Back to Tintin for breakfast

Back to Tintin for breakfast

I caught up with a relative over brunch on Saturday. It was a meandering chat over porridge and coffee.

We talked about family, fashion, housing, Tintin and some reminiscing of times long past.

I’m not sure how we got onto Tintin, but we reminded ourselves that he was ageless – stayed the same over decades of stories – but the stories moved with the times.

There are lots of connections between the stories. Obvious ones that are one story in two books like Destination Moon followed by Explorers on the Moon. Others are not so direct: The Crab with the Golden Claws and The Blue Lotus, about drug runners.

Tintin is one of the first books I can remember. I borrowed them from the Christchurch Public Library, in the old brick building that once housed the Library on Cambridge Terrace near Hereford Street.

The stories are rich in meaning, thoroughly researched with events of the time depicted – fascist Europe in King Ottokar’s Sceptre – and beautifully drawn. I love the trains, cars, boats and outsize characters and never tire of reading the 62 pages in each story one more time.

My personal favourite is The Crab with the Golden Claws, a classic detective story, and where Tintin first meets Captain Haddock.

I could talk all day about Tintin. It’s been a life-long pleasure.

He’s a great investigator with a cool head and a sense of adventure like no one else.

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Timeless, just like all good stories.

Stephen

 

Is it management or leadership?

I facilitated a public session this week – Management vs. Leadership – for a diverse group including senior leaders and young women and men just starting out in their leadership roles.

We discussed what Management involved as compared to Leadership. Then we focussed on developing our authenticity through story-telling. We all have a leadership story and each participant made a start on a leadership story that I hope they can use in the future.

The clear message that came through was that most people understand the differences between management and leadership.  Words and phrases used to describe management included “ensuring deadlines are met”, “directing”, “controlling” and for leadership “inspiring”, getting others to achieve” and “future focussed”.

The exciting thing was that both senior and younger leaders understood it in much the same way.

Knowing when you need to manage and when you need to lead is the big challenge. That’s often decided (or not) in the moment.  Unless we’ve given it some deliberate thought we can quickly find ourselves inappropriately directing, when a coaching style of enquiry to team member could provide the best impetus to get the job done.

Discouraging atmosphere in the workplaceWe’ll be repeating the session in Wellington this coming week and I’m looking forward to see what the second group comes up with.

Stephen

Winning with a story of history

After the All Blacks won today’s Rugby World Cup Final there was the usual (and more) interviews with players and coaching staff. All talked of a great group of men and of playing for each other. The opposition was acknowledged.  Team-mates were acknowledged first: when Ma’a Nonu was asked about his brilliant individual Try his response was that he got a great pass from Sonny (Bill Williams).

In those answers you got a glimpse of the team culture that is about each other and not about individual heroics, although there were plenty today!

What also come through was referencing back to history. Richie McCaw referenced the 2011 tournament and what they had done to build from that. Others including Dan Carter did too.

It was a privilege to be at RWC2015
It was a privilege to be at RWC2015

It seemed to me that to make history, this team planned it from an historical moment in 2011 and drew strength, insights and learnings from that and other experiences in the past. Using Story-telling at its best and most effective I reckon.

You might not make a Rugby-mad public excited as it was today, but what can your stories do for you and your team?

Check out that link for quick tips on developing your own story.

Stephen

 

Expecting the same

The definition of insanity is expecting a different result by doing the same each time. Or so said a business associate of mine when discussing some contracts she is involved with. It was the movies again last night for me:  Larry Crowne was a lifer at Umart who was sacked because his lack of college education meant that there was no prospect of promotion. Larry went off to university in an effort to make a step change in his life. He found a girl and you can guess what happened.

Not everyone likes a step change.  Some people want gradual change  and believe that step changes, especially if the team make-up changes dramatically, do more harm than good in the end.

Larry had originally trained as a navy chef and started courses in economics and in public speaking to make his step change. As the public speaking course progressed it looked more and more like story-telling (sorry but can’t resist putting a plug in for our brand new website at CIL!). Larry wanted to make a change by gaining a university education. In the end the biggest change he made was the people he met. And in the process he discovered that he didn’t need any theory about public speaking – all he needed was to unlock the authentic story of his life. All of that was a big step change.

The thing about change is that we never really know what the end result will be – what we do know is that when it’s started it won’t be the same again – which for Larry Crowne was the main thing.

Do you want a different result? Then you need to do something different, sometimes we won’t even know where it will end and the most important thing is that change has begun. I quite like the concept of a change from a burning platform. There’s a saying that you have one month to make a change for a significant life event. Unless you want the same, go for it!

Although it’s a predicable feel good movie, it’s funny and off the wall in places. I enjoyed it.

Stephen