Nothing new under the sun

I realised a couple of weeks ago that I haven’t had a proper break from my work for two years.  Suddenly, I felt wearied.  Accordingly, I furled in my sails and allowed myself to float about on the waves of content concerning leadership, organisational design and development, culture, purpose, values, and finance that flood into my Inbox. 

All the big consultancies and individual practitioner experts like myself issue so much stuff from articles to webinars to videos to memes to animations to… well, nothing new.  In writing my essay, I’m conscious I risk adding to the cacophony. 

However, my aim is to identify some “crotchets of note” that will scythe through the noise. Hopefully, these will provide a clear tempo for healthy organisations to create the conditions that raise rather than harm the well-being of the individuals who work there.

I’m old enough to remember the Irish entertainer Val Doonican singing about O’Rafferty’s motor car, “… used to be as black as me father’s hat, now it’s forty shades of green”.  This seems to fit with all I’ve been reading, watching, and listening to.  Material is cited as being distinct, discrete, and differential in its hue, yet so much appears to be another Pantone shade of grey (rather than green).  

All this got me thinking about whether the principles of leadership that I first encountered in a book from 1968 called “Motivation and Organisational Climate” written by George Litwin and Robert Stringer contain the golden threads on which we should not lose our cognitive and physical grasp.  Their work was informed and influenced by that of David McClelland, Kurt Lewin, and Robert Blake and Jane Mouton amongst many. 

McClelland’s work on motivation identifies people having three main motivational drivers, achievement, affiliation, and power.  The latter has two faces, personalised and social or institutional.  Are we mistakenly celebrating some leaders’ personalised power?  What risks arise from their “must win, me, me, me” drive?  For instance, how much is the pandemic crisis and our world standing on the brink of climate catastrophe due to this self-centred rather than selfless leadership (see later)?  As we combat the global climate challenge, what must be done to nurture and sustain healthy climates in organisations? 

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Knowing me, knowing you (part 2)

In part 1 of this blog, I raised some questions about the need to change our approach to leadership during and beyond this coronavirus crisis to nurture and sustain the quality of organisations’ climates. In so doing, I revisited some of organisational psychology’s foundational theories, notably the work of Kurt Lewin. In this second part, focusing on Lewin’s seminal environment formula that avers behaviour to be a function of personality and situation, I explore why understanding one’s own and your employees’ personality is so important to creating a healthy climate.

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Stop washing fish!

Your engagement strategy isn’t working!

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.

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5 Steps Closer to your Goal.

These five steps are simple, and very rewarding. Put them into action and you will achieve your goals, guaranteed!

These 5 steps will help you:

  • Unroll the steps to your goal
  • know when are you moving closer to your goal
  • know if you are on the right path

I often listen people saying that they have tried over and over again to reach their goals and when they feel certain that “this time I will make it”, something happens and they go right back to point cero, leaving them with disappointment and with the “final” decision of never trying ever again.

As Einstein said: “Crazy is doing the same things the same way, yet expecting a different outcome”, so I guess there are a lot of craziness going on resulting in sad and frustrated people. Allow me to share with you what I believe will be the steps to end all madness and bring serenity, structure and most importantly, meeting your goal once and for all.

Before we get started, just please keep in mind that it doesn’t matter how many strategies, list, steps, etc. comes your way if you don’t make the serious and conscious decision to get stick to it and really do it!

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HELP, a four letters word sometimes hard to say

HELP, a four letters word is sometimes hard to say. It is not easy asking for it, learn how to do it. Asking for help comes from being humble.

HELP, a four letters word sometimes hard to say.

I was only 5 years old, (or at least that is as far as my memory goes), when for the first time, my parents said to me: “we are very proud of you”.

I would often hear that phrase whenever I got good grades, (I can proudly say it happened a lot 🙂 , if I had done something new, been good to my little sister, etc.

Growing up I would rarely ask for help with my homework, not to say that I never did, but honestly, I don’t remember asking.

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Viva la revolution!

How we work, where we work and when we work are all about to change. Are you ready for the 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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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.

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Your noticing has been served

Physician, heal thyself

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.

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It’s the Story, Stupid

Storytelling is at the heart of learning for many organisations. A story well done will inspire and connect your people.

I work at a world leading drama school and as you would expect, it’s an institution full of stories. Which is lucky, as for some time now, storytelling has been at the forefront of countless organisations’ learning needs.

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Words Matter. It Is Not What But How We Say It.

Choosing words wisely increases our chances to get heard and foster an environment in which our colleagues will feel safe to speak their mind – bring new ideas and suggestions etc. We will get their attention!

It’s been a while but today I am gladly resuming my publications. Today I will share something about feedback and how the selection of our words is important.

I once read somewhere that around 250k people die in the US every year as result of medical mistakes. Investigations found that more than a third of these fatalities could have been avoided if doctor’s assistants had spoken when noticing that something in the procedure was incorrect. The fact, apparently, was that most of these assistants don’t speak because of the negative reaction (even aggressive) from doctors.

Have you ever experience a situation in which you were in doubt whether you should speak or remain quiet afraid of being shut by someone who believe to ‘know-it-better’?

Continue reading “Words Matter. It Is Not What But How We Say It.”

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