A tribute to my teacher
G Max Clayton, a significant teacher of mine, died last week. Max has
been influential in my professional and personal development for over 27
years. He instituted a system of experiential training and learning in
Australia, New Zealand, Japan and in several European countries. His
vision was that our responses to one another, both at work and in life
should be in the moment, relevant and life giving.
was funny, perceptive and fierce. He was a challenging, empathetic and
demanding teacher. Max's life work was teaching people to approach old
situations in fresh and new ways. The methods he used were
unconventional. Max had the capacity not only to bring the elephant into
the room and make it visible - he also bought in the other animals,
birds, and zoo keepers; effectively the whole zoo.
talked of behaviours as having three components: thinking, feeling and
action. He and others identified that when one of these components is
out of balance with the other two and becomes habitual, the person's
behaviour tends to have a limiting impact on those around them. Max's
vision was that people, regardless of their circumstances, should live
spontaneously1. He wishes us all to develop our capacities to respond relevantly in the world around us - to be human.
I am grateful for the many life-giving moments from my times with Max.
1. Spontaneity includes five elements: vitality, creativity, flexibility, adequacy and originality
Are you thriving or barely surviving?
There are at least three criteria for working successfully in organisations:
- Technical abilities
- The qualities you have when working with others - relationships.
years ago, staff were expected to do as managers said. Then,
expertise, and some experience were sufficient to be appointed to
leadership roles. Increasingly a third factor is necessary - people
having positive experiences through working alongside you as they
leaders find that creating a culture where people want to work together
can be challenging. Increasingly leaders are expected to work with
teams where group members may not know one another, or group membership
is unstable with people in acting roles, or where the organisation
purpose and priorities are shifting. New approaches are necessary.
from our organisation experiences is fast becoming the norm. Early in
my career, leadership development programmes were month-long or
week-long events. Currently we accept that people can develop their
abilities by learning on the job. Three ways to assist on the job
- Managers giving responsive feedback
- leadership coaching
- Challenging assignments, with strong governance or a mentor
roles, shifting organisation structures and different priorities
require leaders to use new approaches. They have to develop greater
abilities in leading diverse groups of people, - making work meaningful
for group members under rapidly changing circumstances, and continue to
deliver services and products relevant to customers and clients.
Contact Diana for a coaching programme to assist you thrive
Education leader also now published poet
building on hidden talents has long been one of Maris O'Rourke's
special attributes. This year, long time friend and colleague Maris has
published her first book of poetry. Maris was Secretary of Education
here in New Zealand and then Director of Education for the World Bank.
She has worked in education systems in over 50 countries.
Singing With Both Throats is published by David Ling Publishing and available from Unity Books in Wellington or via Fishpond. Here is part of poet Siobhan Harvey's recent review.... "Collectively, what you get in Singing with Both Throats is
a book as raw as it is accomplished, the poet's past lives and enduring
obsessions informing the arresting imagery and insight, and providing a
template for narrator and reader to intersect personal history, poetic
travelogue and a survival-map. The result is a work of bite, beauty and
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