The kids are alright

Let’s start this month’s essay with a musical philosophy question. 

In the 1960s, the Who sang “The kids are alright”.  In 1998, The Offspring sang “The kids aren’t alright”.  Which group had the more prescient song?

Continue reading “The kids are alright”

Why Not? A story about those who dare to be different…

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.

Continue reading “Why Not? A story about those who dare to be different…”

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.

Continue reading “Your noticing has been served”

Resistance to Change and the role of the Coach

To you as a leader it’s Business Transformation. To people at the sharp end of the business it means Change. And many people don’t like the thought of forthcoming change – in fact they fear it, or put another way are change resistant. And many times when the change arrives they suffer a feeling of deep loss – like mourning. So what is the role of the Leadership Coach in a period of business transformation and change?

Continue reading “Resistance to Change and the role of the Coach”

A lesson in change

This week is a big week for me. We are moving house, have said goodbye to builders who have been preparing our new place and are expecting our second child in less than two weeks. All the things you’re told not to do together, we’re doing them.

This has led me to reflect on resilience and leadership. With a heavily pregnant wife much of the heavy lifting (literal and metaphoric) has fallen to me. At times I haven’t held up as robustly as I would like to think I would be able to.

Continue reading “A lesson in change”

Leadership is wearing high heels shoes and stepping strong.

Do you classify jobs by gender? What is your first reaction when you learn that the General Manager of a Regional Marine department is a female? Continue reading “Leadership is wearing high heels shoes and stepping strong.”

Leading in the Training Room

Leaders and followers training together

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve spent some time working with a regular client. They are an innovative and creative mid-sized company based over three countries.

While the training was very much focused on how they engage with their clients, one thing in particular struck me about what a great company they are. the range of people on the course.

The small group consisted of one person with “Executive” at the end of their job title, who had been in the organisation for ten months, as well as someone with “C” at the beginning of the theirs and who had been there for many years.

While the training wasn’t designed for a specific management level, I was surprised when I learned how senior that one participant was. The training itself was incredibly successful and the dynamics within the group open, free and courageous. The C-level employee told me how she had pushed to get on the course. She was trying to balance her desire to learn and improve while not taking a valuable place on a small and intensive learning experience really aimed at lower levels.

Continue reading “Leading in the Training Room”

Audi Alteram Partem (Listen to the other side).

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).”

Change is in the Air

Having spent a fair amount of time over the last couple of weeks in the air I’d like to ask you a question: how many times when you fly on a plane do you ask yourself, “might this be my last flight?” I know for me it’s at least four. Not including turbulence. Now I’d like you ask yourself how many times you ask the same question when you get behind the wheel of your car, or for those of you who don’t drive, when you sit alongside someone who is? Virtually never?

I drive a car far more than I fly, and while I know the statistics say that I’m far more likely to die in the car than the plane, logic and rational thought make no difference. No matter how many times I fly I still have the thought, this might be it. It’s illogical, it’s pointless and yet I can’t help it.

What is going on?

Continue reading “Change is in the Air”

Organisational values in the 21st century – laminated or lived?

I don’t know about you but opening the papers, watching the news, reading a blog (hopefully not this one), scanning the web is really rather depressing these days.  There seems little going on where decent human behaviour is being exercised. It seems everyone is trying to get one over someone else. This is seen at the most macro level of geo-politics, business being conducted in a less than honourable manner and sport being “played” by bending the rules beyond acceptable limits. Why is this, what has happened? Have we lost our moral compass, do we no longer have any guiding values or principles unless it is tagged with some currency symbol? Or is it that not much has changed apart from everything being so much more on show courtesy of 24/7 media?

Continue reading “Organisational values in the 21st century – laminated or lived?”