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Goodbye to the left vs right way in politics and beyond

Thursday, April 11th, 2019

Given Prime Minister Morrison has called an election for May 18, I thought it timely to share with my readers an idea that’s gaining momentum that suggests that the old vertical axis of Left vs Right in politics and in many other fields of endeavour as well, is being replaced by a horizontal axis of Open vs Closed.


I first read about this idea in a blog written in November last year by Otto Scharmer – a senior Lecturer at MIT and Co-founder of the Presencing Institute – called Axial Shift: The Decline of Trump, the Rise of the Greens, and the New Coordinates of Societal Change.


Scharmer argues that this axial shift is happening in economics and education as well as in politics. For example, in economics the debate has shifted from government (left) vs. markets (right), to more GDP (closed) vs. well-being (open); and in education the debate of public (left) vs. private (right) is shifting to memorizing old knowledge (closed) vs. whole child, whole systems learning (open).


Scharmer writes that it’s in local communities where there’s the most evidence of the upper open end of the vertical axis growing and blossoming. An example to illustrate this in action is the Lock the Gate movement. This was established to stop mining companies from entering private land to search for coal seam gas. Environmental activists, with the active support of many farmers (two groups traditionally seen as being at the opposite ends of the left vs. right horizontal axis), have banded together to protest against prospecting for coal seam gas and the fracking that often accompanies extraction of the gas. Lock the Gate has had considerable success in many regions of Australia.

And why have I quoted Scharmer in this my AnD Leadership Consulting blog? Because we at AnD are passionate about leadership – not only the knowing and the doing, but also the being of effective leadership – and a shift to the open end of the vertical axis described by Scharmer will require courageous leadership in the fields of politics, economics, the environment and education.


If you need support as you make this shift in your leadership style, contact Kate at [email protected] about AnD’s Leadership Coaching service.

Are you confused about how vision, purpose and values align?

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

I posed this question in Value Adding #80 and have received so much positive feedback about how helpful this has been to readers, I’ve decided to write a blog about it as well.


The  answer comes from Deborah Pascoe, a long time friend and colleague of AnD’s. Her business is called Service Spirit (http://www.servicespirit.com.au).


Deborah’s framework on the why, what and how of Purpose, Vision and Values is:


Purpose is the ‘why’ an organisation exists; its unique reason for being. Purpose already exists and to articulate this involves a process of discovery or uncovering or peeling back layers. Vision, on the other hand is the ‘what’ and is a process of creation – as individuals or organisations, we make this up – we decide what we want the future to look like. Values (and underpinning behaviours) are fundamental  to ‘how’ an organisation enacts its culture and forms the weft and weave of its very fabric.


Deborah continues:

We know from solid research that organisations that endure and prosper are characterised not only by the reach of their vision and strategic goals (the ‘what’), but more importantly by the extent to which they remain steadfast and true to their core ideology, that is, their purpose (the ‘why’) and values (the ‘how’).


We at AnD encourage you to take some time out to reflect on your organisation’s Purpose, Vision and Values using this helpful framework.









Let’s Talk About ‘Business Bullshit’

Tuesday, March 27th, 2018

Yes, believe it or not, Business Bullshit is the title of a recently published book, written by André Spicer and published by Taylor and Francis.  I confess I haven’t read it, although I was fascinated when I heard Spicer interviewed on Radio National, and was also intrigued when I read his review in the 22/12/17 edition of The Guardian Weekly (GW).


The GW review begins with Pacific Bell’s response to a deregulated market. They hired an organisational development specialist and spent $40 million taking staff through 10 two-day sessions to learn concepts such as “the law of three”, “alignment”, intentionality” and “end-state visions”. There were two unfortunate side-effects from this investment: it was virtually impossible for anyone outside the company to understand this new language, and it led to lots more meetings.


Spicer:  Words like “intentionality”, “ideation”, “imagineering” and “inboxing” … have become a kind of organisational lingua franca .. in the same way that freemasons use secret handshakes – to indicate their membership and status.


Spicer implores us to refuse to use empty management-speak in order to have better functioning organisations and more fulfilling lives – and we at AnD Leadership consulting can but agree!

Interested in doing a MOOC?

Monday, July 31st, 2017



First, what’s a MOOC? For those who’ve not yet met such a thing, as you can see from the above graphic, a MOOC is a Massive Open Online Course. Universities around the world are now offering such courses.


One MOOC is a free course from MIT in Boston called U.Lab. U.Lab uses a self-awareness based systems learning process, called theory U, to help participants sense and actualise their future life and work. 80,000 people worldwide participated in U.Lab in 2016.  MIT is currently promoting their 2017 course, called Leading From the Emerging Future, starting in September.


A group of us in the Byron Shire have enrolled to do U.Lab as a group. You too could do it on your own or in a group of like minded people. Take a look at: http://link.edx.org/view/58e453ece9a8a29b548b50065zgub.3es27/f2dd8aa3.



Challenging the myth of time planning

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

1982049_stock-photo-time-to-plan-stopwatch-timer-words-strategy-successIf you are a reader of my Value Adding newsletter you will have seen that I covered at length an article from the January 6, 2017 edition of The Guardian Weekly headed Why time management is the curse of our existence. Written by Oliver Burkeman, it encourages the reader to re-think the value of time management techniques.


In essence Burkeman tells us about a guy called Merlin Mann who first becomes a productivity and time management guru then challenged all he’d earlier espoused when he realised he was  missing morning after morning with his three-year old daughter because he was “typing bullshit that I hoped would please my book editor” about how to use time well.


Burkeman reminds us that the economist John Maynard Keynes predicted in the 1930s that within a century, economic growth would mean that we would all be working no more than fifteen hours per week, and so we would need to find ways to use the empty hours this created.


So what happened?   We filled our lives up with busy-ness – that’s what happened.


Burkeman ends the Guardian article by asking the meaning of life question of: “What really matters?” Mann worked out that time with his young daughter mattered more to him than being a published author.  Burkeman’s question encouraged me to look within and revisit those deep questions of ‘what it’s all about’ for me.


How about you?  What’s it’s all about for you in relation to this precious thing we call Life? And if you have trouble answering this question, AnD’s Vision Coaching process might help!


Living a good life

Monday, December 5th, 2016


In case you haven’t read my latest newsletter here’s a blog about Hugh Mackay’s latest book called Beyond Belief – How we find meaning, with or without religion (Pan Macmillan, 2016).


Hugh Mackay once again uses his combination of quantitative research and case studies from his qualitative research to show that the desire of we humans for a life of meaning remains as strong as ever. This is what he calls a good life which, by his definition, is a life lived for the wellbeing of others as well as for ourselves.


One of the gems I gleaned from Beyond Belief was the fact that researchers have found that it is a sense of meaningfulness that brings life’s deepest satisfactions, rather than a bigger house or a new car. For example, Mackay refers to Martin Seligman’s research that led him to conclude that faith in something larger than ourselves is the one necessary condition for us to find a sense of meaning in life.


These findings remind me of three things that make for a good life that I shared in this newsletter many moons ago. A psychiatrist talking on ABC Radio National back then had said that he believed that we humans need:

  • someone to love,
  • something to look forward to, and
  • something meaningful to do.

If you’re struggling to answer those three questions for yourself AnD could help you find your path towards your good life through our Vision Coaching process.

Overcoming existential angst

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

main-qimg-a24440772e58fbeecedd2b66851f044aMy sister saved me an article from a recent edition of Sydney University’s Alumni Magazine. In the On My Mind section Psychologist Emily Scanlan (cbdpsychologyandwellbeing.com.au) wrote that 10 percent of her clients fall outside the standard treatment models. She calls them ‘existential clients’. They present with depression and state they want to either find meaning in their life or give up altogether.  Scanlan finds that these clients are helped by philosophy-based questions around meaning and purpose.


Scanlan believes that we humans can create our own meaning through our relationships, our spirituality, our work and even by connecting with the Earth by gardening or walking in nature. She offers her existential clients support as they work – struggle even – towards greater meaning in their lives:


AnD-leadership-coaching clients present with leadership challenges not depression.  However I have used Scanlan’s approach with her existential clients as a therapist in this blog because, embedded in the AnD approach to coaching is a belief that to be an effective leader (and human being), people need to spend time reflecting on their sense of meaning and purpose.


In fact the third step in the AnD-learning-map is an invitation for clients to articulate and write down their whole of life vision. We also encourage them to clarify their core values and the behaviours supporting these, to ensure that they are living their life in ways that are congruent with their values.


If you’d like some help to clarify your vision and values contact Kate on 0418 164 260 or at [email protected].


This visioning ‘stuff’ works

Thursday, April 14th, 2016
  • UnknownFirst, what is this visioning ‘stuff’?
  • Well we coaches at AnD Leadership Consulting believe that the place to start when coaching our clients is to invite them to project forward five years then articulate and write down where and how they want their world to be in both their professional and personal lives. In fact the third step of the AnD-learning-map is the Vision question: What is your ‘light on the hill’?


We AnD coaches also believe that it’s essential to ‘walk the talk’, so we commit to regular coaching support for oouselves. For the past ten years my coach has been asking me the Vision question, and each time I have said that in five years time I will be a published author. Then, just after I’d launched my book Go With Love in March this year, it was time for me to set up a coaching session. My coach asked me the usual Vision question and when I got to the published book part I paused and let out a celebratory yelp,

“Megan, that’s no longer part of my vision because now I am a published author – this stuff works!”


Call it the power of intention, call it the power of vision, I am now a walking, talking example of this ‘stuff’ working.


For more information about AnD Leadership Consulting go to www.andconsulting.org and for more information about my book Go With Love go to www.gowithlovebook.com.Go_With_Love_COV_CMYK_border

Five regrets of the dying

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

Bronnie Ware, an Australian palliative care nurse, has counselled the dying in their last days. She recorded the thoughts of some of her patients in a blog that was so popular she went on to publish a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. Ware wrote of the clarity of vision that most people gain at the end of their lives, and about how we might learn from their wisdom.

The top five regrets of the dying as witnessed by Ware are:

  • I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  • I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
  • I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  • I wish I’d stayed in touch with my friends.
  • I wish I’d let myself be happier.

Which of these speaks to you? And what might you change in your life right now so you don’t take this regret to your dying days?


Mindfulness and our screens

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

UnknownA colleague told me the other day that research is now showing that productivity in the workplace has been slowly declining since 2007 – the year the smart phone hit the market.  Coincidence?  I think not.


Added to this, recent research by Glenn Wilson, former visiting Professor of Psychology at Gresham College, London shows that an email sitting unread in your inbox can reduce your effective IQ by 10 points.  I can confirm the validity of this research: I was doing my Lumosity brain training (lumosity.com) one morning recently when I heard a text arrive on my mobile. Although I resisted reading the content of the text I peeped at who’d sent it, then proceeded to get my worst Lumosity score for some time.



When people think they’re multitasking, they’re actually just switching from one task to another very rapidly. And every time they do, there’s a cognitive cost in doing so.


In fact Wilson showed that the cognitive losses from multitasking are even greater than the cognitive losses from pot smoking.  However the good news is that there are now meditation apps that will help improve our state of mindfulness if we’re prepared to commit to investing just a few minutes every day to sit and be.


I’m wondering whether you’ve managed to read this blog without checking any of your other screens?


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