newsletter is full of provocative thoughts and items of interest
to you as a professional communicator. Thank you for using Syntax
to increase mutual understanding in your life and work. Thank
you also for all your enthusiasm and referrals. We look forward
to learning with you in 2003!.
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Give by Receiving?
Doing Less with Less
What Participants Said
Don't Let Details Get You Down
Times of Transition
Are You "Resisting Resistance?"
Calendar and News
is said that people are either givers or takers. Having been brought
up on "tis better to give than to receive," most of us want to
see ourselves as givers.
about becoming comfortable with receiving? It's probably a greater
how good it feels to have someone else receive your caring or
your ideas. You give of yourself when you allow yourself to receive.
You may need to confront some outdated beliefs or feelings. Receiving
and acknowledging are good behaviors for a leader to model. Go
on, just say Thanks!
LESS with LESS?
hear a lot about the need to "do more with less" when times get
tight. I have heard this over at least three cycles of downturn
since starting Syntax more than twenty years ago. It occurred
to me that it merits closer examination.
the high tech companies we serve, people have been laid off and
budgets are very tight. The remaining employees are supposed to
pick up the slack left by departing friends and colleagues. It
takes resilience to be highly motivated after extended stressful
periods of bad economic news and job insecurity.
MORE HUMANE RESPONSE
adjusting expectations, taking time to rest, and working smarter
would be a more humane response for most of the organizations
that are struggling.
minds come up with breakthrough ideas. Stressed minds not only
tend to apply old solutions to the same old problems; they also
tend to pass their stress along to others.
course, it has been clear for some time that Wall Street's constant
pressure for profit undermines long-term thinking. Being in a
corporation nowadays it's important to be intense and hurry to
though the internet bubble was built on beliefs rather than on
market performance, it's hard not to perceive the down cycle as
being `the real world.' Scarcity seems to be real, abundance an
illusion that was propped up by false accounting practices. Somehow
money was flowing, now it has vanished. That mortgage taken on
at the top of the market is a monthly squeeze. You have to think
before spending forty dollars on dinner.
redefine the concept of "enough" and come to a new understanding
of value in the new economy. Creative movement towards a balanced,
sustainable economy is going to require realignment of how we
define and pursue our desires. Necessity can seem to be a harsh
mother, but if that's what it takes to achieve balance, we will
be forced to invent new ways to live.
March, teacher and consultant to organizations, especially nonprofits,
says, "When you focus on your real priorities, some things will
fall through the cracks. You find out they weren't really that
important. `Good enough' is often better than `absolutely perfect'.
" You can experience a personal breakthrough by deciding that
this is a good time to rest, take care of your human needs, approach
work with a fresh mind to clear away tasks and goals that are
no longer needed, and calm your thoughts so that you are receptive
to new ideas and possibilities.Do less with less. Find
the new zen of outstanding performance!
Participants Said...and Why They Did!
makes it easier for people to bridge differences and reach goals
in their global organizations. The more we lead Syntax learning
programs, the more we are able to tune into what is most important
and most learnable for participants.
say, "Outstanding program. It really opened my eyes to proper
communication." "The facilitators are inspiring and motivating."
"Everyone needs to attend." "I see a lot of miscommunication out
there, and this class could help with reducing it." "Wish all
levels of management would take this course." "Made you think
about your communication impact and strategy." "Take this
do they say these things? A) Because the need for Syntax is more
and more pronounced, and
because we have great people such as Dee Kinder, Karen Bading,
Kay Sandberg, Janet Crawford, and Lucy Freedman leading
the courses these folks attended! Thank you for your unique contributions
and your dedication to our clients' success!
Let the Details Get You Down
a joy it is to find an easy way to be more organized and clear
been applying lessons learned from Shannon Seek (www.seeksolutions.com)
and her Organic Organizing Matrix. Thought I'd pass along a few
of the reminder phrases for her "Essential Actions" that I repeat
at crucial moments, and tempt you to follow up and contact Shannon
for your own copy (www.organicorganizing.com/products.htm).
Tell her you found her here and she'll give you her characteristic
I am overwhelmed and know that I want order but have no idea where
to start, I use Shannon's mantra, "Like things with like things."
Immediately I start grouping similar things together. Neatness
begins to emerge.
favorite, that comes into my mind often in the nick of time before
leaving an activity behind: "Clean up between activities." Major
another smart strategy: "prompt lists" for repetitive detail tasks,
like preparing materials for a course. I don't like having to
think of everything each time, and it's handy to have a checklist
to send along for the course leaders' reference.
Matrix can be approached in various ways depending on your Personal
Syntax. Shannon uses her knowledge of Neurolinguistics and the
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to offer guidance on how to use it.
shares many words of wisdom along the way, for instance that rather
than having a goal of constant tidiness, you need to be able to
make a mess and put it away when you're done. Her website is full
of great ideas and a growing stock of resources. I hope these
ideas contribute to your sense of balance and order for 2003!
Word About "Smart Business" from the Institute of HeartMath
would startle most companies to have a computer readout weekly,
showing the amount of work-time their people spent thinking and
emoting over their problems. Then, if you had another computer
readout showing the amount of negative hormones released into
the body as a result of those thinking habits, and the health
consequences, in the name of smart business you would want your
people to make some mental and emotional adjustments. Computers
can't generate all that data yet, so we don't have to face the
facts. Yet, the facts of stress find us anyhow." Doc Childre,
Self Empowerment: The Heart Approach to Stress Management (www.heartmath.org).
you have the sense of experiencing deeper and more pervasive changes
than you thought you could imagine, you are in good company. Nearly
everyone I know has encountered both distressing and surprising
changes, rearranging beliefs, identities, careers, relationships,
and all kinds of plans.
am no exception. I have felt quite challenged to maintain my enthusiasm
and motivation. What a relief to feel a surge of inspiration to
write and reach out via this newsletter (and other channels) and
to re-engage in creating workplaces where a new consciousness
time is presenting us with significant lessons about the cost
of continuing to believe and behave in adversarial, dishonest,
or wasteful ways. It is also presenting us with the tools and
consciousness to make a difference.
as if the dark corners we were avoiding have been exposed. No,
we can't `get away with' selfishness, anger, condemnation, self-hatred,
need to take action to realize the world we dream of, where solvable
problems are addressed collaboratively and resources are shared.
Gandhi said, We need to "be the change we want to see in the world."
We can't wait for the outside world to be at peace to seek peace
personal journeys are fraught with familiar traps. That old bugaboo,
self-doubt, is creeping into the most positive of attitudes among
my friends and colleagues.
am impressed with those who seem free of self-doubt, or have found
a way to override it. When I ask what is different about them,
I see that they are in service to clear goals, and / or to relationships
that are important to them. And some just don't seem to have the
capacity for self-doubt in their personal syntax!
the influence of self-doubt, just knowing about good strategies,
beliefs, etc. hasn't been enough to carry me through emotional
ebb tides with energy and motivation. Mental knowledge isn't automatically
erasing habitual emotional and fear-based reactions. The self-doubt
carries an extra sting: "You know better than this!"
quandary of old-strategies-not-working has opened up a deeper
search, a more piercing look, to see what in my belief system
is not being manifested in how I live.
I slip into blaming others for my pain; or forgetting that self-care
is a primary, not marginal, priority; or worrying about the future;
I am playing out negative programming that is familiar and nearly
make changes, I have to follow the advice I have been handing
out in courses and coaching sessions for years. That includes
both the discipline of changing behavior and the self-acceptance
to stop blaming and doubting myself just because I am a human
are waking up again to the work we are here to do. Whatever we are
attached to that no longer serves is being pulled away forcibly
if we are not willing to let go soon enough."
I have absorbed the message, "Ask for help!" When I couldn't find
it within myself to shift consciousness, no matter how many tools
and techniques were available, I got myself out the door to consult
people wiser than myself, knowledgeable people who could enlighten
me, friends who accept me more than I do, and new-found companions
only have we learned from each other, we have also been generating
new connections that have practical value for accomplishing emergent
goals. By exchanging our stories we have risked sharing our vulnerability,
taking the sting out of some of the lowest lows.
I hear other people describe what they are going through, the
self-doubt and blame subside more easily. We begin to believe
that we are on a path to somewhere new, rather than being lost
in the wilderness.
are waking up again to the work we are here to do. Whatever we
are attached to that no longer serves is being pulled away forcibly
if we are not willing to let go soon enough.
choose to think of the important transitions as coming from within,
because we really need to outgrow much of what we still take for
am making the choice to believe that we are growing into greater
fulfillment, service, and joy.The current passages are giving
us the opportunity to build up the necessary strength to evolve.
May you find peace, companionship, and clarity as you grow in
your own personal journey.
Freedman, December 2002
to Syntax Grads
yes. Remember the Syntax Error, "Resisting Resistance?"
that wouldn't be YOU out there, who is so RIGHT that they keep
repeating themselves and not listening or reducing resistance?
are you the one who is resisting your own resistance, telling
yourself there is something wrong with you and you should always
be more perfect, motivated, organized, etc. etc.?
if so...how can you meet it / them / yourself where you are instead
of pushing back? Find your flexibility, go back and match, get
in step. Really listen. You'll end up with a better mutual goal
and better collaboration.
Smart Work: The Syntax Guide for Mutual Understanding in the
Workplace for your clients and colleagues!
require my executive coaching clients who have communication challenges
to read it, take notes, and apply it as homework, because it is
so pragmatic."--Organizational onsultant/trainer
in Best of the West 2003! The Bay Area Organization
Development Network has selected Lucy's session, "Breakthroughs
in Collaborative Leadership" for a half-day program on May 9
in their annual professional extravaganza at Fort Mason Center
in San Francisco. This is an honor and will be a stimulating,
entertaining workshop. Get the scoop at www.baodn.org
2002 Syntax Communication Modeling Corporation
Course to be offered at San Jose State University. In response
to many requests, now there's a way for people to participate
in Syntax-based training with Lucy Freedman at SJSU' s Professional
Development Center in Silicon Valley. Breakthroughs in Collaborative
Leadership, for Managers, Facilitators, Non-profit and Profit
Sector Leaders, all day February 15 and 22, 2003. Sign up for
the Truth and Point to Hope: Leadership Maturity for the 21st
Lisa Marshall, former Syntax VP, and now principal of the
Smart Work Company, has distilled her message on leadership
from real people's stories and is completing a new book which
will be an essential resource for conscious leaders. You will
probably want to get your hands on this one as soon as it comes
out. Read a chapter now by going to the website www.smartworkco.com
and contact Lisa to reserve your copy.