The Cultural Synergist

Insights for the month with Dr Tom Verghese

The Cultural Synergist- Insights for the month


June 2022

Issue # 170

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Sounding Board


Having a person that can act as a ‘sounding board’ is a key part of my practice which I find extremely useful and necessary. A sounding boarding is a person or people that I can go to discuss my current thinking around a challenge or issue and who can provide feedback and question my thinking. I have a close friend who fulfills this function for me.
I find it incredibly helpful to have a person who I deeply trust to assist me when I am grappling with both personal and professional challenges. He practices Appreciative Inquiry, is always able to raise questions about the situation and assist me to consider multiple perspectives. There is an agreement of ‘no advice’ in this relationship.
The Appreciative Inquiry model, created by David Cooperrider and Diana Whitney, is based on the five stages, which are:
  • Define
  • Discover
  • Dream
  • Design
  • Deliver
By following this basic framework and spending 30-60 minutes evaluating the situation, I am usually able to gain significant insights to making a decision or articulating the next steps. When considering a person to be your sounding board, here are a few considerations. The person should be able to formulate questions that enable an exploration of the subject matter. The process should be focused on clarifying and confirming what the issues are and refraining from suggestions and advice. Fundamentally, this process should assist you to tap into your essence and come up with your own resolutions.

Have you considered engaging with someone as a sound boarding?


Quote of the month:



Book recommendation:




The Idea of Australia, Julianne Schultz

What is the 'idea of Australia'? What defines the soul of our nation? Are we an egalitarian, generous, outward-looking country? Or is Australia a place that has retreated into silence and denial about the past and become selfish, greedy and insular?

A lifetime of watching Australia as a journalist, editor, academic and writer has given Julianne Schultz a unique platform from which to ask and answer these critical questions. The global pandemic gave her time to study the X-ray of our country and the opportunity for perspective and analysis. Schultz came to realise that the idea of Australia is a contest between those who are imaginative, hopeful, altruistic and ambitious, and those who are defensive and inward-looking. She became convinced we need to acknowledge and better understand our past to make sense of our present and build a positive and inclusive future. She suggests what Australia could be: smart, compassionate, engaged, fair and informed.

This important, searing and compelling book explains us to ourselves and suggests ways Australia can realise her true potential. Urgent, inspiring and optimistic, The Idea of Australia presents the vision we need to fully appreciate our great strengths and crucial challenges.