaaks

09 January 2016

I was enjoying overlooking the beach at Scarborough having just watched (again!) the second of Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talks - the one about Purpose. He describes Purpose in terms of human resources and compares them to natural resources in so far as both of them being buried deep. You have to go looking for them he says; they are not lying around on the surface. And finally, he tells us that we have to create the circumstances where they show themselves. In the last point his message is similar to those of Joseph Jaworski, Scharmer, Tolle, and others about how we engage with the universe and how it engages with us.

I pondered this whilst taking in the magnificent ocean and azure sky and realised I had experienced exactly that path on the journey to understanding my Purpose. In 2003 I was selected to attend a corporate program learning how to coach others

Leadership |Read Full Post »

Ambiguity

Posted by Mike Kaaks

19 April 2014

Know Thyself. It is at the top of the list of my values. It’s also a key to dealing with ambiguity. Knowing all of your diversity. Knowing your beliefs, values, mission provides insight into the way you will act when faced with uncertainties. I like to look at the definitions of both Ambiguity and Ambiguous when discussing this topic as it helps frame thinking:

Ambiguous - open to more than one interpretation; not having one obvious meaning

Ambiguity - The quality of being open to more than one interpretation; inexactness

Leadership |Read Full Post »

Who am I to

Posted by Mike Kaaks

19 April 2014

My chest feels like it might burst. When I first sat down to write about this feeling and what it is about I thought I was going to say that my head was about to burst. But the feeling is clearly in my chest somewhere in a band about the midpointof my ribs and certainly not lower down in my gut. Being an introspective soul has lead me to write about this and try to uncover the root cause of the pain.

For some years now I have been working to pull together the learning of all that I have experienced into a form that can be shared with the world. The messages centre on our connectedness. On many occasions I've felt like I've got all that I need. I'm ready to go. And then I encounter something more - either from re-reading something or from new experience. My program gets away from me. What I want to say or how I want

Leadership |Read Full Post »

The Wisdom Conversations

Posted by Mike Kaaks

15 January 2014

This quote by Francis Bacon (1561 - 1626) leapt out at me recently:-

Young men are fitter to invent than to judge, fitter for execution than for counsel, and fitter for new projects than for settled business

My observations
It could be a definition for Gen Y. What really attracted me though is that it confirms that there are some things in life which don't change. In this case it's that the getting of wisdom comes with age and experience. It did then in Bacon's time, and it does now. It also reminds us (sadly) that the journey of the physical self goes the other way!!

When we look at the lives of our parents and grandparents it's hard not to see things as being so different for us in our time. On deeper reflection one sees that the physical and material world is where most of the change exists. Spiritually we are much the same as they were. We are taller than in bacon's time and we live longer

Leadership |Read Full Post »

Beliefs versus Facts

Posted by Mike Kaaks

13 January 2014

I'm reading Thomas Metzinger's The Ego Tunnel. I should say struggling with rather than reading as the early going is hard. This is for at least three reason: the way he approaches an already difficult topic; because it is a translation from his mother tongue and nuance can be lost this way; and because of the attitude he displays in his writing. Take this line for example;

Leadership |Read Full Post »

Purpose, Destiny, and your Gift

Posted by Mike Kaaks

12 January 2014

In looking back at some notes about destiny recently I was struck by the connection between destiny and purpose. Around the same time I chanced upon a TV program (yes blokes do too much channel hopping, but it often has big payoffs) in which pianist James Rhodes described the emotional high he experienced when playing, in particular when playing Beethoven. The depth of feeling he expressed was moving. So much so that I called Sally to join me. We then sat glued for 25 minutes including 20 minutes of Rhodes playing Beethoven’s Piano Sonata 30 right through. The emotion was palpable. In addition to this being a window on Purpose, I realised I was seeing a man display his unique gift.

For many years now I have believed we all have something in us which for that quality puts us at the top of the world, in the best of the best. For some of us it is coupled with a ready ability to bring it to life, in others it lies dormant.

Leadership |Read Full Post »

Globalisation and connectedness

Posted by Mike Kaaks

25 October 2013

Globalisation. At the high end it is affecting us on so many levels. Much of it is challenging insofar as in bringing us all closer together it brings a risk that we lose some of our differences, some of the diversity which makes existence what it is. At a personal level it has been great.

Let me start be defining the aspect of globalisation I'm talking about when I refer to it's impact upon me. I believe in universal connectedness. We are all connected. One aspect of globalisation is the tools to live out some of this connectedness directly, physically. Colleagues I worked with in my corporate life are now all over the globe. Extended family members likewise.When I was in my twenties, communicating was in small confines. In the daily workplace or in family gatherings. Now our contact points are without limit to time or place. It's wonderful.

Recently, more than once or twice, I've had the wonderful experience of someone close to me yet on

Leadership |Read Full Post »

John Bogle The Measure of a Man

Posted by Mike Kaaks

18 September 2013

I'm drawing on John C Bogle again - I've thought about writing one big piece capturing all the wisdoms of his book "Enough", and I might still do that. For now though there is a wonderful piece which adds to understanding the difference between being and doing, an issue which is central to a number of my beliefs about life and work.

In a chapter titled Too Much Focus on Things, Not Enough Focus on Commitment he reflects on the John Travolta film A Civil Action in which Travolta's character, a lawyer, commits everything he has in support of his clients and their children. The film closes with this lawyer in personal bankruptcy court. He lists his meagre possessions, to which the judge says "where are the things by which one measure

Leadership |Read Full Post »

The future is not a straight line

Posted by Mike Kaaks

23 August 2013

The future is not a straight line
Why are we only prepared to accept a view of the future which is conservative? I listen to public debate about the end of the mining boom. It will never happen again they say. Why not? As a caller pointed out on talk back radio recently the Eppalock dam was

Leadership |Read Full Post »

The Status Quo

Posted by Mike Kaaks

06 March 2013

The Status Quo is like mud around your ankles; it creates a barrier against change.

In the dictionary it is defined as the existing state of affairs; they have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Breaking the status quo would mean changing the existing state, to get ahead, to change for the better, or simply to do something else. Beyond these dictionary definitions I've found it has another almost sinister definition. It lives in the culture of organisations. It emerges when change is afoot, creating a barrier to your change agenda. It speaks in lines like

Leadership |Read Full Post »

Taking the right amount of time

Posted by Mike Kaaks

19 January 2013

Don't be too bullish when mapping out your change plan. I did some work recently which opened my eyes to a different way of coming out of a vision / changed future exercise. The insight is that it's ok if you don't start on the new stuff straight away. In this case the team agreed to allow six months to clear the decks so there was free air for the new initiatives. They gave themselves six months to tidy up the things which lead to having the workshop in the first place, to deal with them properly rather than allow them to become firefights and crises which would impede the new development.
It's another slant on the vexed change management question of what to stop doing in order to make way for the new. You've been there - you want to do things differently but there are many problems to be dealt with, fires to be put out. So in the case in question the team built a very motivating view of how they wanted to be and when looking at the

Leadership |Read Full Post »

Hope

Posted by Mike Kaaks

29 November 2012

One this year's AFL finals matches was very one-sided. I watched happily because my team was in front but of course that was not the case for many other, not the least the team being beaten. As the third quarter was coming to a close one of the commentators asked special comments colleague Leigh Matthews - a giant of the game both as a player and a coach - what is there for the losing coach to say to his players in the three-quarter time break.
He can give them hope said Matthews.
Interestingly (and I'm assuming there was no talking point memo driving the behaviour) all I heard from commentators through the remainder of the finals was that coaches had to give their players hope. The point had really resonated. It connected with me too.
Those who know me are aware that I love to see thinks in terms of a continuum. It's a great way to consider the ambiguities that we face in

Leadership |Read Full Post »

What is Original Thought?

Posted by Mike Kaaks

10 October 2012

I love reading, sometimes for pleasure (I'm a crime story fan) and sometimes, and more often the case, for learning. On the learning side I see anthropology as the umbrella over my reading choices. Anthropology; it's a high sounding word which simply means the study of mankind. The common theme of my reading is how we work, how we live. This reading fuels my desire for understanding of self, and for insight into how things happen when WE are doing things together. At some point I may write my own book on the subject.

The first time I tried to write such a book, I encountered a barrier in the issue of originality. I had a strong feeling that for the book to be authentic, it had to unearth a previously unseen, unknown insight into life. A friend with whom I shared my problem helped me to see that what was interesting to her and those who know me is the unique way I see my world, helped me see that this is where the

Leadership |Read Full Post »