Make my day!!

Having a bit more time on my hands these days I have the pleasure of helping one day a week with my daughter’s school crossing.

This week I asked my youngest daughter Edie and her friend to say good morning to everyone who crossed.

Though both were anxious at first, eventually they got into the swing of it.

Why?

Simply because being outwardly friendly to someone, even those they completely did not know, got an outwardly friendly response and more – smiles, changes in demeanor, changes in body language; ‘the works’ really. No negativity whatsoever.

kia oraReally it’s not hard.

 

Say hello the first time.

Try and get their name in as well the next time.

And then move on up to asking how they are doing or wishing them a pleasant day.

At no cost, you feel better too.

Observe carefully and you’ll notice most awkward moments are created by what we don’t say rather than what we do – it’s just that we take more note of the few awkward moments we create when we say the wrong thing.

Little things that can have a big impact.

What’s your ‘school crossing’?

Who can you share this simple gift with?

If not this, then how will you Make ‘my’ day?

 

 

 

 

Dance like no-one is watching

Tensions
Making choices to do new things

This graphic is a simple illustration of why some things never see the light of day.

The return to my blog while not “new” is a new beginning. It is a true reflection of the tension illustrated here.

We can spend much of time answering questions that haven’t been asked or answered other than inside of our own heads:

why

Why do this?  Will anybody follow or benefit?

…and the answer to almost all of these types of questions – is that other than yourself

“Who cares?”

  • If you’re not doing it, nothing is happening.
  • If it’s not out there, nobody is judging you, nobody is looking.
  • If you’re not speaking with an independent voice, then how are you relevant?

To paraphrase Seth Godin – don’t keep waiting for the perfect horse on the carousel – just get on they are all going to the same place.

So here I am.

I’ll be reflecting on many things, and hopefully doing it in a way that reflects an attitude of dancing like nobody is watching.

I will be dipping into:

  • How and why we change
  • What we say and how we say it
  • How we respond and how we react
  • What blindsides us and what truly motivates us
  • Assumptions we make
  • Things we fail to challenge, and those that we do
  • Challenges we fail to take and those that we choose to pursue

I beleive:

  • That we care more deeply about each other than most of us care to or know how to express.
  • That community is at the core of humanity.
  • That we all wish for a better world – the world that we share, but at present not so well.

I hope to bring something to that discussion

My primary motivation is that this blog may change somebody’s life for the better – bring more clarity, more insight, and more reflection at a time when they need it, now or in the future. I also hope people will use this to look back and reflect on their own experiences and take the learning forward.

Being a father of 2 wonderful daughters this also serves as a capsule for them to understand me and perhaps even themselves better in years to come when I can’t be around to explain myself.

I’m on this blog knowing that it makes me more real, more vulnerable, more reflective and considerate.

Thank you for giving me your time.

Richard

Putting the big stick away

As I set out to write this post I know it is going to be hard and take a number of versions to get it right.

I have to find a way to get people who don’t usually listen to listen. Otherwise I’m wasting my time providing affirmations for those who already know. To make it worse ‘those who already know’ are the vast majority of my readership.

So that is the down side. The upside- just hitting home with one ‘stick wielder’ will be great progress.

I’ve been lucky to have some great bosses in my time and have seen some great leadership. I have also witnessed bullying, yelling , moody, childlike CEO’s who create only fear and fool themselves that they are liked and doing well.

The results indicate otherwise – high staff turnover( until they find enough terrified and insecure people to work for them), poor company culture, frequent under-delivery, average or below average performance in the companies they manage, limited responsibility, and no obvious successors on the horizon. Worse these CEO’s are stuck in the role because word is out and no-one with proper due diligence would employ them.

    • The message – the Big Stick doesn’t work.
    • You cannot lead by fear
    • You destroy your employees
    • You create a dead end for yourself (there is nowhere else to go)
    • You’re killing the company you have been entrusted with

Ask yourself – where does that fear come from? The answer is, it comes from your own insecurity. Deal with that not your employees.

You’re not a leader, you’re a relic.

Leadership is a privilege. I always approach the role mindful of the fact that others could do it. I always reflect that not just my employers but my employees trust me to do it very well.

Leaders are there to create leaders; people who see the right way for things to be done and begin to develop their own sense of vision, optimism and passion

Leaders have a focus centred on the growth of whatever they touch (not the destruction of others to fuel their own ego)

Be proud of yourself, the lives of others you are influencing and the work you are engaged in.

Grow it all with dexterity and subtlety.

There is no need for fear, or to be feared.

Simply earn respect and be human, everything else will follow.

Noticing the good things

One of my good things!
I thought this post would be easy. It hasn’t been.

Educational – yes. Easy – no.

The idea was a fun list of the really good things I have seen managers do over the years, excluding functional stuff like business plans, strategy development and budgets.

The problem was – I had to think long and hard.

The conclusion is a little sad.

Either:

    • I don’t recognise the good things or
    • There are not enough good things happening

I suspect the answer is a bit of both

However here are some of the good things which come to mind (in all cases without sufficient examples!):

    • Celebrating the success of others
    • Promoting a bright and promising future for everyone
    • Building and supporting talent
    • Recognising people issues and dealing with them immediately
    • Fighting for the right training for the right staff
    • Not defending the indefensible
    • Taking appropriate ownership of problems
    • Demonstrating a sense of humour
    • Demonstrating humility
    • Admitting wrongdoing
    • Allowing others to be wrong
    • Supporting ‘failures’
    • Advancing others
    • Employing people better than them
    • Promoting change not building fortresses
    • Talking with and being accessible to all employees
    • Being human
    • Growing leaders
    • Putting the big stick away
    • Being loyal to their employees
    • Delegating well
    • Putting themselves in the line of fire
    • Opening up new opportunities
    • Being visionary
    • Being patient
    • Being impatient

What great moments can you think of, or what attributes would you add to the list?

What good things or great things would your ideal leader do? (On that point it is amazing how few ‘leaders’ give stuff away free via blogs like this – though here is one I was directed to a few days ago Ask Brian Martin)

Learn-Un-Learn

This post is largely visual and is drawn from an insight I had with a client last week when trying to explain ‘Unlearning’.

I’m very much interested in your feedback as I think this is a useful conceptual and visual model. It is not Yin/Yang or Tao but shares a number of their principles while exhibiting a number of differences.

The concept is sort of simple.

Imagine a ball is one half Learn the other half Unlearn.

For learning to take place you replace the unlearning – with each being of equal force/quantity.

The notion is the effort to change is driven by the fact that not only do you need to adopt new learning but you need to displace old learning of an equal mental/ emotional weight.

This is the cornerstone of the model, as displayed on the left.






You may think it is easy to reject this with a model based on your ability to learn new skills but consider that many of these new skills will be ones you had not previously thought you could adopt:

You are usurping the belief that you Can’t with the belief that you Can.

Until the Can’t is fully displaced there is no way that you Can.

Have I lost you yet?

I hope not.



Another example;

You will be in two minds about this post. Either you think I’m right or I’m wrong.

I can’t be a bit wrong – because that still means I’m wrong.

So until you can feel that no part of it is wrong then you can’t feel that the whole thing is right.

You must completely displace all of your ‘wrong’ sentiment with something of equal force that it is ‘right’. The process is incomplete until you entirely replace one with the other.




As a further illustration, consider completely new learning.

At first this stumped me. Until I realised Knowledge replaces Ignorance. Further if you choose to ignore ‘knowledge’ you must therefore be choosing ‘ignorance’ (not choosing to Learn).

I was taught by my first coach – What you resist resists.

I think in many ways this model is a versatile articulation of that principle and shows clearly why change resists and why life can feel so out of balance – particularly when you are going through significant change.

Note also: with this model the healthy or desired option is always on top.

I have written a much longer paper/exploration on this, which I am willing to share with anyone who is interested. Please contact me if you wish to review this and provide feedback. I explore sequences, nesting and evolutionary learning based on this simple model. I have used the term ‘ULO’ (Unlearn Learn Orb) to describe the model.

Many thanks, Richard

Our Team

Talking Staffs
An observant colleague pointed out you don’t have great staff – you have great people (Thanks Rob).

I agree, staff is a hugely impersonal term, and for someone so important to your company why would you use such an impersonal term of such varied meaning?

I prefer to talk of Our Team, but this can sound a bit corny and insincere, and besides I’m far from being politically correct. But staff (or staffs as Microsoft Word tells you) is impersonal, though difficult to work around.

This points me to the dilemma of ownership. Who did what?

Once, when asked to outline value I had added in a particular role I said “Well depending on your view I added all the value or none of it, which would you like?”

My point was that as leaders you are both entrusted with steering the ship and watching it from shore.

If you do your job well amazing things are achieved that wouldn’t be achieved without you, without you! (yes that is what I meant to say)

As a leader you aspire to everyone being their own leader within the boundaries set by you, within the code of conduct and collaboration that is the company culture (also set by you).

I am a fan of Carver’s Policy Governance Model® in which the board determines the ends (outcomes) and only limits the means (the way in which it is done) by exclusion (things falling outside prudence or ethical guides).

I think this is also a great model for everyone in a company to operate by – ‘Tell me what you want and what I can’t do to get there – I’ll let you know if I need further assistance.” Self-managing teams on steroids.

Which brings me back to the comment about staff, er.. people.

Treat people with respect and trust – it will be returned.

Treat them just as staff and you might just get sticks.