It’s not that unusual for people to cry when they work with me. Stopping the daily busy-ness and task-focused activities to pause, reflect and to think well can often bring things to the surface that people hadn’t noticed were there. Our always-on and busy lives lead us to sweep things under the carpet and carry on with an “it’s all fine” and “I’m fine” face on. Sometimes a client’s upset is “normal level” upset, sometimes it’s a symptom of medically-recognisable anxiety for which they need different help than I can provide. And when I say anxiety, don’t picture “jibbering mess, barely able to function”. Instead picture the reality which is genuinely what’s in front of me – capable, confident leaders who are very skilled at what they do and who are able to hide their anxious turmoil REALLY well.
A week ago on 9th March was the latest Learn > Connect > Do : an event held quarterly in Leicester which is for people professionals who care about making work better through doing great people stuff. These are also people who care about giving back while they learn and I’m delighted that we raised a fantastic £130 for Twenty:Twenty through ticket sales. This will enable a young person to get support with transport costs to get to their local centre to learn, or to go for a day out to celebrate their learning successes! And even more than that, with the professional backgrounds we have there are so many other ways delegates can get involved and support these young people into jobs they might never have considered an option before.
As I write this I feel like David D’Souza who’s an expert at these analogies with life (as an example, you can read about Chicken and Business Plans here). I hope mine hits the mark. It’s not rocket science, or brand new information (HT Phoebe), but it’s something I re-noticed while working with a leadership team this week – and I don’t think I’d ever previously made the broader connections of this effect in other activities. Plus I love Chinese food!!
“I feel like a washing machine – everything’s churning round and yet it’s going nowhere.”
“I feel like I’m sinking in it all.”
“This isn’t sustainable.”
These things I’ve heard from leaders I’ve worked with. Men and women who feel swamped. It could be they’ve stepped up into an MD or CEO role where they’re suddenly in the most exposed position they’ve ever known, without development through their transition. Or budgets are cut in in the “reduce costs to maximise profits” race, removing more people from the structure than there are systems or processes to compensate for. Or businesses that have grown so fast, piling the work on those who are there, without stopping to review what’s actually needed to grow sustainably. And sometimes it’s not even any of that. It’s just that sometimes life throws a load of stuff at us all at once – from home, from work, from relationships… and it can be overwhelming.
Karen Meager of Monkey Puzzle is speaking about work and leadership. In business we see ‘unhelpful behaviours; and in work we try and address them, often through instruction / process / policy, by changing behaviour. Karen helps business see what’s behind the behavioural ‘issues’ so she’ll be showing us some of these things, some of the science about why and how you can do something about that. And talking about how to know better when you’ve done enough.
For this post I’m delighted to be hosting a piece from Andrew Page. I worked with Andrew and a number of his fellow leaders alongside Lane 4 as part of their leadership development programme at Loughborough Uni, and I subsequently went on to work with more of the Anglian team at one of their main UK locations.
Last Thursday, on a lovely sunny day, Phil Willcox and I met up with an eager group of Street Wisdom’ers in Leicester for Learn > Connect > Do. Some had experience of Street Wisdom before, while for most it was their first time. I’m not going to write about the way these awesome sessions run, you can read more about that here, but I wanted to share some photos of a great afternoon, including the post-event debrief which was at Dolce & Verde – great coffee if you’re ever in Leicester or Rothley. After drinks and cakes, the Wisdomer’s went on their ways with thoughts and plans in their heads about how to keep a hold of their learning and put different actions in place for the questions they were asking.
At the age of 30 I was properly introduced to the concept of chaos when I had my first baby. Until then, or at least through my ’18 and over’ life, things had been fairly un-chaotic. That’s not to say they were uneventful but any surprising or unexpected events were mostly fun and things I wanted to be part of. As I went from 25 to 30 we bought our first house, did it up and purchased much from Ikea (other household shopping outlets are available). During that time we settled into the rhythm of grown up working and home-owning life.
A 15 minute keynote with Suzy – all the way from Oz!
In the Positivity Institute they talk a lot about the F word – Flourishing! Help people thrive in a VUCA world. Two-by-two matrix similar to the performance curve with people under or over stretched both being distressed / stressed. Plodding is not stretched, or Flourishing when we’re at our best – Eustress place – healthy pressure and healthy mental wellbeing.
Next for me a case study from GSK with Sally Bonneywell, VP Coaching.
GSK – pharma, vaccines, consumer healthcare – large, complex and with a long history of M&A activity over the years. recently sold oncology to Avartis and bought their vaccines business. It felt like we were “taking out our heart” and that had to be allowed to be heard because that was people’s reality.