Full text of Paul Hughes on Ten Meters of Thinking: The ABC of Communication at TEDxInnsbruck conference.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here: MP3 – Ten Meters of Thinking – The ABC of Communication by Paul Hughes at TEDxInnsbruck
Success is not a point. Success is a path. I’m Irish, and in the Celtic symbolism there are many symbols that refer to a journey and a path. One of them looks like this. It says unity. Everything is connected. And it says eternity. That no matter where you begin you’ll always come back to the same place.
Today I’d like to talk to you about a path, and some of the qualities along that path. And I’m going to do this across ten meters of paper, which I call ten meters of thinking.
Now, before you go into a deeper state of learning, I’d like to tell you a little bit about Irish logic. Irish logic: This here as you can clearly see is Patrick Murphy. Patrick Murphy on Monday night, went out and had ten whiskeys and a Cola. Now on Tuesday morning, he woke up with a terrible hangover. So, on Tuesday night he had ten whiskeys and a Cola. Wednesday morning, he wakes up with a terrible hangover. So on Wednesday night he goes out and has ten Bacardies and a Cola. Thursday morning waking up with a terrible hangover, he says, “That’s it. No more Cola for me.”
Clearly, it is Cola that is the problem. It’s completely logical. In fact, you would have to say you need to be illogical to be Irish.
Now, this of course is where unfortunately many businesses are today. We have to look beyond the obvious to find the root cause. And what I’m interested in is how science and other disciplines has done so. For example, this here as you can clearly see is a butterfly. And what science traditionally has done, is that it has captured the butterfly, killed it, lots of blood, and has put the analysis in a static state.
Instead what science now is doing, is it’s looking at the butterfly, as you can clearly see that’s a butterfly. It is now looking at the butterfly in its environment within the context. This is now called dynamic knowledge. Dynamic knowledge, because science now realizes that when we have Carbon, when we have Hydrogen, and when we have Oxygen and we add these together, something unique is created. What is created here is something that is not in Carbon, Hydrogen or Oxygen. It only is created with the synergy of these. And this is sugar. Yet there’s no sugar in Carbon, Hydrogen or Oxygen.
A sweet spot is created through the synergies. This as we all know means that 1+1=? Scientists in the room? 1+1=…11. Obviously. The individuals working in unity, unity in diversity, we’re still individuals keeping the diversity, creating expediential value. 1+1 no longer is synergistically meaning 3, 1+1 now, in today’s world, means 11. What this means is that when we have communities, communities that are connected and operating together in synergy, something new is going on, there’s a new meaning. This community comes from the Maori culture in New Zealand.
The Maori culture in New Zealand, every period of time marks that period with the building of the boat. Everybody in the village is responsible in the activity of building the boat. Including the oldest person in the village, whose task is to build the fire in the center of the village, sit by that fire and remember why they’re building the boat. We need to ask ourselves why? Particularly, because I believe that our “Why?” has been transported from within the walls of our society to a zone that is unknown. To a zone that now causes us to step beyond this into a new threshold. A new threshold that has new rules, new regulations, new opportunities. It is a new adventure. However I’m here to tell you good news.
Good news is that the new rules are actually very old rules. When we communicate, we should not do this, we should do this. When we communicate, it should be based in truth. When we act, it needs to be based upon justice. Justice and truth becomes the new operating principles. Old principles in a new world.
Now, what you will realize is, those great mathematicians in the audience will realize of course. When you add this to this, we get this. This is the distinguishing factor today. This is now the difference that will make the difference. We have individuals competing with different organizations. This organization will fly this kite. This organization will fly this kite. All competing. We however will fly this kite.
Old rules. Us, someone else. Do onto others as you would see done onto yourself. The golden rule. It amazes me how many business books these days spend 300 pages telling us this.
Now, what’s interesting about this, is that I believe, it is the quality of our relationships now that we need to focus on. It is the quality of our relationships that are going to define what we deliver. This is now what we focus on. And very quickly I want to offer you a very simple model, a model that I use in branding. And it’s a model that you can use for brands, businesses or being. And it looks like this.
This here is an organization. And this here is somebody else. You could call it a customer. The organization and the customer. Now what happens is, the organization first of all takes an action towards the customer. The action results in a belief in the mind of the customer. What the organization then does is it communicates. If the action is not in parallel with the communication, then we have a negative belief. In other words, if we do something and say something else, we don’t believe.
If however these are in parallel, we have a positive belief. Again, there are many management books that spend 300 pages telling us this. The interesting thing about this is the simplicity. The simplicity of the A, B, C. A comes first. We do not communicate first, we act first. Now, we’ve already learned that the new rules means that our action needs to be just. Our communication needs to be truthful. And I can guarantee if our actions are just, our communication truthful, then we will form. This is the goal of every organization.
ABC, action orientated.
Now, for you advanced listeners. You know who you are? For you advanced listeners, of course it’s not just an ABC, perhaps there’s a D. Because, it shouldn’t be one-way communication, it should actually be two-way communication as we all know. And this then opens up into dialogue. This however is not achievable unless we have this, unless we have trust. Do not think that you can do this, we first need to form trust.
Action, ladies and gentlemen, this is all about action. And the action is actually based on learning. Learning by doing. We act and we’re learning from that. Let’s talk about learning.
This here is my dog in Ireland that I was growing up with, as you can clearly see. And this here is the car that he was very fond of chasing along the street that we were living in. Until one day he was hit by a car. Now, we went to the doctor, to the vet, and surprisingly he was actually, recovered very quickly with one of this things around his neck. His bark got louder. And when we took this off him, and he was let out again onto the street, he learned never to chase cars again on that street. Instead, he chased them on this street.
Learning requires reflection, and reflection has to happen at a mature level. And one of the things that can help with reflection is when we consider that the context gives meaning. This sequence makes sense. It is clearly making sense. This is now different. The context gives the meaning. In order to reach a more mature reflection we need to step into a wider context. And just so that we understand where we are today, we need to go back to Darwin, who talks about the survival of the fittest. Where one is against the other, it is locked in, it is the competition based model. Unfortunately too much of our activities are based on this.
Darwin however only ever spoke about the survival of the fittest, within a greater context of cooperation. Our competition based model is excellent once operating within a larger context of cooperation. And the first step that we can take towards this is to involve others. To consult with others in our activities. To consult with others over what’s important.
So, to bring this back again to a very simple set of basics, when we’re doing the ABCs of communication, it is all about starting with action. We learn from our doing. Remembering our dog, it needs to be based on reflection. Our actions then we need to reflect upon. And to have a wider more mature context, we need to involve others by consulting with them. This is a model of reflection. Learning by doing. And this is a model with the consultation of a rich understanding.
This means very simply, that when we want to move from A to B, any point on time, we move in A ARC. We act, we reflect and we consult.
With this realization that we’re involved with others. That we want to be part of others. That in fact we’re interdependent. It means that we as independent parts need to become interdependent parts of an organic whole. This becomes our operating mantra. This is where we’re moving to. And what this means is, that as I reroll, you can put this content in its most valuable place for you. As I reroll, we can look and consider how learning by doing through a process of acting, reflecting and consulting creates an emergent value. It creates a richer meaning. It means that when we’re operating and reflecting, it means that it’s based upon actions. Actions within a greater context that’s creating a richer meaning.
To do so means that the relationships we’re working with are more rich. It means that we’re focusing on creating richer relationships. And it means that what was a very timeless quality, now becomes a timely manifestation. Our truth plus justice creates trust. That is the difference that will now make the difference. It will help us navigate beyond the walls of our current society. It will help us remember a different “Why?”. It will help us act in a greater sense of unity and diversity, that will create expediential value. All of which reminds us of the journey that we’re on.
A path where our actions, our beliefs, and our communication become key components along a path. A path which we operate in ARCs. We act, we reflect, we consult.
A path of ARCs. And to go beyond the culture of context means that at the heart of this, our actions are just. Our beliefs are based on trust. And our communication is based on truth. Which I’ll guarantee will create a compelling why and remind us that success is not a point, success is a path.
Thank you very much.
Resources for Further Reading: