The bright side of wrong

Written by Frederick on . Posted in Articles

Here’s what we’d gain from embracing the World Cup

There are certain things in life that pretty much everyone can be counted on to despise. Bedbugs, say. Back pain. The RMV. Then there’s an experience we find so embarrassing, agonizing, and infuriating that it puts all of those to shame. This is, of course, the experience of being wrong.

Is there anything at once so routine and so loathed as the revelation that we were mistaken? Like the exam that’s returned to us covered in red ink, being wrong makes us cringe and slouch down in our seats. It makes our hearts sink and our dander rise.

Sometimes we hate being wrong because of the consequences. Mistakes can cost us time and money, expose us to danger or inflict harm on others, and erode the trust extended to us by our community. Yet even when we are wrong about completely trivial matters — when we mispronounce a word, mistake our neighbour Emily for our co-worker Anne, make the dinner reservation for Tuesday instead of Thursday — we often respond with embarrassment, irritation, defensiveness, denial, and blame. Deep down, it is wrongness itself that we hate.

Being wrong, we feel, signals something terrible about us. The Italian cognitive scientist Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini summed up this sentiment nicely. We err, he wrote, because of “inattention, distraction, lack of interest, poor preparation, genuine stupidity, timidity, braggadocio, emotional imbalance, … ideological, racial, social or chauvinistic prejudices, as well as aggressive or prevaricatory instincts.” In this view — and it is the common one — our errors are evidence of our gravest social, intellectual, and moral failings.

Of all the things we’re wrong about, this view of error might well top the list. As ashamed as we may feel of our mistakes, they are not a by-product of all that’s worst about being human. On the contrary: They’re a by-product of all that’s best about us. We don’t get things wrong because we are uninformed and lazy and stupid and evil. We get things wrong because we get things right. The more scientists understand about cognitive functioning, the more it becomes clear that our capacity to err is utterly inextricable from what makes the human brain so swift, adaptable, and intelligent.

Misunderstanding our mistakes in this way — seeing them as evidence of flaws and an indictment of our overall worth — exacts a steep toll on us, in private and public life alike. Doing so encourages us to deny our own errors and despise ourselves for making them. It permits us to treat those we regard as wrong with condescension or cruelty. It encourages us to make business and political leaders of those who refuse to entertain the possibility that they are mistaken. And it impedes our efforts to prevent errors in domains, such as medicine and aviation, where we truly cannot afford to get things wrong.

Read the full article here


Boks support BAFANA

Written by Frederick on . Posted in Articles

Coach Peter de Villiers has moved the team’s off-day, which normally falls on a Thursday, forward by one day so that the team can utilise not only the public holiday to spend with friends and family, but also meet in the early evening for a team-building dinner before heading to Loftus.

The Boks have already expressed their support for Bafana Bafana publicly before the current World Cup when De Villiers and captain John Smit swopped jerseys with Bafana Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira and national captain Aaron Mokoena.

Reclaiming your Magic Workshop

Written by webmeester on . Posted in News


Gameplan Special

Hello from my new cyber-home. Feel free to go and have a look at

Here is an affordable opportunity to give yourself (again) or your spouse, friend or colleagues a chance to pause and examine their life’s gameplan.
This first half of the year I did quite a few very successful team interventions and it is wonderful to keep contact with the teams on different levels of their growth and development.

Many of these people thought that their spouses/ friends/ colleagues could also benefit. I decided to create such a space with the Gameplan Special.

Why not join this fresh Big Soccer Event vibe on a personal note and join me (or extend the offer to a colleague or friend) with my Gameplan Special – and reclaim your magic!

Remember that I also have group rates for group booking (6-8 participants). Please contact me for a quote.

Hope to see you (or your friend) soon!

Soccer Greetings
Elsa Simpson

Gameplan Special: 3 DAY: Reclaiming your Magic Workshop
This workshop will help people who want to reclaim their magic by deep-tuning their people skills.
Many teams have also done the three days to reclaim their magic as individuals as well as teams. For more details see

Dates: 14-16 July 2010
Duration: 09h00 – 17h00
Costs: R4000 (excl vat) course material, venue and catering included
If you book before 20 June you qualify for the Gameplan Special:
Half price R2000 (excl vat) course material, venue and catering included

Other services and workshops available:
Make your pick: (descriptions at
1 – 2 HOURS: Coaching sessions
1/2 DAY: Learning Groups
1 DAY: Personal Growth Workshop
2 DAY: Living my Magic Workshop
3 DAY: Reclaiming your Magic Workshop
4 DAY: Grounded Facilitation

The venue for all the above bookings is 29 Koorsboom Crescent, Vredekloof, Brackenfell.

Should you be interested in booking or finding out more about any of these workshops/days for yourself or your team, please contact Elsa Simpson at or 021 982 7038 or 083 782 1249.

Articles by Elsa Simpson click here

Our transformation challenge: The Blue Bulls show the way!

Written by Frederick on . Posted in Articles

“And if they’d lost?” I innocently enquired.

“Ag, voetsek man!” he laughed.

But therein lies the rub. But for the change of venue 60 000 Bulls supporters would not have made it to the semi-final and the final in Soweto. They would have played at Loftus and their attitude would have stayed north of the curtain.

Transformation is about behaviour, it happens when behaviour changes, attitude then follows sometimes proudly, sometimes reflectively, and sometimes deeply.

“I want to share with you a life changing experience which my 15-year old son and I had this weekend,” says Matthew Grossett, CEO of Walk for Life.

“We were privileged enough to have attended the semi-final of the Super 14 held at the Orlando Stadium in deepest Soweto on Saturday night. For those of you who don’t know, the semi-final was between the Blue Bulls (from Pretoria) and the Crusaders (from New Zealand). As with all of us white supporters going to the game, we were filled with trepidation…Was it safe, would it be properly organised? Was it safe, how would the locals react to us arriving in Soweto? Was it safe, was it safe, was it safe, was it safe?!

On the way to the game we passed, and were passed by car after car full of Blou Bulle, most of them sporting the traditional Blue Bull hats with horns on, drinking brandy and coke. At the park-and-ride collection point (all supporters were transferred by bus to the stadium from the park and ride) the Blou Bulle were in full cry. I have never in one day seen so many people all wearing horns, drinking “spook and diesel” and – dare I say it – speaking Afrikaans (there were very few of us “souties” there). My initial thoughts were that the integration of the Bulle and the locals in Soweto was a recipe for trouble. I could not have been more wrong!

To say that the locals in Soweto came out and embraced the predominantly white Bulls supporters (and visa versa) is an understatement. Before and after the game, hundreds of light blue shirts (wearing their horns) could be seen in the local shebeens in the area around the stadium. We witnessed literally dozens of Bulls supporters hanging onto locals, eating “pap en vleis” and being taught the diski dance! After the game hundreds of us walked freely in the streets around the stadium, chatting to and interacting with the locals. I can honestly say that over the course of the entire day, I never once felt scared or nervous! Over the entire event I never witnessed one act of aggression. The goodwill and camaraderie that flowed on Saturday was an amazing advert for how far this country has come since 1994, and how much potential there is for the future. The vast majority of South Africans are truly amazing people, who can only but ensure that this country of ours just gets stronger and stronger, and better and better.

I went to bed on Saturday night very proud to be a South African, and full of confidence that, despite our well documented problems, this is a fantastic country with heaps of potential. We all just need to see the good in it and stop focusing on the negative.”

So, on a serious note, we are also celebrating (some of us anyway) a hundred years of the Union in South Africa and independence from Britain. Business Day has run a series of fascinating articles on this history with significant contributions from blacks and whites alike. They have been a compelling read and, in a way, show just how complicated our history is and therefore how complicated our transformation will be. Reading about this history has been most informative, and I guess for me has produced a number of paradoxical learnings.

•We have a shared history, but not a common history, a past in which communal-based African political traditions were repressed by liberal-based European political traditions under the guise of nationalism.
•Now we have a constitution that is as much our peace agreement as it is our supreme sanction.
•We have a national identity that is focused on common issues, but we don’t have a common identity that is focused on a national agenda.
•How we write about our history reflects our heterogeneity and our division, yet how we write about our destiny reflects our homogeneity and our union.
•Our media seems preoccupied with ahistorical opposition and otherness and seems disinterested with nation building and healing

So as we move forward faced with these complicated paradoxes , as we transform into our next centenary, will we preoccupy ourselves with more of the Bulls-in-Orlando type union and less with the Zapiro-denigrating-prophet type division?

As Peter Bruce (Business Day, 31 May) says “South Africans need to be careful not only of what we say to each other, but how we say it”.

That has to do with how we behave towards each other, and it has to do with the truth of our country.

It’s easy to find fault, talk up the negatives, say that Soweto is a dangerous place, say that “They” don’t respect life, say that this country is “Zimbabweanifying”. (I’d leave if I believed that!)

It’s harder to find the good, to talk up the positives, to go and visit Soweto or any other township, to put our arms around our fellow South Africans in a shebeen and say that our country is the best place to be.

But if we want to really transform…

That’s what we need to do!

By Steuart Pennington of

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The contribution of Appreciative Inquiry on the attitudes of church members towards a change in strategic focus

Written by webmeester on . Posted in Communitas Resources

The research had been done as a qualitative study using Thematic Analysis. Semi-structured interviews were used to obtain the data.

The study findings had indicated that the Appreciative Inquiry model has the potential to elevate the change conversation to a higher level where resistance and cautiousness no longer have the final say in determining members’ reactions to the change in strategic focus. The change conversation began to focus on themes such as purpose, opportunities and continuity. Interviewees had experienced that discovery of the Positive Core of the congregation had indeed helped them to embrace the proposed changes rather than resist it.

To conclude the research project, the following recommendations have been made:

  • There is a definite need for congregations to ensure that members know the Positive Core of their congregation. Members have to share their positive experiences of the past so as to inspire a next generation.
  • Leaders of congregations have to focus on this Positive Core. They have to be aware of the achievements of the congregation. They need to be focused on organisational wisdom. Leaders have to ensure that the collective spirit, the vital traditions and alliances and partnerships are conserved and used in a new era. It will be these elements of the Positive Core that will ensure that a congregation remains relevant.
  • Leaders of congregations have to ensure that the change conversation is conducted on the ‘higher level’ where purpose, opportunities and the role of the church are discussed. Change in congregations is too often discussed on the level of personal preferences.
  • The leadership of a congregation would do well to have regular focus groups that discuss this Positive Core of the congregation. In this way they will ensure that the congregation remains ready for change because of the sense of purpose and a commitment to the values and beliefs of the congregation.


Hirsch (2006:53) has been quoted earlier in the study as saying that the track record of congregations in terms of change is rather poor. The researcher contends that this research study has shown that the Appreciative Inquiry model of change management has the potential to put this record straight.

It is up to leaders facilitating change interventions to do just this.

Francois Retief