360 degree feedback, organizational trust, change & sustainability
Drugs for toddlers
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Friday, 30 May 2008
Does Sustainability mean a better world for our children? If you think it does, note that we are now giving Ritalin to two-year-olds. Could that be a problem? Check this:

"Do the following signs apply to your toddler? Having difficulty sustaining attention, not listening, not following through on instructions, getting easily distracted, fidgeting with hands or feet, won't remain seated, runs about or climbs excessively, won't be quiet, talks excessively, 'blurts answers before questions have been completed', difficulty taking turns and interrupting."

This is taken from the front page of the Daily Telegraph in Sydney. I notice that it can't be found in The Australian and is now quietly dropping out of sight in the Telegraph. Some people don't want to know this, others do. It continues:

"Really, is there any other kind of two-year-old? Or three-year-old, even four- or five-year-old? The health department list reads like a review of a Hi-5 concert. These are all babyish behaviours - they have not yet had a chance to prove they know any better.

"If all of the above presented in a severe form in an older child, medication might well be an option, but what baby who is still learning to walk, cannot talk, eat, or go to the toilet on their own, screams ADHD so desperately they need to be drugged?

"You can't even buy cough mixture for your under two-year-old any more without a prescription. Yet there are at least 311 pre-school children on "kiddy cocaine" such as Ritalin, Concerta, Dexamphetamine and Strattera and a further 58 four-year-olds and 13 year-olds are also wandering the state [NSW] like space cadets.

"The known side effects of these drugs are sickening when applied to a toddler. Suicidal tendencies, stomach cramps, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, delusions, lack of appetite, nausea, diarrhoea and insomnia.

"Narelle King, the mother of a nine-year-old ADHD-diagnosed boy who she says has improved out of sight without medication, said: 'It's appalling. It makes me sick.' King used the Dore program for her son Lucas, which uses exercises to stimulate the brain without drugs. She was so impressed, after seven months she became program adviser.

"While she is "disgusted" by the new figures, she is far from surprised. 'I had a client with a six-month-old who had been prescribed Ritalin. She said 'You've got to be joking'. The baby wasn't sleeping, it was having trouble settling, and Ritalin is the answer?

"You've got to wonder whether the parents in these cases have exhausted all other options."

"David Hay, who specialises in ADHD at Curtin University, said the figures were too small to be of concern. 'I think the figures are not bad, actually - we're not doing such a bad job,' Professor Hay said. 'It shows we bend over backwards in Australia to be scrupulous in giving medication to children of this age.'

"Stringent the process may be, but we're talking about that causes children to grow just 2cm in three years - and that's the older ones.

"At best, patients can expect muscle twitching and, at worst, seizures and convulsions. Commonly they experience confusion and hallucinations, sweating, blurred vision, dry mouth and nose, and fainting. Worse still, a wrong dose can be fatal.

"If there are five two-year-olds in the world, let alone Australia, subject to these powerful drugs, it's five too many.

"There has been little research into either the short or long-term effects on the pre-school age group. At the very least, it warrants further examination - you just don't mess with the heads of babies."

We strongly agree and suggest that we can all play our part in defending children - without them, we have no sustainability at all!

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posted by Dr Ron @ 18:25   1 comments
Introducing the Leader/Manager: 1. The Assumptions
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Tuesday, 27 May 2008
After decades of experience in the airline industry and making use of all the available research, Peter Farey formulated his Leader/Manager Model. Upward Feedback® (now called 360 Facilitated®) was the tool he developed to make use of it.

360 Facilitated® rests on these basic assumptions:

  • Success in managing a team often stems less from improvement in the manager's skills, knowledge or qualifications than it does from what s/he chooses to treat as important. It is about the priority given to various activities. Listening to people or agreeing objectives with them for example are often taught as skills, but what really matters is whether the skills are used!

  • The best people to give feedback on someone's approach as a manager must be those being managed (feedback from peers may be confusing initially, though it can be important at a later stage). We therefore provide a way for managers to obtain upward feedback on the approach they use

  • While the specific competencies necessary for managerial success vary greatly with the situation, there is a general consensus on the areas that make up Leader/Manager behaviour, and it is on these that we ask for feedback

  • In practice, it turns out that many of the issues raised by team members in their feedback actually belong to the teams themselves. Teams readily take on the resulting opportunities for improvement and empowerment

  • Some issues are beyond the authority of either team or manager to resolve, and as such must be passed to senior management and considered in the light of organisational strategies, policies and procedures.
Does that sound new? For a lot of organisations is still is. They rush to train without thinking of the outcome they want; they devise competencies and are sure that they have reinvented the true wheel; they lean on managers and don't allow their teams to contribute; they never find out where the problems are because they have no process to make that happen ... And they just love to put those numbers on the managers, then everything is under control!
(Excerpted from The Leader/Manager Guide © Peter R. Farey. To be continued).

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posted by Dr Ron @ 08:33   0 comments
Best Practice in 360 Degree Feedback: No. 16 – Beyond Sticks and Carrots!
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Tuesday, 13 May 2008
Back in the Industrial Revolution it was thought by most people that you could get productivity by chasing people with a stick. There were some who had already proved that there were better ways but it took much of the twentieth century for them to catch on. Punishing managers for their 360 results is surely counterproductive and recent research demonstrates that 360s that use the results purely for development are the ones that get the best results in the long-term.

Best Practice very definitly is to use the survey for developmental purposes. Similar problems arise if you tie carrots to your 360, you may get some movement in some areas, but not a real commitment from the participants to change overall.

Our approach to 360 feedback is always:

Establish dialogue –> promote engagement –> creative thinking and contribution
  • Dialogue lets every voice be heard and the best ideas be used
  • Engagement means that everyone is playing a part, there are no bystanders
  • Creative thinking means that new ideas are always available to improve what we do and to meet the latest challenge
  • Contribution means that people are happy to give – nothing can be more productive than that.
On this cheerful note we conclude our 16 Best Practices for 360 Surveys. The series will be available as an e-book, contact us if you would like a copy.

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posted by Dr Ron @ 01:41   0 comments
ADHD and Ritalin - again!
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Thursday, 8 May 2008
It's hard to write material on improvement of our society and the environment, and leave out something that is hurting our children. Nor can you sit back comfortably when a brave neurologist stands up and says it like it is. Listen to Dr. Fred Baughman, a pediatric neurologist and Fellow of the American Association of Neurologists.

Dr. Baughman shares his latest book on the subject, and a DVD warning to parents about the latest epidemic of childhood diagnosis, who is profiting from it, and how the label could hurt their child for life -- not to mention the risk of heart attack, stroke, drug abuse and all the other side effects that children on ADHD drugs experience.

You can read this and more in "Live with Dr. Fred Baughman," available for downloading now at:

Dr. Baughman shares such facts as:
  • What group wants four out of every ten children diagnosed as ADHD
  • How brain "disorders" lack an objective standard
  • Why an ADHD-labeled child will have trouble getting healthcare coverage, getting a job, or getting into the military
  • How diseases are created by a "show of hands"
  • How parents, teachers and school districts are getting paid for ADHD diagnoses
  • How many psychiatric experts are owned by the pharmaceutical industry
  • The law the Bush Administration put into action that will REQUIRE your child to be screened for ADHD
  • Adult ADHD "recruiting" centers where 80 percent are diagnosed as ADHD
  • How the FDA lobbied another country to keep dangerous ADHD drugs on the market after fatalities occured
  • Why your grandparents were never diagnosed with ADHD
  • What percentage of kids walk out of their first psychiatric visit with an ADHD diagnosis
  • How taxpayers foot the bill for every ADHD diagnosis.
You may be aware that Australia, too, has 'discovered' a huge percentage of ADHD children and is drugging them with Ritalin (see our comment of 27 April 2007).

I hope you feel as uncomfortable as I do, and as ready to protest. Our children are that which is most sacred, and not profit fodder for Big Pharma.


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posted by Dr Ron @ 23:15   3 comments
Associations take the lead
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Thursday, 1 May 2008
An awful lot of people belong to associations - and have an awful lot of power to influence the future! The ASAE says:

"You and your fellow association and business leaders represent all industries, professions, causes and walks of life. Imagine the power of 287 million people represented by ASAE & The Center member organizations. What other sector has more potential - or a greater responsibility - to change the world?"

So then it's not just a few odd people who want to improve things? No, it's not, it's just about all of us. What is happening is that instead of seeing improvement as a personal matter, we can start to see our personal improvement as a global matter. A motto of David Cooperrider (who is facilitating the conference) and the Appreciative Inquiry (AI) movement is "Doing good and doing well".

We mentioned "Leveraging the power of Associations (The Global Summit on Social Responsibility)" on 20 March, now it's really happening, centered in Washington, DC and linking in people all over the world. Australians have made their submission, it reads well. It has such statements in it as:

"Margaret Wheatley defined leadership in terms of leaving the world in a better place than we found it. 'A leader,' she said, 'is anyone who wants to make a difference at this time'. By this definition all of us in this room are lead­ers.”

"I am forever inspired by the “Clean Up Australia” campaign. One individual started this (Clean up Sydney) with a passion and belief in the goodness of people. His passion, the integrity of what he wants to do, his ability to speak up and be heard, and something about him that inspires following and belief in him – an egoless, selfless thing. He captures the hearts and souls of people because he believes in what he is doing. This had lead to recognition through awards, and spreading of the initiative throughout other countries. "

"... Swedish Cancer researcher Karl Henrik Robert (and academic colleagues). This paper set out the basic principles of sustainability which included a whole system approach and the use of scientific principles. This individual had the dedication to present this to the King of Sweden and in turn it was turned into a publicly accessible pamphlet distributed throughout Sweden. It also served to inspire an author by the name of Paul Hawkins who wrote a book entitled the Ecology of Commerce -- which was sent to Anderson, the CEO of Interface Carpets -- which in turn inspired this organisation to take the bold steps that it has in the direction of sustainability."

"Ernesto Sirolli inspires me deeply. I can’t imagine anything like this happening without his insights and passion. He works with unemployed/other groups and individuals, finds out where their passions are and then facilitates them in taking up opportunities or courses to pursue that passion. He must be one of the most effective “invisible” leaders around. His website is

"Helena Norberg-Hodge. Her book Ancient Futures: Lessons From Ladakh describes an intact healthy social system. She is a brilliant systems thinker who we can all learn from. "

The Future:
"All organizations have a green policy document and carry it out."

"... a clear and easily remembered vision."

"Organisations to be encouraged/ required to have affirmation or commitment statements (about that organisations approach to sustainability) that are formulated after an extensive documented consultation process within the organisation (a sort of Appreciative Inquiry style process)."

"MegaPlanning [for sustainability] is entirely scaleable from the personal to the multi-national, from private to government, perhaps one day to the World. It has been proved by Roger Kaufman to be applicable on five continents with differing cultures, religions and politics."

and that's just a very small selection from what was submitted.
[more on MegaPlanning]
more on Appreciative Inquiry]

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posted by Dr Ron @ 19:42   0 comments
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