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March 2015




Deep Alignment - The Key To Deep Change

"Policies are many, Principles are few, Policies will change, Principles never do.”

… John C. Maxwell (b. 1947) U.S. Clergyman

Last month I touched on the question of why change initiatives fail. This month I want to explore this more deeply and look at a key element involved in improving the chance of a successful change initiative. That element is alignment and more particularly "deep alignment".

Visit The HubObviously this begs the question about what I mean by "deep alignment" when it comes to communities, bearing in mind that organisations are a subset of community? Human beings are social beings and, as such, align themselves with others. They do this as a matter of course whenever they find themselves in community with others whether that be for a short time or long time.

Without any strong foundations within a community, the members find themselves doing one of two things. They might simply fit in with their observations of those around them in order to become part of the community. This is generally a passive approach to being accepted. The other approach is for a member to seek to shape the community around their own ways of being. The success of this will depend on the authority given to that person by the community. This can be done in aggressive or constructive manner depending on the ways of being of the main character but is generally done through more forceful means.

“Shallow alignment” speaks to the idea that our alignment with others is done based on observed behaviour. In other words, we take on the culture of those close to us or seek to shape the culture to our own ends based on what we observe of others. The passive form of this alignment is characterised by the idea of “this is how we have always done things around here.” The aggressive form of this alignment stems from the declaration, "You will do what I want you to do." We can infer a set of values from our observations of behaviour however these values are generally associated with a defensive or coping approach to being part of a community. We often see this in organisations, yet people do not seem to connect these inferred values with the espoused values of those organisations.

It is important to recognise that a culture always exists when a community exists for culture speaks to the ways of relating and acting within that community. A simple question stems from this recognition. Does your community want a culture that simply evolves or does it want a culture that it designs and seeks to create? If a culture is to be designed and created then it will need more than "shallow alignment" within groups within the community. It will require a "deep alignment" to the values it wants to manifest. How we do that will be the subject in a future newsletter.

We invite you to explore more in the articles section of our web site.


Mind Health Matters

Some thoughts from Jacqui Chaplin

“I could make a difference.”

... Chris Burke (b. 1965) American actor

Monday March 30 was World Bipolar Day

These days, just about every day in the calendar has a cause that is associated with it. There are days for cancers; breast cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer. There are days for diabetes. The United Nations has a calendar for cause related days as well. It has World Autism Awareness Day and an International Day for Biological Diversity among hundreds of others. Well, mental health awareness is right up there with their own days. Every year World Bipolar Day is celebrated on March 30.

World Bipolar Day is the result of a collaboration following the brainchild of Dr. Pichet Udomratn, a member of the Asian Network of Bipolar Disorder (ANBD) who got together with the International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF) and the International Society for Bipolar Disorders (ISBD) to bring his idea to life. This day is about raising awareness of the characteristics and challenges that people living with Bipolar Disorder experience.

Any of you who have tuned in to my radio show, "But I Feel Good… talking about pink elephants and black dogs" will know that I think it’s time to move beyond awareness. These articles, my radio show, my soon to be published book Black Dogs, Rollercoasters & Pink Elephants (click here to sign up to be kept in the loop), my presentations to corporate and community groups on the link between resilience and mind health matters are all about what’s next. It’s time to move beyond awareness into greater understanding, deeper compassion and genuine acceptance for people living with, or caring for someone with, a mood disorder or other mental illness.

One big challenge for people living with bipolar disorder can be the often lengthy time between when a person first experiences symptoms and the time a diagnosis is made. The average is ten years. If you know anything about the effects of living with undiagnosed diabetes you’ll know that delays in diagnosis impact long-term quality of life.  So too for people living with undiagnosed bipolar. Increased risk taking behaviour, often poor financial planning and decision making as well as the professionally recognised challenges and effects of self-medication can take their toll in the short and long term. Figures out of the United Kingdom predict those living with bipolar disorder have a shorter life expectancy of up to 25 years.

So if the occurrence of World Bipolar Day (or on any other day of the year) inspires you to know more, you can listen to podcasts of interviews and content on mind health matters by clicking here.

Here’s to good mind health for us all!

To make sure you stay up-to-date on all the news about Black Dogs, Rollercoasters & Pink Elephants then follow this link to register.

Want a sneak peek? You can read the book’s introduction here ! It explains why I have decided to write this book at this time in my life.

If you’d like Jacqui to speak at your conference or to your organisation please contact her at jacqui@jacquichaplin.com or +61 (0)412 741 531


Play Create Elevate offers your organisation the opportunity to hear first-hand, from a lived experience perspective about the signs and symptoms of mood disorders, how to give and get help and how to build and sustain resilience. PwC have released a report that says for every dollar spent in creating mentally healthy workplaces that an ROI of at least $2.30 is possible… What are you waiting for?  It’s time to speak openly and comfortably about mind health matters!

We invite you to read Jacqui's blog here

More on Mind Health Matters next month!


Want to Learn More About Ontology?

Our mission at Talking About is to share the ontological work with as many people as we can with the aim of making the world a better place. To that end, we have initiated the Ontological Foundations... A Free Learning Experience.

Who can do this?

Ontological FoundationsAnyone! There are no pre-requisites. You are even welcome to pass this offer on to other people you know.

So what are we offering?

Ontological Foundations is designed to give you an opportunity to gain some familiarity with the basic principles of the ontological approach. It is also designed to give you a chance for self-reflection and self-observation. We do this by offering you a detailed paper on the foundations of the ontological approach and an assignment that we will review and return to you with comments if you wish to return it to us.

How you want to approach this is up to you. You can simply request the Ontological Foundations paper, or get the paper and the assignment and work through them on your own or you can complete it and send it to us for some further thoughts. Ultimately, it is up to you. If you are interested in finding our more, please click on the Ontological Foundations image above or write to us at info@talkingabout.com.au.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Hey, did you know?

"But I Feel Good" Radio Show

Radio Show

Did you know that since November 2013, Jacqui has been hosting a weekly radio show called ‘But I Feel Good’ …talking about pink elephants and black dogs.

The show is dedicated to speaking openly and comfortably about the ‘black dog’ of mood disorders from a lived experience perspective and the ‘pink elephant’ strategies and practices that build emotional resilience and inner fortitude.

It covers a range of topics related to mind health and plays a great mix of music in between interviews with subject matter experts and related content.

The show goes live to air, streaming on www.MAINfm.net so it can be heard AROUND THE WORLD every Monday from 1-3pm AET. Its official broadcast base is 94.9 MAIN FM which extends across the Mt Alexander Shire in Victoria on the wireless.

You can listen to abridged on demand episodes at www.jacquichaplin.com/bifgondemand.

The Monthly Diversion

As you know, I love a good golf joke.

On the 2nd tee of the golf course with his wife, the husband says,  "Twenty years ago I had a brief affair, it meant nothing. I hope you can forgive me."

His wife was hurt, but said, "Dearest, those days are long gone. What we have now is far more valuable. I forgive you."

They embraced and kissed.

On the 17th tee, the husband was starting his back swing when the wife blurted out, "I'm sorry darling, I've been so conscience-stricken since you told me of your affair. Since we're being honest with each other, I have something to tell you also. Thirty-two years ago I had a sex change operation, I was a man before I met you. I hope you can forgive me"

The husband froze at the top of his back swing, and then threw a fit!

He slammed the driver into the ground, kicked the ball into the woods, stormed off the tee, pushed the golf cart over on its side, broke the rest of his clubs one by one, then started on hers. He screamed and ranted, "You liar! You cheat! You despicable deceiver! How could you? I trusted you with all my heart and soul... and all these years you've been playing off the ladies' tees!"

In golf, some things are sacred, almost sacrosanct.


"Authenticity is the alignment of head, mouth, heart, and feet - thinking, saying, feeling, and doing the same thing - consistently. This builds trust, and followers love leaders they can trust."

… Lance Secretan (b. 1999) English businessman

Join Us Online

LinkedInDo you want to explore some of these ideas in more depth? Then, we invite you to join our LinkedIn Group and share any insights you may have. As others have done, we also invite to offer your own thoughts and conversations if they relate to the ontological approach. You can find us on LinkedIn by clicking here.

Want to Read More?

Since the formation of Talking About in 2005, we have published our e-zine every month. Before that, Chris wrote regular newsletters and e-zines with Gaia Consulting dating back to 1995. If you would like to explore more of Chris' ideas then you can access our e-zine archive and view any newsletter written since 2005 by clicking here or to look at all the articles Chris has written over the years simply click here.

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