Pregnant with Hope

In less than two months we have come a long way
And yes, we have many more dragons to slay
Though Zuma has gone, there’s still many a crony
And brothers called Ajay and Atul and Tony.

In a decade this scum has sucked all our air
Corrupt to the core without compassion or care
Our SOE’s have been brought to their knees
And our State has been captured by the greed of this sleaze.

SARS was derailed and the hawks lost their wings
As our very own President did unspeakable things
We were sliding down hill with each passing hour
While he washed his sins away in a shower.

The rainbow gleam of our shining democracy
Was in danger of becoming a complete ineptocracy
Week after week with a new range of stenches
As Number 1 giggled and shuffled the benches.

The rot of our head was guarded by keepers
And the rest looked sadly like reapers or sleepers
But thankfully though, some brave souls held strong
Those heroes who know their right from their wrong.

While gravy train pigswill was lapped up so loudly
Good men and women stood gallant and proudly
They threw their bodies in front of this bus
For a better South Africa for each one of us.

Some will stay silent, but they’ll get their rewards
And we might wish that others will fall on their swords
Perhaps ‘Butter Mielie’ will finally go
‘Faithless’ and Zwane and those useless and slow.

Wipe Brown away and put Dudu to sleep
Trim the eyebrows of stuttering Shaun sheep
It will take some action, decisive and fast
But those complicit must have “heh – hehed” their last.

Cyril you’ll be hailed as our Nation’s third coming
After Christ and Madiba, we’ve had a rather rough bumming
We look up to you as a sign of salvation
And you have our support to rebuild our Nation.
We’ve been dragged through the depths and the dust and the dirt
Pain in lost trust, betrayal and hurt
The negative downgrades have been hardly surprising
But in this year of Madiba, his new Son is rising.

So, get out there and connect on the beaches
Engage with the students, go and speak with the teachers
Our previous error had lost his connection
Let’s not worry today about next year’s election.

But you’re not alone and we must work together
Though Zuma brought us to the end of our tether
We can greet warmly and cross our divides
And lift up our country from such diverse sides.

Good luck Mr. President, your task won’t be easy
As you unpick our way through the slime and the sleazy
Both corporate and cabinet are in need of a cleaning
As we find our way to new purpose and meaning.

While a decade of decadence has broken our souls
You outlined at SONA some magnificent goals
While we have felt shafted down a slippery slope
Thank You, Sir, for making us pregnant with Hope!

Steve Hall

Human Energy and the crucial role in all human outcomes




We focus on Human Energy and the crucial role it plays in all human outcomes, as individuals, in teams, in organizations and even in communities.

It ultimately defines success or failure in what we as humans seek to achieve and how we want to live.


The challenge for each one of us is to see Energy and feel its powerful impact on everything we do: at work, at home and at play.

We need to understand it; value it; and then master it sustainably!

The pay-off is that we THINK better and behave differently: at work, at home and at play.


• Individual Energy Coaching.
• We share the learning in groups of up to 40, or more. We call these “Energy Days”.
• We train Energy Coaches and Team Managers within organizations to share the learning amongst colleagues.
• We have created a video based e-learning program, our “Personal Energy Journey”, to reach large numbers at lower levels within organizations.
• We have published a book called “Peoples” that tells the Energy Story simply for children – and for adults!
• We follow up each Energy session with a series of our Fully Alive Letters, at intervals of 4 to 5 weeks to sustain the learning.


Successful teams are made up of high energy individuals WHO TRUST EACH OTHER. The challenge is to understand and accept that, and then to change the behaviours to build trust.


• We work together, out of the office if possible, and we reinforce why we are together.
• We share our own values to create a common set of team values.
• We explore the Quantum World and expand our thinking exponentially.
• We examine our paradigms – our pictures of the World – and find common ones that drive the way we choose to behave towards one another.
• We test those behaviours against the way a Pride of Lions behaves and achieves.
• We learn to THINK TOGETHER!

We call this our “Energy Journey”, which we tailor make for each client, usually at regular intervals spread over about a year.
We use unique experiences – in the Bush; in the Inner City; at Constitution Hill – and powerful speakers, well debriefed into relevant learning to enrich the Journey.

Gold of the Desert Kings


Successful organisations and communities have a clear VISION of where they are headed. They have the buy-in of high energy members, and they are alert to the risks and opportunities that face them constantly.


• We have a new approach to Strategic Planning in the Quantum world that technology is revealing in a convincing way.
• We facilitate 2-day off-site sessions to review and define Vision.
• We work through a Values process to align and share the team’s values.
• We create the reality of what we call the “Seeing Eye” – the capacity to see new risks and opportunities through the eyes of everyone in the organization.
• We use innovative learning exercises and experiences, such as our tried and tested “Gold of the Desert Kings”. We don’t go bungi jumping, zip lining or go-carting!
• We leave with no doubt that we do infinitely better as a team when we THINK TOGETHER.


We have developed, tried and tested our own eQ Energy Survey which enables reliable diagnosis, comparisons and the measurement of progress on the Energy Journey – at individual, team and organizational levels.

We have developed and share an additional step in the recruitment process for identifying candidates with naturally high energy.


We focus on Human Energy.

We try to stay at the cutting edge of all new insights in the area of Energy – in Nature, from New Science, Neurology, Psychology and Human Physiology.

But we share with the Simplicity on the far side of Complexity.

We have one foot in the Linear World, and the other in the Quantum World – the world of unpredictability, uncertainty and infinite challenge!

We put a great deal of effort into high energy learning, learning spaces and experiences. We do as little teaching as possible, and there is no “death by Power Point”!

And if it isn’t FUN, we have failed!

RUACH – in Hebrew meaning ‘wind’ or ‘spirit’

Some thoughts on the leadership role of Boards of Directors:

I have been told of a lovely Hebrew word ‘ruach’ which, translated, talked to me of the power of the human spirit, of wind, of sailing and of soaring. It talked to me of human potential, of positive willing human energy with all its possibilities. Learn how to harness it and humans can really fly.

With a jet ski – fast and noisy, greedy for precious petrol – our strategic horizons are limited to a few kilometres.

But on a yacht we catch the wind in our sails and we can circle the world three times for nothing.

In a car – however expensive, with speed limits and bounds of safety – our strategic horizons are a few hundred kilometres a day.

When we use the free lift that air gives us when we fly, we can travel to the other end of the world … and back.

Our possibilities are unlimited, endless, infinite…

– With wind when we set our sails
– With the lift we get from air when we tip our wings
– With boundless human energy, ‘ruach’, human spirit
When the fuel is power – the power one has over another, our horizons are near and the costs are high.

If this somewhat lyrical proposition is true and we believe implicitly that it can be proven, then what is the leadership role of a Board?

Most importantly it must do all that it can to ensure that the craft is a yacht and not a jet ski, that it is an aeroplane and not a car.  And, if it is a yacht, that it has an auxiliary motor for “in case”.

And it must be seaworthy and airworthy. And the skipper or the captain and his crew must truly understand wind, airlift and human spirit.

All that, in our definition, is leading.

Is that all?

Unfortunately the answer is NO. We have a management role too. We have to be sure that all the passengers – the stakeholders – are aboard and comfortable. Since moving creates risk, and weather conditions are not always favourable, we have to ensure that all the serious risks are adequately covered – life-belts, lifeboats, parachutes, and marine insurance.

Sadly, but realistically, we have to acknowledge that even good experienced skippers make mistakes, take excessive risks and dangerous short cuts, and even cheat on the answers they give.

All this is called good corporate governance. We call it management.

A Board, which is truly leading and managing, is a good Board and deserves the fees it earns.

We use a lovely piece of anonymous poetry, adapted slightly.

When I reach the edge of all the light in my life and I step out into the darkness beyond, I need to know one of two things:
Either you will have created a safe place upon which I can stand,
Or you will have taught me how to fly
… or both

A Board that has created the rock of good corporate governance that is well managed, and leaders who encourage the team to fly, has done an almost legendary job.

Leonard Cohen, the musician, philosopher and poet

Leonard CohenI have always been an ardent admirer of Leonard Cohen as a musician, a philosopher and a poet and I get tears in my eyes and love in my heart when I listen again and again to a recording of my granddaughter singing “Hallelujah” as a solo at her school concert when she was 10.

So his recent death saddened me and rekindled my interest in this remarkable man.

Here are two paragraphs from my recent reading about him:

He was born in 1934 and ordained as a Buddhist monk.  He wrote songs partway between philosophy and prayer – songs radiating the kind of prayerfulness which Simone Weil celebrated as “the rarest and purest form of generosity”.

One of his most beloved lines from the song “Anthem”, which took him a decade to write, remains what is perhaps the most meaningful for our troubled and troubling times:

“There is a crack in everything / that’s how the light gets in”.

It springs from a central concern of Cohen’s life and work, one in which he revisited in various guises across various songs – including in “Suzanne” where he writes “look among the garbage and the flowers / there are heroes in the seaweed”, and in the iconic “Hallelujah” with the words “there’s a blaze of light / in every word / it doesn’t matter which you heard / the holy or the broken Hallelujah”.


And then even more telling for me at age 78 is this piece of his own writing, especially when I realise that he was only 4 years older than me!

“I always had a sense of being in this for keeps, if your health lasts you.  And you’re fortunate enough to have the days at your disposal so you can keep on doing this.  I never had the sense that there was an end.  That there was a retirement or that there was a jackpot”.

Today I look around and see the mess the world is in.  The awful behaviour of humans to one another and towards our blessed Planet, which is the only one we have.  And I could throw up my hands in despair and give up our Energy teaching – but for the inspiring words of Leonard Cohen.

“There’s a crack in everything / that’s how the light gets in”.

So, roll on next week …. and the next …. and let the light in!

Thank you Leonard Cohen.

Leading confidently in a Quantum World

Colin was engaged by Henley Business School to facilitate a Session for the SABMiller Management Development Programme.

Colin’s Session was entitled “Leading confidently in a Quantum World”.

The crux of his Session was that HIGH ENERGY individuals and teams co-create with others, using earned TRUST and sharing relevant INFORMATION.


scrabble1Concentrating on SCRABBLE played without the usual rules!  How does the team maximise its limited resources?  By working with one another, or against one another?



Is that Colin helping the other team to come up with a word worth
1.4 million points?!  That is possible if you think out of the box.


Blindfold exercise:

blindfold3The leader must EARN the trust of his follower in this blindfold exercise.
And stretching your follower to think and act for himself is part of the
exercise.  But this is REALLY stretching the follower!





Stretching followers to think and act on their own is the job of good
leaders. But good leaders give plenty of support too.





Discussion and Learning:

Discussion and learning amongst peers.

Discussion and learning1Discussion and learning2







Breaking Boards:

Breaking a wooden board with bare hands.

breaking boards4This exercise demonstrates that it takes COURAGE to make behaviour changes within a team; but it also demonstrates that the WHOLE team must become involved in the change.  TEAM ENERGY gets the job done.

breaking boards6

SUCCESS. Hold steady Colin!

breaking boards7

Knights of the Week

The school my son attends in Johannesburg has a wonderful ritual and tradition of rewarding outstanding behavior, or exhibitions of leadership, or demonstrations of sincere humanity. They call it “knight of the week”, and it could be awarded from a show of honesty, bravery, courage, discipline, giving, forgiving, empathy, helpfulness or Leadership.

The reward is simply a recognition, and most people respond well to some form of recognition. But there is a catch. As the recipient of such a reward, one is not supposed to know the real reason for its awarding. The point is, that you don’t do something just to get a reward, you do it simply because it is the right thing to do.

Now I have only been a parent there for nearly six years, but I can’t remember if anyone other than a pupil has received “Knight of the week.” It is with this in mind that I write this reflection.

For every day of the past six years we have been greeted with warmth from the Pridwin ground staff. They have waved us in with open arms and lit up the way with their smiles. They have ushered our most precious treasures safely across the roads and have helped them carry their bags if necessary. They have turned school drop off from a chore to a pleasure, and they have always tried to make it as efficient and convenient as possible.

And yet, often their reward is a blank stare, or even a frustrated glare when drivers are asked to be patient as someone else’s treasure is ushered safely and lovingly to the safe side of the lot. I have seen parents park where they like, as even in gym kit, the thought of walking ten extra meters seems deplorable, or a ten second wait for a car to pull out means that some suit has lost out today on their race to the top. I pitied what the energy might be like in the ivory towers on these days.

But my beef here is not with the parents – we are all guilty of various forms of ignorance or abuse, however light. My fillet is with the staff. And particularly today.

On the coldest and most miserable day of the year (so far!), the troops were out in full force. The smiles were even brighter and through the driving icy rain, the orchestra of parking attendants were waving their arms and conducting the flow of traffic. Some had brollies, others didn’t. Some had rain suits, others had beanies, but despite a lack of resources and horrible conditions, they were out there doing their very best, and doing it with humour and with warmth.

Is there a better lesson for our boys to learn than this? Is there a better example of resilience and responsibility? That when things are tough there is still work to be done, and when there is work to be done, we might as well do it properly despite the poor taste of the passing traffic.

In the race to the South Pole, Amundsen marched and Scott blamed the weather. The rest is history, and today that story stands tall in a pile of analogies and examples of Leadership.

Whilst it may have felt a bit like the South Pole today, thankfully we didn’t have to go there on a school outing debited to our accounts to learn a few lessons.

They were right there in the school parking lot – being handed out for free by unsung heroes.

They are my Knights of the week.

Every week.

Steve Hall


delegatesconf roomscrabbleboardsColin and Steve recently facilitated a two day workshop for LUX Resorts and Hotels in Mauritius.

This is a newsletter sent to the employees by their CEO:

Dear Colleagues,
We were honoured two weeks ago to welcome in Mauritius two exceptional consultants, Colin Hall and his son Steven from “Learning to Lead” based in South Africa.

We were delighted that 105 leadership Team Members were able to participate in the a 2-day workshop de-livered by Colin and Steven at the Trianon Convention Centre.

This was an introduction to the first steps in our energy journey and through numerous activities, inspirational stories, experience sharing sessions and a lot of introspection, we were made aware of the effect our energy can have on the people around us.

We learnt that our energy is the key to all our outcomes. When our energy is high our outcomes improve. But when our energy is low (or worse, negative) our outcomes slump.

Our energy affects each other….positively and sadly, often negatively.

All our energy comes from relationships. If we play to enhance our Power, we hurt people. If we play to enhance Energy, they yield Energy. These are the Energy Behaviours and Power Behaviours and Colin calls them BLUE and RED…easier to remember!

Playing more BLUE than RED requires courage and a sincere intention to improve the quality of life for everyone around us. We all have the opportunity to exercise a choice and if we frequently make the choice to “PLAY Blue,” relationships in all spheres of life improve.
To put this knowledge into practice throughout LUX*; we have developed an internal team of 28 Energy Coaches and more will be trained for Reunion and Maldives.

Our Energy Coaches went through a further 3-day learning session with Colin and Steven and have emerged fully committed and passionate to get us all energized to bring our best self wherever we go.

Thank you to Tony and his wonderful team for hosting the training for the Energy Coaches.

With abundant BLUE energy at the heart of everything we do, I can see it creating a beautiful ripple effect reaching every new destination where LUX* will welcome guests to experience our unique hospitality with a wonderful touch of our personal energy.

In fact this program is so important and vital to enable all our Team Members to “HELP PEOPLE CELEBRATE LIFE.” That is compulsory for ALL our leaders to follow the full program.

I invite you all to join in with our Energy Coaches and make this the start of a magnificent journey for all of us. It’s time to be fully alive!

Sincerely Always,
Paul Jones

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

If ever there was a place to stop and reflect on the true meaning of “Ubuholi Nobuntu” – leading with humanity, then this must surely be that place. For it was on this very ground where perhaps the greatest of all such leaders walked, worked and worshipped.

Born on the 2nd October 1869 Mohandas K Gandhi became known in later years as Mahatma, a name said to have been given to him by Rabindranath Tagore – the first non European winner of the Nobel prize for literature in 1913. The name  and its meaning “Great Soul” however did not rest well with him and according to his autobiography, he was often pained by it.

Gandhi arrived in South Africa in 1893 – he was 24 years old and he spent 21 years in this country. It was here where he developed his political views, ethics and political skills, and it was here where he realised his disconnection to the enormous complexities of religious and cultural life in India. He started his journey of leadership through humanity by leading Indians in South Africa who at the time were divided primarily by religion but also by economics.
He had firsthand experience of the discrimination policies of the time. Being thrown off trains in Pietermaritzburg, beaten for refusing to make room for a European traveller, barred from several hotels and berated by a magistrate for wearing his turban in a Durban courtroom were just some of the indignities he faced. These only served to strengthen his resolve, and had he had a branch of the buffalo thorn to reflect on, would no doubt have seen these all as turning points along his life from which to make significant choices.

Perhaps one of those significant choices was to establish the “Indian Opinion” newspaper in 1903. In 1904 Gandhi relocated it to his settlement in Phoenix, close to Durban. The press workers here were governed by a new work ethic, where they would all have a share in the land – there were over 100 acres here in those days. They would also share the profits if there were any, they would grow crops to sustain themselves, and they would work jointly to produce the newspaper. This was never without its risks as of the first six editors five of them spent time in jail. Gandhi himself commented that :- “Satyagraha (Insistence on Truth) would have been impossible without Indian Opinion.” It was this ‘insistence on truth’ philosophy and practice which translated directly into the movement of non-violent resistance and resulted in the Independence of India from British colonial rule on the 15th August 1947.

Gandhi himself never lived to see the formation of the Republic of India on the 26th January 1950. He was assassinated on his way to address a prayer meeting on the 30th January 1948. Prime Minister Nehru addressed the nation through radio :- “Friends and comrades, the light has gone out of our lives and there is darkness everywhere.”

Well, maybe there is still some of his light which shines in this place. We invite you to lap it up as Millions before you including Mandela, King, Biko, Tutu and Aung San Suu Kyi have done as an inspiration to their own causes, and indeed there are many who believe that South Africa’s transformation was all about Mandela completing what Gandhi had started. Gandhi never won a Nobel Peace prize, but he was nominated five times. This would probably never have bothered him, what might have been of interest to him was how many Nobel Prizes he inspired. When asked to give a message to the people, he would respond :- “My life is my message.”

To quote another Nobel Laureate, himself an inventor of note :- “Mahatma Gandhi has invented a completely new and humane means for the liberation war of an oppressed country and practiced it with greatest energy and devotion.”

          Albert Einstein

Later on he continues:-

“Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this walked the earth in flesh and blood.”

So walk this same place a bit, enjoy the same vegetarian meal, and breathe in some of the same air with the light, love and energy where this great soul spent so many formative years of his life practicing the art of leading with humanity.

Playing dare with the world around us

The biggest most awful threats we face and our richest and most precious experiences are all around us in Earth’s environment.  A sunrise full of hope and warmth – a sunset fiery in its final goodbye for today and promise for tomorrow.  Birds that sing, trees that breathe, bees making honey while they cross-pollinate.  Fossil fuels exhausted, a shrinking ozone shield, poverty, pollution, global warming!

Yet the human race is constantly playing dare with its own survival!  Why?

We constantly rob the systems of which we are part of their essential and amazing energy.  We distort, disturb and destroy the natural flow of energy.  We pollute, waste, plunder and steal energy from one another and from the natural and human systems of which we are a privileged part.

And then we constantly replace energy, natural healthy energy, with power.  Power over one another, power in hierarchies, government power, corporate power, the power of the despot, the autocrat and the bully.  Why?

We know that power works – we have seen it, felt it and used it … often.  But have we truly reckoned its cost?  Sir Isaac Newton, hundreds of years ago, wrote the cost formula in his Third Law of Motion.  “Every force generates an equal and opposite force”!  So over time we self-destruct – one power play is matched by another.

But joyfully we see signs all over our planet of wonderful hope – humans as individuals, in groups and in communities who choose to buck the trend and who foster energy, free its flow and spiral it up.

By our definition these people are true leaders who have found the crucial balance between effectiveness and energy and who create the conditions in which high energy effective teams of high energy effective individuals do their miracle work on a sustainable basis.

Teaching this kind of leadership is what we do best.

David Livingstone

David Livingstone embarked upon a series of journeys to understand Africa and his mission was to civilize it and tell England what he had discovered about what was largely an unknown continent.

His journeys were relatively inefficient and cost him his life. His mission as a Christian was unsuccessful. His “360º” view would have been a disapproving one indeed! But he did help the West to see Africa quite differently and to engage with it. He did more perhaps than anyone to see that the trade in slaves was the ultimate horror of the power of the powerful over the powerless.

What is the purpose of our journey some 150 years later? It is to learn all that Africa and Nature, so vital and proximate in Africa, can teach us about leadership – about how leaders create the conditions in which high energy effective teams of high energy effective individuals in high energy effective relationships make magic …. on a sustainable basis.

The introduction to Tim Jeals book – “Livingstone“, – puts the man and his journeys into an interesting perspective. His memorial was what the West did differently as a consequence of his life’s work.

What we do differently could be our “ Livingstone legacy”.