Health is no more than a currency

Interesting thoughts…


In my time practicing as a wellness advisor, I’ve often asked my clients why they’d like to start an exercise program and invariably they’d tell me “because I want to be healthy”. “Great…” I’d reply. I’d follow that up by a few moments of silence and a complexed gaze which precedes my rather loaded “and…??” question. “And what?? I want to be healthy, that’s it”.

And again, I’d plant that seed of doubt with the silence that symbolizes the fact that I am expecting more from them. Then just as the cogs in their brains starts to turn and first bits of steam start appearing from their ears, I offer them some relief. “Health is nothing more than a currency” I’d say. Huh?? Yeah you heard me, “Health is nothing more than a currency”, allow me to explain.

If I were to offer you a million bucks in a briefcase…

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To earn respect and trust…first give respect and trust!

Image(Milo, Bella and Coco)

One of my favourite moments of the day is knowing that without a doubt my dogs will greet me as though I’ve been away for the longest time. It’s the happiest, friendliest welcome home any human could receive.

Picture this: Bella, the eldest hears my car pulling into the drive way, runs to the lounge, nose pressed against the window, ears pricked. As I open the front door, there she is! Head tilted, looking up at me with her tail wagging excitedly – “Hello human, you’re home!”

My other two are in the back garden waiting eagerly for me to let them in. Milo has a similar greeting style as Bella. His tail wags continuously, looks deeply into my eyes and jumps up against me in a very controlled but poised fashion. Coco is the youngest and over zealous of all three dogs, and also the most animated. She does a little tap dance around me, then runs in circles, jumps up and licks whatever part of my body is in sight.

It got me to thinking about how we greet each other when we come home. My wife certainly doesn’t run to the door and greet me excitedly. If I had to even suggest that, she’d roll her eyes and say, “I didn’t know you were looking for a Stepford wife”. I don’t greet her in an overly exuberant way either when she arrives home. The “Hi, how was your day?” is usually followed by exchanges of the highs and lows of each other’s day.

There’s a lot that our dogs teach us, especially the way that they interact with us. Isn’t it amazing how we don’t mind taking the time to greet them, “Hello Bell, what did you do today? Sleep all day?”,    “Hello Milo, did you miss me boy?” and “Hello Cocopops, how was your day?”

The lesson learned here is that if you put in the effort, you reap the rewards. In the midst of the craziness of our lives, we should make the time to connect with each other. So from now onwards, this is the new and improved me…”Honey, I’m home! Did you miss me wifey?”


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At last!!!

At last!!!

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Jingle Bell’s

Jingle Bell’s Silly Season Ho Ho, tis the season to jolly! It’s that time of the year again when we tend to go crazy, spend too much money and forget the real meaning of the Christmas.

As we continue to chase our short tail, now is the time put in an extra effort. Our lives become so busy that we often forget the important things, the things that really matter. Forget the extravagant gifts and instead give the precious gift of time, your time! This is after all the season of giving and goodwill. Be nicer than before – buy the street kids something to eat, tip your favourite petrol attendant, be courteous on the road, say thank you to the shop assistants and cashiers when out shopping, be gracious to those family members who especially get on your nerves at this time of the year, spend time with your kids, parents and wife, and remember to be good to yourself.

I guess there are huge opportunities and tough challenges that are awaiting us in the coming year and it’s probably going to be hectic for all of us at Alacrity. How we confront this will reveal a bit about our characters, weaknesses and strengths, but at the end of the day, it’s the bigger picture we are striving towards.

For those who are travelling with friends and families please be careful and safe out there, we need all hands on deck in 2012. Also to those celebrating the religious days coming up, have a soulful Christmas and a fantabulous New Year.

And, let me leave you with this, while you’re out shopping remember, as you hear all those Boney M tunes drumming around, (pa ra pa pa tum!!), do not be lured by the marketing genius of the stores and malls, Cmon, guys don’t fall for it!!

This is me and the time has come to sign off to a fantastic 2010!!!

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Me jump from a plane? I mean seriously?

Yesterday i was asked by a friend of mine who does freelance reporting…

“Didn’t you tell me once that you went sky diving or parachuting or something like that….?

Send me a few paragraphs on how it came about, why you did it, and what it was like…..? The feeling, emotion, the fear the exhilaration…..????”

My response was as follows:

Hi, a few paragraphs? Hope you’re kidding. Here goes…

I have a list of “to do” stuff, some call it a bucket list. The issue I have with that name is “do you empty done stuff”? then start filling it again? I always ask why? Until I get an answer (guess my analytical brain kicking in).

My life motto is… I have a few…

  1. live life to it’s fullest but be wise about choice.
  2. Never regret what you’ve done but learn from it
  3. Never stop improving yourself, you learn everyday
  4. Love what you do and have fun doing it
  5. Remember the past but live for now

I can go on and on, the point is there is no time like NOW.

So skydiving came about on a go-kart track. After racing conversations took place in the bar, as usual. One of the guys who is an avid jumper was saying how exhilarating it is to jump from planes and I’m thinking wtf?

Being the person I am, I jumped (no pun intended) at the opportunity. He was planning on taking a group of people to Robertson and I thought what the hell this should be easy. As the days got closer, I actually realised  the reality of the situation. Too late…

I remember driving to Robertson on the Friday night, the atmosphere and energy was immense when we arrived. I then knew this is something I really wanted to do. The camp fire stories, some horror ones included just got my blood pumping.

Saturday morning was a fantastic day, clear skies, no wind, everybody there was humming “there will be jumps today”.

The training session started at 9 am and would complete around 4pm and then whoever feels ready will get to jump. I stumbled towards the hanger where the training would take place and there I see my partner Lesley shouting “I want to jump”. She then signed up to do the tandem jump (11000 ft), no training required and off she went. Wow I thought, this is not like her, guess the adrenalin was overflowing. 30 minutes later I go called out of the training to see her land. It was an awesome sight.

Hours passed and then it was time. Final test was a sort of simulation exercise but about 1m off the ground.

Yikes! it hurts down there

Then I was ready…the first group contained 5 guys and there we went. The right stuff sprung into my brain. The plane was a Cesna, not sure of the model, but really small and noisy. We squeezed in, I mean really squeezed in. 5 jumpers, the jump master and the pilot.

The ‘right stuff’

Take off was scary, then climbing to 3500 ft. I was 2nd to jump…when the first guy left the plane, I honestly had no thoughts, my mind went blank. All I heard was “next!”. I slowly made my way to the door, it opened and the wind, omg the wind.

Stepped out onto the step, just enough space to put a foot, hands on the wing, feet off the step. And there I was hanging on the wing James Bond style and waited for the signal… Leaving the plane was a blur, there I was floating in the sky, checking my lines, then untangling the crossed lines, making sure the parachute opened correctly.

I cannot explain the feeling.

Not a sound, the view was amazing, everything was just so clear. Then it was time to land. Guiding the chute and watching the batmen on the ground. Carefully taking note of their signals. I overshot the landing spot by about 200m but nevertheless I was back on earth and back to earth.

It felt like I conquered the world..and yes I’ll do it again…

I am king of the world!

The guy in the centre is Tim-O-T (over 10000 jumps), you might have seen him on the Discovery channel, “How I survived”. His had problems with the chute opening and plummeted to the ground, and survived.

Madman Tim-O-T


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Agile coaching circle – Team dysfunction

Just thought I’ll pop this in here – discussion points from our coaching circle.

”We accomplish what we understand. If we are to accomplish something together, we need to understand it together”. Ron Jeffries

Alacrity agile coaching circle –  Monday, 1 August 2011(18:00 – 19:30)

Goal: Building better teams – how to recognize dysfunction

Session backlog:

What is a dysfunctional team and what could cause this?

 No trust – uncomfortable with each other, don’t admit weaknesses, never ask for help

Don’t want conflict – scared to challenge others opinions

Command and control leadership style – PO assigns work

Team members ‘fence sitting’ – individuals making team decisions

The blame game

Lack of commitment– teams members fail to achieve clear decisions and action steps

No accountability – team members do not confront each other around behaviour that do not conform to agreed decisions

No team ethics – individuals put their own needs ahead of the team

No empowerment – teams are not allowed to make decisions on the work they do

What are the early signs the scrum master should look out for?

 Quality of delivered work starts dropping

Teams are given ‘deadlines’

No participation in activities

Everyone pulling in opposite directions

PO’s are line managers

PO doesn’t allow the SM to guide the team

No vision from the PO

No transparency

There is no sprint goal

Team communication patterns are tense

Team is not part of the decision-making process

There is no free flow of information


How do we fix this? Can we?

 Create that safe space where all can be treated as equals

Encourage all to work together

In the retro – role play other teams members showing what it looks like from the outside (this might need a high level of team maturity)

Highlight the positives and celebrate achievements

Display model behaviour – SM must practice what they preach

Get back to basics

Start respecting yourself & others

Always follow-up on retro action items

Make things visible

Trust building exercises


When the going gets tough?

Obtain assistance – outside intervention

Attempt to establish the root cause

When all else fails, get rid of the bad elements


Reading material – The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Peter Lencioni

Next session:

15 August 2011 (18:00) – no apology then we expect to see you

Topic as agreed by the group:


Facilitator: Pieter (will advise if prep work is required)

here are some pics taken (apologies for the handwriting)


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First stab – Business analysts, are we really?

Business analysts – are we really?

Since the start of our BA forum I’ve been grappling with the idea of what value I can add to assist others and also to understand how they are thinking. We often we get caught up in old thinking patterns of “this is how we always did it before”. Yes, I agree that the wheel should not be reinvented but surely we should be ADDING VALUE when recommending solutions.

This is first my stab:
BA competencies, now I’m racking my brains a bit. Google it and you’ll get thousands of hits (just a guess).…just had to for my own peace of mind, Google says about 3,200,000 results.

Google search

When chatting to other BA’s they battle to keep the stakeholders focussed on the actual business requirements, possibly because it’s easier for anyone to start thinking in solution mode. All BA’s should know that it’s imperative that we get the business requirements accurate for any project. The BABOK guide describes business requirements as “high-level statements of goals and objectives” but at times we fail to keep the stakeholders involved throughout the development of their solution. Surely it’s in our best interest to involve them as often as we can since they are closest to the requirement. Why not involve them in design decisions? Why not? My response to this – “it depends”. BA’s need to assist the stakeholders by keeping them concentrated on the problem space and at the same time ensuring that we are building the correct solution. Good BA’s are able to realise when these boundaries are about to be crossed.

My advice to BA’s is:
1. Define the business problem correctly, if not, you going to deal with scope issues.
2. Keep stakeholders involved but be aware when they are giving you the solution.
3. Ensure that you are able to validate any information elicited.
4. If possible, recommend more than one solution.
5. NEVER stop talking to the stakeholders – value “customer collaboration over contract negotiation” (a principle from the agile manifesto
6. Ask why? You’ll be amazed how many times you can.
7. Remember, you play an important role in translating stakeholders’ needs into good requirements for the software development team.

I look forward to any comments.

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