Leadership Islands

Onetangi Beach Waiheke Island New ZealandI spent a rewarding (and mostly very sunny) two days on Waiheke Island last week with a leadership team. The team is usually spread out over the main cities and rarely, if ever, physically gets together.

There were some initial jokes about the circle of chairs in the room and, as I try to do, there were no slides, no notes, only a loose agenda, and lots of talking.

By the time the two days drew to a close the team had taken over. I deliberately stepped back, allowing the team to develop their own plans for the future.

Everyone spoke, there were no silos and I’m hoping a big forward step has been taken in how this team operates and their combined leadership.

When facilitating you need to try and notice when people in a group aren’t connected which can be challenging as it’s easy to mistake activity for colleagueship.

Facilitation is about bringing out the best in others and ensuring that all parties are connected and working for a common purpose. When you see it in that way it’s easy to see that leadership is really a lot about facilitation.

On the Thursday evening at Waiheke, Winston Peters announced his coalition government. In his own words he did it without a conversation with one of the two parties he will be in Government with.

That’s either genius – some new form of leadership yet untried – or something else which will require a new form of facilitation involving a shared purpose where bits of the team don’t actually engage.

I’m pretty sure it’s not genius! Setting up a new team requires ground rules, communication, a common purpose, and the open sharing of aspirations and issues.

The team that met at Waiheke exhibited and committed to all these things. The new government might need some time out soon to do the work they should have done prior. Maybe Raoul Island might be a place to start!

Stephen

 

Imagine if Trump lived here!

Imagine if Trump settled in New Zealand. Shiny white teeth and big hair, he’d toy with an election or two, but not really go anywhere, then when the moment was right, leap to the top.

Crowds would gather on Wynyard Wharf “Trump for PM!” on their T-shirts. Massive promises would be made, probably about things that were already underway or not possible.

Supporters would have a crack at Bill English – after all he represented all that was wrong with politics – which was mainly that it was way too boring, like Hillary. That wouldn’t be the main accusation though. Trump’s supporters would drag up some ancient email server-type scandal – say Bill’s housing allowance – that was, like Hillary’s emails, thoroughly investigated and dispatched. Criminal! You’d see it all over social media “Should be in Jail!”. Trump would remain silent on the issue as his supporters were doing all the heavy lifting. He’d know very well that whatever the truth of the matter, if you said it loud enough it became the truth.

He’d look for an enemy. Farmers would be a good start – after all they wreck the environment and drive Range Rovers – “Tax their water!” and throw in Chinese water-bottlers, who, despite using only 0.01% of NZ’s water were a convenient reach out to those who have supported racist policies. Full-blown attacks on immigrants would come later. Like the manufacturing job losses back home, he’d work out quickly that it was also the Chinese here who were responsible for New Zealand’s housing and and related poverty woes. And obviously Bill and his mates were in cahoots with them and got donations from them, no doubt.

The debates would be planned. He’d be new and exciting against boring (CRIMINAL!) Bill. His supporters would start campaigns against the media. On-line campaigns would rage to have any debate hosts who didn’t support him removed. Supporters would find a local news outlet that supported Bill and do a Clinton Network News on them, so to speak.  Maybe “National’s Boring Rag” would work!

Bill would bring his mate Sir John in to help. Just like Hillary who tried rolling President Clinton out.  Wouldn’t work though, the title would be like a red rag to a bull. “Another CRIMINAL!” his supporters would scream “wrecked the country and left with all our money!”. They’d allege he was responsible for a death somewhere just to spice it up.

His supporters, not initially natural allies of anti-immigrant and other populist policies, would subtly, then openly, embrace populist political parties. After all, there’s a criminal bunch on the other side who have absolutely wrecked the country, and we need their votes to bring the messiah to power. A small price to pay!

Might be a bit more interesting to what we usually have which is pretty boring, safe and secure.

Never happen though. We’re much too nice a people.

Have a great weekend.

Stephen

Nothing happens to us in the future

We’re readying ourselves for the start of another Authentic Leadership Programme. A new venue, new faces and some new ideas. An invigorated Programme.

We’ve been looking forward to this for some time and a lot of hard works has gone it to get prepared and today it arrives.

Planning is incredibly important to get us to where we want to be, and if we don’t plan and execute we can be reasonably confident we won’t get where we want to.

Slow living concept. Inspiration motivation quote Be here now.

However, in leadership development, it’s important to recognise that new insights can often be immediately put into practice and that’s what we’ll be encouraging our seventeen participants to do from today.

As a friend of mine said recently, “you don’t die in the future, it’s now”. Sobering, but a powerful reminder of taking action now, when we can.

Stephen

A stunning victory!

I’m a bit sad the yachting is over. But what a result!  I’ve missed only one of the 30+ races that ETNZ has competed in.  It’s sweet after writing four years ago too

Winning against Sweden when they got a penalty that the umpires said later they shouldn’t have given; the two defeats to USA in the playoffs; the capsize; and then watching Aotearoa get faster, smoother with such a cool crew. Watching Peter Burling win 7 of 8 starts against all predictions. 

The TV comentators have been great too.  I’ve really warmed to the American yachting legend Ken Read who provided analysis with Alastair Eykyn. Nice work. 

Credit is due to Sir Russell Coutts and Bermuda. What a fantastic event. 

And all the on screen graphics including heart rate monitors, pressure charts. It’s exciting to imagine the technology we’ll see next time around. In Auckland! 
Stephen

A day of sports

It’s game on again!

Getting up at 5am has had its rewards – exhilarating yacht racing, a capsize, a mistake when winning and then winning by only 1 second – but ultimately success today.

Team New Zealand won the Louis Vuitton Cup today and are official challengers for the America’s Cup again.  Team New Zealand has been there before and it hasn’t always gone well but I reckon we should enjoy the success now.

A few minutes ago the Otago Highlanders beat off the British and Irish Lions 23-22. What a great game.  And there’s more to come – ABs vs Samoa and Maori All Blacks vs Lions.

Not just a day, but a great winter of sport!

Stephen

Trumped by your own boss

James Comey said he was confused by Trump’s behaviour. Several pieces of Comey’s evidence struck me as familiar when dealing with toxic leaders:  The president and I had multiple conversations about my job. He repeatedly told me I was doing a great job and asked if I would stay on. I told him I intended to serve out the remaining six years of my term” and later “The President began by asking me whether I wanted to stay on as FBI Director, which I found strange because he had already told me twice in earlier conversations that he hoped I would stay, and I had assured him that I intended to” and “Near the end of our dinner, the President returned to the subject of my job, saying he was very glad I wanted to stay, adding that he had heard great things about me from Jim Mattis, Jeff Sessions, and many others. He then said, “I need loyalty””.

If you’ve worked up close with the sort of boss Trump appears to be you might have noticed certain behaviours all at once:

  • Praise
  • References to commentary about you from others named (and many times un-named)
  • Questions about your role on matters settled between you and your boss as though they weren’t

iStock-610965798.jpgIt’s quite likely that this sort of boss is simply manifestly insecure and unsure about decisions recently made. Even if it’s only that, there’s very little good to come with staying around while the behaviour continues. Corporate bullies in positions of ultimate power in their environment are not good for you..

In isolation each of these behaviours may be explainable, but in my experience, put together they paint a very dangerous picture.

Maybe time to move on or get expert assistance.

Stephen