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The challenge of reinventing ourselves

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By Margot Cairnes, MBA, B.Ed. (Hons), 12 SFB (12 Steps-For-Business)

reinventAs our world gets smaller and as the balance of power shifts from Europe and the US to India and China we find ourselves needing to learn and accept more about our cultures that might seem foreign to our own. Culture is such a subtle and unique thing. What is acceptable in one culture can be insulting in another.

I have been advised in Asia to “listen for the silences – to take note of what isn’t said”. As a person who is used to speaking her mind I find I need a level of personal awareness that is challenging. How do I balance being true to myself and being respectful of others who hold values, beliefs and customs so unlike my own?

Values are also challenged by technology. Recently the CEO of a tourism company was telling me how she dealt with exploding controversy. The company’s Facebook site was being inundated by clients and potential clients complaining about a particular issue. The CEO immediately went live on You Tube – without what would be considered normal preparation – and quashed the storm before it raged out of control.

Social Networking has a culture of its own and how we learn and respond to that culture can be imperative to business and political success. How do we balance our own sensibilities with those of the new technologies? How can we be constantly online, and still have time, space and enough sense of who we are to lead our lives in a way that is compatible with our own integrity?

Social Networking has a culture of its own and how we learn and respond to that culture can be imperative to business and political success. How do we balance our own sensibilities with those of the new technologies?

Self-organising systems exist in physics, biology, chemistry and many other fields. A common theme amongst such systems is their ability to disaggregate, learn, remember and realign. It seems that the availability of vast amounts of information that can radically change our perception makes it essential that we each become a self-organising system.

On some level we need to let go of what we know and do, and consider normal. We need to immerse ourselves in new learning, then return to who we are (a deep memory of ourselves) and integrate our new learning with who we are becoming.

To do this we need to:
  • Continually grow in awareness and knowledge of who we are.
  • Be prepared to let go of who we think we are, how we think we should behave and what is acceptable and normal for us.
  • Be prepared to immerse ourselves with our new knowledge, skills and insights.
  • Give ourselves time and space to integrate the new and accept that we are learning, changing and a work in progress.

Margot is the creator of 12 Steps For Business; a strategic leadership and corporate transformation toolkit which enables leaders and organisations to envisage and achieve unprecedented levels of growth and success.
August 6, 2015
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