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I was listening to a podcast recently in which a prominent CHRO commented that “the world has changed, it’s chaotic and unruly and our leaders need to be able to operate effectively in chaos”. Surely we want change not chaos.
Now I don’t know about you but that’s not a sales pitch I’m warming to. I’d agree that things certainly seem to be heading that way; I’m not sure we’re enjoying it…is anyone getting a kick out of Brexit? Somebody else once told me “never hire anyone who tells you they’re good in a crisis – you’ll always be in one”.
And yet it seems to me that all we need to escape the chaos
is a little process, and some structure, to help us find our way out of the
darkness. What’s frustrating is how bad we are at doing just that. I work for an engineering business and we
love a process – we just love following them less!
Over the years I have had the wonderful opportunity of
facilitating brainstorming sessions. One
of my favourite tools to use, is Edward De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats
Method. Our behaviour, not our words, is
the reflection of who we are. Six
Thinking Hats is a brilliant tool to structure in an objective way to include the
input from the individuals participating in the session and can give insight
into the reflection of their personalities.
The method refers to six hats that when we “wear them” we are obligated
to think in a specific way. The blue hat
is the leader hat that will control the discussion and the ground rules (only the
facilitator will wear this hat during the entire exercise), the white hat
requires pure objectivity and data driven comments, the red hat is our emotions
and how we feel about the exercise, the yellow hat is for positive thinking,
the black hat is for negative thinking or challenges we encounter during the
solution process and the green hat is for innovative thinking or often referred
to as “out of the box thinking”.
What follows are a few social conclusions that I have found in this exercise that relates to the teams’ general behaviour.
I am publishing today with great amusement. One, because today we reach the 150th posts milestone and also because it is the first leadership journey I publish and from someone I really admire as a professional.
Despina and I met a couple of years ago when I was leading a project related to fleet monitoring. I was very impressed by her passion about the business, knowledge and also her leadership skills and gravitas very evident in every interaction we had. On a personal level, me being the father of a young lady (and I related this to my previous post – (Dreams I Dream for my Daughter. A Successful Business Woman). who aspires to be a business woman, Despina also became famous in my place because of her drive on topics related to Diversity and Inclusion and to empower women in shipping – historically a predominately male-dominated business. She’s someone who my daughter looks up to as role model.
I am glad women like Despina has taken such discussions and I can honestly see things changing in the world. This gives me peace of mind thinking that that when my lovely daughter enters in the labour market, she will be a professional measured, get paid and promoted based on her education, skills and most importantly, performance and professionalism, without gender being in any way a factor.
I had been waiting for this opportunity for some time. To meet up
face-to-face with Blog Guest Author Charlie Walker-Wise and get his first-hand
account of how attention to Space and Time can create more effective
Charlie had written two articles a year ago on this Blog about space and
time – the links are in ‘further reading’ below. Since then I have referred my
coaching clients a number of times to Charlie’s wisdom on this subject. When
they needed to make a landmark presentation to a number of people. Or when they
had a forthcoming significant one-to-one discussion – a so called ‘moment of
truth’ or ‘crucial conversation’. Either way, Charlie’s articles kept bouncing
back to me as part of my coach’s toolkit.
For me the space was on Tuesday last week at Balthazar’s French Bistro in London’s Covent Garden. The time was lunch time. I originally intended to call this article ‘Lunch with Charlie Walker-Wise’, but didn’t think it would really grab your attention dear reader!
I have known Charlie since he was 12. His parents had a home in our village when we moved in 28 years ago (you do the maths). It’s so very gratifying to see him now. Married with two young children. A successful career as Client Director with RADA Business. It’s this combination of acting and business that fuels my imagination and drives me to seek out his views.
So here we are meeting for lunch and I announce to Charlie I have an agenda.
I want to pick his brains about space and time.
I’m not sure about you but I’m better at giving advice than receiving
it. My privilege as a trainer and performance coach is to be able to fall back
on “do as I say, not as I do”. This is not something I’m particularly proud of
and nor is it something I want to admit to those I work with. I console myself,
professionally at least, with the fact that my diagnostic skills lie in helping
others and not myself. It also can’t be very helpful for anyone with the unenviable
task of being my coach.
Recently, however, I was offered some advice and in spite of
my habit, I took it. Surprisingly, to me anyway, the shift in awareness it
provoked has rippled through my whole life. My own coach is a mindfulness expert
and while we don’t spend too much time on this topic she set me a related task.
I was to take an everyday activity and be fully in it as I perform it, noticing
the sensations provoked by the experience.
Now, I’m not good at doing what I’m told. I will find ingenious ways not to do the homework I’ve been set (the French “devoir” always seemed a much more appropriate name). But over the Christmas break I had little excuse not to do one of the two very simple requests made of me.