There is something about the last moments of the last hours of the year. Seconds pass like beats of a drum, their sounds heard and deep vibrations felt across the globe. Each strike of the drum soon represent as a reflection for each and every one of the millions for whom the drum beats, a moment of immense importance which occurred over the twelve months past, moments which for many will define 2010.
The closer we get to calling out “one!” the more the feeling of excitement grows for the year just seconds away from beginning anew. The excitement may be filled with hope, it may be filled with relief, it may be filled with promise, it may be filled with prayer.
And finally, it is here!
May the last seconds of your 2010 tightly and lovingly embrace your first of 2011.
Happy, healthy, heart-smiling New Year!
Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2010
The occasion of ‘Thanksgiving’, celebrated at the end of November in the USA (October in Canada), has taken on a greater significance this year. Global significance. 2010 has been a year of surprising challenges, surprising stories of triumph, surprising heroes. So much to reflect on, so much to give thanks for, so many heroes to express thanks to.
Heroes are single stars in a dark night’s sky. They make us look up…and they make us look for more stars through the faith they bring with their light.
Most importantly, heroes remind us, clearly and vibrantly, that it’s about so much more than just ‘me’, ‘here’, ‘now’. And that it is for each of us to inspire others to look up. Through acts of goodness, kindness and purpose. Because we can.
CNN’s annual search for ‘Heroes’ once again uncovered a world of truly inspirational, ordinary people doing extraordinary things. And in so doing they have re-sparked the night skies:
May 2011 be a year when the word ‘hero’ evolves from noun to verb, from a single star to a glowing constellation, keeping us looking up with fingers pointing to ensure others also see, and feel, their power.
Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2010
October 13th, 2010, the day a miracle occurred, thirty three times.
Following sixty nine days of prayer at a place known as Camp Hope, hope became visible as the Phoenix capsule rose to the surface of sun-parched Chilean ground and the lives of thirty three trapped miners were set free. Thirty three heroes, celebrated one by one by crowds of anxiously waiting family, by heads of national leadership, by teams of medics and media, and by the watching world.
Online, on-air, on the front of newspapers, on mobile handsets…the world held its breath, held its focus and held its hope that each and every miner would re-emerge, hearts beating, healthy. Even now, days on, images of the San Jose mine rescue in Chile continue to fill the world’s airwaves. Stories and scenes of miners celebrating a life re-captured. Celebrating a miracle.
A remarkable time. In Chile, and everywhere else. Today these thirty three miners now stand tall as heroes. But they are heroes not simply for having been trapped down in the mine for over two months. It is because of their enduring determination to live. Through the darkness, both physical and psychological, they looked for the light. As expressed with rawness and realness by miner Mario Sepulveda: “I saw the devil, I saw God. God won!”
Their strength, their spirit, their story, their solidarity now form the DNA of their miracle.
And together, these men and their miracle, fed the world – at a time when feeding was desperately needed.
The past two few years have been exhausting on the spirit of the world. Global economic crisis seeded a global emotional crisis, all at a time when global concerns regarding safety, security and sensibility continue to grow. While technology seeks to bring people closer together, underlying fear of the person unknown continues to push us apart. Differences become defining and dividing.
As a result good news has become a precious, rare commodity. Through our day to day life it can often feel that reasons to believe in the goodness of mankind need to be mined from all that exists to prove otherwise. Increasingly scarce – reasons for the world to connect through a pure spirit and determination, around something positive, something which reminds the world of the priceless value of life, of one more day, of hope.
And then last week, for the first time in a very, very long time, the world was able to come together, quietly and calmly, with one single shared emotion: HOPE.
Hope, a single heartbeat beating softly and patiently deep underground in a Chilean mine, gaining in strength as days of human drama increased in count. Soon the heartbeat began to beat with extraordinary strength, turning the hope of the world into one body, one spirit, one prayer and one joy.
The Phoenix capsule travelling up the Plan B rescue shaft to the waiting world was, in so many ways, a journey up a (re)birth canal. For the miners now rejoicing life, renewing vows, reaffirming faith and repeating prayers of thanks, it was the start of life anew.
For the watching world it was a powerful force which swept across the globe, breaking down borders both political and personal, feeding a vital part of the human spirit.
Most importantly the miracle in Chile was a powerful reminder of a fundamental human truth: sometimes to find hope one has to dig deep…but it is there. And it is waiting to see the sunlight again.
Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2010
As the recent global economic crisis tightened its grip across the globe, the business travel segment found itself grounded. Business trips cancelled, conferences cancelled, incentive trips cancelled, exhibitions downsized, meetings re-e-engineered, hopes for making targets cancelled.
There was simply no budget, no justification, no nerve, no hope. Too many black ink cartridges were being replaced with red. It was a clear situation of black and white – until the crisis was over travel was suspended. There was no grey area.
Understanding the logic, e-alternatives were found. ‘Skype’ became both a noun and verb. Expectations were adjusted around movements of the bottom line and the business cycle. No one was going anywhere.
But making sense of it all did not make it any easier. We are not a generation comfortable with prolonged restrictions to comfort of lifestyle. The crisis of 2008/9, and its hangover of caution throughout 2010, has been the first time such financial strain of this degree has ever been felt by billions across the globe.
But the crisis has not just been financial, it has been emotional. The fear generated by the world’s fastest spreading, widest reaching and deepest penetrating economic shutdown has rattled the spirits of people across the world. A bankruptcy of faith and confidence occurred, causing a crash in the energy required to perform.
And, importantly, a crash in the value of business culture.
The arrival of Q2/2010 has, however, brought with it a return in business confidence levels. And with that a return of people on the move. The seats in the pointy end of the plane are warming up again. As are meeting rooms, conference halls and spirits. Justification of un-suspending spend is now all around. Clearly being grounded hurt business. Now is the time to get back to 35,000ft to get back into the black.
Supporting this hypothesis, a study undertaken by Oxford Economics in 2009 revealed, painfully, that over all the average US business would be forced to lose 17% of profits (28% of revenues) during the first year of suspension of business travel. This loss would require a three year period to recover. Bottom line.
But intuitively businesses across the globe have also known that the losses were not just at a commercial level, they were also at a cultural level. The freezing of budgets which froze internal activity, company conferences in particular, froze spirits.
Which is why visionary leaders, truly holistic leaders who put into practice the adage of ‘our people are our greatest asset’, are remaking commitments and rebooking venues to reconnect their people. Instruction from the C-suite is seeing hundreds of people being removed from their offices, relocated (often at enormous cost and logistical complexity) to places which allow the start of a strong tomorrow to start today.
Importantly, effective conference programme design is not only about sharing business plans and prophecies. Of equal importance, if not greater, is sharing of the process of rebuilding faith, rebuilding a future vision, and rebuilding the fundamental bonds of the organisation.
It is about cultural reconnection. And creating that reconnection may require letting people let go. Safely. It has been a long time of holding one’s breath. Now is the time to exhale deeply. Together.
This process, whether it unlocks laughter, tears or fears, will ultimately unlock the spirits of those present. And in so doing, create an energy of renewal, recovery, rediscovery and release – a release which will raise the level of confidence, conviction and commitment of the company culture.
There can be no greater fuel for future impact, no greater feeling of achievement for a true leader.
This article is dedicated to the courageous leaders across the globe who, with their visionary eyes and open hearts, recognise investment into their people at this fragile, faith-rebuilding, future-redefining time as invaluable.
To you a glass is raised with thanks, with immense respect, and in confident anticipation. Not only do you know the above to be true, you feel it… and you live it.
Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2010
The world in which we live today often feels as though it is moving at a speed far faster, and fired up with far more energy, than ever before. Events are unfolding with seemingly greater intensity. And having a greater global impact. Extreme situations are becoming extremely familiar. The drama of daily life is appearing everywhere, every day, every time one looks at a TV, computer or mobile screen.
How has this happened?
One of the reasons for the hyper-acceleration of happenings is the hyper-activity of social media commentary.
Where once news networks were relied on for information and insight, public opinion has gained unprecedented power. Immediately, as an event occurs, it is captured, analysed, shared. Through images and text the simple flapping of the wings of a butterfly on one part of the world can cause an immediate storm a world away. And a flurry of commentary around what happened: why the butterfly chose to flap his little wings at that precise moment, in that precise location. Precisely what did he mean by it?
Connections are being made, between people, places and points in time. And voices across the globe are sharing their opinions with global audiences.
All it takes is the click of a ‘SEND’ button and thought can become thought leadership.
It is truly remarkable and empowering that one is now able to share ideas, information and opinions across borders, across cultures and across ideologies across the world. For millions it is life changing. Enablement has occurred through e-connectivity. And with it has come social and economic freedom.
The power which comes from the SEND button can, however, be overwhelming. The temptation to ‘tell us what you think‘ and know that the world is reading can be too great to pass up. Particularly when one holds a position of leadership, be it political, private business or as a recognised personality. Fifteen keystrokes of fame.
And how seductive the invitation to engage when it comes to sharing opinion in open e-forum when voices are united in critique, with growing numbers of followers and growing flames of fiery opinion.
Sadly, often, momentum of opinion sharing takes on a life of its own. Words shift from helpful critique to hurtful criticism. A common enemy breeds heated commentary. The messenger and the message become confused. The need for a moment of pause and consideration of impact is lost.
And before you know it your name is sent into cyberspace, attached to words which will eternally appear in any Google or Bing search ever conducted on your name…
For all the possibility which has been created through the global connectivity which now characterises the times in which we live (and share), the responsibility of this power of opinion must never be forgotten.
To hit the SEND button is to leave an e-fingerprint in history. Together these fingerprints can build unity of community of thought and positive impact. Sadly, however, so too can it create ever-embedded negativity.
The butterfly effect has taken on a whole new meaning in our new world of global opinions.
Importantly, however, just as the butterfly never loses sight of the effect the flutter of his wings can have on the world around him, he maintains a healthy perspective regarding his place in the world. Tiny, beautiful, essential…and potentially powerful.
So too must we never lose sight of the impact of our opinions. And responsibility we hold for the impact of flapping our wings each time we hit the ‘SEND’ key.
Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2010