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Team Effectiveness, Brexit and Theresa May

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Team Effectiveness, Brexit and Theresa May

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This blog is a guest post by Simon Mac Rory as a companion to the November, 27 Voice America interview where he talks about his latest book, Wake-up and Smell the Coffee: An Imperative for Teams.

While writing my recent book “Wake up and smell the coffee – the imperative of teams” all around me was the Brexit discussion. I could not pick up a news feed and not see something on the negotiations in terms of the UK position, the EU position and the Irish question. I must admit, despite a keen interest in the outcome, both as business person and an EU/Irish national living in the UK, I remain in a confused state as to what is happening. I cannot make head nor tail of the UK position!

Observing the UK Brexit team and the confused narrative that emerges, I got to wondering how effective are they as a team? Do they have the capability for success? Brexit is such a critical issue for the UK overall and can even be viewed as the greatest existential threat to the UK since World War II, if the negotiations are not a success.

To be effective there are a number of critical issues that teams need to address. If they can improve on these through their own efforts, they can drive their overall effectiveness substantially. I define team effectiveness as – “The ability of a work team to be successful and produce the intended results. For the team, success is achieving the results, but effectiveness is about capability for success.”

I have attempted to map the Brexit team to the factors and criteria for an effective team. These are my views and generated as a distant observer (as I can only be). What do others think – does Theresa May and her Brexit team have the capabilities for success? The model I use is displayed below and is comprised of six factors. Each factor in turn contains two criteria that impact team effectiveness. In the table that follows I have given a brief definition of each criteria and my opinion of the Brexit team in relation to same.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a reader of this blog and listener to the interviews, please consider enrolling in one of the innovative leadership online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching through our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

About the Author

Simon Mac Rory is a specialist in team development. He works with senior staff leaders to help them discover that edge to becoming a truly high performing team. Over his 30-year career he has worked globally with a blue-chip client base in both the private and public sectors.

He founded The ODD Company in 2011 to deliver TDP (a cloud-based team development tool and methodology) to the international markets. Simon
operates the business from London with a Dublin-based development and support office.

Simon received a doctoral degree for his work on the application of generic frameworks in organizational development and is a Visiting Research Fellow at Nottingham Business School.

Follow Simon on Twitter @SimomMacRory

Leadership Trends to Watch for 2019 and Beyond

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Leadership Trends to Watch for 2019 and Beyond

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With 2018 coming to a close, many of us are looking to 2019 and beyond. This article was originally published on Forbes.com in August 2018 summarizing the trends that emerged from the last 100 interviews conducted on Voice America Radio, Innovative Leaders Driving Thriving Organizations interview series.  It is the companion to an interview between Christopher Washington, PhD and Maureen Metcalf Top Leadership Trends in 2018 and beyond.

I host a weekly radio show that helps leaders update how they lead. The interviews are with key business leaders, global leaders, thought leaders, authors and academics. Each year, I publish the main themes we discuss on the show as well as in my consulting work with senior executives around the world.

I have now completed more than 150 interviews, and volatility was a recurring theme. This article is a synthesis of what we can take away as key factors for leaders and executives to focus on for the next four years.

1. Leaders must pay attention to trends and predictions.

As the rate of change accelerates, if you take a “wait and see” stance, you will be caught unprepared. The intersection of volatility, changes in technology and global interconnection means there are threats and opportunities on all fronts and a large pool of organizations poised to leverage both. Speed continues to matter.

2. Leaders and their organizations are becoming agiler.

A McKinsey survey of more than 2,500 organizations of different sizes, specialties and regions reported that “37 percent of respondents said their organizations are carrying out company-wide agile transformations, and another 4 percent said their companies have fully implemented such transformations. The shift is driven by proof that small, multidisciplinary teams of agile organizations can respond swiftly and promptly to rapidly changing market opportunities and customer demands.”

As leaders, it’s important to adopt a nimble mindset and culture. Being nimble means paying attention to trends and identifying small “experiments” you can run to keep up with or even ahead of the changes happening around you. Once you are clear about what will work for you and how it will work, pilot that change. Truly agile companies are always experimenting.

3. Organizations and their people must accelerate their pace of learning.

With an increase in agility, people and organizations will need to accelerate learning. In 1978, Harvard Business School Professor Emeritus Chris Argyris wrote Organizational Learning: A Theory of Action Perspective. This work continues to evolve and increase in importance, as learning provides a competitive advantage.

Take, for example, how organizations are automating more work. Employees who continue to learn and update their skills will be able to find new roles, while others who are not continually learning will be left unemployed or underemployed as their roles diminish.

4. Age range in the workforce will continue to expand.

As life expectancy continues to increase, many people will want to and need to work longer. Organizations will need to find ways to attract and engage older workers. They will also need to address the dynamics created when multiple generations of employees are working together on the same team.

With the decrease of age-based seniority, leadership will be taken by the best person for the role and will likely shift frequently in an agile environment. Organizations need to be creative in promoting engagement and teamwork across multiple generations.

5. Leaders need to identify and build talent at an increasing rate.

As technology evolves and organizations change more quickly, employees need to learn faster, and organizations need to identify workers to fill changing talent needs. Some of these needs will fall in the technology space, but not all.

We referenced older employees remaining in the workforce and returning. We also need to find ways to engage talent who have been previously overlooked. This could mean people leaving incarceration, people with disabilities who would, in fact, be great fits for certain roles, or adults who work from home because they are caregivers to their children or parents, to name a few.

6. Employee engagement will continue to be important in volatile times.

The importance of human interaction will continue to increase even as more of the workforce is working remotely – many rarely, if ever, meeting their colleagues. Leaders and organizations need to focus on soft skills such as emotional intelligence that have a strong impact on engagement and the effort employees put into communicating.

7. Communities must come together to solve quality-of-life and economic issues.

With the level of change, segments of the economy can easily be excluded from the workforce. The gap between economic haves (those with education, access and resources) and have-nots can increase, and the cost can be significant for the individuals, families and businesses impacted by a worker shortage.

Successful regions create organizations to tackle these challenges. This means organizations that traditionally compete for resources and clients also need to work together to solve challenges that impact them.

8. Effective leaders are conscious of their impact across a broad range of factors and stakeholders.

As we talk about conscious capitalism, the main idea is that “conscious” organizations tend to the health of a broad range of stakeholders. It becomes increasingly important to pay attention to the needs of competing stakeholders and balance these demands. Conscious capitalism is one mechanism that helps leaders explore the broader range of stakeholders and understand their drivers.

Business is getting more complicated and requires leaders to continually update their skills as well as their mindset and focus. This article summarizes some of my key learnings.

As a leader, are you seeing similar trends? What’s missing? What are you doing to prepare yourself and your organization to succeed during the next four years?

As a reader of this blog and listener to the interviews, please consider enrolling in one of the innovative leadership online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching through our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

Maureen Metcalf, CEO of Metcalf & Associates is a renowned executive advisor, author, speaker, coach and consultant.

Octonauts, Season Two: Whether You Love The Ocean Or Not, This Is Filled With Information In A Fun Way!

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Octonauts, Season Two: Whether You Love The Ocean Or Not, This Is Filled With Information In A Fun Way!

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Dive into adventure with your favorite underwater explorers, the Octonauts! Join brave Captain Barnacles, daredevil ex-pirate, Kwazii, medic Peso Penguin and the rest of the crew, as they explore the world s oceans, rescue the creatures who live there and protect their habitats – above and below the waves!<p>Based on the richly imaginative books by Meomi, this series combines immersive visuals and ‘submersive’ humor to transport young children into a world that is both real and fantastic, full of mysteries to unravel and surprises around every corner.<p>In this season set, encounter all types of creatures from the Great White Shark to Lionfish and more! The adventures don’t end there! Embark on an Amazon adventure with the Octonauts as they travel down the Amazon River in search of a lost city and Kwazii’s long lost grandfather, Calico Jack! So come aboard the Octopod for 24 exciting missions! Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10 comments, “The show is based on American-Canadian children’s books by Meomi Design Inc., which make it ideal for young kids! The series is very entertaining and educational. It contains lots of information and if you love the ocean, I definitely recommend this series.” Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Adult reviewer adds, “. One of my favorite things is how, at the end of each show, they give facts about sea animals such as the Great White Shark and Sea Snakes.” See their full reviews below.

Octonauts: Season Two
By Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Octonauts: Season Two is a very cute children’s television series animated in Ireland and voiced by British actors. The show is based on American-Canadian children’s books by Meomi Design Inc., which make it ideal for young kids! The series is very entertaining and educational. It contains lots of information and if you love the ocean, I definitely recommend this series.

You don’t need to watch Season One to understand Season Two. From the very first episode, you are immersed in a colorful underworld, discovering the adventures of the very likable characters. The intrepid Octonauts travel in nautical space ships and the Octopod and will remind parents of Star Trek and the expeditions of French oceanographer Jacques Cousteau. I like that they work as a team and how they respect each other. Each character brings something different; they have different specialties and each one is unique.

My favorite characters are Peso, the penguin and Barnabas the polar bear captain which I found very classy. But, all six adventurers are fun to watch – Kawazii (the cat), Inkling (the Dumbo octopus), Shellington (the sea otter), Tweak (the rabbit), Dash (the dog) and Tunip (half animal, half vegetable). They are not only adorable, but it is easy to relate to them. They all have different accents and, by the sound of their voices, they are different ages too.<p>Everything is very interesting in this show. Each episode follows a different mission where you learn fascinating information about the ocean and marine life in a very fun manner. Each episode is based on one particular sea creature or animal and the Octonauts not only explore the ocean but also protect their habitat. The technology in the series is imaginary, but the creatures are based on real ones.

The show’s color palette is beautiful with lots of light blues and greens. It’s quite refreshing and calms you down, which I think is ideal for little ones. I really like the animation, especially the graphic transitions at the end of each episode as it gives a recap (Creature Reports) to the episode and additional information about each animal.  Each episode is also focused on a particular conflict or problem, but you can enjoy them individually since there’s no sequence between them.

Season Two comes with two discs, with 12 episodes each and 12 Creature Reports, which are music videos about the animals featured in that episode. This gives a nice recap on that segment. The message series is “explore, rescue, protect.” There’s a whole ocean out there to discover, but we have to care and preserve our nature for future generations and ourselves. <p>I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 8, but parents watching with their little ones will enjoy as well. It’s available on DVD now, so look for it. Reviewed by Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Octonauts, Season 2
By Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer

It’s the Octonauts to the rescue! Well, they actually do more than just rescue, but I really enjoyed the rescue. They also explore and protect and I can add another one – they educate young children.  The characters are extremely likable and engaging. There are so many different adventures in this season’s collection. I especially enjoyed the one about the Great White Shark which the group needed to rescue and at the same time had to be very careful so they didn’t end up as the Great White Shark’s lunch! The underwater scenes are fun to watch. The dialogue is creative. I highly recommend this for ages 3 through 7. One of my favorite ethings is how, at the end of each show, they give facts about sea animals such as the Great White Shark and Sea Snakes. I give this 4 stars out of 5 stars for its entertainment and educational aspects.  Reviewed by Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

Once Upon a Deadpool * Action-Packed, Draped With The Famous Parody Of The Original

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Once Upon a Deadpool * Action-Packed, Draped With The Famous Parody Of The Original

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“Fox has been asking for a PG-13 basically since the start in 2006,” Ryan Reynolds told Deadline. “I’ve said no since 2006. Now, this one time, I said ‘Yes’ on two conditions. First, a portion of the proceeds had to go to charity. Second, I wanted to kidnap Fred Savage. The second condition took some explaining…”Fred Savage will join Reynolds in new scenes for Once Upon A Deadpool in an homage to Savage’s starring role in the 1987 bedtime-story classic The Princess Bride. Fred remarked, “while my participation in this film was anything but voluntary, I am happy to learn that Fudge Cancer will be the beneficiary of this shameless cash grab.” KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry O. comments, “Similar to the original film, the story is action-packed with some romance and drama, but always draped with the famous parody feel that creates an entertaining and comedic atmosphere.” See his full review below.

Once Upon a Deadpool

By Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 16

https://youtu.be/F-rKT9s92Po

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Deadpool had much attention recently for its fame of being highly mature, but at the same time incredibly entertaining. Once Upon a Deadpool attempts to break that by releasing a PG-13 cut of Deadpool 2 and, while it will make the audience laugh as much as the previous version, it fails to expand the Deadpool audience to younger viewers.Similar to the original film, the story is action-packed with some romance and drama, but always draped with the famous parody feel that creates an entertaining and comedic atmosphere.Once Upon a Deadpool follows the previous film with Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) losing the love of his life, leading to him trying to find ways to stop his grief, eventually ending up with Deadpool trying to save a young mutant boy from becoming a cruel murderer and on the way making a new family. In the PG-13 edition, the entire story is told by Deadpool to Fred Savage as a bedtime story, similar to the style of Princess Bride. While this doesn’t truly affect the main plot a lot, the twist leads to much laughter and many comedic moments.

 

Once Upon a Deadpool delivers the same chaotic, dark and highly mature atmosphere that the previous film did and, despite being marketed as a PG-13 film, it still has the same amount of lewdness and foul language, even if the material merely gets hinted at instead of blatantly shown. While this does technically makes it a less severe rating, the re-cut is far from a family film that everyone can enjoy. Also, at times, the re-cut rearranges scenes and shots very uniquely to avoid showing anything mature. Mostly this works to tell the story, but at times it feels forced, as if the editor had to construct a film from sticks instead of clips, with awkward cuts and sequences.Aside from this, the film achieves high praise overall. The new cast and old cast hold a great quality in their performances, despite being in many ways a parody film. Of course, being a superhero action, good VFX holds a huge role in the end product. While the CGI throughout has less quality than what you’d see in an Avengers’ film, it still mostly looks realistic and could convince anybody that what they see on screen is real.

Some of the funniest scenes come from the method that the film tells its story by having Deadpool read it to Fred Savage as a bedtime story. Most of the scenes breaks the fourth wall and are filled with self-mocking and sarcasm, which makes each time that the two are shown on camera together enjoyable. Savage and Reynolds’ on-screen chemistry works perfectly and the conversations and scenes flow smoothly, adding to the enjoyment as the comedy feels natural and real.Despite being rated PG-13, Once Upon a Deadpool fails to actually expand to the target audience. I recommend this for ages 15 to 18, as well as adults. Parents should be warned that, while the film meets the national standard for a PG-13 rating, many adult-oriented elements are still referenced heavily, making it very mature in many ways. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars for excellent acting and comedy, but lacking in an interesting and unpredictable story and having a strange flow at times due to the numerous edits necessary to achieve the lower rating. This film opens in theaters December 12, 2018 so, check it out.

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Photos ©Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.

The Snowman * A Holiday Classic Unlike Any Other!

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The Snowman * A Holiday Classic Unlike Any Other!

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One crisp, winter morning, a young boy wakes up to find a thick blanket of snow has covered the ground as far as the eye can see. Filled with excitement, the boy decides to build a snowman using a tangerine for his nose, coal for his buttons and eyes, and tops him off with a hat and scarf. Later that night, at the stroke of midnight, the snowman comes to life! The young boy and the snowman embark on a magical adventure of discovery where the snowman explores the young boy’s world and in return he takes him flying to his home in the North Pole. Upon arriving at the North Pole, the two join a party as the guests of honor to a very special person. Based on Raymond Briggs book, The Snowman is a family classic for generations to enjoy. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Clayton P. comments, “…directed by Dianne Jackson and produced by John Coates. This extravagant film has a little touch of magic which will keep you on your toes with excitement.” Eden T. adds, “This heartwarming film about the winter season never ceases to amaze me. It reminds me of myself during the holidays.” Morgan B. wraps it up with, “I love that this film has no words is both beautifully illustrated with animated images. The orchestra for the original film is Sinfonia of London. Their performance is stunning.” See their full reviews below.

The Snowman

By Clayton P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
https://youtu.be/x-ONxIpcmLA

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The Snowman is a masterpiece that will bring families closer together for the holidays. The film is based on the classic UK picture book by Raymond Briggs, which has sold more than 8.5 million copies since it was first published in 1978.In The Snowman, a young boy James wakes up one morning and finds snow on the ground. He quickly gets dressed and runs outside. He then builds a huge snowman. He gives it eyes, a nose, a scarf and a hat. He even gives it a big smiley face. After building the entire snowman by himself, it is time for James to go to bed. When he wakes up he notices that the Snowman has moved a little, so he runs downstairs and out the door. He then notices that the Snowman is glowing, moves some more and then, totally comes to life. James is flabbergasted to see a live Snowman. The Snowman and James introduce themselves and become great friends. The rest the film shows the two flying around having so much fun and adventure throughout the day.

   The Snowman book was adapted for the screen in 1982 and earned a nomination for an Academy Award for best animated short film.  The animation of the drawings is just amazing, bringing to life so many memories from the days of movie shorts. There is no dialogue, which makes it even more beautiful and somewhat old-fashioned.  The music by Howard Blake, Peter Auty and the Sinfonia of London is amazing. It fits perfectly with everything the boy and the snowman are doing.  Each song tells a story, with each pluck of a string or push of a piano key. The songs in the movie are catchy and addicting to sing along with.  I am sixteen and I sang along with the songs! The Snowman is directed by Dianne Jackson and produced by John Coates. This extravagant film has a little touch of magic which will keep you on your toes with excitement. I recommend this for ages 1 to 12 and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

The Snowman

By Eden T., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

https://youtu.be/fQ0RUgoP16Y

This heartwarming film about the winter season never ceases to amaze me. It reminds me of myself during the holidays. For example, when the boy has to scrounge up snow for his snowman, I thought about when I tried to do the same thing!In the film, a young British boy in a classic 1950s English rural home builds a snowman on Christmas Eve. At midnight, the snowman comes to life and takes the boy on a flying trip around the world! The scenes become grander and grander until you think nothing more can happen! After all of this is over, they travel back home. The next morning, the boy…well, you’ll see. The ending brought meaningful tears to my eyes!

The detail in this movie is stunning! Even though there is no talking, the artistry makes up for that. Each scene is hand-drawn, which must have been a technical pain for the scenes in motion! These movies are based on Raymond Briggs’ classic picture book.  Besides young children, adults who have read this book in their youth will also appreciate this quality film. The unexpected ending is truly memorable!I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 2 to 6, as well as adults. This movie is available both on DVD now so check it out. Enjoy this winter delight!

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The Snowman

By Morgan B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

https://youtu.be/uzeqVye7G4U

Holiday movies are one of my favorite forms of entertainment. Especially those that have adorable characters and a heartwarming tale. That is what this short film is all about. Add magnificent hand drawn animation and you have the perfect Christmas movie. I love that this film has no words is both beautifully illustrated with animated images. The orchestra for the original film is Sinfonia of London. Their performance is stunning. Each piece of music fits the scene perfectly because it made me feel as if I was in the scene myself. Also the music is superb to relax to. So grab a hot cup of cocoa and put your feet up.

The images in this film are hand drawn with pastels and pencils, which make it special and unique. I like having a break from all the CGI we see and seeing animation as it was made years ago. This is something that many other kids will appreciate as well. This movie never gets old and people from all over the world will absolutely adore it. This DVD has become one I have added to my holiday collection and will watch it every year. Even really young children can watch it because it is so beautiful and the message is all about friendship, love, cheer and what the holidays are all about. I give this DVD 5 out of 5 golden stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 18, as well as adults.

A Moment in Time

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A Moment in Time

A Moment in Time

by Wendy in Queens, NY

an excerpt from Being Here…Too, Short Stories of Modern Day Enlightenment by Ariel and Shya Kane

kidsswinging.jpgMy brother Brian was born a year and a half after I was. My mom told me that when she brought him home from the hospital, I thought he was a gift for me. When we were growing up, Brian seemed to know how to do everything without any help or training. I’d ask him, “How do you know that?” I was amazed and jealous that things seemed to come so easily for him, or so I thought.

Years later when I graduated from college, I found a job in New York City. My brother offered to drive my stuff and me from our home in Rochester, New York to my new apartment in Jersey City, New Jersey. We packed his Suburban to the gills and off we went. We made our way there using a good old-fashioned map since this was before cell phones and Google Maps. We spent the weekend setting up the apartment and took a quick trip into Manhattan to explore the area. The days flew by and the time came for him to head back. We hugged goodbye and off he drove into the horizon. As I watched my brother’s truck get smaller and smaller, tears fell down my cheeks.

Time moved on, life happened, and Brian and I grew apart. I held on to my belief that we would be super close again someday, because that’s how I thought it should be. That’s how I thought life worked. But Brian started using drugs. As his addiction grew stronger, the gulf between us grew wider. He got help, but it was a struggle and he repeatedly slipped back into his old habits. I had a lot of judgments against him, but they had started long before he was using drugs.

Eventually, I discovered a totally new perspective about my brother and my life when a co-worker invited me to one of Ariel and Shya Kane’s evening events in New York City. Soon after, I attended a weekend seminar with them and started to look at relationships through a different lens. It wasn’t a conscious decision, but my perspective just shifted. As a kid I’d made decisions to not be like my family. I started seeing how I held my family and myself as not good enough. I had ideas about what a “good family” looked like, down to how a good family should celebrate Christmas. In the past, I had sat at home feeling sorry for myself if the celebration was not up to my standards.

Then, one December, I had a spontaneous experience of how my life had transformed. I had flown to Rochester to celebrate Christmas with my family and quickly discovered that no one had made plans for a holiday gathering. Rather than going to that familiar place of feeling sorry for myself, I realized that I could plan something. This was a novel idea and I got excited at the notion of hosting Christmas.

With my sister Holley’s permission, I invited everyone to her house on a snowy night in December. I made all of my favorite dishes – cheesy macaroni and cheese, creamy cauliflower mashed potatoes and a big green salad. Holley finished it off with a fresh baked apple pie. My mom brought the frosted buttermilk Christmas cookies that she made every year. Everyone was happy to contribute. Hmm, maybe my family wasn’t such a lost cause after all.

Earlier in the day my sister and I had bought gifts for everyone, including a chess set that I thought my brother would love. Brian was a pretty good chess player and he loved the game. The doorbell sounded and I greeted my mom and brother at the door. It was as if time stood still. I looked into my brother’s eyes and I saw that I had a choice. I could drop my judgments and meet my brother Brian, as if for the first time, or I could hold on to past grievances. In a split second I chose to drop the past. I saw the light flicker in my brother’s eyes as I reached out to hug him and I felt the wall between us crumble. Even the sound of his name was sweet and I was excited he was there.

The evening flew by. After dinner we exchanged gifts. I felt sated and happy. I realized the picture in my mind of how Christmas should be celebrated was a child’s idea and I preferred the way it had unfolded in reality.

Being Here…Too, Short Stories of Modern Day EnlightenmentI was scheduled to fly back to New York City on Sunday night and to my surprise, Brian joined my mom and me on the ride to the airport. When we arrived and I found out the flight was delayed, I asked them both to come inside the airport and wait with me. I’d never done that before. I usually couldn’t wait to get out of Rochester but this time was different. We sat in Dunkin’ Donuts, sipping coffee and eating muffins, and laughing at stupid jokes. It was a lot of fun and the silliness was sweet and intimate. When my flight was ready to depart, we said our goodbyes and I made my way to the gate with a big grin on my face.

A few days into the New Year, I got a call in the middle of the night. My brother Brian had overdosed on heroin and his heart had stopped. He died later that night and I was in shock. I couldn’t believe that just a few days earlier we’d had some of the deepest and kindest interactions in years. It was as if I had found my kid brother again only to lose him.

I miss my brother but I’ll be forever grateful for the time I got to spend with him that Christmas. I’m thankful that I dropped the past and discovered who Brian really was while he was still alive.

 

This is an excerpt from Being Here…Too, now available on Amazon and everywhere books are sold.

Since 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, radio show hosts and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have acted as guides, leading people through the swamp of the mind into the clarity and brilliance of the moment. Find out more about the Kanes, their seminars in NYC, in the UKGermany and Costa Rica, the Say YES to Your Life! Meetups their work has inspired, their award-winning books, their Being Here radio show and join their email newsletter.

Building Teams By Doing Meaningful Work

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Building Teams By Doing Meaningful Work

This blog is a guest post by Simon Mac Rory as a companion to the November, 27 Voice America interview where he talks about his latest book, Wake-up and Smell the Coffee: An Imperative for Teams.

Alison Green, advice columnist, consultant and author of the Ask Manager website had a very interesting article on the BBC news website recently entitled Why corporate team-building events can be terrible – (see article at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-45260246). I couldn’t agree more with her and in my recent book “Wake up and smell the coffee – the imperative of teams I address the very same issue in a chapter debunking the myths around team work. Here is an excerpt from the book on the issue.

Offsite teambuilding can take time away from ‘real work’

Suggest a team building session and immediately the outdoors springs to mind. Contrary to popular opinion, I am convinced they do not help in delivering an effective team. There are many variations of this with some even run by ex-special elite soldiers. Primarily they are based on the completion of group exercises and challenges, supposedly developing team spirit and team effectiveness.

A trust circle at an off-site event!!!!!!

Every team member is encouraged to participate equally by the facilitator, the work team leader no longer has the same level of power as this is ceded to the facilitator. The team are given clear and precise goals and directions. This is not the norm at work. The degree of psychological safety is higher at these events (controlled by the facilitator) and everyone’s opinion tends to be heard. No idea is considered too wacky as most of the tasks are wacky in the first place. Credit for new ideas and novel solutions is given as the ideas are developed. The team become increasingly successful at the tasks as the day progresses, based on this more engaged way of interacting.

When they return to the workplace they are faced with the leader reasserting their control again, not being heard, lack of clear goals and roles, suggestions and solutions being knocked, and ideas being stolen.

What is actually happening with these outdoor events?

The number one problem with these sessions is their capacity to create an expectation that the team can work better together. The sessions are carefully constructed – I know because I used to deliver them at one time – precise instructions are given for each exercise along with clear objectives. For starters, this is not the norm in the workplace. Often the exercises bear no resemblance to any work-related task that the team carry out. As the day progresses the tasks get more difficult and most teams do complete the tasks successfully because they are designed to be completed successfully.

The outcome is a team that are in high spirits and delighted with themselves in their success. They are full of energy and drive to get back to the workplace and prove their effectiveness with this new-found capacity to work together. But, when they get back to work, lo and behold nothing has changed. If fact, very quickly the frustration levels rise as the team members recall how well they worked together at the offsite, but just cannot make it happen. The frustration levels rise accordingly and often the very opposite of what was intended is the reality. The team are less effective and more fractious.

The offsite is a false environment. Not only do the tasks not represent the normal work of the team, the conditions in which they happen are also not representative!

Real team development that delivers sustainable development and effectiveness happens in the workplace. Teams that take time to think about how they do things rather than what they do can always develop more effective means of working together. Teams that address goal and role clarity, planning and evaluation, composition and structure, appropriate leadership style and participation, conflict management and performance recognition, communication and trust are the teams that will not only deliver more but will create a psychologically safe environment as a platform for their effectiveness. All of this takes place in the workplace and not in the outdoors or at wild and wonderful offsite events.

Team development is not about time away from real work, rather it is about the time correctly given to reflection on ‘how’ the team does things, rather than ‘what’ it does. It can, and does take place in normal work hours, where it is far more effective and does not serve to embarrass and compromise any team member. Think carefully before organizing any outdoor events/offsites in terms of the team members and their various dispositions. Remember, it is not about fun; it is about addressing the real issues that drive team effectiveness.

As a reader of this blog and listener to the interviews, please consider enrolling in one of the innovative leadership online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching through our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

About the Author

Simon Mac Rory is a specialist in team development. He works with senior staff leaders to help them discover that edge to becoming a truly highperforming team. Over his 30-year career he has worked globally with a blue-chip client base in both the private and public sectors.

He founded The ODD Company in 2011 to deliver TDP (a cloud-based team development tool and methodology) to the international markets. Simon
operates the business from London with a Dublin-based development and support office.

Simon received a doctoral degree for his work on the application of generic frameworks in organizational development and is a Visiting Research Fellow at Nottingham Business School.

Follow Simon on Twitter @SimomMacRory

Guess How Much I Love You Christmas To The Moon And Back – Captures The Christmas Spirit

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Movie Reviews
Guess How Much I Love You Christmas To The Moon And Back – Captures The Christmas Spirit
On a snow-covered Christmas Eve, Little Nutbrown Hare and his friends stumble across
a little Brown Bear who is lost. Determined to return their young friend back to his
mother in time for Christmas, the friends venture bravely into the unknown woods.
Through this epic journey, we are reminded that the greatest gift of Christmas is being
with the ones you love. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Morgan B. comments, “I really love
this film because it captures the Christmas spirit by showing us all the characters telling
us what they think about Christmas. They show us that Christmas really means family.”
Tina B., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror adds, “The production values are outstanding, from
the animation to the voice over talent to the background music. The images look like
watercolors brought to life. I love them!” See their full reviews below.
Guess How Much I Love You Christmas To The Moon And Back
By Morgan B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
GHMILY_302_STILL_55.jpg
This film is based on the British book series written by Sam McBratney and illustrated by
Anita Jeram, published in 1994 in the UK and in 1995 in the US. The book was a ALA
Notable Children’s book and sold over 28 million copies worldwide!
Now, I have an adorable special guest who helped review the film with me, Little Field
Mouse. I really love this film because it captures the Christmas spirit by showing us all
the characters telling us what they think about Christmas. They show us that Christmas
really means family. It’s really about spending time with your family, not about giving
gifts or any of that stuff. It’s spending time with your Mom and Dad and anyone else you
love. That’s what I really respect about the film.
I really do cherish the story and also the animation in this film which is true to the
original illustrations in the book. It really captures the adventures of Little Nutbrown
Hare and his adventures. The show is produced by SLR Productions Australia (Suzanne
Ryan) and Scrawl Studios and stars the voice of Ky Baldwin. They really capture all the
original pictures from the book which look just like watercolors. I love them. It looks like
a beautiful story that was drawn by a little kid. I really love that! The animation is
something that everyone will truly enjoy.
I really love the characters in the story, especially my friend Little Field Mouse. Of
course Little Nutbrown Hare is my favorite character. He’s absolutely adorable and at the
same time, kind and thoughtful. Just his love for everything around him makes me love
him more. He’s kind of fun and silly, but really he is just adorable.
The film is really suitable for preschoolers but also older kids, up to age 8 will enjoy this
because of all the fun and silly stories. I even think tween and teens will like this show.
Of course, adults can enjoy this as well and it makes a great show for families to enjoy
during the holiday season. I definitely give this 5 out of 5 Magnificent Stars. It is
available now on DVD so, look for it!
GHMILY_302_STILL_100.jpg
Guess How Much I Love You: Christmas To the Moon and Back
Reviewed by Tina B., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
I thoroughly enjoyed this short film and highly recommend it for kids and families. This
is a heartwarming tale about Little Nutbrown Hare who wanders outside one night when
he can’t sleep and discovers a rare, all white fawn dancing in the snow. He knows all
white fawns are rare and when he talks to her she runs away. Through lots of escapades
Little Nutbrown Hare finally is able to convince his forest friends the fawn is real and
able to befriend the white fawn. The characters are interesting and charming. A field
mouse and a squirrel friends are all friends with Little Nutbrown Hare and they interact
with each other in the most loving way. I felt sorry for Little Nutbrown Hare when no one
believes that he had seen the white fawn. Eventually the truth comes out and they finally
see her and believe Little Nutbrown Hare. The morale of this story is about love. The
love between Little Nutbrown Hare and his dad, the love of friends and possibility of the
love of strangers. The negative behaviors shown are about doubt, but that disappears over
time. I particularly enjoyed seeing the field mouse trying to protect Little Nutbrown Hare
by making a white fawn out of snow. He tries to protect his friend’s honor in doing so.
The educational and social elements that make this film valuable emphasize the various
ways that you can show someone how you love them. Adults often tell children that they
love them and they can hear it in this story in a way they can relate to. The production
values are outstanding, from the animation to the voice over talent to the background
music. The images look like watercolors brought to life. I love them! I recommend this
for ages 2 to 7 and give it 5 out of 5 stars. It uses vocabulary and ideas which little
children can understand and enjoy. Questioning, probing and problem-solving are
developed in a manner suitable for the target age. It is very enjoyable and charming. If
you have a festival for preschool and early elementary kids, this will fit right in.
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Ralph Breaks the Internet: An Astonishing New Film Filled with Humor and Excitement!

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Movie Reviews

Video game bad guy Ralph and fellow misfit Vanellope von Schweetz must risk it all by traveling

to the World Wide Web in search of a replacement part to save Vanellope’s video game, “Sugar
Rush.” In way over their heads, Ralph and Vanellope rely on the citizens of the internet — the
netizens — to help navigate their way, including an entrepreneur named Yesss, who is the head
algorithm and the heart and soul of trend-making site BuzzzTube. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic
Abraham F. comments, “Ralph Breaks the Internet is a colorful, fun-filled adventure that builds
on characters and friendships. Going into this movie I thought it was going to be a predictable
and boring washed-up sequel. That is not the case.” Na’im S. adds, “Ralph Breaks the
Internet is an astonishing new film that’s full humor and excitement.” See their full
reviews below.
Ralph Breaks the Internet
By Abraham Finer, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic. age 13
Ralph.a.jpg
Ralph Breaks the Internet is a colorful, fun-filled adventure that builds on characters and
friendships. Going into this movie I thought it was going to be a predictable and boring washed-
up sequel. That is not the case. The film builds upon the friendship that Ralph and Venellope
have with each other. The climax of the movie is a heartwarming test of their friendship which
brings light that friends don’t always need to agree on everything.
Ralph Breaks the Internet is about Mr. Litwack installing the Internet to his arcade and his
“Sugar Rush” game breaking, which leads to their adventure through the internet. Mr. Litwack
orders the parts on eBay, but it costs $200 which is more than the game makes a year. Ralph
and Venellope overhear him talking and decide to go on a quest to find the part and save
Venellope’s game. They travel to the router and get transported to the magical world of the
Internet. They awe at the vibrant colors and variety of the internet and go directly go to the
search bar where they ask to go to eBay. When they realize they have to bid for the wheel, they
bid the highest number they can think of, not realizing they have to pay. This causes them to go
on an epic adventure to get $27,001 in under 24 hours or else the item would be re-bid. They
find a pop-up ad that shows them how to make money playing video games. They decide to get
a car owned by Shank. They race Shank until they get beat by her. She gives them a tip and
tells Venellope she races well.
My favorite scene is when they go to the Disney section of the Internet and we see a whole lot
of cameos from favorite characters such as Eeyore and Stan Lee. I especially love when
Venellope is being chased by Stormtroopers and goes into the princess lounge where she
teaches them about modern comforts. I found that hilarious.
Ralph.c.jpg

This film has huge star power. Ralph is voiced by John C. Reilly, the man behind Step Brothers

and The Sisters Brothers. Also, Sarah Silverman plays Venelope who started in SNL and has
appeared in The battle of the Sexes.
The message of this movie is that, even if you are best friends with someone that doesn’t mean
you can’t disagree. This movie has nothing be inappropriate for kids. I recommend it for ages 7
to 18 and give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. It is in theaters now so look for it.
Ralph Breaks the Internet
By Na’im Smith, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Ralph Breaks the Internet is an astonishing new film that’s full humor and excitement. It
is about Ralph aka Wreck it Ralph who goes on a trip with his best friend Vanellope into
the internet to buy a steering wheel for Vanellope’s game so it doesn’t get shut down.
The internet is a whole new thing for Ralph and his friends and they walk into some
trouble while trying to get the wheel. A few of the inconveniences they run into are not
knowing where to go and also not having money. Before Ralph and Vanellope find out
they need money, they place a bid of $27,000 on the steering wheel. When they get to
checkout and they don’t have money, the cashier says they have 24 hours before their
bid expires. That’s when they embark on their journey through the internet.
All the same characters from the original movie Wreck it Ralph are in this film and there
are even some new ones introduced. Nathan Warner, the cinematography director
excels at giving the movie a realistic cartoonish look. It really fits in with the whole video
game plot and scenery. The theme is that friendships come in all shapes and sizes and
that friends are forever.
If you plan on bringing kids under 11 or 12, I strongly recommend that you watch the
trailer with them and ask if they would want to see the full movie because there are a lot
of puns about Twitter and a lot of jokes that I don’t think younger kids will get. I’m not
saying that you shouldn’t bring younger kids, because they will still understand the
majority of what’s happening and enjoy the film, but the director geared this film for older
audiences such as 12 and above. I recommend this for ages 10 to 18, as well as adults.
It seemed that the adults were laughing more than the kids during the movie. I give it 4
out of 5 stars because it is a hilarious movie that kept me interested for all two hours.
Ralph.e.jpg
Make sure you stay for both scenes after the credits. You can find this movie in USA
theaters November 21, 2018 and worldwide in the days and weeks after. Put it on your
calendar!
Photos © Walt Disney Studios. All rights reserved

The Cat In The Hat Knows A Lot About That! Season 2, Volume 2 – Martin Short Rocks As Cat In The Hat In This Great Collection

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Movie Reviews
The Cat In The Hat Knows A Lot About That! Season 2, Volume 2 – Martin Short Rocks As Cat In The Hat In This Great Collection
The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! follows the adventures of 6-year-old best friends, Sally and
Nick, as they are whisked off on extraordinary voyages of scientific discovery with the Cat in the Hat.
Thanks to the Thinga-ma-jigger and our friends, exploring has never been more exciting! Enjoy the
second volume of the second season of The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! In this volume set,
kids will learn the answers to questions like what is the Earth’s atmosphere, why do we need bones, and
how is paper made. The discoveries don’t end there! We learn how polar bears survive the arctic winter,
how our ears work and so much more! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Sev’n F. comments, “. Not only is this a
fun Dr. Seuss cartoon for all, but it is also educational. Have fun while learning about the earth’s
atmosphere, the human skeleton, how paper is made and much more!” Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Adult
Juror adds, “This DVD does not disappoint! It has 20 episodes! Directed by Tony Collingwood, the Cat in
the Hat (Martin Short) definitely shows us that he knows a lot about many things from names and
locations of the planets in our solar system to how animals walk with more than two legs.” See their full
reviews below.
The Cat In The Hat Knows A Lot About That! Season 2, Volume 2
By Sev’n F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9
Calling all Dr. Seuss fans! Here’s two discs, 20 episodes, fully loaded of extraordinary voyages of two
best friends. Not only is this a fun Dr. Seuss cartoon for all, but it is also educational. Have fun while
learning about the earth’s atmosphere, the human skeleton, how paper is made and much more! So, let’s
jump into our imaginary Thinga-ma-jigger and go go go on an adventure with Nick, Sally and The Cat in
the Hat.
In each episode, I learned something I never knew before. In each of the 20 episodes, a lesson is taught
through the journey of two best friends. It had me saying “wow, how interesting !” In one episode, I
learned how paper is made. Who would have thought a tree, that I see every day in my young life, is
chopped down to make paper? I use paper everyday. This is what I liked about this DVD. I learned
something new in each episode.
What is less appealing about this show are the settings and colors. It felt like this film was created back in
the 80s. I thought it needed to be modernized to capture the attention of today’s young viewers.
My favorite characters are Sally and Nick. They are six years old and best friends. I like the bond they
share in each episode. They communicate and work well with each other – team players, if you ask me.
They have tons of fun and experience their journeys together. It truly shows the true meaning of best
friends. I have a best friend and she and I love to take pretend voyages together.
Each episode has a different message, but the one thing they have in common are the lessons that are
being taught through Nick and Sally’s voyages. In each show, you learn scientific knowledge. This is a
neat way to gather your children together to sing along while taking an amazing educational journey.
Knowledge is key and there’s no better way to learn but through a cool Dr. Seuss show.
I give this DVD 4 out of 5 stars. It is very educational and fun. The music had me bopping my head along
with it. I would like it even better if it was more modernized. I recommend it for ages 3 to 14. My baby
brother is three and he has sung along with Nick and Sally. My mom is 39-years-old and she learned

something about the human skeleton, that she never knew about before. This DVD is available now so,

look for it.
The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That! Season 2, Volume 2
Reviewed by Denise A. B., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
I’m a big fat of The Cat in the Hat! I have been since I was a little girl. Now, as an adult, I’m still a big fan!
This DVD does not disappoint! It has 20 episodes! Directed by Tony Collingwood, the Cat in
the Hat (Martin Short) definitely shows us that he knows a lot about many things from names and
locations of the planets in our solar system to how animals walk with more than two legs. It is entertaining,
engaging and great for preschool and school-aged children, as well as their parents. Children will enjoy
watching the Cat in the Hat and his friends Sally & Nick as they go on adventures to learn new things.
One of my favorite episodes is about the solar system as the Cat in the Hat teaches Sally & Nick the
order of the planets and their names. Martin Short as the voice of Cat in the Hat is perfect! I just love him.
I also enjoyed the theme song. I give this 5 stars out of 5 stars because I think it is a perennial hit. It’s
engaging, entertaining and educational What more could you want! I recommend it for ages 3 to 12.
Reviewed by Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

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