I have a set of bowl-like items—some plastic, some metal, some actually food bowls from the kitchen—that I’ve taken with me all over the world.
Customs officials have looked at me strangely but have never asked why I carry around the basins or what they are used for. I think they may assume that I’m another oddity collector, one with lamentably poor eyesight or strange tastes.
If they ever want a demonstration, I’d have to line up my basins on the customs counter and then find my marbles, which can be anywhere in the jumbled contents of my materials trunk. I can just picture the snickering as the word spreads in the customs house: “Guy’s lost his marbles, too!”
By the time we earthlings reach the thinking level that, more than a quarter century ago, Dr. Paul Kordis and I named the dolphin level (as opposed to various earlier varieties of mind that we called carp and shark thinking levels), we generally know where our marbles are—and those of the people we deal with—to an unprecedented and amazing degree.
Demonstrating this is the purpose behind my basins and marbles. I use them to help people visualize how the mind matures.
The marbles are reds and blues. And the basins come in ascending sizes. The first is quite small, no larger across than a silver dollar. The next one is more the diameter of your average citrus orange. Then comes one that is the width across of, say, a Frisbee. And so forth, each one larger than the one before. Seven in all, all of which I keep under wraps—under a cloth, actually, like a magician does his or her props—until I’m ready to bring each one into view.
It is the final moments of my hour-long demonstration that usually bring a “you can hear a pin drop” quietness to the room. My first six basins are now out in full view. The three on the left contain a red marble. Those on the right, blue marbles. Each of these basins represents a stage, a stopover, for the mind, I’ve explained.
Red-marble stages are strongly individualistic. I put the bowls for those on the left side of the table. Blue ones are strongly oriented to the family, community or other groups. The bowls for those go on the right side of the table. And the bowl pattern is a zig-zag one because, as the creator of this model, the late Dr. Clare W. Graves, the gifted American psychologist, suggested, the dominant geometry of the mind’s development has been a spiral. The larger the basin, the more complexity and mobility, the more realness, the more knowledge, the more cosmic reality . . . the more functionality and flexibility our mind is capable of mobilizing and utilizing.
Until a few decades ago, every human alive and every human of history had assembled a mind for themselves from this grouping. There didn’t seem to be any other choice. Some individuals stayed at early stages and built worlds for themselves where technologies were simple and the emphasis by necessity was on simply surviving. Others moved on, diminishing some of the dangers and expanding others, making more sophisticated tools, adopting more and more sophisticated ideas and systems and ways to interact.
For the longest time, this was it. There were no other options for fashioning a mind.
Then, bro, nitro!
Suddenly, not long ago at all, just a few decades, we humans appear to have experienced our own Big Bang. Of the mind.
At this point in my demonstration, I reach beneath my prop cover-up and bring out another basin. Instantly, it is obvious that we are in another dimension. This basin is huge, dwarfing all the others. I set the new entry down some distance away from the original six.
“Dolphin waters,” I announce.
I do not know who the first dolphin thinker was. But I believe I’ve talked to more than a few. In my books, I’ve sought to augment their insights with personal experiences of my own.
I’m very fortunate in that, as an itinerant philosopher and instructor of thinking skills, I get to commingle regularly with ambitious souls who want to “be the best they can be,” always searching, probing, inquiring . . . always thinking about how most effectively to discard the old and move on to the new.
I have no scientific survey of the world’s seven-plus billions to offer (and know of no way to structure or finance one anytime soon). And I freely acknowledge that my personal universe is a long way from reflecting the whole. But I offer this educated guess: that 5 to 8 percent of the adult population of the world’s economically advanced countries are capable of making the momentous leap to dolphin waters.
Those who succeed don’t regularly make the headlines or the talk shows or otherwise stand out in the media because their serious thoughts about issues and solutions typically find few hospitable receptors in the brains of interviewers or reporters—being too broad, early, radical, difficult, complex or indecipherable, or some mix of all this. But, if nothing else, the explosive rate of change in the new millennium is one indication that a growing number of these kinds of minds is around.
At the end of my demonstration with the bowls and marbles, I give all my participants a marble of their own and invite them to place it in my out-sized bowl.
“Something new is here,” I observe. “And given what’s happening and what’s needed in our world, the arrival of dolphin thinking skills is very timely.”
Our first Brain Technologies associate in Denmark (and in Scandinavia, for that matter) is traveling a fast track. Claudia Lindby is already generating media coverage in Copenhagen while she rushes to complete the website for her new consultancy, Claudia Lindby: engage for transformation.
In the past couple of days, two items about her new business and her affiliation with Brain Technologies have appeared in the Danish media. One mention was in the “names” section of Denmark’s most important business paper, Børsen
. I can’t give you a link to it because you need to be a subscriber to access it. But here, Claudia says, is how it read in English:
Claudia Lindby is the first Associate in Scandinavia for Brain Technologies Corporation (BTC), headquartered in Florida and founded by Dudley Lynch, author of three bestselling books. For more than 30 years, BTC’s mission has been to create brain change models, tools and techniques that help people “make the leap.” Claudia Lindby has worked with business and people development for 20 years in Danish and international companies, hereof 17 years in executive and leadership positions. She has built her expertise within change leadership in international and complex matrix organizations as well as in small organizations, and as an independent consultant and advisor.
And then a day later, a similar mention appeared in an online magazine, Kommunications Forum, Here’s the item in Danish:
Claudia Lindby bliver den første partner i Norden for Brain Technologies Corporation (BTC), der har hjemsted i Florida og er stiftet af Dudley Lynch, der har skrevet 3 bestseller-bøger. I mere end 30 år har BTCs mission været at skabe “brain change” modeller, værktøjer og teknikker, som hjælper mennesker til at tage det “næste spring”. Claudia Lindby har i 20 år arbejdet med forretnings- og medarbejderudvikling i danske, udenlandske og internationale virksomheder, de seneste 17 år på direktør- og lederposter. Hun har bygget sin ekspertise indenfor forandringsledelse i internationale og komplekse matrixorganisationer såvel som i små organisationer, og som selvstændig konsulent og rådgiver.
Claudia tells us that she’s already received about a dozen phone inquiries about the BTC assessment tools and her consultancy services as a result of the publicity.
You can get a sense of what a veteran of the Danish corporate business scene she is by taking a look at her C.V. You can email her at email@example.com
But you don’t have to wait another moment for a better understanding of why Claudia feels that it is useful to have the BTC tools and models available for her Danish clients and be in partnership with the Dolphin thinking skills and brain-change brands that we have been developing and promoting for nearly the past four decades. We asked her to share her thinking about how and why she brought her new consulting company to our doorstep. Here are some of her replies:
What attracted you to the Brain Technologies’ concepts, approach and tools?
Back in 2006, I left the “classic corporate world” primarily because of a feeling there had to be more to it than working with business development in that rational, rather mechanical way. Even as we decided to include behavior in our KPI’s—leadership behavior—I felt we were missing out on something of critical importance: the human being “at work.”
As an independent advisor, I have since then explored the concepts of behavior and culture in organizations, looking at how we can become better at finding solutions to change that will actually work. Lasting, meaningful change is virtually impossible without the full picture. [NOTE: Speaking of pictures, that's Claudia's new website logo below.]
This is where your work at Brain Technologies comes in. One of the most significant contributions to my own work and development has been the understanding that behavior is just the tip of the iceberg, the visible part of what it means to be human: what ultimately manifests as behavior in the organization is a result of thoughts, feelings, ideas, values, beliefs. . . . Gaining insight into this inner ecology (or, collectively, culture) and becoming able to work constructively with it as a natural part of our change and development efforts is key to create lasting, meaningful change; and BTC’s tools and methods help us do precisely that.
What else do you expect the BTC methods for helping people develop powerful new living, thinking and business skills to bring to Denmark?
Neither our leaders nor we are fully aware of what we are really capable of—a price we pay for fitting in in this very collective culture of ours. They are looking for more freedom to do the right things, things that will actually work—to achieve better outcomes.
WHERE CLAUDIA DOES BUSINESS . . .
Well-known and rooted systems obviously no longer work well enough, and new solutions are increasingly being asked for at all levels of society. Public and private institutions have become too complex, too heavy, too impersonal, and increasingly no longer offer the solutions we need. Everywhere we are looking for better ways to integrate people, technology and organizations, for better alignment, for greater functionality enabling us to do more with less.
Certainly, Scandinavian organizations are not inhumane, but we still do not embrace a full understanding of human beings “at work.” But I believe we are indeed ready to integrate a broader understanding of what works, what it takes to move forward. BTC’s approach and tools can help us become more comfortable with and better at dealing with change, even thriving with it, taking advantage of the formidable energy related to change to create better futures—on a collective organizational level and an individual level.
How do you plan to differentiate “Claudia Lindby: engage for transformation” using the BTC tools and methods? And what will your primary selling points be?
Understanding that we cannot separate business and people but have to include both in change initiatives is a differentiating factor in my work. I will help my client/leaders develop new and better strategies for achieving change goals—for both themselves and their organizations. In a way, I can help them design problems out of existence, always working from the desired future back to the present.
My position in the Danish market is based on my ability to see and work with the full picture when working to get to desired outcomes: including business processes, technology, task flows, etc. as well as the human element—behavior, culture and the forces shaping them.
The BTC tools and methods will be central as I work to inspire and stimulate the full change process with leaders, from research & analysis, brainstorming, discovery, design, implementation and follow-up, and integration in daily work habits.
Well thought out and convincingly said, Claudia! Welcome aboard! And, again, congratulations on the quick startup successes!
And if any of our readers would like more information about becoming an authorized associate with Brain Technologies, we invite you to go here now and then get in touch with us if you have questions. It’s a big, big world, one getting more complicated and chaotic by the hour. We are convinced that in the hands of capable, forward-thinking “intervenionists” like Claudia Lindby, the BTC concepts and tools can provide critical guidance to people and organizations ready and willing to make a difference.
Nietzsche, it was, who observed, “Almost 2,000 years and no new God!”
Philosopher Karl Jaspers allowed that this is true. The most recent great religions all emerged from an extraordinarily fecund “cultural Petri dish” between 800 B.C. and 200 B.C—Jaspers called it the “axial age”—that saw monotheism swept into the mainstream.
In an article in The Economist not long ago, Paul Saffo, the futurist, wondered if it is finally getting close to time once again for a powerful new religion to appear: a new God. Similar forces are again in ferment, Saffo noted: new technologies, new mobility, new insecurities, new unhappinesses spread far and wide by new means of communication.
At the far fringes of today’s contemporary cultural Petri dish, you can already hear the rumbles. What else would you call science writer Joel Garreau’s call for new rituals to welcome scientific breakthroughs into our personal lives, such as those that might postpone aging? One of his suggestions in his book, Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies—and What It Means to Be Human (New York: Broadway, 2006): “A liturgy of life everlasting as a person receives her first cellular age-reversal workup.”
Getting out of the cradle
The question has seldom been more vividly framed than in the writings of Frederick Jackson Turner, who died in 1932. Turner’s book, The Significance of the Frontier in American History
, helped put men on the moon. That’s because President John F. Kennedy was exposed to it as a Harvard student—that and Catholic paleontologist Teilhard de Chardin’s progressive theories about the wellsprings of the human spirit. Turner’s oft-debated “frontier thesis” was this: having a new frontier to explore does wonders for the spirit of human cooperation. The eloquent Edward O. Wilson picked up the inquiry with Sociobiology: The New Synthesis
, especially his inquiry into altruism, one example of which is human civilization itself.
The late Soviet rocket scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky was another “new frontiers”-man, urging humans to think of colonizing the Milky Way galaxy. “Earth is the cradle of mankind—but we can’t stay in the cradle forever,” he said famously.
Dolphinthinkers worry about Earth’s occupants falling into a “zero-sum” game à la Toynbee (A Study of History) and Spengler (The Decline of the West), not to mention Turner, if we run out of genuine new frontiers to explore. For this reason, you should not be surprised to find most dolphinthinkers insistent that humans not retreat from the idea of moving out into space big time. It’s the final frontier and as such, they believe, is vital to keeping our altruism (and perhaps our very biologies) alive.
In the years immediately following publication of our book, Strategy of the Dolphin, Paul Kordis and I took great delight in staging one “how to think like a dolphin” seminar after another.
If you attended one of those three-day events, mostly in the Colorado Rockies, you will probably remember the great delight that the two authors/presenters (and, we had plentiful evidence to suggest, our participants, too, ) got from the seminar’s closing ceremony.
On the stereo, we keyed up Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man. Then distributed glasses of chardonnay or apple cider. And after that, invited everyone in the room to join us in an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink toast that went on longer than the Declaration of Independence (with the speaking parts frequently interrupted by the lofting of glasses, of course!).
One of our self-congratulatory accolades in behalf of everyone present (and the rest of the planet’s citizens) called attention to the pure joys of being a sapient life form, perhaps the only one in the universe.
Providing ceremony for a “rite of passage”
We toasted expanding knowledge and thinking skills, especially those of the people there in the room doing all the toasting.
We saluted our responsibilities for making good things happen, and our renewed hopes that they would produce better and better outcomes. Eventually, we got around to hailing the feature that makes we humans so very, very effective when we use it to great advantage: our abilities to get things done by cooperating.
This closing event at the seminar was good sayonara fun with a serious undertow. With everyone’s best intentions at full mast, we sought to hammer home one more absolutely vital idea: We wanted our participants to appreciate that taking up the mantle of the dolphinthinker is a genuine rite of passage.
Once any of us buys into the dolphinthinker’s toolkit of new mind skills, expanded ethos/worldview/narrative and Moses-like (“promised land”) overlook, there really isn’t any going back.
Relentless change brings its own army of apparitions
This has always been the case during the thirty-plus years that Dr. Kordis and I have been tracking the emergence of the dolphin mind in individuals. It’s a reality that we expect to remain unchanged. As we keep reminding anyone within earshot, because of the relentless, sudden bulk-up of the Anti-Certainty Attractor, there’s a towering tsunami of game-changing uncertainly incoming. And, as we prepare for it, moving into dolphin-thinking waters has automatically made you a member of the Anti-Certainty Attractor Ghostbusters corps.
That “Ghostbusters” reference is telling, of course. It suggests that Dan Akkroyd’s and Harold Ramis’s 1984 sci-fi comedy film of that name is one of Paul and my favorite movies, which it is (chalk it up to a certain peculiar aesthetic quirkiness mutually held!)
But once again there is a serious point not to be missed: Nothing is more likely to tilt your use of the dolphin’s thinking skills toward successful outcomes than being able to distinguish between what is real and possible and pragmatic—doable—and what is ghostly, fanciful and even phantasmagorical in times of relentless change.
The final chapter of LEAP! is a kind of toast, too
As it hurls you and me toward an endless barrage of sensorial data, information and misinformation, the Anti-Certainty Attractor will see to that.
The world’s need for ghostbusters is acute, and growing. I had all that in mind when I wrote the final chapter, “Next,” for LEAP! How to Think Like a Dolphin & Do the Next Right, Smart Thing Come Hell or High Water. That chapter is nothing more and nothing less than observations, cautions, tips and insider’s “intel” from the dolphinthinkers’ own spook corps that struck me as significant. Things that the Anti-Certainty Attractor ghostbusting volunteer needs to be sure are never absent from his or her mind for very long.
If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll take a look before long at my musings on issues and ideas that people who wish better ways and better days for the world and all who reside in it need to keep at the forefront of their minds. It, too, is a toast of sorts—to a new kind of potential sitting there undiscovered and undeveloped in billions of people on the planet. We dolphinthinkers can’t “will” it to appear in others, but we can help nurture the ideas and instrumentalities that can “give it legs” in the minds of those we influence most.
I’ve been known to speak of the dolphinthinker’s iron fin.
This is sometime confused with the dolphinthinker’s “iron fist,” but they are not the same. That iron fist is the dolphinthinker’s unmistakable resolve and demand to be noticed and be heeded without further ado (e.g., in life-threatening moments). The iron fin is the dolphinthinker’s audacious, all-defining life-view and, as such, fuels the dolphinthinker’s passion (as I noted in, among other works, LEAP!) for “managing the world,” with a focus on what matters, what works, what makes sense—what’s right and fair and ethical and doable.
This isn’t the only fin available to the dolphin. Other fins can be strapped on to navigate the staples and turns of ordinary life: the little stuff. But the iron fin is the heavy-lifting, brook-no-stupidity, tough-as-nails-when-needed, tenacious, future-conscious one.
If you’d like to try the dolphinthinker’s iron fin on for size—a “trial fitting,” in the department store sense—you might consider using the Einsteinian-like “thought experiment” approach.
Think of yourself doing some of the things on this list of activities calculated to raise the dust and dislodge the status quo:
• Plan a mutiny where it will be least expected. That is, in places where you are a familiar face and a normally tranquil presence. See if you think a rebellion can make a difference; see if it is worth the trouble. (Your author has twice made sparks in a local school system. In one place it worked. In another it fizzled.) Speculate on whether things are going to fizz or fizzle, so you’ll know what your priorities need to be.
• Engineer a difference while in camouflage. Be totally sneaky about it. Cover your traces. Wear disguise. Don’t lie, but use truth strategically. Don’t let up; go into the mission absolutely determined to see it through. Don’t worry about asking permission; just don’t get caught. Don’t worry about winning; you win some, and you lose some. And don’t worry all that much about whether you are doing things in the right way—the point of the exercise is to learn as much as you can about what’s workable on the other side of the ripples you are going to cause.
• Be the difference in someone else’s worthy cause—unexpectedly. Your self-appointed task: to see who you think the sharkthinkers are and how you might neutralize them. Pick something you can be passionate about. Nose around in your imagination to see what really needs to happen here. And if there are no sharks? Well, how about other dolphins? Don’t see any sharks or dolphins? Then this must be a community of carps or NoQuiffs (not-quite-flying-fishes). Not a lot of potential here. Move quickly to fade out and mosey on.
• Advertise! Advertise what? The fact that you are looking for new people to represent the role of the unknown in your life. Call this The Sandwich Board Approach in honor of all those brave, venturesome people who have put themselves and their needs/views/causes/desires in plain sight the old fashioned way: being the message themselves. Be specific about what you are looking for. That is—dolphins! No sharks or carps need apply. And give ‘em a taste of what (1) alarms you most about the direction the world is going and (2) what you think the next local step should be. Think about an arresting rendezvous point to kick things off (make it intriguing, i.e., the local wrecking yard, a place to eat strange foods, a public place where almost no one ever goes).
• Be a contrarian. Trust where others would probably point fingers and cast aspersions. Shrug off both the doomsayers and the utopians and go looking for what works. Accept that there’s a right time to think like a carp or a not-quite-flying fish (“self-sacrificially”). And a right time to think like a shark (“iron-fistedly”). And certainly, more and more times these days when more and more things are going to hell in a hand basket and there’s a critical need to think like a dolphin (”pro-actively combinatorially).
After your thought experiments, ask yourself again, “What is this iron fin and why it is necessary and what is the dolphinthinker meant to do with it?”
The answer is deceptively simple, but it makes sense only if you are willing to understand what makes it so. I believe that is a discussion well worth having. It just might be one of the most important self-insights any of us will ever encounter. Because before a dolphin does anything else with the iron fin, he or she uses it to turn his or her personal world upside down from the inside out. Our dolphin iron fin’s first, main and most critical use takes place in our own heads!
But then if you’ve read any of the dolphin-thinking books, you already knew that.
If you came into this website through the back door, you may not have noticed this change right off, if at all. But the navbar on this page isn’t where it used to be.
As you no doubt know, the navbar is a generalized list of contents on a website. On this particular page, it used to be a centered, single line of type immediately under the LEAP!psych logo. Now it is a vertical column at the upper right corner of the page.
Then again, if you came through the front door of our website, this explanation probably isn’t necessary. You already knew that this and other major changes have been made to our BTC site. In the industry vernacular, we have a newly designed home page.
HOW OUR HOME PAGE LOOKED IN 2006!
We aren’t totally sure how many home pages we’ve had through the years. But we can see 12 of them on the “Wayback Machine,” including the one at left for 2006. Between January 31, 1998, and August 16, 2013, this amazing internet site recorded snapshots of 393 billion web pages. Two hundred seventy-two of those pages came from BTC’s site.
But WhoIs, the domain-ownership-tracking site, tell us that we registered our domain name back on August 15, 1996. That leaves roughly the first year and half of our site’s existence undocumented by the “Wayback Machine.” In those days, LEAP!psych’s editor designed his own home pages, one of which (dating from 1998) is visible at left below. Judged by the limited visual appeal of that fledging effort, if there were even earlier versions, it is probably salutary that the “Wayback Machine” didn’t start up until early 1998.
If you want to see what the latest home page looks like, just go to the navbar and click on “Home,” of course. (Just don’t forget to click on “Blog” to return.) In the e-mailed praise of one considerate viewer, what you’ll see there is our new “clean, simple, vibrant look.”
OUR WEBSITE WHILE WE (TEMPORARiLY) OPERATED UNDER A DIFFERENT COMPANY NAME
My exact request to our talented, long-suffering professional website designer was for “something deliberate and easy to navigate.” I wanted this for a couple of reasons:
One, in my opinion, many web page creators these days design like they had just swallowed a roll paper full of Molly. Their designs are often functionally incoherent and informatively next to worthless for people with a lot to take care of before the sun goes down.
And two, as the world has become more complicated, I keep noticing that a winning formula for traversing chaos is looking for new simplicity on the other side of old complexities. I hope you agree that our new website home page does that.
As for the inside pages, here are the ones I would label “best of show” on our current website (not, of course, an unbiased assessment, since I wrote the copy for all of them):
* A to Z about The BrainMap®. This page is a carryover from the days (not so very long ago) when it was deemed productive to hold forth longer than Bubba Clinton on the merits of your product. We’ve kept the page up because we think it communicates on this product exceedingly well.
* “Cliff Notes”-like overview of Clare Graves’ theory. We recently issued an eBook version of our work, The Mother of All Minds. This page encapulates the 300-page book using Q&As, which in themselves (or so your humble scribe asserts) make Dr. Graves’ “theory of everything” just about as comprehensible as Bill Nye the Science Guy could do it.
ANCIENT HISTORY: FROM 1998, POSSIBLY BTC'S FIRST HOME PAGE
* The best “Whack-a-Mole”-styled promotional page on the Internet. What’s being promoted here is our latest book, LEAP! How to Think Like a Dolphin & Do the Next Right, Smart Thing Come Hell or High Water. We wanted a promo page that left no good reason for reading the book left unaddressed. One supportive reader has said of this page and the links it offers, “You just keep on coming!” (That, of course, is exactly the effect we were after.)
* The subject of this page is as serious as a heart attack. In fact, that’s the stance taken in the very first sentence describing our prized assessment tool, The mCircle Instrument®. Nearly everything we humans do involves “the game.” We all always need to be “the best we can be” at playing it. This page and this tool have but one goal: to help you make the team and achieve the best outcomes possible.
* Clueing you in with economy and precision. Years ago, I wrote down the words “You, clued in” as a possible promotional tagline for BTC. For some reason, we didn’t use it at the time. But as you can see, we’ve now added it to our logo—as a tagline! And in creating our new home page, we’ve sought to incorporate the essence of its meaning. Hope you like it all.
And now for the latest achievements of our FOBTCs!
Taking the lead for BTC in Deutschland
Klaus Regnault is our newest BTC Associate Plus colleague. He operates Complex Coaching and Consulting of Kaarst, Germany, partnering with Josef Brauner, former CEO of Sony Germany and T-Com. Klaus’ area of expertise is performance coaching in sports, business and the performing arts (opera singers, for example). In the past two decades, more than 200 amateurs and professionals have benefited from his intensive coaching methods and programs. “In the past year, I have traveled more than 250,000 kilometers,” he tells us. I want to reduce this significantly by focusing more on Germany.” And the good news for BTC is that he wants to use our tools and models to do so. In the quarter century since the dolphin strategy was launched, the countries outside our own that have been most important to the growth of our dolphin-thinking philosophy have been Germany and the France-Quebec combo. We are thrilled at Klaus’ interest and investment in the “DelphinStrategien®” legacy. We expect to be able to announce additional collaborations between Complex Coaching and Consulting and BTC shortly. Meanwhile, you can reach Klaus here: KR@2Cfor2C.com.May the road rise to meet you, Sean Brophy!
DR. SEAN BROPHY (AT LEFT) AND SIBLINGS EARLY ON
Our favorite Irish poet now has a website where any or all of his nine volumes of poetry can be ordered. Dr. Brophy started writing poetry in the late 1980s in response to a grievous national tragedy and hasn’t stopped. The latest title from his Rainsford Press is Turning Points: Poems of a Life, which offers a retrospective view of the seven decades of his life in Dublin. His Girl Through My Window is a collection of poems arranged in more than 250 Haikus or verses based on the universal theme of love. He says his Rosie Reilly and Other Poems “is a book that anybody could write, and therein may lie its appeal to a wide audience.” Prices of his works range from €14.50 to €19.50. Go here to order. (Of course, another poetic response from Sean that we love is when he’s tuning up the hearts and minds of Irish executives and managers using our BTC “talk to the mind” models and tools, which he’s done now for nearly 20 years!)Firing on all neurons at Bangkok’s Assumption University
DEVELOPING NEW THINKING SKILLS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA
Dean Kitti Photikitti and Associate Dean Kitikorn Dowpiset at Assumption University’s business school continue to expand use of our BTC brain change tools and technologies. In December, the University Council signaled its approval of their efforts by approving a new MBA curriculum. Also Dr. Marissa Fernando, another authorized BTC associate, has become a full-time AU faculty member. She has been named Associate Director of Organizational Development and Head of Research and Publication for the business school. The AU business school staff has also been recruiting for the school’s mini OD certificate for business program, which also uses the BTC models and materials. All this while the AU administrators, faculty and students are keeping a hopeful eye on Thailand’s volatile political scene.Five star endorsement for LEAP! from Glasgow!
Lesley Keen, creative director at Ultra Pictura NV, a Scottish media developer for the digital market, has been an admirer of all things dolphin since the U.K. version of Strategy of the Dolphin was published in the early 1990s. So it was no surprise that she leaped to acquire and read a copy of our latest dolphin-philosophy-based work. In her usual pro-active way, she promptly reviewed LEAP! on Amazon.com, using her nom de plume, Lucy Brightstone. Part of her review: “In human society Dolphins frequently don’t always recognise themselves. There are no schools to easily locate and join. LEAP! fills that void. . . . If you are already a practising Dolphin, reading LEAP! is like coming home, a timely tune up. Otherwise you can dive right in. If you find yourself getting into the flow, take a look in the mirror. You might just see a Dolphin smiling back at you.” (Thanks so much for the good words, Lesley!)A busy slate of European activities for one Dolpinthinker
CARLOS SALUM, PERFORMANCE EXPERT
That would be our friend and valued colleague in Charlotte, NC (when he’s not somewhere else, which is often), Carlos Salum. In his year-end newsletter, Vortex
, Carlos reviewed his plans for The Continent for 2014. They include workshops with Walter Kohl (Founder, Zentrum fur eigene Lebensgestaltung, Germany, and son of the former German chancellor), innovation workshops with Louis Foreman. CEO, Enventys, USA, career strategy workshops with Klaus Regnault, BTC’s newest authorized Associate Plus affiliate (see earlier item) and various activities involving Salum’s Sircle Executive Club’s International Community. Carlos has also found time recently to praise LEAP!
on Amazon.com. Among his comments: “I got in touch with [Dudley’s] worldview after accidentally picking up a copy of Strategy of the Dolphin
in London twenty five years ago. It changed my perspective about my potential as a human being, as an entrepreneur and as a leader. I made a point to meet Dudley one day and learn from him. After attending one of his courses in Texas ten years ago, I’m honored to call him one of my most important mentors. His contributions as decoder of Dr. [Clare] Graves’ work and his development of future-based, cutting edge books and strategic tools are enormous and have become a very important part of my work.” (Thanks a million, Carlos!)
Pekun Tomori Now Working Full-time to Develop Nigeria’s Business Leaders
Strategy of the Dolphin
PEKUN TOMORI, TRAINING NIGERIA'S LEADERS
has received numerous accolades over the years, but none quite as startling, in our opinion, as Pekun Tomori’s: “I bought many copies of your book for my best friends and my best enemies.” At the time, Pekun was working for Shell Oil in Dakar, Senegal. Since spotting that endorsement (on Amazon.com), I’ve kept up with Pekun. He began his petroleum industry career with National Oil and Chemical Marketing PLC, followed by stints with Shell in Ethiopia, Kenya, Senegal and Nigeria (twice). Now he tells us, “I left Shell after working for over 33 years in East and West Africa. Decided to focus my energy at improving the leadership skills of my clients in Nigeria.” He’s started his own consulting company, PvanT Learning, in Lagos and is also teaching at a local business school. You can reach him here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Well, who else would be steering the Rethinking Re-Hab Express. . .
KATHERINE CAROL AND MIKELLE LEARNED
but that dynamic duo in the Rockies, Katherine Carol and Mikelle Learned. Katherine has been a significant ally of the dolphin-thinking strategy from very early. We saw her often in our Colorado days. That was when we first met her and her adopted daughter, Mikelle, orphaned in Korea at age three months. Mikelle was to be diagnosed with severe cerebral palsy and can’t speak or walk without technology. But both mother and daughter are dolphin-hearted and iron-willed. Today, Mikelle speaks across the country, owns her own condo and a small business. Katherine has been appointed chairman of the Colorado Developmental Disabilities Council by Gov. John Hickenlooper. Katherine emailed us: “Mikelle and I focused on being the change we want to see in the world by creating 21st Century Rehabilitation Solutions. Our theme is Re-thinking Rehab. It is starting to catch on, but as I participate in all these committees and councils, it is clear the 1980’s are alive.” You can read about some of their many activities here.Helping to document the Boston Marathon tragedy
COURTESY OF ORGANICRUNNERMOM.COM
Keith Bowman is not as yet “an authorized associate” of Brain Technologies although we keep hoping that once he finishes up his doctoral work at Boston’s Northeastern University, he’ll make that leap. If he does, he’ll need no apprenticeship in our materials and methods because he’s already worked his way through all our tools and read all our books. And he just keeps begging for more. The great common interest we have with Keith is the work of the late Clare Graves, the interdisciplinary-minded mid-20th Century psychologist. Bowman actually works for Verizon Communications in Boston. But he puts in a lot of spare moments working on his doctorate. At the moment, he reports that he’s helping other post-grads at NU build a digital and oral history archive on the Boston Marathon tragedy. He’s reachable here: email@example.com
The therapist was a tiny woman with dark, closely cropped hair, magnetic eyes and a ready, inviting smile. Her name was Insoo Kim Berg. She was born in Korea, came to the U.S. in 1957 to study and stayed.
The person closest to her was her husband, a jazz-musician-turned-psychotherapist named Steve de Shazer. She persuaded the tall, gangly, Sherlock-Holmes-loving de Shazer to follow her to Wisconsin from California and join her in her life passion: equipping psychotherapists to help people heal quickly, without years of expensive, slower-than-molasses Freudian-styled talk therapy.
The mainstay ideas in the therapeutic techniques developed by Berg (she was the primary creator) and de Shazer (he observed Berg, then wrote the books and training materials) address numerous critical themes about thinking that are central to dolphin thinking. (Berg and de Shazer both died unexpectedly a few years apart in the 2000s.) Among these idées puissantes:
• If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.
• If it works, go with the flow.
• If it isn’t working, do something different.
• The solution to an issue—any issue—is almost never that closely related to the problem.
• This explains why the way people think and talk about problems is almost guaranteed to be different than the way they think and talk about solutions.
• The first place to look for solutions is to exceptions: ask yourself what has been working that you really hadn’t noticed all that much.
• The next best place to look for solutions is to what makes sense, now that you’ve thought a little more about it.
• What usually matters most are small, right, smart, good (that is, moral) next steps that may put you on the path to big changes.
• People need to be reminded (and none of us ever wants to forget) that the future is both created and negotiable.
• Not all change is a problem, and problems do not happen all the time. But change is inevitable.
Sounds simple, doesn’t it?
Berg warned about that. Because thinking this way looks and sounds simple, people expect it to be easy. But she said it wasn’t. She said thinking this way is hard. The reason is that it isn’t enough simply to read somebody’s book, even if that book is called Strategy of the Dolphin, The Mother of All Minds or LEAP!, or take grad-school classes and grow familiar with using various techniques for guiding and dealing with change. Such accomplishments, while commendable, are often inadequate to the task at hand because they leave out, as Berg phrased it, “the art part.” She added, “The art part is about what to do when.”
Insoo Kim Berg and Steve de Shazer (photo courtesy of Psiholozi.com)
So it is “the art part” that is hardest of all. The reason for this has to do with the way the universe is set up. The art part is what gets you through and beyond the complexity, and the way the universe works, the simplicity that harbors the solution nearly always lies on the other side of complexity. It’s like crocheting. You are most likely to get there, if you get there at all, if you have the kind of mind that can get you there one small, right, smart stitch—one right thing, one right move—at a time.
All our books and models and tools at Brain Technologies are about hastening and equipping that kind of a mind.
In the Twenty-First Century, anytime any of us leave home without this mind, we are asking for trouble. If we have it along, then the spirit is usually with us—the spirit of Insoo Kim Berg and all the others who, in the past half-century or so, have helped our species discover a tenacious new way to think about its challenges and an audacious new mindset with which to do the thinking.
It probably isn’t a subject that graduate business students arriving at the Hua Mak Campus of Bangkok’s Assumption University normally expect to tackle. But when their experiences using Brain Technologies’ change tools and models are complete, few other aspects of their studies are likely to have a more lasting influence on their lives and careers.
Thus far, more than a thousand students at Assumption have been introduced to BTC’s dolphin-thinking self-assessment instruments and concepts. This is because Assumption’s B-school has been using BTC’s “greater positive sum” models and four primary assessment tools based on them since 1997.
Most of these individuals have been organizational development majors in Assumption’s masters of business program or businesspeople involved in the university’s mini-organization development program. Many of the degree-seeking students at Assumption come from outside Thailand—from China, India, Russia, Uganda, Pakistan and the numerous other countries that provide students for Thailand’s first international university.
Dr. Perla Tayko
The BTC “dolphin philosophy” materials are meant to help students and businesspersons examine life assumptions and reinvent aspects of their valuing and decision-making skills that they wish to transform. This approach is guided by longtime BTC associate Dr. Perla Rizilina M. Tayko (photo above), supported by Dean Dr. Kitti Photikitti and organized by Associate Dean Dr. Kitikorn Dowpiset.
“Our program seeks to ensure that every participant has a chance to unlearn, re-learn and learn anew—systemically and systematically—the strengths and possibilities of the self at the center of the individual,” Dr. Dowpiset (photo below) told me recently in an e-mail.
“We’ve found Brain Technologies’ concepts and tools to be timelessly relevant for all learners regardless of nationality, age or professional interest. The dolphin strategy and BTC’s other approaches help an individual overcome personal ego issues and fear as they seek to reassess and transform their own self-valuing systems and thinking skills.”
I have hard evidence that the dean isn’t just blowing eloquent smoke rings with these laudatory words.
In September of 2004, one of Assumption’s B-school grad students showed up at a seminar we were staging in Texas. There was no question of our participant’s Thai roots—his name, Sirichai Preudhikulpradab, confirmed that. His demeanor was also very Thai: polite, relaxed, deferential. Before arriving, he had told us that he was a supply planning manager and organizational development diagnostician for American multinational sneaker manufacturer NIKE Inc.’s Liaison Office in Bangkok. He had also spent a couple of years working in NIKE’s Oregon world headquarters in vendor assessment and product development and sourcing.
That’s a very well-known company to work for. And those are very solid jobs. But little that I observed in the three days Sirichai spent with us offered me serviceable clues to what was coming.
Within a year, Sirichai’s emails began to reveal that his views of his workplace responsibilities at Nike were changing. “I am seeing my job, team members, bosses, peers and company differently after your seminar,” he wrote. “I have begun to focus on what I really like and love to do in the long run.”
Dr. Sirichai Preudhikulpradab
Looking outside his work, he was planning to open a school to teach Thai classical music. (As a undergraduate, he’d majored in eastern and western music for education at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University.) Also, he began to spend a few days each year in retreat at a Buddhist monastery. And in addition to his duties at Nike, he was now a part-time lecturer-instructor at Assumption University, teaching self- and organizational-development skills using the BTC models and tools.
But the biggest thrill for me was the news that arrived in 2009. He was now “Dr. Preudhikulpradab.” He had received his Ph.D. degree from the Southeast Asia Interdisciplinary Development Institute School of Organization in The Philippines.
Even more surprising was the subject of his Ph.D. research. So surprising, in fact, that I had to do some research of my own before taking him seriously. Organizational spirituality? Was he joking?
My Internet inquiries quickly made it clear that this field of study is viewed seriously in OD (organizational development) circles. The idea isn’t about turning a company into a church or religious organization. Rather, it’s about helping organizations develop a better workplace and workforce by encouraging their people to transform themselves first at a personal level and then at an organizational one.
For his Ph.D. studies, Sirichai had researched how organizational spirituality was perceived and practiced by the management and staff at each level of a Thai software and professional services company.
He then developed a model for organizations to use to develop organizational spirituality. He called it the “CARE” Model. To get a company to where he wants it to be, Sirichai decided it requires Commitment, Awareness, Readiness and Engagement. To make it more personal, he described the steps a person needs to take to get from his or her first blush with organizational spirituality principles to serious engagement as these: I-Am, I-Care, I-Can, I-Agree and I-Do.
Dr. Preudhikulpradab continues to use his expanding knowledge of organizational behavior at workaday practical levels while working at NIKE, where he is now director, product integrity, at NIKE Thailand Ltd, overseeing the South East Asia Pacific region. But he’s also now an associate program director for the Master of Management and Organization Development program at the Assumption B-school.
Both Dr. Dowsipet and Dr. Preudhikulpradab are moving ahead with expansionary plans for the dolphin strategy and the BTC thinking-skills-development tools. “We apply the BTC tools to some courses but not all,” said Dean Dowsipet. “I want to apply the BTC materials more in MBA studies. Mostly, we apply them in our Master of Management and Ph.D in Organization Development programs. And in the MiniOD and MiniMBA programs that we do for our alumni/business partners in Thai.”
Among their most ambitious plans is translating the BTC models, tools and perhaps even key books like Strategy of the Dolphin, The Mother of All Minds and LEAP! How to Think Like a Dolphin & Do the Next Right, Smart Thing into Thai. This way, the benefits can be made available to non-graduate-school users, such as Thailand’s business managers, executives and business owners.
And Dr. Preudhikulpradab’s interest in Buddhism?
Sirichai tells me he meditates daily as a way to keep his complex lifestyle sorted out. He explains:
“I can better focus on my work and personal life. I don’t overly commit. I dare to say the truth when it comes to what I want to do. I am more mindful and won’t say words that could harm someone’s feelings. In Buddhism, bad words lead us to the creation of ‘karma’ with those we hurt.
“This [meditating] has become my personal habit as if it were my gym workout. My mind can quickly shut down after 20:00 so I don’t allow my busy schedule to consume and take over my evening time. I still take care of my physics/body/health wisely. I eat only two meals (breakfast and lunch) a day so I can have time for my daily meditation.”
Call it “organizational spirituality” or “neuromanagement practices” or “the dolphin strategy”—whatever you wish. I just think all our efforts—in Gainesville, Bangkok, the Philippines—have a primary goal of getting business students and participants to pay more attention to how the brain works and how to get the best outcomes from this knowledge.
In a business world flooded with “best practices”-oriented “change management” models and techniques (OpEx, Agile, WCM, Lean, Six Sigma, BSC, CPD, etc., etc.), there has been very little attention paid traditionally to the consequences that neuroscientific and “biopsychosocial” processes have on our business results. In fact, it almost seems as if most of our so-called leadership and organizing practices have been designed specifically to thwart how the brain best innovates and creates and figures things out.
As carefully designed and executed as Assumption University’s experiment with neuromanagement-based techniques and tools has been, we expect its influence to spread far beyond Thailand’s borders. Because AU has clearly become a unique model for enriching the business school educational experience and in producing customized training to upgrade the thinking skills of participants in the general business community.
So we at Brain Technologies count ourselves exceedingly fortunate to be in the company of experimentally minded spirits and intellects like those of the Doctors Photikitti, Dowsipet, Preudhikulpradab and Tayko at Assumption University. It gives us great satisfaction to have been able to contribute to their cutting-edge educational practices and innovative wave-making in how business people learn about themselves and how they can “grow” their personal and organizational capabilities.
Occasionally, characters appear amongst us. We nearly always stop and drink in the scenes and story lines they create because of their very oddnesses. And we may even come to treasure these individuals because they help us see the world in useful and/or intriguing ways outside the boundaries of normality. Or we may not. We may simply adopt the habit of moving to the other side of the street when we see them coming because we know in advance this isn’t going to lead anywhere we have much interest in going.
We’ve learned at Brain Technologies that we can expect this kind of persona to appear on our radar scope several times a year. One just did. I’m sharing that information because I sense that there is probably something to be learned here. I’m just not sure yet what it might be. So let me introduce you to Jim Duffy of Lavonia, Michigan, and maybe you can help me figure it out.
Some of what I can tell you is in full view on his profile on LinkedIn, the social networking site for professionals. Reading what you find there brings more than a few “ouch” moments. Like where he sums up his high school activities and societies as “hanging out.” He does the same thing for his three years at the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle Campus, where he says he was finally asked to leave.
My name shows up—at least I assume it is a reference to me although it uses only my first name—in a strange note under “Experience.” The note reads in full:
Successful ventures are generated from engagement.
I have been given a dead line of March 31, 2014 for the completion of my dissertation. Send me an email if you can be a supporter. I need engagement and a group of supporters would be epic. I’ll keep you posted as the momentum grows.
Coach engagement. Always and forever..
So much more to follow.
You are welcome to draw the same conclusions I’ve drawn. Jim has read my book, LEAP! How to Think Like a Dolphin & Do the Next Right, Smart Thing Come Hell or High Water. He liked it.
Jim Duffy . . . character
In fact, it motivated him to check with Capella University to see if he still had time to finish his doctoral dissertation before the deadline passed. He apparently has until March 31, 2014 to do so. He’s decided to go for it, but like Adam Richman in Man V. Food
he wants a cheering squad to urge him on. Apparently, anyone can sign on.
I had happened to look up Jim’s profile on LinkedIn because I received a terse e-mail from him out of the blue the other day. He told me that he’d decided to make the leap toward finishing his Ph.D. The e-mail read in part:
I leaped. It happened early this morning. I find myself calm and excited and clear. I have no great vision or dream but I was going to make one up but decided not too.
I had planed to leap on 12/31 while on vacation in Florida but that was planning and planning is not always the path.
I received an email stating that my time was up as of 12/31. Than another stating that the email was a mistake and we are sorry. But, I thought my time was near; so. I asked for my end date. My end date is 03/31/2014. At first I was shocked but that was a lie because I generality push things to the end. But I was scarred.
All of my time and money would be lost. I failed again just like every time in the past. I’ve been very good at failure.
But. no – I leaped.
In that same e-mail, he also told me about a frustrating ordeal that involved purchasing a new refrigerator. Apparently, this also had something to do with his decision to make the leap and finish his dissertation before the deadline. But since I can’t figure out what the connection was, I won’t take up your time by relating that anecdote.
I’m introducing you to Jim to begin with because, as characters go, I’m beginning to suspect that Jim Duffy is one of the keepers. At the very least, I invite you to join his leap-cheering squad. If not that, then maybe we both could say “Jim Duffy, Ph.D.” three times before we go to sleep every night between now and March 31.
If that also makes us both of us characters, too, then so be it.
P.S. That’s the photo above of himself that Jim has posted on LinkedIn. As you probably already know, characters often don’t wear socks when they pose for formal portraits.
In my dolphinthinker-themed writings, I’ve sought to place a premium on taking care of the needs of our bodies, minds and spirits. Of taking care of our close-in communities and being good stewards of our shared world overall.
It’s a pretty tall order. That’s why the principles of dolphinthinking are intended to help equip those who practice them to eat right, play right, work right and sleep right. To spend time with their families and friends. To take care of the poor and care for the sick. To also relax and take time for themselves.
It is an assumed for dolphinthinkers that they care more for things that are green and alive than things that are gray and dead. They like fresh air and clean water and healthy soil. They prefer trees to deserts and gentle rain to cracked soil and mudslides, and they prefer their rain without acid, thank you very much.
HOW THE BOOK WOULD LOOK AS A MIXTAPE WITH YOU, THE READER, PROVIDING ALL THE MUSIC!
They like grass more than cement and laughing children more than the sound of traffic. And they like economic policies, economic systems, economic participants and economic outcomes that promote life and an economic vitality that doesn’t tear down individuals and families and communities and societies or mete out death and destruction or promote policies, decision-making and decision-makers who do.
WE ARE BIOLOGICAL “CREATURES OF THE LEAP!”
As we promote an allegiance to life, we must never forget (1) whatever else we might be on our way to becoming, that we have evolved as biological beings. And (2), as philosopher Manuel DeLanda has reminded us, that “biological evolution has no foresight, and it must grope in the dark, climbing from one attractor to another, from one engineering stable strategy to another.” And (3) we dolphinthinkers are “gropees” of the first order. As DeLanda also observes, we humans may be on the threshold of developing the tools that will permit us to “map the attractors and bifurcations” that for three billion or so years have tugged us first one way and then another. When that happens, DeLanda is hopeful of charting “a better destiny for humanity.” But until it happens, it may very well come down to the activities of the pod and its adeptness at discovering and using what’s possible, what makes sense, what works—what will lead to “the next right, smart good thing or move.”
Thus, the huge importance of staying pragmatic!
It is an arduous assignment, this ever-vigilant pragmatism.
Unlike any generation before us, we are being called on to juggle an unprecedented combination of organizing waves and users of them—from the iGeneration to the Millennials to the Baby Boomers to the Greatest Generation with several other varieties in between. There are the old waves, which still inundate much of the planet, ponderous and aimless and insufficient. The current waves, of which there are many, and which are often wasteful and myopic and terribly self-absorbed. And the incoming waves, which are strange and unpredictable, bringing who knows what next. And we must do it all simultaneously. More good reasons to stay pragmatic!
THE “PHILICS” AND THE “PHOBIAS”
In much of the world, our world citizenry continues to be dangerously necrophilic—death-loving. This is because bad policy-making, bad governance and the consequences of the pure greed that leads to bad choices are continuing to cause far too many to turn away from biophilic, or life-loving, choices.
As they retreat from the uncertainties and complexities of living, too many of our planetary neighbors are seeking scapegoats, dead-end solutions and false assurances of security or else are closing down or giving up—in short, becoming both biophobic (life-fearing) and necrophobic (death-fearing). If new correctives and remedies aren’t initiated, and very soon, it is almost assuredly a lethal combination if not for all of us, for too many of us.
It’s a sobering thought for all free peoples and those wishing to be free. Which is another reason I have absolutely no qualms about championing a serious-as-a-heart-attack substitution of the assessments and values of the dolphinthinker for those of other varieties of thinkers. For the sake of current and future generations and the sake of the entire planet, the dolphinthinker’s “benchmarks for improving the world” need to be recognized and heeded on a global scale as never before.
That’s why it sometimes seems like I’ve had only one book to write and I keep writing it! Whether that is true or not, it certainly goes to the heart of why my commentaries and suggestions are never far removed from what enables any of us to say genuinely and wholeheartedly: “To the best of my abilities, I’ve chosen to devote my energies, my passion, my resources, my skills and my time—the whole of my dolphinthinker tool chest and resource closet—to encouraging a good, just, freeing, decent, accountable and resilient world.”