October 7, 2012
I’m back at Waitakere Estate running the Authentic Leadership Course. It’s great to be back here as always and although it’s hard work it’s a kind of a refresher for a short time for me too. Away from the busyness and pressures, there’s another kind of pressure here – making sure our leaders on the programme get what they want from their time here – but it’s great work and fulfilling.
Nothing shows this more than how after five hours on the programme we have built the kind of trust that most would say just isn’t possible in the workplace. That’s the workplace with politics, pre-conceptions and internal competition for resources.
We have a shared vision and values here on the Authentic Leadership Course in 2012. Not something decided by us, but rather from the group. I’m certain that the participants will live by those things during their time here and odds on they’ll take it back to work with them, and challenge those around them to embrace authentic leadership that’s about real leaders setting a tone and working with others to achieve success for them and their organisations.
So what if you have five hours only to focus on leadership? What could you do between 8.30am and 1.30pm? Could you develop a draft vision, values and way of interacting that would sustain your team going forward? Could you learn about each other’s preferences for working together? I helped two groups in Mt Maunganui on Friday with that in three and a half hour workshops – they wanted more – but it’s a great start and left us all wanting that five hours.
Imagine. By 1.30 having so much underway about how we will work together that we’ve made a difference as a leader. Might make the doing stuff for the other hours in the week go better. You never know. I’d be bold enough to say we do know.
And for us here on the Authentic Leadership Course, we’ve done five hours, and three full days to go!
June 27, 2012
Forty-nine year old Steve Carell apparently noticed how hard out the Pizza restaurant he was at, that he donned an apron and spent an hour serving, answering phone calls and mucking it up in the kitchen. In Jeff Hadens 9 Beliefs of Remarkably Successful People number 6 is Volunteers always win (yes take these quick lists with a grain of salt but if it works you know!).
I saw the movie Cafe de flore today. It’s too early to process what it’s all about but it’s a bit about exorcising some connections that don’t work where they are and embracing new ones or old ones in a new context.
I’ve been too flat for blogging recently, writing an article for a magazine in the weekend was really hard, but the movie, some great conversation over the last few days (even thanked someone for an involuntary coaching session it lifted me so much) I feel back, as Jasbindar Singh would say, in the groove. And listening to the song Cafe de flore. Very groovy tonight.
Simple pieces of service to others can lift them and you immeasurably. I’m thinking of a Conversation at a Cafe with like-minded people on leadership stuff. I’ll mention this in the next day or three and get it going. Service to each other to lift our spirits and our business too. Sound oblique? Could be, but just roll with it. It’ll be fun. Especially if you’re 49 or think you might run into someone interesting who is.
April 27, 2012
At the end of the movie “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” the character played by Dame Judi Dench implores us to spend our lives, no matter what stage we’re at, in doing those things that matter to us, that give us meaning and purpose.
I’m writing this on the plane after twenty four hours in Dunedin. Tonight is a function, tomorrow a half marathon and at least two more trips in the next 10 days. In between there are reports to finalise, emails to respond to and an over full week ahead. Sound familiar?
I’m not the most relaxed flyer but some seriously concentrated conditioning over the last three months has gone a long way to cure that! But the flight, if nothing else, gives me time too breathe and relax. And think about purpose.
I try to live with purpose and meaning for those things that matter to me and try to ensure that those things take priority. Right now I’m finding thinking about purpose incredibly difficult with the intensity and pressure of multiple works obligations.
I console myself that the work is of course part of my purpose. Which it is. But it ain’t everything.
So I’m giving myself two extra flights to wish my Mum a happy birthday in person. She’s 81 and living in her Marigold Hotel with Dad as they should be!
Now that’s something that matters.
January 12, 2012
Eight January was both David Bowie’s and Stephen Hawking’s birthday. Bowie, who turned 65 had a hit in the 70s 1984 inspired by the George Orwell novel of the same name. An artist of many faces he remains an icon of rock and I’m happy to have quite a few of his albums in my collection. Hawking turned 70 but didn’t make it to his celebrations on account of recovering from a bout of ill-health. Hawking already is and will no doubt go down in history as one of the most remarkable minds we have been fortunate enough to have amongst us. His ability to turn the complexities of the universe into language we can all appreciate and marvel at is a gift.
Thinking about spacetime and the big bang can make you feel pretty insignificant and that’s probably correct.
Who really is out there!
It’s a strange thing being at home for a few days. I’ve discovered that people do indeed phone the home landline. Mainly looking for money but this afternoon Hector called from the “Microsoft Support Centre” – yeah right. Trying to play with Hector for a moment didn’t seem to work: “where are you based Hector? I’m wondering as you asked how I was this evening when it’s not yet evening”. “I’m from the Microsoft Support Centre, how are you this evening?” he repeated. You only get a few moments to play with Hector and his friends before they cut you loose and move on to the next potential victim. And it’s awful being hung up on so my inclination is to get the last word in then hang up.
Susan from LinkedIn has been communicating with me via email over a problem I’ve had with my contacts list. It seems I’ve invited too many people and hit some sort of scam alert – or that’s what I can deduce from the online forums – as Susan assures me that there is “no restriction at all on your account” and wishes me good cheer. But not before assuring me that the “Setting of being asked to provide an email address, while sending invitation will be disabled automatically. However, I’m unable to provide you an exact time frame for that to happen as its purely system generated.” So I enquired as to what the event or action was that had caused the system to do this to my account. Having once enquired of Google as to why my adverts had stopped running I knew the perils of asking specific questions of such an organisation.
The answer could have been straight from Winston Smith, the protagonist in 1984. Denial that anything had been altered on my account but a repeated assurance that the system would disable it. Followed by an upbeat appreciation of my being part of their network and an invitation to reply should any further assistance be required. WTF! I like LinkedIn and have got excellent value from it. I politely suggested that perhaps Susan might like to let her manager review our communications, if for no other reason than to help the organisation understand its clients better. More good cheer and an offer to complete a feedback form, declined, but still sent, curiously within an hour of one from Google! Winston is surely watching me.
It’s a new year and clearly I have too much time on my hands thinking about this stuff. Susan is sure to be a good person. Hector’s probably trying to support his family – shame he’s chosen an organisation that steals passwords and what goes with them. At least with Hector you pretty well know what you’re up for. But when it comes to large multi-nationals who spread themselves all over our little globe (think spacetime and it doesn’t feel so bad) then wouldn’t it be okay to just answer the question truthfully? Or maybe even say that they won’t answer it?
Thanking and general politeness can be patronising tools to avoid dealing with a real issue. A good lesson for all of us in leadership. How many times have you heard “I just wish they’d told me it as it is”?
That’s off my chest. If my LinkedIn disappears you’ll know why!