the blog Synergy

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Learning questions of synergy

Rosa posed a few good questions here on the Team Synergy blog. I have been busy composing an answer (actually several answers) and I am about ready to reveal them.

Are you ready?

I hope so.

Rosa's first question:

How will our LEARNING STYLES and HABITS have to EVOLVE so that the web communications of our future serve to POWER partnerships, teams, groups and communities?

I think the key to this is our respect for the individual. The web communications are done with tools of technology: instant messaging (IM), voice over IP, email, blog, video blog, podcasting, wikis, etc. There are plenty of tools. But they are only tools. They still require people to operate and use them. We must be mindful that there is another person on the other end and they may not be as adept at the tool as we are. We must be mindful of the verbal communication studies that show 15% of the actual communication is in the words we use, another 20% in the tone of our voice, and 55% in our body language. When we do email or IM, it is only the text that is present. When video phones become common, then the body and facial expressions can come back into the picture to help convey the message.

Until then, be kind to one another.
Confirm what is being said/written, so you do not go off having half heard something.

There is more in common amongst us than there are differences. We need to be kind and patient to explore each other to let this come out into the open.

I heard (via Steve Garfield's field report on Rocketboom) Jeff Jarvis say that the battle between distribution and content was wrong, the conversation is the kingdom and trust is the king.

We need to get to a position of trust with one another in order to succeed together.

It won't be easy. But therein lies the challenge!

Question 2

Question 3

Question 4

Question 5

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Saturday, September 16, 2006

New Learning Styles and Habits with Books

In honor of Joyful Jubilant Learning 2006 this month, I had asked five more learning questions here, in the post called, The Learning Questions of Synergy.

About number 1:

  1. How will our LEARNING STYLES and HABITS have to EVOLVE so that the web communications of our future serve to POWER partnerships, teams, groups and communities?

In the past few months, I’ve adapted my own book-reading habits into a coaching technique for the business executives who I coach. What starts as a book conversation easily segues into a coaching conversation, because the book I chose to give them for their annotation somehow relates to one of their personal growth goals, or to one of their company’s strategic objectives.

Lately, I’ve begun to extend the idea to my team coaching. For us at Say Leadership Coaching, team coaching relates to project management, and we pick real-time, work reinvention projects for workplace management teams as the “subject matter” of their Managing with Aloha curriculum. We don’t want our classes and sessions to be purely academic; what they learn must be workplace translatable for the learning to be meaningful, and to stick.

I posted more about this on this morning, and I’d love to collect your thoughts on the learning process either here or there; what do you think? Do you annotate your books? How else have you made it your practice to share them, and in doing so, extend both their lives and your learning?

Read: Breathing Life into Books with Your Mana‘o

Also referenced here: The Learning Questions of Synergy

Sunday, September 10, 2006

PodCamp Lunch Sunday

PodCamp Lunch 1
Originally uploaded by shersteve.

The "Power of We" was in full force at the first PodCamp here in Boston this weekend. The photo shows two key types of interactions that occured during lunch. Of course, more of these occured in the halls, before and after the sessions, and during the sessions themselves.

One - conversations generated a buzz. Whether one to one, or one to multiple, there were many going on all the time.

Two - one form the conversations took was in a recorded format. Here Christopher S. Penn, white shirt black sleeve, is capturing some video during an interview with PodCampers.

The energy and synergy created by the lunch room buzz will continue to play out over the next days, weeks, months...

Stay tuned to PodCamp. There will be another one in Boston in 2007. There is talk of bring this format to other major areas. It may come you something reachable from your neighborhood.

If it does, do stop stop anywhere, get thee there. It is worth it!

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The labyrinth of emotions

Emotional life is still a realm full of uncertainties for many people. It is probably one of those things that most people understand as long as they age.

Last week our friend Sean made some questions to me concerning emotions. He found out that there are six basic emotions, four negative, one neutral and one positive (joy).

As I have been interested in the emotional side of experience his was my answer:

1. Your e-mail was very interesting. You distinguish six emotions, 4 dangerous, one neutral and one positive. I don't know exactly how many emotions there can exist. As anthropologists Catherine Lutz and Jean L.Briggs have found out, the naming and classifying of emotions has a lot to do with the distinctions prevailing in a certain culture. Language helps to build a culture of emotions, and of course a social Dictionary of emotional experiences or states. The most exhaustive list of emotional terms I have come across was written by Spinoza in his Ethics. That is almost a complete dictionary of affective states.

2. I agree with you that when you make exercise, your emotional tone changes for the better. There is in any person what we could call soul, and that psychoanalists like Heinz Kohut called the Self. When you strengthen you self, your soul shines and your emotional experience of events becomes enhanced. Eastern cultures have deepend far more than we have done in terms of relating self satisfaction and simple techniques like breathing or body movement.

3. Sensual touch as Joseph Lichtenberg has stated, is a source of joy and of self strengthening. You can read about this in his book "Psychoanalysis and motivation". It provides joy and liberates our soul from defensive barriers. It makes us enjoy the situation and our relationship toward things.

4. Negative emotions such as hate or shame have a semiotic value. They are signs of some kind of relationship between you and your fate, the things that happen to you, the way you relate to the world. They are difficult to handle. Jung talked about people having a function of their personality underdeveloped. He called that the inferior function. According to Jung's model, some people feel unable to manage their own emotions, they cannot differentiate between the cause of an emotion for instance, and their experience of it (their symptoms to say it simply).

5. This is why Systemic Psychologists such as Yvonne Agazarian talk about working on that differentiation by narrating the experience, the source of it and becoming familiar with the event that triggered the emotion. That is a socratic approach, as long as the symptom is dissoluted rather than a solution found.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Synergy & Stigmergy

From Tim Milburn writing at StudentInc
I am a huge fan of synergy, which is the combined interaction of two agents (people) resulting in a larger result than their individual efforts could achieve. It's helpful to realize that each one of us is better together. Like the Ecclesiastes writer says..."two are better than one, a cord of three strands is not easily broken."

This is not new, Tim has commented here before. But he takes a turn and goes into Stigmergy which according to the wikipedia entry is:
Stigmergy is a method of communication in emergent systems in which the individual parts of the system communicate with one another by modifying their local environment. Stigmergy was first observed in nature - ants communicate to one another by laying down pheromones along their trails, so where ants go within and around their ant colony is a stigmergic system. Similar phenomena are easily seen in many (all?) eusocial creatures, such as termites, who use pheromones to build their very complex nests by following a simple decentralized rule set. Each insect scoops up a 'mudball' or similar material from its environment, invests the ball with pheromones, and deposits it on the ground. Termites are attracted to their nestmates' pheromones and are therefore more likely to drop their own mudballs near their neighbors'. Over time this leads to the construction of pillars, arches, tunnels and chambers.

Read Tim's full posting. I think there are parallels with what we are attempting to do here in the blog world and what the termites accomplish.

What do you think?

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Learning Questions of Synergy

Alright, let’s see if I can write this without ending up all over the place. My head is so full… too many ideas, too many choices, all of them so enticing.

Perhaps I should start somewhat at the beginning.

A year ago I hosted a forum on lifelong learning for the Ho‘ohana Community (HC for short, you can join in too). The results were absolutely dazzling. Joyful Jubilant Learning 64 ways and counting. This September we just had to do it again. Had to.

I love planning these things. The HC is aloha goodness. It’s kind of magic. The planning started two months ago in my head, and a month ago via email with an invitation to the blogging writers of the HC, invitations for solo blog estate for a day on Talking Story. They were snapped up in less than a week. Blew me away.

Tim Milburn even surprised me with the greatest banner for it. See?

As a result, I can’t post on my own blog for a while. Now I’m not complaining mind you. I think the whole affair is totally cool. Groundbreaking virtual blog community cool. Smart people, sharp people, learning people cool. Alohalicious. You should check it out: It’s called Joyful Jubilant Learning 2006 with a different Guest Author every day this month. The Line Up is here. The authors have been amazing so far, the comment conversation is fabulous, and the blog traffic is off the charts.

So here’s the thing. I thought I could resist, you know? Take a month-long blog vacation from Talking Story and just chill. But I can’t. Just as addicted as Troy is. Steve is too y’know: 7 blogs counting this one! And Trevor (remember when he lost his internet service and started to go batty?) Now Phil, well think about this for a minute… where have you not seen him relationship-geeking lately?

Anyway, here I am looking at possibly getting a month off the blog, and I can’t do it. Especially because it’s ABOUT LEARNING. Goodness gracious, the one thing that gets me all charged up and makes my heart sing. Something I can pontificate on all day and all night if asked to, my impromptu drop-of-a-hat speech making at its best. Better believe I’m in the comment conversation there at JJL‘06, and that’s fun, but no more author spots for me till October.

Then, this eureka moment: If blog Synergy isn’t about learning, we’ve missed understanding a core ingredient of the sizzle that synergy sparkles with.

So this month, guess where I’m getting my blogging fix? I did something pretty good on MWA Online yesterday, being Labor Day and all, but honestly, that’s a solo deal where I’m pretty much expected to be the coach. Here, I get to be the student too, learning with a bunch of great people, relationship geeks and synergy sizzlers one and all.

So what say this month we do Learning in blog Synergy style? We’re not going to talk about what we’ve already LEARNED as much as what we WILL learn.

On Talking Story the sky is the limit this month with Joyful Jubilant Learning 2006, everything and anything learning the authors want to write on. (By the way, Phil’s JJL‘06 spot is on the 9th and Steve’s is on the 18th. Trevor and Troy were/is now vacationing, but we’ll get them here instead!) Let’s make it a bit more challenging here with some specific learning questions. These guys are up for it, don’t you think? You’re up for it, aren’t you? Synergy happens BETWEEN PEOPLE:

Here are my 5 questions: Choose which one you want to answer, or tackle them all.
  1. How will our LEARNING STYLES and HABITS have to EVOLVE so that the web communications of our future serve to POWER partnerships, teams, groups and communities?

  2. TOPIC HIT LISTS: There’s been a lot of talk of Web 2.0 and Globalization 3.0… What is it we’ll all have to learn to remain in the know and to feel we’re caught up and not left behind?

  3. Have you been patting yourself on the back because you’re a part of blogging communities and are among the web savvy who “get it?” Don’t rest on your laurels; what do you think we’ll have to keep learning about WRITING, CITIZEN PUBLISHING and BLOGGING?

  4. RELATIONSHIP ESSENTIALS: We talk about the value of relationships with good reason. What are the things we will still need to learn from each other, and only from each other?

  5. Personal GOALS: How do you suppose you’ll have to change your m.o. to learn with others, and in teams or partnerships? What can’t you learn on your own, at least not as well, and not as effectively? What are the goals you’re setting for yourself now so you can keep up?
Told you my head was swimming. Thank goodness you’re here to toss me a life preserver. Answer here or at your own place: Put a link in the comments so we catch it... you may get some brownie points for our next Blogtipping... :-)

Monday, September 04, 2006

Home Plate - Defined

From the late Bart Giamatti:
 "There is no great, long poem about baseball. It may be that baseball is itself its own great, long poem. This had occurred to me in the course of my wondering why home plate wasn't called fourth base. And then it came to me, ‘Why not? Meditate on the name, for a moment, ‘home.'' Home is an English word virtually impossible to translate into other tongues. No translation catches the associations, the mixture of memory and longing, the sense of security and autonomy and accessibility, the aroma of inclusiveness, of freedom from wariness that cling to the word ‘home' and are absent from ‘house' or even ‘my house.' Home is a concept, not a place; it's a state of mind where self-definition starts. It is origins, a mix of time and place and smell and weather wherein one first realizes one is an original; perhaps like others, especially those one loves; but discreet, distinct, not to be copied. Home is where one first learned to be separate, and it remains in the mind as the place where reunion, if it were ever to occur, would happen. All literary romance, all romance epic, derives from the Odyssey and it is about going home. It's about rejoining; rejoining a beloved, rejoining parent to child, rejoining a land to its rightful owner or rule. Romance is about putting things aright after some tragedy has put them asunder. It is about restoration of the right relations among things. And ‘going home' is where that restoration occurs, because that's where it matters most. Baseball is, of course, entirely about going home. It's the only game you ever heard of where you want to get back to where you started. All the other games are territorial – you want to get his or her territory – but not baseball. Baseball simply wants to get you from here, back around to here."
Read the full posting at this week's MondayMorningMemo by Roy Williams at the WizardofAds.
Home is where you want to be for a holiday.
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Saturday, September 02, 2006

Penguin Paradox

Penguins represent a paradox of innovation and narrative in organisations. Penguins are considered one of the most sociable species on the planet, and often live as a flock on an iceberg or cliff. Both fear and food reside in the same place - in the water. The fish as food and the sharks as fear. So now, how do you get the first of the flock into the water? The answer: the flock pushes the pengiun closest to the edge into the water to see if it is safe. This paradox is ironically labelled as “co-operation in a competitive envirnment”. It is the same paradox we find in organisation when they have to innovate i.e. “great idea Bob, you go ahead and try it!”
Read the remainder of this posting and let me know what you think. I am curious. The grey matter is stirring on this one.
PS - You can certainly leave a comment on Aiden's post but it is a bit more involved.
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Blogtipping for September!

Just off a plane and it is still September 1 in Hawaii Easton! So I say we made it in time!

So many great blogs are being written every day: The hardest part is choosing which to Blogtip, however I think you’ll agree with our choices.

is first up this time:

I’d like to tip… Dmitry Linkov
  1. Dmitry Linkov is a young man trying to make an impression in business and in my opinion he is succeeding. Dmitry’s home is in Moscow, Russia and I have spoken to Dmitry via Skype. It is not easy for us to understand some of the difficulties for instance in simply receiving a book in Russia and Dmitry needs encouragement to continue his great work.
  2. Dmitry had recently passed his Masters Thesis and is keen to continue his personal development which is always a good sign for aspiring leaders.
  3. I know Dmitry has plans to leave Russia at some point in the future and work in another Country. I hope this Blogtip will result is more people visiting Dmitry’s excellent and simple Blog – it is well worth a visit.
Tip: Dmitry has created a Blog that is informative but not over-kill with too much information. Good luck Dmitry!! Perhaps your picture on the home page would be good!

Next, we hear from Steve:

I’d like to tip... A.J. McCaffrey who writes at Fractalia
  1. A.J. is using this blog to expand upon the “outties” or puzzles he has created and uses in his book called Fractalia. Puzzles that have or work toward one solution he calls “innies”, hence his puzzles which work towards multiple solutions are called “outties”.
  2. Outties start with a diagram or word phrase. I have seen something like this used as ice breakers. They can be quick and easy ways to get a group to do some thinking, brainstorming, generally “out of the box”. While the book is focused more towards the young adult, it can really be enjoyed by anyone who still has a sense of youthfulness.
  3. A.J. is a doctoral candidate doing research on the “aha” moment. He brings a different and fun perspective to this area of study.
Tip: Continue to create outties regularly, if you can’t come up with one daily, at least try to hit a schedule with some regularity. For example, Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Monday to start of the week with an outtie. Wednesday to get over the hump. Friday to close out with an outties. The nature of outties is that you can come back to them with other solutions. You don’t have to solve them all in one sitting. They can be addictive. Try an outtie today!

Bonus: for those who’d like to know more about the book, I did write a review:
Fractalia: Episode 1; Reversing the Tipping Point

Phil has a Blogtip next:

I’d like to tip…Debbie Call at Spirit in Gear
  1. Debbie’s posts are incredibly powerful, and inspire me more with every article.
  2. Debbie is very clear in her beliefs, and isn’t afraid to be strong to stand up for what she knows to be true.
  3. Debbie often asks excellent questions to draw you in and makes you want to comment on her posts.
Tip: I would encourage Debbie to post more often, perhaps add some series on particularly interesting topics. Your voice is incredible, I’d love to read it more often!

And this is mine for September:

I’d like to tip…Tim Draayer at Live Your Best Life.
  1. Tim writes with a positive and upbeat voice; you feel good after you spend some time at his blog.
  2. While Tim is a generous linker to others who blog, I really appreciate that he tries to write as much original content as he can, adding his own thoughts to his finds wonderfully.
  3. I am a big fan of writers who are unafraid in their transparency, and Tim is open, honest, and forthright about sharing himself with us.
Tip: We need more enticement to click for more page views Tim, and I would encourage you to either increase the number of posts which show up on your home page, or consider adding category links.

Isn’t this fun? If you’d like more recommendations from Team Synergy, click back to our first Blogtips in August: BlogTipping in Synergistic Harmony