Category Archives: Change

How to create positive and effective change at work and in life.

Values as clear goals?

I’m currently reading Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. The book is about that state of consciousness where everything just flows. Where the gears mesh smoothly, there are no distractions, you loose track of time, and it feels really good.

You can achieve flow at work or in your free time. Concert violinists and mountain climbers can find flow, but so can school teachers and assembly line workers.

In one of the early chapters, he lists the requirements for flow, one of which is “clear goals and feedback”. It’s easier to enjoy what you do when you immediately know if you’re doing it right. Which is bad news for many people in the workplace, because quite often, the actions we take in the workplace does not have clear goals or fast feedback. Often we won’t know for days or month whether what we’re doing works.

But there’s a way around that, and I think it revolves around values.
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Book review: Loving what is

“When you argue with reality, you lose. But only 100% of the time.”

This quote by Byron Katie sums up the central message of her book “Loving what is“. The book is about The Work, a very simple process developed by the author, to help people inquire about their own beliefs and thinking.

The process is astonishingly simple. For every stressful thought, ask yourself these four questions:
1: Is it true?
2: Can I absolutely know that it’s true?
3: How do I react when I think that thought?
4: Who would I be without that thought?

And then you “turn the statement around”. The process is described in depth at
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Rational structures of control inhibit creativity. Managing as if people had souls requires that we de-mechanize management and instill it with the diversity and depth of our own humanity. The point is to respect people and allow them to make the fullest contribution they can. We need more reflection in business not more strategizing. Meditation takes thinking even further because it allows for the wisdom of the heart to interweave with the knowledge of the head.
John Dalla Costa

Exercise: Being and becoming

We define ourselves by what we are. This goes for individuals as well as groups of people.

But life is change and learning. Everything is always in flux, is always developing. So shouldn’t you define yourself at least as much by what you’re becoming? I think, that if you derive your identity solely from what you are right now, you’re missing something crucial.

Basing your identity only on what you are right now, may narrow the way you think about the future. In the future you will be changed. You won’t be exactly as you are right now. So if your thinking about yourself is limited to what you are now, it may be difficult to see all the potential the future holds. This might lead to anxiety about the future and change in general.

I’ve come up with an exercise that can shed light on this issue.

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Book review: The dance of change


I’ve finally finished Peter Senge’s trilogy on learning organizations. After The fifth discipline and The fifth discipline fieldbook, comes The dance of change: The Challenges of Sustaining Momentum in a Learning Organisation.

The first book lays the theoretical foundation, and introduces the five disciplines which Peter Senge believes are the key to creating learning organizations. They are personal mastery, systems thinking, shared vision, team learning and mental models. The second book contains practical tips on how to implement each of the five disciplines. By now we’re already past the 1000-page mark.

The dance of change brings the tally up another 550 pages, and deals with the challenges that all change initiatives in organizations meet. The link between change and learning permeates the book. You can’t turn an organization into a learning organization without changing. Conversely, any strategic change in a company, that doesn’t contain learning in some form is probably doomed. So change is learning and learning is change.
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Book review: Change

When and how do people change? And when do they get stuck in situations and problems that seem hopeless? This is the focus of this book, Change: Principles of Problem Formation and Problem Resolution.

The book is based on the authors’ experiences with brief therapy. Unlike traditional psychotherapy, which tries to uncover the “deeper” causes of problems, brief therapy focuses on solving peoples current problems. Why spend years of therapy going back to the hypothetical root cause of some problem, when what you really need to do, is get rid of the issue now. And even IF you find the cause of the problem, you still haven’t solved it.

The authors claim to have helped 80% of their clients in 4 sessions or less!
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Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back,
always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation)
there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas
and splendid plans:

The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help one that would otherwise never
have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising
in one’s favor all manners of unforeseen incidents and material assistance,
which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.

– William Murray (Member of Scottish expedition to Mount Everest)