Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Death of Personality

Over the past two thousand years, the concept of Personality Theory has evolved from the study of the natural signs available at the time, to the more introspective study of human performance as we practice it today.
The ancient Philosophers believed that the alignment of the heavens influenced Behaviour, and allocated the 12 “Star Signs” into four groupings - Earth, Fire, Air and Water. This concept endured for almost a thousand years.
Hippocrates believed that Personality was shaped by blood, phlegm, black bile and yellow bile, and created “The Concept of the Four Temperaments” - Choleric, Sanguine, Phlegmatic, and Melancholy. This was the first recorded dive into the physical realm of the human system, and in one form or another, survived until the early twentieth century.
Dr. Carl Jung, in what was the most sophisticated and scientific work up until that time (1923) postulated and described four Personality Types – the Sensor, Intuitor, Thinker, and Feeler. This was the real start to the development of modern Personality Theory, which has since had many different contributors, but all now fundamentally agree on The Four Dominant Personality Types – The Director, Socialiser, Thinker, and Relator.
Modern Theory also allows that any Individual will have as many as three of the four Personality Types in their makeup, all to varying degrees of dominance.
However, research has clearly demonstrated that any Person, when put under pressure, and becomes Stressed, will instinctively exhibit primarily the characteristics of their Prime Personality Type, and this will tend to dominate the attitudes and Behaviour of the Person concerned under Stress. Even with the most sophisticated training, under Stress the Prime Personality Type emerges like a dark shadow from under a tree in bright sunlight!
This is neither bad nor good, it is simply a Behavioural fact that we have to learn to manage, on the road to Making Peace.
Let’s examine each of the four Personality types, and see if you can ascribe any of your Behaviour patterns and indicate your Personality Prime. When you can feel comfortable with understanding what drives your Behaviour, you can start to understand the differences in People and reduce your potential to be Stressed.

The Director Personality Style is described as High Involvement, Rational Behaviour. This means that their energy levels are high, they involve themselves in their processes, they are confident and poised, and they are very rational, or logical to deal with. If we were to describe them in some detail, we would see that the Director Personality is self-contained, and direct, they exhibit firmness in relationships, they are orientated towards productivity, are concerned with the bottom line, and they need exact, precise information delivered in a very structured manner.
They hate emotive, colourful, noisy People who are vague, loosely presented, and unstructured in their thinking and Behaviour (Socialisers).
As a rule, the Director accepts challenges readily, takes authority, in fact they assume it and wear it like a well-worn coat! They also go head first into solving problems, and nothing is every too hard or impossible for them to achieve. Directors tend to work by themselves, they assume a cool and independent air, and they absolutely shape their environment and demand a maximum of freedom to do their own thing.
The negative side of the Director Personality, the side that generates Stress in others, is their tendency towards stubbornness, impatience, toughness, and a low to marginal tolerance for the feelings and attitudes of others. They also have bad listening habits, sometimes described as “listening with their feet”, and are naturally competitive with everyone!
The Director Personality can be a very Stressful person to be around!
If you were to imagine a grid with four quadrants, the Director style would be located in the top right hand corner – High Involvement, very Rational Behaviour.


Sometimes, Making Peace with a “Director” personality style can be hard work, but if you follow these simple Communication hints, you will soon find that the “Directors” in your Life will love you, respect you, and make Peace with you. And in the process, do everything in their power to help you achieve what ever it is you most want.
Like Making Peace.
“Directors” are quintessentially Ego focussed, and very much in control of their environment, so to get through to them with any sort of Communication the very first thing you have to do is make sure that in the Communication, the thinking, presentation, and attitude is compatible with the importance of the action you want them to take. “Directors” are very pragmatic, determined, and self-involved, so you must also make sure that the Communication takes into account the risk of wrong choice (or action) and eliminates that risk.
Your Communication also needs to provide enough food for thought, and every point you make must be logical and cogent, and demonstrate that the specifics, benefits or reasons-why are both real and important. “Directors” hate “fluff”, and have difficulty accepting anything that is not well reasoned and justified.
They will make Peace, but on their terms, so you have to let them have the perception of control. In a sense, this is Rule One of Making Peace. In any conversation where you are attempting to achieve a deliberate outcome, park your Ego at the door. Let everyone else involved have control, so that their predisposition towards being Stressed is minimised. Use “HOT” to your advantage. Directors love transparency, because it gives them an enormous sense of control over processes and People. If everyone can “see” exactly what is going on and why, they relax.
Realize that what you want to achieve is vastly more important than anything you might want to say. You have only achieved your outcome when the Person with whom you are communicating can demonstrate, by way of positive feedback, that they can take the required action (on your behalf).
Making Peace is much harder than maintaining the rage. But Making Peace achieves your objective faster, better, and with less effort and Life energy than any other method you might come up with. In a Peaceful process, everyone is free to contribute their best efforts, without fear of failure or compromise.
Remember this when conversing with the “Director” personality style.

The Socialiser Personality is also highly involved, but extremely emotional, and they sit on the opposite side of the grid to the “Director”.
Where the “Director” likes facts and figures, the “Socialiser” likes the broad idea, with lots of “fizz”. They have high directness, and are very open to ideas. They behave in an animated, lively and intuitive manner, and are often impetuous and excitable. Where the “Director” listens with their feet, the “Socialiser” only hears the bright and bubbly bits of the conversation, their minds moving along at a million miles an hour.
Typically, the “Socialiser” is not concerned about the bottom line, they hate detail of any kind. They often keep a fast pace, acting and deciding spontaneously. They are the classic ideas person, and have very little concern for facts, figures or detail. They are the type of person who only reads the Instruction Manual when everything else has failed!
Because of their bubbly personality, Socialisers can and do influence those around them, and like the “Director” they shape their environment. They work quickly, always seek approval and recognition, and usually have a dynamic ability to think on their feet. They often will use sheer energy as a means to getting acceptance, and can tend to be a little impatient with slower types.
They are capable of generating massive levels of Stress in those around them, often because they are perceived as manipulative, they tend to generalize and exaggerate facts and figures – Behaviour that is like a red rag to a bull to the “Director”.
Because they work largely on intuition rather than structure, it is sometimes very hard to trust their output, even though they clearly believe deeply in what they are doing.
Like the “Director”, the first thing you have to check in your Communication is that what you are sating or trying to get across is compatible with the importance of the action. They do not like to waste their time on dull things. You also have to eliminate the risk of wrong choice or action for them, because their minds are blitzing what they think you are communicating and creating a lot of dangerous static!
Your Communication with a “Socialiser” must also provide enough stimulation of their imagination, fantasies, and daydreams, and engender the right feelings, while expressing the right personality values.
Socialisers believe that they are Open and Transparent (the OT of HOT), but often behave in such a way that Trust is quickly lost. This is because they sometimes move so fast, in so many directions, that lesser mortals can’t keep track! They are not deliberately trying to confuse or deceive you, they are simply reflecting their genetic programming! And because they believe detail only slows you down, they sometimes work in a manner that leaves a trail of disruption behind them.
Employ RACE immediately a Socialiser upsets your applecart, and SMILE.
Salute their energy, their incredible get-up-and-go mentality, and support them with a process that picks up the details. Don’t have unreasonable expectations of what they can do, and try not to slow them down. As Stress Busters go, Socialisers are powerful providers of both happiness and pain, so make Peace fast, then relax!
The Thinker Personality is a completely different kettle of fish to the vibrant Socialiser. In fact, Socialisers send Thinkers mad! Their lack of detail, fast moving approach sends most Thinkers into shock, and Stress. Thinkers reside at the exact opposite position of the grid to Socialisers – with Low Involvement, and very Rational Behaviour. Thinkers are the precise, detail conscious, pedantic ones amongst us, who need highly structured thinking and processes to feel comfortable.


They are often described as indirect and self-contained, concerned with analytical process, and are persistent and systematic. All the things that Socialisers abhor. Thinkers are also seen as security conscious, with a high need to be right, and with an over reliance on data collection. They always ask about the specifics, and are often accused of being “data worshippers”.
Annoyingly and quite Stressfully to others, Thinkers tend toward perfection, by focusing on detail and the process of work. They become irritated by surprises and glitches, emphasises compliance, and are only really happy when they working within systems or rigid infrastructures.
However, because of their innate ability to handle the minute, they are excellent at promoting quality in products and services, and they love organization and structure.
The Thinker personality tends to work slowly, precisely, and by themselves. They are very time disciplined, and they prefer an intellectual work environment to one that is lively, noisy, or disorganised. They are often self-critical, sceptical, and they like to see things in writing. As a famous cartoon detective once said, “Just the facts, ma’m, just the facts!”

The way to handle a Thinker is to be relaxed, and have plenty of detail and time. The slower you go, the faster you will get your result. You must SMILE, be HOT, and be ready to RACE at a moments notice. Thinkers work “by the numbers”, and they literally can’t go to “2” until “1” is proven beyond any doubt.
To push a Thinker faster than they are willing to go is to invite disaster, and massive slabs of self-induced Stress. One thing to remember at all times – work to their satisfaction, not yours.
The Negative side of the Thinker personality is that they are often seen as aloof, prickly, and critical. Their actions and decision processes tend to be slow and extremely cautious. They can procrastinate, sometimes actively dislike People who are disorganised or illogical, and often actually don’t like contact. For all that, Thinkers are the ones who get things right, saving many of us from a fate worse than Stress! The inevitable Death of a Thousand Cuts, self-administered by our fantastic ability to cope with those devilish things called details!
To Communicate with the Thinker, you need to be aware of three critical elements - Does the Communication provide the energy that the Thinker personality will not provide? Does your Communication make one point, and one point only, inescapably clear? And does the Communication demonstrate or prove its one point irresistibly, and irrefutably? Get this bit right, and the Stress goes right out the door, as the Thinker produces the most detailed and factually correct solution to any problem you care to engage them with.

The Relator, who “lives” on the opposite side of the grid to the Thinker, has totally opposed and different needs, and exhibits a completely different set of Behaviours, as by now you probably would expect.

The Relator personality is the “glue” that binds most groups together. They are the quintessential “People” person, more concerned about how People feel than anything else. They tend to be open and indirect, relatively unassertive, and warm and reliable. If the Director is hard and pedantic, the Relator is soft and empathetic. If the Socialiser is bubbly and overpowering, the relator is quiet and reflective. And if the Thinker is prosecuting the detail with ruthless precision, then the Relator is maddingly uncommitted, excluding a warm and fuzzy feeling to all involved.
They seek security, take action and make decisions slowly, are without doubt the most People orientated of the four Personality types, and have natural counselling skills, principally because they are great listeners. They hear with “big” ears, and accurately reflect back to the speaker with warmth, empathy, and a genuineness not naturally found in Directors and Thinkers.
Relators have a down side, and as a Peacemaker you have to be aware of it. They have a strong desire to avoid risky or unknown situations. In fact, they are naturally the most risk-adverse of the four types. And they always, always, consider the feelings of others before taking action or making a decision. This tends to drive the Director style mad!
They also tend to build strong networks of mutually supportive People, and if anything, this is their strong suit. They are excellent net-workers. While saying this, they actively dislike interpersonal conflict so much that they sometimes say what they think others might like to hear at the expense of the facts. They are not lying as such, but rather providing comfort at the expense of potential conflict.
Because of this Behavioural trait, they are often seen as compliant and soft, and as unassertive, and overly sensitive.
Making Peace with a Relator is easy, in a sense it is the natural “state” they unconsciously seek. They are, by their very nature, Peacemakers. The issue is to manage them in such a way that while they are busy Making Peace, the environment doesn’t come apart through lack of reality and focus.
SMILE works well, HOT is difficult, and the RACE is on all the time!
To effectively Communicate with the Relator, you must first make sure that the Communication provides the energy that the personality will not provide. The Communication must also convey inescapably one personality, and one personality only. The Communication must also work in, or on, the right sense, in the right way.
It’s not hard to see where the potential for conflict comes from, when you consider the radical differences in the four personality types, and their very different needs. You must also remember that you have at least three of these “types” in your Personality. Under Stress, your “prime” – your dominant Personality type – emerges like melted water from an iceblock in the sun – and your actions and reactions will very much be in line with what has been described.
The real secret to managing Stress generated by Personality types or Communication difficulties, is to recognize what is going on at the time, and to help the other person manage their Communication process. Making Peace is all about creating an environment where People can relate and Communicate, make mistakes and succeed.
Check out the following elements to discover which Personality components will dominate your Behaviour. Remember, you can expect to recognize at least three sets of characteristics, although it is not necessary to have every characteristic in every quadrant. You are looking for a trend, what feels right, not necessarily a tick in every box.

Are you competitive ð
Do you act fast ð
Do you take risks ð
Are you aggressive ð
Do you have strong opinions ð
Do you have a take-charge attitude ð
Do you tend to use power ð
Do you take the social initiative ð
Do you make statements ð
This is the Director Style, “High Involvement, Rational” quadrant.

Are you undisciplined about time ð
Do you use opinions ð
Do you use informal dress and or speech ð
Do you have dramatic opinions and actions ð
Are you permissive, and have fluid attitudes ð
Are you an emotional decision maker ð
Do you seem easy to get to know ð
Are you emotionally expressive, and subjective ð
Are you easy going with yourself and others ð
This is the Socialiser Style, “High Involvement, Emotional” quadrant.

Are you disciplined about time ð
Do you like facts ð
Do you dress formally and use formal speech ð
Do you have strict, disciplined attitudes ð
Are you a rational decision maker ð
Do you seem difficult to get to know ð
Are you rationally self-disciplined, and objective ð
Are you demanding of yourself and others ð
This is the Thinker Style, “Low Involvement, Rational” quadrant.

Are you cooperative ð
Take deliberate actions ð
Do you avoid risk ð
Do you avoid conflict ð
Are you quiet ð
Do you have moderate opinions ð
Do you have a go-along attitude ð
Do you tend to avoid the use of power ð
Do you let others take the social initiative ð
Do you ask questions ð
This is the Relator Style, “Low Involvement, Emotional” quadrant.

Quite often, when you are Stressed, it’s simply because you are internally conflicted – one or more of your Personality styles are clashing. Just recognizing this can make your Life a whole lot simpler, and higher in quality. Understand that you will have conflicting emotions and thoughts, and that these inner conflicts are perfectly normal. You should also realise that you will intuitively react to others based on which aspects of your Personality mix are the most active at any given time, and which ones intuitively react to what the other Person is projecting at you.
The second secret to Making Peace is recognizing the potential for Stress in the different way we act and react, and learning to accommodate those differences.
Human experience is gained experientially, and to the best of our ability, we have yet to find any map or plan for how the Human Race is supposed to develop!
If this seems a little chaotic, you’re right. No one has ever said being Human is easy!
Just remember to BREATHE, SMILE, be HOT, and always RACE!

The Death of Chaos

The second critical area we must consider is how Chaos Theory directly applies to Self Induced Stress.
A major cause of Stress in the Human being is the intuitive instinct that we have for Order is constantly being challenged by our perverse impulse to pursue Chaos.
We naturally want to be in balance, relaxed, satisfied, and at Peace. Yet at the same time another part of us wants to explore, challenge the system, break outside the envelope, and taste and experience new things. We mentioned earlier that Human beings are experiential learners, and that without learning, we don’t grow or reach our potential. As the primary sentient race on the planet, it is our obligation to advance and evolve in line with our drives and instincts. Our genetic programming.
Straight into Chaos!
Both Order and Chaos are necessary. Both are manifestations of our need to survive.
Without Order, nothing exists. Without Chaos, nothing grows.
It is this continual, almost effervescent struggle within us all that produces the greatest amount of self-induced Stress we suffer as individuals.
The instinct for Order is an expression of our devout desire for a whole range of constant states : safety (which permits nurture), stability (which permits education), predicability (which permits one thing to be built on another), and equations of cause and effect simple enough to be relied upon.
This is a critical issue – because so much of what we do is instinctive, in line with our genetic programming and hard-wired Personality styles, if our unconscious mind is not feeling comfortable, we become Stressed – the precursor to the Flight or Fight Syndrome.
But without resistance to Change, growth itself would be impossible. Resistance to Change creates safe, stable predictable environments in which Change can accumulate productively!
The instinct for Order is therefore an aggressive one! It actively opposes any alteration of circumstances, any variation of perspective, or any hostility of environment or intention.
This Instinct for Order subconsciously fights to create and defend the condition (State) it seeks - balance and harmony in the individual – what we call in psychological terms “Homeostasis.”
Primarily, this is why it is so hard to get People to accept change, alterations of circumstance, or paradigm shifts in attitude and Behaviour. You are pushing them to the edges, and in some cases, completely out side of, their emotional “comfort zones”. And this is a very Stress inducing activity for most People.
To moderate this Stress, and to make any change program successful, there are six elemental “attitudinal and perceptual beliefs” you need to achieve within the person or group involved when creating any change State.
1. You must generate a specific belief in the necessity for change, and this belief must be based on real, factual activities or achievements, not perceptual ones.
2. You must achieve ownership of the process by everyone involved, expressed in their language, and at their level of understanding, and from their perspective.
3. You must set up and achieve genuine multidirectional real-time Communication between all parties involved in the change process, and all those likely to be impacted on, or by, the process.
4. You must assure that the authority and the responsibility is vested in the person or group involved in the change process.
5. There must be perceivable benefits for all concerned, again, expressed in their language, and at their level of understanding, and from their point of view.
6. The change strategy you employ must deliver on the promise!

Above all, during every step of any change program you are involve in, you must encourage everyone concerned or likely to be impacted on by the change process, to remain HOT at all times; be ready to RACE at the first sign of Stress; and never forget to SMILE! And above all, BREATHE.

Conversely, the move towards Chaos is a manifestation of Humankind’s instinctive knowledge that the best way to survive any danger is to run away from it!
This most basic instinct focuses on the resources of individual imagination and cunning, rather than on the potentialities of concerted action.
Its most common overt expression involves an insistence on achieving three powerful states : self-determination (which is expressed as freedom from restriction), individual liberty (which is freedom from requirement), and nonconformity (which is freedom from cause and effect). In a sense, we want to be freed from all the norms of a balanced society, any time we choose, to have our own way, irrespective of the consequences or the cost.
However, such insistence is primarily a rationalisation of the desire to flee - to survive by escaping from the rigidity of acceptable Behaviour. The “Fight or Flight” syndrome in all its vainglory.
Therefore the impulse towards Chaos is also aggressive. The very act of escape breaks down systems of order. It contradicts safety, avoids stability, and defies cause and effect.
Like the instinct for order, it also fights to create and defend the condition it seeks!
Order verses Chaos is a continuing conflict that broils around and inside each and every one of us almost every waking minute. Our individual Personality style greatly influences our reaction to this struggle, and in the interests of living a long, full, and Stress free Life, we have to learn the signs and symptoms of this internal conflict, and manage it.
Just as it is okay for People to make mistakes and learn from them, it is okay to feel discomfort when faced with something new – or the potential for change.
Just as there are “natural” Laws that govern how things work, there are “emotional” Laws that govern how we work. These Laws are as immutable as the one that says “the Sun will rise in the East”, and you need to understand that the first and best step in dealing with them is to relax, de-Stress, and open your Mind up to new things.

Take Two

In any Human relationship there are four critical elements that must be present for the relationship to flourish and grow.
The first is Trust, as without Trust, there can be no relationship. Trust is the very heart of everything that is worthwhile to a Human Being, and with it literally anything can be done or made to happen. Trust is the one ingredient that you always start off with, but can soon loose, and is perhaps the greatest driver for a HOT process. Keep the Trust, and you keep the process. Keep the process, and your change Strategy will work for all concerned.
Without Trust, don’t even bother to start. And if you loose Trust, you can almost never get it back.
When you have Trust, you only need three other elements – we call them Permissions – to succeed in any managed Change process or relational development.
Permission to Speak, Permission to Listen, and Permission to Fail.
Permission to Speak is giving everyone the right to say anything they want, at any time, about anything. Nothing is sacrosanct, forbidden, hidden, closed, or withheld. Honest, Open, and Transparent processes rely utterly on anyone being able to contribute at any time, with anything they believe is important. Give this Permission, and Trust will flourish like a tropical garden in a downpour!
Permission to Listen is permission to participate and contribute, to engage and resolve, to argue and challenge, and must be a fundamental “right” in any relational frame. True Ownership comes from having this Permission, and without Ownership, all processes ultimately fail.
Permission to Fail almost speaks for itself, except that this is the single most important element you can ever introduce as a Manager or Leader to any process or Group or Team. Creating an environment where People can try and fail, then try again and succeed is the greatest gift you can give anyone. Experiential learning is what People do when they are growing, flourishing, prospering, and succeeding.
When you work this way, you reduce Stress to such low levels as to almost be imperceptible. There will always be a little Stress around the edges of any process, mainly due to the Learning Phases and Styles involved.
But don’t ever let a little Chaos stand in the way of success – employ the greatest asset you will ever have access to – your knowledge and understanding of the four critical elements that are essential for Making Peace.

The Death of Attitude

Attitude is a crucial component of Behaviour and your ability to handle Stress. Unfortunately, attitude is also all about presumptions and perceptions, the underfelt of your belief structure. This is a fascinating area for discussing performance, tension, Stress management, and Making Peace, and this is how it all works.
Your attitudes are formed from your beliefs, which are a combination of facts and fictions that you pick up as you go about living your Life. Because your Mind doesn’t differentiate between what’s real and unreal, true or false, your Mind is free to link, filter, add, subtract, merge, purge, and manipulate information, impressions, data, and all other forms of input based on your inherent and learned selective filtering ability.
You develop this filtering ability within your experience and your comfort levels, just as you develop your mental models from your experiential learning and trial and error. There are four types of Learner style, and they sit in a different quadrant of the Performance Grid just like Personality Styles. But they can often be in conflict, generating Stress at many levels.

The Kinaesthetic Learner
has to “feel” the
Tactile cues promote
sound learning,
combined with
The Thinker – likes
facts information, detail, and reason.
They build a system to
provide hard core
The Visual Learner has to “see” the information.
Visual cues trigger the
right responses, and
they learn fast.
The Doer - learns only
by trial and error.
Hardly ever process any information, doesn’t use visual or tactile cues.
Now, consider what happened the last time you set out to learn something. Was the information provided to you in a way that matched your learning style? Did the Communication process take into account your Personality style? Did it take into account anyone else?
Probably not.
And yet we know from extensive research and observation that People only learn what they want to learn, and they only learn it when they want to learn it.
There is another conflict at work here, and that is the Stress caused by where we are in the Learning Cycle, and where we are emotionally, and attitudinally.
Look at the Activity model and see if you recognize where the Stress points are in the conflicts involved in learning. What we are seeing here is a representation of the energy levels and rational and emotional quotient required where the four Learning Activities take place.

Experiential learning
Feedback, trial and
error. Application
of theory and
Situational Awareness
Observer, strategy,
Intellectualise and rationalize the WWWW &
Learning processes
Facts and figures
Process & systems
Theory and
Self Image
Self awareness,
Application of
psychological values
goal setting and
self worth.
Starting with Skills acquisition, which we regard as a Low Involvement, Rational process, you get the facts and data, the processes and the systems, the models and the maps. You are probably in the first stage of Learning, Unconscious Incompetence, where you don’t really know what you don’t know. It can be a real struggle, made all the more Stressful by any Attitude you may have formed about the subject matter, the delivery mechanism, the teacher, or the literal requirement. You need an open Mind, and it’s very hard to achieve this State. You need awareness that this is the toughest process involved with learning, and you need patience and control.
And you need Trust – in the Teaching system, and the Learning process.

When you move into the Experience quadrant, you are somewhere between Conscious Incompetence and Conscious Competence. Here you are the victim of trial and error, feedback, both good and bad, making mistakes and learning from the experience. It is still quintessentially a rational process, but the energy and emotional quotients are high because of the need for personal involvement. Director Personalities don’t like to make mistakes, or be the victim of one, and they get very Stressed by this. Relators, by their very nature, are risk adverse, so they find this quadrant extremely Stressful. Thinkers hate sloppy work, poor thinking, poor process, and ambiguity, so they get Stressed as well. Socialisers are less Stressed, largely because they spend a lot of their energy “projecting”, so confusion and experiential Learning are things they tend to do well. They just don’t “get” the detail, and are constantly amazed at how long other Learning Styles take to understand something..

As you head into the Self Image quadrant, you are moving towards Unconscious Competence, where the experience you have gained from your Learning process starts to seat home into your autonomic nervous system – you develop learned responses, muscle memory, and develop reflexive Behaviour that reflects your new skill set. You can almost do things without thinking about them. Because Socialisers wear their achievements on their arms, they can sometimes appear boastful or cocky while in this State. Directors appear focussed and pedantic, sure and resolute. Thinkers are actually relaxed, but can seem distant and remote, inwards focussed, and a little distracted at times. The Relator is always looking at both sides of any argument, so they can feel both comfortable and Stressed at the same time!

When we get to the Situational Awareness quadrant, things really start to buzz! This is where you pause to take stock, smell the roses, water the garden, mow the lawn, as it were. And it can be either the least Stressful, or most Stressful experience of the four activities! Here we vision, strategise, plan, and plot, and play the role of “observer”. Thinkers find this easy, Relators love this space, Directors see the need but want a “to do” lists produced, and Socialisers are at their most dangerous, bubbling over with ideas and diversions. Recognizing this space for the critical area that it is, is half the battle in managing the Stress. Creating a “strategic framework” within which every one can work in their mown unique manner is the other half.
There are thousands of books on the subject of Strategic Planning, but we have found that the simplest approach is to consider initially seven questions, and their relationship to each other. They are :
- W1 - Where are you now (with your process, your thinking, your activities)
- W2 - What is working for you
- W3 - What is not working for you
- W4 - What resources do you have
- W5 - Where do you want to be
- T1 - When do you want to be there, and
- W6 - What resources do you need to get there.

Try this for yourself – pick something that is important to you, something you need to have a basic Strategy for, and see how you go. Once it starts to make sense, visiting the Objective Quadrant will not only be Stress free, it might become a real joy!
Just remember one thing – Strategy is all about knowing what to do when there is nothing apparent to do – you are thinking about the “what if” of things. If you drop down into the tactical area, get bogged down in the “how to”, get lost in the detail, you will not only get Stressed, your Strategic process will turn out to be a complete waste of time.
Tactics are evolved from a great Strategy – so get your Strategy right first.
The commonly accepted model of Attitude formation shows that your subjective knowledge (beliefs) about an Object determines your Attitude toward it. Further, we tend to describe things as “Attitude objects” when we are commenting on our Attitude to that object. Interestingly, Attitudes are constructs of Behaviour that must be observed to have any real value. You may well have an Attitude, but until someone observes your Attitude, it is unable to be described. Attitudes are yours, and yours alone, but they are the single most important aspect of your Behaviour that affects everyone around you.
There are three critical components of Attitude formation, and they can be easily remembered by the mnemonic “K-F-A” – Kentucky Fried Ant (with apologies to a well known Chicken place).
“K” for knowledge, either true or false, that you believe about the Attitude object (the Cognitive component). Your beliefs directly fuel your Mind pictures, and mental Models, the very images that drive you to achieve things.
“F” for your feelings about the Attitude object (the Affective component). Feelings are emotional, and the stronger the emotional feelings you have, the more likely you are to “defend” your Attitude.
“A” for your intent for action about the Attitude object (the Conative component). Intent for action is directly linked to your “drives” – how hard, or how much, you actually want to do something.
The strength of your feelings towards the Attitude object is directly proportional to the strength of your Attitude, and you will derive much of your motivation to take action from how you manage your feelings. Needless to say, if you have built your Attitude on false knowledge, then you will probably enter a high Stress area of your own making.
Because this is so, it is crucial that any Attitude be “challenged” until you establish exactly what the facts really are. Research shows us that we reflect our perceptions of the world around us, and that our perceptions are our reality. Is it any wonder then that we become Stressed when faced with a situation where our perceptions are challenged directly by the facts, and we are unable or unwilling to moderate our Behaviour in line with the new information.
Attitude can be varied, by changing our beliefs, and to change our beliefs we usually need one of more of the variables in Attitude change to be present.
The first variable, as you would expect, is Personality traits. Understanding the conflict that is inherent in the different Personality styles, and moderating our assumptions and perceptions to foster a clinical, critical focus on the “fact stream” can greatly assist us in arriving at more balanced Attitudes. To make Peace at this level, you must be HOT.
The different Personality Styles will instinctively and intuitively revert to their “Prime” Style under pressure, and you need to realize this when you are attempting to moderate any Attitude formation.
The second variable is credibility of the source of different opinions or information that counters our existing Attitudes. Again, the Personality Styles will play a very important role in this variable, as the Personality of the “credible different opinion” may potentially clash with that of the Person holding the specific Attitude. We have to be willing to believe the different information in the first place, and be open to different suggestions and dialogue. Again, the Peacemaker has to be HOT, SMILE a lot, and be ready to help everyone RACE in their efforts to literally change their mindset without loosing face (EGO) or feeling diminished in any way. Incidentally, we have long believed that the sign of good management is that you have an environment where People can make mistakes, survive them, learn from them, and get up off the floor and be successful. This is a very powerful force in changing Attitudes.
The third variable is Group membership, where the accepted “norms” of the Group help to modify individual Behaviour, by encouraging conformity. Being a member of a Group or team can be both uplifting and extremely Stressful, particularly if some in the group express Attitudes that we do not agree with.
Groups also tend towards “median” thinking, and it can be hard to get a Group to think outside the square without external facilitation. In a sense, Groups or Teams are formed to “create” Attitudinal smoothing in the first place, so you need to be very aware of both the composition of the Group (Personality wise) and the quality of the information and data upon which they build their belief structure.
Co-incidentally, theses are the same three factors that must be addressed in minimising self-induced Stress – Personality, credible sources of differing information, and Group membership. Remember that Stress can be caused by any situation, event or disease that creates within a person a physical or emotional reaction that changes the person’s observed Behaviour, or affects their perceived ability to cope. Bad or conflicting Attitudes meet this criteria rather well!
You can’t tackle most Attitude formation head on. People internally and sometimes rather forcefully “own” their Attitudes without realizing it. And their ability to express their Attitudes or be shifted in their belief will be dependent on their prime Personality Style.
The Director will be quite rigid and positive that they are “right” – shifting their Attitudes can be like trying to dig a swimming pool with a toy spade. Use the information discussed earlier to work out a plan for how you would work with this Style to achieve the Attitudinal shift you need.
The Thinker will only consider what they believe to be facts and inarguable data, and then only if it is presented to them in the proper way – point one, point two, etc.
The Socialiser will move all over the place, will be reflection a high emotional content, and needs to feel how the new Attitude might sit within their belief structure, and they will never be able to consider the detail without great Stress.
The Relator will bounce between both poles of any argument, and be very frustrating in the way they finally modify their Attitudes. It will always be a People focussed process supported with strong Group or Team support.
With any Attitude problem, you need to be HOT first, SMILE second, and really RACE to get yourself realigned into a less Stressful manner.
The Death of Communication

Every Communication is an opportunity to Motivate, and every opportunity to Motivate is an opportunity to Negotiate. Successful Negotiation depends on building a relational frame, or a “consensual bridge” between the People concerned, and this can only be achieved with excellent Communication.
Communication is essential for any action to take place. Without it, nothing can be achieved, measured, modified, or created. You cannot learn. You cannot grow. You cannot progress. In human terms, nothing, but nothing, is more important than excellence in Communication!
Communication is not just words. Communication is anything and everything about getting one idea from one mind, into another.
Man is the only species that does project his will outside his immediate environment. Mankind is the only sentient race that can produce creativity – the exact opposite of the obvious. Against instinct, against logic, against habit, human beings have the remarkable talent to create for themselves and others a multitude of “Mind maps” that literally take us into other worlds and other times.
We take our imagination and turn it into reality – and we take reality and overlay it with our imagination, and then we create new, different, outrageous, and stimulating edifices that challenge our perceptions and iconic values.
Unfortunately, in this electronic age, we seem to have lost much of our need and ability to Communicate intelligently with one another, and this is a massive cause of self-induced Stress. As the very social fabric that nurtured us in our rush towards progress broke down, we developed the ability to fling words at each other across spaces so vast we have depreciated the need to gather as we once did.
Man is quintessentially a Social animal, but we have deliberately (or so it seems) created networks of virtual pseudo-relationships at the expense of Human physical contact.
We now fling emails at each other from the four corners of the world, with the expectation of immediate attention, and total comprehension. Never mind the state or circumstances of the person with whom we are attempting contact, we assume therefore it is.
If you trace our ability to Communicate through time, you see a fascinating progression from privileged Behaviour to common access, back to privilege, back to common, and then a massive fragmentation around the time of the electronic age that has gone far beyond anyone’s prior expectation. But what we have created is contact and connectivity, not Communication. Let us explain.
Communication is a variety of Behaviours, processes, and technologies by which meaning is transmitted or derived from information. It is the reciprocal sharing of ideas and information between a sender and a receiver, and is the primary means through which most relationships are initiated and developed.
The quality of any relationship, and the absolute value of the exchange of ideas or information, is totally dependent on the quality of the Communication. And the quality can only be judged by Feedback demonstrating that the other Person can take the required action (of the Communication).
So if you are in the habit of zapping the ether with fast and furious emails, your expectation should be zero to less than zero, because you are flying in the face of the second greatest of all human needs and Communication protocol – social interaction.
In 5,500 Organizations surveyed in the past five years, 96% believed that their lack of Communication skills cost them their performance, in both People and profit terms! This is as astonishing as it is frightening. Can’t People talk to each other? Isn’t Communication simple and easy? Maybe, but you wouldn’t know it by the way half the planet is constantly at war with the other half!
The challenge in any Communication process is to get ideas or information from one person’s head into another person’s head clearly, concisely, and specifically.
We have already discovered that the conscious “Mind” perceives language, words, and symbols, the unconscious “Mind” interprets and generates your perception of pictures and abstract images, and that your subconscious “Mind” is where your imagination resides - ideas are generated, and where your Powers of visualization come from.
Until recently, theories of Communication were the province of writers on Philosophy, Language, and Rhetoric. Aristotle taught that Rhetoric was a search for all the available means of persuasion, and that one had to examine the Speaker, the Message, and the Audience, in order to understand the effect of rhetoric, and how the effect was achieved. This concept endured until the last century, when serious work was undertaken to better understand the Communication process
In 1948, with the publication of “The Mathematical Theory of Communication” by Shannon, and “Cybernetics: or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine” by Norbert Weiner, the foundations were laid for a widely accepted Communications Model.
Shannon, working with Warren Weaver (Bell Laboratories) created a six-element model that required :
1. An information source (usually a person)
2. A Transmitter
3. A Communication Channel
4. A Noise Source
5. A Receiver
6. A Destination (usually another person
The original theory was modified a few years later to require :
1. A Source (the speaker)
2. An Encoder (the vocal system)
3. A Message (language & visual clues)
4. A Channel (sound waves in air)
5. A Decoder (the listener’s ears)
6. A Receiver (the listener)
Now, while this might all seem to be a bit basic and simple, keep this progression in mind as we get further into the development of the Communications model.
Weaver also postulated that all Communication was concerned with three problems :
1. How accurately the symbols of Communication could be transmitted
2. How precisely the symbols carried the intended meaning
3. How effectively the received meaning affected conduct in the desired way.
Now you see where we are going, don’t you? Accuracy! Precise meaning! Effective and affecting conduct in the desired way!
Weiner introduced the concept of Feedback, which he described as “The verbal or visual cue that indicates whether the message has been received and correctly interpreted”.
So, link what Weaver postulated with Weiner’s concept of Feedback, and you will start to see where 99% of all “modern” day Communication goes wrong! There is no feedback mechanism, there is no way to objectively judge if the person you have Communicated with is capable of taking the required action (on your behalf)! Think about this point as you read on, and think about all the Stressful situations you may have inadvertently created by violating this critical rule of good Communication.
Weaver also used the term “homeostasis” to describe the ability to detect a deviation from a desired “State”, and a feedback mechanism by which the discrepancy is noted and fed back for the purpose of modifying Behaviour. As you will remember, homeostasis is also the primary dynamic principle in Motivational theories.
And there you have it. In simple terms, we only really Communicate when we can prove, by way of Feedback, that our Communication has achieved its objective – the person with whom we are communicating can take the required action, and achieve our desired state.
This statement makes a mockery of faxes, voice mails and emails, sent off into cyberspace with absolutely no regard for the first principles of good Communication! And the Stress that this causes is becoming legendary.
If you are on the receiving end of this type of Behaviour, don’t be Stressed. If you are Stressed, then BREATHE, SMILE, distance yourself from the garbage, and if necessary, turn it off, until you can calmly deal with it.
No matter what, don’t let it get you down by assuming that because you have been contacted in this way, you are obligated to answer. You’re not. The prime responsibility in any Communication is the “sender” – they are obliged to see that you can take the requisite action.
The Sender is responsible for the content, clarity, specificness, relevance, direction, appetite appeal, medium, message, and response. The Receiver is, in fact, not even obliged to be ready to receive or listen to any Communication!
There are some other very important considerations in the Communication model we use today, and they were developed as an extension to these first guiding principles of good Communication.
Social Scientists modified the Shannon - Weaver models to include :
- Greater emphasis on the nature of the next interaction;
- The response to the message;
- The context within which the interaction occurs.
If you examine these elements one by one, you soon build a picture of Communication that is somewhat foreign to how we behave today!
Marshall McLuhan, the noted American Social Scientist, holds that the Communication Medium - The Channel - exerts so strong an influence on the Communication process that it virtually controls what is Communicated. McLuhan demonstrated that with the advent of television, we changed the emphasis of much of our Communication processes. Today, the thirty-second sound byte has become the defacto Communication process for anyone trying to sway or influence us on almost any subject. Research also shows that a stunning 74% of the population believe in excess of 94% of everything they see on television. Unquestioned, unchallenged, just put it on the boob tube and the world will follow!
Recent experience with the Internet also demonstrates how easily People are swayed by what appears on the screen. In a recent study taken in Canada, 700 college students were asked to relate factual data on a chosen topic, only to find that the “facts” they had so carefully obtained electronically had been fabricated and then put there by their Teachers!
Noam Chomsky, another American radical Scientist, produced work on Language Matrix, and this work influenced Miller to experiment on responses to language and meaning. Miller was the first to recognize and demonstrate that there were intuitive conformal “rules” in any Communication structure, and that instinctively, if we do not sense these rules underlying the Communication, we become agitated and unlikely to receive the intended message. In other words, Stressed.
From this work, much has been learned about :
- Persuasibility factors of Personality – (Go back to the Personality Grid, and work out who would be the most persuasive of the Personality styles).
- The importance of the order of presentation of arguments – (Remember the structure the Thinker type has to go through to learn?)
- The role of selective perception – (The Socialiser is an expert at selective perception. They even manage to colour stuff that most of us never see or hear).
- Source Credibility – (Who will a Director or Thinker believe?).
- Pressures to conform to Group Norms – (Very important when considering Relators and their Behaviour).
The further study of Language and Verbal Behaviour has identified two phenomena :
When we speak, we do not transmit our thoughts to another, but rather we transmit sounds and visual clues, and
Meaning is not inherent in these sounds and clues, but is the product of the relationship between them, and the item referred to by the speaker.
There are three classifications for this work :
Semantics - The study of the relationship between signs and meaning
Syntactics - The rules governing the combination of signs without regard for their meaning, and
Pragmatics - The various uses and effects of signs by individuals.
Look at the following signs :

Interestingly none of these Signs or Symbols mean anything until we choose to give them a meaning - and they mean absolutely nothing to anyone else until they learn and accept what they are supposed to mean! To underline this point, two years ago a study was completed where 4,000 elderly drivers were shown five internationally recognized traffic signs. On average, the drivers recognized only two of the five, even though they had been in use for over twenty years!
The second phenomenon is that any Concept, Idea, or Object, no matter how sophisticated or culture bound, can be expressed in any other Language. It may require fewer or more words, and more or less visual clues, but everything that can be expressed in one Language can ultimately be translated into in another. However, there is no guarantee that this translation will in any way resemble the intent of the original Communication, as can easily be demonstrated by trying to translate English into Russian!
This led to the identification of the three “V’s” of Communication :
VERBAL includes the spoken word;
VOCAL is the intensity and the tone of voice and other vocal qualities, and
VISUAL is any Behaviour on the part of the sender that the listener sees (or imagines if the Communication is other than visual).
Albert Mehrabian (UCLA) has demonstrated that in general terms, the Listener attends first to VISUAL cues, and that VISUAL cues make up 55% of the Communication; VOCAL cues come next, making up 38% of the Communication; and VERBAL cues make up only 7%, and are “heard” last!
VISUAL make up 55%
VOCAL make up 38%, and
VERBAL makes up 7%.
Now, back to those wonderful electronic messages we send each other – is it any wonder that we have become such poor Communicators, and cause so much Stress in the Communication process? 93% of the Communication is missing or assumed!
You can prove this for yourself – just imagine a phone call that you have received, from a person you have never met. You chat away, and somehow, you form some sort of image of what this person looks like.
Then you meet them, and shock! Horror! Gasp! They are nothing like what you imagined. Understand that the tonality of any Communication makes up nearly 40%, and then read some emails. Did they have a rough, hard, direct style? Did they make you feel good reading them? Were you agitated or annoyed by the perceived “tone of voice”? Did you get Stressed by the email process? Do you?
How do you feel when you ring an organization, and play “push the buttons” for ten minutes or so, and never reach a human voice? Does this Stress you out?
There are many reasons for this, not the least of which are the very elements at the heart of good Communication.
As Speakers/Senders, we may not be as effective as we could be in packaging (encoding) the message. In other words, we might garble what we are trying to say, or wrap it in an emotional package that disguises our meaning.
Because the visual cues we project have such a significant influence, we may unknowingly sabotage the most carefully orchestrated presentation. The classic example is the salesperson that wears an outrageous shirt, and never understands why no one can take him seriously!
The Message may be presented amongst multiple distractions, or the Listener’s mind may be wandering. There is a story about an advertising campaign that illustrates this point, and it goes like this………….

Once upon a time, there was a young lady who worked in a bank. She left home late, missed her bus, got ripped by her boss, spilt coffee on her new skirt, and suffered through the rest of the day only to miss her bus home. When she finally managed to sit down many hours later, in time to just miss the closing credits of her favourite TV program, on comes an ad. It’s for Holidays in the Sun, and bright, young, beautiful People run around the screen skimpily dressed, enticing the watcher to fork out hundreds of dollars. Our heroine throws her coffee cup at the TV set (luckily missing it), and goes off to bed, crying, deeply disturbed and Stressed.

How many times have you tried to Communicate with someone and found their mind wandering? Or been frustrated by someone who just doesn’t seem to be receptive to you at a particular time? If anything, current research shows that this aspect of Communication is almost universally ignored in the “Click and Go” age, yet it is perhaps the single most important aspect of trying to Communicate!

The Decoding Process (unwrapping the package) may be faulty, and misinterpretation often leads to misunderstanding and an increase in Stress (tension). Remember, signs and symbols, and for that matter, language, only means to us what we expect it to mean. It is very easy to create a Stressful situation by assuming that the other person understands what it is your are trying to Communicate to them. That’s another reason feedback is so important as a part of the Communication process. Ask a simple question, “Do the pictures or symbols used mean the same thing to the Receiver and they do to the Sender?”

The synthesis of all this learning gives us the vital ingredients to lower the potential for Stress in any Communication process :
Understand the Receiver and where they may be Attitudinally – what is their ability to be receptive, and what are the “rules” for communicating with them (Personality Style).
Understand the potential hazards of the Decoding Process – never assume that what you say is what the other person understands.
Understand the potential warping influence of the Communication Medium – and this is really important as you will discover later in this chapter.
Understand that 55% of the Communication will be non-verbal – this is very important if your are attempting to Communicate electronically. All the more reason to have Trust at the heart of your Communication, and build a “consensual bridge” or relationship with the Receiver.
Understand that what you say may not be what you think – try very hard to be literal (if you are a Socialiser or Relators) and empathetic (for the Directors and Thinkers).
Be aware that as the Sender, our Visual cues may far outweigh our Verbal cues – as they say in the movies, “dress for the part”. Be consistent, make sure that your emotional style matches the gravity or tonality of the Communication, and that the medium you use to Communicate through is the best one for the task.
If you are using electronic processes such as FAX, voice mail, or email, be aware that the Receiver will intuitively and instinctively judge the “value” and “worth” of the Communication by their ability to understand what is being said. So be very careful that you address your Receiver in a manner that their Personality Style can easily cope with, or expect then to get Stressed by your Communication from the outset.
All the responsibility lies with the Sender – not the Receiver. If you want to send successfully, you have to get the Receiver to participate willingly, freely, and from their perspective.
While the Classic Communication Model showed six Elements, modern theory allows that the Medium is a singular consideration (of enormous importance, as postulated by McLuhan) and that each different type of medium generates its own Rules for specific Communication. (Knowing what you now know, think about how you might go about using any of the following mediums - video, answering machine, phone, FAX, email, voice mail, or letter. What would you do differently? How would you go about managing the feedback element so critical to good Communication?)
We believe that Communication (per se) has five distinct processes, and we now delineate between Objective Communication and Action-orientated Communication, and we require the principle of Feedback to be present, and recognize that it is possible to get Static (Interference) at every juncture of the Communication.

This contemporary Communication Model is therefore integrated and continuous, the Communication “loop” is considered “dynamic”, and its success is evaluated only by the quality of the Feedback.
By accepting this Principle, you are acknowledging that what you want done (Result) is more important than what you want to say. Look closely at this statement again. What you want to say is of secondary consideration compared to what it is you want to achieve.
This is a critical issue, and you need to really understand it if you and the People you are Communicating with are not to become Stressed by your Communication processes.
Before you launch a new Communication, pause for a second to consider some simple hints to reduce the potential for generating Stress :
Who are you addressing?
What is their attitude? (KFA – Knowledge, Feelings, and Intent for Action
What is it you want them to do
What is the best Medium?
How will you evaluate their feedback?
How can you make the Communication simple, literal, specific, and desirable?
In our practice, we use a seven point reminder before we launch any Communication, to make sure that we give ourselves the very best opportunity to be successful, and minimise the Stress that we might accidentally generate in others.
1. Who are you talking to?
2. Where are we in their minds?
3. What do we want them to do?
4. What is the best way to Communicate with them?
5. How can we test for feedback?
6. What is the support for our Communication?
7. Are we being Honest, Open and Transparent?
We find this works well for us, you may care to try it for yourself.

One of the Great Secrets of Communication is Appetite Appeal. The more appealing you make the Communication, the more desirable it seems to the Receiver, the greater your chance for Success. Every Communication is an opportunity to Motivate. And every opportunity to Motivate is an opportunity to Negotiate. Building the “consensual bridge” by way of developing a firm, positive dynamic Relationship is the easiest, simplest, and mosr sure-fire way to enable great Communication.

Another Great Secret is in understanding the Personality of the person your are addressing. If you understand the Personality, you can use the “ROE” for Communicating with that Person.
Remember –
The Director Personality is Rational - High Involvement
1. In the Communication, is the thinking, presentation, and attitude compatible with the importance of the action?
2. Does it somehow take into account the risk of wrong choice (or action)?
3. Does it provide enough food for thought?
4. Are the points made in the Communication logical and cogent?
5. Are the specifics, benefits or reasons-why real and important?

The Socialiser Personality is Emotional - High Involvement
1. Is the Communication compatible with the importance of the action?
2. Does it somehow take into account the risk of wrong choice (or action)?
3. Does it provide enough stimulation of the imagination, fantasies, and daydreams?
4. Does the Communication engender the right feelings?
5. Does it express the right personality values?
6. Does it play on the right sense (of the five senses) in the right way?

The Thinker Personality is Logical - Low Involvement
1. Does the Communication provide the energy that the personality will not provide?
2. Does it make one point inescapably clear?
3. Does the Communication demonstrate or prove its one point irresistibly, and irrefutably?

The Relator Personality is Emotional - Low Involvement
1. Does the Communication provide the energy that the personality will not provide?
2. Does the Communication convey inescapably one personality?
3. Does the Communication work in, or on, the right sense, in the right way?

The third Great Secret is in understanding the “C – Three” dictate, or “C3” as it is sometimes called. This Communication-driven model has been conceived around the understanding of Group Dynamics, and has three distinct aspects (hence the “3”).
The Command (C1) hypothesis stipulates that :
- "In any Organization there is a visible hierarchical structure to which the individual can easily relate".
- “It is the prime responsibility of every member of this hierarchical structure to either lead, follow, or get out of the way”.
- “This structure will be such that, in the event of any uncertainty, command can pass from one level of the Organization to the next with a minimum loss of control”.
The Control (C2) imperative states that :
- “At every level of an Organization, there shall be sufficient structure to maximize efficiency, prevent chaos, disorder, and disharmony in work, while promoting the orderly and concise flow of information and smooth change of command from one level to another”.
The biggest single task for most Organizations in the current economic environment is to financially equate this imperative (C2) to a workable and successful structure. We have found that very few actually do, and it creates massive Stress in the workplace as a result.
The Communication (C3) dictate demands :
- "An accurate, clear, simple, and understandable exchange of information (ideas) at every structural level, irrespective of the capability or circumstances of the sender or the receiver".
- “A successful Communication (exchange of ideas) is said to have taken place only when the receiver can demonstrate that they can implement the required work to complete the object of the Communication”.
This common sense approach is all too often missing within Organizations, and is the biggest single cause of Group, and therefore Organizational disharmony - not to mention Stress! If you are to be a Peacemaker, you need to understand the consequences of these dictates, and how to implement them within any Group or Team that you form or use.
Communication excellence demands “An accurate, clear, simple, and understandable exchange of information (Ideas) at every Structural level, irrespective of the capability or circumstances of the Sender or Receiver”.
And is predicated on everyone in the Organization (or conversation) believing, “That what it is that needs to be achieved (Action) is more important than what it is anyone thinks they have to say”. Can you say this about your organization? Can you say this about yourself?

The fourth Great Secret is in understanding that any Symbol or Label you might use in your Communication can have as many different meanings as there are People involved in the Communication. People only understand what they already know, and a huge precursor to Stress is the tangle of misconceptions that evolve in any Communication process where Sender and Receiver are out of sync!
The simple way to test what is really understood is Feedback!

The Fifth Secret is to remember the mnemonic “Six, Five, Four” - the magic Words for fast-tracking good Communication.
Six Words - “Sorry, I don’t know about that.”
Five Words - “Please, can you help me.”
Four Words - “What do you think?”
By parking your Ego at the door, you free yourself up to genuinely empower the People with whom you are Communicating, involving them in any conversation and engaging them in your desired outcome.

There is one other Great Secret to performance Communication, and that is to get your Communication Style right.
Order (last)
Tell (infrequently)
Show (often)
Motivate (always)
Every opportunity to Communicate is an opportunity to Motivate, and every opportunity to Motivate is an opportunity to Negotiate!

There are twelve “Rules” for excellence in Communication, particularly as they relate to any form of Facilitation or Negotiation, and they work. Try them for yourself.

1. Know which battles you must win (Strategy)
2. Love to win, don’t hate to lose
3. Be relentless, not malicious
4. Depersonalise the contest
5. Understand how the other side can win
6. Present open, not closed, ideas
7. Bring a basket of choices, with something to reject
8. Understand the “No” process
9. Prepare the concessions you can make in advance
10.Know where the control must be seen to be
11.Always let the other party make the decision
12.Always test for Feedback, and accept that the quality of the Feedback equals the quality of the Communication!

Communication is the heart and soul of any Organization or relationship, and you should work at it as hard as you work at anything else that is important to you in your Life. If you genuinely want to make Peace, you must understand the critical importance of excellent Communication.
Above all, remember to BREATHE, be HOT, SMILE, and be ready to RACE at the first sign of Stress in any Communication process.
And always Communicate with “big ears”!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Managing Stress

The Death of Die

From the time you are born, only one thing about you is true. And that is, sometime, somewhere, you will die.
If you view these two events – being born, and dying - as the start and finish of something great – your Life, and Your contribution to the planet as a human being – you begin to understand what it means when someone says, “A person is defined and judged by their actions, what they do, not who they are, or pretend to be”.
What you do between the start and finish of your Life utterly defines you.
If you look at the back of your Birth certificate, you will not find any story about who you are to be, what you might do, what mountains you might climb, what rivers you might fall into on the way. Likewise, your Death Certificate lists absolutely nothing about who you were, what you achieved, your successes or failures, your hopes or desires.
Both documents only list the absolute rational facts concerning your given names, those of your parents, and details concerning authorative witness.
The only “story” that will exist about you will be in the collective memories of those that knew you, and the various books, documents, photos, pictures, data bites and bytes, and records that you passed through on your way.
There is one other literal truth about you – when you are born, you come into the world with a limited, finite, unknown quantity of “Life” energy, which starts to be expended from the very second you take your first BREATH.
Many, many things from that moment on, will contribute to robbing you of your rightful natural Lifespan. Things like eating badly, smoking, drugs, bad environment, lack of will power, poor Life choices, accidents either physical or mental, and the greatest Life shortener and killer of all, self induced Stress.
At this point, it’s enough for us to realize that Stress affects us all, shortening our natural Lifespan, and killing us before our Time. We will look at Stress in all its evil in the next chapter. What we need to do first is to discover what causes Stress, so we can get your Life back in balance.
Essentially, Stress is caused by the real difference between your perceptions (what you believe is happening, and act out) and your reality (what is really going on). Initially, this might be a difficult concept to understand, but the simple way to approach Stress is that if your heart rate is elevated, your skin flushed or hot, your muscles in tension, and your mind is tense, tight, confused, disturbed, angry, upset, or just plain befuddled, then the chances are you are suffering from the normal Life shortening effects of self induced Stress.
And Stress is both insidious and accumulative.
Insidious because it creeps up on you when you least expect it, robs you of your ability to think and act, and accumulative because it does a little bit of damage every time, that over your Life, effectively reduces your potential. The physiological damage Stress generates is irreversible. The psychological damage Stress inculcates can be both reduced and repaired. Better still, with the correct use of your mental faculties you can actually reduce your predisposition for self-inducing Stress, and dramatically enhance both the quality and quantity of your Life.
If you think of your Life energy as the available power in a giant battery, then it’s easy to see that as the power is used, the energy in the battery runs down, until eventually it is dead. You can speed up the power draining process by using the battery for something it is not designed for; short circuiting the terminals; using too many things hooked up to it; or just by simple abuse.
The same is true of your Life energy. Make your body do something it’s not designed for, like ingesting smoke, drugs, fatty foods, or foreign objects, and you use disproportionate quantities of Life energy trying to get your system back into balance. Having a severe mental attack, by hating someone or something, yelling, losing control, becoming furious, behaving in an emotionally forcefully manner, all contribute to sucking out your Life energy at a faster than normal rate. A virtual “short circuit” of your mental and energy generating processes. By trying to do too many things at once, making mistakes and not learning from them, and dissipating your efforts through lack of control, you contribute to a disproportionate use of your personal resources – just like sucking the energy out of the battery.
And by just not taking reasonable, balanced proper care of yourself, you allow your Life energy to slip away forever, like sand running out of a sock.
Where does Making Peace come in?
If you are at WAR with someone, or something (government, neighbourhood, any hate object), then you are focusing your mental and physical resources on a very destructive emotional process, one that leads to massive quantities of self-induced Stress, and one that sucks up your Life energy faster than a speeding bullet!
WAR is HATE, WAR is PASSION, WAR is DREAD, WAR is FEAR, WAR is LOSS, WAR is never won, it is merely resolved, usually by force, with so called winners and losers, and there are always more looses than winners..
History tells us though, that as Time marches inexorably on, the difference between the winners and the losers diminishes, making it very hard to explain rationally, in retrospect, exactly what all the fuss was about.
One side looses 157,546 People, killed in the conflict. The other side only looses 10,231 People, and they are celebrated as the conquering heroes!
Who really lost?
Humanity, and the families of the thousands of People killed on both sides.
Who won?
Nobody. Some dirt may or may not have been advanced on, some ideal momentarily shown to be brighter than a shooting star (shooting stars are dying rapidly as they produce their sometimes spectacular effect) and someone’s pride may or may not have been satisfied.
It has been said, “Nothing of any great import or lasting value has ever been resolved by the use of force – not even victory”.
Now, you may point to the Great Wars of any century, and justify them on the basis that a great Evil was defeated by the powers of virtue and good. That may be true. But it is also true that at some point well before the War started, it could have been avoided.
All it would have taken is a few strong Personalities to stand up and lead their People into Peace – because of their utter conviction that they, themselves, were at Peace with themselves, and that they wanted that State for everyone else likely to be enjoined in any disastrous, soul destroying, WAR.
In even simpler terms, someone’s EGO and GREED got in the way of Making Peace.
Those of you who get this far, and are outraged by this concept, should go no further, for you are not at Peace with yourself, and therefore can never be a Peacemaker! In all probability, your EGO is such that it often gets in the way of your achievements, self-limiting how far you go, and how high you reach.
You will be centred on “you”, and will likely have trouble reaching down into your personal truth to be objective about your real role in the Universe.
You will not believe that Making Peace is possible, or perhaps even worthwhile, and you will funnel all your negative energy into making your destructive view of your world come true.
When you HATE, emote negative PASSION, DREAD an outcome, FEAR something or someone, you are setting yourself up for a bitter emotional bargaining process that costs much more than it ever returns. It sucks our your Life energy, fuels your negative inner posture, and then increases the rate at which you consume you Life energy, effectively shortening your natural Life expectancy by years! A mean, nasty, vicious cyclic pattern that has only one outcome – you die faster, earlier, and in a manner probably not of your choosing.
And the chances are that you will die unhappy, bitter, and unfulfilled.
It also helps to accelerate the destruction of those around you.
And yet, over half the world today is at WAR with the other half, using bigotry, persecution, starvation, denial, politics, religion, bullets and bread as weapons of mass destruction, more efficiently than any atomic bomb.
You cannot open a newspaper, or tune in the TV News without seeing violent bloodshed, startling poverty, or raw emotion in the context of someone being killed, some country flattened or sunk by a disaster, or news yet again of a human tragedy of such proportions that seemingly no one can cope with it.
The rhetoric is always powerful and justified by the other side’s actions (or assumptions of their actions), and the iron fist is always delivered by the young and the fit.
Why do we do this? How does any intelligent person like you tolerate this destructive, negative, type of Behaviour?
Because most of us really don’t understand the consequences of WAR in individual, personal, terms. We put it far away from ourselves, as if the very remoteness of the disaster protects us from its consequences.
But WAR is not waged by countries, or things. WAR is waged by People. People like you and I. All over the world, for all sorts of reasons. And if it truly is a People thing, then starting with you, you can stop it, make a real difference, simply by starting with yourself.
Check you EGO in at the door.
Make Peace with you.
Then make Peace with everyone around you.
And then use the force multiplication of a group of dedicated Peacemakers to spread Peace like a virus, to every domain you can reach.
We are a huge collective society of different races, cultures, beliefs, religions, Behaviours, attitudes and habits, and yet we are one.
One Person, just like you.
Can you really make a difference? Can you make Peace in your Time?
What the Mind can conceive, you can do!
As a wise man once said, “It’s all in your mind”, and fortunately, it is just that. All in your mind. So let’s take a quick look at Stress, and your part in it, and take the first tentative steps towards Making Peace – at least with yourself, as a very good start.
The Death of Stress.

Stress is a killer. If you want to enjoy a long, healthy, productive Life, you simply have to learn how to kill off Stress stone motherless dead as fast as you possibly can. Hard words for a Peacemaker, but necessary. And if you haven’t got what it takes to kill it, then at the very least, you have to discover how to manage it, so that you are in control of your Life, and not have Stress in control of you.
Stress is caused either by the physical and emotional reaction to a trauma, such as when you injure yourself, or it is self-induced as a direct result of your perceptions being completely out of sync with your reality. In truth, in most People, this is the major cause of Stress, and Stress induced illnesses, of which there are many.
And they are all silent and professional killers!
High blood pressure, cardiovascular failure, organ failure, reduced mental capacity, stroke, rapid ageing, and numerous other diseases to many to mention wait in the wings of Life ready to pounce at the first quiver of tension.
Let’s look at Stress from a clinical point of view, and discover how to rein in this killing machine, and make it your slave. In truth, your first big step to Making Peace, and it’s easier than you think.

The Study of Stress is primarily focussed on the Physiology and the Psychology of the Human organism, and its interaction with external and internalised stimulus. Theses are big words, but with a very simple heart. They mean that we look at how the body and the mind interact in the environment, and the effect each has on the other in the process of living.
Your body, and how you affect your environment; and the environment, and how it interacts with you and your body.
Now, every body has many, many constituent parts, but in the interests of keeping you interested, we’re going to look at you as having a homogenous “physical” part, and a “mind” part. Let’s break this down further into simple pictures.
Physiology (the “physical” bit) is the study of the biomechanics (the way things work) of physical activity, caused by chemically derived stimulus (these chemicals are produced in your body as a function of your normal activity, and make your muscles work, your heart beat, your blood flow, and lubricate your mind). In simple terms, we look at your frame (skeleton), your cardiovascular system, and what holds it all together (the many constituent parts mention above), such as your cartilages, ligaments, tendons, and muscles – this is Physiology in its rawest sense.
The “mechanics” of being a Human being.
Your body – the “physical bit” – is stimulated by interpreted input from your five senses - sight, touch, smell, hearing and taste. Or your body is stimulated into action by a direct command from your “Mind”. Either way your mind becomes heavily involved in this process, and we label the study of this type of activity “Psychology”.
Psychology is simply the understanding of Neuromechanics, or the ability of the “Mind” to perceive and interpret the information received from the five senses, and cause an action as a result of this stimulus - or generate activity of its own accord inline with your attitudes and beliefs (both of which determine your actions).
The study of Psychology looks at the Central Nervous System, the Parasympathetic Nervous System, and the Conscious, Unconscious, and Subconscious way your “Mind” works – for you, or against you.
The Conscious “Mind” perceives language, words, and symbols. The Unconscious “Mind” interprets and generates your perception of pictures and abstract images. The Subconscious “Mind” is where your imagination resides - ideas are generated, and where your power of visualisation comes from.
You “see” the word “boat” (conscious); you turn this word into a picture of what the boat might look like to you (unconscious); then you imagine what you might do on or with this boat (subconscious).

Interestingly, the Mind does not distinguish between “real” and “imagined” information, and this is where self-induced Stress really starts to build and hit home.
Because your Mind is unable to distinguish between a “real” situation, and an “imagined” situation, the reaction it creates in your body is the same. This is a critical issue, and one that needs to be examined in greater detail.
In other words, your Mind drives your mental and bodily responses based on either a real or imagined situation, and doesn’t mind at all that it is reacting to something you have created, imagined, or misinterpreted, or just plain got wrong!
Simply, Stress is a primitive response to a perceived threat of attack. This primate reaction is built into us at the very level of our genes, and while with training and awareness we can modify its effect on us, we can never ignore it, or pretend that it does not exist. Our “hardwiring” simply does not allow it.
As an example of how we train ourselves to “manage” the threat of attack, think about Fireman or Soldiers training to hurl themselves right into the very heart of danger time and time again, to achieve their task. They are overcoming their natural instincts to flee, by moderating their response to the initial “fear” caused by the obvious danger they face. Training can overcome fear, and overcoming fear reduces you exposure to the killer Stress.
The Stress is still very real (or even imagined to be real), but your response to the Stress is moderated by your physiological and psychological training.
When you become Stressed, adrenalin is produced in huge quantities and surges through your body, creating the instant potential for fast and violent activity. Your blood pressure rises, as your cardiovascular system closes down the peripheral blood vessels to minimize potential blood loss from injury. Your heart rate increases, as your body readies itself to fight or flight. Your neck hairs bristle, and blood flow is diverted from internal organs to your muscles. This means that precious blood, usually circulating to your brain (where your three Minds do their work), flood to your lower body, providing extra fuel for your muscles to use as you physically and mentally prepare to run away from the perceived danger (real or imagine). When this happens, your mental abilities are diminished, your powers of deduction and reason become degraded, and your intellect takes a huge hit right in the IQ basket.
In Psychological terms, this is known as the “Fight or Flight” Syndrome, and is a primary motivational response derived from the survival instinct.
In this “heightened state” the ability to perform tasks is degraded, mental facilities are limited, perspective changes, Behaviour changes, and individual potential is significantly reduced toward the instinctive end of the performance scale.
Worst of all, your Life energy is being sucked out of you faster than you can blink. In a sense, Stress increases the rate at which you are dying!
Now, it is likely that you have been Stressed before, and not recognized any of the symptoms mentioned here. But if you were to be clinically monitored during even a moderate Stress attack, all of these reactions would be present to some extent.
If you want some statistics on the killer Stress, consider this - in the United Kingdom, Stress and Mental Disorders cost 30 million working days every year, and more than 5 billion pounds (3% of GDP).
In the USA, compensation Claims based on Stress Disorders have increased from 5% in 1984 to 25% of all Claims in the last eight years, and cost $US200 billion annually! Even in a relatively small Country like the Netherlands, every 4 minutes of every working day one Person is diagnosed as having a Stress derived Psychological Disorder.
Since 1984, Stress related Claims in Australia are up 395%, and now represent over 10% of all Disability Claims. Excess Stress is linked to Heart Disease, Strokes, Hypertension, Ulcers, Bowel Disease, Musculoskeletal Problems, Anxiety, Depression, Neuroses, and Drug and Alcohol Abuse. And every one of these conditions will kill you before your Time!
Medical specialists often point to the fact that they believe over 90% of all diseases and conditions in the Human body result from some form of Stress-induced activity. So while you may die from a heart attack, kidney failure, cancer, renal failure, or other complication, the precursor to the finality of the outcome was that you were Stressed in the first place, creating the cycle of destruction that takes your Life before your rightful time.
You need to understand Stress, and you need to discover how to mediate its effect on you and those around you. You need to train your Mind in Stress recognition, prevention, and management.
You need to remember to “BREATHE”, and the acronyms, “SMILE”, “HOT”, and “RACE”.

BREATHE – possibly the simplest, fastest, most reliable way to start the attack on Stress is to BREATHE. Pretend your lungs are full of stale, bad air. BREATHE in deeply, right down to your boots, hold it for a count of ten, then expel it, pause, then do it again. Just this one simple exercise will cut your Stress condition by half! When you force BREATHE, you are pushing good, clean oxygen through your body, enriching your blood, and clearing a small part of your mind, usually enough to use objectively in starting to reverse the Stress process. You are also engaging in a conscious physical process that, just for a few seconds, breaks the Stress cycle. Just like hitting the big red “Stop” button on a speeding train.

SMILE – Stress Managed Instantly = Life Extension

If every time you feel Stressed, you SMILE, you’ll soon find that getting on top of it is easier than falling of a bike. Break the cycle, SMILE. Relax, BREATHE in and out, put your hand on your chest and feel the air rushing in and out of your ribcage. Picture it going around in a circle, in and out, in and out.
Lower your emotional temperature, and let your MIND free up to engage your intellect in solving the issue that has Stressed you out.

HOT - Honest Open & Transparent

This is a process thing, and an EGO thing. If, in every transaction, professional and personal, you insist on a HOT environment, where everyone commits to being Honest, Open, and Transparent, there will be very little Stress. This is sometimes hard to do, but as the primary Peace Maker, it is your responsibility to manage the agenda, by setting the example. In simple terms, if you want to live out your full natural Lifetime, stay away from People and Process where you do not have, or you cannot create, a HOT environment!

RACE - Recognize Act Control Express

This is the elemental secret to managing Stress. First, you recognize the symptoms of Stress – tension, shouting, incoherence, warm flushes, elevated heart rate, temperature, tightness in the head or chest, difficulty Breathing. You may even find that it is hard to think and act in a rational manner. You feel tight, wound up like a spring, agitated, ill at ease. Sometimes baffled, confused, unhappy, sad, emotionally drained. Well, just stop it instantly and immediately! Act!
By Acting on your recognition, doing something positive to break the cycle, snap the pattern, you seize Peace out of the jaws of confusion and Stress. Some People find it helpful to clap or make a physical gesture to trigger their anti-Stress response. Others simply SMILE, indicating that they are in control. Find what suits you best, and practice using it until you are so comfortable you could be standing in a room with hundreds of People, and not feel embarrassed to Act!
Taking Control needs little explanation, except to say that when you are in Control, you cannot be Stressed. Aroused, yes, but Stressed, no. Control is everything in beating Stress down where it belongs. It is when you lack Control that you are at your most exposed as far as self-induced Stress is concerned. In fact, it’s the “out of control” feeling that generates most Stress for most People.
Now, Expressing yourself is not as easy as it sounds. Many of us are naturally shy, and the idea of physically or verbally expressing ourselves in company is an uncomfortable one – one that may well lead to self-induced Stress!
But research has found that if, when you detect Stress in yourself, you make a “large” physical motion, such as an expressive shoulder slump, fist shake, foot stamp, or general body relax, you start to mitigate the effects of self-induced Stress.
The very act of physical purging is a Stress breaker, so long as you don’t take it to extremes. The purpose is to tense and then relax your big muscles to help you generate a picture of you being “calmer” than you were, not a reason to strike out and create hurt in someone else.
Now, there are a group of words that describe the passage of Stress, and in understanding the relationship they have to each other, you will be preparing yourself to better manage Stressful situations.
“Arousal” is that heightened state of awareness that we use to generate chemical elements in our system to promote superior performance.
“Characteristic Tension” is that state of arousal where we are in control, performing at our best or better, every molecule of our being tingling with anticipation and energy. This is the state in which elite performance takes place, that elusive “Zone” you have heard People talk about.
Both arousal and characteristic tension are “good” Stress states – we are getting the benefit of the adrenaline and noradrenaline, we are “pumped”, physically and mentally, we are at our peak. The moment you loose control of these states, you go straight into Stress, with all the negative impact of an atomic bomb going off in your system.
Some Stress is good. Stress under control is good. It’s only when you lose control, or perceive that you have lost control, or cannot be in control, that the killing effects of Stress can start to eat away at your system.
This is why using a big-muscle physical release is sometimes so effective in breaking the Stress cycle.
Try it for yourself the next time you are Stressed – see if it works for you.
Above all, remember the four Stress Busters – BREATHE, SMILE, HOT, and RACE!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

10 Commandments for Making Peace

The Ten Commandments of Making Peace

To maximize your Peace making ability, you must change.

True Peace making ability requires great love, of yourself and of all others.

In losing respect for others, you lose a measure of self-respect, and diminish your Peace making ability.

No one can, or wants to, develop your Peace making ability for you.

You can replenish your Peace making ability by doing new and different things, and by avoiding repetitious habits.

You can always quit and run away, but you can never run away from yourself.

The process of quitting quickly diminishes your Peace making ability.

Where there's a will, there's a way. Just by deciding to do something (make Peace) you empower your intellect, and your Peace making ability swells and builds like an infectious disease.

Your true Peace making ability comes from within, and is directly proportional to the purity of your soul, and the honesty of your intent. It fuelled by positive, right actions, and is destroyed by negative, wrong actions.

Making Peace on every possible occasion reduces Stress, and prolongs Life!

Developing your true Peace making ability is like awakening a sleeping giant, or surviving a one thousand-bomber raid on your mind. It is a "shocking" experience, because it tends to set your imagination and your intuitive abilities on fire, which Motivates you to great heights. There is simply nothing you can't do if you develop your Peace making ability to its fullest potential.
So what is your real "Peace” making ability?
It is your personal (individual, private, your own, secret, and special) power (force, control, influence, authority, direction, and mastery), and it is the sum total of all your experience, of all your learning, and of all your abilities. It is available to all, but accepted by few. It is something that can and does make a real difference, to you and to everyone who comes in with you.
It's what makes the difference between being rich (affluent, wealthy, prosperous, and comfortable), having true prosperity (fame, prestige, status, and happiness), and being ultimately successful (efficient, prosperous, triumphant, victorious, distinguished, outstanding, and a star). Not to mention the long, rich Life you will live as a consequence.
Making Peace is a philosophy, an attitude, and a way of approaching the way you do things. If you are Peacemaker, you are always looking for the good things in People, never their faults. You are always on the lookout for improvement and a way to do things better. You are comfortable being “you”, and helping others to be themselves.
Becoming a Peace Maker is easier than you think.
All you have to do is understand what it is that is working against you, and discover how to deal with it.
You need to appreciate how simple, yet complex, being human can be!