Saturday, December 18, 2004

Peacock in the Land of Penguins, Glass Ceiling, Way of Go, Lean Against The Wind

Favorite Books
By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM
Paradigms & Paradoxes Corporation

A Peacock in the Land of Penguins: A fable about creativity and courage
By BJ Gallagher Hateley and Warren H. Schmidt
(Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc)

Dancing on the Glass Ceiling
By Candy Deemer and Nancy Fredericks
(McGraw-Hill Companies)

The Way of Go: 8 ancient strategy secrets for success in business and life
By Troy Anderson
(Simon & Schuster, Inc)

Lean Against the Wind: How to Face the Future
By James McKarns
(St. Pauls Philippines)

These past years have been terrifying and trying times. We encountered many and unsought crises after crises: environmental disasters, economic meltdowns, dreaded diseases, bankruptcies of the mind and pocket, disappearing resources, wanton promiscuity and many others.

So how do we face the future courageously? Let’s take some cues from famous authors.

“Laugh often,” says James McKarns. “Laughter has been called the “sunshine of the soul. It produces warmth, light-heartedness, friendliness and is a pleasant means of sharing with others. Humor and consequent laughter melts away many icy tensions and frustrations which otherwise could grind us to a mental and emotional halt. It has been said that when we have a serious problem, the second best thing to do, next to finding a solution, is to find humor in it. That enables us to be accepting or, at least, more patient until a real solution is discovered.”

McKarns related the story of former “Saturday Review” editor Norman Cousins who suffered the advanced stages of a connective tissues disease and whose chances of recovery were diagnosed as poor. Cousins took on a steady diet of old Marx Brothers movies and some of the Candid Camera shows and laughed his way to enduring good health. “That internal doctor is no joke. We begin the healing process by believing in the God-given curative powers of our own bodies and minds. If we encourage our minds and bodies to heal themselves, they will.”

McKarns strongly advocates a selective mental diet of hope, kindness, gentleness and concern for others to turn us into better people with higher motives and loftier ideals. He observes that the thoughts we think, more than the food we eat, shape us into what we really are.

Likewise, Troy Underson suggests a pro-active and direct approach to the future culled from his studies of the ancient game called Go, also called “game of geniuses.” In this overly competitive world, he shares essential elements of strategy and competition he culled from the game. Playing the game is like participating in the TV reality show of Donald Trump.
• How to make use of limited resources and time to produce the largest gain
• Which initiatives to continue and which to abandon
• When to lead and when to follow your opponent
• How to weigh competing interests among different units
• How to enter a market where the competition is already well established
• How to proceed t o ensure success if the competition enters your market
• How to create a strategic plan when the market changes quickly
• How to go global but think locally

Underson says 27 million people have played the game including Mao Tse Tung, Bill Gates and John Nash (A Beautiful Mind). He includes instructions on how to play the game and how to prepare the board for two players.

I love fables and I love “A Peacock in the Land of the Penguins.” University of California professor Judy Rosener rave review: “I loved it! This is an engaging tale of the challenges and dilemmas faced by those who are different as they struggle for success and fulfillment—as well as the challenges and dilemmas of those who are members of the power elite in today’s organizations, Truly a fable for our times.”

In Part II Tips and Tools for Feathered Friends is a simple test to determine if you are a peacock or other type of exotic bird that goes:

• Do you frequently feel like you don’t fit in—that you are different in some fundamental way?
• Do you get criticized for not being a team player (a euphemism for not conforming to group norms)?
• Do you feel pressured by your boss or others to change in some significant way to fit in?
• Do you feel ostracized, lonely, left out of the loop of information and decision-making?
• Are you unable to identify with anyone as a role model at the top of your organization?
• Do you often feel under- or unappreciated for your talent and skill, while others who are less talented get promoted and rewarded?
• Do you often try to figure out “what’s wrong with me”?
• Do you feel stifled, stuck, frustrated by some unseen “system”?
• Are you frequently ignored, interrupted, or discounted when you make comments or suggestions at meetings?

Now, get the book (Third Edition) to know if you are a peacock, a penguin or a struggler. It is good to know so could play Go cleverly. Take a cue or two on how to unleash your creativity and assert your individualism in the land where conformity is rule.

Speaking of orthodoxy, women generally feel they must and try to fit into the accepted, masculine-driven pattern of business. In Dancing on the Glass Ceiling, authors Candy Deemer and Nancy Fredericks teach women how to utilize the power and effectiveness of playing like a woman.

First, women should accept the fact that they are grandly different from men and “dance on the glass ceiling rather than muscle your way through it..” Deemer and Fredericks writes, “This shift in thinking can have an enormous impact on the outside world. It’s called the ‘butterfly effect.’ Research has shown that a single butterfly fluttering its wings in China has the potential to magnify the resulting airflow throughout the world, even affecting weather in the United States.”

The authors challenges women, thus, if a butterfly can do all that, imagine the power that women have to create results in their own career and in their own company simply by allowing themselves to follow a more natural pathway to success—a feminine pathway.

They observe that women seemed to gravitate instinctively toward certain leadership behaviors that were not even on the radar screens of most men, such as intuitive decision making, the special talent for nurturing subordinates and the automatic ability to interpret both the verbal and nonverbal layers of communication. “Yet neither the women nor their organizations recognized the powerful role these assets play in fueling the companies’ success.”

With these in mind, let us welcome 2005 with all our optimism and confidence! God promised He will bless and keep us always. Let’s make that happen.

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