Posts tagged ‘authenticity’

July 2, 2013

Short, dull and full of pain

And so it is said on the Woody Allen movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Of life.

Life has put a long time between blogs for me at the moment, but I’ve still been thinking!  A lot. Life is busy and it’s certainly short and for some I guess it is dull and full of pain.

We only need to look at any news site for the pain the many people are in. Take a walk at lunchtime and see how dull many people seem. They might not be of course. But it looks like it to me.

But if it’s true that life is dull, then what? Or maybe it’s pain? Caused by circumstance or by others. You might even be a victim.Image

But time has passed. A short time, because that’s all there ever is actually. But does it need to be dull? No.

I’ve watched another of Allen’s work, Midnight in Paris, a few times lately. The protagonist Gil Bender escapes his current dullness by visiting the 1920s. Yes, it’s far fetched.  Gil meets up with Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Cole Porter, Hemingway and others. He reshapes his life from a potentially mediocre existence of comfort and wealth to one of living a life that has meaning and adventure, for him.

You might have pain and I can’t judge or minimise that.  What then? Life is short. That’s a fact.  Dull? No way, there’s no excuse at all for that. Wake up and get on with life I reckon. Now. Which is why my blogs are few and far between right now.  Enjoy.As Cristina says on Vicky Cristina Barcelona, watch out for the “appropriate police”.

Stephen

February 27, 2013

An Irish impression

My son is getting married in the south of Ireland and I’ve travelled here.  To be with him and to support him on this happy occasion. I was warned of Irish hospitality which might see my health compromised with some serious drinking which I couldn’t refuse.

When I was young a lot of things were not spoken about as a mechanism to avoid dealing with life’s realities, and strangely, this has come back to me here.

The friend of the late Mr Coyle, Timber Merchant

The friend of the late Mr Coyle, Timber Merchant

I am cautious about first impressions but they exist, and only exist at first, so I kind of like them.  Since generations past avoided “talking about things” emotionally intelligent people have moved on, recognising that rational communication, coupled with a genuine desire for growth, can have significant benefits.  And let’s be real too: withholding communication from someone you care about, or who needs it from you, is simply abuse.

A man in Kilkenny asked us if we knew Mr Kylie of New Zealand, a wood merchant, who died two years ago from Cancer. After several attempts at understanding each other we established that it was actually a Mr Coyle and no, sadly we didn’t know him.  We can all joke and mock someone who attempts such a ritual with a foreigner.  But what a lovely expression of our deepest desire for connection.  I’ve tagged the man on Facebook as “The friend of the late Mr Coyle, Wood Merchant”.

Some of my ancestry is from the south of Ireland and it struck me tonight that some of what I had seen represented the best and worst of what little I know about human nature.  The friend of the late Mr Coyle, Wood Merchant was open, and genuinely sought a connection with folk from 20,000km away.  He got it.  And so did we.

But I’ve also seen the “don’t talk about it” brigade at work.  From the absurd – the number plate on my car with state-sanctioned delusion allowing it to use the number 131 instead of 13 for 2013, to avoid the unspoken misfortune of having 13,  to folk, who, well how can I put it, use silence as their primary tool for communication.  I’ve been thinking “What?” I’m torn between wondering whether they’re stuck in some bad Coronation Street episode or that a cheery demeanour is somehow threatening the economic and meteorological gloom!

I’m proud of my son Thomas and he’ll make a great husband, far better than me I’m sure.  It’s no wonder the friend of the late Mr Coyle, Wood Merchant spotted him in Kilkenny and engaged with him.

Ireland, like New Zealand is an Island nation, and my first impressions of the south are that many of the folk here could benefit from a dose of meaningful connection with another real world.  And here you won’t need to travel 29 hours to find it like I did.

Try Dublin, I’d suggest.  The two hours drive to another world.  A great place with an international sense of itself which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Friendly and engaging.  Like Thomas’ wedding will be I’m sure!

Stephen

ps It’s been too long between blogs I know!

October 7, 2012

Five hours of authentic leadership

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!

Stephen

September 12, 2012

Barry White

Now that I’ve got your attention (or not!), it was almost inevitable that Barry would enter my blog world one day. I got caught out by a colleague yesterday – Barry was on the car-connected iPod – but he was fine with that. Abba’s been in the car this week too “don’t go wasting your emotion”  from the song “Lay all your love on me”.

One of my very special friends had an important birthday this last weekend.  We talked about our aspirations and what it takes to achieve them.  Change.  If you’re bothered to read this you will know that if you want to change you need to change.   It sounds so obvious of course but that simple reality cannot be ignored in making changes in our lives. But often is.

Barry White’s final album has the song Get up which asks the question about what reward you get for doing nothing. Written for idle youth it has as much relevance to us all as we aspire to be all we can.  Work can consume us (it is me right now!) but so can all sorts of activities – tv, making sure the drive is swept (again), computer games – are just some examples of ways in which is we can whittle away special time.

If we want to lead anyone we need to lead ourselves and making change, whatever that might be takes a conscious effort, giving some things up and doing something new.  And sometimes, the change required is made available right before us and we don’t even recognise it.  Who’s ended up in a new role because of an opportunity  that’s come quite informally and unexpectedly? I have and I count myself fortunate for that. And what I learned is that you need to be ready for it, and don’t expect it to come with big signage accompanying it, because the opportunity provided by a change will come subtly, if you’re ready for it, and active.

In Get up Barry’s answer is “nothing, you don’t get a damn thing”.

Stephen

p.s. Should I keep politics out of this blog?  I’ve done religion before so what the hell!  Just 5% of Democrats reckon Romney will do better than Obama in the upcoming debates.  But 18% of Republicans say Obama will do better. Authenticity might have something to do with it I think. And the Authentic Leadership Course is coming up. I’m going to enjoy being there again.  Looking forward.

%d bloggers like this: