Leading 2011

New Zealand leads the world in at least one thing. Time. So let’s get a jump on the rest of the world each morning in 2011 and show them we can be authentic and lead in what really matters for our communities and organisations in 2011.

What really matters to you? Are you authentic enough to do something about it?

Happy 2011 (and for me it’s time to say it “twenty eleven”, not that other way!)

Stephen

Take your time

It’s a crazy time of the year – hot, wet today, busy, traffic is mad. And all the time our planet is hurtling through space at 1m km/h (that’s the relative speed of earth around the sun and our galaxy through our universe I think but I digress!). It’s been a busy couple of weeks. After 12 years of waiting, my son Tim had a replacement cornea graft which is promising for his vision. I was surprised how emotional I felt when he went into surgery. It’s been a long time, or felt it, waiting for his eyes to be in good health for the procedure. Before and after the surgery I’ve been helping lead teams develop their charters and learn about themselves. Which takes time.

The charter is usually just the beginning, but it’s a really important beginning, setting the rules of engagement and developing a vision of what the team would like the future to look like. One exercise that was supposed to take 15 minutes yesterday with one group took an hour and a half. You might ask if that mattered? Well yes it did. It mattered a lot that the team went where it needed to, taking the time. At the end of the session, they said that this first part was the most valuable.

Management requires action. Leadership needs patience. We need both but the best actions are those that follow a patient time of leadership. Professor Charles McGhee, Tim’s masterful surgeon who espouses opportunity and optimism on each encounter knows about patience. He knew not to rush in. But when it was time, he showed the best action you could hope for.  Two hours of careful surgery and Tim’s new cornea was in situ. And all around was a medical team who worked as one, including a theatre nurse who was there for Tim in 1995.

Vision for vision.

Stephen

An afternoon with an artist

Tim and I drove north this morning.  145km to be exact and then back again. In-between we shared time with an artist who inspired and made us laugh. I hope we might have made him happy too. As well as snapper and fries we had Bob Dylan and deep stories that started to connect us.

Connecting at a level that matters. The world is overloaded with head and logic. Today it was heart. And that meant family, the good and the challenging. But realising that whatever, all is learning and growth.

Tim left with a special message of caring for his upcoming surgery. I left warm and content.

Even the road seemed peaceful going back. Uncle Stan was waiting for me when I got home. He seems peaceful.

So does Tim.

Thanks my new friend. It was an authentic day.

Stephen

 

Time and Space

It just seems like the other day that I wrote my last blog here – it’s not that long ago – 14 days to be precise, but some of the content seems decidedly out-of-date. The joys of politics. One day it’s incredibly important, now we can’t even remember what it’s about or why it mattered. Soon we’ll have a new super-city mayor. Let’s call him Mr B. Mr B will be in a hurry. You can see him now rushing around the region, shaking hands, promising this and that, smiling at babies. Time will be of the essence.

Three years from now he’ll be giving it another shot so the first two years will seem important. Build this, make that work, fix that. Where will we be? Probably working, enjoying our families, working out. I’ll be running still, I hope and reading lots of books. I’ll enter my sixth decade (that’s a frightening way to say you’ll be 50!).  If you start now, you could finish an MBA or some undergraduate degrees. You could learn to play the piano, learn to fly (no, not that, an aeroplane) or train to run a marathon. If I keep up doing this, I should have about 200 blog entries under the belt.

Quite a few new humans will be born and most of them will be walking by the time comes for Mr B. to put himself up for re-election. A few less of us will die and be remembered, mostly for a relatively short period by a relatively few number of people.

When I look back over the last three years, they’ve been big. Huge even. Maybe I should have taken up the violin again and learned to play it again. I watched the movie The Concert on Tuesday and pondered the thought, and that I still own my violin from decades ago. If I’d started three years ago, then I might be not too bad. But there was never time – family, work, running, movies, my house blah blah. If I started now, then I could play a tune for Mr B. next time around. Or the other Mr B. Or both even.

So time, yesterday it was David Garrett, this morning it’s Paul Henry, this afternoon Chris Carter and tomorrow it’ll be Mr B. Time will drag us through space while stuff goes on around us. The time will pass whatever we do. Where we are now is millions of miles from where we will be in three years. Will it feel different? Possibly not, the universe has lots of space that we can fit in ,and not feel it’s any different than the last space. So if we don’t notice the space, will we notice the time?

I hope so. In the time it took to read this blog you’re in a different space, hurtling through the universe. Look back in what you did in that space. Well actually thanks for spending it here. What about the space over the next three years. Infinite. Time too. Enjoy.

Stephen

Hey Santa, do you have the time?

As I write this Santa will be weaving his way around the suburbs delivering gifts to all the children and the children in us. It’s amazing how he finds the time.

This afternoon I visited someone in prison I know who is serving time for a teenage wrongdoing decades ago. It’s sad, but he’s strong and resilient and looking forward to having it all behind him.

It made me reflect about giving. What can you give to a prisoner? Actually, the only thing you can really give is your time. They’re not allowed anything else.

Strange thing that thing time. That’s what our kids want from us too, more than anything.

And so do all the people in our team. The leader with time. Quite simple really.

This evening I went to St Matthew’s in the City for the midnight carol service.   I don’t go to church but I do enjoy carols and I have discovered St Matthews as a place that embraces goodness and love – that’s good enough for me!  The church was packed. The organ was fantastic and my singing, well, what can I say? It sounded good on the inside!

We reflected at the service for a time on those who weren’t having a great year including those in prison. I don’t mind admitting I felt tearful.

But I know the most powerful gift I can give is time.  Giving also gives me strength and resilience.  That’s a pretty good bonus to keep.

Do you have the time?

I’m sure like Santa we can make some great time for everyone that matters.

Merry Christmas everyone.


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