Category Archives: Communication Skills

The Top 10 Things Leaders Should Hear From Their Teammates










All leaders need to get good and consistent verbal feedback from their teammates, but there are what I consider to be the “Golden 10″ pieces of feedback that we really need to be getting to ratify our effectiveness (and our approach to greatness).

Let’s count ‘em down, from the bottom to the top:

10.   “I don’t know, but I’ll find out” – When they trust that you won’t jump down their throats for not knowing an answer.

9.    “I made a mistake”  – When you know you’ve hired teammates that are harder on themselves than you could ever be on them, and trust that you know that nobody’s perfect.

8.    “Can you help me with something?”  – When they feel comfortable enough to ask you to teach them, and not just tell them.

7.    “I’m frustrated and we need to talk”  – When they’ve concluded that the best way to express these kind of emotions is privately, and not in public.

6.    “I have this fantastic idea, do you have a second” – When you know they haven’t stopped dreaming, and feel that no idea is too wild or stupid.

5.    “I look forward to our next team meeting” – When they really see the value of getting the team together and keeping everyone on the same page.

The Rest Here









Center for Plain Language

By CALVIN WOODWARD, Associated Press Thu May 19, 6:47 am ET

WASHINGTON – The federal government is rolling out a new official language of sorts: plain English.

That’s right: Pursuant to regulations promulgated thereunder and commencing in accordance with a statute signed herein by President Barack Obama, the government shall be precluded from writing the pompous gibberish heretofore evidenced, to the extent practicable.

That sentence contains 11 new language no-nos.

Obama signed the Plain Writing Act last fall after decades of effort by a cadre of passionate grammarians in the civil service to jettison the jargon.

It takes full effect in October, when federal agencies must start writing plainly in all new or substantially revised documents produced for the public. The government will still be allowed to write nonsensically to itself.

Ahead then, if the law works, is a culture change for an enterprise that turns out reams of confusing benefit forms, tangled rules and foggy pronouncements. Not to mention a Pentagon brownie recipe that went on for 26 pages about “regulations promulgated thereunder,” “flow rates of thermoplastics by extrusion plastometer” and a commandment that ingredients “shall be examined organoleptically.”

That means look at, smell, touch or taste.

By July, each agency must have a senior official overseeing plain writing, a section of its website devoted to the effort and employee training under way.

“It is important to emphasize that agencies should communicate with the public in a way that is clear, simple, meaningful and jargon-free,” says Cass Sunstein, a White House information and regulation administrator who gave guidance to federal agencies in April on how to implement the law.

Bad writing by the government, he says, discourages people from applying for benefits they should get, makes federal rules hard to follow and wastes money because of all the time spent fixing mistakes and explaining things to a baffled populace.

But can clarity and good grammar be legislated?

Full Article



Federal plain language guidelines:

Center for Plain Language:

Perceptual Diversity?

What in the hell is Perceptual Diversity, and why is Polyphasic Consciousness Necessary for Global Survival?

Read all about it here:

“development will continue to destroy perceptual diversity because it exports the dominant cognitive process of ‘developed’ nations, i.e. monophasic consciousness. Destroying perceptual diversity, in turn, leads to the destruction of cultural diversity and biocomplexity.”

” . . . perceptual diversity, the whole, and the synergistic interrelationship between parts.”

“A growing number of psychologists and anthropologists have become interested in the value of perceptual diversity, seeing the use of multiple perceptual processes as positive rather than pathological.”

“According to Walsh, Western culture is monophasic, that is, its worldview is derived from a single state: the waking state. Walsh adds that in the Western world there is a need to ‘reduce this cultural myopia and to shift society, psychology and other disciplines from monophasic to polyphasic perspectives.'”

” . . . transrational states of consciousness are statistically normal.”


Why Polyphasic Consciousness is Necessary for Global Survival:

. . . when a culture restrains perceptual diversity, that same culture reduces human adaptability, which, in turn, leads to human beings living unsustainably. Unsustainable lifestyles result in ecological destruction, including destruction of biodiversity (or biocomplexity). In a feedback loop, degraded environments offer fewer choices to human beings for adaptability, and a downward spiral commences. If, indeed, perceptual diversity promotes human adaptability and indirectly promotes healthy environments, then perceptual diversity has a practical application in everyday life. Yet the value of perceptual diversity is not acknowledged by international development experts, who insist that only a monophasic worldview is valid. In fact, one of the steps to development is for a culture to jettison its perceptual diversity in favor of a specialized approach based on the scientific method and economic progress. The scientific method only acknowledges monophasic consciousness. The method is a specialized system that focuses on studying small and distinctive parts in isolation, which results in fragmented knowledge.


. . . Systems theory emerged in the mid-twentieth century and takes a different approach from that of
the scientific method.

By contrast, the systems approach attempts to view the world in terms of irreducibly
integrated systems. It focuses attention on the whole, as well as on the complex
interrelationships among its constituent parts. This way of seeing is not an alternative,
but a complement, to the specialized way. It is more all-embracing and comprehensive, incorporating the specialized perspective as one aspect of a general conception (Lazlo and
Krippner 1998:54).

Furthermore, systems theory posits that when studying only the parts of something, one may be missing the value of the whole.

Structurally, a system is a divisible whole, but functionally it is an indivisible unity with
emergent properties. An emergent property is marked by the appearance of novel
characteristics exhibited on the level of the whole ensemble, but not by the components in

There are two important aspects of emergent properties: First, they are lost when the
system breaks down to its components—the property of life, for example, does not
inhere in organs once they are removed from the body. Second, when a component is
removed from the whole, that component itself will lose its emergent properties—a hand
severed from the body, cannot write, nor can a severed eye see.

The notion of emergent properties leads to the concept of synergy, suggesting that, as we
say in everyday language, the system is more than the sum of its parts….(Lazlo and
Krippner 1998:53).

In the same way, I see monophasic consciousness as one part of perceptual diversity—the part based on waking, rational thought and the scientific method. But the entire system of consciousness is far more complex and, in breaking it down and valuing only one of its parts, waking rational consciousness, one loses the value of the whole. I propose that in disavowing polyphasic consciousness (perceptual diversity), we may be losing the emergent properties of polyphasic consciousness. Coming from developed, Western cultures, which highly value monophasic
consciousness and the scientific method, we may not even be aware of what we are losing. And it is altered states of consciousness, which speak through symbols and intuition, such as dreaming,
imagining, and meditating, that often allow us to grasp the whole in a way that the scientific method can never provide.


“Many of these perceptual processes are transrational, altered state of consciousness (meditation, trance, dreams,
imagination) and are not considered valid processes for accessing knowledge by science (which is based primarily upon quantification, reductionism, and the experimental method).”

More examples of perceptual processes that are transrational, altered states of consciousness not considered valid processes for accessing knowledge by science:

rich fantasy lives, intuition, emotion,

Five different categories of induction into altered states of consciousness:

(1) reduction of external stimulation and/or motor activity

(2) increase of external stimulation and/or motor activity and/or emotion

(3) increased alertness or mental awareness

(4) decreased alertness or mental awareness

(5) the presence of somatopsychological factors

Read all about it here:

Campus Icarus


Campus Icarus groups consist of students who see a need on their campus to organize a community committed to expanding the dialogue around student mental health, providing peer support alternatives to school counseling center services, developing activist campaigns, creating art, and engaging in nontraditional academic exploration of “psy”-subjects.

Click for Student Organizing Materials


. . . In the logic of our modern world, whether it’s in the farmer’s field or in the high school classroom, diversity is inefficient and hard to manage. Powerful people figured out awhile time ago that it’s a lot easier to control things if everyone’s eating the same foods, listening to the same music, reading the same books, watching the same TV shows, and speaking the same language. This is what we call the monocult, and while everyone is supposedly more and more connected by this new “global culture,” we’re more and more isolated from each other. Things feel more and more empty, and so many of us end up lonely and rootless, wondering why everything feels so wrong . . .

. . . We believe that people do not belong in grids and boxes of rootless lonely monocultures. Humans are adaptable creatures, and while a lot of people learn to adapt, some of us can’t handle the modern world no matter how many psych drugs or years of school or behavior modification programs we’ve been put through. Any realistic model of mental health has to begin by accepting that there is no standard model for a mind and that none of us are single units designed for convenience and efficiency. No matter how alienated you are by the world around you, no matter how out of step or depressed and disconnected you might feel: you are not alone. Your life is supported by the lives of countless other beings, from the microbes in your eyelashes to the men who paved your street. The world is so much more complicated and beautiful than it appears on the surface.

There are so many of us out here who feel the world with thin skin and heavy hearts, who get called crazy because we’re too full of fire and pain, who know that other worlds exist and aren’t comfortable in this version of reality. We’ve been busting up out of sidewalks and blooming all kind of misfit flowers for as long as people have been walking on this Earth. So many of us have access to secret layers of consciousness — you could think of us like dandelion roots that gather minerals from hidden layers of the soil that other plants don’t reach. If we’re lucky we share them with everyone on the surface – because we feel things stronger than the other people around us, a lot of us have visions about how things could be different, why they need to be different, and it’s painful to keep them silent. Sometimes we get called sick and sometimes we get called sacred, but no matter how they name us we are a vital part of making this planet whole.

from the Local Group organizing manual

Changing Education Paradigms