Archive for July, 2013

Safety: Lessons from the field

A client asked me recently to reflect on what I had learned from helping other clients create incident free and care filled workplaces. This paper spells out those learnings. Click here to read or download.  

Tim Dalmau


Will it make the boat go faster

This paper examines the place and purpose of team development. Based on the NZ defence of the America’s Cup the message describes how  team development can be wasted and how it can be used to value add. It all depends on its purpose, how it is framed, and how it is conducted.



NZ invests as a nation in leadership


Each year about this time, the whole nation of New Zealand invests in leadership. In honor of the late Sir Peter Blake the nation reflects, promotes and gathers together conversations, events, launches, speakers and activities – all designed to focus the minds of youth and the not-so-young on being great leaders.

Last Friday, hundreds of schools, businesses, organizations and community groups around New Zealand honored Sir Peter’s life and legacy on Red Socks Day, and used the day as an opportunity to celebrate their leaders, and what it means to be a member of their communities.

Each year The Sir Peter Blake Trust encourages all those who take part to celebrate in ways that reflect their own vision, values and special characteristics – and to have a great time doing it! Many people dream, but Sir Peter Blake set his mind to a goal and went for it, believing that “change comes through realising the vision and turning it into reality.” Leadership Week is an annual event for all ages that highlights the value that great leadership provides for New Zealand.

There are lessons here for other countries here, including Australia, of the benefit in investing in leadership as a whole nation.

Sir Peter’s leadership also inspired me to write Will It Make the Boat Go Faster? This paper positions the nature and function of team development in today’s modern organization.

Cathy Taylor


Advanced perception workshop



Michael Grinder is offering an Advanced Perception workshop in Perth in October 21 – 25, 2013. This workshop for anyone who wants to improve their effectiveness in recognizing patterns of belief and behavior in others, predicting and knowing ahead of time what is about to happen in an conversation or meeting.


Michael is simply one of the world’s most experienced and gifted trainers in precision communication skills. We have had the great fortune to work with Michael over many years and learn from him. His work and models are core to our effectiveness.


We thoroughly recommend and endorse this workshop for anyone who is committed to their own professional development.


For further information ….  Click here   …. or contact Margot Halborn at Positive Persuasion on Tel: +61 419 997 440.


Tim Dalmau 




The case for powerful conversations



As you will understand from Tim Dalmau’s brief video introduction, relationships are essential to conversations and powerful conversations are essential to engender alignment, commitment, ownership, productivity and creativity. In our consulting practices, we view ourselves as being companions and guides to leaders in designing and convening  powerful conversations at the individual, team and organizational level.


In setting the broad context for the importance of conversation, I want to answer the most frequent refrain I hear in almost every organization or training program:


“How do you deal with a culture that doesn’t value the time needed for conversation”?


My answer is simple.  Disregard the importance of conversation at your own peril. Just look at the results of organizations that operate from the perspective that conversations are too time consuming or a luxury and compare them to the results of those organizations that operate with conversations as a central pillar of their culture and strategy.


We can look to many sources of research that make the case. I would start with the work reported on in Built to Last by Collins and Porras. This seminal book identified the core practices of companies that truly model sustainability – those that have been successful for over 50 years (now 70 years plus). These were compared to similar companies that were not identified as visionary companies.


Collins and Porras identified 10 core principles that distinguished the visionary companies from their comparison companies. One of these 10 principles speaks directly to the importance of powerful conversations – Cult-Like Cultures. In addition, when you study these visionary companies in depth – companies like GE, you realize that communication and conversation are central to their ways of being and operating.


Powerful conversation at all levels of an organization creates sustained results. It is that simple.


Over the next many months we intend to explore several areas in depth. Some of these topics include:

  • Leaders as conversationalists.
  • When does a leader need to convene a conversation versus just make the decision?
  • What types of conversations can occur and what are the unique benefits of each type?
  • What processes can be used to assure powerful conversations?
  • What are the essential skills needed to convene and facilitate powerful conversations?
  • What are the prerequisites for powerful conversations?
  • How can we have the difficult conversations about inequities and race?
  • Three ways to establish an authentic conversation.


Rummler and Brache put succinctly: “Dialogue, which strives to build understanding among group members, takes time. Everything else takes more time.”


Steve Zuieback



Tell, sell, test, consult, co-create?



As a leader or manager do you sometimes wonder when you should just tell your people of your decision, or should you involve them in the decision in some way?  This is a common dilemma. Read More…


Foundations of facilitation workshop



Bob Dick is offering a great opportunity for anyone who wishes to develop their skills in facilitation. His Foundations of Facilitation workshop is coming up on July 20 and 21 in Brisbane, South East Queensland.  It is an ideal for people who wish to improve their skills at facilitating group discussion, decision making, problem solving and other activities. It is for people who work with adults, teenagers or children in group settings.

Bob is among the world’s best designers of good process. He is a prolific author, and publisher of some best facilitative and change processes available. A thinker, facilitator, consultant and mentor to many; I have had the privilege of working with him and co-authoring some works.  This is an opportunity not to be missed. Check it out


Tim Dalmau





Organizations as conversation spaces


In working with a client CEO many years ago I observed to him that there was a conversation going on in his organization and he need to be part of it. It struck me at the time that there was so much being said and talked about and unless he was part of the ongoing conversational life he ran the risk of becoming disconnected as a leader. As it turned out, he not only became part of the conversation he came to shape, direct and mould the conversation – the skill of a true leader.

In the educational domain commentators sometimes speak of the hidden curriculum. They use this term to describe the informal and formal interactions that go on in any school, but are not easily described in all the documentation and systems surrounding the formal explicit curriculum. So it is with any organization. There are the systems, structures, processes, goals, plans and objectives. These are often documented, formal and easily accessible by all. Then there is the tacit, the ill-formed, the inchoate, the implicit, the hidden and the emerging conversations happening at every moment. It is these interactions that either give the organization life and vitality or as another client said recently leave us “all feeling a bit flat”.

Conversations are the blood flowing through the organization’s veins. They bring life, vitality and energy to the system. If they stop slow down or stop flowing then the system becomes compromised and ultimately moribund

For further insights about the nature and place of conversation in organizations, watch the video below.



Tim Dalmau



AIESEC Presentation on Leadership Ethics and Sustainabiity


On Sunday July 7, 2013 I had the great opportunity to spend a few hours with the future leaders of tomorrow at the Youth to Business conference of AIESEC: an international non-profit organization that provides students with leadership training and internship opportunities at for-profit and non-profit organizations. “AIESEC” was originally the French acronym for Association internationale des étudiants en sciences économiques et commerciales (English: International Association of Students in Economic and Commercial Sciences); however, the full name is no longer in use. Its international office is in Rotterdam, Netherlands. AIESEC includes over 86,000 members in 113 countries and territories.

It was a great experience and the slides I used are can be found here. You can also read more in the paper I recently wrote with Viv Oates from EY and published in a number of places, including Performance.

Tim Dalmau