What if Greta is correct?

Acres of hardcopy material and megabytes of softcopy content have been written about Greta Thunberg.  This 16-year old Swedish girl started the Friday school strike phenomenon to protest against what she regards as government and corporate inaction to combat climate change.  An article in the Sunday Times on August 18th suggested she is being manipulated by others taking advantage of her Asperger’s syndrome, see https://www.thetimes.co.uk/past-six-days/2019-08-18/news-review/greta-thunberg-and-the-plot-to-forge-a-climate-warrior-9blhz9mjv

Putting that aside, however, what if Greta is right and our planet is standing Tom Daly-like on its tiptoes on the edge of a very high diving board and could all too easily plummet into some catastrophic climatic cauldron?  As coaches, mentors, managers or leaders, are we providing destabilising counsel that cumulatively will increase the likelihood of that fall occurring?  Or, are we exerting enough influence upon those we work with to cause them to start to think differently or, cliché warning, to think outside the box?

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How to Communicate

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a “how to”-style article and I thought it might be helpful to have a quick look at some tools that can help with one of the most challenging part of anyone’s job. The title is of course tongue in cheek but there are small things we can do that will make a transformative difference. Things no one told Phil Davison in the video above. Don’t be Phil.

It’s funny, as sophisticated communication is the one gift humans have that surges us far beyond all other intelligent life; yet it is the cause of so much confusion and uncertainty in both our professional and personal lives.

As an actor, I love communication. Like anyone, I don’t always get it right but when I was 17, performing in a Shakespeare lead for the first time at school, I discovered that the relationship between me and the audience was one I inherently understood. I felt powerful in that space. I had found where I belonged. My journey to Coach has been a long and winding one (politics degree, actor training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, professional actor, professional theatre director, coach, business leader) and I am passionate about sharing the thrill I felt as that 17 year old with others. I hope I can help them, if not love the dynamic created when speaking to an audience, to at least approach it without fear or trepidation.

So here are 10 perspectives on successful communication. Where I’ve italicised I am referring to a skill or technique to implement.

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HELP, a four letters word sometimes hard to say

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!

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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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.

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Astroturfing

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/x6rxztfThere 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. 

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Totito’s space (The comfort zone)

“In order to prove to yourself what you are capable of doing, you need to step out your comfort zone, otherwise you are limiting yourself and you will never grow”, sounds familiar?.

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IF YOU DON’T WANT TO, DON’T…SAY NO!

Are you a “Yes-all the time-round the clock-person”? , Do you feel bad when you say No, so you immediately go to a “but” that opens a lines of real or unrealistics reasons to eventually say Yes?, Do you know why do you do it? Want to experience the “FREEDOM” that saying “NO” can bring to your life?, then let me share what I did to stop feeling guilty by really wanting to say no, and always ended up saying yes to everyone.

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Many Reasons To Get Off The Bed – LEGACY

For some time now I have adopted the habit of working out early in the morning – usually around 5:00 am. This year and motivated by a close friend, I resumed running and it is impressive how it boosts your energy for the day and the myriad of ideas sparking in one’s mind with working out – there is a scientific reason for that but will not get into details here.

Chewing the fat with this same friend (who encouraged me to resume running) a few weeks ago, he mentioned that the Vicar of our local church and who was an avid runner himself, had prematurely passed away during one of his run earlier that week – heart attack while out running. On the Sunday after that, I went to this church with my son – aiming to participate the sermon but also expecting to hear his eulogy – something I came to know living abroad as it is not common in Brazil.

It was amazing. Whole community was there and his family too. In sum, the Curate conducting Sunday morning sermon said that he was

‘An example in many ways. A great and respected leader, head of family and a trustworthy friend who anyone could rely on for advice and support. A sporty man who loved run and occasionally spent time in the jazz club. A great reference to anyone he interacted with.’

His legacy! And, I believe, building his legacy was (consciously or not) what took him out of the bed every day!

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