Roll over Beethoven. Sydney Writers Festival 2016

2016-05-21 13.32.12.jpgI skipped the 2015 Festival as I felt no affiliation with the authors that year, largely by dint of not having read any of their most recent books. Eve and I went to a lot more of the 2016 Festival than in 2013 and 2014, in part out of FOMO. It was well worth the effort!

I bought ‘A brief history of seven killings’ by Marlon James, and planned around that. We attended a talk by Gloria Steinem with Jennifer Byrne at 6.15 on the Friday night (20May), followed (after dinner in the QVB) by Richard Glover hosting a panel on The Book That Saved Me that included Jeanette Winterson, Kate Tempest, Vivian Gornick, Herman Koch, Marlon James and Andrew Denton. It was a lot of fun, but we agreed Gloria won the day.

Taking up a curated package on the Saturday saw us at another panel (Gloria Steinem (again), Indian writer and activist Ira Trivedi and Australian journalist Laura Tingle) on Why Women Should Rule the World, then Richard Fidler interviewing James Rebanks. I attended an interview with Marlon James and after lunch we attended a wonderful talk by Stan Grant. We bailed on the last session, which was trawling the familiar ditch of ‘Donald Trump. WTF?’

We ended up with multiple copies of Gloria’s My Life On The Road, a couple of Stan Grant books, signed for the girls, and Rebanks’s A Shepherd’s Life, which I’m reading now.

University of Sydney SWF Recount featuring Gloria Steinem and Marlon James

I can do it. Value & Leadership Competencies

PEOPLE & ORGANISATIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Developing the long-term capabilities of others and the organisation as a whole, and finding satisfaction in influencing or even transforming someone’s life or career. (Ross Dawson – Supporting business ecosystems, workforce change)

TEAM LEADERSHIP: Focusing, aligning and building effective groups both within one’s immediate organisation and across functions.

STRATEGIC ORIENTATION: Ability to think long-term and beyond one’s own area, involving three key dimensions: business awareness, critical analysis and integration of information, and the ability to develop an action-oriented plan. (Ross Dawson – Visionary Leadership)

CHANGE LEADERSHIP: Transforming and aligning an organisation through its people to drive for improvement in new and challenging directions.

COLLABORATION & INFLUENCE: Working effectively with, and influencing those outside of your functional area for positive impact on business performance.

RESULTS ORIENTATION: Being focused on improvement of business results.

MARKET KNOWLEDGE: Understanding the market in which a business operates, including the competition, the suppliers, the customer base and the regulatory environment.

EXTERNAL CUSTOMER FOCUS: Serving and building value-added relationships with customers or clients.

COMMERCIAL ORIENTATION: Identifying and moving towards business opportunities, seizing chances to increase profit and revenue.

Derived from the CIO Council competency framework

Star Man. A session with John P Milton

Another refugee from Evernote, from a SoLA session Wednesday, November 24, 2010, some stream of consciousness notes:

International college of management, growth – info systems a mess, Indigenous work, sacred passage, mungo park, book synchronicity, Joe someone, Lapps, sami, the last wave, look 7 generations ahead, impact of innovation, co2 change impacts, limits to growth, club of Rome, book of constraints, Gaia, ecological principles book, not building sustainable principles into systems, mental models flawed and inadequate, holonomics, indigenous cultures 9 years in darkness to get in touch with earth, dark retreat, how to connect the species w sustainable life for all species, Cheryl Esposito, sky based meditation, rock chairs, Presence, Senge, sky seats, also Baja California coast, ocean as metaphor for vastness and complexity of life, learning to use the senses to connect with the inner sense, focus, mind in one place, mandalas, stay in tents, 12 principles, awake, design map for the experience, presence allied with relaxation, relax first, enacting emerging futures, re-enacting patterns, listening with the whole being, open to receive the totality of an individual, nature as gateway, create the space for creativity, great illustrations, do a course, Otto and Joe, offering substances, Sweden, lake siljen, tograd forum, sustainable forum, nature quest,   How to live together on peace, Bo Ekland

Ripped from the event details:

Professor John P. Milton has worked with CEOs and leaders worldwide including Royal Dutch Shell, Kraft, Sony Ericsson and Nokia, led work for the World Bank and advised governments.

He is the spiritual mentor of business luminaries including, amongst others, Peter Senge (5th Discipline), Otto Scharmer (Theory U) and Joe Jaworksy (Presence) and he is referenced in these books.

John will be in Australia in November to lead and teach a Sacred Passage on Flinders Island, and will be giving a talk to SoLA, to share:

    How he works with Peter Senge and Otto Scharmer – both in the corporate sphere and in the more personal, spiritual space. 
    The work he has done with the Talberg Forum in Sweden, where 500 World Leaders were taken on a solo experience in nature, in the French Pyrenees
    How this work impacts on the individuals and organisations he works with,
    About Professor John P Milton:
    John, a revered global Elder of the environmental movement, served as one of the first ecologists on staff at the White House, studied as a Woodrow Wilson Scholar at the Smithsonian Institute, and for many years directed the International Programs Division of the Conservation Foundation, now a part of the World Wildlife Fund. He is one of the founding members of Friends of the Earth and has served on various committees at the National Academy of Sciences.

    In addition John has spent decades studying with practitioners of Ancient Eastern spiritual pathways, including Taoism, Buddhism, Shamanism, Tibetan Dzogchen, Tantra, and Hindu Vedanta – as well as the Native American Way and Christianity.

    From these broad and deep experiences, John has developed a powerful approach to leadership in both business and life, which he calls the Way of Nature.  This is taught on the nature retreats which he leads.

We can work it out. Dealing with difficult people

From Evernote, using the memory of the less good days of the CBK for a better result.

Don’t hide – face it.

Don’t let anxiety chew you up. Initiate contact to accelerate tension reduction.

Change ‘who is in charge’ – disarm them by taking control of the situation or at least your own responses.

Manage your SELF TALK

”Stop your thoughts.” Change your thought processes – STOP!

Remember that replaying old issues makes the next meeting START anxiously, in a charged way.

Get thru the few minutes and reclaim your life.

Move on immediately. LOOK AT YOUR WATCH & STOP, REFOCUS.

Think of success. Use your time wisely.



Don’t dump. Move on from this whinging position and model the right techniques. Focus on what you can change.

Lose the need for recognition – No ‘I told you so’. Leave the other person with their dignity and ‘face’.

Anticipate and plan for others’ likely concerns.

Systems thinking – change one part of a system to change the whole system.

Start thinking of ways to make ‘concerns and anxieties’ a tangible issue for management (something that can be fixed).

Consider the intention/ motivation of the other person. Are they BAD? Or did they make you make choices you didn’t want to make (in hindsight)?

Your boss only has a few minutes interaction with you each day – don’t ‘take your boss home or to bed!’