Immigration Through a Circular Lens

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It’s all over the news. Most of the conversations start and end with fear. Britain changed their relationship with the EU on the basis of this fear. Donald Trump is using this fear as the driving force behind his campaign. Countries all over Europe are struggling with conflict at the intersection of policy and humanitarian values.

Is it possible to see the story of immigrants and refugees through a different lens? What would the headlines be if we stopped pushing back in fear and started to embrace humanity? Could we see a shift in the real-life problems that we are currently afraid of? I’m interested to find out how using a circular approach to immigration could lessen the fear and actually create more peace.

Experts around the world have found terrorist organizations recruit from those who don’t feel they belong in their community. People are looking for a place where they will feel a part of something bigger than themselves. Countries are struggling with the fear that immigrants and refugees pose a threat to their citizens’ safety. Governments, who are responsible for this safety, are asking if they accept refugees are they opening their borders to an influx of terrorists.

How about making the shift to see immigrates as citizens instead of “migrants”? Canada has taken the view that immigrants and refugees are here on the path to become citizens, thus including them as one of their own. That is a unique perspective to take in a world where most governments have the migrant view of the “other” coming temporarily until they are able to go back home.

This migrant mentality is the barrier to inclusion and belonging. Indigenous cultures have a practice of welcoming strangers. Including strangers as a part of the community is imbedded in the Canadian culture and has made its way into policy. Circular thinking shows us we can value our differences for the betterment of the community. When people have a sense of community and belonging, they are less likely to be recruited by the same terrorists that created the fear. So, instead of pushing people out because of our fears, let’s pull them in thus eliminating the need to be fearful in the first place.

This shift in thinking is not an easy one. It isn’t one without risk. No one is saying a circular approach will result in zero crime and perfect societies. But living in fear breeds more fear. What we have now is creating more divisions and more problems in the world. How about trying a different way?

Written by:

Michelle Eades

What Do You Get From Complaining and Gossip?

 

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Will Bowen’s 21-Day complaint free challenge has been getting a lot of media attention lately. It made me wonder why people are finding this challenge so challenging. We, as a society, must be getting something out of complaining or it would be much easier to just stop. How does complaining benefit us?

Both complaining and gossip serve the same purpose. They either create or maintain relationships. If you look at the complaints and gossip happening at work, are they being used to create bonds between co-workers? Do the complainers feel united in their cause to expose wrongs or injustices? As Will Bowen explains, complaint filled workplaces can become toxic, unproductive, miserable places to be.

In circular thinking, relationships are at the core of everything. So, looking at complaining through a circular lens, there must be a better way to create and maintain relationships than using destructive, unproductive behaviours. How can organizations build a culture that is based on positive relationship building? Harvard Business Review’s article on Proof that Positive Work Cultures are More Productive, sets out a 4-step model to create a culture where relationships are created and maintained without the need to resort to these negative approaches.

We all know neither a culture nor habits are changed over night. Research shows it takes 21 days to break a habit. (Perfect timing for a challenge.) But when we start relating to each other from a positive approach, we will find we are not only more productive, but we also will discover the authentic relationships we’ve been looking for.

Discussion:

What purposes do complaining and gossip serve in your workplace?

What are some positive approaches to belonging and connecting to colleagues you have found successful?

Written By:

Michelle Eades

Things Change. So Can Your Approach

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Jim Hemerling’s Ted Talk illustrates just how inevitable change is in all aspects of our lives. Its our approach to change that makes all the difference. Personal transformation is seen as an exciting adventure. It motivates people to become better; inspires them to see change as a positive goal.

When organisational change is thrust upon us, we often fear the consequences. Its always easier to accept change when we make the decision to change. But how can organisations continue to run a business and make tough decisions, which often require changes, while creating a culture where change is embraced?

My thought is to change the approach first. Jim Hemerling suggests leaders approach organisational change by putting people first. His five imperatives for putting people first are: inspire through purpose; go all in; give them the tools to succeed;create a culture of continued learning; and have a clear, accountable vision.

Creating a circular thinking work place won’t happen over night. Habits are hard to break. However, when people feel included, wanted, and valued you will be surprised on how fast fear is replaced with trust.

Written by:

Michelle Eades

 

Single Track to Success Reaches for the $1Million Prize

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Glaciers floating on arctic water

UPDATE: Oct. 28, 2016 Single Track to Success was chosen as 1 of 8 finalists for the million dollar Arctic Inspiration Prize. Wishing them continued luck! 

Jane Koepke founded Single Track to Success to be a place where the Yukon’s First Nations youth could find pride in their ancestral land, meaningful employment, along with a sense of well being through trail building and mountain biking. Kim was honoured to be an advisor to the management team getting the project off the ground.

Now they are in the running for the Arctic Inspiration Prize. This is a million dollar prize awarded yearly. The prize is awarded to groups who are putting the unique arctic knowledge to use in their communities. Single Track to Success was nominated for this prestigious award and we couldn’t be more proud of them.

Follow their journey on their Facebook Page and cheer them on with us.

3 Successful Examples of Circular Thinking at Work

When companies place their employees on the top of their priority list, profits follow. These three companies demonstrate how a business culture based on the circular traits of relationships, humanity, happiness, and openness can deliver the linear measurements of success owners seek (profits, bottom line, etc.).

These companies all have one thing in common: They established a culture where people come before profits. The employees they hire feel valued as whole human beings not just machines. This leads to higher commitment, greater loyalty, and increased productivity which ultimately results in a successful business however you define success.

3 Examples of Great Organizational Culture You Can Learn From

Written by:

Michelle Eades

Are you a circular or a linear thinker?

Have you ever been in a conversation and felt like you’ve just been hit by a train?  Or, that the person you are talking to is from another planet, and there might be unicorns and endless time there?  These are extreme cases, but I do sometimes find myself in a discussion IMG_2536where I feel that there are assumptions being made that I don’t agree with or even understand.  It makes it hard to join the discussion.

The root of this disconnect may be that a circular thinker is meeting a linear thinker and they’re not recognizing their difference.  Each of these modes has a set of operating conditions that are intuitively being applied.  When this profound point is not recognized, and people are in different modes, the conversation can go off the rails very quickly.

Here’s a quick quiz to determine your thinking style.  Imagine yourself facing a challenge.  Does column one or column two  feel like the best way to proceed?

Column One                                             Column Two

1. Define the goal                                   1. Gather and welcome everyone affected

2. Develop a strategy                             2. Think about the questions to be asked

3. Make a plan                                       3. Interactively share information

4. Set time lines, costs, tasks                 4. Recognize a pattern, get an idea

5. Activate the plan                                 5. Create a prototype and try it

6. Measure progress                              6. Respond to the information and redesign

Column one is a linear thinking process and column two is circular.  Some of you may have seen yourself more drawn to one mode or the other.  This can be the result of a cultural norm or a personal comfort zone. Scientists often think linearly while artists think circularly; men on average lean towards linear thinking while women are more circular; aboriginal people traditionally think in circles while westerners tend to think linearly.

Possibly you answered “it depends.”  Biologically we are all capable of both styles of thinking and both are highly valuable.

Neuroscience has shown us that there are two fundamental ways we as humans can choose to view the world.  My geology professor, Bob Mason, used to say “there are two kinds of geologists; ones who say this is just like (fill in a deposit name), or ones who say this is nothing like…. The rest are fence sitters, just gathering useless information.”

We are biologically designed to either pull in what we love or push away what is detrimental or a waste of time.  Antonio Damasio‘s research at the University of Southern California found that a huge volume of information reaches our brains every day.  We must attach a love-based or a fear-based emotion to a piece of information for it to become available to us in decision making.  This is why tests are so effective.  We attach a fear based emotion to all the information required to get the grade.  Without the fear it is just a bunch of data.  Another way to learn is to be curious and engaged with the material.  Attaching these love based emotions also embeds information and makes it available for future use.

Fear leads to a linear style of thinking.  It is logical, focused, objective, disciplined, and goal oriented in order to push back against the danger fear has identified for us.  Without this instinct we could not survive.

Circular thinking focuses on pulling in more of what you want.  It is rooted in a drive to be inclusive and transparent – a belief that the answer will come when everyone with an interest is present and a diverse array of thoughts are considered.  It responds to an internal curiosity and subjectively seeks to find what is meaningful and stay aligned with that through a series of course adjustments.  WIthout circular thinking we could not change, feel contentment or develop relationships.

This blog is going to explore how knowing you are applying circular or linear thinking can make a difference to you in big and small ways.