The origin of business.
The word business comes from the old English word “bisig,” meaning careful, anxious, busy, occupied, diligent.
Yes, I’ve just done a google search in an attempt to add a bit more clout to my own amateurish break-down of business to busy-ness. But the conclusions are similar.
Right from its very origins, business has been about getting stuff done – doing – being busy.
But we’re “human beings not human doings” (Dalai Lama). As businesses grow, it’s easy for them to move further and further away from why they were set up in the first place. The human doing was always originally intended to serve human beings.
Now more than ever, it’s so important to check back in with a business’s being. It’s core. It’s essence.
And it starts with great communication by highly conscious, awake individuals throughout.
Let me start with our philosophy and build out from there.
Our Philosphy – Speak, Listen: Act
Our philosophy is built on this principal: Speak, Listen: Act and it infuses all of our work.
Speak: Be confident, be heard, it’s your right.
Listen: Be humble, be generous, you don’t know everything.
Act: Be collaborative, take action and make things happen.
The vertical axis represents the quality of speaking within a business – how much people use their voices to get their points across/ share ideas etc.
The horizontal axis represents the quality of listening within a business. By listening, we mean, high quality listening – free from ego, present and with a genuine desire to understand.
The trajectory represents healthy action – where there is equal weight given to speaking and listening. It’s the healthiest culture for exceptional collaboration – where people are both assertive and co-operative. It’s not about competing egos and agendas which are self-serving, nor is it about evasive, siloed behaviour. Pretty simple, but so true.
It represents action that is truly in service to each other, clients and the business’s authentic purpose. It’s the type of action that we deliver and embed at The Speakers’ Gym™.
I’m always up for a re-think of all our work, embracing Adam Grant’s philosophy to “think more like a scientist” rather than resting on the confidence of conviction. (BTW, I highly recommend his book “Think again.”)
In that spirit, and re-visiting our own philosophy, I was driven to write this piece to outline an important precondition to “Speak, Listen: Act” to ensure its successful implementation. For a more in depth explanation of each of the quadrants, do take a look at the following link
The precondition of quality being.
This is my re-think.
A crucial precondition for any healthy, worthwhile communication and action in business has to be an awakening of sorts. By that, I mean much greater self and collective awareness.
Otherwise, any speaking, listening and action is unconscious, and likely driven by ego. A group of individuals that are ultimately disconnected and speaking and listening to serve themselves.
The only way to truly connect the people within a business and stimulate deeper, more meaningful communication, action and growth, is through deeper work, encouraging everyone to become more aware, more present and less ego driven.
Encouraging everyone to improve their sense of being. Every day.
Again, as the Dalai Lama says, we are “human beings, not human doings”
There needs to be a whole lot less unconscious role-playing, playing out the “drama of business” – the “drama of ego” that doesn’t serve anyone.
Strict dress codes; Posturing; Meetings that are more about politics than serving the shared goal; Looking busy; Looking professional; Being serious; Speaking corporate; “circle back – take this offline – BAU” rubbish.
At The Speakers’ Gym, our work on a business’s “being” and getting everyone “in flow” helps cut through this noise that doesn’t make anyone happy or serve anyone well.
Poor quality human beings will inevitably lead to poor quality humans doing.
And it has to start with the individual.
There are many paths to provoke this awakening – social science; mindfulness and breathing techniques; work to discover authentic purpose and values; deep self reflection and commitment to behavioural change. It’s impossible to cover everything in the narrow confines of this article. And of course, every business’s needs, and every individual within that business’s needs are unique. No path is the same.
But it’s so, so important that this deep, longer term reflective work is no longer seen as a side-dish but at the very essence of any business that wants healthy, long term growth – in every aspect.
In a sense, you could articulate this succinctly with the following pre-condition to our philosophy:
Speak, Listen: Act.
Without the BE, none of the rest works. None of the rest flows.
Without the BE, there’s a whole lot of doing without people truly understanding why or truly connecting to any sort of authentic purpose.
When a business re-connects with the essence of its being, it unlocks its full potential, empowering its people to take control of their future – happier, with purpose and in service.
So surely that’s a pretty strong case for carving out a little time for better quality being. The doing suffers too much not to.
The Speakers’ Gym “Just Cause” – to unlock the limitless potential of people to inspire a better business tomorrow – happier, with purpose and in service.
The Speakers’ Gym is like the iPhone. You don’t realise you need it until you have it, and then you can’t live without it.
Magda Gonzalez, Group CFO, Monex Europe
It was completely practical and the open-forum feedback was so valuable. You created a safe environment for everyone to learn. Thank you!
Nicola Koronka, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Missive
I was recommended by a friend who works in the same sector to contact The Speakers’ Gym to help me with my presentation delivery skills and I have not been disappointed with the results. Chris and Jonny work with you to provide bespoke training for your goals and needs. They are highly professional and make you feel at ease from the first minute the first session begins. I would highly recommend them to those who have a role which involves public speaking!
Julia Peake,Technical Development Manager, Sanlam
It has challenged both my thinking and approach and I will be sure to keep The Speakers’ Gym ‘fireworks’ readily available on my desk to refer to when not only presenting but also when needed through everyday management.
Liz Paradine – Chief Operations Manager - 7iM
Transact first engaged with The Speaker Gym late in 2018 where Chris & Jonny made a concerted effort to get under the skin of our business and understand how they could best help us hone our presentational and empathetic skills. The resulting sessions were hugely helpful giving my team plenty of opportunity to practice and also benefit from a great deal of feedback, not just from Chris & Jonny but by including the rest of the Transact team in the feedback and group learning too. I would highly recommend The Speakers Gym
Glen Sweet, Head of Sales, Transact
Working with The Speakers’ Gym has been fantastic. We knew what we wanted to say and who we wanted to speak to, so all we needed was technique. Or so we thought. Chris and Jonny helped us to understand the key elements of communication, through a structured process. We now think about communication in a completely different way. There’s a line they gave us that now resonates in my head, every time I write or talk to someone about what we do. We feel we’ve met two great guys and they’ve become an important part of us, our story and how we tell it to others.
Thomas Skinner, Founder, Barnaby Cecil Financial Planning
The impact of The Speakers’ Gym™ at Mako can only be described as transformational. Over a three month period, they helped transition a group of individuals into a highly collaborative and consultative leadership team. Chris and Jonny have a unique ability to connect individuals with their true purpose, driving them towards self-reflection and ultimately growth. Overall the entire experience of working with them has been a pleasure and I am deeply grateful for their impact. They more than surpassed my expectations and I look forward to working with them again in the future!
Trystan Morgan-Schauer, CEO, Mako
We engaged The Speakers’ Gym to provide us with clarity and direction in the look, feel and messaging of the Worldmaker brand in preparation for our official launch. From start to finish, the process has been truly collaborative. They worked with the expertise and experience in our team to create branding that truly represents who we are and what we represent, whilst moving us into a more modern, expressive space – which was our desire. We know that we’re in great hands with The Speakers’ Gym. We’ll certainly be continuing to work with them
Mollie Marti, CEO, Worldmaker International
They first took the time to understand our brief and delivered the programme incorporating our culture and brand throughout. They were thought provoking and their unique techniques very well received.
Mairi Cameron, Learning Manager, Nucleus Financial
The Speakers’ Gym gave me the skills and confidence to be my normal self whilst speaking and facilitating. They took the anxiety out of public speaking and gave me practical tools to prepare for and manage public engagements. They also helped me to engage more meaningfully with my clients, for which I am thankful. Highly recommend them.
Matthew Marais, Director, Vertus Capital
I found the sessions to be a revelation, and I wish I had known some of the techniques sooner. It has completely changed my mindset and focused me in on the needs of the audience. With that, the ability to achieve those aspirations has come more naturally. There is always room for improvement, and I will definitely be revisiting The Speakers’ Gym for a refresher from time to time.
Kelly Devlin, Wealth Management Consultant - St. James’s Place Wealth Management