PLATEAU - a positive perspective
Last week I met with two friends - one old and one new. The old friend was focused on standing his ground; pushing down roots to create a prosperous future for his family in this special place.
As for me, I am like the water moving to where it needs to go. That is, I have travelled far and wide, but keep coming back to this place, seeking reasons to stay. Perhaps I am more like those migratory birds, going far, but always returning home. It is a seasonal thing.
Coming home by road, I always know home is close when I see the welcoming silhouette of Table Cape, with its protective arm sheltering my hometown. I love the changing patterns of light reflecting on water.
Coming home by a Rex flight to the airport based in my hometown, I fly over the Cape. I think the pilot deliberately swoops us over this scenic path then circles to gently glide to land on our tiny airstrip. The rich chocolate soil is home for opium poppies, pyrethrum daisies and tulips. Even on a cloudy day, it expresses Joy. Prosperity. Tranquillity. Home. The place where I want to be.
My new friend talked about being on a plateau. We tend to think of this as a 'levelling off', 'a stalling'. Perhaps we think the upward rise has ended...now it is a rollercoaster ride or a steep decline.
What if we think of it as a time to reflect, to dream, to expand our horizons?
From a plateau, like Table Cape, we can see sky and water, and plains and mountains. It is a place to rest, to renew, to re-energise.
When we choose to get off a 'fast' track, to explore a different set of opportunities, to develop a new map of possibilities, the plateau...the middle ground...is a great place to be.
IMAGES - my pix of Table Cape, Wynyard, northwest Tasmania, Looking up, from Fossil Bluff Beach(above), and looking across the tulip farm to the Cape lighthouse (below).
Last year President Xi and Peng Liyuan visited Tasmania. President Xi has called for people-to-people exchanges to develop collaborative relationships across country boundaries.
I had the chance to lead 10 young women from Sun Yat-sen University's School of Tourism, China to Singapore, Bali and Lombok- Indonesia for 16 days in July. For many, it was their first overseas trip. This field trip, as evidenced by student learning portfolios, wechat uploads and pair visual presentations, has developed ‘intelligent tourist behaviour awareness’ (as outlined by Prof Philip Pearce keynote speech #3, IGU Tropical Tourism Outlook Conference, Lombok island July 2015), developed intercultural awareness and communication skills across linguistic-cultural boundaries, as well as enhanced design and planning awareness for events, tourism and hospitality management.
The ten students did an outstanding job as volunteer members of the tropical tourism conference organising committee, and are authentic ambassadors of STM, and of China. Everywhere we went, people looked, smiled, engaged in conversation and were so impressed by their model behaviour, that is professional, but able to mix confidently- share, laugh, sing, dance and develop friendships, especially with their counterparts at UNRAM in Lombok.
At their first meeting, all the students, both Chinese and Indonesian, were anxious: how will we communicate? What will they think of me?
In a very short time, they were sharing national songs, jokes, dancing and sharing social media contact details.
Presidents Xi and Widodo both have recommended people-to-people exchanges between China-Indonesia to promote mutual understanding, friendships and professional collaboration- these ten students are an exemplary case to highlight the benefits of such exchanges, and I am sure friendships will be maintained in the long term, as students on both sides overcame initial shyness and are now facebook and wechat buddies.
What powerful partnerships will emerge from these exchanges?
Hello to all our friends in, and from China! And also from Indonesia!
This month, Peta Credlin, lost her job as Chief of Staff to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, when he was ousted by his Liberal party colleagues, and Malcolm Turnbull assumed the role as Australia’s newest Prime Minister. Credlin was still named by The Australian Women’s Weekly as Australia’s most powerful woman. In her speech at the award ceremony, Credlin stated ‘If I was a guy, I wouldn’t be bossy, I’d be strong. If I was a guy I wouldn’t be a micromanager, I’d be across my brief.’
By drawing attention to her assumed perception about gender differences, Credlin is further turning the knife on herself. As Janet Albrechtsen writes, ‘Credlin was a toxic blockage to the PM’s office’ (the Australian, 26-27 September 2015, p.17). This was partially the cause that ignited the dramatic mood swings of Liberal party members from disappointment and frustration to anger that resulted in the shift of loyalty to a new leader.
Leadership is about action. About getting things done through people. It isn’t about ‘power over’ others. It isn’t about aggressive manipulation and bullying – by men or women. It isn’t about grandstanding and who can make the funniest or most outrageous quip in Twitterland.
It is about relationships. Building relationships through influence
and collaborative projects, just as Senator Marise Payne has been quietly and calmly doing in relation to Defence over many years, and is deserving of her new responsibility as Defence Minister.
First and foremost, leadership starts with self. Through understanding self and enhanced awareness of Emotional Intelligence, you can improve interaction with others. There are a plethora of courses now available about leadership from short courses to postgraduate tertiary courses. However, having intellectual knowledge of a set of tools with the idea that ‘leadership can be learned’ is only part of the story.
Are you willing and able to make the transformational personal shift in attitude and behaviour to emerge as the best of leaders?
In the Tao te Ching (Lao Tzu), XV11:
‘The best of all rulers is but a shadowy presence to his subjects.
Next comes the ruler they love and praise;
Next comes one they fear;
Last comes one they treat with impertinence.
Only when there is not enough faith is there a lack of faith.
Hesitant, he does not utter words lightly.
When his task is accomplished and his work done
The people will say, ‘It happened to us naturally.’
Today we could say ‘her’, as well as ‘his’.
To find out more about Personal Leadership skills development specialised workshops and programs, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a gentle provocateur of positive change,