How to team build in a racially-culturally-and-personality-conflicted team – HR Pulse

Published on 15 Jan 2013 in HR PulseFor more articles relevant to the HR Community

Brian V Moore

In 2002, we were called in to Eskom by Bruce Moody, a high-level HR officer at Eskom. He said: “We have some heavy cultural clashes in a technical service centre in the Northern Province [now Limpopo].

Do you think that you can you do something to change the situation?”

“I am sure we can.” I responded. “What are the challenges?”

Bruce pondered for a while and said: “There are some heavy racial attitudes from all sides. In fact, I don’t really know why I am asking you! What are you, a white man and your Indian wife, going to do to make a difference? This is a bunch of tough hardliners. They have a long history of conflict and nothing that we have done has worked.

“Let’s get this clear: These are heavy workplace disputes!” said Bruce. “There is continuous backstabbing and gossiping. They complain that everything is wrong and nobody is to blame! They are totally unmotivated and their productivity is very low, which is resulting in poor customer service.”

Arthie, my wife and business partner, asked: “What do you think is causing this?”

Bruce gave Arthie a knowing look: “Well obviously there is very low morale among them because of the constant bickering. There is racism, prejudice, laziness, no ownership, no accountability and poor communication – and I mean REALLY poor!” He took a deep breath, shook his head, and continued: “This is a hugely conservative area where old attitudes die very hard. It could be the worst case that you could ever take on.”

I felt confident we could take on the challenge

We were almost overpowered by his statements, but I had no doubts. If I could work in areas, as a peacemaker, where bullets were flying, we could duck a few words.

“We can do this. When do you want us to start?” We were given two weeks to prepare.

We hit the ground running

We had to find ways to build relationships swiftly with groups of people who we had never before encountered in an area of the country where we had NO experience. We spent the time studying the history of the area, and the cultures and languages of the people in the team.

Arthie and I then put together the Celebrating Humanity Team Conflict Resolution programme for diverse teams. This fun, exciting, inclusive and enjoyable programme included celebrating diversity, diversity management, team building and a sustainable long-term team-managed code of conduct.

And so we set off to the town where the centre was located

As we drew closer to the centre, we passed a huge flock of vultures feeding on the carcass of a wild animal. I silently prayed that it was not an ominous sign!

When we arrived, Jan – the depot supervisor – greeted us. He then took us aside and pleaded: “You must just motivate them. They need it.” I looked at his stressed face and saw a man in pain. He was ready to explode. Another senior member of the team said: “If you guys mention racism, just once, we WILL walk out.”

We had to change the mood from the outset. We spent that night in the training room transforming the venue into one of celebration: Balloons, happy colours, hand-drawn posters and a very unique seating arrangement…

The next morning we found separated groups sitting together. They were grouped by colour, language and level. All in their own comfort zones. All spiritually, emotionally and physically apart. Some were obviously angry and others totally disinterested.

Then we began to help them to celebrate their humanity

Three days and 21 working hours later, the same people were sitting side by side at a family barbecue. Children played with children. Wives chatted to each other while the men cooked meat, spoke about cars, sport and laughed as they shared jokes.

They had experienced each other in a fun environment, shared wisdom, seen value in each other, worked as teams, cleared all of their past interpersonal baggage, committed to a code of positive behaviours and removing their negative actions from their lives.

15 months after the first intervention, Jan sent this feedback

“I had a group of 30 people from diverse cultures. They could not get on with each other:

There was continuous friction between the different race groups, and between people from the same race and cultural group. The people were negative and not satisfied with anything.

Complaints were the order of the day. This also placed our depot in a bad light with management.

We decided on Brian and Arthie’s training. The people were very negative about the programme initially.

As the course progressed, peoples’ attitudes changed from negative to positive.

Communication, respect and ownership improved from all sides by 100%. The respect between different race groups has been restored.

Some of the people who were negative have changed so much that they have been promoted to higher positions with greater responsibility.

The foundation of the entire course was so successful that the group is now going ahead with a leadership course.”

Now that was the change that we had been looking for!

via How to team build in a racially-culturally-and-personality-conflicted team – HR Pulse.

10 steps to creating a free and non-racial democracy.

As we head into 2013, and we are approached for team conflict resolution interventions in corporate, government and other business arenas, I am astounded at the levels of prejudice, cross cultural incompetence and general inability to build relationships in diverse teams.

Much of the prejudice is so archaic it is almost ancestral in origin, in fact some of it is from colonial days. Some of it comes from the sad era of Apartheid. And sadly much of it is being created on a daily basis in homes and the workplace.

Our people are divided. Our politicians and government perpetuate the divisions daily – by political affiliation, race, colour, language, clan – even though they profess to be developing a non racial democracy. New forms of formalised Apartheid and political protectionism creep in every year.

And this is reflected in the attitudes and actions of our people. Racial superiority and inferiority according to what race you were born into and where you stay, is rampant.

Ours is one of the few countries in the world where the race question is foremost in the minds of people. Be they mothers and fathers, business owners, civil servants, procurement specialists, or workplace employment teams, “What colour is he – or she?” Or more blatantly as if they are talking about another creature, other than a human being – “What is he?”

This simply must stop.

If we are to give our children, and ourselves, a fair chance at living in, and building our beautiful country we need to change. To be different and to become more human.

Our team conflict resolution programmes do this (brian@africa-dreams.com) – but only for the people that we interact with – and their families. The Ubuntu Girl – Soja Kruse does this – but again the extent of her reach is limited. (ubuntuabundance@gmail.com)

So how do we, as a nation of human beings begin to bring about the long term change that is so deeply needed?

10 steps

  1. Accept that there is a problem in the way that we think, talk and act towards people of other religions and cultures.
  2. Resolve to make changes in your own behaviour, and do not accept negative behaviour from people within your circle. (You may have to find some new friends!) Set yourself some change goals.
  3. Accept that in doing so, you will leave a wonderful legacy for future generations.
  4. Stop using negative, prejudiced words and names.
  5. Stop judging – get to know more about cultures, religions, traditions and belief systems. Have fun whilst learning. Invite people home and visit their homes, celebrations, funerals and traditional events.
  6. Learn new languages, from other people. Start with greetings, thanks, goodbyes and body language. (Misunderstood body language is often an immediate block to respect and business relationships.)
  7. Learn how to cater for people from different backgrounds. Do not judge from your own experience. There may be challenges and fantastic opportunities arising from differences in culture, religion, health and personal preference.)
  8. Learn what respect means to others – and show them respect in the ways that they wish to be respected.
  9. Actively make decisions without bias. This may mean that you have to think very deeply before you decide important things. (We are often polluted by our own belief systems and upbringing. Clear the smog, simplify your required outcomes and make informed and responsible decisions.)
  10. Celebrate each noticeable change.

It is time that we began to celebrate the wonders of our similarities and our differences. Not only in South Africa, but in Africa and the World. We are in our 19th year as a free democracy, it is time now to grow up and live to our full potential!

Presentation Styles.

Presenting to people with differing learning and communication styles.
Presentations often are very Auditory, strongly Visual or a combination of the two. Although the latter is better than the first presentation style – a number of people will not participate fully, nor will they be inspired and involved.
An Auditory presenter/ facilitator will often use wordy presentations, or flip chart statements to make their point. 
You will know that they are strong auditory communicators by the cleverness of their words, their stories and examples and the fact that they flip over the pages of their presentations/ flip chart pages once they have spoken of them.
They may be asked to “go back” to previous pages/ slides by visual learners.
They also love to teach by repeating their messages and live by the motto:- “Tell them once, and then tell them again and again.”
Their presentations sound brilliant to strong auditory learners, but can:-

a)    Bore visual learners with long-winded explanations. 
b)   Isolate Kinesthetic (experiential) learners by not physically involving them.
 

A Visual presenter will use visuals as much as they can. Some will be very detailed and intricate. They will normally display each visual/ flip chart on the walls, as they finish with it. This ensures that there is a long term reference for audience members. Their explanations are often brief and to the point, and they expect people to understand – from the graphic nature of presentation.
Their presentations are visual delights to strong Visual learners but can:-

a)    Isolate auditory learners with their focus on picture lessons and the limited focus on “talking it through.” 
b)   Isolate Kinesthetic (experiential) learners by not physically involving them.
 

Kinesthetic presenters will often get an example/ sample of the item under discussion, into the hands of the audience members. This ensures that they can touch, feel and experience it. Their words will have to do with the feel and experience. 
Their presentations feel good to strong Visual learners but can:-

a)    Isolate auditory learners with their focus on picture lessons and the limited focus on “talking it through.” 
b)   Isolate Visual Learners by not visually involving them.
 

The most important part of a strong presentation is to make sure that there is a “mixed grill” in terms of presentation styles.
12 steps to great presentations.
Presentations are verbal, sensory, visual and experiential. We must ensure that delegates have the opportunity to feel, hear, discuss, think, see, experience and intellectualise the lessons and information in the presentations.
1)   Our (not excessively long) speaking portion, must:-
2)   Have visual descriptions using colour words and audio pictures of place and things .
3)   Have heart and sensory words.
4)   Have power words, stories, sayings and examples.
5)   Ask feeling, seeing and hearing questions. How do you feel? Can you see what I am showing you? Do you hear/ understand the process thus far?
6)   Stories, sayings and examples
7)   Use numbered tips, such as: – “7 steps to having a great life.”
8)   And numbered steps to using a product, with step-by-step outcomes.
9)   These must be allied to visual media, graphics and pictures.
10) Actual examples, samples and working models should be distributed around the room, so that those who like to experiment can do so.
11)Copies of the slide show should either be handed out, or displayed on the walls. Anything written, or drawn on a flipchart page should be stuck around the room, on the walls – in order of presentation.
12)Time should be taken for interaction, discussions and for prodding, touching and experimenting with models, samples and examples. This will allow for an active question and answer session.
And a bonus:-
13)There should always be an element of fun in any presentation. 
In this way, everybody is involved. They will all feel as if you are presenting directly to them.
Enjoy. Touch some lives!
Brian Moore

22 July 2011
Celebrating Humanity International Communication, Learning, Diversity, Team Building and Team Conflict Resolution Specialists
info@africa-dreams.com
+27 79 643 4457
Arthie and Brian Moore
CelebratingHumanity International – Copyright
South Africa.
Email: info@africa-dreams.com
Website: www.africa-dreams.com
Mobile: +27 79 643 4457

Better relationships? Talk straight, clearly and with respect.

As the lift descended the two Zulu ladies made their observations of my well-rounded figure…
“Hawu! We sisi! Uwubonile umkhaba? (Gee Sister have you noticed the stomach.)
“Yebo, ngiwubonile. Yinkinsela yempela – sengathi inemali eningi!” (Yes, I have noticed it. Clearly a wealthy person – I’d imagine he has plenty of money)
All this gossip happened in front of me, as they innocently watched the floor indicator panel. I bided my time and as the two ladies prepared to leave the lift, I spoke to them in Zulu. “Sobuye sibonane bomama.” (I will see you ladies around some time.)
“Hawu! Hawu!” They squealed in shock. “We didn’t know that you could speak Zulu!”
The event reminded me of similar events where people use their “superior” use of language to make negative observations of people.
Many years ago I used the services of a UK born dentist. I had an afternoon session with him. I had earlier washed my mouth out at a supermarket rest-room after eating a sandwich for lunch. It was not enough. He peered into my mouth and pronounced to his assistant, “It is a foggy day in Liverpool.”
In his English way he had said that I had not brushed my teeth. I was very embarrassed and he lost me as a client and a number of others who I spoke to about the event.
In a recent training course my beautiful Hindu wife and I were subjected to abuse from a small group of England born delegates. In loud and profane tones they proceeded to malign the “Indians” and their “ability to speak the truth”. This in the round about and sarcastic manner of certain English people. Very little is said directly.
We are however well travelled and understood perfectly. As facilitators we have to be fair, pleasant and respectful to all of our delegates. Any mention of their meanness would reduce the programme to a series of personal attacks. It took us both a lot of internal and interpersonal talk to get close to our normal warm level of communication.
At an earlier course three of the many Afrikaners, on a Celebrating Humanity© course, walked into the conference venue and made similar attacks on Arthie and the programme itself. This time it was in Afrikaans. They too never believed that we could understand and speak their language. Their embarrassment was very visible as the programme unfolded with both of us speaking English, Zulu and Afrikaans.
Numerous African people from our many language groups speak of the way certain English speaking South Africans “Shaya ‘ma angles.” (To speak indirectly and in a round about way.) It is an old English habit to lighten the criticism and talk around a challenge, so as not to hurt feelings. Often the hurt is greater because no-one besides the speaker understands the true message until much later.
Some people find it necessary to joke in sexual manner. Their jokes are often below the belt and cause great embarrassment to their colleagues and friends who do not discuss these matters outside of their bedrooms. Most African and Eastern groups do not appreciate such jokes. Others try to get their laughs by bringing down “groups” of people. By race, by colour, by language, by religion and even by hair colour.
The message here is all about respect.
When we isolate ourselves into our common groups and use our cleverness to “secretly” or “publicly” attack others, we damage our ability to develop good working relationships. When we try not “to hurt others feelings”, we often cause more pain than we would have by straight talk and without rancour. When we use our own “language” to communicate our jealousy or meanness towards those who communicate in other languages, we often isolate ourselves. When we joke in a manner that is sexual or which brings down other people, we bring ourselves, the listeners and our country down.
We live in a wonderful multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-spiritual land. All of our people have a right to respect and dignity. All of us have a duty to be respectful and dignified. One huge step of our journey, to a united land, will take place when begin to tell funny jokes that do not demean, or disrespect other people. And another gigantic step will take place when we talk straight, talk clearly and talk with respect.
Celebrating Humanity International
trainers@africa-dreams.com
24 April 2004
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or Team Conflict Resolution proposal-“Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead.

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How we learn and teach

Learning Styles – Learning and Teaching methods
Understanding how people learn differently and must be taught differently!
We all have our natural and preferred learning style. Individual learning styles are made up of a combination of learning through seeing, doing, telling and listening.
Our dominant learning style normally determines our communication styles and can show us how best to teach and to learn. For example auditory learners normally teach through stories and lectures.
This brief article discusses the basic learning styles, how different learners learn best and how to adapt our teaching methods for great results.
When we teach a group of learners with all of the differing learning styles, it is critical that we involve them through all of the different techniques.
Who should know and understand learning and communication styles?
Parents, teachers, lecturers, speakers, trainers, facilitators, presenters, leaders, managers and anyone who uses communication on a daily basis. Yes, all of us!

Remember. There is no such thing as a stupid learner, there is only an communicator or  educator who has not YET found the key to sharing information with that person.
A Look at Visual Learners
Visual learners typically remember and grasp concepts through visualisation. They normally have a good sense of direction because they picture and memorise landmarks, maps and directions. 
·         Many prefer to see and read information in writing. They often find lectures to be boring. They like to doodle, draw and look out of the window.
·         Visual learners normally use sight words. See, look, show, picture, vision, view, perspective and sight are commonly used. They might say “Let me show you, so that you can get the picture.” 
·         They remember details including colours, faces, landmarks and spatial arrangements. 
How Visual Learners Learn best
They learn best by seeing what they are being taught. Visual learners typically prefer images, maps, graphs, and other visual representations over other forms of instruction. They will find that if they include images, mind maps, lists, and other visual techniques in their notes then they will have a better chance of remembering key information. 
Adapting Teaching Methods for Visual Learners
Include photographs, models, diagrams, mind maps, word webs, visuals to help visual learners to swiftly retain knowledge and understanding. Visual students should colour highlight key items, create mind maps and use flashcards when learning. 
Stay away from lecturing without visuals. Too many words will switch them off.
A Word about Auditory Learners

Auditory learners are sound-based, thus they learn best by listening and talking aloud. They typically notice and remember words and sounds. They remember what they hear. They are normally good with language. They often read to themselves as they study. 
Audio learners normally use sound words. Listen, hear, say, tell, whisper, mission, story, speak and understand are commonly used.   They might say “Let me tell you how it works, so that you can hear and understand.” 
They remember the details of conversations, arguments and lessons. They are can be very distracted by outside noise and sounds. 
How Auditory Learners Learn best
Auditory learners learn best through hearing the lessons. They often need to read the written word aloud to remember key points. Simply repeating over and over in their heads – is a key learning method. Audio mind maps – mind maps with words are great tools for Auditory learners. 
They love to learn through stories and memorable quotations. Verbal repetition is an effective means of study for auditory learners. 
Adapting Teaching Methods for Auditory Learners
Teach verbally and supply written instructions for assignments. Ask them to highlight key learning points, by underlining – or with a marker. Involve them through group discussion. Use videos to complement the written text. Allow time to question, discuss, read out loud and talk through problems. 
Record lessons on audio/ video and give them copies to listen to or watch in their own time. Use stories, quotations, proverbs and audio mind maps as a method to convey lessons and messages.
Getting a Feel for Kinesthetic Learners
 
Kinesthetic learners typically learn best by experiencing and doing. They are naturally good at physical activities like sports and dance. They are good with their hands and enjoy nads-on  learning. 
They typically like how-to guides and action-adventure stories. They might pace while on the phone or take breaks from studying to get up and move around. Some kinesthetic learners are fidgety and have a hard time sitting still. 

Kinesthetic learners use touchy words such as feelings, felt, touched, sensed, safe and caring. They may ask, “What are your feelings about…?” Or, they may say, “I sense something strange in that person’s attitude.”
They are often sensitive and need to feel safe and protected. Stay away from stern reprimands, anger, violence and shouting as this disturbs them tremendously.
How Kinesthetic Learners Learn best:
Kinesthetic learners learn best through experience, such as making things, physically colouring in, manipulating items, simulations and role plays. It is critical to physically involve them in the learning process. 
They enjoy and learn well from experimenting and 1st hand experience. Movement and participation are critical to their learning. They learn best when activities are varied during the programme/ semester and during each class period. 
Adapting Teaching Methods for Kinesthetic Learners:
Vary instruction methods through lessons to retain their involvement. Build hands-on lessons into the curriculum. Use role-plays to build strong further understanding of key concepts. 
Give them opportunities to team up with small discussion and experimenting groups as they learn concepts and lessons. Plan field trip to reinforce multiple key concepts. Allow students to stretch partially and move to avoid them losing concentration. 
Never put them in embarrassing situations, or personally attack them.
South Africa.
Mobile: 079 643 4457
Arthie and Brian Moore
CelebratingHumanity International – Copyright
South Africa.
Email: info@africa-dreams.com
Website: www.africa-dreams.com
Mobile: +27 79 643 4457

Mphephetha’s Wedding – Great lessons cushioned in a culture shock!

Joko laughed at my patent nervousness as he lead me into the traditional Zulu gear stalls at Dalton Hostel – in Durban, South Africa.
Animal skins lay around willy-nilly as did drums, umbadada (car tyre sandals) and empty Juba cartons. There was a lot of movement of people entering and leaving the hostel. A number of drunken men lazed in the sun and indolently observed as this big white man entered their own almost tribal  domain.

One of them staggered to his feet and aggressively expelling his boozy breath, he demanded to know, “Ufunani umlungu!? (What do you want, white man?). I responded with equal power, “Ufunani umuntu!?” (What do you want Zulu person!?). The inactive audience suddenly burst into surprised and delighted fits of laughter. My interrogator laughed meekly and stumbled towards his friends.

As we entered the dark shops the crafters’ art became apparent. Magnificent Zulu shields, beads, headgear and other finely detailed items of traditional imivunulo (warriors attire) were on display.

Joko greeted everyone, “Sawubona lekhaya! Ngiyahamba no uMthimkhulu!”, and thus was I introduced by my Zulu name, to a chorus of disbelief from the shop owners.

It was mid-year 1993 – a year before South Africa’s independence from the Apartheid government. Prejudice was deep and attitudes ranged from hate to fear in many previously isolated race groups.

Joko – a jovial Zulu man – and I had met a few days earlier at the Pick and Shovel restaurant. I told him of my desire to purchase a traditional Zulu outfit. “No problem.” he said. “We just need to go to Dalton.” “Do you mean the hostel, where there is so much violence.” I asked. He said, “Don’t worry you will be safe, I am taking you.” And here we were.

There was much laughter at my size as we moved from shop to shop. Each one selling a different component. Here shields and there amabeshu (hides shaped to cover behinds). Each craftsperson was skilled in the manufacture of a certain part of the imivunulo. There were fighting sticks, walking sticks, spears and knock down sticks. Head, chest, elbow, leg and waist gear hung from the walls and ceilings.

A few men lay about the place, sleeping off hangovers. Their neighbours sold on their behalf. Every now and again a sleeper’s eye would open. He would grunt his satisfaction and drift back into dreamland.

Slowly compatible pieces were gathered to form my very own outfit. A black and white cowskin shield contrasted well with the light tan impala skin ibeshu that hung over my behind. The beautiful sewn and twisted izinjobo covered the sides of my legs up to the isinene, which covered the front.

There was much laughter when the enthralled shopkeepers showed me a straw thimble, known as iqoyi. This they giggled, would save any man from embarrassment….

Inkosi (Chief) Bhekisisa Bhengu, had become a friend in the Valley of a Thousand Hills, through my peace making and rural development work with the Natal Canoe Union. He was young and very wise, an interesting mixture of modern and traditional. He has travelled to Washington DC – USA and Zimbabwe and is well educated in development and local government issues. He longed for development in his area and was very involved in the traditional respect system.

I drove out to see him, with my new imivunulo in my car. He was as impressed as I was delighted and said, “You must wear this on Saturday at Inkosi Gwala’s wedding.” A thrill of fear and excitement ran through me. It was a year before the first free elections and KwaZulu Natal was racked with political violence. Putting aside my natural trepidation, I agreed to meet him at 10 am on the day of the wedding.

My niece Jean, and I drove down into the valley and arrived at his Emshazi home, across the road from the tribal court. He seemed surprised to see me so early and we hung around and chatted. Every so often he would look at his watch and shake his head and say, “Hayi Bhungane – I don’t know where these people are”. I think he was just trying to settle my western rush to do things, so I relaxed into the day and whatever it was to bring.

After a while Mrs Bhengu fed us. Then we waited and watched the goats and chickens wander around his yard. An old man drove his old van into the yard and opened up the bonnet. We then had a conversation on all things mechanical. Around about 1.30pm Inkosi Bhengu decided it was time. “When is the wedding?” I asked. “It is on now,” he said, “in fact it has been going on all day. Let us get dressed.”,  he said.

He called his young son in to help. We, two men from two different worlds, prepared to culturally meet. I am sure my ancestors in Ireland and Scotland were rolling in their graves, as I learnt how to put on my skins. I learnt how to hold my shield and how a warrior should walk and stand. Little bits of string held each component to my body and I felt very exposed in my underpants.

Inkosi Bhengu looked splendid in his imitation leopard skins and I stood proud on my car-tyre sandals, as my unclad parts shone brightly in the African sun. The journey was about to begin. We drove down the hill to Shabalala’s store and he then began to dress. When he was ready, we moved onto Mathowuli’s place. His name comes from the fact that he always has a towel wrapped around his head, like a turban.

Up the hill, on steeply angled red clay roads, to another Bhengu. There was much shouting across the lands from homestead to homestead. The Inkosi was going to the wedding and he was with an umlungu in skins! An incredible excitement seem to hold the valley in its grip.

Baba Bhengu complained of how his imivunulo no longer covered the fullness of his body. He called his young son and asked him to shine his legs with vaseline. “Would you like some?”, he asked as he offered me the jar. “Thank you,” I laughingly answered, “but I already shine far too much!”

The procession gathered people and cars and we met up with Induna Cele who had an impressive python’s skin for his ‘beshu.

The young maidens were now gathering and bounced down the hills towards us. They blew dance whistles, beat on drums and ululated as they jumped into the cars. “Wozani,” the Inkosi called inviting them into his car. “Thank you Inkosi,” they said. “We will go with him.” Girls piled into my car and somehow the Inkosi ended up with me, as well.

The Inkosi and I led his people down the dusty roads, alongside the beautiful dam, to eMaphephethweni. The young maidens still shouted, whistled and ululated with delight to all who would listen!

“Slow down, Bhungane.” said the Inkosi as I hit 40kms per hour. “There is no rush”. At 2.30 pm we cruised into the area. The bride and groom were in traditional Christian outfits as they had just completed the church wedding. Little people in beautiful suits and dresses wandered around the church. Car alarms had been re-wired to run continuously to let the people know that their Inkosi was getting married!

Our own group wound on past the church to the tribal court. At which point my confidence took a temporary and almost traumatic beating. As I stepped from the car, the excited people began to ululate and shout. Many ran toward me. Even little old ladies raised their umbrellas and advanced upon me in a threatening and laughingly aggressive way. I later found out that it was an expression of joy and fun.

The Inkosi walked coolly amongst the people with a tiny smile upon his face. I just smiled, greeted everybody and ducked the “attacking” matriarchs.  And stuck like glue to the Inkosi. My petrified niece was as close to me!

“Who is it” A man asked. “Juluka (a famous white Zulu singer/ dancer)? “Maybe,” said another.  “but if it is him, he has got very fat!” Later an old man asked me when I was going to sing. I looked at him quizzically, and he said to anyone who would listen,”He doesn’t understand me. He can’t speak Zulu.”

We were lead up the hill towards the homestead. Inkosi Bhengu’s traditionally-clad followers gathered and walked at our sides in a protective and energised squad. We were taken to the VIP hut where we were treated to Zulu hospitality. Jean was led away to be with the women, and I to the amabhuto (the Inkosi’s regiment.). The AmaNgcolosi gathered around their Chief and began to beat their sticks against their shields. A powerful rhythmic noise filled the rolling hills.

Young men would suddenly leap out, dance and spin away, beating their shields and presenting a fearful face to the gathering crowds. Ladies, young and old, began to dance and ululate near the group. Dance whistles blew, drums were beaten and horns were sounded. As the warriors’s passion grew d they continued to “‘giya” with more energy, to the obvious delight of the wedding guests.

We marched down the hill towards the kraal. Singing songs and beating our shields. I was still a little fearful but was becoming more a warrior than a man from the city. The  Inkosi showed me how to hold my shield again. I was at one with Africa for perhaps the first time in my life.

The wedding processes went by in a blur. A delighted Inkosi Gwala danced for his bride. She was now dressed in her traditional gear and he in his imivunulo. Gifts were traded back and forth and families were united through the bride and groom.

The young groom “ ‘giya’d” for his people. He danced and showed his masculinity for the appreciative guests to see. He marched with his amabhuto and I ended up in the cattle kraal with them. The names of his ancestors were called by his praise singer and respect for his line was shown.

Later we ate and shared Zulu beer. It is milky in colour and far less alcoholic than western beers. We sat in a huge crowded hut, as the amabhuto sang and danced. The place vibrated and reverberated with energy. Huge cracks opened in the concrete floor from their stamping feet. Globes of sweat ran down their glistening and muscular bodies. The songs were unlike anything that I had ever heard. It was an amazing place to be, in an amazing country, amongst an incredible people.

The sun had set long before we left. Our car lights pierced the darkness of an electricity free Umgeni valley. We reached home after 9 that night. A roadside newspaper seller was shocked to see this “white” Zulu reach out to buy the early edition of the Sunday paper.

With me forever will be other special moments. The image of the amabhutos running, as one, from the surrounding homesteads.  The view into the valley of a thousand hills. The smells of the skins. The man who said I should not wear anything beneath my Zulu “kilt”. The maidens running down the hill and Bhengu and his vaseline. The Induna in his python suit. The energy, fear and the acceptance.

And most of all my assimilation into a tribe of Zulu warriors. Into the Bhengus, the AmaNgcolosi of Ndwedwe. My life was forever changed. (I later was part of the clan that met Princess Anne of England.)

Brian V Moore © 24 11 2002. Durban – South Africa.

Request a Team Building, Diversity Training
or Team Conflict Resolution proposal –
on http://www.celebrating-humanity-projects.com
or email: brian@africa-dreams.com
or call +27 79 643 4457

7 Steps to Resolving Team Conflict

The 7 Steps to Resolving Team Conflict – in the Celebrating Humanity© Way

From the book “Team Conflict Resolution Strategies – Fast and Effective ways to Remove and Reduce Stress in Teams”, by Brian V Moore.



Brian and Arthie Moore, of Celebrating Humanity International, have over 15 years experience in diversity management, transformational team building and team conflict resolution. 1000s of people have benefited and transformed through the Celebrating Humanity programme©, in South Africa, Namibia, Zambia and the USA.

1.   Step 1 – Know what you want to achieve, AND know where you and your team are, before you begin. “Begin with the end in mind” – Steven Covey. It is critical to know and record, what your challenges are at the outset of this amazing journey with your team/s. The team needs a joint vision of what they can achieve through unity, teamwork and harmony.

2.   Step 2 – Follow the 8 Principles of Team Conflict Resolution through the internationally proven Celebrating Humanity© methodology. Celebrating Humanity’s unique, transformational team building and conflict resolution techniques are founded in these 8 amazingly simple and stunningly effective principles.

         1. “At the level of respect, all people are equal.” – Brian V Moore – 2001.
         2. “No man is an island” (English Proverb.) “Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu” (Nguni Proverb)
         3. We are perfect as we are.
         4. Life rewards action. Positive and negative.  
         5. It is simply impossible for any person to manage the behaviour of other people.
         6. People will manage their own behaviour, if they set the ground rules themselves.
         7. “People know and help those who speak up – not those who remain silent.” Oshiwambo proverb – Namibia.

3.   Step 3 – Build unified Teamwork across the entire team, company/ organisation. Apply a transformational team building process that will bring harmony, understanding, emotional and social maturity, communication skills, respect, ownership and accountability to your conflicted teams.

4.   Step 4 – Set the Peer-created, Peer-accepted and Peer-managed Team Code of Conduct. When your team makes these decisions, and all team members commit to follow an agreed and constituted process – you are well on your way to a conflict-free team, company/ organisation. This reduces stress on management and clients.

5.   Step 5 – Clear past interpersonal challenges – and open the way forward. Your team will no longer be dogged by its own conflicted history, the path will be clear for powerful and exciting results and successes.

6.   Step 6 – Place your team firmly in charge of their own behaviour. It is at this point that your team members commit to themselves, the company/ organization and immediately begin to operate in a new and safe working environment.

7.   Step 7 – Maintain – the new conflict-free status quo.
Properly constituted and maintained team agreements which will last for as long as you desire, and your and the team maintain the status quo.

8.   What we do NOT do.

         1. We never focus on the “problems”, or the “problem people”. If there is conflict in your team, there is far more going on than you will ever realise. And any direct focus on the particular individuals will empower them and ruin the process.
         2. We do not have mediation sessions with the “problem people” to clear the problems. This will isolate all of your team members, and the challenges will emerge again, in another form altogether.
         3. We do not judge, or work out of our own judgments.
         4. We do not send the “problem people” off for emotional, or diversity training, and ignore the rest of the team.
 

“Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead.

Brian V Moore Website

Diversity Training in South Africa

Africa Dreams Website – Celebrating Humanity International

Celebrating Humanity Projects

Team Building in South Africa

Celebrating Humanity Blog

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Contact

Mobile: +27 (0)79 643 4457

Fax: +27 866 746 310

 

 

Diversity Training Video (Transformational Team Building Video)

This is one of the many inclusive, non threatening wasy that we open up communication and understanding in our Celebrating Humanity workshops.

The drawings are changed for the different groups, diversities and countries that we find ourselves in.

Enjoy!

Brian Moore