Introducing Hayden Collins

An Addition to our Community in Practice

This month we introduce one of our Community in Practice, Hayden Collins.

Hayden Collins is a specialist in risk, human judgement and decision making, organisational culture, leadership, communication and learning. Hayden provides training, advice, coaching and mentoring for leaders, managers, supervisors and workers.

Hayden is able to help organisations apply the fundamentals of social psychology to leadership and team development. He has developed and delivered training programs covering a range of subjects including; risk and safety leadership, organisational culture awareness and assessment, and communication and team-building.

Hayden has 13 years experience in leadership roles within large Tier 1 national and multinational organisations across a range of industries including: heavy industrial manufacturing, FMCG manufacturing and construction.

Hayden currently lives in Melbourne with his wife Olivia. He enjoys learning about himself and his environment, spending spare time exploring the arts and culture of Melbourne, reading philosophy, and meaningful conversations with friends.

Hayden has the following qualifications:

  • Graduate Diploma  in the Social Psychology of Risk
  • Graduate Certificate in OH&S
  • Advanced  Diploma in Environmental Technology,
  • Certificate IV Training & Assessment,
  • MPTI Facilitator Certification – Stage 1 and 2 (Coaching)
  • RABQSA-OH (Management Systems Auditing)

You can learn more about Hayden and his work at Risk Intelligence HERE.

March 2018

Pilot Program with BlueScope

Social Sensemaking Program

The team at Dolphyn continue our work with BlueScope, piloting our Social Sensemaking program across sites in NSW and QLD.

We start with the MiProfile Survey (developed by Dr Rob Long, see – https://www.humandymensions.com/services-and-programs/miprofile/) which helps us better understand how sites or the organisation as a whole, think collectively and unconsciously.

Rob Sams, along with Gab Carlton from Resilyence (https://resilyence.com/) who has many years experience in conducting the survey, work with Hayden Collins from Risk Intelligence (https://www.riskintelligent.com.au/our-people), who’s analytical and critical thinking skills mean that we can challenge assumptions and support organisational learning through conducting the survey.

The outcomes of the Mi-Profile are then presented to the site along with recommendations for a tailor made program that is aimed to address challenges, and support strengths, identified within the organisation. These programs are delivered by Dolphyn’s experience team who all have post-graduate qualifications in The Social Psychology of Risk.

One of the keys to the success of our program with BlueScope is the upskilling of their internal team as we progress through it. BlueScope’s leading manager on the project, Stephanie O’Dwyer, who is now studying with the CLLR (https://cllr.com.au/), has been co-facilitating many of the workshops with Rob Sams. This provides a more holistic learning and change program for BlueScope that will also ensure its sustainability.

Stephanie recently started a session in Brisbane by asking; “what’s the riskiest thing  you’ve done?”.

The learning started from there.

March 2018

Fallibility and Risk

Book Forward

Like it or not, I was once a ‘Crusader’. I lived a life dedicated to ‘saving’ people; from themselves, from others, from ‘things’. Who else could perform such a critical role? After all I was a Safety Manager, and with that, a bastion of all knowledge about risk. I even had a consulting business named Dolphin Safety Solutions.

I’d put some thought into this name as dolphins were something special to me; they are great communicators, they travel together and look out for each other and they are known for their intelligence. But what did I really understand of intelligence?

While intelligence is great, if we don’t understand our ontology (reason for being) or how we ‘know’ (epistemology), we can easily be deceived into thinking that such knowing will lead us to a happy, fulfilling and rewarding life.

Our modern world seems to place a special value on intelligence. However, if the only reason for knowing is to be the ‘smartest person in the room’, that to me indicates a life of ‘I’ rather than ‘thou’ (Buber). A tension that we all must live with if we are to be fallible beings in this world?

Welcome to Fallibility and Risk, a book not for the feint hearted, but one that just may challenge you enough to push you into ‘cognitive dissonance’.

This is a book about life and also about death, about risk and also security. This book may provide some answers, but maybe raise many more questions. This I’ve learnt, is the very nature of our ‘being’; it’s paradoxical, where seemingly things that should not co-exist, do. As we aim to make some sense of all this, we also realise that such sense may seem absurd. Yet we still seek to know our ‘being’.

The book is the latest in a series of books on risking, living and discerning. All ‘doing’ words, and things we all ought to do if our aim is to ‘be’ in this world. Yet doing such things and experiencing life also means that we must live with uncertainty and unknowing. The alternative is to be safe and secure.

However, as I’ve learnt over the past five years, Risk cannot be ‘solved’ or ‘ fixed’, rather, it defines our living and being. What a challenge to understand fallible being; especially if we believe life is about answers, rather than questions.

So, what can you expect as you venture through a book written by someone who seeks to help us understand; ourselves, our world and what it does to us?

To start, you’ll read about thinkers such as Kierkegaard and Heidegger; they weren’t among the recommended authors when I studied ‘solutions’. You’ll also hear stories of risk through movies, such as Indiana Jones; not from the perspective of some Risk Matrix or control, but rather ‘exegesis’, religious symbology and myth. I don’t recall learning about any of these in my undergrad degree in objects; yet, they are so critical if our aim is to tackle, rather than eliminate risk.

We also learn about hope, faith and importantly fallibility in this book.
These were not words that I considered in 2012, when I started my consulting organisation focused on ‘solutions’.

Not long after I started consulting in ‘solutions’, I started my own spiral into cognitive dissonance. is began after reading Risk Makes Sense. It’s also the year that I met Rob Long.

Rob is no hero of mine, nor is he a superhero at large. Rather, he is a teacher, mentor and friend. He was the instigator of a learning adventure, one that would change my life in a way that I could never have imagined, rather only experience.

For example, it was in Austria in January 2017, as my dear friend Gab Carlton and I took comfort from the snow and freezing conditions outside, that I first heard the term ‘perichoresis’ in a casual conversation. It was in the relative comfort of a restaurant in Linz ironically the hometown of Hitler, that I learned about the paradox of legs broken while at the same time carrying demonstrated in the mythology of the kriophoros. Time again, I have experienced being carried, where the pain is shared. Yet I did not realise, nor fully appreciate, how critical this was for learning, growing and developing.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still regularly seduced to the ‘crusade’, it’s hard to avoid in our world of hero’s, answers and ‘solutions’. However, now as I struggle through life, I can recognise the cues when crusading prevails. I’m grateful for that, which is not to say that it does not continue to challenge me. Such is ‘living’ in the dialectic!

As I try to make sense of all this, I now feel some comfort in not knowing, instead my focus these days is on contemplating and reflecting with a new intelligence.

Reflection did not occur when I was caught up in process, saving and protecting! Crusaders need not reflect, for they already know everything! Thankfully though, reflecting is now a daily ritual.

When Rob first sent me a draft of this book, I initially noticed some mistakes; in spelling and in grammar. Isn’t it interesting what takes our attention if our focus is on saving and fixing? However, as I reflected on what the book was saying to me, and on the questions that it asked me, these trivial details drifted away and I opened myself to learning; rather than policing. It was quite liberating, while also a cause for some anxiety.

Maybe this will be the same for you?

Learning is not always easy, it’s about change after all. One thing I’ve learned about learning though, is the importance of ‘readiness’. Are you ready for what is offered in this book?

When I first read Risk Makes Sense, I thought that I ‘got it’. Then, I was confronted with what I thought
I knew, and recognised that being the ‘smartest person in the room’ with the answers, was actually part of a bigger problem, not a solution. This was such an important learning for someone intent on ‘saving’. I now value questions, rather than answers.

This means that instead of fearing death, fallibility and harm (all of which have no answers), I now aim to embrace life, with all of its ups and downs and bits in between. Instead of saving others and seeing them as objects, I now see and connect with people, because after all, as Martin Buber (1958) suggests; “All real living is meeting”.

I learned a lot from reading, and questioning this book. I hope you do too.

Robert Sams

Download the book here: https://www.humandymensions.com/product/fallibility-risk-living-uncertainty/

*published with permission Dr Robert Long (2018)

Dolphyn Newsletter – January 2018

Welcome to a New Year

Happy New Year everyone.

2017 certainly brought with it the usual mix of ups and downs. The highs of time spent with friends in Austria and Chicago were contrasted with the sad passing of our great mate Max Geyer. Life is like that. Just when we think things are going to plan, the mystery that is ‘living‘, reminds us time and again that, despite our desire to plan, and in the face of the seduction of fallibility, life doesn’t always follow the safe and linear path that we often expect.

As we head into a new year, we often have dreams and plans for a better way of living. If this is our aim as we begin 2018, we may be wise to consider the words of Martin Buber who, in his book i-Thou, reminds us that “All real living is meeting” (1958, p.26). ‘Meeting‘ is when we truly just ‘be‘ with others and it recognises the very social nature of our living. Too easily though, our dreams can become focused only on our own needs, and ‘me’ can so simplistically, and often unknowingly, trump ‘we‘. It can be a challenge to live through our life as an individual, in what is a very social world. If this theme interests you, the Dolphyn Newsletter is probably for you.

Welcome to our New Followers

In early January, we ran a short promotion where we offered new Subscribers to our Newsletter an electronic copy of Social Sensemaking. It was a well recieved promotion and we now welcome 100+ new followers to our Newsletter. We hope you enjoy reading the eBook edition. Copies are now available to download by anyone, see the story below for more details.

May 2018 be a year of much ‘meeting‘ for us all.

Robert Sams
Director
DOLPHYN

You can read the full Newsletter HERE.

I Just Can’t Stop!

“I just can’t stop!

I’m smart enough to know what it’s doing to me, I understand the science, but its grip takes over everything… relationships, responsibilities, my very being.

I think about it all the time; how can I get it? what if I can’t get it? do they know I’ve had it? It damn tortures me! It’s a disease that I know is trying to kill me, yet I still do it.

I just can’t stop!

People don’t understand what I go through, daily. Some might suggest that I “just stop it” – but they don’t understand – if only they could…

Maybe then I would stop…?”

Anon. (Conversation, 2018)

I sat with this person recently as they shared with me the trauma and torment that addiction causes in their life. There was nothing that I could do to stop their trauma, that is their challenge to work on. All I could do was to be with them; not in judgment, but in brotherhood, and let them know that I’m here to share in their torment…. if they like.

Please don’t misunderstand, this was not easy to hear; my instinctive response was to ‘fix’, rather than ‘meet’ this person. Fixing ‘solves’, it sorts out the pain and provides a release… or does it? I’m grateful that I (sometimes) am able to recognise the cues when I’m moving to ‘fixing’ and on this occasion, I stopped. There is a good reason for this.

As Canadian addiction expert and medical Doctor, Dr Gabor Mate (see further details below), reminds us:

“Although we may believe we are acting out of love, if we are critical of others or work very hard to change them, it’s always about ourselves. ‘The alcoholic’s wife is adding to the level of shame her husband experiences,’ says Anne, a veteran of Alcoholics Anonymous. ‘In effect, she is saying to the addict, he is bad and she is good. Perhaps she is in denial about her addiction to certain attitudes, like self-righteousness, martyrdom, or perfectionism. What if, on the other hand, the wife said to her husband, ‘I’m feeling good today, honey. I only obsessed about your drinking once today. I’m really making progress on my addiction to self-righteousness.”

Source: In the Realms of Hungry Ghosts

Dr Mate provides an instructive introduction to his perspective on addiction in the video below:

One thing that stands out now that I am working more closely in the social services sector, is the impact that addictions have in our society. Whether they be addiction to; substances, exercise, gambling, work, sex, shopping, perfectionism or social media, they can impact on both our own and the lives of others in many ways. Addictions, just like many of life’s other ‘wicked problems‘, are challenging to firstly understand, and then tackle. This can be especially challenging when we are trying to understand them from the perspective of others.

We can learn a lot about addiction from social psychology, including the importance of language and semiotics. This seems especially true if we contemplate how easily we can be moved to label people (e.g. they’re just ‘addicts’). As Hayden Collins reminds us in this article:

“Labels or stereotypes shape how we see the world. They unconsciously affect our perception of objects, nature, individuals – including ourselves – social communities and cultures, and subsequently influence our relationships and behaviour. Labels simplify the complexity of the world through categorisation. Once a label is in place it is extremely difficult to remove[4]. When a label is applied to an individual, they are seen as an object – something to be used, possessed, fixed or controlled[5]. The uniqueness and humanness of the individual is lost – along with it the opportunity for building relationships based on care, trust and respect – and enables the exploitation and exclusion of the individual that has been labelled[6]. Labelling affects everyone; even physicians who have taken the ‘Hippocratic Oath’ unconsciously treat their patients differently depending on the label and stereotype that has been applied. With kind and friendly personal treatment provided to those who are perceived as having no responsibility for the injury and impersonal treatment to those seen as negligent with no excuse[7].”

Source: Hayden Collins (2016) see – https://www.riskintelligent.com.au/

We may learn too from noted author on the topic of addiction, Johann Hari (further details below), of how critical our social connections are if our aim is to support people who are gripped by addiction. For example in his book Chasing the Storm, Hari offers that:

“The opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety. It’s connection.”

Source: Johann Hari in Chasing the Scream

So what can we do if we are interested in learning more about, and supporting people with, addictions?

The following resources might be helpful in learning more about how we can support people who face the challenges of addiction. These include:

  • Research conducted by those who have an interest in labels and words and the impact that these can have. One resource that might be of interest is Recovering the Self: A Journal of Hope and Healing by Ernest Dempsey.
  • Work by Zimbardo such as; The Lucifer Effect may also be helpful. It focuses on how easily we can move to ‘dehumanise’ others, including through our words, and the impact that this can have.
  • Speaking of words, if you’re looking for a good introductory book on the importance of words and their impact on our lives, Andrew Newberg’s book Words Can Change Your Brain is a great start.
  • As noted above, when it comes to addiction, the work of Dr Gabor Mate is a challenge to the all who propose that the ‘solution’ is as easy as ‘make a choice‘ and “just stop it”. This is especially challenging for those who cling by the ‘medical model’ as a ‘fix’ for addiction. Ray Moynihan and Alan Cassels in their book Selling Sickness remind us of such challenges in the medical industry, not that it doesn’t have it’s place in dealing with addiction. Rather than suggest a medical only approach, Mate (a medical doctor himself) proposes that addiction can be linked back to a painful experience in a person’s life:

“Not all addictions are rooted in abuse or trauma, but I do believe they can all be traced to painful experience. A hurt is at the centre of all addictive behaviours. It is present in the gambler, the Internet addict, the compulsive shopper and the workaholic. The wound may not be as deep and the ache not as excruciating, and it may even be entirely hidden—but it’s there. As we’ll see, the effects of early stress or adverse experiences directly shape both the psychology and the neurobiology of addiction in the brain.”

It’s tempting to try to understand addiction through the lens (only) of rational thought, but…. how does this make sense? What does it say about us if this is the lens through which we seek to understand? Further, if we feel tempted to fix such challenging situations, maybe a question to ask is; does the dilemma lie with those who face addiction, or does it lie in us?

As noted above, it can be tempting also to simply see addiction as a choice one makes; e.g. between taking a drug, making a bet or buying that next item – or not. What does this simplistic thinking, as provoked in the video below, mean for those who suffer through addiction? Plausibly, rather than helping, instead it may be harmful, as it further promotes the seduction of binary thinking, a way of thinking that causes us to seek out simplistic solutions to complex problems; it seems absurd?

A Story of Two Twin Boys. . .

This brought me to tears. What a powerful lesson…

Posted by Power of Positivity on Wednesday, 9 November 2016

There is much more that has been written about and more that we could discuss in relation to addiction. While such discussion might be helpful (and necessary) in trying to understand, perhaps the best thing we can do if we are fortunate enough not to be tortured by addiction, is to pause and reflect on the questions below.

Maybe they could help us make better sense of addiction?

Reflective Questions

  • How do we see others who struggle with the grip of an addiction?
  • What does it mean to ‘be’ with people as they are being tortured by addiction?
  • How can we deal with the challenges of our own assumptions and judgments about addiction, that often fester away in our unconscious?

Maybe we all have addictions? Conceivably we are all drawn (unconsciously) to activities or actions that, given a choice, we would prefer not to do? Why then, are we so quickly drawn to judgment of those caught in its web?

What are your thoughts and experiences with addiction?

References from Hayden Collins’ Quote:

[4] Alter, A., Drunk Tank Pink, New York, Penguin Books, 2014, p. 29.

[5] Buber, M., I and Thou, London, Continuum, 2004, p. 14.

[6] Ibid., p. 30

[7] Radley, A., Making Sense of Illness, London, Sage Publications, 1994, pp. 103-104

The Human Race

It’s Christmas, a time of the year that can create both a feeling of community and togetherness (we) while (ironically) also drawing us easily into a world of ‘I’ and ‘things’ (me). Christmas, set within the Christian tradition, is a story about the birth of Jesus as a human on earth and among other things, reminds us of our; human fallibility, weaknesses and imperfections, all of which are fundamental to being part the ‘human race’, a term that is often used to describe our collective being.

I wonder though, if at times we may more aptly be described as; ‘humans who race’?

The signs of our racing, especially at this time of year, are ubiquitous. Whether it be rushing to finish Christmas shopping or sprinting for bargains at the ‘Boxing Day sales’, we seem in such a hurry. It occurs in our everyday life too. For example, we no longer seem to cope with even the most basic of ailments without seeking to overcome them as quickly as possible. Even in our search for a new job, or in completing a course of study, we seem intent on finding the quickest and most efficient way to achieve these tasks. As we move through this life so quickly, there hardly seems enough time for any real living along the way. What do I mean when I suggest this?

Martin Buber may help our understanding when he proposes in I-Thou that; “All real living is meeting” (1958, p.26). However, one cannot meet alone, nor whilst racing!

Let’s explore.

Read the full post first published HERE.