Monday, March 29, 2010

Organizational Needs....

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has taught us a lot about the basic things we require. There are the necessities like bread…water but what about less tangible needs and how do these needs express themselves in our organizations?

My wife is a child and family therapist working with families affected by adoption. Like bread and water children subsist on the connections they form; without these their development becomes threatened. In her field they term this waltz of intimacy attachment. We know it when we see it…imagine a child on a beach with an approaching rough wave – and a mother’s securing hand is ready for the taking without a child searching or asking for it. This attachment…this bond becomes a sort of unconscious part of our DNA driving the fruition and articulation of relationships.

Maybe it boils down this…are we available and responsive to one another?

Watch this 2 minute video as a conversation starter...

Organizational Needs from Terrence Gargiulo on Vimeo.

So do you know what resources your organization needs to survive and thrive? And what really sustains people in organizations?

Are you interested in learning more about these story-based communication skills? Here are some additional resources:

1. Journal Article - "Strategic Use of Stories"

2. eBook of Self-development Exercises (for individuals & groups)

3. Award winning Assessment Instrument for measuring story-based communication skills

4. Sample Chapter from Once Upon a Time: Using Story-based Activities to Develop Breakthrough Communication Skills - book of group process/experiential learning activities mapped to the nine story-based communication skills

Now please sure to leave your thoughts, ideas and reactions to enrich this virtual campfire for others!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Organizational Duels

Whoever said the pen is mightier than a sword?

In a former life I spent a lot of time behind the mesh of a fencing mask.

In this week's video blog I reflect on my experiences as a competitive fencer and think how these experiences might be applied in an organizational setting.

Here are a few of the questions this two minute video tackles...

Do you see your struggles to be heard, influential and effective in your organization as duels? How often do you cross blades with opponents in your organization? Are you playing to win or have you written your own unpublished special set of rules to govern your interactions?

Over time something curious struck me…when I lifted my mask the struggles ceased

Get en garde and watch the video and then weigh in with your ideas:

A special thanks goes out to Serge Timacheff at for graciously sharing the photos in the video. Be sure to check out his amazing galleries.

Last week was my son Gabriel's 7th birthday. He insisted on a fencing party. What a blast 25 kids ready to take on the world. Folks often ask me for video of my fencing. Unfortunately I really have none. Here's a little clip of Tom Lutton and I doing a fencing demo for the kids at the party. I pickup a weapon maybe once a year but for me it's like riding a bicycle. After so many years of living and breathing fencing it comes back quickly.

Here's a clip of me fencing. I'm on the right of the screen. TOUCHE!

I'll have to post later a small clip of the kids engaged in war with foam sword (aka whackers) pure delightful mayhem.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Do More Great Work - New Book - By An Awesome Guy!

My buddy Michael Bungay Stainer has brought his energy, creativity and love for helping people to bear in this new opus extraordinaire.

Michael has a knack for simplifying complex things and offering engaging, fun ways to tackle tough stuff.

Check out this video to get a feel for yourself:

Start the work that matters

In Michael Bungay Stanier's new book Do More Great Work: stop the busywork and start the work that matters he offers up fifteen practical ways you can finally do more of the work that engages and stretches you, that has a real impact, that plays to your strengths - and that matters. The exercises are "maps", simple and powerful visual tools that help you find, start and sustain your Great Work. Amongst other things you'll:

  • Find clues to your own Great Work - they're all around you
  • Generate new ideas and possibilities quickly and powerfully
  • Locate and expand the sweet spot between what you want to do and what your organization wants you to do
  • Best manage the overwhelm
  • Tap into your inner courage
  • Double the likelihood you'll do what you want to do
As well as the maps, the book has various coaching tips scattered throughout, as well as original guest contributions from some big names such as Seth Godin, Michael Port, Zen Habits' Leo Babauta and others.

Start your Great Work now

Life is short. If you're looking to do more of the work that matters, the time to start is now. And Do More Great Work may be just the resource you need to get (and keep) going.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Organizational Awareness

What can we learn about organizations from a 25,000 year old cave carving? The Venus of Lausells is a backdrop for this week's video blog reflection.

What is the intersection of all the little events popping like hot kernels of corn around us and the large macro forces in play in our organizations?

I'm advocating for better organizational awareness. Let my two minute video be a conversation starter...

Here are a couple of thoughts on how we can put stories to work to help us develop greater organizational awareness of the small and large things:

  1. We use stories to explain other people's behavior and develop strategies for how to interact with them.

  2. We are also capable of considering alternative behaviors that go against our ingrained ones by being aware of what stories describe our nature and by imagining alternative ones.

  3. Stories are the templates upon which new behaviors can be projected onto and actualized. We use stories to gain an understanding of who we are. Collectively our stories paint an accurate picture of who we are. If we can access this information, we give ourselves freedom. In other words we can break out of an old story and temporarily adopt a new one.
What can you add to this list?

Be sure to check out my awarding winning assessment tool. Story-based observational skills are at the heart of the model.

There are also a book of self-development exercises you can use to strengthen these skills in your self and others.

And for the final shameless product plug for a guy who loves to share but also does need to make a living I have a wonderful book of group process activities that can be used to help people experience these critical skills.