La Teoria del Camaleón (Chameleon Theory)

Much has been written on the topic of leadership. In fact, if you google it. There are approximately 733,000,000 results.

I have read some of those results. Some better than others but the basic premises of leadership are pretty clear to me. I was and have been intrigued by this topic.

In the spirit to learn more about it, I enrolled in a master’s program that focused on leadership. My program was geared towards strategic leadership. In other words, how to get people on your side to accomplish a specific task or reach a specific goal.  In order to lead, you need people that are willing to follow (shared vision).

My experience was quite fascinating. I learned different leadership theories, success stories and lessons from those that failed. Furthermore, had interesting conversations with my professors about my own leadership style and those areas that I needed to work on in order to incorporate them to my leadership toolbox.  All in all, I learn a lot, but no enough.

Leadership is multiphase, complexed and ever-changing just as a camaleón. Books are unable to prepare you to deal with situations. You just do! Call them survival, preparation, intuition, etc.

While not comprehensive. I have selected few lessons of what have learned about the discipline of Leadership simplified by using a camaleón as an example.

  • Leaders don’t need fancy titles to lead. In fact, leadership can and will happen at any level.
  • Leadership is not glamorous. You will need to make hard decisions, even if there are unpopular.
  • Leaders are aware of their strengths and imperfections. Leaders constantly work on their flaws.
  • Leaders are able to shift according to the situation and context. Leadership is situational.
  • Leaders learned from the past, attend the present while keeping an eye on the future.
  • Leaders have a purpose and understand all the players and their roles.
  • Leaders are able to serve from within, out, or in-between.
  • Leaders get things done.

Camaleón

What qualities do you see or not see on a camaleón that can be explored for your leadership toolbox?

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Roller Coaster of Life that Keeps Going UP

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I have been wanting to get in a roller coaster for a while.

Is it because i want to make a point to my 16 year old brother that i still can be cool and enjoy roller coasters without his formal invitation to roller coaster land? Maybe.

Is it because my journey has been a roller coaster of experiences that course throughout my body increasing the adrenaline and cortisol that makes me feel like a fool. Probably Yes!

The sensations of intensity throughout ones life are important and must be attended kindly to move forward. We all experience excitement as we go up. The expectation of the new, the unknown, the known- all of them contribute to the rush of excitement that makes us feel free, in or out control, and alive.

As planned the roller coaster also come down- a moment of pure freedom, where there is a combination of being in panic while knowing that there is a predestined
ending and that this experience will soon culminate.

Getting in a roller coaster is a unique experience can be both exciting and uncomfortable. Just like our journeys and life experiences, takes us to moments of excitement and crushing low moments when we want a warm blanket,mommy and a cookie.

Would it be possible to enjoy going up as we enjoy going down?- I think so.

Be kind to yourself and allow the experience of going up and down fulfill you in whatever way is needed. At the end of the day, roller coasters always go up.

Grieving with Theory

Last month I grieved the departure of a special one. Chloe.

The profound lessons she left us allowed me to think with theory. This is my way of escaping the realities and constrains that i negotiate in daily basis with our world.

Chloe came to us as a surprise, very much like theory. I have heard about the importance of theory as i also have heard the tremendous love that someone could bring to the world. I tried to run away from the commitments but in fact what i discover was among chaos, confusion and lack of making senses that things start to make even more sense. It was in an apocalyptic way, uncovering the veil and breaking up the chains that have control my life, thoughts and my reality for a long time.

i knew that taking care of someone else is a big responsibility, just as theory and post-qualitative paradigms provide us the responsibility to see things differently. For so long, breaking up the chains, structures, systems and oppressive conditions that we have been conditioned to accept as reality, where not longer constrains but instead liberating.

Barrad reminded me that i was not longer dog-owner/dog-dad but i was entangled with a human/animal/dog/daughter/chloe that demanded my love, attention and commitment. All the boxes, stereotypes, were eliminating and all the boxes that could include chloe were not longer important. She was Chloe and she was as entangled in my life as i was with her. My subjectivity, multiple-roles would shift often between the care giver,love taker / love receiver and a father. Perhaps my idea of family might be very different from yours but in the assemblage we needed each other to make it work. It could not be separated, it was mutual.

Somekh and Lewin(2011),we can only begin to understand how people behave as they do, and the stories they tell, if we see these actions and words as entangled with many other “worlds” and words that we likely cannot see or hear, but we need to gain inside into (p.34).

Chloe became an essential part of my life. She showed unconditional love and kindness for strangers. She displayed qualities of happiness and sorrow. She suffered in her own ways never complaining. She was silenced. Just as many people that we know. Nevertheless, she loved every single person that came through my door. For her, they were not strangers, they were family.

On April 29th at 4:17pm i saw her depart in my arms. She slowly left earth leaving a great hole in my heart. However, I knew that she left us with great lessons, including care, compassion and love for others. Her departure has not being easy but I accepted her new entanglement with earth. Chloe Sofia Ramirez is among the living, the dead, among the dirt, and air. Her spirit is not bounded or constrains by a home, laws and rules. Her soul and spirit are not longer constrained. She is free.

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Descanza en paz!

Being Thankful

As i wrap up a leadership audit for one of my leadership (big monster paper, over 60 pages on organizations and culture) i had the opportunity to stop everything that i was doing, read the project, criticize it and celebrate my progress.

Oh boy! Oh Boy! I wondered…. Who wrote this? This is good!!! I know that there are tons of little adjustments to make, but i am feeling pretty accomplished for my work thus far. I never imagined that i would feel good about my academic writing. Think about it, a shy writer, non-native English Speaker in a doctoral program sustaining and maintaining with Directors, Deans, School Principals, etc. Pretty intimidating group for sure!

As i celebrate my progress (Good Practice, try it!) i am extremely thankful for the people that have guided me, watched me cried, supported me through good and bad times, to those that would call and ask how i am doing, to those that would lift my spirit up regardless of how bad i felt.

My family, the hubs for taking care of the furry babies, my mom that would call and text almost daily for no reason other than to tell me that she love me. To God for his kindness love even if undeserved. To my friend and gym buddy for encouraging to take care of my self, to eat well, and stay healthy. To the strangers that pray for me. To my teachers and mentors for pushing me beyond my limits.

I AM THANKFUL FOR YOU! Thanks for being part of my journey.

“No Nos Quieren Aqui”

Recently i had the opportunity as many of my fellow North Americans to listen to the President of the United States addressing the nation on immigration orders. As i read the twitter and Facebook feeds from the White House i was physically sick to see the posts and lack of respect towards our president. I wandered if we had a different president, if we would be the same responses? Perhaps the answer would be yes! But the most interesting thing of this day, was to note the intense and ingrained discomfort and racism by many fellow citizens. This trend is not new, in fact, it has happened to many before it became normalized and accepted. Don’t believe me ask my Native American friends, European Friends that left their homelands because of religion persecution, or how about my Black and African American or Japanese Friends. It all sounds too familiar! Does it?

The new kids in the block are now here and are here to stay. The kids came to get what was taken away over 180 years ago. Their lands, dreams, and a eloquent and vibrant cultural legacy that we can certainly learn a lot of from. I leave you in the wise words of a popular Mexican Proverb, “ They tried to bury us. They did not know we were seeds”(Author Unknown).

The Journey of LOVE

As an ordinary day, I started the process of getting ready to go to work, as it was my daily routine. Pants, an ironed shirt with a nice tie was all I usually needed it to be ready for a normal Friday at the office. While we had the opportunity to dress casual, I made the attempt to look even nicer since that was one of the busiest days in the retail banking office.

I went to the break room and ate my lunch and after clocking in I was ready to continue my day. Around 3:00 O`clock things seem to be busier. I started to think about my plans for the weekend. Maybe the club or hanging out with my friends. It was always a dilemma to figure out what to do next.

I quietly visualized what I was going to wear. Perhaps blue jeans and a nice shirt. The classics look that characterized my weekends.

It was 5:45 excitement gets in my head. It’s almost time to go home!

A customer patiently waits in line. I have never seen him before. He looks like he needs my services. How may I help you, sir?

He kindly responded. You speak Spanish Right! I responded nicely and preceded a conversation in Spanish.

I made his deposit and provided him with a receipt and account balance. Wow, I thought this is a hard-working guy saving his entire check.

We both noticed we had the same last name, perhaps a common one. He asked me where I was from and I responded appropriately. He also asked me about my ear piercing in the middle of my ear. Insinuating, that it was not a very common place for them. I laughed and he also did pointing at his ear.

Oh, you have one too, in the same place what a coincidence! The nice men politely said he was on his way to his job and offered to buy me a coffee if I ever visited the restaurant. I gratefully responded Gracias! And continued finalizing my closing procedures to enjoy the weekend.

There was something about that man that it was interesting to me. Perhaps a connection, and why not attraction right away.

I left the office and I was driving, I was thinking of him. A secret crush you may say.

The weekend passed by as usual. The club, hanging out and fun times we had.

On Monday I bravely decided to go and visit the restaurant this man invited for a free coffee. I could not pass this nice guy invitation. I arrived at the restaurant and had a nice lunch. My eyes are distracted looking in all direction but I could not find the nice men to pay for my cafecito. I was disappointed but knew that things like this happen all the time.

I never saw the nice men again. One day around three months later, i received a weird text.

” I would like to invite you for coffee after work”. My first reaction was to react with my clever saying, ” Did your mom did not teach you to talk to stranger”. The mystery person, sent apologies for bothering me.

A little bother and intrigued, I asked for the mystery person to identify, “Who are you and who gave you my number”?

The mystery person responded, a friend. Please don’t be mad.

I am already upset, so really who gave you my number, I responded.

A friend! He mentioned the friend name and I recognized the name.

I called the friend and sarcastically said, please don’t be giving my number away. He responded, there is a guy that works with me and he saw you at the bank. He would like to extend the invitation to drink a cafecito. “He is a really nice guy”, the friend responded.

I waited to respond since this might be a setup. I carefully said, why not but I pick the location.

Barnes and Nobles coffee sounds good to me, I’ll meet you there.

As I approach the entrance, an uncomfortable tingling starts to go through my body. Perhaps this is a sign of not to go in.

I carefully entered the door and as I was making my way to the coffee shop, guess who I found? The Coffee guy! The one with the same last name and with an earring in the middle of his ear. What a coincide or is it?

We had coffee, spoke for a while and had a great time. Wow! What a night!

After the coffee shop, we went dancing and had an incredible night!

We exchange numbers and agreed to call each other again.

This was such an amazing and weird feeling. We spoke and texted several times until we had to see each other again.

Minutes became hours, hours became days, days became years….

Moving forward in time, to after 12 years later. The coffee guy and I still together. We never left each other after the first date!

We now are married and have a beautiful furry baby (Chiko) that we love very much!

Do you believe in love at first sight? I definitely did not, but that is exactly what happened.

Every day I am very grateful for having the opportunity to love and be loved. It is surreal at times, but love triumphs over any obstacle given by societal structures and mankind.

Love knows no gender, age, or even nationally. It does not discriminate instead is natural, organic and pure!

The journey has just begun! My Journey continues…