Author Archives: Leader's Voice

Speaking Without Fear

Before we think we know what this phrase means, we should look into it a bit further.  We might be implying for example that speaking without fear is speaking courageously.  Actually, this isn’t possible.

Speak into a microphone without fear.

“Courage” is acting despite our fear.  The fear is there, but we act on through it.  Speaking courageously then, is experiencing fear in what we are about to say, but saying it anyway, sometimes with timidity, sometimes with force.  In any case, speaking courageously is fuelled by strong emotions. On the other hand, speaking without fear comes from a different place.  Without fear, the experience is a different one.  Our emotional state, no longer being fuelled by fear, takes on a air of calm, strength and confidence and even care.  Both voices can be heard.  Which would you prefer to follow?

Are the Words I’m Using Meaningless?

Words, no matter how profound or potentially full of meaning, can easily lose their value.  Why do they lose value? Doesn’t a word always carry its meaning consistently?

Have your words lost their meaning?

Aside from the fact that words can, and do, have different meanings, a word’s loss of power and impact doesn’t come from the different meanings it may hold.  The loss of power comes from a diffuse meaning, one that isn’t crisp or distinctive.  Let’s take the word “value”, a word that can be evocative and cause sage head nodding when used.  Ask the user of the word what it actually means and most of the time, we get responses that are close to platitudes, responses that give us little traction.  The same holds for words like “truth”, “trust”, “integrity”, “respect”, “love”, “commitment” and the list goes on.  The point is not to find the perfect definition, but to imbue these words with meaning before their use, thus making them “meaningful” vs “meaningless”.

Finding our Own Voices

Hillary Clinton found her own voice during the 2008 US Presidential elections.
Hilary Clinton, upon winning the New Hampshire primary in 2008, opened her speech by saying “I want, especially, to thank New Hampshire.  In the past weeks, I listened to you, and in the process, found my own voice.”  If you watch earlier speeches in her campaign, leading up to this one, you would see that she was speaking different words and being a different, more natural self.  She appeared to be coming from a place of the heart, appearing authentic to her self.  Like Hilary and many other politicians, we often trust ourselves and our own hearts the least, shaping our words, and ultimately ourselves to an external “truth” and not to the one inside us.  Ironically, we speak to finding our own voice, a voice that is already there, simply waiting to be uncovered.

Leader’s Voice® Launches in Johannesburg

Working outside, because, in Johannesburg, we can!

Working outside, because, in Johannesburg, we can!

While Leader’s Voice® has run as a special programme at Wits Business School in Johannesburg, we had yet to pilot how it works as an open programme. In April, that all changed when we ran two public programmes at our partner studio, Sound and Motion Studios, in Bryanston.

We had a brilliant time and Leader’s Voice® once again demonstrated its ability to address the interests and needs of a wide population. Sound and Motion, located at Elgin Studios, is located in beautiful and quiet surroundings, providing the perfect location for the pilot. Rich West and James Olivier who run the studio, once again proved perfect partners.

With a wide range of participants, ranging from entrepreneurs to mining and the auto industry, the feedback between participants, a core element of the process, was brilliant. As is usually the case, participants in part expected a course on “presenting better”. What they got was an experience that expanded the essence of their own voices in a powerful way that brings out true and authentic leadership. More than one participant referred to the experience as “transformational”.

One-to-one coaching at the microphone

One-to-one coaching at the microphone

We should also mention our evening sessions at the Little Tuscany Boutique Hotel in Bryanston. Once again, we found terrific support, great food and a magical location. Our thanks go to the Little Tuscany for accommodating us at late notice and making us feel welcome.

The programme did not run, however, without a typical “Johannesburg” experience. At 2:30pm on the last day of the second programme, a power cut shut down the entire studio. Finding our way out to the rear garden, Ivan, our creative sound engineer, found a portable, high quality recording device, and we continued the programmed in the lovely rear gardens of the studio. At 4pm, just in time for the final recording, the power came back on, bringing us to a perfect and surprising closure.

Keep your eyes on this space, who knows where we’ll show up next!

Gallery from Johannesburg

The Will of the Voice

In the context of leadership, we’ve said earlier that out voice is a key vehicle for creating a future that does not yet exist. That always means change, and as homeostatic creatures, we tend to shy away from change, even when we know it’s good for us. Since that is the case, change requires a will i.e. the will to change.

The Will of the Voice

When it comes to change, will shows up from two directions and often with significantly different consequences. Firstly, for those being faced with a change, especially when it is being handed to them, their “will” goes to work on keeping things the same. This often triggers in others what Roberto Assagioli, the founder of Psychosynthesis, called “The Strong Will”. This is the will that often forces things on others or drives forward “regardless of the obstacles”. While this strong will has accomplished many things, it is also the will of tyrants and despots. This is different than what he called “The Good Will”, which, while very powerful, is understanding and inclusive and always supporting good and positive intention. The good will calls on the strength of the individual, the inner strength that shows up as personal power and authenticity.

In our work in developing powerful authentic voice, we work to develop not so much a voice that expresses strong will, which has a “get out of my way, this is going to happen” sense, but a powerful will. The powerful will which shows up in the voice is one that exudes value, emotion and engagement with the listeners. When we look to those we would call great leaders, they, without exception, possessed a powerful will, often expressed through their speaking.