Hello dear visitor! I feel privileged you’re reading my book The Connection Quotient and I am delighted you’re looking for extra inspiration. On this page per chapter, you will find quotes and YouTube videos as an extra invitation to implement the discussed principles in your daily life and work. Just click on the chapter’s title and the resources that go along will be shown.
I would love to hear your comments, questions, and insights regarding the book and how you put the insights into practice. Feel free to mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you would like to experience a power session or presentation, then check out my favorite topics and reach out. Of course, any other topic related to the Connection Quotient is also more than welcome.
Enjoy the inspiration, Marco
Chapter 1. Self-reflection
Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. It is precisely that simple, and it is also that difficult. – Warren Bennis
The famous speech by Charlie Chaplin from the film The Great Dictator forced me to think about the theme of tolerance. The speech convinced me even more that it is possible to create a connected world in which there is room for personal preferences, non-conformist viewpoints and different religions. This is something I want to contribute to. I’m really interested to know what impact this speech has on you. What world do you want to contribute to?
Chapter 2. Mortality as a source of inspiration
“You only need one talent in your life: the talent to find your dream.” – Jacques Brel
As children, we are future-oriented dreamers who live in the here and now (human beings). As adults, we have often become action-oriented doers who have forgotten what their dreams were (human doings). As is stated in the motivational video, ‘Dream’: “Most people raise a family, they earn a living and then they die. They stop growing, they stop working on themselves, they stop stretching, they stop pushing themselves.” Are you one of them? Watch the whole video and notice what feelings and thoughts are evoked. How satisfied are you with your personal development and that of your career? And are you willing to take action if needed?
Chapter 3. A meaningful life
The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. – Mark Twain
Being aware of who you are at your core and what matters to you in your private and professional sphere will provide you with clear guidance in your life. Being aware rationally and emotionally is the first step. The next step is to ask yourself if you also have the courage and determination to express it. To take a stand for what’s important for you, irrespective of what others may think. A wonderful example of such courage is the ‘Freedom song’ from the film As it is in Heaven directed by Kay Pollak (2004). On a scale from 1 to 10, how courageous and determined are you in expressing your meaning of life?
Chapter 4. Dream big
The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes
Do you dare to follow your passion, even if your social environment is working against you? If, despite all that, you have the courage to pursue your dream, it can lead to results that will surprise you and your environment. A wonderful example of pursuing your dream is the ballet piece performed by a woman with one arm and a man with one leg. What do you consider impossible, and what gives you the courage to go for it and to defy other people’s opinions?
Chapter 5. Breaking down patterns
The thoughts we think and the words we speak create our experiences. – Louise L. Hay
Breaking down dysfunctional patterns, both professional and personal, demands courage. Courage to see and confront the pattern and courage to meet it head-on and break it down. This theme is wonderfully illustrated in an advertisement by the clothing brand SAGA. Do you dare to meet your inner wolf head-on? What impact will that have?
Chapter 6. Mentally emigrated
Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work. – Aristoteles
Taking action demands commitment: either you go for it, or you don’t. There’s nothing in between. It can happen that the sheer size of the action required prevents you from doing anything. You can’t see the wood for the trees anymore. In that case, it’s a good idea to divide the action required into sub-actions and then to tackle these one by one. Until you have achieved your final goal. The following animation illustrates this concept very well. As you watch the video, consider the following two questions: What do I want (and dare) to commit to? What is the first step I am going to take today?
Chapter 7. Feelings
People are more often ashamed about showing their feelings than simulating their feelings.
– Otto Weiss
You can consciously evoke feelings and use these to positively influence people’s behaviour. What do I mean by this exactly? Watch this video in which people are subtly ‘seduced’ to take the stairs instead of the escalator. The result: the number of people who took the stairs increased by 66%! Now here’s a reflective question for you: how do you make use of your feelings in your work environment to influence the behaviour of your colleagues and/or your clients?
Chapter 8. Saudade
We do not yearn for things from the past, but the feelings these things evoke in us.
– Sigmund Graff
The Portuguese word saudade describes a mixture of feelings of loss, lack, distance and love. To experience what this word means, listen to the wonderful guitar-playing of Per-Olov Kindgren on the song titled, Saudade. What other music do you know that can get you into the mood of saudade? Which period or event in your life comes to mind as you listen to this music? What is it you are yearning for and how do you deal with that feeling?
Chapter 9. Happiness
Children are happy because they don’t have a file in their minds called:
All the things that could go wrong. – Marianne Williamson
A wonderful example of happy people who are deeply committed to lifelong goals can be seen in the accompanying video. In May 2008, just before his 47th birthday, Roger made a decision to drastically turn his life around. He set three goals for himself: health (lose an enormous amount of weight), passion (run a marathon) and love (raise as much money as possible for research into cystic fibrosis, a disease his niece Julia was suffering from). He started with small steps. See the results of his efforts in the video. What is, or what are, lifelong goals that you are willing to commit to? And are you doing that?
Chapter 10. Strategies for happiness
If you’re not happy today, then you won’t be happy tomorrow. Unless you take things into your own hands and take action.
– Sonja Lyubomirsky
Experiencing happiness can be influenced by practising acts of kindness. A wonderful example of this can be seen in the short film Validation. It lasts fifteen minutes and I promise you it will be worth your while. When was the last time you did something kind for someone else, without asking for anything in return? And what did you get out of that personally?
Chapter 11. Saying NO
The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.
– Tony Blair
According to Dr Susan Newman, people pleasers want everyone around them to be happy. And they will do whatever it takes to keep them that way. They put everyone else before themselves. Dr Newman said, “for some, saying ‘yes’ is a habit.” For others it’s almost an addiction, it makes them feel like they need to be needed. This makes them feel important and like they are contributing to someone else’s life. So here is what you can do to start saying ‘no’ to others and say ‘yes’ to yourself.
Chapter 12. Trust in yourself
Friendship with one’s self is all important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.
– Eleanor Roosevelt
Acting with integrity is the result of making a personal choice to live a life with integrity. This demands self-analysis: how do you deal with personal information, do you admit to making mistakes, do you express what you are really thinking, are you acting upon your personal values, etc.? It starts with and includes small gestures of honesty. How would you act (or have done) in a similar situation as this young child encounters?
Chapter 13. Life goal
Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
– Steve Jobs
Sharing your life goal can feel uncomfortable because it makes you vulnerable. What will your colleagues and friends say? Will they still want to be connected with you? This theme of vulnerability has been eloquently described by Brené Brown. How vulnerable do you dare to be? Does it make a difference whether you’re at home or at your workplace?
Chapter 14. Friendship
True friendship is like sound health; the value of it is seldom known until it is lost.
– Charles Caleb Colton
Maintaining the friendship demands energy and dedication. Especially in the moments when one of you is in need of a friend. Can your friend count on you and vice versa? Listen to the wonderful tune and words in the Friendship Song by Bruno Mars… can your friend count on you like 1, 2, 3?
Chapter 15. The conversation
If you were to delete all the catchphrases,
platitudes and repetitions from your daily conversations, what would you be left with?
– Serge de Ryck
A basic principle for the creation of a dialogue is that you and your conversation partner are both willing to ask each other questions and to listen to the answers non-judgmentally. If this basic principle is absent for a lengthy period in a work-related or personal relationship, what impact do you think this will have? A possible answer to this can be found in the song Listen sung by Beyoncé, from the film Dream Girls. How non-judgmentally do you listen to the other?
Chapter 16. Relationship trust
Whether you’re on a sports team, in an office or a member of a family, if you can’t trust one another there’s going to be trouble.
– Stephen M.R. Covey
In the classic Pixar short film, For the Birds (2000), we see a ‘strange bird’ being shut out despite his attempts to become a member of the group. That begs the question: how respectfully do you act towards a colleague or acquaintance who looks or acts differently from the norm?
Chapter 17. Powerful interactions
An employee’s motivation is a direct result of the sum of interactions with his or her manager.
– Bob Nelson
Your intention goes deeper than your motivation for a specific action. It can indicate a core feeling with which you are bonded, also known as your calling or your life goal. Dr Wayne Dyer explains this concept in this short film. What intentions are you committed to?
Chapter 18. Body language
We are not won by arguments that we can analyse, but by tone and temper, by the manner which is the man himself.
– Samuel Butler
Body language influences how others see you, and at the same time it influences how you see yourself. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy demonstrates that if you remain standing in the power pose for two minutes, you will feel more self-confident. In her talk, she gives
powerful tips about this that you can put to work immediately. What do you think would happen in your connection with others if you were to communicate with more self-confidence?
Chapter 19. (Mis)communication
Language creates the most wonderful experiences and the biggest problems.
– Joost Crasborn
A short and sharp example of miscommunication as a result of wrongly interpreting language can be seen in the advertisement Lost in Translation made for the Berlitz language institute. A novice at the German coast guard receives an emergency call from an English ship, with all its consequences …
When was the last time you got into difficulties as a result of this kind of language-related miscommunication, and how did you deal with it?
Chapter 20. Toxic relationships
I believe we’re going to find that respect and affection are essential to all relationships working and contempt destroys them.
– John Gottman
What makes the difference between a successful and unsuccessful recovery attempt when you encounter tension within the relationship? In essence, it’s about how well filled the other person’s emotional bank account is (i.e. a positive balance of experiences) with regard to you. In this short video, John Gottman explains how important this factor is. How do you fill the emotional bank account of your partner?
Chapter 21. Think differently, act differently
The goal is not to be better than the other man, but your previous self.
– 4th Dalai Lama
In this video, Steve Ballmer (former CEO of Microsoft) delivers the audience at a big conference a huge energy boost. The style isn’t one that would be appropriate in many organization cultures. Can you imagine doing this yourself? On the other hand … how many meetings and events have you been to where the energy has dropped to zero and really needs an energy booster? Would you accept the responsibility? Would you have the courage?
Chapter 22. Listening with intent
We have two ears and one mouth to listen twice as much as we speak.
The success of your employees has an impact on how you as a manager are viewed by others. If you think and act based on this viewpoint, there’s no need for you to act as though you’re bigger or better than you actually are. The question then arises: do you acknowledge the success of your employees, or do you give yourself a pat on the back (like the manager in this Dilbert video) and do you usurp their success?
Chapter 23. Positive-critical thinking
It is difficult to accept criticism. Especially if it is given by a family member, a friend, an enemy, an acquaintance or a stranger.
– Wiet van Broeckhoven
Scientific research shows that the extrinsic reward system of issuing bonuses acts to destroy creativity. A much better way is to make use of the intrinsic reward system based on autonomy, mastery and meaningful goals. This lecture by Daniel Pink explains the power of this way of rewarding. How do you motivate your new and existing employees?
Chapter 24. What kind of leader are you?
Growth is not a question of becoming greater,
but becoming aware of your greatness. – Anonymous
A good example of what can happen when a leader reacts based on anger and frustration can be seen in this video featuring Alex Ferguson (ex-manager of Manchester United, primary leadership style: emperor) in the main role. How do you react to the people in your environment when you are angry or frustrated? And how would you rather react?
Chapter 25. The halo-and-horn effect
We see the devil in our fellow humans immediately, we discover at best the fallen angel in ourselves.
– Antoon Vloemans
The HeartMath video lets you experience within sixty seconds how external stimuli (in this case music) influence your emotions and how this impacts your observation. As they state correctly at the end of the video: “We see the world through how we feel.” Based on this fact, the question arises of with what emotions do you look at what is happening within your work environment and what impact does this have on the way you think and act?
Chapter 26. And… action!
My manager has given me extra responsibility. I’m now responsible for everything that goes wrong. – Anonymous
To genuinely listen with intent to the other person, it helps to (temporarily) let go of your own thoughts and assumptions. This way, a certain curiosity can be aroused regarding what’s being said – and is meant – by the other person. In this video, the ‘guru’ Puppetji explains his ideas on this notion and advises making peace with your inner thoughts. How much space will you give this in your interactions with others?
Chapter 27. Empathy explored
Analyses of others are actually expressions of our own needs and values. – Marshall Rosenberg
Frans de Waal has done pioneering research into the behaviour of our kinfolk, the apes. They also empathize with what other apes experience and feel, and adapt their behaviour accordingly. In this hilarious video, you see how apes respond to a situation that can rightly be described as unfair. How do you react when you are treated unfairly? And how do you react when you see that someone else is being treated unfairly?
Chapter 28. Intellect versus emotion
People whose intellect and emotions are unbalanced, mature at a later age.
– Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach
If psychological safety is present in the work space, team members will dare to take interpersonal risks. They will dare to, amongst other things, show vulnerability, they will ask for help and they will not be afraid to make mistakes. What is the impact of this on your thinking and acting? Watch this film and be inspired by Amy Edmondson of Harvard Business School.
Chapter 29. Group or team?
Coming together is a beginning,
keeping together is progress,
working together is success.
– Henry Ford
When team members work towards a common goal, based on connection, and within that team each individual is aware of his task and is willing to put in the effort required, then seemingly impossible goals come within reach. In the following Coca-Cola commercial, this theme is expressed in an entertaining way. The question I’m asking you is: what is an ‘impossible’ goal that you and your team are working on? And what agreements have been made to help you achieve that goal?
Chapter 30. Live in a dream world more often
If you can dream it, you can do it!
– Walt Disney
In the world of business, pressure is placed on coming to powerful solutions for current issues in a short space of time. This pressure has an impact on the levels of creativity of the solutions.
Consequently, few real alternatives are produced. This mechanism is powerfully illustrated in the video Deadlines. Do you give your employees enough time to produce different alternatives? Sometimes it’s necessary to slow down first before you can accelerate!
Chapter 31. Smart groups or dumb masses?
Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.
When starlings go in search of a resting place in the evening for the night, they travel in large groups. This is a fantastic sight to watch. It’s a constant movement of tuning into and adapting to the other birds. How do you tune into your colleagues and are you willing to adjust your direction if the group decides to?
Chapter 32. Dysfunctions of teamwork
The fear of conflict is almost always a sign of problems.
– Patrick Lencioni
In every workspace, you can hear conversations and discussions that are just as vague as the following presentation by Will Stephen. He uses a lot of words, gestures and statements while actually saying nothing. And nobody challenges him. The same thing happens in the workspace. It keeps relations on safe ground and reduces the chance of the conversation leading to a conflict. This can (temporarily) be an effective strategy, but… what impact does this have on the mutual connection (and outcomes)? How explicitly do you express your questions, wishes, insights and opinions?
Chapter 33. Experiential learning
Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement and success have no meaning.
– Benjamin Franklin
You can find an excellent introduction to the 70:20:10 concept and its importance in the development of employees in the following video featuring Charles Jennings. How do you create and encourage opportunities to learn from and with each other in the workplace?
Chapter 34. Commitment and emotion
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.
– Ambrose Redmoon
In Wende Snijders’ breath-taking interpretation of the French song ‘Vivre’ (sung in both French and Dutch), you can see the emotions literally exploding from her face. She is completely ‘in the moment’ and in connection with the text and her feelings. And even if you don’t understand a word of French or Dutch, there’s no mistaking the power of her performance. Simply inspirational! What song has made a deep impression on you? What part of the text or the interpretation moved you? And what does it reveal about who you are and what drives you?
Chapter 35. 1 + 1 = at least 3
Doing everything on your own is addition, working together is multiplication.
You can see a wonderful example of collaboration in the film of the Britain’s Got Talent audition by the shadow theatre group Attraction from Budapest. The team members work together with genuine pleasure, passion and belief in their goal. As a result, they are able to produce an unforgettable and emotional audition. Here’s a question for you: how much pleasure, passion and belief do you experience when working with your colleagues towards your goal?
Chapter 36. Communicating your vision with conviction
To have a lasting influence on people, you must influence their unconscious soul, not their conscious one.
– Gustave le Bon
The famous “I have a dream” speech by Martin Luther King is a perfect example of someone who stands behind his vision and can convincingly get this across to the audience. What impact does his speech have on you? What do you see him do to get his vision across, which you could also apply at work yourself?
Chapter 37. High Performance Organizations
Failure is an option here;
if things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.
– Elon Musk
How does your organization respond to people making mistakes? Are you encouraged to think differently and act differently? Or are you expected to comply with the existing processes and ways of thinking? To stimulate a discussion on this topic, take a look at the video Doing is the best kind of thinking. Have you reached a state of ‘terminal seriousness’ where structure determines your life and reality can only follow?
Chapter 38. Organization culture
Culture is not made up but something that evolves which is human.
– Edward Hall
‘Why is Apple so innovative? For years they have been more innovative than all their competitors. Even though it’s “just” a computer company.’ This is one of the first questions from Simon Sinek’s presentation ‘How great leaders inspire action.’ While you listen to his presentation, ask yourself this question: what does my organization really stand for?
Chapter 39. Strengths-based leadership
When work is a pleasure, life is a joy. When work is a duty, life is slavery.
– Maxim Gorki
Are you doing work that you perceive as being useful and which makes full use of your strong points? Do you have the courage to make the choice to do so? For more inspiration concerning these questions, take a look at the video about chef Narayan Krishnan made by CNN. Is there a social issue that you would like to help resolve? What’s stopping you?
Chapter 40. ’Difficult’ employees
Trying to understand a person is so difficult that people take the easy way out and condemn him.
– Georges van Acker
Sometimes you meet people who are ‘simply’ irritating or annoying. Watch this short video for an example of this. How do you deal with a colleague that displays this kind of behaviour? Do you discuss his behaviour openly with him and the impact it has on your connection with him?
Chapter 41. Organization stories
We are, as a species, addicted to story. Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night, telling itself stories.
– Jonathan Gottschall
Lost generation talks about our future. The story can be read both from the top-down and from the bottom up. The meaning is transformed 180 degrees and ensures a powerful impact on the reader. Read and listen along with this short story. Which version of the story do you want to contribute to?
Chapter 42.Team development
Why make things difficult for yourself if you can do it together?
This short video shows an office worker who ‘loses the plot’. We can only guess what caused this man to lose control in such a way. How do you express your frustrations within the team? Are you allowed the room to do this?
Chapter 43. Powerful leadership
Leadership is not a matter of the head.
Leadership is a matter of the heart.
– James Kouzes and Barry Posner
Failing is the first step to success. At least, if you don’t let yourself be put off by the mistakes you’ve made and are willing to learn from them. Add to this a large measure of perseverance, and big goals are within reach. To inspire you, watch this video of examples of famous people who achieved their biggest dreams despite suffering setbacks. How do you respond to setbacks?
The hero’s journey
After studying many old myths, fairy tales and other stories, Joseph Campbell discovered a pattern in their structure. What these stories have in common is that they feature a hero who goes in search of his own identity. During this life journey, or spiritual quest, he passes through seven phases. All these phases can also be found in the world around us, for example in films. Watch this video, in which the well-known films The Wizard of Oz, Star Wars and Harry Potter are mapped onto Campbell’s insights.
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