My Writing

My Writing

I get my best ideas from listening to people. Fortunately, that’s my job.

I like to say that people are my library, and my daily writing practice is a way to discover what’s in it: new ideas, inspiration, wisdom, and a little whimsy for good measure.  As your humble librarian I invite you to check out a new idea every day. No late fees ever.

Enjoy…

Noticing beauty

noticing beauty

A theme building on this site is the power of Beauty.

Today, a contribution from Kay Scorah, which has me musing on beauty and how it links with the power of noticing. (more…)

Smashing Paradigms – Running a two-hour marathon

Berlin Marathon

For the first months of daily writing on this site, I wrote around the theme of “Smashing Paradigms” each Friday, with many written on that theme you can now explore.  I began each one with;

For my story-telling explanation of the definition of a Paradigm, see “What is a Paradigm“. 

One way of defining a paradigm is “we’ve always done it this way”

Today I’m inspired by Eliud Kipchoge, who on September 17, 2018 utterly obliterated the marathon world record, so have come back to the theme of Smashing Paradigms and will share some ideas and thoughts for leaders. (more…)

Looking for a coach? Questions to ask them first

question-mark

Are you considering investing in a coach for yourself, and/or for members of your team?

If so, how are you going about selecting them? Are you thinking beyond simply going to a large coaching company or association and hiring one of their qualified coaches?

After all, as they used to say in the 80s around buying computing systems, “nobody gets fired for buying “Big Blue” {IBM}”, and, more currently, it seems that the safe option on the external audit is (almost) always to hire one of the Big4.

Coaching is very personal, so I’d recommend you look beyond “ticking the box” with the “safe option” in that way.

Interestingly, recently I was pointed towards a great article that was actually written by a coach training company on “15 signs a coach can deliver what they claim“.

As one might expect such a company, the article was prefaced with: “In theory, the first sign should be a qualification”, However, they then they go on to note how, though they offer three different formal qualifications, the secret is in their method for training. After that, they then finish the preface to their article with:  “So if qualifications aren’t the clearest indicator of an effective coach, what should you look for?”.

“So if qualifications aren’t the clearest indicator of an effective coach,

what should you look for?”

Great question.

Today, then, I’ll discuss that. Then, before reposting their article (which is full of excellent qualitative measures to consider), I will offer you a few questions to ask of a prospective coach that way cut to the chase for you. (more…)

Salve Corpus Amanti – what does inspire leaders?

salve corpus amanti mitchell

Vision is not Leadership and Leadership is not Vision, but they are linked. Leadership is about taking people with you on a journey, and it requires commitment, bravery and belief in the vision.

As I write this today, someone I know is being attacked via the national media in the UK by a minority group within their organisation. As I see it, this leader is taking people with them on a journey to achieve a powerful vision not only for their organisation but, through achieving that vision, for society. That minority are fearful of such a transformative change.

I don’t know this leader that well, however, a) I believe this will simply have them be ever more dedicated to their sense of purpose, and b) it set me to pondering what creates such drive, passion, commitment to such a level of visionary change?

After I messaged with this friend I then picked up Alan Moore’s exquisite book “Do/Design – Why beauty is key to everything” (see here for my post) and opened the page to learn about the term Salva Corpus Amanti.

This opened up themes for me around what inspires leaders, taken from learnings from the profound shifts experienced by astronauts when they first saw the Earth from space. (more…)

Masters practice incessantly, then improvise

oscar peterson

This week I was at my favourite recurring learning experience, a “Facilitation Shindig” led by the amazing Julie Drybrough.

This experience inspired today’s post, about Mastery being about the ability to improvise and that ability coming from incessant practice.

Though hesitant to call me or anyone else a “master”, the common ground for all present is that we are experienced coaches/mentors/facilitators and come together for a full day to deepen our practice, or, as Julie has put it, “rattle our foundations”.

At our latest shindig, one thing we talked about was about how little or how much we plan and structure before we run a session for a group. What came forth from this for me was that, though we all have different styles, what we had in common was that in fact, we learn, prepare, plan, structure in detail (in our own way), so that we can then “flow”, we can improvise.

As Debussy said (and I reflected on in “Less is more – leave space“:

“Music is the space between the notes”

In your leadership, when the critical, key moments occur, the “moments of truth”, do you need to think about what to do? Do you need to plan, to structure, or do you simply “flow”, as if everything in all your experience readied you for the moment.

Today, then, let me reflect on “Flow”, on my favourite athlete, and finally on my all-time favourite jazz moment.  (more…)

Leadership, vulnerability and how to apologise

tory-blog-sorry

In “Good to Great“, Jim Collins talks of five levels of leadership, the highest being Level 5.

Level 5 leaders have all that it takes to be at the first four levels, but in addition, have a unique blend of humility and indomitable will.

My writing at this site is aimed at leaders either at Level 5 and seeking to keep growing, or truly hungry for being at or beyond Level 5 and committed to the path.

You’ll, therefore, see post after post talking about self-leadership, vulnerability, awareness, empathy, listening and more.

As Socrates said “Know Yourself”, or, more humorously “Be yourself..everyone else is already taken!”

So, today some simple tips on apologies from leaders. (more…)

Organisational Transformations – dropping pebbles

pebble pond

The #BeMoreYou page on this site is there to help leaders assess if I am the right person to support them and if they are the right person too. Words like bravery and transformation are peppered through the site, and this phrase from the page is apposite to today’s post: “My commitment is that our work together will facilitate the greatest possible impact for you, your business, and the world.”.

In my work, many of my clients over the years have been leaders of large organisations and they bring me in to support them with transformational change, to amplify their own already high impact, to put an even greater dent in the universe, so to speak.

Today I’ll share an excerpt from a recent article on transformational change I found valuable in an understanding of just what it takes to move from idea to execution of transformation.

In this, I’ll also distil some of my thoughts around the themes in the article, including how you can create a conversation around “dropping pebbles” to create an effective strategy to effect “complex contagion” and so real transformation throughout the organisation. (more…)

Simple and joyful – Fisherman’s Blues

waterboys live

The Waterboys – doing what they do!

I’ve written many posts on this site around the theme of Movies with Meaning, I’ve written about nature, architecture and more, as there are so many areas of life that inspire and that I truly feel are critical to our wellbeing, knowledge, inspiration and more.

Yes, this is a site and writings focussed around the theme of #OpenLeadership, so why all of this? Simple. To distil the teaching of Socrates to two words, “Know Yourself”. What drives us,  what motivates us, what teaches us. All of these are critical to the self-leadership we need if we are to be leaders to others at any level.

So, I recognise I don’t write that much about music, yet music is so intrinsic to me and to my life in many and eclectic ways. (more…)

Context and choosing your team

dream big get shit down

Am working on building a tribe to work on a brave and different project that looks at business and leadership through the lens of beauty.

Thanks to Susan Aktemel for posting this on Twitter the other day. I saw Susan speak at the Entrepreneurial Summit at Gleneagles this past April and her passion and purpose for business with purpose was inspiring!

The diagramme also gives me an opportunity here to share a learning. (more…)

Beautiful Leadership – Shining Eyes

ben zander ted

You can see from the front pages of this site that I look to work with visionary leaders to see beyond their vision, to “work with them to bring out their unique gifts.”

Benjamin Zander is a legendary classical music conductor, he sees his role as “to awaken possibility in other people” and he knows he is being successful in this when he sees their eyes shining. To him, “success is not about wealth and fame and power. It’s about how many shining eyes I have around me.

Read on for Ben Zander’s amazing TED talk and no how I see that link to my focus on Beautiful Leadership. (more…)

Profitable, difficult or important

children important work

Is being a parent Profitable? No. Is being a parent Difficult? Sometimes, sure. Is being a parent Important? Absolutely. To me, it is the most important and valuable work I’ve ever or will ever do.

As I write this post the last of my three sons has headed out of London, ending a summer where I got to spend so much time with them all. Two of them are already “fully-fledged”, the third trying out his wings, so who knows when I will have so much time with them again. My reflection on that, then is on how important time spend with our children is.

Why, though, today’s title and thoughts around “Profitable, difficult or important” though?

Well, this came from a post this week from the man who, nearly a year ago, inspired me to commit to posting daily. First was the commitment to make it a habit, then the habit became embedded, now I simply write. I am a writer.

Writing is something I do not because it is profitable, nor do I find it difficult. I do, however, find it to be important, both for me as a human to share what I learn and also from reflections from others on the difference it has made for them. If I can touch one person with what I write, it is important to me.

So, the post title here comes from the man himself, Seth Godin, and today I give you his post this week: (more…)