Cornwall Park was gifted to the people of New Zealand in 1901 by John Logan Campbell. It’s my favourite city park – and it doesn’t hurt that I’m within striking distance – for a good walk. I was there over the weekend after dark for a 10 kilometre loop out and back home.
Last year I attended a wonderful talk by the lead landscape architect, Thomas Woltz, engaged by the Park’s Trust Board, to oversee a 100 year transformation. Excitingly some of the projects are already underway. At the Manukau Road end of the Park, which I suspect many people don’t think of as an entrance to the Park, the statue and surrounds have been lovingly restored and invigorated.
From Manukau Road through to the Green Lane entrance past the sport’s grounds it’s a great route that I never tire of. Cornwall Park “proper” (my phrase) is full of mature trees, farmland, rock walls and Twin Oaks Drive. There’s nothing quite like it.
At night it’s completely unlit which is rare in the city and ideal for deep thought.
Watch out for sheep on night patrols though!
What better way to build resilience?
When Mary spoke at our PwC Fraud Academy event this morning she shared her personal experiences of “blowing the whistle” on her boss some years back. What struck me and others in the room was the very real and powerful effects on her.
At one level she simply did the right thing, having found evidence of invoicing fraud. But it was much more than this. The sense of disbelief – could my boss have really done this? The agony of not knowing who to trust. The suspicion that others might be involved. And the fear. Fear of consequences for herself – “maybe people will think I’m involved” – or at least culpable for not having picked it up, and the fear of what her boss might do.
As it turned out, after her boss was confronted by senior management she was confronted by him: “What have you done? They’re accusing me of all manner of things“.
Nasty stuff and not things we hope we’ll ever face in the workplace.
Leaders will typically prepare for crisis events: spring into action for natural disasters and man-made events. Preparing ourselves for confronting the worst aspects of the human condition requires drawing on our innermost resources and life experiences.
Mary left and we wrapped up the session with a few words about the importance of transparent and visible whistleblower services.
As our audience left one woman came up to me and asked me to ensure that we properly thanked Mary for her bravery “I just wanted to hug her” she said.
When Mum and Dad were married, the end of WWII was just seven years earlier. That’s like it had ended at the end of 2011, looking back from now. Or, if we look at the Armistice for WWI, the 100th year of which we commemorated yesterday, that was thirty-four years prior, say 1984 from today’s lens.
Photographs from that era were all black and white and the first one included in this blog is the “meet the parents” trip taken outside 125 Queen Street, Auckland. Until recently this was the Bank of New Zealand building, the bank that Mum and Dad have been with for all that time! (although I’m pretty sure Mum has some funds hidden away elsewhere). The photograph was taken by a street photographer and collected from the store an hour or so later on payment of a small fee.
It’s tempting to look at a long marriage as a specific time period and consider it a great achievement (which it is), or a good effort (perhaps like a prison sentence – “hey it’s more than David Bain did and he was innocent!”), or assume what is there today is what was there all along.
Here’s the wedding day – them on the right with one of Dad’s brothers as best man with the bridesmaid.
Unlike the photographs it’s not all black and white. Mum and Dad are quite colourful actually – check out the recent photograph below. They’re parents, grandparents, great grandparents, brother and sister, uncle, aunty, cousin and friends to many.
So on this day it’s a celebration of a couple who have lived together as an example of love, persistence, humour, faith and actually, the most important thing of all: just doing good. Some of that even washed onto me!
Nice. Congratulations. You’re a legendary couple.
ps 66 years!
There’s a lot going on at work right now. Probably too much and I’m sure the team agrees.
So when I booked an afternoon in another city to work and connect with others it seemed a good idea, but not so good this morning.
Nowadays a lot of work can be done anywhere – have laptop and phone – location matters less and less (more on this another day).
After a conference call which sounded like an echo chamber in the airport lounge, I was off. The man next to me was reading the flight manual for the Boeing 777. Maybe he should have had the aisle seat.
The air was crisp and the sky blue on arrival. Bluer (is that a word?) than home. It felt quite productive for me although I may have fired off one or two many emails with ideas, thoughts and instructions.
Then some conversations. Different conversations giving me a different lens on issues and challenges.
When I boarded I realised I had just slightly more perspective than yesterday. A different place, different views on a vexing issue, and some introverted thinking time. I needed that. You might too.
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
It’s a stunning landscape, a farm, wilderness, mountains, gorges, pylons and plains. No one lives there aside from the DOC Officers and others managing the 180,000 hectare farm, New Zealand’s largest. The Pylons carry the inter-island high voltage power cables.
There’s no cellphone coverage and you’re on your own. Driving through this summer was exhilarating and a far cry from the sealed expressways and highways.
Getting away and refreshing during a break takes many forms and each of us has a special place, time or experience that on occasion give us the means to see life with a different perspective. Sometimes it’s a slow burn – a fortnight at the beach – or an overseas holiday in a different culture. Other times it can be a short sharp contrast in an environment that is truly awesome.
Like Molesworth. A new perspective for a new year.
But be careful you don’t get a puncture, although that’s another story for another day!
Happy new year.
ps we’re running a session at PwC “Managing Stress and In the Grip Behaviours with MBTI” on 11 April in Wellington and 18 April in Auckland.
The end of the year is close. Feels like it can’t happen soon enough. I’m getting tired and I think lots of us are. A long winter, work pressures and lots going on including for me a house on the market (can’t skip making the bed!).
We had a taster on resilience at work recently. Physical health, mindfulness and seeking help were some of the key messages.
Coming home this evening a sudden shower on the bike. By the time I got to the Waterview Tunnels I was quite wet, although it was warm. The tunnel was a respite from the rain. 2.8km of dry, I imagined I was on the Autostrada in northern Italy (although I wasn’t riding quite fast enough!) driving from Avignon to Florence – tunnel after tunnel.
Mindfulness is a valuable practice. It can help us to manage anxiety, achieve tasks and lead to a greater sense of worth and contentment.
Add a bit of “Golden Age thinking” to your repertoire I reckon. A kind of mindfulness about pleasant experiences in the past.
The moments in the tunnel on the Autostrada led me to a walk after the rain – reminiscing about Paris and my favourite film, Midnight in Paris.
Didn’t feel so tired afterwards.