I’ve been fortunate enough to see if I could ski again after a bit of chop and change in one of my legs a couple of years ago. No one was more surprised than me when I gave it a go at Coronet Peak a few weeks ago, and I managed a few runs, backed up a fortnight later.
I found myself telling people I could still ski thanks to a special ski week quite some time ago and it got me thinking about that ski week.
Back in the school holidays in the sixth form (year 12 now) I spent a glorious week learning to ski properly at Mt Olympus Ski field near Lake Coleridge, Canterbury with a group of school boys. It now promotes itself as the place to “Ski in the Playground of the Gods“. It was a big week.
We got dropped off at a Canterbury Farm Station somewhere, and me and three other boys were driven up in the couple’s two door Range Rover. I assumed they operated the Station, but at that age, you don’t know much really, and I didn’t ask, or was told. Mind your own business my mother would have said anyway! They were club members I do recall, and I can see that the club is still running the field – the Windwhistle Winter Sports Club – as it has since 1932. I’ve had a thing for skiing and those early Rangies ever since.
Then there was no milk and I started drinking black coffee which tasted quite bitter and was instant – I think that was “normal” then – but I’ve been a black coffee drinker ever since. And on the first day of skiing the instructor told us “leave your poles boys, you’ll be learning to ski properly”. And we did.
So when I thought I’d give skiing a go at Coronet Peak with limitations to my leg I found I could. What came straight back to guide me were the lessons at Mt Olympus, coming sharply back into focus. Shifting the weight from ski to ski to turn. Poles just for balance.
It’s worth learning something properly. It stays.
The original Range Rover was introduced by British Leyland under the Rover brand in 1969 and continued in production until 1996, by then under the Land Rover brand. It was a two-door model until 1981. You’ll see restored two door models for sale in NZ for ~$50,000 and a lot more overseas.
We’ve been running the Authentic Leadership Programme for almost a decade. It’s never stood still and if you attended one of the early programmes when I was at AUT you’d notice many changes from those days.
Relevancy is a word we are increasingly using in business and leadership development must remain relevant, to be relevant.
Leadership development is a nice to have at many organisations and even though I’m in the development business, I’m not surprised.
Facilitators without any authentic leadership experience themselves, dried out old case studies straight out of a 1980s MBA, lecturing and bring ’em down to build ’em up nonsense all make potential participants question the true value.
So what changes have we been done lately? Learning conversations with senior leaders led by the participants themselves, micro-coaching sessions on the way through, location, location, location – context driven locations for learning – like on a tram for transport leaders hearing early stories of trams in Auckland.
We’re reshaped the reflection process putting it out in front of everyone with ReflectBack™, enhanced our Blueprints with time on Programme to complete, share and reflect with. We’ve embraced client direct participation on the programme. After all, we’re not running a secret society and we’re confident enough in what we do that we’re very proud for our clients to see close up the development we’re providing for their managers.
And we’re using technology – an App to stay connected and share practical details throughout – and running in-between sessions via electronic methods sometimes.
The next edition of the Authentic Leadership Programme will be different – we try and learn as we go – keeping the Programme relevant for the new context, and at the same time providing us with new energy to try new things out.
You don’t always know where it’s going to go, but hey, that’s leadership isn’t it?
The final session of the Authentic Leadership Programme was a round of words. What word will finish the Programme for you we asked.
I didn’t capture all the words but most of them. Whether I can make a blog out of them remains to be seen but I thought it would be good to share a very powerful session.
Cheating in Cricket wasn’t known about at the session, but Ethical Compass and Legacy have startling relevance right now. Not just in sport leadership but in our behaviours as leaders in the work place.
When the team is under pressure, our strategies for Resilience pre-prepared will need to come into play, as will our Humanity and, well just being the best Human we can be. For me, there are times that the key strategy is Grit. A vital attribute for any leader.
That doesn’t mean losing sight of our Emotional Intelligence recognising that tough times can lead to the best Learning.
Leaders need to be Confident with their Authenticity, show Vision, Empowerment and ask “What’s Next?“.
I got there!
ps there’s about 5 more words from the session which I can add in if I get them
I last stayed with Uncle George and Aunty Joan about 40 years ago. They were dairy farmers. I think that they had about 150 cows and the images of the milking shed at 5.00 am have stayed with me since then. I see Uncle George and his cows when I pass a dairy farm even now. The warm unprocessed milk with porridge at 7 or 8. The implement shed. The raging bull that we chased on the other side of the fence. Driving for the first time as he put the hay out, across the paddock with the accelerator on the Bedford truck stuck on what felt like breakneck speed. Rapidly (to my eyes!) approaching a narrow bridge between paddocks. The big arm leaning in to check the steering You’re fine, just keep it dead ahead. Dead I thought, yes, if the bridge doesn’t widen up real soon!
Running into Mum and Dad in Farmers on a trip to the city. I need to go to the loo. Uncle George corrected you mean lavatory. Such responsibility to my care, even in the face of my parents! Funny how at the tender age of 5 I could sense my parents discomfort.
He died this week, aged 96. He had strong beliefs that he will join Aunty Joan. And probably Daisy. One of those 150 cows he knew by name. The only name I remember, but he had them all off-pat as they walked to the dairy. Remarkable.
He let me learn by trusting me and letting me have a go. Thanks Uncle George.