Archive for July, 2011

Alternate Viewpoints

Saturday, July 30th, 2011

It has  been a week of ups and downs (“Yes… they still happen.”)  I guess that may not seem surprising, but what I found interesting is how my view of the same set of circumstances change completely according to my my outlook.  One day things seemed full of possibilities and one another those same doors seemed to be closed.  I suspect that the realities didn’t change at all during this period but that isn’t how it felt.  What struck me when I was reflecting on this, is that projects that I might have cheerfully embarked on one day seemed impossible a few days later.  It struck me that in a team, you have different people with differing viewpoints and they will all judge the opportunities and challenges before them from how they see them. 

It is fascinating how one’s frame-of-mind affects one’s view, but this is also true when working with different people.  The opportunities / challenges are the same but one’s willingness to grasp them, and ability to succeed, can be very strongly influenced by your viewpoint, which in turn maybe a feature of your mood or state on a given day.  We are told the value that differing views bring to the team but it is easier to understand their power when you notice how your own views can shift according to how you feel.  Perhaps paying attention to people’s states before making big decisions might pay off…

[ This picture is a famous example of how people can see the same thing differently, some see an old crone, and others a fashionable young one.]

Communication and Leadership Style

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

I was interviewed yesterday on this topic, with the basic thrust being “What are the different strategies & techniques that help you communicate with Leaders with different management styles?”  It was an interesting conversation, though I have to admit it runs slightly contrary to the way I view these things.  I said that if pushed to categorise leaders into different types, I felt there were broadly two different types, those who lead from the front and those who were more consensus orientated and needed to take people with them; the difference between “Follow me chaps!”  & “Let’s go gentlemen..” 

I suggested that one always needed to consider one’s audience in any communication, starting with where they were, what they needed and what you wished them to do.  You have to put yourself in their position and tailor your message to those things.  In other words, minimise the resistance between them & your message.  If you are dealing with someone with a strong ego, don’t use the word “I” a lot in your communication.  If you are dealing with someone who is very interested in consensus you might say something like “This might help us..”

The fact is that people are people regardless of their position and everyone has filters that can prevent your words being heard and the more you craft your message to avoid these filters the more likely you are to be heard.  You may like to consider that this applies equally to husbands, wives and recalcitrant children!

“You’re the air that I breathe”

Friday, July 8th, 2011

It has been 17 months now since Carys died, and of course many people miss so many things about her but life does go on and we are all making our ways, the best way we know how.  I have been hugely proud of my family and the way they have rallied round, each doing what they do best to help the rest of us; each of them assuming subtly different roles in the new pattern of our lives.

The days have taken on a new pattern of sorts and things work okay but the thing I realise that I really miss is the communication.  I know how important this is in business and every business I work with seems to have issues in this area.  No matter how well they do, their people want them to do better.  I am now learning that for me it is almost a need like eating or breathing.  I miss having someone to share the trivia with, those silly moments that catch your eye during a day.   Someone to share you thoughts with, someone to ask for their input, someone to share bits of what you are reading with.  What is strange is though is that none of these things matters individually, but some how they seem to be like drops of water

building up behind a dam. 

I know that modern life is lonely for many people, those who are old and have lost their partners, those who have moved with their work or are otherwise isolated, but living it is something else.  When I am communicating it is like breaking through the surface of the ocean and taking a lungful of air. 

Perhaps we all need to make a little greater effort to reach out to others and listen to them, and be available.  Sometimes a simple conversation can be a great gift.

A journey to somewhere….

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

I have been ‘off the air’ for a while as I wasn’t sure what I had to say that was noteworthy.  I have found myself in something of a holding pattern and feel like a passenger in transit.  Writing about waiting in the lounge watching departure boards click-over and drinking coffee seems like a waste of everyone’s time.  At times like this I bury myself in a book or otherwise disappear into myself waiting to be called.  Just to clarify, I haven’t been travelling, but I do feel I am in this kind of space, waiting for ‘my flight’ to be called.

I have commented before that Change has many faces and phases, and one of these is waiting and passive.  I freely confess it is one that I never mastered and don’t particularly relish.  There doesn’t feel any glamour or glory in waiting; and yet, I suspect it is one of the most challenging, especially for western males!  Yet, here I sit, in a state reminiscent of that old American joke “Sometimes I just sits and think, and sometimes… I just sits.”   I tell myself that I am confident that Godot will soon arrive, and all will then become clear, and in the meantime, like Candide, I tend my garden.  Some days are easier than others, some are more fun, but then some days the sun shines and sometimes it is just gloomy. 

I have been delighting in Liz Gilbert’s writing in “Eat, Pray, Love” and sharing her journey and maybe that inspired me to share a little of mine, unglamorous and incomplete as it is, in the hope that perhaps others might just recognise that we don’t all have Ms Gilberts style or stamina and some parts of the journey are a bit like a traffic jam on the M25.  Waiting is part of the process of arriving and we mustn’t beat ourselves up when we feel are not making any progress or seem to have no control.

To my fellow travellers, i wish you patience, good fortune and “Bon Voyage”