23 February 2022

Our circles of influence

Many years ago, I read Stephen Covey’s book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, and came across a diagram that shows our ‘circle of influence’ and ‘circle of concern’.

Essentially, effective people focus on what they CAN influence, rather than on the stuff they have little control of. It’s a simple reminder in these complex times about where it’s smart to focus your energy.

Circle of influence diagram
Image Source: Covey’s Circles of Influence

For example, I have not focussed much of my energy on the protestors in Wellington. I understand they feel disenfranchised, and they don’t like mandates. Fair enough. A lot has been written about what is going on – my favourite is Jehan Casinader’s article – it’s an excellent account of the situation.

But for me, I need to remember that COVID-19 and the complexity it’s added to our lives, is a mere blip compared to the challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss that we face. COVID-19 doesn’t threaten the fabric of human existence, but those two are – right now.

Here’s a song from 1929, written after the biggest flood in US history. It’s a wonderful expression of emotion on what we are really facing here.

Even before this other ‘big C’ turned up, I was wondering about our ability as citizens of this lovely country to lift our game and take on the challenges ahead. I wondered if it was possible to lift the collective emotional intelligence of our population? Lift it in a way that would allow us to engage in more robust conversations, conversations that would allow us to sort out strategies to enable us all to flourish. Conversations in which we are able to recognise our biases – biases that gobble up our intelligence; and conversations where we are open to talking about topics and perspectives that we do not like or agree with.

I met with some mates last year: Anya Satyanand, Felicity Lawrence, Che Wilson and Rosalie Nelson. I wanted to test this idea and see if others were interested in collaborating with Collective Intelligence to lift the emotional intelligence of the country. To my surprise and delight they didn’t laugh me off. Instead, they challenged me with ideas around the concept of, ‘What does it take to be an effective citizen of Aotearoa-NZ?’. Wow – stunning question.

And Che then chimes in with, ‘What does it take to love yourself and country in this time?’. That really got my heart pumping.

We sat on this kōrero for a bit. Waiting for the right time to raise this question and assemble a diverse panel of smart thinkers to thrash it out.

March 2022 seems like the right time to us.

So, on March 7th at 12.30pm you are all invited to join us (at no cost) for a two-hour, online hui to see how we can operate at a higher level than we are collectively right now.

We’ve invited a stellar panel to get this conversation underway for us:

Nathan Bramwell – Manager, Rainbow Hub Waikato (Collective Intelligence Member)
Margaret Kouvelis – Executive Director, Talent Central (Collective Intelligence Alumni)
Felicity Lawrence – Professional Development Manager, University of Auckland – Business School (Collective Intelligence Member)
Anya Satyanand – CE, Leadership New Zealand
Faumuina F. Maria (Ifopo) Tafuna’i – MD, Flying Geese Pro (Edmund Hillary Fellow)
Che Wilson – MD, Intugen Ltd (Collective Intelligence Alumni)

And of course, the question they’ll be reflecting on is:

How do we love ourselves and our country in 2022 and beyond?

It’s going to be interactive, real and at times a little bit raw and we would love to hear your views on the topic. Please join us – you’ll need to register beforehand via this link to attend.

UNscripted conversation event banner

Since we can’t have ‘all hui and no doey’ – the conversation will be in two parts:

March 7 | The Hui (initial conversation): sparked off by our conversation-starter panel
March 14 | The Doey (follow-up): identifying ‘Where to from here’ and defining a course of action & inspiration.

Registering gives you access to both conversations.

For now, I’ll leave you to reflect upon what being a ‘citizen’ (of our nation and the world) and the concept of citizenship means to you. See you on the 7th.

Ian Harvey (Harv)


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