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 three-day weekend

If you travel to Samoa from New Zealand you travel back in time – 23 hours at the moment to be precise – and if like I did last Sunday evening, you travel on Sunday evening you get two Sundays. Which from what I could see if you were local, means that you would spend two days in a row going to church and I imagine, having quiet family time. The missionary colonialists could not have imagined such success to convert the locals to Christianity. It would appear as a miracle beyond their wildest expectations. In my hotel two of the six channels available were showing local church services.

A Samoan waterfront run

When Monday arrived the deserted town of Apia surged into life with uniformed police maintaining or watching – I couldn’t tell – traffic flowing in this busy harbour-side town. I found coffee too – at the curiously named Sydney Side Cafe – and everyone I spoke to commented how hot it was. Really? We are in the tropics man. Am I the only one that knows that?


I’ve been warned when I start my training delivery tomorrow that they might only want to talk about the Rugby World Cup. That’ll be okay – Manu Samoa did their nation proud, give or take a tweet or three but who really cares? I’ve had a couple of jogs to get the muscles moving after the Auckland Marathon. I haven’t seen anyone else out running and if I lived here I’d start a running group – there’s a lovely waterfront that looks like it stretches well out of the town that would be good for out and backs. I’ve been here before, a few years ago and there are some new buildings and they now drive most of the time on the left side of the road (airport transfers in the middle of the night excepted!).


Samoa is moving forward on 29 December 2011 – by a whole day to align its time to New Zealand – that would be a great opportunity to say to the world that it’s moving forward in a number of other ways too. The work I’m doing here is in a very small way part of Samoa up-skilling itself for wealth prosperity and dare I say it, happiness. Not sure about that part as everyone I see seems pretty happy with their lot.

People seem pretty happy at the hotel though like other Pacific nations I’ve been through, I can see from my runs around Apia that the Hotel is not like the locals live at all. There were families out walking this evening, raw smoke from open fires and the next generation of Rugby players mucking around by the harbour with shirts off. All in all pretty laid back and easy feeling.

We drive ourselves pretty hard most of the time – well I feel I do – and there’s rewards and satisfaction from achievement and goal setting. Happy though? It’s a very difficult thing to measure by observing such difference in societal norms. Maybe I’ll get a better sense in the morning when I interact at a more meaningful level with local professionals. And great food for thought at our Wisdom Retreat for Senior Leaders starting the day I return.

Looking forward. And if you want your three day weekend, you’ve only go about 6 weeks to do it.


ps I’m back after RWC2011, Auckland Marathon and some manic work commitments!