Michael Hickey

Training & Development Manager
Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom

About Michael

Bio

I have spent the first 20+ years of my career working in sales. A few years ago I transitioned away from the mainstream (and often adversarial) roles involved with direct retail customer relationships, into the more collaborative pharmaceuticals industry.

In mid 2009 I moved out of my international pharmaceutical sales management role and took up a newly established position as a Training and Development Manager across Western Europe. Without a doubt, this is the best role I have had in my professional career to date - it plays to my strengths and supports my personal learning’s across recent years.

On a private basis I am intrigued by how people see themselves, the way that we construct our “truth” and the challenges we face in interacting with others, whether they be part of our recognised “groups” or not. One day I hope to leverage the work I have been doing in this area and see whether or not my theories actually have any practical application…..

Languages

English

TED Conference

TEDActive 2008

Areas of Expertise

Customer Relationship Management, Corporate Group Trainer 7-Habits, Corporate Group Trainer - Individual Effectiveness, Corporate Group Trainer - Coaching for Everyone, Management Development, Sales Development

An idea worth spreading

The strength of absolute truth is that it is not dependent upon human perception
The weakness of absolute truth is that it is not immediately recognisable as such

Imagine a future where:
We each have a greater understanding of how our personal truths are determined.
Where our self awareness makes us less susceptible to personal bias.
Where we focus less on the protection and propagation of the truths we hold
Where we focus on the exploration of new evidence to challenge / evolve our truths.

I believe that with the right level of awareness, such a future can exist. I believe that this can be achieved in business through a focus on evidence based decision making, and in personal life through the concept of "the evolution of truth", or a "journey of enrichment".

I'm passionate about

The acquisition of new perspectives and evidence to grow human awareness and understanding. This has led to my formulating new concepts in the area of beliefs, equity / brand experience.

Talk to me about

Anything connected with people, our self perception challenges and how we as peoples struggle to identify with one another enough to accelerate change for the better.

My TED story

I discovered TED.com in the summer of 2007 and was amazed at the content. It was SO impressive that as soon as TED@Aspen was announced I just had to sign up. I have to say that it was the most awesome experience - not just the event content or setting, but the many great conversations that I was involved in across the week.

Favorite talks

Comments & conversations

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Michael Hickey
Posted about 4 years ago
How might a person step into the shoes of an "anti-American terrorist" and NOT be labeled "anti-American"?
I am commenting from the UK. However, I think that the question you pose is one that can be applied within any group and so I will venture to give my perspectives on the matter. I think this will be a long answer, so will post it in 3 sections (cheating, I know) Firstly – THANK YOU SAM for posting this question. I think it is a great question and touches on a fundamental issue in life – that of conflict between groups. The issue can apply in a religious setting, between races / nations, industrial disputes or indeed any situation where people may be tempted to view it from a “you’re either with us or against us” attitude. A personal story. Way back in 1982 I was a young sailor in the Royal Navy when the Argentineans decided to invade the Falkland Islands. The merits or otherwise are not relevant for now. (As it happens, probably 90% of the British population had NO IDEA where the Falklands were and, if they were to hazard a guess, they would have suggested somewhere near Scotland….) Nevertheless, there was a national fervour and determination to oust the invaders and defend “our land” (crazy, given that it is next door to Argentina. A number of ships, maybe 20 or so, were dispatched to begin the engagement. As time wore on, the appetite for conflict with the Argentineans was palpable. I felt that I had a more balanced view of war, having spoken to many pensioners and was aware of its gruesome nature – a long way away from the glorified images on TV and in films. I stood alone in conversations about the prospect of engaging them. (We were in dry dock at the time and due to be sent as part of the second wave. As it was, by the time we went down, it was all over).
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Michael Hickey
Posted about 4 years ago
How might a person step into the shoes of an "anti-American terrorist" and NOT be labeled "anti-American"?
(PART TWO). What astounded me, and still does, was my reaction to the news that the Royal Navy had had its first loss - HMS Sheffield had been hit and sunk by an Exocet missile. http://www.thenewscentre.co.uk/falklands/shiny.htm In all honesty, at that moment in time, the emotions that the news stirred in me were such that I would have happily agreed to a nuclear strike against mainland Argentina. It was incredible (and crazy) that even though I viewed myself as being peace loving, rational and (generally speaking) against war due to the waste that is involved, could ever have reacted in that way. Honestly, that WAS my reaction. I no longer saw Argentineans as human or worthy. They had killed “one of us” and my emotions needed no mercy to be shown. I was a closed minded at that point as everybody else, and was actually appalled at myself. I could barely believe what was going on in my mind. I had NO DESIRE to understand the merits or otherwise of the Argentineans’ position. In recent years, although unconnected with the above event, I have looked long and hard at what I believe leads to demarcation between people. In the first instance, it is certainly our perceived membership of a particular group. Group membership takes many forms and is hugely complex. We are members of a large number of groups that influence how we listen (or not) to others, as well as inform our world view. For example, I would find it OK to listen to one of my brothers be critical of one of my fellow brothers or sisters, but I may not be so tolerant of a non family member expressing similar views. The key factor is group membership. (My spouse is a partial member, so she would get more leeway, but there would be a point at which I would be unwilling to tolerate, and that would be a lower level than one of my siblings would be allowed. The same dynamics apply to work colleagues vs non work colleagues. Team supporter’s vs non. And so on.
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Michael Hickey
Posted about 4 years ago
How might a person step into the shoes of an "anti-American terrorist" and NOT be labeled "anti-American"?
(PART THREE). I believe that what is most important in all of these areas is our DESIRE to understand. Whether we choose to defend and protect the current truths we hold, or seek out opportunities to upgrade those truths. It is harder to do the latter, as many of our truths are part and parcel of our personal identity. Actively seeking out information that could lead to their unravelling is like asking for trouble, it is a brave person that does this (although I would say that it is also a richer person in the end). In the potentially emotional and contentious conversations that I have had with people over time, I have sought to upgrade the truths I hold. It is a journey and I just love the quote attributed to the French writer Andre Gide on his death bed in 1951: “Believe those who are seeking truth, doubt those who find it” (Source: Simpsons contemporary quotations 1998). Express to others that truth is not a national possession and pursuing it need not threaten those who seek progress. Vengeance is one thing and, if that’s what they want, then they can be prejudiced and blind to the possibility that we might be wrong. It is also worth noting that, even if not directly applicable, the major factor cited in the US Declaration of Independence was the British King’s unwillingness to listen to the grievances of the colonies. At that point in time, at least, Americans felt it very appropriate that people should seek to understand the opinion of others. On that basis, I would say that trying to understand the world view of others is VERY American, and certainly not anti-American.
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Michael Hickey
Posted about 4 years ago
Would world become better if there were no Ego??? How to overcome "ego" ???
. I wonder if what you are really asking here is whether the world would be a better place without people succuming to a sense of superiority vs others? Ego, in the absolute, I don't believe is an issue. A sense of self and focussing on that which we do well I feel does not contain a negative consequence. The focus on superiority or, conversely, the inferiority of others, is where the danger lies for the world. By seeing others a "lsser" in some way provides the basics for prejudice, exclusion and violence. I I'd appeciate your thoughts on this.
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Michael Hickey
Posted about 4 years ago
If raising children is one of the most important things we do in society, shouldn't the subject be directly taught in schools?
. Society needs to figure this out, just as it has with the existing content of schooling and the rules (laws) that we use to govern society. For sure, it is personal and there will be many who would want the state to stay away from this area. However, I content that children are not our property, and so it is not acceptable for parents to o a poor job and think it is OK. Society already accepts that broad principle, which is why it is illegal to abuse or neglect children (in some countries even smacking is outlawed). The question is where we draw the line, and why. I maintain that the role of parenting is so important, that we absolutely should consider how schooling can best play a role for all - although it is probably more important for those children who are victims of poor parenting, whatever the reason
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Michael Hickey
Posted about 4 years ago
If raising children is one of the most important things we do in society, shouldn't the subject be directly taught in schools?
Vivienne - thanks. You are clearly very informed in this area, and I think there's a lot of merit in your POV. However, you are proactive and varied in your thinking. My question, I guess, seems to point at those kids who do not benefit from the existing parental / societal awareness / direction / proactivity. For this reason, whatever the format, I feel that some moveemnt in thsi direction by the schooling institutions might benefit society.
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Michael Hickey
Posted about 4 years ago
If raising children is one of the most important things we do in society, shouldn't the subject be directly taught in schools?
Karen - thank you, a very valuable contribution for my thinking. The first few points you cover are very well made. I also love the way that you follow on, and propose ideas for how we might handle such a challenge. Not easy, for sure. I tend to think that even if even we can only help people understand the complexities and get some discussions going at an early age, it will help awareness and foster some further work on enabling some experiential opportunities as the ones you highlite. Thank you!
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Michael Hickey
Posted about 4 years ago
If you've been to a TED conference, What suggestions do you have for making the most of the experience?
. Soak it all up… Watch every talk Connect at every opportunity Seek out the unique and varied perspectives of others I attended TED at Aspen a few years ago and found it to be a sheer indulgence, in a positive sense. The quality of people was excellent - although I have to say that I found more passion in, and was more impressed by, those people who self-funded their attendance. Unlike many events, I found that at TED there was a lot less ego on display and that people were genuinely interested in, and appreciative of, the experience and perspectives of others. One thing that I wish I had done before attending was to spend more time on reading the profile of the attendees and setting up a specific intent to connect. The connections I made were more random and, although great, I think I may have missed the opportunity to have had some other very worthwhile discussions. Maintain a balance though and do not focus on seeking out people with the same interest or area of work. It will be the attributes and values of the person, rather than their activities, that will inspire you the most.