Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Taxi Ride

 Three Russian soldier honor guard

Taxi Ride

A child that lives with ridicule learns to be timid.
A child that lives with criticism learns to condemn.
A Child that lives with distrust learns to be deceitful.
A child that lives with affection learns to love.
A child that lives with truth learns justice.
A child that lives with happiness will find love and beauty.
- Ronald Russell (Lessons From Life)

November 10th and I hop into the back of a Moscow taxi. It's after 7pm, drizzly and cold. I'm exhilarated after a long weekend with sixty-five exuberant folks. I'm also tired.   Beside me sits Petr. He will replace Julia as translator later this week in Rostov-on-Don when I return there to complete this three-week Russian trip.

Petr and I met only a couple of hours ago. Our get together tonight is designed to give us time to acquaint with one another's speech patters enabling translations to go as seamlessly as possible in a few days when we'll serve a corporate group. Petr has been talking nonstop: martial arts; his abilities with sticks as weapons; his dark side street escapades of confrontation. He's curious about aikido as a way to foster peace.

As the cab door closes Petr opens up with an unexpected admission, "We have a real problem here in Russia with violence. Most of it doesn't make the news. We're in denial.   A lot of war veterans are having bad times.   They're into drugs and alcohol and hard violence." I ask, "Afghanistan?" "Yes."He continues, "PTSD [Post Traumatic Stress Disorder].   It's the same thing here in Russia as in the USA." An interesting conversation starts to unfold, made even more so given I haven't generated it or mentioned PTSD in any of our discussions. But, PTSD has been on my mind recently.

The three days immediately preceding this trip I attended the annual Aiki-Extensions Conference, this year hosted at Sofia University, Palo Alto, California. Of the many presentations, two grabbed my attention: Body Awareness in Trauma and Peace Making by Paul Linden, PhD, and Janice Taitel, MD; and Aikido as a Component in Holistic Therapy by Tom Osborn.   Both presentations addressed the PTSD needs facing individuals, families and communities. Both addressed the findings and constructive impact that these three practitioners have had integrating aikido into their efforts to address that need.

Paul and Janice outlined the impact that movement has had with their clients and patients, and demonstrated through audience participation how aikido was assisting efforts to un-anchor and reframe experiences held by those suffering from PTSD. Tom, now into his seventies, served with the 101st Airborne Division. For twenty-four months he was on Special Forces A teams in Viet Nam. He outlined the impact of his work with aikido at Veterans Administration facilities - there to serve vets and staff. On my flight into Russia I read his book, Combat Related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Holistic Approach. It is quite compelling.   I urge you to order a copy through Amazon.

The reason these presentations impacted me is because I know first-hand from George Leonard why The Samurai Game® was created - that being to deepen an understanding about the long-term impacts of war without having to actually succumb to the physical injury or death as a result. As a social philosopher George wanted people to consider questions like this, "Why does the human race keep doing war when we individually and collectively know what it always creates?"He wanted us to take this question personally to heart when it comes to our own personal "wars".

These presentations also impacted me because of the thirteen years that aikido has been a major part of my life. I have witnessed people, many of them otherwise and previously combative, transform themselves and their responses to conflict. The impact of the presentation also touched my formative years.

As a kid I lived in a home constantly on guard against what might happen if the wrong thing was said at the wrong time to my dad. I learned how to be hyper-vigilant, and how to anticipate responses in tense situations. In those days I didn't understand why my dad would flinch at the sound of a jet flying overhead. I couldn't understand why certain holidays triggered violent responses in him. But years of experience have deepened my understanding.

Tonight I'm sitting in this taxi and having a chat with Petr. Tomorrow is Veteran's Day back home. I'm a vet. My brother is a vet. My father and his brother were WWII vets. My brother-in-law is a vet. My nephew is a vet. His son, currently serving as a US Marine, just returned from a warzone. I was never in combat. But I know the stuff of PTSD and how it affects a family. PTSD is not limited to persons who have been in a military conflict or navigated their way through a war zone. It's more prevalent in our societies and having a greater impact in our economic policies, politics, and social and business environments than we think or that we want to admit.

Hoping to not be overly simplistic or appear foolish, I would offer many people (including you?) could relate to aspects (and possibly experiences) of PTSD if they will stop, think, feel and get in touch with their bodies.

Have you ever found yourself involved in confrontation or a dangerous situation where you felt your safety severely threatened? Afterwards, were you ever on guard against similar situations and/or physically triggered by environments reflective of the environment surrounding that prior threat? If you can honestly answer "yes", then you know what I mean.

When I was 12 years old and on a hunting trip, the jeep my dad was driving flipped over. It pinned my head to the ground. Luckily, my brother scrambled out in time to lift the jeep's back end off my body. My dad had a quick moment to pull me out before my brother set the jeep back down. Over the next few years whenever we would hunt near that place, I became nauseous and shaky. I would refuse to go on if we got too close to where we'd had the accident.

Tonight I shared with Petr that as America was heading into Afghanistan, a group of friends and I were asked what we might say to people high up in our military and national security apparatus who would have to carry out a Presidential order to undertake combat operations. We were asked to imagine that we would only have only a few seconds to give advice knowing that it wasn't a matter of "if we go in", rather "when we go in." This question came from someone who was about to attend a meeting of top officials actually confronting that situation in reality. I recall saying, "Tell them to talk to the Russians before they go." Why was that my response? Because the Soviet incursion into Afghanistan quite literally broke the USSR's economic back and shattered their national psyche.

The taxi is long gone and so is Petr. He spoke his "спокойной ночи." In a few days he will be with me in Rostov-on-Don to serve as a translator. Back in the hotel I've spent time sending thank you notes to family and buddies back home who have served in the military.   Among them is Al Takata. Like Tom Osborn, Al was with the Special Forces in Viet Nam. He left the Army a highly decorated lieutenant colonel, and carried with him many deep secrets. He's a great guy, and today a man of love and forgiveness.

An email pops into my mailbox as I head to bed. It's from Al, returning thanks for my having served in the Army. In closing he writes these unexpected, yet gracious words, "The Samurai Game brought me back from Viet Nam and was the factor that made me realize that I was suffering from PTSD. Without that awareness I could not begin my healing. Today I am 99% well. Love, Al."

Halfway around the world Al Takata has no knowledge of the specifics I've lived through these days in Russia, or of the Aiki-Extension Conference attended a few weeks ago in Palo Alto, or of the conversation and topic discussed this evening in a taxi with a young man named Petr.

It's past midnight in Moscow. What time is it in America?

You who are on the road
Must have a code that you can live by
And so become yourself
Because the past is just a good bye.
Teach your children well,
Their father's hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picked, the one you'll know by.
-        Crosby Stills Nash Young (Teach Your Children)

© Lance Giroux, November 2013

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


 Congratulations Marina Klimova! 
First Russian citizen certified to produce & direct The Samurai Game®

November 14, 2013. Today I watch autumn's first snow in Moscow. My ride from Hotel Garvor to Paveletskaja (the main metro station) is slow, though not as slow as other ventures taken the last few days around this historic city.

The metro station is the first stop on my way to Rostov. I'm looking forward to being back in Rostov. Not that Moscow hasn't been good; it's been great. Gracious people to be with. Wonderful attitudes reflecting the spirit of growth: inquisitive, challenging, reflective, gracious, sometimes struggling, sometimes surrendering. Almost always dignified.

I arrived here a week ago at the invitation of Irina Pak. Originally from Latvia, Irina has lived in Moscow a number of years. She owns and operates a seminar organization structured like many others that have sprung up around Russia the past two plus decades.

Having worked within such a company myself from the mid-1970's through the mid 1990's I made a vow never to be permanently employed by such again. But serve them I do and will, provided their individual leaders and owners demonstrate sincerity and respect towards students, clients and employees. Sincerity and respect are both evident with Irina.

Seventy-two participants attended our Moscow production of The Samurai Game®.

The week prior was spent in Rostov-on-Don, there to serve Marina Klimova who owns a similar company. She carries a like respect for those she serves and employs. We had sixty-two participants in Rostov. There Konstantin Volzhan joined us. He flew in from Tyumen to observe and study. He, like Irina and Marina, owns a similar company from which he serves the Siberian region. And, along with Marina, he visited Petaluma, California in September for the Facilitator Training Course week.

A collegial spirit exists between Konstantin, Marina and Irina. This is good. Russia is a big country in a big world. There is no reason to hoard, or aggressively compete or play the zero-sum games of one against the other that, unfortunately, have plagued many seminar organizations.

My trip back to Rostov culminates this three-week stint. Marina has arranged for a corporate production coming up this weekend. Last weekend she completed her training requirements and is now certified to direct The Samurai Game® on her own. But I'll support her first "solo" delivery before venturing home.

So --- Congratulations Marina Klimova! As with Moscow's morning snow, you are "a first"; but not for a season only; rather for an era. You are the first Russian citizen certified to produce and direct this grand creation of George Leonard's.

Congratulations Konstantin and Irina! You were and are key to Marina's success. I accept your requests and am looking forward to being back in Russia in September 2014 to serve you both again.

©Lance Giroux, November 2013

Saturday, November 02, 2013

October Reverie: Surrendering Enough to Commit


Fall 2000. A cool evening breeze brushes the hillsides of Two Rock Valley. A familiar mist begins to envelop our little barn, a barn that no longer lodges horses or sheep. Now it's a way place, a meeting space for people, open to anyone who decides to come for the ninety minute classes. Those of us who train here feel special, but for no special reason. None of us would be here had not someone else made an effort to extend an invitation or a suggestion. Some of them, those who did the inviting or suggesting, are no longer with us. We gather, we practice, we engage in a self study of physical movement and metal focus. It is intense, even when the pace is slow. In fact the slower the pace the more intense it becomes.   Quite spiritual for some. This evening we are sixteen. At some point our practice is momentarily suspended. The fellow in charge picks up the piece of paper that's sitting by the sliding wood door. He reads:

The Weighing (Jane Hirshfield)

The heart's reasons
seen clearly,
even the hardest
will carry
its whip-marks and sadness
and must be forgiven.

As the drought-starved
eland forgives
the drought-starved lion
who finally takes her,
enters willingly then
the life she cannot refuse,
and is lion, is fed,
and does not remember the other.

So few grains of happiness
measured against all the dark
and still the scales balance.

The world asks of us
only the strength we have and we give it.
Then it asks more, and we give it.

About this reading no request for speaking is made, at least not alound. The reading simply hangs there - a mirror to serve reflection, a window to serve vision. Whatever messages that exist are ours to discover. They live already within each of us. For some, the internal speaking will influence physical movements for the remaining minutes of class. For others, it will poignantly relate to a day recently lived, or it will welcome or forwarn a waiting night at home or a tomorrow at work. My speaking is about commitment and surrender and relationships. Over the next thirteen years the "fellow in charge" will read this poem aloud many times - and when he does, a new speaking will arise within me.

Summer 1975. A hot day in a parched valley three hours north of San Francisco. I sit inside a swimming pool cabana recently converted into a classroom. Thirty others are with me - all formally dressed and seated at tables. We are classmates for a week. I'm here from Hawaii where I serve as an Amry lieutenant.

The sliding glass door on the cabana's north side opens. A man wearing a dark blue three piece suit and starched white shirt with French cuffs, steps in, settles himself and begins to speak. As best I can, I listen while drifting in and out of a haze of memories. At some point I hear him say, "There can be no joy without commitment."

Then he begins a story.

The 508 men leave their ships and take up oars to row. Feet step ashore. Their home, Spain, thousands of miles to the north and east, awaits their completed mission and their return. But today with Hernando Cortez they, the 508, stand in Mexico. Mexico, like Tamaulipas, Zacatecas, Veracruz, Michoacan and Jalisco, remains an unknown yet to be spoke word. These voyagers are in the land of the Aztec, the land of Montezuma, the land that surrounds Tenochititlan.

Cortez issues an order, "Scuttle the ships." Spain remains a possiblity, though not to be achieved by reversing direction. That option, Cortez has ensured, no longer exists. Only by going forward can anything be achieved. That these men will return to Spain or anywhere else is hopeful but not certain. Cortez' action speaks to a yet to be created history. There is no turning back. There is only going forward. Something past must be released in order for something new to be realized. And so, the 508 proceed. Surrendering to what is, they commit themselves.

October 2010. I'm home. My mobile phone buzzes the incoming text from my friend David. "Bad news Lance. We lost Mr. Mac last night."  I freeze. My thoughts, "I was just at Mac's house; we were just talking with each other; this must be some crazy joke." It's not.

A small stone sits on my mantelpiece. On it, drawn in ink, is a mouse.   Fifteen feet away, framed on my office wall is a beaded white eagle feather. The mouse, the feather, both are gifts from Mac Turnipseed.

The eagle feather came my way in 1994. It was Mac's right as a Native American to have it and to give it. It was my honor to receive it. I had just designed and was delivering a two-day communication, service and leadership program for Mac's family, their businesses and employees. As the program began, and in front of the entire assembly, Mac asked me to stand. He then reached out, placed the feather in my hand and offered, "This is yours, brother".

In the years that followed many classes and consulting sessions were requested by Mac, his mother, his sister and his brothers - all for immediate and extended family, employees, and members of the Puyallup Tribe. Along the way I encountered a marvelous book, Seven Arrows, assembled by Hyemeyohsts Storm. One story called Jumping Mouse particularly stuck me. So on a visit to Tacoma to deliver a program I sat with Mac and read him the story. It speaks of possibility and human nature and commitment ... and to being a person of generocity and service - something called a give away person.

As the story opens we meet Little Mouse. As it continues we observe him gaining the courage needed to step beyond his self-imposed limitations and those of other mice to find his medicine, and from there become Jumping Mouse. He then goes on to realize service as his highest calling. The result of which becomes the realization of his dream.

Briefly, it goes like this. Little Mouse decides it would be great to leave the place of mice and venture off to the mountain. The other mice warn that going onto the prairie in search of such a mountain is to be alone and exposed. They warn that the prairie is filled with dangers and that he will become a quick meal for an eagle. But the pull of possibility overwhelms and strengthens Little Mouse. He gathers courage and sets off to discover the truth and find the mountain.

Along the way Little Mouse meets many creatures including Frog, who teaches how to jump up. This gift from Frog gives Little Mouse vision - the ability to see beyond the grass in front of his face. This jumping is Little Mouse's medicine and his name becomes Jumping Mouse. With newfound ability Jumping Mouse moves out onto the prairie where he meets Buffalo. But Buffalo is blind and dying, and sadly informs Jumping Mouse that his only cure, his medicine, is the eye of a mouse. Overwhelmed with the sight of such a manificent creature, Jumping Mouse is filled with the spirit of service and gives Buffalo an eye. Instantly healed and deeply appreciative Buffalo escorts Jumping Mouse across the prairie to a place beyond which it is difficult for Buffalo to proceed.

Arriving at this place Jumping Mouse becomes excited. He finds abundance never imagined - seed and other things, including a great grey Wolf. But, like Buffalo, Wolf is ill. He sits listlessly dim minded. Wolf has no memory of self or purpose. This saddens Jumping Mouse, yet with the sadness a thought occurs. If an eye could help Buffalo then perhaps another eye could likewise serve Wolf. Without hesitation Jumping Mouse gives up the remaining eye. Wolf is healed. His memory returns and he recalls his life's mission: guide others across the prairie to the mountain. Jumping Mouse, now blind, walks with Wolf acoss the remaining stretch of land to the base of the mountain. There Wolf informs Jumping Mouse that he must continue on alone because Wolf's mission compel him to go back and find others to guide.

Filled with gratitude, but blind and fearing he will become lunch for an eagle, Jumping Mouse says goodbye to Wolf, wishing him well with his mission.

Sitting exposed, Jumping Mouse senses Eagle's shadow passing over him. He shivers and braces for the oncoming shock. Eagle hits, takes his lunch, and Jumping Mouse enters a deep sleep. But soon this sleep wanes. He wakes to a blurry light, followed by sharp bright colors. Jumping Mouse realizes that he can see again! Everything is clear and vivid. He turns his head and notices wings. He has become Eagle.

Of course it took me much longer to read the story to Mac that day. All the while he simply sat, listening deeply and saying nothing. The following day began the next program for the Turnipseed's companies. Weeks later a small box arrived at my home, sent by mail. Inside and without a note was a stone and on it, drawn in ink, a small mouse.  

We all have our heart's reasons and individual unique strengths. We have our ships to scuttle, and adventure filled opportunities that could take us anywhere - incuding back home. We have had our times of being mouse people, surrounded by the discouraging voices of other mouse people. We have shivered in tall grass beyond which we cannot see. We have had the times of meeting our Frog people, there to teach us how to jump, and encourage us to strike out across individual prairies. We have had our opportunities to meet and serve our Buffalo, our Wolves and, yes, our Eagles. The question becomes - to what degree do we, did we, and will we surrender to these reasons, these strengths, these times and these people ... and to commit.

© Lance Giroux, October 16, 2013

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Using Steps 4 and 5 of The Five Step Path


Tyumen, Russia - May 18, 2013
   Tyumen, Russia - May 18, 2013

"Organizations learn only through individuals who learn.
Individual learning does not guarantee organizational learning.
But without it no organizational learning occurs."
- Peter Senge -
(The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of the Learning Organization)

Previously addressed in The Ronin Post were Steps 1 through 3 of "A Five Step Path to Leadership and Effectiveness". This issue we set forward Steps 4 & 5. Consistent with the process of the past few months, these final steps are reframed for personal reflection and organizational self-assessment.

Three crucial practices support the FIVE STEP process. They are:
  1. Be present with people and situations.
  2. Make external focus a mindful practice.
  3. Stay connected with what's happening for you, particularly physical responses, mental chatter and emotional flow.


STEP #1. Focus on the strengths of others - especially those following you, or who you are responsible for leading. This builds rapport, trust, respect and growth, and initiates the process.

STEP #2. Encourage and inspire others to develop, practice and unleash their personal strengths and uniqueness.

STEP #3. Be certain that your directions are clear, and that your actions are grounded in constructive principles shared by you and those you are responsible for leading.

Moving forward.

Step #4. As often as possible, get yourself out of the way of other people, especially those you are attempting to influence and lead.
We must acknowledge that people are going to make mistakes. It's often through mistake making that we find what we're really looking for. We must have a solid understanding of our own personal values and motives. We must give people permission to do the best they can do in their own way. Mistakes are part of learning, growing, leading and following processes. So, make room for mistakes - yours and others. There is nothing more inspiring than someone who, by acknowledging his or her own mistakes, allows others to develop and grow by taking risks. There is nothing more demoralizing than someone who gives opportunities, and then micro-manages or removes opportunities altogether before any real chance for success or failure can be realized.

Step #5. Be a dedicated learner yourself.   Most importantly, learn as much as you can from the people who you think you are or should be leading.
Being a leader has nothing to do with having or attaining a titled position. Being a leader is a function of who you are in any given moment. Any human being, regardless of rank or title, who for any reason influences another person's action is a leader in that moment. A crying child, in the middle of the night, influences mom or dad to get up and cross the room to see what's happening. In that moment the child leads, and mom or dad follows. More often than not, great ideas and methods come from the people we call followers. When a follower recognizes that his or her ideas have been genuinely received and acted upon by the someone considered to be "in charge" - who we commonly recognize to be the leader - then confidence grows system wide. These are important moments, moments when followers become leaders... and the people who the followers consider to be leaders become leaders of other leaders.

Make it a goal to daily ask and answer these two questions: "How can I get myself out of the way of other people so that they can maximize their potential? What can I learn from others today, especially from those who I think I am leading?

Questions for Self Reflection:
  1. If your friends, family, neighbor, teachers, enemies, ex-husband, ex-wife etc., walked into a room and told you honestly and without malice what they know from their experience to be your self-defeating habits, what would they say?
  2. If these same people were to answer the question - "What does he or she stand to constructively learn from others" - what would you hear them say?

Questions for Professional Reflection and Effectiveness:
  1. If your co-workers, employees, managers, competition, vendors, former employees, etc., could give you feed back regarding your business' actions, without the intent of degrading you, yet being honest in their assessment, how would they describe your organization's self defeating habits and practices?
  2. What answers would these same people have for this question: "What does this organization stand to learn from others in their industry, and from us ... their vendors, customers, clients and competitors?"
Take on the above assessment practices for thirty days. Spend ten minutes each morning to forecast your thinking, and ten minutes each evening to reviewing your results. If you are in business, consider using the business related questions to boost creativity in focus discussions at your weekly or monthly team or manager meetings.

"I think the one lesson I have learned
is that there is no substitute for paying attention."
-Diane Sawyer-
(ABC TV News Anchor)



© Lance Giroux, August 2013

Using Step #3 of The Five Step Path


"If you think of your life as a journey and yourself as the captain
of your ship, you know that nothing is more important to your survival
and the quality of your life than learning to navigate efficiently."
- Richard Carlson & Joseph Bailey -
(p. 31, Slowing Down to the Speed of Life, 1997)

Previously in The Ronin Post we addressed Steps #1 and #2 of "A Five Step Path to Leadership and Effectiveness". This month we present Step #3. And, we'll reframe it for personal reflection and organizational self-assessment.

Recall the three crucial practices that support the overall FIVE STEP process:
  1. Be present with people and situations.
  2. Make external focus your mindful practice.
  3. Simultaneously, stay connected with what's happening for you, i.e. physically (your body responses), mentally (your mind chatter & images) and emotionally (the flow of your feelings).

REMEMBER STEP #1. YOU MUST FOCUS ON THE STRENGTH THAT OTHERS (especially those following you) POSSESS. This essential builds rapport, trust, respect and growth, and initiates the process.

REMEMBER STEP #2. YOU MUST ENCOURAGE and INPRIRE others to DEVELOP, PRACTICE and UNLEASH their own strengths and uniqueness.

Now on to ....

STEP #3. Point in directions and take actions that are grounded in constructive principles shared by you and those you are leading or attempting to lead. This is a vital practice - whether you are a teacher, a parent, a military commissioned or non-commissioned officer, a business manager, a sales person, someone invested in customer service, a doctor, an attorney, a bellman, a card dealer at a Black Jack table ... or some average Joe or Jane sitting down to a counter or table to order lunch. Any position that you might hold in life is temporary. That you are constantly developing yourself as a person of effectiveness or a person lacking in effectiveness (and likewise influencing others) is a life-long condition.

You must be clear about the directions you and your actions are giving. How can you be certain your directions are clear? Look to others for feedback. What do they understand your directions to be, and for what purposes?

(1)                   Listen closely. Ask others to verbally explain in their own words what they think you mean. Listen to the cues that are more than you simply satisfying a need to hear a recitation. Listen to the tone others use when they give you feedback. What are they really saying? Look at what their body is saying. Reflect on all of this without taking any of it emotionally personal, i.e. don't build yourself up OR tear yourself down. Don't jump to premature conclusions. SLOW DOWN and be an honest observer.

(2)                   Watch closely. What are others doing? This is powerful feedback. You may think that the notion that actions speak louder than words is a worn out cliché. But it is the truth. Don't deny what your eyes are seeing. (read on)

(3)                   In giving directions, make absolutely certain that you pay attention to what you are personally experiencing, i.e. your own feeling and your own body responses.   What's happening in your gut? What's happening with your skin and eyes? Are you fading out and drifting? Are you hooked in and connected with others? Are your directions being given in a way that honors and respects yourself and others? You have to remain grounded in your own constructive principles. Make certain you deeply understand the guiding principles of your followers. Make certain there is congruency.

You are always pointing in a direction. Others will take this to be what you expect or want. From here they will either move in ways you desire OR they will resist. Most people point in directions oblivious to the fact that this is what they are doing. You must stay alert, remain clear and operate in a mode of self-examination. Direction without self-reflection is dangerous and becomes a self-destructive road to walk.

It doesn't matter that you occupy a leadership position. The fact is, all of us are being followed, but most of the time we are clueless to this reality.  

Directing others extends far beyond a function called verbal command giving. Directing others is based primarily upon what one does, next on the tone one uses, and least of all on the words one says. Doubt that? Have you ever watched someone lead a masterful game of Simon Says?

If you find that others who are supposed to be following you are actually moving in directions that you don't desire, consider the likelihood that these folks think and believe that you are pointing them in that direction - even if your words appear to sound otherwise to you. The actuality of this may be altogether inaccurate, but ONLY by considering this as a possibility can you truly make responsible and non-blaming corrections.

Step #4 of "A Five Step Path" is the topic for June's issue of The Ronin Post. But for now, spend your time honestly examining: (1) your own core values, and (2) the directions that your actions, tone and words are suggesting.

Then take a step every day to ask yourself, "Have I displayed constructive or destructive core values? What directions do my behaviors suggest? Have I engendered respect, dignity and honor in myself and others?"

Two Questions For Personal Self Reflection:
  1. If your friends, family, neighbors, teachers, enemies, ex-husband, ex-wife etc., walked into a room and told you honestly and without malice what they know from their experience your core values to be (both constructive and destructive) what would they say?
  2. If these same people were to answer the question - "In What Direction Is He or She Pointing?" - what would you hear them say?

Two Questions for Professional Reflection and Organizational Effectiveness:
  1. If your co-workers, employees, managers, competition, vendors, former employees, etc., could walk into a room and give feedback to you regarding your business' actions and soul, without the intent of degrading you, yet being honest in their assessment, what words would they use to describe your organization's core values? Understand that values can be either constructive or destructive, i.e. a core value could be that you hold customers with respect; or a core value could be that you hold customers with contempt.
  2. If these same people could likewise answer the question - In What Direction is This Organization Pointed - and if they continue in that direction - Where Will They Find Themselves? - what would you hear these people truthfully say?  
Take on the above practices for one month. About ten minutes each morning to forecast your thinking, and about ten minutes each evening to review your reality should do just fine. This may feel difficult to do. BUT - you will like yourself for having done this, and others (including some people who don't like you) will respect you for the effort.

A FUN ASSIGNMENT. THIS MONTH VIEW THE FILM "MONEY BALL". Even if you have already seen it, NOW watch it within the context of what is written above, plus what was covered in the March and April issues of The Ronin Post. You will see these first three steps of "A Five Step Path to Effectiveness and Leadership" covered in detail again, and again and again.

"Pay close attention to your colleagues or adversaries.
Listen carefully to what they have to say. Can you
paraphrase their main message? .... Find as many ways
as possible to get close to your people and their issues."
-David Baum and Jim Hassinger-
(p.77, The Randori Principles, 2002)

© Lance Giroux, May 2013

Monday, September 02, 2013

News Updates

News Updates. 
Congratulations! Saskia de Winter, Ana Cortes, and Lourdes "Lulu" Lopez of Mexico City have completed Samurai Game® facilitator certification to lead the Game worldwide.   Nine Mexican citizens now serve Mexico with this simulation created by George Leonard. Four candidates from Mexico will soon enter the facilitator training process.

May 18-19. "The Spiral for Success" a seminar company based in Tyumen, Russia, hosted a Samurai Game® weekend. This was the Game's first delivery in Siberia, opening the door for owners Konstantin and Elena Volzhan to make it an ongoing offering in the region. Konstantin begins his certification training next month in Petaluma, California. Also attending the Tyumen weekend program were two other Petaluma bound Russians, Marina Klimova of Rustov and Yana Tyzhnova of Moscow. Yana served as translator for the May Tyumen program. Welcome!

July 8-9. The Poconos of Pennsylvania. A successful second annual leadership program was hosted by East Stroudsburg University's Upward Bound Program. "These are skills that can only be learned through actual practice. There is a practice that goes beyond just books", stated Uriel Trujillo, ESU's Upward Bound Director. The program engaged sixty youth from the region in aikido based movements and the Samurai Game® for the purpose of enhancing communication, influence and personal effectiveness.