Ring or clunk?

_MG_3435-COPY 4I am blessed to have found a life partnership where I learn and feel supported and accepted every day without fail. My wife is a musician and one of her gifts is creating and working with sound and music to help people find in themselves their inner wisdom.

Some years ago, I was working with a group of leaders that included her. It was a time before we recognized that we were meant to be together. This day was set aside for the group to develop a new purpose for their organization. The interactions among the group had been energizing and very open. As we came to a time for taking a break for lunch, we asked a small group of the meeting’s participants to synthesize the sense of the morning and see if they could put it into a first draft for the group to work with in the afternoon.

As we were eating lunch, I would gaze over to the team that had accepted this undertaking. They were smiling and music or at least joyful sounds could be heard coming from their engagement. When we reconvened, my wife presented the fruits of their collaboration. As it poured forth, I was amazed at its clarity, simplicity and completeness. Not only that, there was a feeling to it of excitement and joy.

Music notes circleI asked how they had been able to create this wonderful masterpiece in such a short time. She smiled and talked about the process they followed. As words came forth in the group, she would ask if the phrase or word ringed or clunked. She explained that if we are quiet we can feel everything as a ringing like a clear bell that has just been stuck or as a out of tune note that just doesn’t fit.

This process did not require the strong hand of a leader. Instead it allowed all to feel what was right. The group was easily able to allow the creative process to flow and offer something that was itself like a wonderful song complete with lyrics and melody.

rememberingAs I sit this morning remembering that time, I also remember when I have used this approach in group’s of all types and from very diverse culture and have found that it always works. When we get out of our logical thinking and allow our gifts of intuition and collaboration rise up remarkable things happen.

By the way, you can also use this simple process of feeling the ring or clunk for any decision you are considering. Speak to yourself the decision and then in the silence that follows feel if it rings or clunks. If you are not sure, it is always best to wait until you can clearly feel the answer.

Until later,


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Author: Thomas White

Over the past thirty-five years, Thomas White has created and led private and public organizations that initiated breakthroughs in areas as diverse as computer software, publishing, printing, market research, leadership development and organizational change. The common ingredients in his success are simple. He looked beyond the limitations that others believed and found real solutions to needs that business leaders have. He attracted the best talent to translate these innovative solutions into practical products and services that were of high value to customers. He created cultures where people love what they do, work at their best and produce extraordinary results. In addition to his role as a business leader, Thomas has been a pioneer and inventor of technologies in the computer-networking field. He is a patent holder for innovations in business process and workflow technology. As part of his passion for educating others about the interface of human and computer systems, he was the co-author of “New Tools for New Times, The Workflow Paradigm”. He has also written articles for numerous publications. In 2001, he turned his attention from leading companies to supporting leadership teams in creating organizations of excellence. After many years of being a part of the machine of change, Thomas recognized that business is the most powerful force in the world. It has a major impact on public policy and governments everywhere. It is a key influence on how we use our resources and sets an example of the values that shape communities from local to global. He formed the consulting firm of Profoundly Simple to be a guide for exemplary leaders - leaders who wisely uses the power they are entrusted with to serve their constituencies first and themselves second; leaders who know that it is good business to treat people with respect, honor the environment and act with impeccable integrity – leaders who inspire greatness in those around them and by doing so create great organizations that are notable examples of success. Feeling the itch to get back into the game again, Thomas joined with two long time friends, to start the C-Suite Network. This network of business leaders offers an online network, events, services, and insights to its 500,000 member community. In addition, the C-Suite Network produces and distributes television and radio content to an audience of over 5M per month

4 thoughts on “Ring or clunk?”

  1. There is something profound and repeatable in your statement that “this process did not require the strong hand of a leader.” As a former oarsman and musician, I think I understand. There is a common goal which draws everyone together. There is subtle, shared, situational leadership feedng back to all the parts. An orchestra has a baton; a crew has a coxswain. These elements coordinate, assist with timing/pace, and eliminate distraction. In crew, when all eight oarsmen pull in unison in all aspects of the stroke, the boat is said to be in “swing.” You can actually feel the harmony as whole becomes far greater than the parts. You realize that most of the time we live in a state of “clunk.”

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