I am not certain we will go back to the same level of lockdown this time, but the evidence strongly suggests to me that we will, so (sorry parents) schools will not make it to the end of this term without having to close, plus pubs and other gathering places may be closed again before Christmas. This time the psychological impact will be worse, as there will be less hope there of it being lifted or even eased for months to come.
What do I recommend?Prepare for worse, then hope for better. The alternative is to be under-prepared. I know which I’d rather plan for.
In that preparation, consider what I call “Proactive Resilience”. Do everything you can to be prepared and strong (physically, mentally, emotionally, financially and more) in advance of things getting worse.
Well, within days from that post we started to see this come to life, yet most people I talk to still say: “yes, but we won’t go back into lockdown like we did in March”. Do read that post where I talk about our bias to the positive and to the status quo.
Today, though, simply suggesting you make “Proactive Resilience” list to carry you through a potential lockdown winter. Write it down and focus, yes, on logistics and similar essentials (hopefully we won’t have such panic buying again!), but my focus for you is on the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing side. A few examples from my list:
Start each morning with a five-minute “body scan” meditation
If I can’t see my Pilates trainer for a full workout as I am doing now, take the “Pilates at home” mat workout notes she gave to me and make doing a short mat workout part of the daily routine
Reinstate the routine we created in March for several months of a daily check in Zoom with my sons
What might be on your list? Like a Hurricane plan when I lived in Cayman, you may not need it, but there is value in, proactively, making one.
What is Wisdom? In this moment I am focussed on the feeling of receiving wisdom:
Something concise that, when you hear it, you feel you always knew it.
This week I was talking to my friend and collaborator, the brilliant Alan Wick (at AlanWick.com), who is indeed sage and wise. At one point we talked about those moments when you hear something that lands for you so strongly that, once you heard someone voice it to you, it feels like you always knew it to be true.
The same can occur in reading a passage of writing, listening to a song lyric, seeing a piece of art for the first time.
What resonated for me in talking to Alan, though, was the power of listening deeply to someone (something he and I both have the privilege of doing for our clients), then sensing an insight come forward from that and then voicing it.
When such moments land for the client in the way I have described, it really does give everyone goosebumps. In writing this I do feel such a sense of privilege, also reflecting that I have been in receipt of such insights on many occasions so giving thanks for all the wise men and women in my life past and present.
“Innovation is doing different things and doing things differently”
Innovation is simple, as I wrote about here with this definition.
How much do you think it would cost a company to be the main shirt sponsor of the very top football clubs in the world? In excess of $50,000,000 per year. Gulp.
How about the same for a team in the lowest league in professional football in England, League Two? What about the worst performing teams in that league? At the very most this would cost $50,000, or 1/1000th of that of sponsoring Manchester United or FC Barcelona.
Hmmm.. someone thought two years ago, but what about FIFA online?
Today I have an amazing story to share around innovation at the intersection of the offline world (in this case football in the real world) and the online world (in this case the FIFA game).
I live in London where many urban roads have had their speed limit dropped to 20mph from 30mph. London is also often clogged with traffic, with average journey speeds only ~10mph. As a cyclist, I ride around 18mph.
As I write this so many of us around the world are facing the second wave of the pandemic. In the Northern Hemisphere this is also at a time when the days are growing shorter and colder. To paraphrase Game of Thrones, winter is coming, with an added layer of pandemic lockdown.
My thoughts go to the fact that we cannot travel, we can, in many countries and regions, not even visit other households, including family.
I feel the need, for myself and in support of others, to look for tools and ways to stay positive and thrive through this time.
So, if we cannot make actual journeys, part of what can carry us through is an inward journey, so that gives me some thoughts and ideas to share that may be of support to you now and in the coming months.
Today not What Comes Next, but Who Comes Next, as I’m excited to share with you our latest guest list update for #WhatComesNextLive
First of all though, later today my guest is my dear friend, the mighty Marla Dukharan, she likkle, but she tallawah! All I can say beyond that is JUST WATCH!, you can be part of my live thirty-minute conversation with Marla at 17:00 UK time today, Tuesday 22nd September.
If you somehow miss watching live, you can watch later or subscribe to the podcast on your favourite platform at #WhatComesNextLive
So far we have had 11 shows, and now you can peruse the upcoming guests, with 11 more booked between now and 1st December. Do read their bios and visit their linked sites, then I hope you will be as excited as I am to hear from them soon!
What can you expect from who comes next? When I started the show I hoped for and received has been to be inspired by a wide variety of insights from diverse leaders.
What is absolutely consistent, too, is that being on the show has brought forward, each time, clear and rich conversations and insights for and from each guest.
“Good, fast, cheap. Choose two.” is a well-known project management adage.
At the moment a topic I am focussed on is remodelling and redecorating homes. I’m looking at that for myself, as are other family and friends.
It has me musing about when getting things, say, 90% “good”, as opposed to when getting closer to 100% is the right choice.
As an example, if Covid-19 tests are only 90% accurate then that is an important gap between 90-100%, but sometimes getting colour choices in redecorating may be less vital that you get close to 100%, and similarly a real variance can occur in decisions of many kinds in business.
We make so many decisions all the time, sometimes we may not be aware of our choices, around “fast, good, cheap” and around how good is good enough.
Let’s explore this, then I ask you to seek to be aware of how good is good enough for your own project management decision-making.
Earlier this week I wrote: “Fall in love more“, encouraging us all to focus more on love and appreciation as a way to then be someone who is and leads from that energy, enabling qualities such as Trust, Empathy, Understanding, Passion, Excitement, Happiness, Abundance.
Well, later that sam evening I was listening to random music and up came the live version of “Tunnel of Love” by Dire Straits, a song they used as the closer to their concerts, with an extended jam led by their sublime lead guitarist, Mark Knopfler (who also wrote the soundtrack to my favourite movie, Local Hero).
The main song is very much a pop song, then about nine minutes in the pace suddenly changes to something rich, slow, emotive, before building that emotion and intensity more and more to the beautiful end.
“girl it looks so pretty to me, like it always did. Oh, like the Spanish city to me, when we were kids..”
Gets me every time… sigh. It always is so uplifting to me, and that evening I fell in love with it even more.
Here it is, starting just before that moment of mood change at 9 minutes in:
I’m a very positive and optimistic person, but always grounded in empirical evidence and pragmatism.
Today, a tough message, a simple recommendation for you personally and in your leadership of others.
Prepare for things getting worse, then hope for better
On 8th March 2020 I posted “Act Now“, one of a few people who were at shouting from the rooftops the need to act immediately to lockdown the UK, yet we all now know that the UK Government delaying this to 23rd March cost many thousand lives and enormous economic damage, as well as lasting mental health and other impacts.
I think we are heading for another lockdown, are you ready?
“People should fall in love more. Fall in love with the way your coffee swirls as soon as you pour the milk in. Fall in love with the look your dog gives you when you wake up… Fall in love with the person who tells you to have a good day… Fall in love with sweaters in winter and cold lemonade in summer. Fall in love with the moment your head hits the pillow. Fall in love with talking to someone until 4 a.m… Fall in love with the stars when they look at you. Fall in love with the sound of someone breathing… Fall in love with everything possible.”
Earlier this week on the latest #WhatComesNextLive, I had the privilege of interviewing Gregg Parini, a 34th-year head coach of a leading University Swimming and Diving programme. When I asked him about his core values, he told me them, then that it really all comes down to one word. Love.
I told him that Love is a word we don’t hear enough of in business, so it was refreshing to hear it from him as a leader. Perhaps it takes bravery to talk so openly about such an emotion, yet leadership is all about bravery in different forms, leading from the front, by example.
“the whole purpose of life has been to pass on what was learned. There is no higher purpose”
Morgan Freeman’s character explaining what to do to Lucy in the movie of that name
Yesterday I was inspired by my guest on #WhatComesNextLive, Gregg Parini. Gregg is in his 34th year as head coach of Denison University Swimming and Diving. Take the time, please, to visit the links above and either watch the show or listen on the podcast links.
He is truly passionate about his work, intellectually curious. More than any of this, he brings a core value of love to all he does, supporting his athletes not only on a four-year journey but in creating the foundations for the next forty years.
As we spoke, I was reminded once again of my greatest mentor, Ed Percival and how he and I, both movie lovers, shared a favourite movie and favourite scene. The movie is called Lucy, the favourite scene leads to the quote above. Ed’s lasting legacy is what he shared with others in so many ways. There can be no higher purpose than to pass on what we learn.
#WFA (Work From Anywhere) absolutely includes working “at the office” as well as at home, “anywhere” includes those places. The distinction I seek to make is that once employers and employees fully embrace the concept of empowering and enabling working where we do our best work (wherever that is and whether with human face to face contact or not), then entire paradigms of work and place will change.
Are you a leader making decisions about where your people work from? From what I’ve expressed in the quote above and earlier posts, do you believe in #WFA? If you are at least open to considering #WFA as your core context and driver for making such decisions, then my advice today is simple.
Ask your people about #WFA
Further, ask them lots of questions at different levels. #WFA is about a “both/and” conversation, ask open and expansive questions (not”are you ready to come back to the office Y/N” as I have seen!) from a place of curiosity, every human is different and has different needs.
Once you have openly and curiously asked a set of questions, only then design and create a framework with boundaries as well as flexibility, through which you build back better to a way of working that is best for the company and works for each individual. Some example questions:
What work do you do best from the office ? from home?
What would you like to keep from the time working from home?
What do you feel has been missing (and that you would like to have again) from your work by not being in the office?
To what level do you feel you want/need to be around people while you work? (give a scale for the introverts/ambiverts/extraverts to measure this)
To what extent/frequency do you feel would work best for you and in your role in terms of balancing working from home or coming to the office ? (give multiple options here and also encourage open answers under “other”
These are off the top of my head. The key here is to model #OpenLeadership in the way you approach this, to Be Brave, Hungry, Open, Humble. Ask your people what they want and need, then (and only then) create a flexible model that works for your business, your organisation.
Yesterday my Saturday musing was on Shoshin, of having an innocent or beginner’s mind. Today, Sunday morning, I have been slowly reading some more of a recently published biography of John Martyn. I first discovered his music in my late teens, that time of innocence and exploration, including immersing myself in music. To this day he is my favourite musician.
Through my late teens and early 20s I saw him play many times, as well as seeing him quite often in my local pub (yes, he lived close by). However, the more I saw him play and the more I met him, I realised, from a distance (and, it seems, everyone was really at a distance from the real John, even John) that the innocence of his music was in conflict with the man he was. A phrase I often use in leadership is:
Business is Simple, People are Complex
John Martyn’s music is simple, listening to it touches my heartstrings. John Martyn the man was complex. Truly.
Graeme Thomson’s book really explores this, is essential to any aficionado of the man and his music. You may also enjoy it as a way of understanding the complexity and conflict often found in the truly world-class in any field, where there focus and obsession often comes at the expense of other areas of their life and even those around them and those they love.
I am reading the book slowly, emotions of joy and sorry, happiness and anger among those flowing as I read, all the while accompanied by his music. A few suggestions are Small Hours, One World (see below), Solid Air, Johnny Too Bad, May You Never, Sweet Little Mystery.