Tag: Share Learnings

Focus on Now and on the Future

Now and the future

So many people writing to give you advice on what to do, often going into great specifics. Recognise that I’m also doing the former, but will avoid the latter, simply looking to help each of us reflect and bring awareness to where we are in the moment as we move through this.

Yesterday I wrote: “Watch out for feeling flat“, sharing my sense that in the coming week many will have a “flat” or “down” energy as things continue. T

Today, then, a thought that it may be supportive to both operate and think in two timeframes at this time.


People will value expertise

Though to some this may seem contradictory given the rise of populist leaders in recent years, I have felt over the last few weeks and months that one of the shifts that is already emerging is that people will value expertise more.

So, if you take that idea on board, as you look to the future, look closely at what you expert in and what people will seek you out to provide them around that expertise.

Find balance for yourself and your team

balance the scales

About five weeks ago the UK government announced that they would fund staff put on furlough.

Whilst I was really pleased to see them put people first in this way, the “on/off” switch method really concerned me.

There is no balance or nuance to “on/off’.

People are more than cogs in a machine.

Today my thoughts for you are around the importance and power of finding balance, not being only either “on” or “off”.




When you have limitations imposed on you, do you complain, resist, protest? Or, instead, do you go with the flow and work with what you’ve got in the moment?

I write every day, EVERY day. Today, though, my leg hurts whenever I stand, so I’m not up to writing anything in-depth, so going with the energy I have and writing something simple.

What’s up with me? Well, West Indians will find it funny (and no, none of the rest of you will get the joke, its a Caribbean ‘ting!). I’ve got a blood clot in my leg. Yes, the medication will, the Doctor tells me, allow it to ease in 1-2 weeks. For now, though, OUCH! It hurts a lot whenever I stand up for long.

What’s my point? Simple. Sometimes we have limitations. We either protest, fight, resist, or we go with it, we adapt, we adjust.

For me, I’m going with it. If you have a zoom call with me in the next couple of days, chances are I’ll use my phone rather than laptop and you will see me lying down with my leg up.

Also, normal service will be resumed soon with more in-depth posts, but for now, am marshalling my energy to balance client calls and healing.

Did I mention.. OUCH 😉

Thinking beyond the Map

The Map is not the territory
More on this in the post: “The map is not the territory

Today’s post is inspired by a great conversation with the Piratical Alex Barker (I really look forward to her new book in September) around leading at the edges of the map, and follows yesterday’s post advising you to: “Pay someone to put their feet up“.

As someone commonly paid by clients to “put my feet up” and then help them see towards the edges of the map of their possibilities (and sometimes perhaps even beyond the map to uncharted territories), today collating a few past posts with ideas and tools that may support you in this way of thinking.


Pay someone to put their feet up

Put your feet up

“Henry Ford’s reaction to a consultant who questioned why he paid {note, this was in the 1930s} $50,000 a year to someone who spent most of his time with his feet on his desk. “Because a few years ago that man came up with something that saved me $2,000,000,” he replied. “And when he had that idea his feet were exactly where they are now.”

Rory Sutherland from his glorious audiobook reading of “Alchemy

As you look ahead to “what comes in the future”, a tip os for you to pay someone to put their feet up and think about opportunities for you and your business.

Yes, you could to it yourself, but, in my experience, even with all the best intentions to carve out this time, it won’t happen as you also have to manage and operate your business.

In a normal world, this gap in time not spent looking at strategic value is already a major omission. However, in the VUCA post-Covid world we will emerge into, this gap will be bigger than ever.

Time to fill that gap. As you won’t have time to do it yourself, pay someone to put their feet on the desk.

Now, please allow me to share a few more thoughts on this and then make an offer to you.


The end of the beginning

The end of the beginning Winston Churchill Quote

“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

Winston Churchill, The Lord Mayor’s Luncheon, Mansion House, November 10, 1942

This line feels so right for where we are right now.

For full context of the timing and environment when Churchill said this, I share the segment of his speech below.

To summarise, it was a little over three years into the war and a year and a half after the end of the Blitz. The end of the beginning was the first major victory for the Allies in the war. Nobody knew when the end would be, but it was the “end of the beginning”.

As I post this, the UK marks four weeks today in lockdown and we have now crested the “first wave”, as well as seeing other countries within one or two weeks either side of our status.

For ourselves and those we lead, and as I wrote about 11 days ago, our role is to look at “What Comes Next“.

However, as we start another week, perhaps give yourself permission to pause for a moment, then to give thanks. We do not know what comes next, but: “it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning”.


What can you do better online than offline?


Only two months ago I was introduced to Tortoise Media by a client in the West Coast of the USA, a Tortoise founder member. That same day I joined as a member then attended a “ThinkIn” at their newsroom in central London that evening. It was amazing, I sat ten feet away from their Nobel laureate guest and was even asked to contribute a question.

My friend in the West Coast, however, couldn’t participate, as Tortoise, revolutionarily inclusive though they are, was still part of a highly traditional profession, news journalists, so were anchored to a physical place, a newsroom.

Well, we all know how that changed about a month later.

Tortoise (belying their name, moved immediately to make ThinkIns digital. I joined one of the first and they had adapted brilliantly, using the tools in Zoom to make the sessions even more interactive than when there were 100 or so people in the newsroom to manage. They are now able to really curate the conversation so much more richly, as well as by having everyone online, there is no bias towards those “in the room” as inevitably happens when people are included in an existing meeting by videoconferencing.

In short, Tortoise ThinkIns are, in multiple ways, better remotely than in person. Oh, and people join the ThinkIns from all over the world and are all on equal footing, massively enriching the conversation.

Rigid beliefs are common that offline is better than online, even the language “working from home” infers online is a poor substitute for offline. This limits our abilities to truly smash working paradigms, through innovating (doing different things and doing things differently) online.

As someone who has worked remotely for over 27 years, my plea is for you to not simply replicate what you do offline, but instead look to how we do things better online.


What comes next – will you go back to the office?

empty office space

Last week I wrote about working from three time frames through the current environment:

  • What Comes Now
  • What Comes Next
  • What Comes in the Future

For many of us, we have been in lockdown anything from 3-6 weeks, with anything from 2-6+ weeks to go before limited changes are made by various governments around the world.

My question today is: “will you go back to the office?

I’ve got two thoughts on why this is not an automatic “yes”, and a “flip the paradigm” idea to support you in considering this.


What comes next?

Wayne Gretzky - What Comes Next.

“Go to where the puck is going, not where it has been”

Walter Gretzky, to his son Wayne as a young ice hockey player, later to be known simply as “The Great One”

At the moment, many of us are primarily or even exclusively focussed on one time frame:

What comes now?

This matches much of the advice I have been giving in the last few weeks around the current environment and has been key for us as individuals as well as leaders to both cope as humans and operate effectively.

However, and those who know me well know this of me, although I am someone others turn to at times of crisis, my preferred time frame is always a different one:

What comes next?


What is one opportunity you see today?

3D colorful signpost with five arrows on white background – “opportunity”.

Simple question to ask today and each day. Ask this for yourself, also ask this to your team if you have the (now common) daily check in on Zoom.

For many, even though we live in uncertain times, the process of empowering ourselves and other is ready to start to build upon.

So, what is one opportunity you see today?

Be Kind

COVID-19 Be Kind

This image is circulating right now as derivation of a well established model for self-awareness around “Comfort>Stretch>Panic” zones. This current Covid-19 one is valuable as a self-awareness tool so we can move out of fear/panic to more useful places to first help ourselves then help others.

What I would add, though, is three thoughts around this, then one core one:

  1. Bravery is in the eye of the beholder. Whilst this graphic usefully looks to label behaviours in each zone, we are all different. What is brave to some may seem normal to others. For more, see this post.
  2. Be non-judgmental. At a time like this, we are all feeling differently than normal due to the unique circumstances and environment. Everyone will react differently and often in ways out of their normal character. I encourage all of us to accept people where they are in this moment, suspend judgment.
  3. Timeframes do vary. Some are focussed moment to moment, others day to day, while still others are already planning for the future. There is no set way to move from one timeframe, one zone to the next.

In summary, this is a useful graphic, and in reviewing and even using it, please remember one thing. Be Kind (to yourself and to others).

Anxiety = Uncertainty x Powerlessness

At the top of the My Writing page where these daily posts are hosted, I say:

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

As we move through the Covid-19 crisis I am focussing on what I hear on calls around the world each day and looking to capture some learnings and look to share in the moment each day what feels most relevant.

Right now, on many zoom calls, people are asking for expert advice more and more, so where I have the relevant expertise (yes, including being a “recovering Chartered Accountant” and past business owner and investor) I give that advice. For these posts, though, I focus most supporting leaders and around behaviour and communications.

So, this week a theme is people owning that they are struggling as humans and asking what to do, hence I wrote two days ago “Be a thermostat, not a thermometer” and yesterday “Control the Controllables“. Linking these two together with an Emotional Equation from the first from Chip Conley from the first of the two posts:

Anxiety = Uncertainty x Powerlessness

We are all, to some degree, finding ourselves in moments of mental struggle at this time. I find this equation powerful and simple. My advice is to minimise watching the news (limit yourself to checking news updates online once a day), as there is so much uncertainty right now an in the coming weeks in most countries that is is of no service to our mental health to check in on this much. Instead, focus on what you can do, what you have power over, whether that be for yourself, those you lead, your business, family, friends.

As an equation, focus on being empowered and empowering others to see where they can help your business and themselves.

Empower yourself so that you, as a leader, can empower others.

Control the Controllables

Control the Controllables

Yesterday I led a group zoom meeting for the #ESMomentum series being created with true entrepreneurial spirit by Entrepreneurial Scotland for and with their members. So many great tools, tips and learning shared, including this one, shared by Dave Stewart and one he learned from “Will it make the boat go faster“.

My key learning from that one hour call with a group of leaders: “the power of abundantly sharing“.

My favourite tip from the above was: “Control the Controllables“. What is yours?