Interpretative worlds.
Re-interpreting the World.

Interview with Michael Thallium by Amit Nagpal

Michael Thallium was recently interviewed by Dr Amit Nagpal, if you wish to read the original interview on Dr Amit Nagpal web page, please click on the following link “Interview with Mr Michael Thallium, Greatness Coach, Spain”.

Here you are an excerpt of that interview:

Tell us something about your unique coaching style or greatness coaching.
First of all, I would really like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about this. The greatness coaching idea came a couple of years ago when I read a “great” book by Stephen R. Covey, The 8th habit, explaining how to shift from just effectiveness to greatness, that is, finding your “voice” and helping others to find their own voices, too. And this taking advantage of our body, mind, heart and spirit intelligences. I am also influenced by the neuroscience and the work of Howard Gardner, specially his five minds for the future: disciplinary, synthesizing, creating, respectful and ethical.

Reformulating Mark Twain words: Do not be parted with your dreams and illusions for when you cease to live, they will keep on existing; the true transcendence is to transcend… in the others. This is something I learnt from Carmen Cayuela, a Spanish PCC Coach specialised in Emotional Intelligence.

I believe there is something great in all of us, we just have to find what it is. When people talk about achieving goals, they mainly think in terms of “effectiveness”, which is good, but what happens if our ultimate goal is greatness instead? I believe we open a new space for coaching where transpersonality plays a key role. And this leads to transleadership. Lately, I am also following the work of a great transleader I am learning from: Jennifer Sertl.

What is the importance of communication to achieve greatness? Can you elaborate with some client /coaching experiences?
Who is the person you talk the most for the whole of your life? It is you! We are continuously talking to ourselves, communicating with ourselves. And this inner communication affects the way you communicate with others. And otherwise: the way you communicate with others affects the way you communicate with yourself. What is the basis of a coaching session? Communication. And this communication within a coaching relationship requires empathic listening and silence from the coach, too. Silence can be very telling.

I have met many people from very different culture, nationalities and walks of life and, in my experience, the common thing to sort out conflicts has been communication which, as I said, involves a big deal empathic listening. Before I became a freelance coach, I used to implement coaching in the way I led (you “manage” things and “lead” people) working teams. I remember I was once assigned to a project in New Caledonia for a closing of operations. I knew quite in advance that the goal of the company I was working for at that time was to do the closing and send people home. So, basically, I would be the one sending those people home and I had three months time to deal with the situation. I will not go deep into detail, but…

Amit NagpalDr Amit Nagpal is MBA (Marketing) and a PhD in New Media & Digital Marketing. He has been associated with the field of Branding & Media Management for the past 15 years. He had a heady start in his career with Cadbury India Ltd in Sales. He has worked in middle management positions with Sage Publications and Sahara TV where he was involved in several product launches, media relations and brand building activities. At WLC (Wigan and Leigh College) as HoD-Management, he was involved in creation of world class content for new subjects (including Digital Media) as well as development of process based training pedagogy.

His blog, “The Joys of Teaching” (A Blog on Life Mantras for Sustainable Success) is read in  100 plus countries and the numbers continue to rise as the words spread day by day.

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Friendship & International Collaboration: Marcel Pourbaix

I also have a friend with whom I collaborate internationally: Jesús Iglesias. We have known each other since school and if you are reading this article, it is thanks to his collaboration. He sent me an e-mail with document attached, an excerpt of his many readings, with the following message: “If you’re interested in it, to be published. I have made an excerpt which I entitled “Friendship & International Collaboration”.

Excerpt of Dr Luis Victori’s speech, in honor of Dr Macel Pourbaix, on 24th June 1981, at Unidad de Seminarios Ignacio Chávez, Mexico DC.

Marcel Pourbaix

Marcel Pourbaix

I was captivated by professor Pourbaix because of his clarity of exposition and his scientific rigour but, above all, I got impressed by his personality: his enthusiasm, his warmth, his friendliness… He is a person blessed with a big heart and the ability to harbour the noblest feelings.

To the question about what his favourite aspect of his work and what he considered the most important thing in his job, Professor Pourbaix answered quickly and undoubtedly:“my activities in the field of friendship and international collaboration”.

He also considered that “the most inportant thing in my life has been to instil in my children the love for the truth and faithfullness to their own counciousness”.

In my opinion, Professor Pourbaix’ life is the perfect combination between the idealist dreamer and the tireless worker who tries to make his dreams come true and who speculates, but who is also very aware of the problems in his world, problems that he tries to solve, too.

He started his way, full of obstacles, at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) in 1939: he was successively appointed substitute lecturer, work manager, conference responsible, lecturer and, finally, in 1968, when he was 64 years old, he was appointed professor of electrochemical corrosion. He had paid a high cost for his ideal of truth and his moral and intelectual independency.

The secret of his peculiarly characteristic friendship, may lie in that sentence he said to me once when I was at his home: “In my life, I try to be very demanding with myself and very understanding with the others.”

He is quite aware that his dedication to science often means taking time from his beloved ones.“I thank my wife Marcelle, who has always been my best friend and my best help. She often had to see that the wife of scientist is a widow whose husband is still alive.”

Professor Pourbaix is a tireless traveller. In Brussels, he has a map of the world on which he marks the points where he has given lectures and, above all, the places where he created bonds of deep friendship.“It is necessary to attend these meetings primarily thinking about what we can contribute with rather than what we can get.”

To me, these words are the echo of those old words which surprised the world when they were pronounced for the first time 2000 years ago: “A noble heart rejoices more at giving than receiving.”

From an excerpt of the foreword to the book “Lecciones de corrosión electroquímica” by Professor Marcel Pourbaix.

English version by Michael Thallium (@michaelthallium) from the original “La amistad y la colaboración internacional” in Spanish in collaboration with Jesús Iglesias (@cavaes)

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Greatness Coaching Research

Jennifer Sertl: Transleadership & Agility

(If you want to see the original interview, please visit Dr Amit Nagpal blog)

1) Tell us something about your book, “Strategy, Leadership and the Soul”

In 2005 I met Koby Huberman my co-author at an amazing conference called Forum 21

Koby was speaking about “open space” technology and how he was using that method to create conversation circles in his own community between Arabs & Israeliss.

I was speaking on the topic “If You Want to Change the World, Change Your Life: Micro-shifts = Macro-impact”.

We each had a plan on how to share all of the information we had learned and wanted to become accountability partners. In this we scheduled a call two times a month over Skype. I know Skype is popular now but in 2005 it was innovative to use.

Because our conversations were so rich we decided to have them transcribed. Over the course of two years a pattern emerged and we noticed that everything we discussed fit either strategy, leadership or soul. We really had something and knew the message was scalable.

So we gathered information and perspectives for three years, organized the information for one year, and it took a year to find a publisher. We were so pleased that Triarchy Press published our work in 2010.

Link to the 1st Chapter of the book:

2) Explain ‘Agility’ and its components in simple words.
I started my own company in 2000 and it was called Customer Service Alliance. We did customer & employee satisfaction surveys and consulting regarding improving scores. I was deeply impacted by Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat.

In fact I was lucky enough to interview him:

After reading his work, I decided competitive advantage had less to due with surveys and more to do with mental conditioning. I felt the greatest contribution I could make is by helping individuals & organization get better conditioned for the macro environment, globalization, and scenario planning.

It was then, I changed the name of my company to Agility3R.

I believe the most important skill today is agility and it is defined by resilience, responsiveness & reflection

* These can be interpreted at the individual level as well as enterprise wide

Resilience has three implications

1) how well you bounce back from failure
2) how well you learn from that failure and also inform the entire eco-system of that learning so the lesson can be scaled
3) diversity of experience–the more robust and diversified a person’s experience-the higher the probability for resilience (going to how cells has so much information they had to separate into two cell)

The more accurate the read on the landscape the more appropriate the interpretation.
Being responsive means looking into and environment and being able to assess the most appropriate way to “be” in that environment in order to create value
Being able to process “just in time” informaiton and integrating that synchronistically into both behaviour and especially language

Valuing quiet – no activity time in order for sense-making to accur.
Creating buffers in for patterns to emerge, for retro-review of activities to assess for learning and or future adjustments
Space for deepening of insights and space for “magic” to occur (theory-U jazz) in this space

3) What are the major services provided by Agility 3R to its clients?

Our company now focuses on three primary offerings:

1) Team Leadership–six month training that incorporates coaching & a customized multi-media curriculum designed based on the source of competitive advantage (for cross-functional teams ranging from 6-18 participants)
2) Keynote talks – customized interactive lectures that invigorate employees & foster higher level strategic thinking
3) Interplay Business Simulation – a facilitated board game experience that allows intangible assets to gain more visiblity as you take a company through a business life cycle from start-up to full maintained with challenges from the macro and the need to write and perform an investor presentation

Key outcomes or the promises our work makes include:

  • Swifter and more decisive
  • More efficient in your decision-making
  • More confident in the choices you make
  • Increased effectiveness in leading your sphere of influence
  • More in control of the complex world you compete in
  • A better champion for your brand both company & personal

(for more robust descriptions of our offerings

4) What exactly is Mindshare and how does it provide competitive advantage?

I just love this slide. When I was a manager at a 200 person call center, we sold phone service & benefits. If we could sell call waiting & caller ID, we would have more of your wallet.

Walletshare was a marketing conversation about how to gain more of already existing customers. Today, if you understand your own mind and how it works, your triggers, your inspiration etc. You will probably make wiser choices as self knowledge allows for more choices (at least one would hope). In addition, if you also understand the neuroscience of those in your business ecosystem — you will probably have more lead time to learn & adopt as their world changes you have an edge.
I say that your value isn’t in what you do or where you work. Your value is in the level of accuracy in your own interpretation of reality and the way you choose to articulate your life experience.

That is mindshare and that is truly today’s currency.

5) What is Existential philosophy?

According to Wikipedia, “Existentialism is a term applied to the work of a number of philosophers since the 19th century who, despite large differences in their positions, generally focused on the condition of human existence, and an individual’s emotions, actions, responsibilities, and thoughts, or the meaning or purpose of life. Existential philosophers often focused more on what they believed was subjective, such as beliefs and religion, or human states, feelings, and emotions, such as freedom, pain, guilt, and regret, as opposed to analyzing objective knowledge, language, or science.” For more,

I got two Bachelor of Arts from University of Colorado in Boulder. One in Existenital philosophy and the other in English.Who would have thought a liberal arts major from the West would end up being a business coach with a passionate and loud voice for strategy?

I cannot tell you how much philosphy has impacted my success. I started learning about philosophy when I was an eight year old child. My mother -who is strong, beautiful and talented, was also struggling with mental illness.

At the time, there weren’t so many regulations and when she was hospitalized, I would visit here the hospital and play ping-poing and drink chocolate milk with the other patients. Eight years old is before shame enters–so I had no problem jumping into character and learning what the world looked like from their point of view.

It became a game to me as a child and one I certainly benefited from as an adult. Now you can understand how much I fell in love with Immanuel Kant when I learned about his contribution to the theory of subjectivity. Prior to him people believed one text, one experience. He said, no– one text, a multitude of experiences.

Anyway, I was thrilled to know that other people were curious about ways of knowing and ways of being. I dived in, and if you happen to follow me on twitter you know the water gets deeper and deeper. Learning how to honor indiviudual point of view and compassionately see from their vantage point is vital for the multiplicity of the globalization that is occuring.

I am so lucky my life gave me such early training and I am tested and cutting new edges each day in both intelligence and compassion.

Thanks a lot Jennifer for sharing your deep insights on leadership, strategy and the soul with us. I really respect you as a thought leader in the field.

Brief Profile
Beacon of hope. Purveyor of discipline.
Global Citizen. Transleader.
Coach. Facilitator.
Author- Strategy, Leadership & the Soul and Founder of Agility3R.

Strategy, Leadership and the Soul: Resilience, Responsiveness and Reflection for a Global Economy

Thanks to Dr Amit Nagpal for his permission to publish this interview here.

Michael Thallium
Global & Greatness Coach

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