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Viewing entries tagged with 'experience'

Adding complexity to the mix

Posted by Philip on 13 January 2015, 3:56 pm in , , , , , , , ,

red and yellow squiggles on a black backgroundMost Januaries I do a little bit of rebranding. I reflect on the previous year’s work, on the changes I’ve faced personally and professionally and on the kind of work I want to do over the next year.

It’s not a big, fancy process. Mostly it’s intuitive. Mine is not a big business — hell, it’s hardly even small! It’s me essentially — along with a small team and a few associates — offering my unique life and professional experience to help others in a variety of ways.

This year, I’ve made two changes to my brand. Firstly, I’ve de-emphasised diversity. It’s still in the mix, but it sits equally alongside other elements. Secondly, I’ve changed creativity to complexity. That’s not to say I’m not creative or that creativity is not complex; quite the opposite. 

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Training versus experiential learning

Posted by Philip on 9 June 2014, 4:23 pm in , , , , , , , , , ,

Having just spent the weekend co-facilitating Be. Leadership and then attending a job interview this morning for a part-time communications position at a high-profile charitable organisation, I find myself reflecting on how much I do, and have done, that I haven’t actually been trained to do.

I began learning to facilitate about twenty to 25 years ago, using my counselling training — communicating through questioning and reflective listening one on one — and applying it to a group situation. The process maps almost seamlessly — all that changes is the content, from an emphasis on personal issues and feelings to social issues and opinions (though feelings also often feature predominantly).

When deciding to apply for the communications role I realised that, though not specifically, communications has featured in just about every role I've undertaken to date, but I've never trained in media or communications. From managing publications for the Human Rights Commission in the mid-90s, to promoting myself as a comedian, to writing and managing several blogs and websites for Diversity New Zealand and Diversityworks Trust, I’ve done it it all, from traditional media releases to social media and networking.

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Customer service from good to great — it's the small things

Posted by Philip on 24 April 2014, 12:55 pm in , , , ,

woman serving customersLast night I went to Q Theatre to have drinks with a couple of friends. After I ordered another glass of merlot from the bartender, a server went to the bar to deliver it. She checked who it was for and, when told it was for me, asked the bartender for a straw.

I was so impressed that I thanked her. She almost brushed the praise off, saying, "Oh, I remember you from a couple of weeks ago. You were sitting over the other side."

The fact that she remembered me was one thing, hardly startling given I have certain distinguishing characteristics. But coupling her recognition with the recollection that I used a straw indicates to me a true dedication to great service.

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What if attitudes don't really matter?

Posted by Philip on 24 September 2013, 12:00 pm in , , , ,

An orange

Attitude is everything, they say. What if I said, I don't think so?

Consider that, as long as it remains inside my head, my attitude means nothing. It's only when I speak it, or act on it, that it begins to matter.

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What Google can teach us about raising children

Posted by Philip on 20 March 2012, 7:47 am in , , ,

Computer translation has been around since the 1950s, according to online geek-zine Gizmodo. Apparently back then the first computer able to translate one language into the other had six grammar rules and a vocabulary of 300 words.

Google has, in its enigmatic way, recently revolutionalised computer translation. As you probably know, Google Translate can translate just about anything into anything.

Google started with rules and then realised there was a better way. They began feeding their super-Google-computers thousands and millions of existing translations — really good translations, some from the UN even — and let the computers work out patterns and create their own rules.

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We're all missing out on a great experience

Posted by Philip on 9 November 2011, 7:05 am in , , , , ,

We are obsessed with function. Doing things. Doing them well, best, perfectly. Winning at what we do.

Our world would be very different if we were obsessed with experience instead. Experience is much more inclusive than function. Anyone can experience anything, through function, presence or imagination.

Research shows our brains don't know the difference, whether we do something, remember doing it, or imagine doing it.

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“I’m not sick but I’m not well…”

Posted by Philip on 29 September 2010, 9:18 pm in , ,


Guest blogger: Barbara Pike

I loathe the term mental illness. It’s unhelpful, it’s incorrect and it’s terribly stigmatising. And worst of all: no one actually has one. Now, before you think I really have lost the plot – everyone knows the statistics for mental illness, right? The numbers are increasing every year. – let me tell you why I think this is so.

Mental illness is not an illness; it’s a normal reaction to stressful life events. It’s a coping mechanism for situations in which you have no other cognitive mechanism to cope and it’s a normal experience, not an abnormal one. You get depressed when depressing things happen to you. If you have extremely horrible or continuing stressful events happening in your life, such as poverty or abuse, then you may even develop psychosis or a “personality disorder”. Sometimes, to alter your mental state is the only escape or defence mechanism that you have available in a given situation. This isn’t a theory; this is what current research indicates. If you’re interested, feel free to email me and I’ll send you a few dozen articles from academic journals where the link between stressful life events and mental illness is made clear.

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I hate hypocritical overseas speakers!

Posted by Philip on 21 September 2010, 9:11 pm in , ,

Yesterday I was at a conference on disability and the keynote speaker was a ubiquitous Canadian parent talking about how important it is to hold a positive vision for the lives of significantly disabled children. He was saying all the right things – accept what is, stay in the present, love the child you have, not the child you wish you had.

At the end of his talk he said he thought we needed a new term for “disability”. He said he didn’t know what it should be, but that it should encompass the idea of a valid experience that is not commonly recognised. Hey, I thought that’s great, maybe this guy is worth chatting to.

How wrong I was.

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Dog Days – reframing issues of mental health

Posted by Philip on 6 September 2010, 6:41 pm in , , , ,

Introducing guest blogger: Barbara Pike


Hi everyone. My name is Barbara and, officially, I’m Philip’s new Personal Assistant. What that translates to, is that I work part time at Diversity NZ supporting projects like DPSN. I am also studying towards a Graduate Diploma in Psychology at the University of Auckland with the intent to gain entry to the training programme to become a Clinical Psychologist (therapist). I have a vested interest in mental health issues, legislation, terminology, issues of discrimination, therapies, medication and anything else you can think of related to staying sane.

Why do I care about these issues? Why should anyone listen to what I have to say? What makes my commentary valid?

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To shush or not to shush

Posted by Philip on 2 September 2010, 6:30 pm in , , , , ,

This Blog was posted on Diversityworks Peer Support Network on behalf of Andrea Ford, CEO/Service Leader of Children’s Autism Foundation and mother of 3.

boy with finger on mouth going shush

In our family we have a No shushing rule. Many people wonder how we manage this and why I would set myself up in this situation. I would like to share the reasons for this in the interests of promoting the value of every child’s contribution, no matter how unique.

I have three sons. They are each unique individuals who I hope will grow up with self confidence, a positive self image, a sense of belonging and feel valued within their family, community and other roles. I intend to provide my parenting support with these goals in mind.

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