Monday, May 19, 2008

Team Conflict Managment

Mthimkhulu International are the leading South African specialists, in team conflict conflict managment

We have just returned to Johannesburg from an incredible break and a wonderful teambuilding session, with Description C&S Audio - in Cape Town.

Cape Town - South Africa - is an incredible place and our teambuild was facilItated in the quaint Train Lodge conference centre. If you visit Cape town, this must be one of the most incredible places to stay. you can dine on a train coach and sleep in one of the stationery train coach rooms.

Our team of Arthie Moore, Suraj Haripersad and myself, were delighted to spend time with this incredible team. Lead by Donald and Liezl Clark - this extra-ordinary group of bright young people - really got into the teambuild - in a huge way! And we are truly grateful that they selected us, as their teambuilding provider!

Our team is incredibly professional and they know exactly what to do, and when. And their work was made far easier by our amazing client.

Here is the feedback from Liezl Clark of C&S Audio:-

Building your team

As employers and business owners, we are all faced with the problem of motivating and building our teams. I would like to share our personal journey and experience with you.

As I write this the sound of the vuvuzela and our team’s new found slogan still resound in my ears…
Imphilo Enhle!! Yes, life is indeed beautiful.

The C&S team was transformed over the past weekend. From a diverse team divided down lines of race, language, religion, job title and background we have gone to a team of human beings with a common goal and new values founded in respect.

You may call this a miracle, but it is incredible what can be achieved when you work from a foundation of “at the level of respect all people are equal”.

Fellow BW Brian Moore and his wife Arthie of Mthimkhulu International took our team through an amazing rollercoaster of a weekend.
Not only did we learn more about ourselves, our other team members, the ways we learn and communicate and our different personalities but we had FUN!!

Never would I have imagined our team dancing the Macarena in unison on a cold Sunday morning on a converted train platform in Cape Town!

I would recommend Mthimkhulu International and this experience to all businesses and teams without hesitation.

Brian and his team were absolutely wonderful. They have a way of relating to people on the level they can understand and feel comfortable with and help you to stretch further than you ever imagined possible while still feeling safe and respected.

Under their guidance past issues were cleared and a way forward was mapped out.

This past weekend a new unified team was born.
Viva C&S Viva! Imphilo Enhle! Yes, Life is Beautiful!

(Impilo Enhle means beautiful life in IsiXhosa - the mother tongue of Nobel Laureates Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.)

International Teambuilding that works, and works and works

Teambuilding Projects

And whilst you are looking for info on Team conflict management - please visit our Teambuilding South Africa Blog!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A bean is revealed when you open its shell...

A bean is revealed when you open its shell. - Zulu proverb.

(First written in 2004 and very relevant now to the xenophobic incidents in Alexander and Diepsloot - Johannesburg, South Africa.)

We live in such a wonderful country. We have had an incredible past and that strange history has been used by many of us as a catalyst for personal change and growth. And sadly others still hark after the past, or operate as if nothing has changed!

And change it has! South Africa has gone from skunk nation status to a place of beauty and wonder. A place where all people can live their lives with self-respect and respect for others.

I can remember when it was difficult to move around the world with a South African passport. When people in love could not be married - by virtue of their colour or race. Where we were separated into groups, denied or benefited by virtue of our birth. When cars were driven across the beautiful highways of our nation at 70kms an hour because of fuel sanctions. (A trip from Johannesburg to the coast took up to 12 hours in holiday season!)

It was a time when we were so divided that we did not know how others lived. And we did not know or understand the realities of life for people who were not white.

I am delighted that Apartheid has all passed behind us. I am excited to be a part of this new country where we are an example to the world. I am happy to be a pioneer laying the groundwork, through affirmative action and employment equity, for the children of the new generations. Sometimes it is hard to be white and male in South Africa. But nowhere as hard as it was to be "non-white in Apartheid South Africa! Yes, we are the new “voortrekkers”, we are the “star fleet” boldly opening up new frontiers and horizons. And we are opening up our country to all of it’s peoples. What a legacy to build for future generations!

Arthie and I are delightfully and ecstatically married. In the old South Africa this would have been impossible! We would have been hunted down & exposed. Here is a piece from that shows just how far we have come.

"The Immorality Act was one of the most controversial legislative acts of South African Apartheid. It attempted to forbid intermixing of couples of different race both in the area of marriage as well as casual sex.

Mixed marriages and the immorality act became the first major pieces of apartheid legislation. In 1949 mixed marriages were banned in South Africa. In 1950 the act was followed up with a ban on sexual relations between blacks and whites.

One of the first people convicted of the immorality act was a Cape Dutch Reformed minister; he was caught having sex with a domestic worker in his garage. He was given a suspended sentence and the parishioners bulldozed the garage to the ground.

On the grounds of the Immorality Act, the police tracked down mixed couples suspected of being in relationships. Homes were invaded and doors were smashed down in the process. Mixed couples caught in bed were arrested. Underwear was used as forensic evidence in court. Most couples found guilty were sent to jail. Blacks were often given harsher sentences than whites.
In 1985 the Immorality Act and Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act were both repealed."

The full extent of forgiveness in our country from 1990 until now will never be quantified. It has been hugely miraculous that we are where we are now.

Imagine my surprise when attending a recent birthday party for a 3 year old, when the other young parents banded together. And allowed a few of their group to make loud comments on Arthie and my relationship. "These mixed marriages are not on," said one. After a few more similar comments another stated. "At least the child came out o.k." Referring to our son Lliam who has a light Italian complexion.

Arthie has always maintained that we are indeed a mixed couple. "One boy and one girl. That is a good mix!", she says. And of course any couple comes from mixed backgrounds. They were raised differently by their respective parents, with different morals, in different homes and in different circumstances. And some times even when your complexion is similar it is hard to mix. Have you ever heard the one about "My mother-in-law...?"

Back to the kiddies party. We did not feel aggrieved. And we felt no hurt from the "injustice" of their words, we only felt the pain in their souls. These poor & misguided people were still living in a mind-view set by a law repealed nearly 20 years ago. Most of them were only 5 or 6 years old at that time! I wondered what their parents taught them & how they programme their own children.

Yes, we wish that one day they will find love and peace. And that they too can be human beings first and not live in judgement of the first thing that their eyes see.

Which leads me to a Zulu proverb. "Uhlubu’ dlube ‘khasini" Literally - "A bean is revealed when you open the shell." It is used when one is surprised by the wisdom, skills or talents of another, or when a person does something amazing that you do not expect. This is similar to the English proverb, "you can’t judge a book by its cover."

Somehow we were being judged by our ‘colours" and a muddled perception of a "perfect relationship". Just as others are daily judged, by people from all backgrounds, by their religion, race, language, favourite sport or soccer side, hair colour, heritage and education. And anything else that makes them different to the judges.

Arthie and I have the most beautiful relationship. With our marvellous uniquenesses we add to each other. We grow each other and complement each other. We are soul-mates. Ours is a match made in Heaven! Our multi-lingual 3 year old son Lliam is a stunning, loving, warm and intelligent child.

So before you judge us - take time to get past the shell. We may be three very beautiful beans! When our true selves are revealed you may find something special within. The multi-diverse people of South Africa are all incredibly unique beans in diverse shells. They are the reasons that we have such a marvelous country. They are what makes this such an exciting place to live in!

My greatest understanding is that people, who are different to you and I, add to us. They bring wonderful knowledge, wisdom, traditions and cultures. They bring new ideas and new views. And they only add to us when we open the shell, question, experience and delight in their uniqueness.

Let us step away from our simplistic programmed assessments and move into today. Right here, right now, with the human beans (beings) who make you and I human. As Arthie and I have discovered, there is so much freedom in being human first and anything else much later.

(May 2008 update - This story pales with the shocking and horrific incidents of xenophobia in Alexander and Diepsloot townships. And to a less visual extent in Government and the workplace. We all have a right to a life, a right to opportunity. Xenophobia is absolutely unacceptable and we ALL have to stand up to it, and to those who perpetrate and perpetuate violence and prejudice - in the name of their "people."

There is only one race and that is the human race!)

Brian V Moore©
Mthimkhulu International 24 May 2004

Leadership through the eyes of a child

What’s that Daddy?

(This story was originally written in 2002- and shows how we can learn from anyone. In particular, our children.)

Deep within each of us lies buried a child. A free spirit with the power to access all wisdom. With the potential to become anyone that we want to be.

Our 18 month old son Lliam has begun to dance in modern Western, Zulu and Hindu styles.

He was recently paid by tourists as he greeted them, with the Zulu dancers at Lesedi cultural resort!

He doesn’t know that there are styles of dance, or which one is which.

Lliam merely lives in the experience. He hears the music and dances according to the dancers around him. Each time he dances he gets better. His greatest assets are his lack of fear and his love of the experience. There is no self-esteem, pride or chosen “side” that can prevent him from learning something new.

I await with excitement the time when Lliam starts to ask questions. When he starts to ask “What’s that Daddy?” and “Why”. “Where, Who, When, How come?”, will all follow. For this is where we should all be.

You see little Lliam is lucky. He has no judgements to hide behind. He hasn’t formed an opinion on you, or me. He knows not of religion, race, colour, politics or borders. He loves everyone regardless of who they think they are...

Lliam learns better because he judges less. When he hears something he is not processing everything through his present knowledge. He simply lets it in.

If our ultimate aim in life was to be like Lliam, what benefits would that bring us?

Firstly, we could ask anyone any question that we choose. “Why do you wear a dot on your forehead?, “Why don’t you eat meat?”. “Is this the culture of all followers of your faith?”, What is your opinion of ......?”. We would have access to all the wisdom of the world!

Secondly, we would experience life at its very fullest. We would be able to dance when we wanted to, sing when the urge came to us and fully love who we are and who we are with.

There are many other advantages to being more childlike. Wars could be stopped through understanding. Racism would not exist because our unique humanness would be the basis for many of our questions. Leaders would learn from their people.

In the Zulu culture there is a saying, “Inkosi yinkosi ngabantu.” A King is only a King because of his people. In whatever way you lead, you are only that leader because of the people who you lead.

And - we are all leaders. The best leader is the one who asks questions, listens without judgment and thanks all contributors. This is the leader who has access to the wisdom of his community, team, family, friends and associates. When hearing something very different from current wisdom or personal wisdom, the response will be, “That is a very interesting way of looking at this challenge.”

The path to being more childlike, in our ways, starts the journey to our greatest freedom. I wish for you the openness of a child!

(May 2008 update - Now aged 7 - Lliam greets in 30+ languages and speaks easily to anyone.)

Brian Moore - Mthimkhulu Training© 2002. Durban - S. Africa. September 2002.