Jesus and social constructionism!

He went into His father`s business
He lived at home until he was 33
He was sure His Mother was a virgin, and His Mother was
sure he was God

He never got married
He was always telling stories
He loved green pastures

His first name was Jesus
He was bilingual
He was always being harassed by the authorities

He talked with His hands
He had wine with every meal

He called everybody “brother”
He liked Gospel
He couldn`t get a fair trial

He never cut His hair
He walked around barefoot
He started a new religion

He had to feed a crowd, at a moments notice, when there was
no food
He kept trying to get the message across to a bunch of men
who just didn`t get it
Even dead, he had to get up because there was more work for

Acknowledgement: I don’t know who penned this. I first heard it from a dear friend Cecil Wilson and found this version on the web today.

Those of you who know me will realise that I’m not into psychometrics and personality tests. These are limited to what humans know about personality, statistics and the nature of existence – which is not much. I also don’t like how these ‘tools’ are used (in power play) to fix people and place them between a rock and a hard place!

However, this does not stop me from wondering… if the Lord did the Myers Briggs indicator, what would Jesus be?

Getting your children to do their chores the postmodern way!

Do you set a timetable/schedule for your children to do their chores and homework? How’s that working out?

When I speak to other parents about this, the hotspot is normally – problems with ensuring that the timetable is followed. I think we all know that shouting doesn’t work, especially with teenagers. Mine have mastered the art of (their words) “blanking me”.

During one of my long drives to work, I thought, “Well, I am an HR and Organisation Practitioner by day – how can I apply what I know about people management with my own children?”

I could simply use the traditional management “carrot and stick” approach – by punishing non-conformance (before anyone reports me… not literally with sticks… grounded… no TV… no allowance, etc) or rewarding conformance with incentives. Kind‘a like giving the dog a treat for performing a trick. I know bringing up children can be a bit of a circus sometimes but I don’t really want to think of my kids as performing ponies! Anyway, they’re on to us – see attached of pic of Parlov’s dog.

It occurred to me that the long-term solution might be to try and create a family culture where our espoused values are lived out even in the family context – not just when Children in Need is on.

Which family doesn’t like to think of themselves as thoughtful, socially responsible and caring? Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was a secret to make these values “live” in the home setting too?

It occurs to me that there are three ways of doing this. Please forgive the jargon:

The Modernist approach: Rules based – regulate through punishment and incentives.

The late-modern approach: Win their hearts and mind through (pop) psychology.

Postmodern: Co-create a shared reality through conversations and inquiry!

I love Susan Scott’s book Fierce Conversations. She cites Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises,” In it, a character is asked, “How did you go bankrupt?” He answers, “Gradually, then suddenly.”

This reminds me of the arcade game – with the 10ps being pushed to the edge… You put your money in 10p at a time, slowly and before you know it, your fiver’s gone! How did you lose it? “Gradually, then suddenly.”

This principle can be applied to whether we succeed or fail in co-creating the practical realities we want in our home life.

Post-modern or just common sense? Our relationships fail or succeed, gradually then suddenly, one conversation at a time.

Susan Scott points out that “the on-going, robust conversation is not about the relationship. The conversation is the relationship.”

In the end, the secret’s no secret at all. We create the family reality we want – one conversation at a time. Talk to each other. Listen – really listen by this I mean listen to understand, not to argue. Ask questions. Be curious.

However, we need to be mindful that every conversation is part of the journey (to success or failure). And any one of these conversations could be the tipping point. That’s why it is important to treat each and every conversation as the one that might be the ‘suddenly’ conversation!

Leadership as Paraklesis

The Greek word ‘paraklesis’ loosely means to come alongside to encourage and help. One definition reads… “That which affords comfort, solace or refreshment.” I like it.

It occurs to me that this sums up the notion of ‘relational practice’ really well.

From Hero to Zero

The ‘hero’ model (leader with all the answers) is changing faster than we can shake a stick.

Increasingly, the notion of ‘hero’ and ‘command and control’ is being replaced by the idea that leadership should be concerned with creating positive social patterns of relationship that enables groups of people to act collectively and purposefully.

It has become axiomatic that change is rapid and constant. To adapt to the pace of change, organisations need to be more flexible and agile. One way of doing this is to push decision-making “down the hierarchy” and to introduce ways of aligning people with strategic goals. There is no better way of doing this than co-creating these goals!

Indeed, as globalisation and the information revolution threaten to overwhelm us, there is a need to pay attention to the wisdom of groups, and, to help people collectively make sense of the bewildering array of information. In this context leadership should be about engaging people in inquiry and creating the conditions for collective possibilities. To do this, the leader needs to be able to create a culture that genuinely supports participation through empowerment, trust and collaboration.

In the present economic climate, it is tempting for leaders to unilaterally implement turnaround strategies based on hard economic facts and to leave the soft human solutions to later, when there is the luxury of time.

This is knee jerk city. The research on employee engagement does not support this view. There is ample evidence that it is more effective to integrate hard economic-based change strategies with relational practice. This moves us away from the ‘either-or’ argument (eg, profits or people; survival today or building for tomorrow) to a more holistic ‘both-and’ position.

Seeing believing!

I have seen it work and that’s why I am telling this story! The opportunity to hear the voice of the whole system they are a part of, brings out the best in people -— dialogue becomes more collaborative, visioning becomes more creative and owned, and energy is unleashed in the form of voluntary action.