Loss : how it’s essential

Loss is essential. Only through loss can something new flow in.

A thought. Dropped in a moment. New insight coming in.

A definite idea of a plan. Loosened and let go of, even the slightest gap. Innovation of something better appears….Keep reading over on Medium, and give it a few claps if you like it! Thanks

If you’re interested in talking more about the work I do, just get in touch here and we can set up a call. read more

Next month….. Learn > Connect > Do is back!

LCD 2 Dec 15When we last met in December our focus was on line manager development – a topic which I massively care about because I continue to see people in leadership roles with little or no development, who then continue to be promoted (still with no development), and who therefore get to senior roles lacking the confidence or skill that the world expects them to have for the level they’re at. Imposter syndrome is ever-present and become incredibly unhelpful.

All of this makes for ineffective workplaces because it’s leaders who make the difference between an individual’s, and therefore a team’s, success or failure.

So in December, with chocs and fizz added in for good measure, I used a Design Thinking approach (thanks to We Are Unstuck for this) to facilitate the session which generated some great and fun discussion and debate – and incredibly both teams came out with similar outputs – we need to get the human back into work and leadership.

You can read more about what happened here.

With feedback like – ‘feeling inspired’, ‘want to get back to work and put this into practice’ and ‘we’ve achieved so much in so little time’ – we just had to do it again!

LCD Dec 15

And so ‘again’ is happening in March! (10th, 3-6pm at the Observatory Beefeater, Meridian, Leicester)

After some great debates amongst the team, we’ve decided on the topic of “Aligning HR/L&D to the Business”.

This topic came out of the last session as an area of value and it is also something which feels fundamental to anything we do from here and which, by making progress on this topic, future sessions can hang their hats on it.

Our debates in the Learn > Connect > Do team also led us to decide on an Unconference approach to the event. This means there’ll be no set agenda for the day – apart from arrive (with a question), grab a drink, chat and then we’ll get going.

So that question you’re going to bring…..what is it you specifically want to get clear in your head about alignment? What makes you feel as though you’re not aligned? What’s getting in the way? What does alignment actually mean?

Whatever that question is for you, as you arrive we’ll capture it, along with all the others, then from all of these we’ll identify the top 2 or 3 areas of focus. After some quick deliberation in the facilitator team we’ll agree the best way for the session to run, and we’ll start the conversation.

All enabled by some energy-boosting Easter chocs!

Interested?  You can book your place here.

Now, I wonder how we can make chocolate part of the theme when it comes to the June event……

Look forward to seeing you in March!


Zebras at work


[Photo Credit en.wikipedia.org]

Saturday was a big day for us – we went to see The Lion King at the Lyceum in London!  This was a delayed Christmas present that various relatives had contributed to and we were all very excited – the kids’ first normal train ride (i.e. not a steam-train-on-holiday ride), a trip to the theatre, a night in a premier inn – that always makes their day!

And, of course, The Lion King was fantastic!  The costumes were just incredible!  The music, the singing, the dancing….I could go on.  While we were watching, it got me thinking about a lecture I saw by Kim Cassidy at Nottingham Trent Business School a few weeks back, on the effectiveness of customer engagement strategies of UK retailers.  Buzz words in retail just now are ‘theatre’ and ‘experience’ – two things that traditional retailers are experimenting with to entice customers back onto the high street, and to make those expensive property portfolios valuable in the face of online shopping.

Kim went on to talk about the actual theatre – a simple leap to make, but one which I’d never considered before.  She talked about four different ways to present a dramatic piece – theatrical realism, political realism, surrealism and absurd theatre – and that everything in a production needs to work towards the chosen approach.  In doing that, you achieve ‘gestalt’ (whereby the whole is greater than the sum of the parts) and, if achieved successfully, the audience will become lost in the production, completely absorbed in whichever approach has been taken.

And so at The Lion King, I found myself wondering which of the four approaches they were using….I couldn’t (and still can’t) decide which one it was….. and in fact it doesn’t matter because whichever it was, it was a good choice!  And they did an incredible job of achieving gestalt.  But not quite…..I noticed this zebra.  One of the zebras just wasn’t getting her zebra on!  Her colleague zebra was phenomenal.  He had the kicking legs, the flicking head, the trot – all perfect.  He WAS a zebra!  Give him some grass and he’d have eaten it – that’s just how much in the zebra zone he was!  But this lady just wasn’t quite there.  She did an OK job but when on a stage of phenomenal people who were in their animal-zones her semi-zebra-ness stuck out like a sore thumb.

It got me thinking about our cultures and strategies at work.  How often do we achieve gestalt?  How often do we consider the inter-play of all the parts which go to make up the whole we’re trying to create.  How attuned are all those parts to what’s being created overall?  Has anyone painted a picture of what the end result will look and feel like? Does everyone know which ‘theatrical movement’ the organisation has chosen, and what their role is in that?

I’m not daft, I know you could never achieve gestalt perfection all the time, and there are bound to be people who are never going to be great zebras.  But shouldn’t we try?  Shouldn’t we try and create that image in people’s minds of what, after all their hard work in rehearsals, the on-stage performance will be like.  What it will be like if all the parts come together with the same ambition and determination, working perfectly together to deliver the best performance for their audience (they’re your customers by the way).

I’ve been part of such gestalt moments at work before and they’re amazing!  (Akin to the Hot Spots Movement http://www.hotspotsmovement.com).  If we had more of these, more of the time, organisations would be phenomenal – both for their employees and their customers.

And, by the way, I’m not suggesting we need organisations full of carbon copy zebras (have you seen Madagascar with the herd of zebra all doing the water thing? – yeah, not that!).  Clearly organisational cloning is not the way to go!  We absolutely want the variety of zebras, elephants, giraffes, in fact, the whole animal kingdom, because each will bring their own strengths and attributes to enrich and create better results.

So why not go and get yourself a director’s chair and start creating!