Tag: Share Learnings

Outdoor Storytelling


Over the last year, as part of the English-based school curriculum in his school in the Cayman Islands, my 14-year-old son has been studying WW2 history, and specifically the D-Day landings. Last week I took him and his brothers there to learn more. I chose a tour with Dale Booth, who has a self-avowed “insatiable hunger for, knowledge of both the D Day landings and the many inland battles of Normandy“.

In our full day with Dale, he took us to a number of sites from the D-Day landings, and at each point stopped and shared the history.

The photo above is of Dale explaining to a group about the “widerstandnesten”, the “resistance nests” of multi-layered fortifications that the German army built and put in pace, some as long as 700m along the beachfront and including artillery batteries, machine gun nests, and of course barbed wire and mines.

It was a powerful experience for Dale to stand on Sword Beach with us explaining about the widerstandnesten. As with the photo above, he told this story while drawing a map of the fortifications with a stick in the sand. He then brought out his ever-present large scale folder of photos, showing us using landmarks such as house and sea walls photos of the invasion day etc.

As if that experience were not experiential and visceral enough, what was even more powerful was that at each location he told individual stories, in depth, of soliders, pilots, even a paratrooper dog.

Just before I wrote this, I asked my 14 year old son for his most memorable experiences of the summer. High on his list was learning about history outdoors, with stories. He then mused “my school should do this at least one week a month”.

Dale Booth is a master and my boys and I will always remember such experiential learning, it is embedded.

Outdoor storytelling.

Where could you use it in your leadership and for your organisation? (more…)

Elite Lessons – Consistency over Innovation

ride as much eddie merckx

This photo of and quote from the great Eddy Merckx hangs in a frame behind the spinning instructor’s bike at Revolutions in the Cayman Islands.

As I sit writing on a wet Sunday morning nursing a sore Achilles tendon, I’m missing my regular Sunday morning ride and would love to have got out on the bike, even on a wet day. After all, cyclists say “there is no bad weather, only bad clothing!”.

I’m also reminded of this Merckx quote, and, quite sometime after I left Cayman for London, today I will reflect on the lessons I learned from spinning at Revolutions and from that thought from Merckx and distil this to one thought on the value (in the right circumstances) of consistency over innovation.


Only enough Structure to allow Flow

“Only enough Structure to allow Flow”

This is a personal mantra for me now and is the reason why the two photos above could happen.

I used to be known to plan life with great detail, packing the diary days, weeks, months and even years in advance. I also stuck rigidly to whatever was planned. Would you believe that until 2017 I had never cancelled or changed a trip plan ? Truly.

So, I chose to change that approach, and it created the two magic moments above. (more…)

Can Business be Beautiful and Profitable?


This image was embedded in the award given to each member of a seminal Leadership Growth Programme. More in this article. Business can be Beautiful.

Today I share an excerpt from a post from Alan Moore of beautiful.business, featured recently in “Is yours, could yours be a Beautiful Business?“. In Alan’s post I share today he asks a question and gives wonderful examples to show that businesses can indeed be both beautiful and profitable. (more…)

Coaching? I do not think it means what you think it means.

i do not think that means princess bride

“You Keep Using That Word, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means”

~ Inigo Montoya, swordsman and revenge obsessive, from The Princess Bride

This month “Most Managers Don’t Know How to Coach People. But They Can Learn.” was published in Harvard Business Review, publishing the findings of a study that concluded:

“managers tend to think they’re coaching when they’re actually just telling their employees what to do”

I’ll distil the distinction to basics, then explain how one can address this major gap in the leadership of most organisations. (more…)

Be the CEO of your own Time and Energy

high performance

CEOs are responsible for the performance (and, one would hope they recognise) and the wellbeing of all the people in their team. Often, though, they do a poor job of supporting one key member of that team. Themselves.

So, as you are the CEO of your own time and energy, how often do you consider how well you support yourself and your own performance?

Today let me share with you some ideas and a story about the power of managing time and energy. I hope it has value for you for your own performance and personal happiness and fulfilment, it certainly did for the client in the story. (more…)

Is yours, could yours be a Beautiful Business?

Is yours a Beautiful Business? If not, could yours be a Beautiful Business?

If the question intrigues you read on, and if you connect to it at the end of this piece, let’s talk. Soon.

do design

Recently I was introduced to Alan Moore, founder of Beautiful.Business and writer of “Do/Design – Why Beauty is key to everything“. We had one of those wide-ranging conversations that sparked thoughts and ideas in many areas.

My over-riding takeaway from this first of, I hope, many meetings was:

Beauty brings Clarity

When we are in the presence of Beauty, of any kind, we simply know it, and that can bring such moments of clarity and take us out of our “monkey mind”, our need to “Do” rather than “Be”, to rationally process options and choices to a level where we often get lost in the content. (more…)

How clean are your communications?


image from a SlideShare deck from OneFish TwoFish called

“How to communicate values without telling people to ‘live the values’ “

So, yesterday I wrote: “Be rid of Brilliant Jerks“. I didn’t say “Fire your Brilliant Jerks”.

So, how can you be rid of brilliant jerks without firing them, particularly in this world where hiring and firing can be a minefield laden with so much employee legislation, policies, procedures, protocols?

My answer? Lead your organisation rigorously based on values (ie where values are not just words framed on a wall or on a website!), then brilliant jerks will leave of their own volition, you won’t need to fire them.

In fact, keep reading my daily posts, as I’m going to keep riffing around this as feel like I’m on a role, and coming soon will be a post on “no fire” policies and companies that have successfully put this at their core. (more…)

Be rid of Brilliant Jerks

rred hastings brilliant jerks

“Do not tolerate brilliant jerks. The cost to teamwork is too high.”
~ Reed Hastings, CEO, Netflix

The Netflix “Culture Deck”, updated in 2018 and hosted on their site prominently here , is full of gems of great clarity around the Netflix culture, including this one around “brilliant jerks”.  I do encourage all leaders to read this, as well as the original deck (you can find it here)

I’ve worked for many years around culture in business, with a primary and all too common gap being that culture is seen as “soft and fluffy”, whereas a values-based business, in fact, uses their culture as the toughest measure of all.

To use the Netflix culture quote above, again and again, I have had clients talk to me about a difficulty they are having with someone. They wring their hands as to whether or not to discipline or fire them.

Sometimes, no, often, the behaviour of the individual is way beyond unacceptable for the business culturally, but they are so valuable commercially that they “can’t” fire them.

In short, they are brilliant but they are jerks. What do to?

My simple advice to leaders? Let them know they cannot stay. (more…)

Solving problems by taking a walk


The other day, I felt inspired to write by my friend Morgan DaCosta coining the phrase:

“Coaching by Walking Around”

This was a “level up” from the idea of Management by Walking Around, part of the essence of which is to walk randomly around and be present to those working in the business and what is happening for them.

Reading this post, Bruce Peters, a regular contributor of inspiration for my writing (thank you too, sir!), wrote to me about the idea of:

Solvitur ambulando

Latin for “it is solved by walking”.

I wonder what problems we can solve by walking?

Recently I met someone for a morning coffee, then we took a long walk, and as we started the walk, we both suddenly realised that the conversation was different once we started walking.

I’ll give you three ideas today to begin, and what else would you add? (more…)

Live in the now to provide for the future

“Live in the now to provide for the future”

Exquisite. I love distilled beauty in writing, and gosh how much I love anything that can relate to leadership and business. This hits the mark on all levels for me!

People are my library, and today I am most thankful for learning this from longtime friend and client, Morgan Da Costa, who coined this phrase.

#OpenLeadership is about many things, but in summary is about BEING a Leader, not DOING leadership.

The more the Leader knows themselves and can then bring presence to every moment, the more powerful the opportunity for them to support their team as a leader.

Now, Morgan leads a family business that he is leading through brave transformation. This has been going on for several years and much has been going on within the business, like a caterpillar in a chrysalis readying to fly. Now the business is flying and all new areas and opportunities to lead are happening as revenues accelerate.

It would be so easy for Morgan to jump from one thing to the next as such rapid growth occurs, yet he has coined this phrase to anchor him.

“Live in the now to provide for the future” (more…)

Lessons from the analogue world – Slow Down

Thames bw aug9

Taken after a photo shoot, looking over the Thames to Temple.

London is such a city of both tradition and permanence as well as dynamism and growth.

Yesterday I had a wonderful experience with a highly creative photographer, Simon Edwards, as we walked around London and the banks of the River Thames so he could photograph me for an update to my website.

We simply walked and talked in a leisurely way and every so often he’d stop and take a few shots, with me often continuing the conversation rather than stopping and posing.

Reflecting on that experience, I took lessons from the value of slowing right down. (more…)

What do your actions say about your Leadership?

GV how you do anything

Fergus Conolly is the author of “Game Changer” and someone I follow closely around his learnings on elite performance across multiple sports. He recently shared an article from The Observer about Marcelo Bielsa, a legendary coach now leading the once great Leeds United. In Fergus’ tweet he highlighted a snippet from the article, referencing the manager being told that the average fan has to work three hours to pay for a ticket to a match:

“he told them that, for the next three hours, they would be picking up litter from around the club’s Thorp Arch training ground. He wanted them to learn a lesson; to appreciate how the fans laboured to fulfil their passion”

The short article is excellent and speaks volumes about actions both small and large that Bielsa insists on and that he has shown again and again with teams he has coached will turn into results on the football field. I then retweeted Fergus’ post with a favourite line:

“How you do anything is how you do everything” (more…)

Prepare, then throw away the script

Today a reflection of preparing in advance so that we can discard what we prepared.

I then share similar learnings from an interview with the director and writer of the latest Mission Impossible movie.

I love movies and recently watched this movie. It was terrific, and as the interviewer noted, somehow they have got better and better with the last three in the series. Why ? Part of the secret lies in that balance between planning and then discarding what was prepared.  (more…)

What is your original idea today?

In my role as an experienced coach supporting leaders to reach their peak, I’m highly focussed on limiting beliefs, choice of words, and also where language is phrased negatively rather than positively.

It is a little absurd then, that I have often used a certain phrase, and even written an article about it: “No such thing as an original idea“. As I put in that brief article:

“…I recognised that {a recent post} was, to use a musician’s analogy, a riff on a recurring theme, in this case: “less is more”. A favourite phrase of mine is “there is no such thing as an original idea”. I believe, though, that we are always listening, learning, developing new ideas to develop, extend, evolve ideas.”

So, my own belief around the phrase “no such thing as an original idea” can be qualified as I described above.

That said, in a recent call with Nilofer Merchant, author of “The Power of Onlyness” (see article here), she totally challenged me when I used that line around the themes I am looking to incorporate in the book I am in the processing of writing. (more…)

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