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Self-Insight

Adventures with the Marmoset of Mischief

As a card-carrying member of the extrovert club, I’m not really loving the lockdown.

I’m not suggesting that many of us are but I’m guessing that my more introverted colleagues are having a little less of a challenge coming to terms with the new normal…

When this began there was distraction in the challenge of decamping a function to a multitude of homes, ensuring the tech worked and overcoming all the initial problems COVID19 was throwing at us.

This very quickly gave way to an overindulgence in Doritos – apparently, they aren’t one of my five a day – and a propensity for a little too much alcohol despite the mantra/justification of “well it’s five o’clock somewhere”.

By about week three my motivation was all over the place, as were my moods, and I wasn’t breaking any productivity records either. I’d put on weight, so the self-loathing had begun, and we were facing the prospect of another two months of virus inflicted groundhog days. I can’t say I fancied my chances…

So, what to do? Well, there’s an old Buddhist maxim that “the path to true enlightenment begins by returning to the place you never left”. So, that’s what I did. I sat, with me, and tried to figure out what I needed to get through this and how that might look.

Here’s what I found when I got there…

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Carrying out the Coaching General Leadership Leadership Coaching

It’s not what you’ve got…

As the person responsible for our approach to fairness in the organisation I am often struck with a sense of imposter syndrome, because the fact is, I’m a middle-aged white dude with a decent education who comes from a stable, supportive, nuclear family. Privilege you might say.

I have a great job, in a well-established, well respected business, that affords me the means to live in a nice house, drive a nice car and keep rabbits! How middle class could I be? Not to mention the fact that – for anyone that missed it – I referred to myself as a dude in the paragraph above!

So, when I’m asked to talk about our efforts in the area of equality or fairness, whilst I’m happy to do so, I often feel like a fraud. Let’s face it – what would I know about how it feels to face inequality?

Yet the portfolio remains mine and I continue to work hard to educate myself and push the agenda as part of all the work that we do – despite the niggle…

Categories
General Leadership Self-Insight

Over to you, coach.

As we reach the end of the year, the decade even, the opportunity to blog also presents the opportunity to reflect – and what a year it’s been!

We seem to be ever more at odds in our society, our politics, our lives, with the main casualty seemingly being truth – who knew fake news would be a thing?

And, as I’ve touched on before, we’re further away than ever from the “dream” existence that we’ve been sold.

When the overriding emotions in society seem to be fear, or worse still, hate we’re one heck of a long way from Kansas, Toto. So, what to do?

I guess in most instances, the standard procedure is to mourn the lack of leadership in our society and call for a new type of leader, who can rise above the pettiness, but what if that leader – those leaders – already exist?

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Leader of Leaders Nurture and Grow The Role of a Leader – Performance & Engagement

Stop washing fish!

Your engagement strategy isn’t working…I don’t know what that strategy is, I just know it isn’t working!

Don’t take my word for it though. Google it.

The numbers vary depending on which article you read but the headlines are fairly similar – about 70% of the UK workforce feel disengaged, which is costing UK Plc about £70 billion a year.

If the number of disengaged employees is that high, then it’s not difficult to imagine that some of those people are in your business, or your office.

Let’s be honest, if I gave you a piece of paper you could name them.

Categories
Every Leader a Coach General Leadership Leader of Others The Role of a Leader – Performance & Engagement

Movement or progress?

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about longevity – its impact on the modern workplace, our leaders, our health. All thoughts prompted by a great book called The 100 Year Life by Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott.

And it’s funny how, as I’ve allowed this particular thread to lead me hither and thither, I’m increasingly struck by the sense that this brave new world perhaps isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I embrace my inner “grumpy old man” a little to easily, but bear with me.

Well being or being well?

As someone who works in learning, I’m very aware of our propensity, as learning professionals, to be taken in by the latest “shiny” thing, and I think it’s fair to say that wellbeing, mental health awareness, mindfulness and resiliance training are the sparkly new kids on the block…

And whilst I’m unconvinced by the claimed benefits of these “interventions”(which, by the way, is something only the UN should do) there’s a serious question to be asked about why, it would seem, people are so unhappy? According to the Trading Economics website, the average weekly hours worked in the UK are 32 – so we aren’t working ourselves into an early grave – and whilst we’re being sombre, the suicide rate is at its lowest for 30 years according to the Samaritans.

Yet, all I hear is how stressed people are, how much they have to do and how little time they have to do it in.  So, clearly, there’s a disconnect somewhere. The key question being – where? Which made me wonder if our problem is one of quantity over quality?

Categories
Coaching for Performance Every Leader a Coach Leadership Influencing Managing Available Resources Nurture and Grow Planning and Preparation Prepare the Ground

Viva la revolution!

The last time I blogged, I introduced you to “The 100 Year Life” a fantastic book, introducing a brave new world of longevity. Its theme being, that today’s youth can expect to live beyond 100 years of age – the key word there being expect – which in turn means our current three stage model of education, work, retire, is outdated.

The aim of my last missive was to ask how this impacts on our current leaders and what they need to do in order to flex their style and fit this new world order, focusing on an increase in empathy, the introduction of “strategic altruism” and the application of “beginners mind” to their thinking – if you missed it here’s a link.

But what about those who find themselves at the beginning of this journey? Can you imagine being an 18 year old faced with the prospect of living for another 80+ years? How do you even begin to think about planning to prepare for that?

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Every Leader a Coach Leadership Agility Nurture and Grow

Leading for Longevity

I’m reading a fantastic book at the minute – and by fantastic, I mean terrifying! It’s called “The 100 Year Life” and as the title suggests it deals with the fact that our every increasing longevity, whilst a gift, will only be so if we seek to challenge our preconceptions about how that life is structured.

In short, and I really am paraphrasing, the authors explain that anyone in their late teens/early twenties can expect to live to the ripe old age of 106! This means that our current three stage “life model” of education, work and retirement is no longer valid or realistic.

It’s a great read, and one I’d highly recommend. The terrifying part came when I started to think about what that meant for me – and the challenge for business and how it approaches leadership – when I think about “my” generation and the space they inhabit.

Categories
Building Organisational Talent Driving for Results Leadership Influencing Uncategorised

A High Tide

One of the greatest things about working in learning is the boundless curiosity of those around you; unfortunately it can also be one of the worst things about our profession too. We are, far too often, enamoured with the latest shiny thing and, as such, open to the accusation that we’re “fluffy” rather than commercial.

Yet our role in business is simple: to make it better. Our job is to improve the quality of our people and make the organisation better at what it does. As Sergei would say “simples”…

So why do we often get it so wrong?

Categories
Carrying out the Coaching Planning and Preparation

Change, not chaos…in five steps

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!

Categories
Coaching for Performance Executive Disposition Leader of Leaders Nurture and Grow

My 2018 Coaching Journey: Finding the Path to Me

With the end of the year approaching fast, I’m sure I’m not alone in taking a moment to reflect on the past 12 months and what it’s meant to me both personally and professionally.

Don’t worry, this isn’t one of those terrible articles titled “10 things you need to do to be a success in 2019” but I did want to share something that’s helped me, with the hope that it will help you too.

By way of context, 2018 has been a challenge. I work in a traditional industry, that faces a severe skills shortage and, if I’m honest, a distinct lack of imagination about how to solve it.

My own organisation is not without its frustrations, and our own attempts to be creative and innovative in the way that we approach the development of our people – I’m Head of Learning – can often feel like they just aren’t impacting quickly enough. It always feels like we should be doing more.

And on a personal note, earlier in the year my mum was diagnosed, quite unexpectedly, with an aggressive form of brain cancer. After a short illness she passed away in May.

As the year continued I think it’s fair to say that all the above started to take a toll. I began to “leak” as a result of my frustrations.

So, what to do? Well, as someone fortunate enough to have both a coach and a mentor, I thought I should practice what I preach and look for some support.