Friday, December 9, 2011

Navigational Listening - the Racer's Edge

Creating the Maps
Why we're listening determines the type of information we listen for.  Salespeople listen for customer concerns.  Lawyers listen for the opposing speaker's faulty logic. Freudian psychiatrists, listen for unconscious motivations.  These bits of information are important for the listeners to do their jobs successfully. 

Training has taught them not to listen at face value, and to use the time lag between their hearing and their subsequent reply to properly evaluate what is being said.  At the same time, they don't dismiss their emotional response to the speaker, their "feel" for the situation or their hunch of what might happen next.

A framework telling them how to influence a person from Point A to Point B also guides these professionals. 

In sales, the marketing rep wants to influence a customer from a point of no interest to a commitment to buy.  The lawyer tries to influence the jury to his or her point of view.  The psychiatrist works to influence the patient toward new insights about personal behavior, motivations or view of the world.

The Untrained Navigator
We hear − 1/7th as fast as we think − about one unit of hearing to five units of thinking.  Obviously, the mind has the opportunity and the time to construct questions, inferences, assumptions, and associations as we listen; but are we using this time wisely?

Traditionally, ineffective listening has been viewed as a hearing problem. However, as we gain important new information about the effects of this uniquely human process of hearing on the effectiveness of an organization, we can recognize that ineffective listening is our most vital management/leadership challenge. Consider some of these common types of listening behaviors in business.

"Noise in the Attic" Listening
Like many people, some we've been taught to think that being a good listener is merely sitting silently while others talk.  Outwardly, we appear to be listening.  Inwardly, however, we are surrendering to a type of listening called Noise in the Attic.

Disengaged from the speaker's ideas and − sometimes − presence, we are completely involved in our own mental processes, adding partiality and distance between the speaker and ourselves. 

Noise in the Attic listening tends to develop from childhood experiences.  As youngsters, how many of us heard: "Don't talk while I'm speaking!"  "Don't interrupt me!"  "Don't ask so many questions!"  "Why?  Because I said so!"

Conditioned by these long−ago warnings, many of us in business unconsciously turn off our minds − and potentially good habits of inquiry.  Instead of trying to clarify the speaker's intent, we sometimes end up preoccupied with our own internalizations:  "Who does she think she is?"  "I can do his job better than he can."  Or, sometimes we find ourselves planning a trip, remembering a pleasant experience, or even mentally completing a thought left dangling from another conversation... returning from time to time to listen to what is being said.  Sound familiar?

"Face Value" Listening
Sometimes, we think we are hearing facts, when actually the words we're hearing are interpretations of events being described.  In Face Value listening, the listener isn't mentally "checking back" into the real world to see whether the words really explain what they purport to explain.

Words are heard more for their literal meanings rather than as tools for understanding. This explains why executives, managers and staff can differ dramatically in their perceptions. 

Children are excellent examples of people who use Face Value listening. But they have no choice, since their experiences are so limited. As adults, we have more experiences, and we should use these experiences to add depth and understanding to the listening process. Unfortunately, many adults hear, rather than listen. Good listening requires guided thought.

"Position" Listening
The business environment has its own unique listening problems.  Employees constantly alert for clues to their performance or where they stand, are often victims of Position listening; this highly partial form of listening can be extremely harmful to good communications. 

For example: A manager might listen to her president's annual report to determine whether her division will be growing. What she hears in that talk could easily affect her performance during the year as well as her relationships with coworkers. She will listen to immediate superiors to determine her role.  Obviously, Position Listening can lead to faulty assumptions and can destroy the morale of a well-managed and high performing team.

Navigational Listening 
Using navigational listening, the art of knowing how to listen and how listening affects performance can make us better executives.  Listening is not an end in itself, but part of a chain of processes that end in a decision, strategy, or change in behavior or point of view.

When driving some place new, we think nothing of stopping at a gas station for a map so we can navigate in unfamiliar territory.  In doing this, we learn "how to," so the roads can be navigated efficiently and with less chance of becoming lost.  If we get lost, we need only refer back to the map to find our way. Listening can be approached the same way.
The Executive as Navigational Listener
In business, to be the best executive you can become you need to learn to listen to use navigational listening to work more effectively with others. How are you helping others achieve their goals? How does your listening influence that journey? Who do you need to influence to move quickly from Point A to Point B and why?  Where is this conversation going and how does your listening enable a greater achievement of your goals with others? 

Do a personal audit this month. 

Notice how you listen. Notice how you influence while you are listening. Watch how changing your listening to more consistently navigate with others changes your ability to achieve success with others.

"Getting to the next level of greatness depends on the quality of the culture, which depends on the quality of relationships, which depend on the quality of conversations. Everything happens through conversation!"  -Judith E. Glaser 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It Started with a Yawn

Years ago, when I was in graduate school, I wrote a paper called "It started with a yawn." I noticed that when people got together and one person yawned, others yawned within seconds afterwards. Some researchers have claimed that yawning could control brain temperature so that it does not reach extremes.

A team of researchers led by Andrew Gallup of Princeton University analyzed the pattern of yawning in people during winters and summers and found that a significantly higher number of participants yawned in the winter then they did during summers. This led the researchers to think that yawning must be serving the purpose of regulating brain temperature so that it stays within permissible limits.

Published in the journal Frontiers in Evolutionary Neuroscience, the study is said to have involved 160 people from Tucson and another 80 from Arizona in both the seasons.

I Observe and I Am Curious...

Since I was young, I have been watching,noticing and wondering why people yawn. I have noticed that people yawn together. When someone yawns, others around them often yawn as well. It is as though they are mimicking each other.

I've also noticed that people yawn when someone they are talking with 'talks for a long time' about a complex subject that they are not fully following. 'Metaphorically it's like communicating "enough, I can't hold that much information in my brain." or "I can't understand what you are saying - I can't grasp it all."

I am curious about the connection between "yawning to regulate temperature" and "people yawning together" - either as a mimicking response or as a possible overload response.

In the case of overload ... Angelika Dimoka, a neuroscientist from Temple University Fox School of Business has been studying overload and decision-making.

In her study, researchers gave people a bidding task with lots of information to work with in order to make their decisions. As the researchers gave the bidders more and more information, activity in the dorsolateral PFC suddenly fell off as if a circuit breaker had popped." The bidders reached cognitive and information overload," says Dimoka. They start making stupid mistakes and bad choices because the brain region responsible for smart decision-making has essentially left the premises. For the same reason, their frustration and anxiety soar: the brain's emotion regions -previously held in check by the dorsolateral PFC - run as wild as toddlers on a sugar high. The two effects build on one another. "With too much information, " says Dimoka, "people's decisions make less and less sense." (Newsweek, February 27, 2010, Sharon Beagley)

If we use this new information about cognitive overload, we can see that our whole brain state shifts when we are called upon to deal with and comprehend complex subjects. Overload causes us to shut down the parts of the brain needed to think.

Yawning may help restore a state of equilibrium. Breathing may slow our heart rate and enable us to get into a higher state of coherence. When we yawn, it's possible we are calling upon our ability to restore a state of clarity, openness and receptivity. (

In the Case of Mimicking...Is Yawning Contagious?

While yawning is often associated with being tired and
needing more oxygen in the bloodstream, people yawn for many reasons including stress, boredom, emotion and over-work.

Yawning together with others suggests another fascinating principle about human behavior. Yawning may be contagious. Is it possible that what triggers people to yawn together is a herding response - a subtle way to communicate group behavior - such as when one bird in a flock flies and the others follow the behavior of that one bird so they all rise together as a whole flock.

When one person yawns it appears to cause another person to yawn. Researchers have found that 40-60% of people who see a picture of someone yawning will yawn themselves. Even reading the word YAWN can make people yawn.

Maybe a yawn is a signal to the group that it's time to go to sleep. Or, if someone yawns when they're bored, it may be a sign to change the topic of conversation.

Yawning is not limited to humans. Animals of all types yawn. If you have a dog or cat, you've probably seen your pet yawn several times. Even some birds yawn, such as cockatiel parrots, Adelie penguins and Emperor penguins.

What we do know is that yawning helps replenish the levels of oxygen in the blood, and may help regulate our body temperature. The same chemicals in our brain that affect our moods and emotions also cause us to yawn.

Ancient Greeks started the ritual of covering your mouth when you yawn so that your soul does not escape!

Notice when people yawn ... what is going on in the conversation? What might trigger the need for more oxygen? Why might a deep breath be needed? Why is this conversation having such an impact at the deep visceral level?

Maybe there are times we need to breathe new life into a situation, a conversation or relationship. Think about it...notice it...reflect on it...and talk about it with's a phenomenon of nature.

Want to learn more about contageous yawning? Check out this cool video from Discovery Channel's MythBusters:

Trust at the Moment of Contact
In my new book on trust, I talk about the most important social forces that are hardwired into our DNA and drive our 'humanity.' Whether we were around three thousand years ago, or we are living today, these forces guide our interactions with each other. We are still struggling to figure it out, to work it through, and to find ways to emerge more whole and more humanized as a global community. Check out three sample chapters here:

Getting to the next level of greatness depends on the quality of the culture, which depends on the quality of relationships, which depend on the quality of conversations.

Everything happens through conversation!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ownership and Power

Israel took me by surprise. My husband and I celebrated my 10th year cancer free anniversary this year in Israel, and it was an incredible place to be for this profound time in our lives. Israel is the history of the world found in one small spot on the world map. One small piece of geography filled with so much emotion, so much history, and so much push and pull about who owns what and why.

Our guide, Nachum, was the best storyteller and facilitator of learning I have ever met. As we drove down a particular street in Tel Aviv, he pointed out that this street was the line that separated Palestinians from the Israeli's; each with houses facing the other with just a small street separating them. He pointed out that many houses had bullet holes in the stone facing - fresh ones - and many of the windows were closed down to a small opening to avoid the sniper fire that came through the windows. Conflict, fighting, war, hate were just a street apart.

In six days, Nachum brought together for us the 'now' of Israel with the past 3,000 years of history as two stories side by side. For the first time I could understand why the conflict doesn't want to go away. What we learned was that for thousands of years, each society that came to Israel, tried to wipe out the society before. They leveled the buildings down to the ground and build their edifices on top of the remaining rubble. Each took ownership of the land. Each marked their territory with their culture. Each lived there until the next great fight took place and another stronger power came in to conquer, enslave or exile the existing population.

Learning from History 
People in Israel have rebuilt as much of history as they can so that visitors from around the world can see what happened... experience what happened... relive what happened with the hope that we can open our minds to the forces that continue to bring us together and pull us apart.
In Israel, archeological sites are being rebuilt so visitors can step into a 'recreated' edifice and experience the space, as did those who lived there thousands of years ago. They chart the old and new with a dark thick line on the walls, where below is the actual remaining wall and above is recreated space, the allowing visitors to step into that room and its history as through it were now.

One such recreated space we visited was at Masada - King Herod's fortress, where 960 Jewish zealots made their last ditch stand against the Romans, and chose to all commit suicide rather than being slaughtered and having their wives and children taken into slavery by their enemies.

People are drawn to Israel. We want to experience the past in a safe way. We want to see it, and learn from it,
yet the learning seems to live at the top of our consciousness and not filter down inside where we are willing to make fundamental changes in how we work together, how we live together and how we thrive together.

Holding Reality In Our Hands
I was blown away by this... an architect devoted his whole life to recreating the Western Wall and the city of Jerusalem in a 'model' so people would be able to walk around history and see and feel the story of people over thousands of years living through growth and conflict.

As Nachum walked us around the model we could be back there and be here at the same time - starting to understand the mighty forces of humanity and the tensions of people with different beliefs struggling to live together.

In our last day of the trip, we visited a newly unearth archeological site. This very ancient city has been the focus of a 29-year old excavation, which began when a mud slide after a torrential rain opened up the ground and below the rows of fully-grown trees emerged remnants of a theater. The archeologists knew that if a theater was there, then the city was near by - and it was!

As the team of archeologists dug the site, they unearthed an incredible city; they found markets for selling wares, spas for daily public bathing and having 'massages,' and a section of city where prostitutes offered their talents daily to those who were interested. Nachum showed us that this spot was another example of 'many owners'. At one time this land had been 'built up and owned' by the Jews, then taken over by the Byzantines, then by the Greeks and then inhabited by the Romans followed by the Arabs. The story of ownership and power continued to emerge right in front of our eyes in this archeological excavation, and continues to re-emerge as we return to the present and read the newspapers and talk with our friends about the fate of Israel and the larger story of how 'WE' is being created and destroyed right in front of our eyes.

How do we Create WE today? What are the most important and fundamental principles that we need to consider and practice as we learn to activate the most human parts of our minds, hearts and brains?

Creating WE Social Forces™
Where do these tensions live inside of you? Where do they live inside of your culture? Where do they live inside of your relationships, and what are you doing to understand how to move with them not against them...
  • Fairness - how do we work out what is fair for 'us'?  
  • Ownership - what do we own, and what are our rules of engagement around ownership?
  • Rejection - in what way might we be unnecessarily rejecting that which is different than us?
  • Connection - in what ways can we foster connectivity and deeper understanding?
  • Expression - how can we give each other space to speak our thoughts and express our voice?
  • Status - how might status be getting in the way of creating 'power-with' others?

Trust at the Moment of Contact
In my new book on Trust (link to three sample chapters), I talk about the most important social forces that are hardwired into our DNA and drive our 'humanity.' Whether we were around three thousand years ago, or we are living today, these forces guide our interactions with each other. We are still struggling to figure it out, to work it through, and to find ways to emerge more whole and more humanized as a global community.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

First Day, New Job, Now What?

People are often resistant to change because they think change means changing themselves. Many of us have a fear of change - but I think it's actually something deeper than fear of change. Under the surface, for many people change is really a fear of loss.  Our mind plays many tricks on us.

Change = fear = risk=loss=loss of status. It's all hardwired.

That is why I wrote The Leadership Secret of Gregory Goose.

Gregory diligently practiced the Ground Rules at the pond. By watching other lead geese, he believed strongly that having 'power-over others' was what leadership was all about.  

Yet one day, the hunters came to the pond and started to shoot at all the geese. In a time of crisis, Gregory discovered all the Power Rules no long served him well.  While in the air, Gregory made a 'leadershift.' He turned to the other geese - trusting them to become leaders, and they did. They split their "V" into three and the hunters didn't catch one goose that day. Gregory called this 'power-with others'. He discovered his most important wisdom - sharing power releases the leadership instincts in others. 

 Power Rule #1: Power comes from how strongly you flap your wings...

Power Rule #2:  Power comes from how loudly you honk...

Power Rule #3:  Power comes from how much you honk...

Power Rule #4:  Power comes from how well you strut...

Power Rule #5:  Power comes from how fast and strong you are...

Geese in a row
Power Rule #6:  Power comes from your ability to peck...

Power Rule #7:  Power comes from how well you keep other geese in line...

Or So He Thought!
For years I've been coaching and consulting to tough, smart leaders who are really comfortable using "honking, pecking, and strutting" leadership behaviors. They don't want to let go because these behaviors are tied into their positional power. They don't want people to think they are weak.

As part of our work, leaders and I talk about what 'goose' behaviors represent and how they affect their ability to achieve their main business objectives. It's quite amazing what insights come out of this conversation.  
Often leaders will realize that when they are using power-over behaviors, the impact is that employees become 'followers'; they obey without question, and do not take risks.  Instead of building high trust, organizations that are willing to experiment and trynew things, they end up with a compliant organization where fear of change is rampant - just the opposite of what they want to achieve.

Once leaders see there is a direct connection between their "power-over" leadership style and the results they are getting from their employees, they are free to change.

Within a short while, something miraculous happens; their team's resistance to change dissolves and productivity reins. This is a perfect example of how effective the Gregory model can be.

From Power-Over to Power-With
Gregory offers a way to get anchored in a new type of leadership, which is 'moving from power-over to power-with'.  Following the Gregory Workshop I recommend a process of peer coaching that involves having leaders who have gone through a Gregory Session together, meet on a regular basis - every six weeks or two months - where each of them commits to doing experiments using the seven new leadership behaviors that they want to model.

Leaders learn to share their experiences with each other and talk about the results that they're getting. This process creates a living organization that's really committed to a different type of leadership, and the stories the leaders share are crystal clear, real-life examples of what people are actually doing so they learn from each other about dramatically new and exciting ways to lead.
Gregory Goose Leadership Program 
Listen to the interview from the Jim Blasingame Show here. To learn more about the program click here. If you are interested in buying the Gregory Goose books, click here.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Co-creating Conversations & Connectivity

Many of us learn how to talk to each other without graduating to the next level of conversation that enables us to go after and achieve our greatest aspirations with others.

How easy it is to fall into discussions that reinforce what we don't want in our present situation, or focuses on what we think is broken. Coming from lack or scarcity and focusing on fixing our problems rather than feeding our passions and what we want to achieve has become such a human habit that we don't even know we're doing it. It's as though that is the way it has always been.

But turning up connectivity in your workspace creates a powerful energy shift that you can master and author in your relationships. The tool that creates this level of connectivity is co-creating conversations.

Connectivity Within Teams and Organizations

Creating connectivity within a team enables a forward moving power that not only works in the moment to produce syncopated action, but also serves the team members as a fundamental way of being as they interact with each other. 

When teams sync together through co-creating, they are more able to raise the level of their performance. Too often companies "force" alignment in the name of vision and values, rather than inspire it. True connectivity achieved through

co-creating conversations enables alignment to come from within. This creates a level of performance that, if directed toward positive and outrageous goals, consistently brings home medals for the performing team - it can't be forced from without by compliance and coercion.

Once teams and individuals discover true connectivity, they create a broader ripple effect of co-creating behavior with others. Team members begin to listen to connect, and distrust seems to give way to higher levels of bonding and mutual support.

Listening without judgment, sharing ideas without fear of criticism, and with support from associates is co-creating conversations in action. The "been there, done that" or "that idea won't work" type of comments will turn into "let's try that" and "good idea, let's expand on that."

Co-creating conversations is a shift in mindset from protecting what you have to partnering with others to create something bigger than we could have imagined alone. We move from "being right" to seeking new insights for shared success.

Research has shown that making the mindset shift also signals the brain to be open to share and discover with others rather than 'persuade' them of our ideas. This also triggers neurochemicals in the brain - which are called the 'feel good hormones' such as dopamine and oxytocin, which reinforces the open state of mind. In addition, when we start to innovate, our brain also releases serotonin and endorphins, which are part of the brain's reward systems reinforcing the sharing process.

This brain symphony is what moves us from distrust, which releases cortisol - the fear hormone - to trust, which is what releases the beautiful suite of neurochemicals that produce engagement, collaboration and innovation.

Co-creativity, first built on trust, then multiplies into a higher and faster amount of innovation that show up in many surprising ways. It's as though you rise up to a new level in the role you and others play in weaving the tapestry and threads of the topics you are discussing. New insights and new levels of wisdom unfold - surprising insights show up that had been hitherto invisible to you, but now are just in you and your team's consciousness. Using the practices of co-creating conversations enables higher levels of connectivity.

Many people explain moments of connectivity as "a feeling that life is flowing through them. It's a feeling of being on a boat propelled by the force of a river - a current moving you to your next stop on your journey; a blending of control with a higher force propelled by curiosity and discovery."

Unlock your connectivity with co-creating conversations - just listen with support, appreciate each other - unlock the power of connectivity.

Judith E. Glaser is the Author of two best selling business books:
Creating WE: Change I-Thinking to We-Thinking & Build a Healthy Thriving Organization - winner of the Bronze Award in the Leadership Category of the 2008 Axiom Business Book Awards, and The DNA of Leadership; the DVD and Workshop titled The Leadership Secret of Gregory Goose; and editor and contributor of 42 Rule for Creating WE, an Amazon bestseller.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

How Disagreements Rock Your World!

Our brains are incredibly sensitive to nuances and meta-messages. Our need to belong and to be important in each others' eyes is strong; yet there are many ways we signal each other that show that we are not. Disagreeing with another's point of view is the case in point.

When we disagree with someone, we are sending very subtle signals about who is up and who is down - who has the power and who does not.

Disagreements in the Workplace

Disagreements lead us right into the dance of power - the "alpha-alpha" dynamic. Conflicts and disagreements in the workplace, set off people and cause tensions about power and status.

Disagreeing with someone is not just "disagreeing with their point of view, or the information they are sharing. Disagreeing can communicate the following "meta-messages" if not careful:
  1. I am right, you are wrong.
  2. "You stupid idiot" (YSI) - how could you think such thoughts.
  3. How could you see the world that way.
  4. You must be blind to the truth
Truth-telling Instincts

Human beings have built in hard-wiring for truth-telling. When we disagree - our truth-telling sensitivities are activated - and we feel the truth or the absence of truth at the deepest levels of our being. We all want to trust our observations and beliefs; however, disagreeing can challenge US at the core of who we are. Disagreements are not felt as disagreements about 'facts and data.' Disagreements are about 'whose view of reality is true.'

When we challenge each other's perspectives, we trigger the Amygdala - the part of our primitive brain that is associated with 'fight/flight/freeze or appease.' The neurochemical reaction to conflict goes deeper and permeates other parts of our brain such as the Prefrontal Cortex, which are associated with our 'executive functions.' Conflict is such a powerful trigger, that when 'conflicts and disagreements' arise between us - we get 'Amygdala Hijacked,' which means we get emotionally threatened and triggered!

Get Smart...

Here are some tips for avoiding getting into an unintended conflict with others:

Don't say, "yes - but" - and then deliver your perspective.
The "but" negates anything that came before that appeared like an agreement - and turns
the conversation into a combat.

Alternatively, saying "yes - and"
creates an extended conversation that builds on ideas - it says, what you said is really important,
and let's take it one step further. The "and" invites further development of the conversation and expands perspectives. I call this type of conversation "co-creating" and when people in the workplace make a shift to a co-creating style - even when they don't fully agree with others - it moves people away from adversarial behavior and into collegiality.
When a colleague or boss uses the phrase "respectfully speaking" it is not generally taken for face value. Instead, it is translated into a way of saying.... "I know I should respect your position" - "BUT" I don't' so here goes with what I think.

"I understand what you are trying to say - help me with this aspect." I'm having trouble seeing how to get from here to there. This is an invitation to talk more deeply about beliefs or observations, it takes you out of the positional dialogue where you are going back and forth one-upping or arguing about what is right, and it invites people to be open to influence.

Advocating vs. Inquiring

In summary, when we get into conversations that make us feel adversarial. We see people in "persuasion" using high levels of Advocating (their point of view). Sometimes they are Inquiring, however, the intention behind it is to learn what the other person is thinking so you can turn the conversation back to "winning your point."

Sharing and Discovering

As an alternative, "agreements" come more easily when people are open to influence, and when we get into conversations that feel like partnering. Where people share and discover from each other - and where they open the context and framework for both to gain new perspectives. Then agreements are a natural outflow. Even if you agree to disagree - it comes with the spirit of respect.

If you would like to gain more insights into how to have Co-creating Conversations®, how to move from adversaries to partners, please check out my best-selling book Creating WE: Change I-Thinking to WE-Thinking and Build a Healthy Thriving Organization

We are pleased to announce that we are now offering Co-Creating Conversations® workshops and certification courses.

 Judith E. Glaser is the Author of two best selling business books:

Creating WE: Change I-Thinking to We-Thinking & Build a Healthy Thriving Organization - winner of the Bronze Award in the Leadership Category of the 2008 Axiom Business Book Awards, and The DNA of Leadership; the DVD and Workshop titled The Leadership Secret of Gregory Goose; and editor and contributor of 42 Rule for Creating WE, an Amazon bestseller.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Celebrating What We Have in Common

This year has been a very special year of global and cultural awakening.

While human beings are separated by geographic boundaries, the reality is we have more in common with our far away neighbors than we often realize.

What we have in common is fundamental..... we all have a history, or past, that shapes us. We all have our environment shaping us; and we evolve with an essence of both the power of the past and the power of the present influencing us at the same moment as we engage and connect with others to shape the future.

When we open our minds and hearts..... we will discover we share common beliefs about what it means to be a human being in the world today.

As we focus on what we have in common, this act of connectivity will bring us closer rather than push us away from others. The wisdom of connectivity is true whether we choose to connect to people who are in our own back yard, or choose to connect with those who are thousands and thousands of miles away.

To welcome in the New Year and celebrate what we have in common... please take a moment and view this mesmerizing video... Bobby McFerrin uses global audiences to demonstrate a natural sense of shared understanding and connectivity that moves beyond individual interpretations and centers on what 'we instinctively know to be true.'

Hope you enjoy watching our Vital Instincts™ in Action...  The Pentatonic Scales

Notes about Pentatonic Scales:
Source - Wikipedia

A pentatonic scale is a musical scale with five notes per octave in contrast to a heptatonic (seven note) scale such as the major scale. Pentatonic scales are very common and are found all over the world, including Celtic folk music, Hungarian folk music, West African music, African-American spirituals, American folk music, Jazz, American blues music and rock music, Sami joik singing, children's songs, the music of ancient Greece and the Greek traditional music and songs from Epirus, Northwest Greece and the music of Southern Albania, the tuning of the Ethiopian krar and the Indonesian gamelan, Philippine Kulintang, melodies of Korea, Malaysia, Japan, China, India and Vietnam (including the folk music of these countries), the Andean music, the Afro-Caribbean tradition, Polish highlanders from the Tatra Mountains, and Western Classical composers such as French composer, Claude Debussy. The pentatonic scale is also used on the Great Highland Bagpipe.

The ubiquity of pentatonic scales, specifically anhemitonic modes, can be attributed to the total lack of the most dissonant intervals between any pitches; there are neither any minor seconds (and therefore also no complementary major sevenths) nor any tritones. This means any pitches of such a scale may be played in any order or combination without clashing.

 Judith E. Glaser is the Author of two best selling business books:

Creating WE: Change I-Thinking to We-Thinking & Build a Healthy Thriving Organization - winner of the Bronze Award in the Leadership Category of the 2008 Axiom Business Book Awards, and The DNA of Leadership; the DVD and Workshop titled The Leadership Secret of Gregory Goose; and editor and contributor of 42 Rule for Creating WE, an Amazon bestseller.