The Power of Community in Nature with Freshwalks & Michael Di Paola

Rebels chatting….

“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” – Coretta Scott King

What is Freshwalks?

In its simplest form Freshwalks is a community of people, primarily business owners and freelancers, who meet on regular basis to tackle peaks and traverse dales around the UK and Europe.

They’re an enthusiastic, inclusive and supportive group and a great example of what the human spirit is capable given the opportunity. The power of community should not be underestimated when it comes to helping you find business connections, expertise and boosting your wellbeing.

Michael Di Paola has always been a keen advocate of communities. Moreover, he realises that for a community to be successful, it must enrich the lives of its members and that Freshwalkers feel a shared sense of trust, connection and compassion for one another.

Just some of the benefits of taking your networking with clients and also your team and leadership learning outdoors includes:

Confidence to push against your limits as you climb hills and so building greater self-belief

Collective Wisdom – New ideas are generated on walks due to the conversations and neurotransmitters flooding your system

Being with the crowd allows you to be infected with their motivation, even if you’ve had a tough week

Mutual accountability- if you say you’re going on the group’s WhatsApp, you’ll feel a sense of responsibility for your comrades.

With the craziness of the world at the moment, it pays to not walk alone.

Listen to Michael’s journey here: https://youtu.be/5MBOK9U7tVs

Rebels Chatting – Lesley McKenna Wandering Workshops CIC

Rebels Chatting…
Lesley McKenna is a three-time Olympic snowboarder and a backcountry ski and snowboarding guide.

We chatted about Lesley’s polymathic journey and her aims of increasing connection to self, others and nature with the wandering workshops she set up with co-founder, Hannah Bailey, an outdoor sports photographer.

Lesley grew up in Aviemore to ski instructing parents. Unsurprisingly, this led to Lesley spending five years as a pro-skier working her way to the Olympics. Lesley then decided to be less Olympic focussed and swopped over to the flamboyant sport of Snowboarding.

Thinking she’d side-stepped the Olympics, Snowboarding became an Olympic sport and once again Lesley found herself being an Olympic contender.

Lesley advises people who’re intending to take the path least travelled to stay curious, be opportunity focussed and open to learning about yourself and the hard lessons one invariable encounters along the way.

Lesley talks about the collaboration, planning and resilience required to achieve happiness when you’re are tackling challenges and the ways her journey has unfolded, which includes studying for a PhD in Ethics in High Performance Sports.

Wandering Workshops is a grassroots community interest company and is on a mission to make the outdoor and action sports space accessible to more people. They provide a safe space for under-represented groups to join in. They also believe the outdoors is for everyone, and that we all have the right to enjoy the wellbeing it offers.

Interesting insights here:

#rebelschatting #mavericks #changeagents #resilience #leadership #coaching #outdoorlearning #outdoorliving #connectionmatters

Adventure Based Learning Experiences (ABLE)

ABLE is effective in helping organisations solve their most pressing people development challenges. ABLE enables a myriad of opportunities to effectively learn leadership, and team performance skills, which are impactful and memorable.

As they’re uniquely designed to fit an organisations needs, they not only provide a shared learning experience, they will highlight and change behaviours and attitudes quickly as well as build cohesion amongst a team.

Real change happens when leaders and teams work differently in some way.

Whilst the world, after several systemic shocks, is unquestionably more challenging the potential to harness commitment, collaboration and coherent decision-making under pressure, is profound.

The ability to adapt is no longer a ‘nice to have’. It has been elevated to an ‘essential to survive and thrive’ in the near and medium future.

Agile, Confident and Enterprising teams are at the heart of organisational life and their effectiveness strongly influences the success of the enterprise overall. Times are both challenging and for those with the correct mindset… exhilarating!

Secret Agent Missions & Training days will test and build each participants’ skills at strategising, prioritising, collaborating, communicating, thinking on their feet and; not over-thinking as they race against the clock to solve a mystery or rescue their kidnapped boss.

Give me a nudge if you’re intrigued.

#leadership #team #superteam #smallteamsmakethedreamwork #leaders #training #development #peopleandculture #adventure

DEAD vs LIFE Leadership

Dr Kathy Allen made many excellent points when I spoke to her about her work at the intersection of leadership, system change and innovation.

One point was that old paradigms get really ‘loud’ before they fall. I noticed that in 2008 with the last bank crash. Paradigm winners get really greedy as they try to exploit as much as possible before the collapse, because they know they’re not going to be able to keep extracting so ruthlessly for much longer.

I’ve noticed it this time as well. Disaster capitalism loves war and now pandemics because again, the crony politicians and greedy corporates have ruthlessly exploited the situation. There would be no wars if there was no profit. More and more research is being uncovered to show that our earlier ancestors didn’t engage in war until hierarchy and exploitation became the main drivers of colonialism.

This leads to another well-made point by Kathy.

People are often coming up with ‘types’ of leadership such as adaptive, transactional and transformational.

Business owners and managers are often taught them on institutional leadership programmes.

These ‘types’ reflect people’s personalities and/or they described what was happening at a certain time and place in history.

You usually find that ‘great’ leaders emerged from society to overcome the challenge that society was facing i.e., they were the right person, with the right skills and attitude, at the right time and place.

When that time passes, we then find there is another type of leadership required and invented.

Kathy suggested a new way of describing leadership.

How about describing the outcomes of traditional leadership such as polluting, exploitative, cronyism or, as Kathy described, leadership that ‘makes places unliveable’.

At the end of the day, leadership is leading to our demise or it is liberating and life affirming.

#leadership #leaders #regeneration #society #climatechange #socialjustice #sustainabilityleadership #sustainability #businessowners #change

Fascinating talk here: https://youtu.be/8-9fX2uX9hY

3 Types of Mindset

Mindset differs for mavericks, rebels and change agents.

Mostly people are limited by the economic, political, social, academic and philosophical boxes they grew up in.

Some people can think outside the box, but they ask permission of the box.

Through fate or enlightened insight, there are those who can see the matrix of the box and want to find a socially just, sustainable and spiritually fulfilling alternative well outside the influence of the box…But not on Mars!

#elon #eliteidiots

#stoicpilgrim

#stoicpilgrimphilosophy

#robust

#resilience

#mindset

#mentalhealth

#survivalskillsforlife

#doingwhatsrightnotwhatseasy

#adventure

#alwaysalittlefurther

#redefinesuccess

Quiet quitting? A misnomer for a Quiet Revolution?

Quiet quitting has been in the news over the last couple of months. I wonder if it’s not to do with the fact that people have enjoyed a level of agency and autonomy, and this freedom has put into stark contrast what it’s like operating under a hierarchy that exists within most offices.

When people have been in the Special Forces, if for any reason they have to go back to a more ‘command and control’ structure that exists in their parent regiment, they often leave.

Once you’ve tasted freedom and been treated as an equal, it’s hard to give it up again.

Somebody who likes to dominate and believe that being rich gives them some sort of entitlement to demand more from others, well that’ll have a negative effect of increased stress on their ‘subordinates’.

There’s plenty of research that indicates that surviving under the influence of a hierarchy is bad for your health. Perhaps resistance to going back to the office has more to do with instinctively protecting their mental health than not wanting to work.

Anecdotally, among the businesses I’ve spoken to, it is mainly younger people who miss the social interaction of working in the office. People with families didn’t suffer from isolation so much.

Perhaps quiet quitting is really a quiet revolution that’s been triggered by feelings of returning helplessness and subordination.

Dominance hierarchy is a system in the brain which is triggered when somebody has achieved a position of status. The people who’re subjected to dominant behaviour get triggered into the opposite ‘involuntary defeat’ system. They’re both a throwback to our evolutionary primate states.

But although we’re 95.8% ape, we’re 99% hunter gatherers and they’re predominately egalitarian.

Perhaps instead of building a business, build a community of equals. People can manage themselves; they just need support from understanding leaders.

#buckhierarchy

#ecocoaching

#performance

#leadership

#decisionmaking

#superteamconcept

#smallteamsmakethedreamwork

Don’t Be a CAD Leader!

Unfortunately, the world of work and capitalism is driven by stressful neurotransmitters such as cortisol, adrenaline and dopamine.

Founders and Entrepreneurs have to be driven people when it comes to breaking new ground and competing for their place in the world.

Technology and processed foods need to be addictive and give you a ‘RUSH’ otherwise you’d probably get off your phones and go spend more time in nature and eat fresh local produce.

People who’re very competitive rise to the top of the food chain in hierarchical organisations. They get a rush from crushing the competition. Status and power give them that adrenaline and dopamine rush they crave but it triggers the stress hormone cortisol in those around them.

From a leadership perspective, this feels great for the leader but it can mean that an organisation is reliant on the leader to keep driving. After all, if you can get by as an employee doing the bare minimum so as not to irk the mansplaining chump at the top, then why not?

It just isn’t very satisfying to live under the rule of a CAD driven leader, is it?

I sat in a meeting not long ago with one such white male (there were two females in the room). He asked if he could give me some blunt feedback. “Sure” I replied, realising I shouldn’t have taken this meeting whilst recovering from a dose of flu!

As he pontificated the two females were silent. It was obvious he was getting his dose of CAD at my expense as he continued to ‘no-mark’ me.

After he ran out of steam he asked “So why do you want to work with us?” …. By that time, I didn’t.

Normally I’d have asked to give him back some feedback in return, but I was pretty drained by then and I knew it would have fallen on deaf ears.

Why should I compete with his ego to explain why he and his ‘world-class’ organisation suffered from simplistic thinking, He didn’t realise there was a difference between complicated and complex. He is materially successful selling old world ideas and style over substance because he’s great at competing for business.

We’re experiencing stressful times; we don’t need more trauma inducing leadership.

In a world of ambiguous and novel challenges, we need more self-aware, purpose focussed and supportive leaders who are open-minded and willing to learn collaboratively their way forward.

Leaders who don’t need to be rewarded with the rush of cortisol, adrenaline and dopamine at the expense of those around them.

#business #leadership #work #power #entrepreneurs #leader #complexity #traumainformed #leadership

 

Ownership or Leadership?

Why is ownership so important in team and individual engagement?

With ownership one could argue, the owner’s worldview is to extract value from people working on ‘their’ projects where as, a leader is leveraging the potential of a group of people to co-create value for the community.

Ownership is one of the greatest cons of all time which began around 10,000 years ago. Somehow, somebody, (probably a man) got their hands on some agricultural tech and gained an advantage over others, then leveraged that advantage. This has led to hierarchies, the exploitation of people and the destructive extraction of wealth from the planet with disastrous consequences.

Don’t believe me? Just look around you…

Before that period, as evidenced by observing contemporary hunter gatherer cultures that are still around today, we can see that our Palaeolithic ancestors were primarily egalitarian. Moreover, they were egalitarian for 150,000 years and living in balance with nature. They’ve outlasted supposedly more sophisticated, war-like civilisations such as the Roman, Mongolian and several Chinese dynasties.

Anthropologists have studied dozens of hunter-gatherer societies in remote areas around the world such as Africa, Asia and South America. These tribes lived in small bands of about 20 to 50 people and have many common cultural values. They also maintain peaceful relationships with friends and relatives in neighbouring bands. Warfare was relatively unknown and the dominant cultural ethos emphasised autonomy, non-directive childrearing, communal cooperation and decision-making. It appears we collaborated our way to the top of the evolutionary tree.

On the flip-side, modern history has been the ongoing conquest by dominant warring parties of other smaller bands to form more complex political structures. These societies focus on higher levels of power, wealth and control passing to an elite group at the top and like a Ponzi scheme is unsustainable. Every so often they fail and collapse back down to more sustainable levels. Then when the dust has settled and memories faded they begin the same journey again.

We’re heading towards a global economic and cultural community but that’s a work in progress. In the meantime we’re wrecking the planet with our conquering and exploitative mindset and people’s mental health and wellbeing are suffering as a result. Two decades of war in the middle east to protect the American petro-dollar is a classic example. All those humanitarian and ecological costs to protect the oil industry and American’s hegemony, are externalised onto communities and the planet.

So back to teamwork and leadership.

How does behaviour compare with egalitarian communities and modern workgroups?

Just as we have modern archetypes in the workplace, one could argue they match those of ancient egalitarian people. There are hunters, gatherers, shaman (mostly women originally) and scouts.

Hunters periodically acquired meat as a source of protein, Shamans were the keepers of the wisdom e.g. which berries were edible and which would kill you. Gatherers nurtured others in the community and foraged for edible vegetation and the Scouts would look for new hunting grounds and connect with other communities for marriages and trading.

Today we have Founders who are similar to Scouts as in they challenge old ideas, create new products and champion new ideas.

We have Entrepreneurs who tend to be more risk tolerant, focussed and can drive new ideas into existence similar to the hunter personality.

We have the Gathers who are the supporters and coaches within the organisations.

And the Managers, like the Shamans, are generally the keepers of the wisdom and strive for operational excellence and like to organise for certainty.

But what’s different from the workplace is traditional egalitarian communities maintain social norms that prevent any of the personalities from trying to exploit their position. These are called:

S.T.O.P’s – Strategies to Overcome Power

Hunters didn’t bring home meat then boast about their good fortune and hold the rest of the group to ransom. They didn’t promote silly ideas of greed as some ordained right. Material wealth was shared. Egalitarian communities focus on what George Monbiot calls ‘private sufficiency and public luxury’ the total opposite of what neo-liberal capitalists promote today.

In our evolutionary history we began to resist hierarchy, an ancestral primate social modus-operandi, when we developed the ability to speak. This allowed weaker members to collaborate more effectively, band together and throw rocks at any tyrannical member of the group that tried to dominate them. However, all previous evolutionary and developmental versions of us, are encapsulated within us and if the right conditions occur, people will revert back to being monkeys basically.

They will try to dominate others to get a bigger share of the bananas, and once they’ve got their hands on the bananas, they don’t like letting go.

For business owners and managers this means they have to deal with the psychological effects of the dominance and involuntary defeat systems. These are behavioural operating systems which arise as soon as you introduce hierarchy.

Those with authority and status begin to focus on their position and keeping it rather than doing what’s best for the community. It also increases the likelihood of psychopathology such as Machiavellianism and narcissism (a good example is politics).

Being dominated, triggers our involuntary defeat behaviours which leads us to doing as little as possible for our meagre share of the bananas…Well you would wouldn’t you?

As society has become more polarised between the have’s and the have nots, resentment builds. We’ve seen this with the rise of populism as smart people have tapped into the powerlessness felt by those left behind and motivated them to act in ways which actually don’t serve them but serve the elite…yet again.

Archimedes said:

‘Give me a lever long enough and a place to stand and I can lift the world’

Well leadership is the lever and humility is the place to stand. If we strive to see leadership as a lever of potential not a badge of office and promote those leadership behaviours throughout the organisation in self managing teams and communities we would probably see engagement increase tremendously. Of course it is not easy to wrestle back control from the baboons so perhaps it would be better to follow Buckminster Fuller’s idea:

‘Don’t fight the existing reality, create a new one which makes the old one obsolete’

So in summary, if you’re prepared to treat people like wage slaves, then by all means carry on, but don’t be surprised if it feels like you’re dealing with monkeys at times. Also accept that people are fed up of being left behind which is how Trump and Brexit happened. They’re also realising that their is an alternative and it’s on the rise.

Employee ownership is attracting tax incentives as it has been seen as beneficial for business and society for many years. When you have this level of ownership then the teams have skin in the game. It’s a great way for entrepreneurs to have a succession plan, because when things are steady, they like to move onto their next challenge whilst leaving a legacy.

Whenever an organisation needs to adapt quickly to overcome greater challenges, they’ve always diminished the influence of hiearchy and moved power to information. I call this the Elite Team Concept, as used by the military and organisations.

Special project teams have been hiding in plain site and showing the way for centuries. The irony is that they’re not elite, they’re egalitarian in nature and focus on doing the basics well. It’s our evolutionary advantage. Imagine if you empowered your whole orgniasation with the elite team concept?

Want to know more?

Check out: The Elite Team Concept Seminar with Complimentary Digital Book

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-elite-team-concept-seminar-with-complimentary-digital-book-tickets-98264771577?aff=ebdssbeac

The next one is Online on February 4th 2021

OPERATION BUTTERFLY (TOP SECRET)

When I was teaching leadership to intelligence agents in a far off land, they explained to me that although they loved the concepts they feared they would encounter resistance in the bureaucratic systems they work in.

We’ve all got to become leaders. I wrote a book ‘Mercenaries to Missionaries’ (see link in comments) which is about transforming into inspirational leaders on a mission to make the world a better place.

Leaders are ordinary people achieving the extraordinary, leading themselves & by example others, into a world which is socially just, environmentally sustainable & a fulfilling place to live & work.

People need 3 things to change:

ASPIRATIONAL: Who will I become?
INSPIRATIONAL: How will it benefit others?
MOTIVATIONAL: How will it benefit me?

I explained to the secret agents that they had to become like the imaginel cells in caterpillars. These cells act differently within the caterpillar, making small changes from within until they reach a threshold point & transform the whole system into a Butterfly

They were already secret agents, now they had to become SECRET CHANGE AGENTS; steadily influencing the outer world from the inside

WHAT’S YOUR MISSION?

Message if you want help!

What Traits Make a Good Leader

Whilst being interviewed I was asked what traits make a good leader. It reminded of an exercise I do on the Mercenary to Missionary Leadership retreats.