A Lesson for Myself

Last week I had one of the most extraordinary experiences of my training career. It’s recast my view of leadership and myself as a leader.

Once in a Lifetime

Last week I had one of the most extraordinary experiences of my training career. Through RADA in Business I was engaged to train speakers taking part in the BBC’s commemorations for the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchedeale.

Thus, I found myself in Ypres working with a group of almost 40 serving military personnel, actors and descendants of people who had died in this bloodiest of battles; an incredibly diverse group of people, all of whom would be reading on live television.

This is set in the context of remembering a battle that took the lives of tens of thousands of men and the intense emotions that evokes. If you saw either of the two programmes on the BBC you will understand what a humbling and tragic event we were focussing on.

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The worse blindness is the one when we ‘deliberately refuse to see’!

I (all of us) have seen people missing opportunities and I concede, looking back, I may have missed a few too. And why we see it? Because we are watching or looking from a different angle. Like on the Indian-mythology, we often fail to recognize them because we cannot see it. Sometimes they come disguised of something like hard work, as a tedious job (those nobody wants to do), sometimes our own attitude and you name it.

Last week I met a good friend who used to be my direct report. He recently got promoted as general manager and has always been a great sparring buddy. Besides the fact that I feel extremely proud to see him growing and pleased to be part of it, I also find our talks and engagement inspiring myself as he always add something to the conversations which makes me grow too.

Among different things we spoke about, reminiscing about the time we worked together, the adversities we had – how we surmounted them as well as his/our current challenges, we also spoke about long term ambition and discussed ‘why some people get ahead on their careers and others, even being extremely bright, don’t go so far.

“Opportunities come disguised as hard work.” By Bernardinho (Brazilian volleyball coach and former player).

Then he brought in a very interesting analogy from Indian mythology

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Audi Alteram Partem (Listen to the other side).

The ability to ‘listen’ to the part of the brain he needs to use first (even if it is not the ‘preferred’ one) in different situations as well as when it is time to listen to both. This is what (I believe to be) some leaders may call as Contextual intelligence – the proficiency at adapting knowledge and skills (QI and EQ) to different situations and environments to make informed decisions.

In common law, Audi Alteram Partem is a Latin phrase meaning “listen to the other side”, or “let the other side be heard as well”. It is the principle that no person should be judged without a fair hearing in which each party is given the opportunity to respond to the evidence against them. It is a fundamental principle of English common law that a decision-maker should listen to, and take into account, both sides of an argument. This principle is encapsulated in the Latin phrase Audi Alteram Partem, or ‘Let the other side be heard as well’.

Audi Alteram Partem in leadership & project management.

The context I want to bring here is our ability to listen to the two sides of our brain. I am not a specialist on the topic (or any topic) and will share my personal views based on both, readings and work life experience.

As it relates to me, listening to both sides of our brain all the time is not something natural to everyone. We need to practice it. In my case, it took while before I started thinking of it. All of us born with different aptitudes, abilities, and talents. Some people use more the right side of the brain and others the left. If you are not familiar with this at all, i found this short definition about the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Continue reading “Audi Alteram Partem (Listen to the other side).”

Vive La Difference

Great leaders aren’t afraid to embrace peoples differences – and my grandma has a genius way of remembering why!

My Grandmother, may she rest in peace, had a saying: “If everybody liked the same thing, everybody would have fancied your Grandad!”

I mention this only because I’m struck by the continuing belief that in order to be a great leader you must treat all your people the same – and a fear that if you don’t you’ll be castigated in the name of equality.

This was brought sharply into focus for me recently whilst watching a training session where the group was asked if it was ever acceptable to discriminate in the workplace. After a slightly awkward silence the group responded dutifully that it was not – only to be told by (the fantastic) Chrissi McCarthy, of Constructing Equality, who was leading the session that, not only is it okay, but that they’re already doing it…

The shock was palpable…clearly this was some kind of mistake. This was a group of seasoned professionals with many years’ experience and a great deal of success under their belts. We wouldn’t – we couldn’t – possibly discriminate…except that we do. As professionals we are paid to make discernements and differentiations all the time.

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Leadership Interview: Cynthia Li ‘My Coaching Journey’

We follow the fortunes of a senior leader in the shipping industry in China over a five year period as she learns and applies her coaching skills in progressively more senior job roles. She changes companies and ends up Head of Commercial for mainland China and Hong Kong.

I started working with the Top Team at Maersk Line East China Cluster (PRE) in Shanghai when I visited them in April 2011 to kick off the Coaching Master Class program. Cynthia Li was Customer Service General Manager and starting out on her coaching journey.

Here she reflects on that five year journey. In 2013 Cynthia was promoted and moved from Customer Service to sales as Key Client General Sales Manager. In 2016 Cynthia jumped ship (pun intended) and joined Swire Shipping in Shanghai as Head of Commercial for mainland China and Hong Kong. What has Cynthia learned from her broad experience as a senior leader in the shipping industry? What can we learn from her coaching journey?

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Unsung heroes (Introverts) – whose ‘QUIET’ dedication makes them special.

Unsung heroes – whose quiet dedication makes them special.

For those who live in UK and/or follow the tradition, know about ‘Her Majesty’s Most Gracious Speech.’ given on December 25 at 3pm local time. This is an old tradition which was started back in 1932. The first time was given by Elizabeth II’s grandfather King George V and the Queen has been giving address since 1952.

Since I moved to UK, 2014, I watch The Queen’s speech with great interest. I did some research to know who writes her speech and came to know that the Queen does it herself and use it as a chance to reflect on major events that have occurred that year, her personal milestones and her view on Christmas in general.

Last year’s speech was very touching, as it usually is, and she covered topics that I immediately related to business reality. But there was one part that resonated in my mind and inspired me to write this article. When she spoke about ‘Unsung Heroes’.

Her Majesty’s words “I often draw strength from meeting ordinary people doing extraordinary things: volunteers, carers, community organisers and good neighbours; unsung heroes whose quiet dedication makes them special.”

Deliberating about it and the different interactions I have had throughout my career and a book I read some time back, Continue reading “Unsung heroes (Introverts) – whose ‘QUIET’ dedication makes them special.”

‘Sense of being’ in Coaching and Leadership.

Coaching is a trusting relationship, and not exclusive to the coaching journey it is also applicable to leadership relationships between leaders and their followers.

In the midst of own research with learners in formal educational settings and those coached through virtual reality technologies, I discovered what formed the bedrock to my coaching and leadership interactions – Five Levers. The associations between one’s Identity, Presence, Co-Presence, Emotional Intelligence and Immersion produce an effective sense of being in those experiences.

According to Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development ([CIPD] 2017) coaching supports individuals become high-performers in their workplace activities. The coaching relationship is targeted at the specific skills, behaviour and goals identified by the individual and their employer. The duration of the relationship is variable and has no fixed timescale; it is proportional to the individual’s development and Mastery of practice (Pink 2011). From the onset, a coaching relationship has a purpose of aligning human abilities to organisational leadership. The Coachee has a goal to unlock and fulfil their potential; they may wish to become better furnished with know-how in dealing with complex and challenging organisational situations.

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RADA in Business and The Apprentice Final 2016

Charlie Walker-Wise of RADA in Business lifts the lid on their role in coaching Courtney Wood, a finalist on The Apprentice 2016.

Calling all Apprentice fans. I’ve decided to lift the lid on that ‘exercise’ and explain how it helped finalist Courtney Wood shine in his final pitch.

We were asked to be part of ‘The Apprentice’ final but ended up with more airtime on the ‘You’re Hired’ programme following it. If you saw it you’ll know that one exercise in particular became a running theme with Rhod Gilbert, the ‘You’re Hired’ presenter, who even made it part of his opening segment.

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2017 – Bring it on. I’m ready … are you?

A New Year means recommence, renovate hopes, reflect about the past and resolve how to make the future better.

Within two weeks, we will be saying goodbye to 2016 and welcoming 2017. It seems it was yesterday that we were garnishing our houses for the end of the year festivities – 2016 has just fleshed! Looking back, in 2016 we witnessed a lot of interesting events, to say the least, worldwide. Donald Trump became the US-president-elect; European migrant crisis; BRExit and the unexpected outcome of David Cameron’s plan / referendum; Zica virus spread in Latin America; Narenda Modi’s government demonetizes old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 banknotes in India; on shipping we have seen bankruptcy, merges and alliances being formed etc – and many other remarkable ones with different impact.

These were/are substantial happenings that ‘may’ even change the way we see the world today and may also affect some of us directly or indirectly – although we, or some of us, cannot and have not influenced them. But how about you on personal level and those things you can (could) influence directly. Have you reflected about that?

  • What have you seen in 2016 that you would like to change or improve in 2017?
  • Have you accomplished everything you planned (If you had a plan at all) in 2016?
  • What would you like to happen or be different in 2017? And more importantly…
  • What are you doing for that to materialize?

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Preparing Yourself Mentally for Coaching – Part 1

What are the concepts of ‘good’ coaching? I ask leaders to read about the concepts of good coaching before they attend my Coaching Master Class training.

Preparing yourself mentally for coaching is about coming to a shared understanding with your boss and your peers on what ‘good’ coaching looks like. This is the first of two short articles on the concepts of good coaching. It is based on the pre-reading assignment I set for leaders attending my Coaching Master Class training.

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