The Cultural Synergist

Insights for the month with Dr Tom Verghese
The Cultural Synergist- Insights for the month

August 2023

Issue # 184

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Lived Experience...


In a conversation with a client not long ago, we discussed a question asked by an employee regarding the organisation’s policy on menopause. The client was pondering on whether there was any need for this. I suggested that perhaps this perspective could be because she was not yet at the point of experiencing it being in her mid-thirties and having a young family. She did not have the ‘lived experience’ of menopause and therefore, it was difficult to imagine.

I have no ‘lived experience’ of menopause either, however my interest in the topic of conscious ageing has informed me that the experience of menopause is highly varied. Some people having minimal symptoms while others have more severe and disruptive ones. There is also a level of taboo around speaking about the topic, even among women. My suggestion to the client was to invite women in the organisation who might be interested in the topic into some focus groups. She could also follow up with one-on-one conversations. The ‘lived experience’ is valuable in these sensitive topics as it provides insights and perspectives. Incidentally, men go through something similar and it is called andropause. Again, a topic that is hardly discussed.

Engaging in some of the above actions would demonstrate that the client was listening to concerns raised and educating herself and others on the topic; and taking whatever further actions seemed appropriate.

This highlights how multi-dimensional diversity, equity and inclusion is and how we are broadening our understanding of the field. Hearing the ‘lived experiences’ and ‘voices’ of different groups provides us with empathy and different perspectives.


Quote of the month:


"Health is the greatest possession.

Contentment is the greatest treasure

Confidence is the greatest friend

Non-being is the greatest joy."

-Lao Tzu


Book recommendation:



Meta Leadership, Constance Dierickx

All top leaders make mistakes, simply because they are human. In fact, the more senior and successful they are, the more susceptible they are to making errors—because as confidence increases, hubris often does as well. Yet, as internationally recognized leadership and decision-making expert Constance Dierickx demonstrates, this doesn’t have to be your fate.

In Meta Leadership, Dierickx draws on a vast body of research from psychology and business to show how great leaders can think differently and improve their judgment, for stronger, more profitable results. Incorporating leading-edge data and research on the science of thinking, emotional regulation, and behaviour, Meta Leadership offers fascinating stories, incisive insights, and useful takeaways for better leadership and better outcomes.

Dierickx reveals typical patterns of thinking and behaviour that trip leaders up, and how you can avoid making potentially costly, sometimes disastrous, decisions. You’ll discover how, in split-second decisions, to effectively use a dose of uncertainty to counterbalance overconfidence; how to show courage without being reckless in a crisis; how to demonstrate that different situations call for different types of action; and more. You’ll learn how to be a better judge of other people to lead more effectively and empathetically. And just imagine what a 20-percent improvement in decisions on investments could be worth.

Whether you are at the start of your leadership journey or have held a senior leadership role for years, Meta Leadership will arm you with the knowledge and insights you need to achieve the highest results from yourself and your team.