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December  2009

A race to the finish - all part of the tradition


As we were driving home last night from a wonderful crazy dinner at dear friends, with too many people, dogs and food, I began to think of the role tradition plays in our lives.


The traditions of the season are part of what helps us make sense of our lives. We use those traditions as markers or signposts; as value checkpoints. Whether it is a carol service, lighting of the Hanukah candles, or joining the crowds at the airport to welcome a loved family member.  When the stress increases or tempers get short, we need to turn our values meters up higher and think about what is important and then invoke the option of sliding. What can we let slide this year and what are the foundational values to which we need to adhere?


For many it has been a tough year. Perhaps now is an opportunity to create new traditions. Even though giving up the old ways can be stressful, focusing on what is going to remain the same can ease the change. Reinventing our future from a perspective of choice can make us feel somehow more fortunate while creating a sense of moving forward.


Tradition is how we deepen meaningful relationships and events that are important in our lives. It is a way of adding certainty to uncertain times and situations. Many years ago as a small and new family, we started our own tradition with our children of giving the gift of a special book to be opened on Christmas Eve. A few years ago, we started giving to a favourite charity of our client's in their name. For many years, we have held a neighbourhood drop-in the Saturday before Christmas. Every year as the hour for the drop-in approaches we sit alone and wonder if anyone will come this year (it's become a tradition.) Suddenly the house is full and we have to make an emergency run to the beer store. Giving to others is a strong value we share as a couple and a community. The preparation, the baking, the family coming, going to church choosing a tree (referred to as tree fighting by our daughter), the party giving, the gift giving are simply a way for us to demonstrate our values.


Organizations also have their traditions. Creating chaos by rapidly changing or discarding traditional ways of doing business is often viewed as a great way of "shaking up the troops." However, is the right message being communicated to accompany the change? In one organization we are working with, tradition is very important. A recent senior hire was viewed with concern as being someone who might swoop in creating a lot of change without the requisite understanding of how the organization "traditionally operates." Once they understood the leader's instincts as an initiating Fact Finder and Follow Thru they realized that change would be measured, thoughtful and based on discussion with this individual at the helm. The leader was also a centred people person with a clear sense of leadership based on his Enneagram personality type.


Successful leaders understand the value of change and the importance tradition plays in the change process. Ensuring that clarity and certainty surround the change initiative results in successful transformations. Successful organizations have the courage to change but take the time to understand what needs to stay the same and are committed to building their future together with their people.


The value of tradition is in the deepening of the meaningful relationship. Understanding others' traditions gives us a unique perspective on understanding them as individuals. It is an opportunity to share, learn and love. Each of us has a different set of traditions. This diversity has the potential to bring us closer.


Wishing all of you the best for your joyous season filled with traditions both old and new and for an adventurous 2010.


Marilyn and Gordon

Who We Are...At the heart of it, we are helpful. Our clients are busy, successful, smart and curious. We approach any relationship with a sense of gratitude, generosity and respect. We like to have fun. Our work is about uncovering our client's perspective and creating certainty, expanding and discovering creativity and possibility and above all taking action.
We understand and are experts in change from a theoretical and a practical basis. We know the value of engagement, communication and the importance of creating a sense of confidence. We are certified and accredited professionals in our specialties.
We provide all of the human development side of strategic HR. We help hire the right people. We work with teams including boards of directors so they can become more effective and more efficient. For organizations, we assist in transforming their culture. We coach leaders; sometimes with our proprietary process called The Best-Half™ and our Authentic Leadership Model. Organizations looking to develop or implement strategic plans have us on speed-dial. Many of our clients have said "we are nice people to work with."