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TEDxWarsaw - Ivan Hernandez - 3/05/10

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Hi everybody, welcome to TEDxWarsaw. Before I start, I wanted to ask you a question. It's a very important question: How many of you have been to the circus? Wow. That's great. I mean, the thing about the circus, and this is something that I really, really like about it, is that there is stuff for everybody. Like for example for children, you have clowns. Okay, that's a scary looking clown, but you get the point. You have animals, like, for example there is a lot of people that like, you know, numbers with lions and tigers and elephants, I don't know, penguins, whatever. So if you like that, you could have that in the circus aswell. I'm not a big fan of this circus, the animals in the circus, but you know, you can have them. Actually, what I like the most, are the numbers involving acrobats. This is something that I really enjoy, when you have, you know, incredible performers displaying, you know, strength and control. And you know, there is so many different things, so many different numbers that it's incredible. And out of all those numbers, out of all those acts on the-- you know, involving acrobatics, my favourite one, the one that I love the most is the flying trapeze. There is something about it that I could just sit down and watch trapeze flying all day, and you know, I just love it. And something that I realized is that many of you might not be familiar with how flying trapeze works, so I decided to make a little flying trapeze 101 slide for you. Okay? Good? Alright. So here we have a picture of a flying trapeze. As you can see, you know, on this side you have the platform. And, pretty much, how it works is that you have a flyer and a catcher. Okay? What happens is, well the flyer will take off from that little platform over there. He will swing, you know, and at the highest point of the swing, he lets go. And when he lets go, he performs a trick, a trick that could involve flipping, or twisting, or flipping and twisting, I mean, the stuff that these guys can do is incredible. And, actually, that picture there is that moment, the moment where the flyer it performing the trick. Now, what happens next is he will open up and put his hands in front. And at that precise moment, with perfect timing, the catcher arrives, and catches him by the wrist. Then, they will swing together, they will go back, the catcher will push the flyer up, the flyer turns, grabs the trapeze bar and comes back to the platform. Now, how cool is that? Honestly. I mean, that's really cool. And, you know, like I said, there is so many different tricks that you can do in the trapeze. But out of all those tricks there is one that I really, really like the most. This is called: the passing leap. This is a very spectacular trick. Very technically difficult trick that involves, as you can see, not one, but two flyers, performing at the same time. Now, I see some of your faces are like, you know, looking at the thing, and wondering, how it works. Very briefly, I can tell you that, you know, what happens here, in this case the lady, she takes off first. The catcher will grab her by the legs. She lets go. That's not freaky. She lets go. They will swing together and at exactly the same moment, the second flyer will get on top of the bar, and as they get together towards the middle, that's exactly what happens, the one flyer goes underneath, the other one goes over, and, you know, you have the passing leap. Incredible. Now, something that I just realized is that probably it's kind of risky for me to be sharing this picture with all of you right now, because chances are that for the rest of my talk, you're not going to look at me as a presenter, or as a speaker, but you're just going to look at me as that guy wearing white tights. Because, actually, that guy over there, the catcher, that's me. (applause) Yep, you've got to love the white tights. Ahh. So why am I talking about this? Why am I talking about circus and trapeze flying? The reason why, is that I believe that this is the perfect example of collaboration. Without collaboration, the passing leap will never happen. And, you know, this is collaboration at it's highest level, literally. The question is, how do we get there? How come we manage to achieve such a remarkable trick? And I believe this is a process. This is a process that involves three stages. The first one is competition. Now, when I'm talking about competition, I'm not talking about, you know, let's say, the negative side of it, when you, you know, people have offensive or defensive position against each other, or where, I don't know, they're afraid of sharing, sharing ideas, sharing information, sharing knowledge, I mean, they're pretty much keeping things to themselves. And well, the type of competition in which, you know, the most common outcome is that, you know, there is a win-lose situation. No, this is not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about, let's say, the positive competition. Competition that drives you, that motivates you, that makes you go the extra mile, that makes you try harder. And the type of competition that by the end of the day, the most common outcome is that you win. This is what I'm talking about. And Steve Young, the former quarterback of the San Francisco 49-ers, he said it in a very, very nice way. He said that the principle is competing against yourself: it's about self-improvement, about being better than you were the day before. This is what I'm talking about: about trying, about trying harder every single time, that your hands hurt, your back hurts, everything hurts. And you go up there, and you try, and you try, and you try, and you get better every day. So this is a first stage. The second stage is, cooperation. Now, a lot of people use the term cooperation and collaboration like if it was the same thing, and I don't think that's the case. There is a big difference. When we talk about cooperation, basically what I see is that, you know, we define roles and tasks, and each of us will work on performing and doing his own thing. So in other words, what happens is, you do your thing, I do my thing, he does his thing, and then let's see what happens. That's what cooperation is all about. And the thing about it is that win-win is possible, as long as we win the same thing. And that's the key thing, because with cooperation, it's all about agreement. It's about agreeing what are our tasks, our roles, and then each of us is responsible to get it done. So if you put it back to the flying trapeze, you know, the catcher is responsible for catching, and just cares about catching, the flyer just focuses on catching-- on flying, and you know, if things work out well, well they will catch the trick. And that's cooperation. And I mean, don't get me wrong, cooperation is great. You can achieve great things with cooperation. But if you want to take it to the next level, if you want to go one step further, you need to take the next step of the process, which is collaboration. Now, when we talk about collaboration, there is no longer, "I do my thing, you do your thing, and let's see what happens," but here we are working together. We work in harmony, and we're working together to create something new. Because the thing about collaboration is that we all win. And this is remarkable. Because collaboration is all about creation. It's about creating something new, something that was not there in the first place. And something that is-- it can be remarkable. And it can be, you know, it can change things. That's what collaboration is all about. So going back to the passing leap-- When we go back to the passing leap, you need collaboration in order to achieve it. But the thing is, I don't care how fast you are, I don't care how experienced you are, I don't care how strong you are, --strong you are, without trust and commitment, there is no trick. Without these two key elements, there is no passing leap. These two are the things that make the passing leap possible. So the really nice thing about all this, is that this is not only applicable for the flying trapeze and for the circus. This is applicable everywhere. In anything you do, you can do this. This means also that, well, you don't need to wear white shiny tights in order to collaborate. Of course, if you want to, I mean, that's OK, it's your call, but you don't have to. This is great. And before I leave, I want to leave you with two final thoughts. The first one is that, life's lessons come from very unusual places. I had an opportunity to learn about collaboration, about commitment, about trust, while hanging, and flipping, and twisting on the flying trapeze. Because, believe me, I mean, the moment that you take off from that board, If you're not 100 percent commited, oh boy, you're going to get hurt. And even worse, you're going to get somebody else hurt. And if we're talking about trust, wow, I mean, letting go of that bar, and knowing that, you know, you're putting your life on the hands of the catcher, It's an incredible experience. And as a catcher, I mean, I had the privilege of being both, a flyer and a catcher, as a catcher, knowing that you're responsible for the life and for the health of your fellow flyer, that's incredible. So you need, you need these things in order to achieve such a complex thing as a passing leap. And the second thought is, I mean, well, it can be argued that-- do you really need trust and commitment in order to achieve collaboration? I mean, I think you can be alright, I mean, you can work on different projects, and things and, you know, maybe you don't trust each other that much, or you are not that commited, but you can achieve collaboration. Don't you think? I mean, the answer is: No. You don't need trust and commitment. I mean, you will do fine. But if you want to achieve something as remarkable as a passing leap, you need trust and commitment. So I have a question for you. I want you to ask yourselves: what could be your passing leap? What could be that remarkable, that new, that exciting thing that you could create with your family, with your friends, with your colleagues at work, with your business partners, with your customers? What could be your passing leap? Think about it, and go for it. Thank you very much. (applause) (Ralph Talmont:) As you know, our theme today is collaboration so thank you, Ivan, for being the first one and thank you for letting us throw you to the circus maximus out here. (Ivan Hernandez:) It was my pleasure. Thank you very much guys, thank you very much for coming. (RT:) They seem to like you. Thank you. (IH:) Thank you. (applause)

Video Details

Duration: 13 minutes and 45 seconds
Country: Poland
Language: English
Genre: None
Producer: TEDxWarsaw
Director: TEDxWarsaw
Views: 114
Posted by: tedxwarsaw on Mar 15, 2010

Ivan Hernandez is a performance improvement consultant, lecturer and entrepreneur. His talk uses trapeze flying as a metaphor for successful collaboration.

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