Last week was unofficially the week of change management in Armenia. If you ask “why”, then you haven’t been online for a week, because the information about Dr. Friedrich Glasl’s lectures in Armenia, organized by “Penta Dcc” company, were all over the internet. Yes, Dr. Glasl was in Armenia and If you haven’t heard of this great specialist of change-management earlier, pronounce his name several times not to forget, because my opinion is that ideas of change management and of mastering conflicts are essential for any Armenian to get acquainted with. That is the reason that SkillBlog did everything to get an interview with this great scientist and special thanks to Mr. Karen Sargsyan for making it possible.
It was snowing heavily and I just finished my classes at the university, but I couldn’t lose the opportunity to meet with Dr. Friedrich Glasl. I finally reached The Paris Hotel of Armenia and surprisingly entered into one of the kindest atmospheres. I was anxious to start the conversation but it turned out to be easy to say “Hi” ( to be honest it was “Hello, don’t go hard on me, I’m just a student”, which was followed with a kind laughing of the professor) and start the interview with the founder of the Trigon company, a great mediator and an author of many scientific works about conflict-management. So this is it. Hope you’ll enjoy reading this interview.
Hello, Mr. Glasl. It’s a great honour to meet you. And I’ll start with an obvious question. Are you satisfied with the audience in Armenia? Did you get all the things that you’ve expected and have you reached your aim here?
I don’t know what I must’ve been expecting (laughing). I just was invited to lecture here. I always need to know who is the audience. There’s always a difference when I talk to people that have been in industry somewhere or in public administration or students, who have interests, a lot of knowledge, but not the experience. So my aim was to give the people impulses, to make people see that managing crisis does not mean that you have to use power or expert knowledge to overthrow people with solutions, but that you can activate, mobilise people to be active and to become responsible for their contribution in mastering the crisis.
On Monday evening you held a section for young professionals at Congress Hotel. What it was about?
I talked mainly about crisis-Management. On the one hand on the neurophysiological background of behaviour of people in crisis and during the conflicts, and what does it mean when you’re expected to manage, in a constructive way, a crisis in an organisation. So the neurophysiological, physiological and organisational aspects of managing conflicts.
What is, in your opinion, the principal feature of good education e.g. in schools, universities or postgraduate educational institutions?
I’m convinced that it’s very important for any kind of educational institution, from primary school to university and even further, that they are really autonomous, so that there are no politics that will try to influence the outcomes of it. They create the conditions so that people can really listen to them, use the knowledge and not produce something because the people who pay money expect this kind of answer, because then you’d be depended. So autonomy and independence are a pre-condition of creative cultural life. Research and teaching are a very important part of a cultural life.
Research and teaching are a very important part of a cultural life
As our blog aims to encourage people to continue developing, what do you think about self-development in change management?
Actually that’s one of the key concepts. When I was talking about empowerment, enabling people to become active in mastering the crisis it can only be successful when people work on their self-development, on their personality, to be open, to be stable, to be unbiased, to take responsibility and to be able to follow their convictions, their value system and also to become more and more independent. Someone who depends on many-many other people can’t be really responsible. If only you yourself decide to do or not to do so you can be responsible. And this is the key objective of self-development – to be able to deal with the challenges which are in our present society.
What skills a specialist or a student should develop to be constructive?
The one is self-empathy. People can’t develop empathy to other people if they don’t have self-empathy. People, very often the grown-ups, have learned to ignore their emotions, their feelings, their doubts. They pretend always to be fit and full of power which is a lie very often (laughing). So the self-empathy is one as a condition to show empathy to others.
The second is to trust your own intuition. Rational thinking is very important, but the most of creative ideas, inventions come from people who once listened to their intuition. So listen to your intuition to become more creative.
What book would you recommend for self-development?
Yes, I have a book that I’d like to recommend. The author of this book is Chade-Meng Tan. He works at Google and is one of the main engineers to develop the search machinery. The book is called “Search inside yourself”. Chade-Meng Tan is a buddhist, but his exercises for self-empathy and own stability- to be concentrated, to be authentic- that he presents in the book can be accepted without being buddhists.
After the interview we continued the conversation and I used the opportunity asking some more questions as a student of International Relations about management of various conflicts. But it’s a whole different story.
If you want to know more go, research, develop!