A big call

We elected a new government last weekend. That was a big call. By collectively voting to return a National-led government we had to give some things away – the prospect of keeping our government-owned power companies in full public ownership, a tax system that taxed earnings on all capital profits, and raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, for example.

So selecting something always requires giving up something.

First time for me into the Victoria Park Tunnel

Jasbindar Singh who  I often work with, reminds me from time-to-time: “Stephen, if you going to do that, then what will you give up?” A good but sometimes difficult question.

On Friday I made a big call personally. It will involve change including giving some things up. It wasn’t easy and there is a certain amount of grief that goes with the giving up part. For me, I felt that quite a lot, but in life we need to make big calls sometimes – no change happens without change! And when we get the opportunity, it won’t always been when you’re ready for it – in fact there’s a good chance that no change for growth will occur when you’re ready.  If you were ready it probably wouldn’t be much of a change.

Tomorrow we start the final module of the Innovative Leader’s GM Programme.  It’s a really busy time of the year and those on the programme have to give up something to be there. That’s the nature of preparing for growth.

As for me even though I like change I still find it hard to let go. Logic vs the heart. That’s a big call!


Resilient Leadership

Keeping my mind healthy and resilient is partly why I run. Today it was the Kerikeri Half Marathon with my friend Mike and I pushed myself a bit, probably to make up for a slow Auckland Marathon three weeks ago. It’s a largely downhill run so a chance to put the foot down. Enjoyed.

I’ve been pretty busy lately – Workshops, Samoa, Wisdom Retreat, catching up on all the emails, appointments long-planned. A few things have fallen away – couple of missed appointments that got mixed up but people seem to understand. I hope so!

Kerikeri today: nothing like some good exercise to make you smile!

We learned quite a bit from our session on the Wisdom Retreat. We exercised for movement and strength. These were exercises that all abilities could cope with and develop as strength and fitness grew. We stretched. We breathed properly. We learned about the right food. We meditated. We were refreshed.

All these things we know and all these things we often ignore or don’t have time for.

Ask the question: if I don’t have time for keeping my body resilient, what do I have time for? Yes, I’ve taken the laptop to Kerikeri so I could load this up and load some photos. Really! No work. Well not much. And I ran, rested, took photographs and refreshed today.

What seemed almost overwhelming yesterday is in perspective.

I’m going to meditate tonight. No I haven’t turned into a mystical yogi, but I will close my eyes, breathe with my abdomen rising and be present for myself.

I know those that came on the Retreat got all this and more and I consider myself very fortunate to have been present during the sessions too.

Resilience. A powerful component of wise leadership.


Leadership Legacy

We visited Waikumete Cemetery today on the Wisdom Retreat. I wasn’t sure exactly what we would uncover but putting ourselves in the environment was going to be important in drawing out the nuggets.

Projecting ourselves forward to help us look back at what we want to be was powerful.  We visited the Erebus Memorial and the grave of a VC recipient who fought in both World Wars. Wise leadership starts with ourselves and those on the Programme brought a richness of experience and insight that I could not have anticipated.

It was windy by the soldiers grave but the rain stayed away which got us talking about our own experiences with those that have gone; and what the limited time on the planet means for all of us.

We need to ensure that what we want to do and be known for, we get on with.  Leadership can be developed and grown, from tactical, to strategic, to authentic and wise. Others watching rightly judge our leadership on what we do under pressure and in times of crisis. We saw that reflected with Air New Zealand 30 years ago. What we have seen recently is the company making amends.

Seeking understanding to build a platform for forgiveness cannot properly begin until an offending party acknowledges a wrong – as Air New Zealand has done.

This recipient of the VC from action in France in 1918 had certainly shown leadership.  We could see that in his story. Was it just because of where he was? Probably in part, but would everybody be ready to lead in the circumstances he found himself in? I’d say no.

So what will our legacy be? It will be partially built already but that most important moment might be from what comes up tomorrow, or next week or next year. Who knows. So we need to be ready with our Ethical Compass strong, our mind and body resilient and an ability to be Present at just the moment we need it.


A one-day weekend

It’s 1.00am on Saturday morning at Apia International Airport waiting for the departure of my flight at 2.00am.  To be more precise, the plane from NZ needs to arrive first, before it can think about turning about and going back. Half the departure lounge has emptied out for the other airline and it’s a hot, tired bunch of people waiting in the humidity here.

I arrive back at 5.00am on Sunday morning so pay back for my three-day weekend – I only get a one day one and then we start our Wisdom Retreat for Senior Leaders at midday. So it’s all work and no play for me right now.

Speaking of all play 59 years of marriage my parents celebrated Saturday.  A fine achievement!

It’s a very friendly place Samoa – well that’s been my experience this week – the pace is slow, the driving is excruciatingly slow at times: Island time is alive and well.

I got to know a couple of taxi drivers who would take me to dinner and then return, worrying about payment on the return visit – Mapu and Snoob. Last night Snoob’s, wife was in the car on way back from the Restaurant. She had just finished work.

Boarding soon. I’ve enjoyed the week, the training went well, this Palangi was treated very well and I hope I’ll be back. But I like home more – and that’s how it should be I reckon!