Knowing me, knowing you (part 1)

Are you relying on the “scientific evidence”?

Social media displays countless articles about managing teams dislocated from their normal, intact work location to working from home. Many offer novel suggestions to deal with the novel virus. However, do they fall into one of three less effective categories of “science” (or research), namely popularist, puerile or pedantic, see Figure (1) below[1].

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Listening Leadership: Getting Down on the Shop Floor

Leaders – get down on the shop floor. Walk and talk and listen. You’ll be surprised what everyone can learn.

There seems to be no shortage of books, articles, advice and wisdom on leadership styles and the characteristics of good leaders. Yet it seems that one small, but valuable, behaviour is often missing – or at best limited in practise. Particularly during organisational change and development. Getting down on the shop floor.

In using an analogy : when our son was small he often demanded that at playtime we, his family, ‘get down on the floor’ and join him on the family-room carpet in whatever he was playing with at that moment: making castles from wooden bricks, building Lego or Brio trains or simply drawing… 

Of course a small child’s world operates at that level and that we, as grown-ups, in encouraging play, fun and learning engaged with our son in his world, at his level.

Is there a parallel to ‘getting down on the floor’ with staff in the workplace? From experiences over the years it seems there is. Its getting down on the shop floor!

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How to Communicate

Ten tips to help you communicate with greater effectiveness, confidence and clarity. Use these skills to help you in almost any context.

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 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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Trains – going nowhere, slowly

It is the day of the 10th anniversary of the WOW! Awards gala at the Tower of London.  I thought it would salve my anger to write about the train “service” my local train operating company, Greater Anglia, “provides”.  As a  corporate entity it has about as much chance of winning an award as a chocolate remaining in a solid state in a furnace.

Today also saw the annual announcement of the increase in rail fares, 3.1% in January 2019.

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Do Better!… A story of who you can become.

Nothing brings me more of a sense of accomplishment than looking at one of our blue vessels sail out of Cape Town Terminal just in time before the storm comes. It just feels right!

 

I am a proud Panamanian. We are happy people that generally like to have a good time.  We usually tend to disconnect from our reality by partying over the weekend.  We are in essence, positive by nature.  Recently, Panama qualified for their first FIFA World Cup.  Our performance during this tournament was more than disappointing, but we were the happiest fans in Russia!  Other countries lost in the semi-finals and it was considered a national tragedy.  This Panamanian way will definitely make our lives more enjoyable but won’t create radical changes needed to take us out of a third world mindset and stop the corruption cycle that has been the trademark of our governments going back decades.

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Great plans don’t materialize by themselves. You have to execute them!

Once the team/people have helped crafting the plan, they feel accountable for executing it. The more people are involved in the plan, the more they are aware of the expectations from them and the more is achieved. If you as the leader own the ‘WHAT’ of execution then your team must be the owners of the ‘HOW’. Using your leadership coaching approach ask how, specifically are they going to achieve their goals. Speak simply and directly about this.

We have now reached the fourth and last post of coaching elements (“Belief-Dream-Plan-Execute”) using lived experiences.

In my last post, I wrote about the importance of devising a strong plan so you can revisit your goal/dreams on a daily basis, ensure you (your team) are on track and heading in the right direction. Also made the analogy to a ship –  the crew prepares a voyage plan before departure and, during EXECUTION, external factors and (involuntary) conditions may force them to constantly alter its route but the destination is kept as a goal.

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