Can diversity be effectively learnt in isolation?

Often we hear people say, “I feel your pain.” This empathetic and well-meaning statement is generally untrue. It is like a man saying that he understands, or can feel, the pain of childbirth. The closest he will ever get is to actively listen to women talk of the pain, and to watch a child being born.

Similarly it is almost impossible for a person to effectively understand diversity whilst learning about “others” in isolation.

Often management groups ask us to teach “us” more about “them.” This is a way of keeping themselves aloof and safe from their diverse staff. Or, we are asked to teach “them” about “our way.” This is a group form of isolation, which substantially reduces the positive impact of diversity awareness training.

It has been our experience that diversity is best learnt, practically, in groups of diverse people. The diversities need to include, as far as possible: Gender, age, race, language, sexual preference, levels, departments, cultures and religions.

When combined in this way the benefits are tremendous. It is firstly possible to upscale the methodologies to a level of fun and competition. Secondly, the resultant interaction ensures long-term learning through the relationships that are built across diversities. Thirdly, there is a huge element of cross diversity team building and respect-building and finally, the lessons gained are either first or second-hand experiential skills.

Diversity awareness, learnt in isolation, will build the intellectual understanding of diversity, the fairness and injustice of diversity. Strong understanding will be gained of diversity and what is acceptable behaviour and what is not.

Sadly very little will be understood – at an emotional and experiential level. This can only be gained through interaction with people of different backgrounds.

Please comment below, or visit our site for more information on Celebrating Humanity Diversity Training programs.

Diversity is a good thing – not something to be feared!

A story on the power that leaders, team members and their organisations gain, when they understand the true value of diversity in teams.

And we are ALL leaders!

Arthie and I had just kicked off the Celebrating Humanity programme, in 2001 – which covered Diversity training, Team conflict resolution and Transformational team building. We had been struggling with our basic team building aspects of diversity training. We simply had to move away from the chalk-and-talk, death-by-powerpoint methods of training.

A decision was taken to run our training, as a celebration of who we and our delegates were, and focused into team competitions – as a way to change the spirit of the people and the training environment.

But we were still struggling with the make-up of the teams. So many of our delegates, in the early days, were literally forced into the room. A great number were former combatants or had been isolated by propaganda – each one choosing to be “with their own people.” This limited the interaction and caused inter-team conflict.

As we worked at developing the team building methodologies – we had many realisations. A huge principal grew for us:- “In order to be true leaders, we have to accept that other people add to us.”

And we needed to ensure that our delegates experienced the fact that their unique skills, knowledge and wisdom must be shared and nurtured in order for them to be integral parts of of powerful and professional teams. In Zulu it is said “Inkosi yinkosi ngabantu” – a leader is only a leader by virtue of her/ or his people – the meaning was becoming clearer by the minute. People in their diversities make us who we are.

I have always understood that my sons and my wife bring unbelievable value and add to me. Now I knew that people who disagree with me, also add to me. People who are different, or who have different views and opinions, bring great value to me.

And perhaps they add to me far more than those who always concur with me. And 19th Century Poet Laureate, Lord Alfred Tennyson knew it, when he said, “I am a part of all that I have met.”

As our thoughts expanded, we realized that we also add to other people. That we too have value.

If only I had learned this as a child, as a teenager, or even 10 years ago. It would have stopped my “rightness” and my need to defend my opinions. I would no longer have had to “win arguments.” And as a consequence lose my friends and break relationships.

It was so simple. All people in their varied histories, religions, education, cultures, skills, experiences, pains and joys make us more human. And can, if we are open to their uniqueness, help us to build our lives, families, teams and organisations.

So diversity is a good thing. Not something to be feared but something to be sought out. Not something to be judged but something to learn from. Not something to be contradicted but something to be built upon!

We then realized that the more inclusive and diverse our teams are, the more we win! And, conversely, the more we follow the old proverb of “birds of a feather flock together”, the more we separate and stagnate. And the more we confirm our stereotypes and prejudices.

The birth of Celebrating Humanity Diversity Training Methodologies-

During our Celebrating Humanity©, our international transformational team-building and diversity sensitivity training programme, we needed to find a way to get people into diverse teams, without marginalising them.

Obviously to send people to their teams, as we perceived their skills, talents, genders and cultures to be, was manipulative. When people come to the programme they are often angry, in pain and very divided. And we have been told, on numerous occasions… “Mention race, or racism, just once and we will leave the room, and never come back.”

In our first 2 sessions, we tried placing the delegates’ manuals at the various tables, and asked the delegates to sit wherever they found their manuals.

We would guess by their names and surnames, where they “should” be. It was a time-wasting exercise and one that only partly had the effect that we wanted. People still felt as if they had been pre-judged. And it was true.

Once we had defined the teams, in this way, we would then get each person to introduce another, on a human level. Many of them knew little or nothing about their fellow team members. This was a good part of the exercise and there was good benefit. But the pre-selected teams did not truly gel.

Arthie and I took a step back and looked at the opening of the programme and we realized that the delegates had to select their own teams.

We know that people normally choose the people they are most like, or with whom they are most comfortable. If this were to be the case, they would not fully experience each other as human beings. Nor would they understand the value of diversity and the value of “different” people.

We then developed the team selection principle of “who adds to me.” In order for this to work, we honed the interview questions to be more in line with the programme outcomes, the competitions and the team points system.

Before the introductions, we advised the teams that they would be selecting their teams based upon competitions and we told them of the bases of the competitions.

In South Africa, this included eating habits of various groups, proverbs, cultural knowledge, language, traditions, religion, drawing skills, dance skills and hula-hooping skills. We also advise teams to get their gender split right, as there is much wisdom to be found in all people.

Internationally, we work with the artistic/ dance, hula-hoop, talents, experiences, local knowledge and the qualifications of the teams. For example, with the Bank of Zambia, one aspect of the team competitions, drew upon individuals’ knowledge of international financial markets.

In South Africa, once conflicted groups selected teams that went across, level, position,  ability, culture, age, gender, race, language and religion. And the team knowledge was incredible – thus their opportunities to learn were equally massive!

In Zambia the selections went across level, position, gender, age and experience.

Some feedback

Senior management delegates at Lake Kariba, said:- “Very well received, a unique delivery technique.”, ” Delivery standard – World Class.”, “The course has broken interpersonal barriers.”

One of our Ethekwini Municipality (Durban and surrounds) delegates had this to say… “Change goes deeper than a cross on an election ballot, or learning a “black” language, or being able to live wherever you choose, or even affirmative action… From President to petty thief, and city manager to general worker, we are all unique and yet all the same. We are all humankind – the South African way.”

Another delegate closes off his feedback, on his personal transformation, with… “We have a country rich in people who are unique in their variety. Our uniqueness is special. If we open our hearts to it we will all grow and become more special. Let us all embrace the uniqueness and utilize it to shine brighter for us all.”

Our change in Celebrating Humanity© team selection methodologies had multiple effects. Here are four…

Firstly, delegates now listen very carefully to the introductions. They begin to know each other better, from the earliest possible moment. A delegate from SA Container Depots… “Now I know my team members. For past 10 years I have walked right past them without greeting. Now I have friends who I know. I will greet them all in the future.”

Secondly, they chose their own team members, in a totally new and aware way. Because they add to each other, they almost always get the diversity right. When they do not, it shows up in their team’s lack of points. Delegate Luanne Schmidt, says.. “The experience has left me with a sense of joy that if each one of us in our wonderful “Rainbow nation” takes the time to really get to know and understand the traditions and cultures that make this such an exciting country to live in, we truly will become a nation to be envied.”

Thirdly, they began to experience the power of sharing wisdom and working together in diverse teams. This is extending outside of the training room. Another Ethekwini delegate had this to say… “I have accommodated all these people and other cultures in my heart, in a similar way. All of them are so important in my life. There is a lot that I can learn from them about my personality, their personalities as well as my country.”

And point number four, they begin to understand their own multi-faceted value and their marvellous uniquenesses! A once fearful, and now newly-trained, Celebrating Humanity facilitator in the Ethekwini Municipality Diversity Training programme… “Truly we are catalysts of change. We have the power, the ability, the training, the desire and the courage!”

They had taken the first step towards realizing that diversity and uniqueness in team members creates greater opportunities for learning, growth and success.

They also took the first steps towards becoming the leaders of tomorrow. Leading with each other, for each other – together.

And through them, we begin to lead and leave our legacy for the future!

Brian V Moore© 13/4/2005
“At the level of respect all people are equal”

There are many such simple yet innovating aspects to the numerous Celebrating Humanity© programmes. “The Celebrating Humanity© programme is not simply a “programme”, it is not just a “course”. It is a “cause.” – Celebrating Humanity Facilitator – Ethekwini Municipality.

And now something valuable at no cost to you!

Articles and Stories, PLUS information on the Celebrating Humanity© programmes, can be found on:- http://www.africa-dreams.com/

“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

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English – the “common” language?

Another challenge is how we understand words and concepts differently. Many people are not communicating in their mother tongue – when writing – or speaking in English. This can cause confusion to others. It can also cause people to dismiss wonderful inputs, or to take umbrage to what is written. 
Just because we all speak English – does not make it a common language!
The use and meaning of words, in English differ from country to country. Just as a small example, the concept and meaning of the word “diversity” definitely has differing meanings, in my country alone. The differences in concept, across nations, will be even greater. In diversity forums this may be the main stumbling block.
The manner in which people present their ideas also varies. Certain people try and couch their ideas in an almost round-about manner – in order to save the feelings of the people they communicate with. They try to be “diplomatic.” Many people have no idea what they mean. There are others who use sarcasm. To the sarcastic this way of communicating is sharp, tactical and clever. Again there are many people who do not have a clue what they are on about.
Others use the shock tactics of attack and accusation, perhaps thinking that they will bring change and realisations. Often, all that they do is isolate themselves and others. Some will just hurtfully blurt out their judgements and prejudices. Some will learn from that, many will be angered and turn away from them.
Within all of this – even though we use a “common” language, we all need to be constantly vigilant regarding the messages that are being sent out and how we receive them through our preconceptions and judgements.  Are we receiving the messages, as they were intended? Do we need to ask more questions to get true understanding, before we add our judgements?
Steven Covey in the 7 Habits of Highly Successful people wrote, “Seek first to understand and then to be understood.” I personally will try to practice this much more.
Kind regards
17 June 2012
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

The programme

The afternoon sun hung low in the sky, as I stood talking to the two canoeists.  I could feel my hands shaking, uncontrollably, with fear.

“You look like you have had a huge shock. What’s up?” One of them asked.

“I have just come out of a full-blown political meeting, in that school.” I pointed up to the rural South African school, perched atop a nearby hill.

I could taste the bitter adrenalin from my intense fear. My mouth was still dry even after drinking copious amounts of water.

Down below us, the Umsundusi river wound, through the majestic Valley of a Thousand hills, on its way towards the Umgeni river. From the oft-mighty confluence, both rivers combine their powers and surge towards the Indian Ocean.

I felt strangely distant and removed from this magical scene.

In less than a month’s time, 800 canoeists would climb into their canoes and race between the Kwa-Zulu Natal provincial capital of Pietermaritzburg and the beautiful coastal city of Durban.

They would battle the mountains, the rivers and the rapids for 3 days over the 120km course. Barely 3 months later, South Africa would hold its first democratic election.

It was early 1994. We lived in scary times. People were free to move and yet were still separated by race and status. I was a societal oddity. There were comparatively few other white people who dared venture into rural South Africa on a social/ community liaison basis.

On one side of the river, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) exercised control, on the other the African National Congress (ANC). Some of the leaders and their people, were new to the concept of democracy and inter-party violence was the order of the day. Our media showed the violent scenes and pictures each day.

We had become accustomed to the terrible stories of these troubled times.

“Are you mad?”, asked the canoeist, as his partner nodded assent. “You certainly are braver than I am!” He laughed and shook his head in disbelief.

I was known as the “peacemaker” and had become what was then termed a “white Zulu”. Assimilated into their cultures and traditions and accepted amongst the Zulu people of Enkhambathini, I was beginning to believe that I was indeed at one with the amaZulu. Until now.

It had been over three hours, since I had left the meeting and a gnawing residual fear and emptiness reverberated in my chest. “What was it? I was safe now.” I began to re-live the events.

It was my responsibility to ensure the safety of the canoeists, through communication and initiating sponsorship of schools and clinics, in the poor riverside communities. Natal canoeing was the only sports body with a dedicated development fund for rural communities, and had been since 1982. I had been in the hot seat since 1990.

Wherever there was a clash between canoeists and the locals – I would meet the leaders and their communities, to find ways forward. I had even become a member of the Ngcolosi clan – near Inanda dam. I wore the traditional gear at weddings, funerals and ceremonies and truly felt that I was a “Zulu”.

My travels had taken me to many communities. I had met multitudes of rural people, in schools, halls and churches and had slowly become accepted.

My body language, my inflection, my perception of communities and communication was becoming more and more African each day.

A number of white canoeists had recently called to complain of youngsters throwing stones at them. I went to meet the perennially friendly and helpful Inkosi (Chief) Mlaba of KwaXimba and mentioned the problem. “No problem, Bhungane (my Zulu name),” he said, “come to our meeting on Sunday at 10am. All the people will be there.”

I felt comfortable with his invitation to talk to the local community. This was what I did so well.

So on that hot, humid January weekend I drove into the beautiful Valley of a Thousand Hills. I arrived at the school a little late – to compensate for rural time. I knew that people normally only leave their homes when they see the first cars arrive! And lo and behold, at 10.30 am I was still early!

A few formal looking people in suits, wandered around the deserted school. “Sanibonani,” I greeted. “Yebo! Sawubona.” they responded. “I have come to meet the Inkosi.” “Oh,” they said knowingly. “He will be here just now.”

I was ushered to a seat in a far corner of the schoolyard. The yard was closed in on three sides by lines of classrooms. It was a long way back to the only entrance. As the crowd slowly began to grow, I greeted people and was greeted in return.

An unusual spirit began to build.

This was no ordinary community meeting. Normally all of the older people would shuffle in first. Assisted, or with walking sticks. They would be joined by the Abazali (parents). The youngsters were seldom present. And yet the younger people were streaming in today. Dancing and hopping in the dance of unity and solidarity, they toyi-toyied into the area. (Toyi toyi is a form of political dancing – it often raises fear in those who do not understand it.)

A leader came past and said, “Inkosi Mlaba won’t be long now.” I respectfully responded “Ngiyabonga Baba.” (Thank you father.) And waited for long hours in the hot sun, whilst I thought of my speech.

Suddenly, and unexpectedly, buses began to arrive at the entrance. I could see ANC flags waving. Passengers chanted slogans. The buses rocked with humanity. People were hanging out of the windows and some even sat on top of the buses. “Oh no,” I thought in sudden terror, “I am in the middle of a major political meeting!”

People began to surge into the school. Their faces were shining with excitement. Jostling and sweating they toyi-toy’d their way in.

“Viva Mandela!” called out a leader. “Viva!”, responded thousands of voices.

People came skidding out of the crowd in dance. They began to giya (a war-like dance movement.) They ululated and delighted in their moment. “Viva Samora Machel!” called the leader. “Viva!” roared the people.
“Viva Joe Slovo!” Bellowed the leader. “Viva!”
“Viva ANC!” … “Viva!”
“Viva SACP!” … “Viva!” came the powerful responses, one after the other.

And I was trapped. Between me and the exit were thousands of over-excited and politically-roused Zulus. Freedom and political power was a hop, a skip and a jump away for them. And we all knew it.

This was a new energy.It was exciting and yet it was scary! Gasps of terror rapidly kneaded my heart.

My oneness with the Zulu people seemed to have deserted me. I began to feel very lonely and very white. My mouth was very dry and my heart palpitated at high revs. Colonel Custer, at Little Big Horn, must have felt like I did. “But,” I thought, “at least he didn’t die alone.” I stood out like a lighthouse on a dark night.

And yet someone would come by, every so often, to let me know that the Inkosi would be here soon. And I respectfully greeted all who looked my way. I knew that a few weeks earlier and just a few hundred metres away, bullets had been fired in anger across the river. I knew that many of the people here had been divorced from mainstream society for decades, if not centuries. I knew that they all had many reasons to be angry with people who looked just like me.

I was in turmoil. My mind was screaming, “Go! Go!” But my intellectual resolve was telling me to complete what I had started. Deep fears came rushing up. They burst through my humanness, into my new-found Zulu-ness.

Fear attacked my reptilian brain. It was fight or flight. All reason deserted me, leaving me unmoving, in pure survival mode. And strangely the people around showed me the greatest respect.

A full 3½ terrifying hours after my arrival, the Inkosi appeared. I found out later that he was also the chairman of the Midlands ANC. A very high local political position.

The crowd erupted into an ear-splitting frenzy. All that had passed, paled into insignificance as the crowd surged, danced, viva’d and ululated.

He came to the front. After a lot of excited, passionate chanting, they sang “Inkosi sikelele Afrika.” God bless Africa. Their right fists clenched and held up in solidarity. I can still feel the thrill of their voices, raised in unison. It surged through my physical being. It was unforgettable. An experience to be relished and enjoyed. I stood and sang along, and for a moment I felt safe.

The Inkosi called the meeting to order and said, “There is someone here who is different to us.” The crowd made a sound that would have curdled a Jedi Knight’s blood… “Wooooh!” As silence eased its way back into three thousand throats, he said, “It is Mthimkhulu (my other local name) and he has a few things to say.”

A few people began to call out the praise names of the Mthimkhulu clan. “Mthimkhulu! Bhungane! Makhulukhulu…!”

He waved me forward to speak, and on boneless legs, I ghosted forward. A cold sweat raced across my skin. My face was pale and my rubbery cheeks did not recognise the touch of my fingers. I was a dead man walking.

People reached out in excitement and touched me as I passed. “Bhungane,” they joyfully called. I nodded, greeted and went to stand beside the Inkosi.

I can’t remember much of what I said that day. I know that I spoke Zulu and I know that I sang out the praises of the Inkosi. I asked the people to allow safe and free passage to the canoeists. My carefully planned speech was cut short by fear and I closed with, “The Inkosi knows all about it. He will tell you more. Thank you Ndabezita. Thank you everybody”.

Some delighted ladies ran out and danced a few steps around me. They giya’d! Jabbing at me with their walking sticks and umbrellas and laughed their way back into the crowd. Someone called out “Viva, Bhungane!” And the delighted crowd responded, “Viva”. That was my very own viva! “Long live me?” I doubted it and received the praise from a very scared place, and weakly acknowledged the crowd.

I headed for the hills. For freedom. It was less than 100 metres to my car. Yet it was a very, very long walk that day. As I passed though the crowd, I could feel all manner of imaginary daggers and spears piercing my flesh. Some people smiled, some queried my name and some just stared. All were respectful. I was safe but I was almost petrified with fear.

Much later as I drove away from the canoeists, I asked myself, “Why, when all the signs showed that I was safe, did I have all the physical and mental signs of an impending violent attack? What was it that made me scared when I was so well protected and looked after?

Why? I am a respected member of this community. I am a “white Zulu”. I contribute to this community. I have attended a multitude of meetings. Why was I so scared today”

As I allowed the questions to filter into me, slowly the answers came.

For the greater part of my life, I had read newspapers, watched TV and listened to the radio. Much of what was represented was the “bad” side of various political groups. I had seen black people rampaging through streets and stadiums.

Much earlier, as a seventeen year old, I had been a conscript in the South African Citizen Force. We were told that we were there to protect our families against terrorism, communism, the “blacks” and the ANC. We were the saviours and “they” were the danger.

Suddenly, it came to me. “I had been programmed at a deep level.”

The programme was so powerful that it overrode all of the circumstances. I had been treated with care and respect. I was recognised and announced by the leader of the area and a huge political party. That leader was and is a peace-maker. The people had sung my praises. They had called out “Viva Bhungane!”

I was totally safe!

But the programme spoke differently. It took over my body and clouded my thoughts and actions. It made me shake with fear. It opened up the flood-gates in my adrenaline gland and my unreasonable and illogical fear destroyed my opportunity to speak and enjoy the moment.

The greatest mind authorities bear witness to the fact that the brain merely needs to imagine something for it to appear real. The very graphic displays of violence on TV and the printed media were mentally real experiences.

It was real to me at the deepest level of my being. “When black people toyi-toyi, chant slogans or gather in masses, they are dangerous.” So no matter how well I was treated, my tainted spirit said, “You are going to die. Right here. Right now!” All of the logical signs were swept way by the “program.”

I began to re-evaluate all of my values and actions against this program. And I was shocked. I wasn’t a white Zulu – I was a big white boy from the city, who upon occasion wore skins and spoke Zulu. Many of my past decisions had been made on the basis of colour, race, religion.

On that day in 1994, I had taken my first steps towards true freedom.

Freedom from politics, religious dogma, racism and xenophobia. On the path to experiencing all people as human beings and respecting them for their uniqueness. It is a long road and a welcome one.

We are all programmed in some way. Anyone who was born in South Africa before 1994, is a victim of Apartheid. Until they recognise their particular programmes they will continue to be so.

Anyone born anywhere in the world where there is pro-us and anti-them propaganda is equally a victim. Until they recognise it.

They should be as lucky,Brian in Mission Rapid - Day 1 Dusi 1992 as I was, to experience one of my programs, at first hand. And to step forward on the road to freedom and humanness.

Brian Moore © 10/12/2002 Durban, South Africa. trainers@africa-dreams.com
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I am a lucky man!

I am a very lucky man!

After a very long time as a very self-sufficient bachelor, a beautiful lady came into my life and in a moment I was married to her. I was notoriously slow and fearful in matters of love. Arthie, bless her active spirit, arranged a birthday party for me on my 45th birthday, bought a ring and on bended knee proposed to me! She then waited for me to set the date for the wedding.

After a brief time she asked me for some time on Valentine’s day – her birthday. I was hoping to take her on a helicopter, a yacht and a train ride on the day. I knew Arthie did not particularly like being up early – so I jokingly said, “Ok. How about 2 hours, between 7 am and 9 am. On the 13th we both participated in a fire walk, once more proving the resilience of our relationship. 
That evening Arthie sent me to the local pub, for a business meeting. Lo and behold, all of my friends were there and I began to put 2 and 2 together! It was my stag party! I felt a an amazing rush of excitement – I was getting married the next day!
We arrived early the next morning, at the beautiful Botanic Gardens. I was guided down to the tranquil bird-filled, tree-lined lake to await my beautiful bride. About 30 members of the family and our friends had gathered to witness our wedding. Arthie had arranged for the ceremony to be officiated by a marriage officer. He in turn had gathered as many hymn books as possible and handed them out to our pre-dominantly Hindi guests. 

My heart skipped a beat as my beautifully smiling bride appeared, flanked by her family. She glided stunningly towards me in her beautiful white wedding gown. Her image was reflected on the walkway in the pools of rainwater, as she stepped into my life and into my spirit. 

The ceremony was incredible and many scenes stand out for me. My mother sang “The best things in life are free.” The marriage officer, as a lay pastor, decided to carry out a full Christian ceremony. He even had our Hindu families and friends singing Christian hymns! I later found out that he was unsure that I would agree to this “surprise” wedding! 

I remember the beautiful birds gliding across the lake and a tiny one-legged bird scrounging for insects as we took our vows. In terms of South African law we had to sign the registration forms under a roof and we all squeezed tightly into a tiny office at the garden’s restaurant to do so. 

4 yr old Lliam & Dad in London

I will always take with me the special love and beauty of my incredible friend, guide and wife – Arthie. She is so much to me and to our little boy Lliam. She is a nurturer and a leader. She is a doer and designer. She is humble, yet she is strong. She is firm and yet she is sensitive. She is loving and forgiving.

 

And on top of all this she is a great daughter and daughter-in-law, a marvellous business person, an excellent sister and friend, a teacher and a listener, a shining star and a forward-focused wunderkind who lives in the now, whilst building her legacy for the future! 

One of the greatest leadership lessons that I have learnt from Arthie is that of standing back. I am a very strong person and often I take over when something needs to be done. My way gets results but no-one learns from it. Arthie takes a different tack, she shares some wisdom and leaves others to do complete the task. In this way the work gets done and someone else grows. A prime example is our son Lliam. 

When he first began to totter around our home, I went onto Daddy standby. The moment he stumbled, I would rush to catch him. My cool and calm guide said, “ He learns by falling. Let him fall.” I struggled against my protecting nature. And now Lliam falls, dusts himself off and carries on at full tilt into his next adventure. When he really hurts himself Arthie is always there for him, but she knows the difference between falling and hurting. 

When Lliam picked up a sharp knife, I nearly had a heart attack and Arthie showed him how to use it. When he made a mess, Arthie bought him a small broom and a mop. “I am not going to raise a man so that I have to clean up after him.” He is now 2 years and 8 months old and is an accomplished sweeper and mopper and even makes his own peanut butter sandwiches! 

Making sandwiches at his age may sound like a great achievement but that is not the half of it. The peanut butter and syrup are on a shelf more than two metres above the ground. The butter is high up in the fridge. Lliam pushes a bar stool to the high places, takes what he needs and makes a perfect sandwich! To top it all he returns each item to it’s rightful place! 

And two weeks ago he suddenly began washing the dishes. He kneels on his bar stool at the sink and washes away quite merrily. He then stacks the clean items in the correct places. This all started by being allowed to experience life without being affected by a bigger person taking over the task or by the unreasonable fears of a parent. “Get down! You will hurt yourself.” or, “Don’t touch that knife! You will cut yourself.” 

Standing back takes a lot of courage and selflessness. It is often selfish to take over when helping people and it takes bravery to allow a child to walk down stairs for the first time! Arthie has taught me that managers create controlled and limited results and that leaders create leaders who create brilliant results.Our little boy is fast becoming a leader who comfortably speaks English and Zulu and greets in 12 languages.

Lliam climbed into his gran’s car recently, released the brake, took it out of gear and  “drove” it down our gently inclined driveway until it came to a stop. Arthie and I arrived at the car at the same time. Arthie gently asked, “What are you doing Lliam?” Our little boy firmly stated, “I drive my car!” And we smiled and kept quiet. 

 Later he told, all who would listen, how he had parked “his” car. Indeed he had! He then asked for the car keys so that he could reverse the car back to where it came from. We didn’t give him the keys. Sometimes a leader understands when his student is just too short to reach the pedals or to see over the dashboard! 

Lliam is also offered choices. If he is doing something that we are not comfortable with he is offered a choice of other activities. Instead of wresting a knife out of his hand he may be offered a ride on his pushbike, or a paintbrush and paper. No attention is drawn to the knife, which he hands over without fuss, as Arthie draws attention to a fun and safe activity. I was raised with a strong focus on what I did wrong. Arthie always focusses our son on good activities and praises him on what he does well. Within 1 week of moving out of the diaper stage, Lliam was getting out of bed saying, “Look mommy, I am dry! Yeah! Yeahhhh!” Within a few weeks he is a “dry” baby, who notifies us when he needs the toilet. Arthie’s praise had created pride and she was rewarded with good behaviour – another great lesson for leaders.

Yes! I am a lucky man. Not only has Arthie helped our child to grow, she does that for everyone, including myself. She has taught me that I can “unite or be right.” A great lesson for those of us who have “all the answers”, or who try to manage every situation. Often when we over control, we lose control and break relationships. She has taught me that very few situations require my input. That I have greater value by allowing people to be and to do.
She is a great speaker and a guiding light in our transformational team-building business, where our focus is on uniting diverse people through their uniquenesses and their actions. She always intuitively knows when to move on to a new process. And if the group needs something special or something different, she knows and makes the change in pace and direction. Arthie is in tune with herself and with people and has saved many failing relationships, with her ability to listen and  gently help people move from being victims to becoming leaders.
She has taught me the value of giving and the sheer freedom in personal forgiveness. She has taught me that humanness far out-weighs “winning”. She has taught me about the power of “us” and the value of family. She has taught me that the world rewards action and not thought.
And she is so incredibly beautiful in every possible way! Yes! I am indeed a very lucky man!
Brian V Moore©
Durban – South Africa. 3 November 2003
Update
I am still a lucky man
Sitting here this morning in September 2006 and reflecting upon where we were, when I wrote the first part of our story makes me smile. 
Our little business was struggling, we owed hundreds of thousands – to banks and suppliers.
In reality we were in deep trouble, financially and our fledgling business was on it knees. The luckiest man in the world was days away from losing his home. And yet I had never felt so lucky! Days after sending out the Lucky Man newsletter, work came pouring in. 
Within 8 months we had cleared our debt. Our business took its first leaps into surrounding countries. We spent time at the beautiful Lake Kariba, – bordering Zambia and Zimbabwe.
And now we are firmly a strongly and international company. Our program – Celebrating Humanity© – changes lives and the world in wonderful and positive ways. Our life’s work will take us to Namibia, Tanzania, Ghana and Mocambique in the near future. And hopefully – the USA and the UK.
But more importantly – Arthie is still a wonderful loving wife and mother, a wonderful friend and an incredible agent for universal transformation.
Lliam is now a wonderful big brother! 
2 yr old Kailash, in Namibia

Young Kailash is 2 months old. He is cute, happy, bubbly and smiley. He is a reflection of his family’s love and contentment. He bubbles with joy when his 5 year old brother burps him, baths him or holds him.

We are now 4. And I am still the luckiest and happiest man in the world. What a wonderful journey life can be, if we simply choose to focus on our happiness.
Brian Moore – September 2006.Update

Kailash, Myself, Lliam & Arthie
On our smallholding – 2010

My beautiful gift Arthie, has delivered 2 beautiful, loving, intelligent and of course naughty boys into our lives. I would not trade any of them for anything!

Young, bright and fun Kailash, is now almost 5 years old and has started school. He bakes with me and cooks with his mother and he is an absolute delight!

Lliam has moved from home school to a public school. He is excelling and is showing his genius at every turn. He too is brilliant in the kitchen and technically. And has upgraded to a vacuum cleaner!

Arthie and I have been married to each other 7 different ways now! Including a Hindu weddng, a Shamanic wedding in the Drakensburg mountains, a Scottish wedding in Gretna Green – in Scotland, a Las Vegas wedding and we retook our vows in a hot air balloon over the Magaliesberg mountains of South Africa.
Our journey has taken us to Namibia, USA, UK, Europe, Zambia and Hong Kong where we have delivered talks, presentations, team building, team conflict resolution and diversity training. Without the wonderful impact of Arthie on my life none of this would have been possible.
I will always be lucky and always be in awe of her incredible care, brilliance, humanness and laughter.
April 2011
Brian MooreThe luckiest man in the World!
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

Celebrating Humanity on Facebook

Contact

Mobile: +27 (0)79 643 4457

Fax: +27 866 746 310

 

 

Brian Moore – Speaker



Brian V Moore, International Speaker and Facilitator Extraordinaire! Brian V Moore, international speaker and facilitator, is the  Managing Director of Celebrating Humanity International (formerly Mthimkhulu International.

He is a Zambian born South African , of Irish descent , brought up in Port Shepstone and adopted by a Zulu Tribe.

He speaks several languages fluently, including English, Zulu and Afrikaans. He currently greets in more than 60 other languages.He received a Community Builder Award from Archbishop Desmond Tutu for his contribution to bringing peace to the once troubled Dusi Canoe Marathon.

Brian is the key founder and co-creator of the Celebrating Humanity Diversity Training, Team Building and Team Conflict Resolution Programmes. His vision, focus and commitment toward Transformational Team Building has transformed lives across the board and instills a new sense of hope for all who attend his courses and presentations. Known traditionally as “Mthimkhulu, or Bhungane”, in the Zulu community, he has lived an incredibly full South African and African life – and is filled with passion for Africa and its peoples.

He is the author of an e-book, titled, “Team Conflict Resolution Strategies”, which is currently used locally and internationally i.e. USA, UK, Australia and South Africa. He has a great depth of knowledge and experience in business, customer care, conflict resolution, communication, cultures, diversity, relationships, traditions and traditional proverbs.

Brian was recently the guest speaker and Chairman of the World Learning Summit in Hong Kong in February 2009. He was also the Business Sponsor and Speaker at the Annual Diversity Conference held in London.

He has spoken and facilitated change with thousands of people in Zambia, Namibia, Swaziland, Hong Kong, Rhode Island – USA, Connecticut – USA and across South Africa.

Brian’s storytelling, ability to involve his audiences and his tremendously human touch will delight, wow and entice multi-diverse audiences to see diversity at a much different and deeper level.

Brian is willing and able to travel anywhere in the World, to enchant your people!

Experience the Magic!