Tag Archives: management

The Pamela Positive: “UnConference Room” Your Meeting with a Peaceful Banyan Tree

Benefits-of-Banyan-tree.jpg

There are many images that come to mind when we think of Asia, from dragons to beautiful beaches, spanning varied cultures. One of my favorite views is that of the banyan tree, for it must be strongly grounded in the earth, which also allows its larger branches and leaves to provide overreaching shade.

It was under a banyan tree where the Buddha felt his calling to a new level of enlightenment.  Under these same trees, Gujarati businessmen hold their meetings.  It is even used as a place for political meetings: recently in Malaysia, the state assembly met underneath the welcome atmosphere of the banyan tree.  So, for much of Asia, spirituality, entrepreneurship, politics are taking place in the outdoors.

The banyan tree represents solidity, rootedness, and strength.  At the same time, it also represents comfort, shade and welcome.  It is a source of power, balanced with peace.  It represents firmness, as well as welcome.

Is America’s Banyan Tree the Conference Room?

It is interesting how in America, and in many places across the world, most of our meetings take place in walled, sterile conference rooms.  Chairs are uniformly around the table.  The walls are usually plastered with notices about the company’s achievements.  Pens and pads are available so we can write and record and get our business done. Gosh darn it, I can hear the executives say, in this room we’re going to get to the solution, get down to business and ‘make it happen.’

Yet what if we looked at doing all of our business, or even holding all of our meetings, under a banyan tree?  This return to nature might help conversations flow more easily.

Perhaps this atmosphere would allow us to be more authentic. If we are surrounded by nature’s occasional stirring winds, visionary clouds floating across the sky, and brilliant beckoning sun, would we not also settle into a more authentic course of conversation? Could it lead to more natural, comfortable (and no less impactful, but rather moreso) solutions?   Within this reframing context of nature, we can discuss our goals and hopes and plans and perhaps achieve even greater goals.

Here’s a thought… We can replace the pen, paper and busy scribbling of notes, with more eye contact.  We supplant the flurried white board scrawls with more thoughtful listening. What a profound impact this has to have on any business relationship, business decision, and especially, with any personal matter.

Until we can “Unconference Room” your meeting space, perhaps we can imagine all of our conversations thoughtfully taking place under a Banyan tree.  A place where comfort, understanding, and right relationships result under its strong, rooted and peaceful presence.

******************

The banyan tree originally received its name from the merchants who gathered beneath it to do business; in the Gujarati language, “banya” means “merchant/grocer.” Western visitors to India observed the merchants meeting beneath the tree, and the name evolved to refer to the tree itself.  The banyan trees are given great symbolism in both Hinduism and Buddhism. Banyan trees can grow to cover hundreds of feet, and live for over a thousand years.

The Classic Pamela Positive: Tell Your Team They Are Great and DON’T Give Them Anything To Do

photo-1465711403138-162e171bb7e4

One of the most powerful things you can do to recognize someone on your team is to call them, thank them and say “You’re doing a wonderful job today, and I wanted to thank you. That’s it. I just wanted you to know, and for you to take the time to recognize it. Please know how much I appreciate your consistent work and positive attitude.”  Do not add on a ‘to do.’ I know that’s tempting, for we as CEOs have a lot we want to accomplish!  But just let the conversation rest in genuine appreciation. It’s one of the best ways you can thank someone — without agenda.

The Pamela Positive: “UnConference Room” Your Meeting with a Peaceful Banyan Tree

Benefits-of-Banyan-tree.jpg

There are many images that come to mind when we think of Asia, from dragons to beautiful beaches, spanning varied cultures. One of my favorite views is that of the banyan tree, for it must be strongly grounded in the earth, which also allows its larger branches and leaves to provide overreaching shade.

It was under a banyan tree where the Buddha felt his calling to a new level of enlightenment.  Under these same trees, Gujarati businessmen hold their meetings.  It is even used as a place for political meetings: recently in Malaysia, the state assembly met underneath the welcome atmosphere of the banyan tree.  So, for much of Asia, spirituality, entrepreneurship, politics are taking place in the outdoors.

The banyan tree represents solidity, rootedness, and strength.  At the same time, it also represents comfort, shade and welcome.  It is a source of power, balanced with peace.  It represents firmness, as well as welcome.

Is America’s Banyan Tree the Conference Room?

It is interesting how in America, and in many places across the world, most of our meetings take place in walled, sterile conference rooms.  Chairs are uniformly around the table.  The walls are usually plastered with notices about the company’s achievements.  Pens and pads are available so we can write and record and get our business done. Gosh darn it, I can hear the executives say, in this room we’re going to get to the solution, get down to business and ‘make it happen.’

Yet what if we looked at doing all of our business, or even holding all of our meetings, under a banyan tree?  This return to nature might help conversations flow more easily.

Perhaps this atmosphere would allow us to be more authentic. If we are surrounded by nature’s occasional stirring winds, visionary clouds floating across the sky, and brilliant beckoning sun, would we not also settle into a more authentic course of conversation? Could it lead to more natural, comfortable (and no less impactful, but rather moreso) solutions?   Within this reframing context of nature, we can discuss our goals and hopes and plans and perhaps achieve even greater goals.

Here’s a thought… We can replace the pen, paper and busy scribbling of notes, with more eye contact.  We supplant the flurried white board scrawls with more thoughtful listening. What a profound impact this has to have on any business relationship, business decision, and especially, with any personal matter.

Until we can “Unconference Room” your meeting space, perhaps we can imagine all of our conversations thoughtfully taking place under a Banyan tree.  A place where comfort, understanding, and right relationships result under its strong, rooted and peaceful presence.

******************

The banyan tree originally received its name from the merchants who gathered beneath it to do business; in the Gujarati language, “banya” means “merchant/grocer.” Western visitors to India observed the merchants meeting beneath the tree, and the name evolved to refer to the tree itself.  The banyan trees are given great symbolism in both Hinduism and Buddhism. Banyan trees can grow to cover hundreds of feet, and live for over a thousand years.

The Classic Pamela Positive: “You Have to Be Able to Tell People ‘Great Job’ on Things That Didn’t Work”

Blog4

“You have to be able to tell people ‘great job’ on things that didn’t work.”

— J. Kermit Campbell, former CEO of Herman Miller

Get inspired by an audio version of this blog!

Campbell has it right.  A CEO is not an expert except in one area: getting the right people. Actually, let’s add another area: values. You must be a leader who gets the best people and demonstrates the highest values.

Even if you are a manager, you should still think this way. Empower your people to learn and maintain a domain of expertise. Hopefully, you can hire them with it. If you can’t, make sure they have the rapid capability to do so.  Let’s learn from Campbell’s advice to us:

“I don’t believe that my job is to lead design at Herman Miller.  My job is to make sure we have great design leaders, continue to listen and try to learn from them…My job is not to be a creative guy, my job is to create a culture that allows and promotes creativity…

You’re going to have to take risks. It’s not all going to work.

You have to be able to tell people ‘great job’ on things that didn’t work.”

J. Kermit Campbell is a former CEO of Herman Miller, and the current Lead Independent Director of SPX Corporation.  He is an investor or board member for a number of companies and charitable organizations.  Herman Miller is a leading furniture company, founded by D. J. DePree, with a more than 100-year history.  They focus on innovation, and designing products to create a better world.

The Pamela Positive: “I want the whole person.” – D. J. DePree, founder of Herman Miller

“Henry Ford said, ‘bring us your hands, and you can leave everything else at home.’  D.J. rejected that idea and said completely the opposite: ‘I want all of you here.  I want the whole person.'”

 – J. Kermit Campbell, Former CEO of Herman Miller

 

Campbell continues, “If I can have 5,000 or 6,000 people who are passionate about what they do…solving problems and finding solutions to our customers’ problems, I’m going to be much better off than if I leave that to 10% of that population, who tell the other people what to do.  It’s like a sports team: you can have one or two guys who play well, but if you can get 50 guys on a team all playing at a very high level, you’re very tough to beat.  That’s always been our philosophy.”

D. J. DePree (1891–1990) began work as a clerk for the Michigan Star Furniture Company.  In 1914 he married Nellie Miller; they had seven children.  In 1923, D. J. bought the Michigan Star Furniture Company with help from a loan from his father-in-law.  D. J. renamed the company “Herman Miller” in his honor.  D. J. was CEO until 1961; after he stepped down, his two sons took over management of the company.  D. J. was also lay pastor of Ventura Baptist Church for eleven years.

The Pamela Positive: “UnConference Room” Your Meeting with a Peaceful Banyan Tree

Benefits-of-Banyan-tree.jpg

There are many images that come to mind when we think of Asia, from dragons to beautiful beaches, spanning varied cultures. One of my favorite views is that of the banyan tree, for it must be strongly grounded in the earth, which also allows its larger branches and leaves to provide overreaching shade.

It was under a banyan tree where the Buddha felt his calling to a new level of enlightenment.  Under these same trees, Gujarati businessmen hold their meetings.  It is even used as a place for political meetings: recently in Malaysia, the state assembly met underneath the welcome atmosphere of the banyan tree.  So, for much of Asia, spirituality, entrepreneurship, politics are taking place in the outdoors.

The banyan tree represents solidity, rootedness, and strength.  At the same time, it also represents comfort, shade and welcome.  It is a source of power, balanced with peace.  It represents firmness, as well as welcome.

Is America’s Banyan Tree the Conference Room?

It is interesting how in America, and in many places across the world, most of our meetings take place in walled, sterile conference rooms.  Chairs are uniformly around the table.  The walls are usually plastered with notices about the company’s achievements.  Pens and pads are available so we can write and record and get our business done. Gosh darn it, I can hear the executives say, in this room we’re going to get to the solution, get down to business and ‘make it happen.’

Yet what if we looked at doing all of our business, or even holding all of our meetings, under a banyan tree?  This return to nature might help conversations flow more easily.

Perhaps this atmosphere would allow us to be more authentic. If we are surrounded by nature’s occasional stirring winds, visionary clouds floating across the sky, and brilliant beckoning sun, would we not also settle into a more authentic course of conversation? Could it lead to more natural, comfortable (and no less impactful, but rather moreso) solutions?   Within this reframing context of nature, we can discuss our goals and hopes and plans and perhaps achieve even greater goals.

Here’s a thought… We can replace the pen, paper and busy scribbling of notes, with more eye contact.  We supplant the flurried white board scrawls with more thoughtful listening. What a profound impact this has to have on any business relationship, business decision, and especially, with any personal matter.

Until we can “Unconference Room” your meeting space, perhaps we can imagine all of our conversations thoughtfully taking place under a Banyan tree.  A place where comfort, understanding, and right relationships result under its strong, rooted and peaceful presence.

******************

The banyan tree originally received its name from the merchants who gathered beneath it to do business; in the Gujarati language, “banya” means “merchant/grocer.” Western visitors to India observed the merchants meeting beneath the tree, and the name evolved to refer to the tree itself.  The banyan trees are given great symbolism in both Hinduism and Buddhism. Banyan trees can grow to cover hundreds of feet, and live for over a thousand years.

The Classic Pamela Positive: Tell Your Team They Are Great and DON’T Give Them Anything To Do

photo-1465711403138-162e171bb7e4

One of the most powerful things you can do to recognize someone on your team is to call them, thank them and say “You’re doing a wonderful job today, and I wanted to thank you. That’s it. I just wanted you to know, and for you to take the time to recognize it. Please know how much I appreciate your consistent work and positive attitude.”  Do not add on a ‘to do.’ I know that’s tempting, for we as CEOs have a lot we want to accomplish!  But just let the conversation rest in genuine appreciation. It’s one of the best ways you can thank someone — without agenda.