I coached someone today who has a personally very important
speech to deliver and wanted to get it as right as possible.
As I listened to him speak I was struck by the demonstration of leadership that he was embodying in both what he said and how he said it. For me, it also was a brilliant example of how to solve the strategy/execution conundrum that is the source of so much leadership scholarship.
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 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 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.
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’?
I intend to keep this blog short; I hope that is a pleasing first sentence. I want to toss you a tough piece of meat to chew on or, rather, give you a piece of astroturf to lay…
Last Week Tonight
Are you fans of UK satirist, John Oliver, and his HBO show “Last Week Tonight”? It is broadcast in the UK on Sky Atlantic.
For me, it is required viewing on a Monday night.
This week, after his usual verbal fusillade at President Trump, Oliver does a lengthy piece about something called “Astroturfing”. You can watch it here, https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6rxztf. There is an ad for a web-site building business fronting the piece.
As ever with Oliver, his soliloquies contain some strong profanity. His frustration at the legal advice constraining him from saying what he wants to remark is palpable and a joy to watch.
It is somewhat disquieting to read that the “Peter principle”, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_principle, continues to thrive in UK business. Our poor productivity performance arises because too many people gain promotion into managerial roles beyond their level of natural competence. However, in the firm featured in the FT article performance is improving.
It strikes me, however, that simply hanging up figures of Superman (is this unconscious bias by the firm’s leaders?), and doling out pork pies are rather superficial practices. The only likely outcome of this epicurean approach is hardened arteries.
We expect people to know how to communicate brilliantly. In fact, we take this skill so for granted that we don’t bother to teach so called “soft skills” at school, at university or even in most work-placed training environments.
If you have been on a training course that I have run, you will likely have heard me lament this fact.
In the last six months, I have been involved in the journey of digitalization. I am very passionate about it as there is no limit to what can be achieved when a large group of professionals get together and commit themselves to do things that have not been done before in the shipping business. However, this journey also brings an opportunity to start thinking about the role of humans in this process.