Employee engagement:a state or mind or organisational brain washing?

February 2017 newsletter

Over the years there have been many slogans, trends and life boats for organisations and some of them have even worked, but given the overall failure rate of most quality improvement, continuous improvement and company initiatives, a lot has been said and not much done.

Based on a history of how organisations have developed their relationship with employees either driven by a wish to grow or a wish to survive, employee engagement has morphed into a whole thing in its self.

Employers want well motivated, creative, learning and flexible employees, employees want a work place that uses their skill, recognises them as human beings and enables them to succeed at work and have a great life. Is this really too difficult for employers to facilitate and employees to work with?

When it works employee engagement transforms companies and transforms lives. Sometimes organisations are crushed by dogma and bureaucracy; they have a process for everything except a process that works.

So whose responsibility is it for this to happen? Well, it’s everyone’s.

Engagement is based on the values of the organisation matching the values of the employee, that leaders are engaging, and that contributions are valued and respected. In my book Employee engagement: Getting the best from everyone, not just another survey I explore where employee engagement has come from, what helps it to work, how to do it and where it is going.

Employee engagement is an emerging theme for many organisations, how in changing times, with differing employees and constant market pressures they get the best from their people.

  • What’s the difference between engagement and engaging employees?
  • How can leaders be engaging and work for the benefit of everyone?
  • What are the keys to success and the pitfalls to be avoided?

The book also reflects on the nature of leaders, coaching and mentoring within organisations as triggers for successful employee engagement. It also looks at the changing world of work and the adapting types and forms of motivation to inspire and keep employees engaged throughout their career. Case studies, practical examples and guidelines are throughout the book which helps to answer the key question of how to help all employees be engaged.

What do you think of current trends on problems for companies and people?


For organisations
Larger organisations are looking for more tailored and integrated ways of driving action. When trying to marshal large scale diverse and remote work forces the one size fits all doesn’t work. Localized, targeted and aligned programmes have a far higher chance of success.

Sometimes organisations rely on shuffling the pack to solve the organisational ills, this form of illness shows itself in dysfunctional behaviours, over competition, in fighting and empire building, which results in a lack of trust and a huge waste of resources.

Looking for a magic bullet has long since been a recipe for failure, so what is driving the lack of progress within organisations?
The same old gets the same old
Being covert instead of explicit
Following a process blindly without full examination of the risks; being a robot not a human. Allowing senior people to work by cliques and head / horns approaches; everyone must be like my own image, speak the same jargon and not be a threat to me in any way.

Organisations need to regenerate a sense of belonging and re-establish trust and integrity levels. Having open and clear conversations has an enormous pay off. Collaborative and collective forms of leadership are the key a common message in a common way with personalized emphasis

To use a football metaphor, when the team doesn’t perform there’s always another manager with a great reputation ready to step in and save the day. The boss stays for a shorter time, the MD is on the line, too, and their time may be short. Some organisations are becoming skeletal in nature; too thin to survive. Therefore, there is no room to anticipate or deal with any fluctuation of the plan.

Risks and experimentation are at a minimum. Innovation is marginalized and the same old gets the same old. Change is not getting any slower and shortages exist at all key levels, so perhaps getting the best from people is not such a costly idea and practice after all. The world is small and big at the same time; speed and flexibility are the key.

So how can these patterns be avoided? Clarity and trust are the keys; clarity about what the organisation is about and trust of the people to be involved, engaged and a part of the organisation.

For individuals
Resilience is the key. Keep learning, take care of yourself, both physically and mentally. Look for the good in what’s happening and have realistic expectations. Enjoy the now.

Many of these approaches sound simple to do, but often the complexity and pressure of organisational life means that we are distracted and unable to focus because of fears, real or imagined, and in this position of weakness people are expected to give of their best? Really?

Be self reliant, self motivated and self developmental, because in some strange way this is what the organisation wants from you, and it’s what you want for yourself.

Learning is the key. Keep being open to new and different things; give the brain something to work with.

The more we express our concerns and see the reality of them, and the more we develop our dreams, the more they turn into reality.

Time is finite, most other things can be adjusted.

Let me know what other problems are holding your organisation back from within.

Five Top Tips
1. Encourage your staff to voice their opinions and thoughts.

2. Reward creativity, even if at first it seems like a mad idea.

3. When reaching consensus give time to overcome obstacles or you will only come back to them later.

4. Recognize that learning takes place every day and encourage everyone to share what they have learned this week or month.

5. Start with trusting yourself and finish with trusting the team and the organisation.

Can personal and professional change or transition be separated?

Well, it depends on how extreme either is. Even the most motivated, driven and/or successful person has a tipping point.

So, what do people do to get in their own way?
Sometimes it’s about making connections when there are none
Sometimes it’s about failing to make connection
Sometimes it’s about thinking without feeling, not drawing upon all the information you have.
Recognising closeness to the tipping point:
Being stressed. By this I mean seeing the stress negatively or not listening to yourself
Withdrawing becoming hyper self critical.
Stop panicking
Throughout our lives and careers we all have to cope with times of change, either of our own making or where we are pushed into it.

There’s no denying that change can be scary, but that’s normal. There are several perfectly justifiable and normal stages that we go through. The first is normally panic, followed by confusion and then a need to find out more information. You can’t subvert those stages, but by helping people through that process and by encouraging them to do things that are positive and productive it can change their view of the situation.

When career coaching, the first and the only piece of advice I would give would be to stop panicking. Of course, that’s very easy to say and quite hard to do. In my experience people tend to react far too quickly. For example, if they are losing their job they will often write their CV the day after they know they are going and send off several applications straightaway. But they are still at the very beginning of a personal change process where they are learning about what they need to and how to get there.

By really taking some time to explore what they’re good at, what they enjoy doing, what the most important thing for them is about their new role and what outcome they want, is a vital process. It provides the best possible start to know how to move forward and I’ve found that getting this key stage right saves people huge amounts of time, effort and anxiety later. If it’s not carried out properly they’ll keep coming back to it.

It’s also often the case that things are not as bad as they seem. So it’s a good idea for people to write down the worst case scenario. After writing it down and thinking about what would be the worst that could happen, it usually doesn’t seem as bad and some of the anxiety disappears and it becomes more manageable. We have a tendency to over think.

I also like to challenge people’s assumptions about what they can do and help them think things through calmly and rationally and above all to do things that are productive to help them change their view of what’s around them. By following this process it’s possible to start that person’s own journey to where they want to go by helping them come up with the solutions themselves.

My 5 top tips for transition and resilience

1. Establish goals, both small and large
Crisis situations are daunting. They may even seem insurmountable. Resilient people are able to view these situations in a realistic way, and then set reasonable goals to deal with the problem. When you find yourself becoming overwhelmed by a situation, take a step back to simply assess what is before you. Brainstorm possible solutions, and then break them down into manageable steps.

2. Keep working on your skills, everyone is a work in progress
Resilience does not involve any specific set of behaviours or actions, but can vary dramatically from one person to the next. Focus on practicing some of the common characteristics of resilient people, but also remember to build upon your existing strengths.

3. Embrace change and look for what you are learning
Flexibility is an essential part of resilience. By learning how to be more adaptable, you’ll be better equipped to respond when faced with a life crisis. Do something different every week!

4. Build positive beliefs in your abilities
Research has demonstrated that self-esteem plays an important role in coping with stress and recovering from difficult events. Remind yourself of your strengths and accomplishments.

5. Invest in and look after yourself
When you’re stressed, it can be all too easy to neglect your own needs. Losing your appetite, ignoring exercising and not getting enough sleep are all common reactions to a crisis situation.

Leaders are like icebergs

October 2015 Newsletter

What’s going on in the innovative leader’s mind?
When thinking about an Innovative Leaders mind-set, what else is going on inside the leaders mind?
I started to wonder what might be the top five characteristics for leaders with an innovative mind set, so just for a moment I thought about being innovative and some themes emerged: stillness, daydreaming, sketching for the mind, lot of questions. So for me, being curious, bouncing back and being flexible and being my true self come to the fore.
So how would you rate yourself on having a innovative leaders mindset say on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being very well? Rate yourself against some of these key indicators:
1. Curiosity the ability to explore without judgment and preconceived ideas
2. Encouragement the ability to nurture the new and small seed of an idea
3. Resilience the ability to keep going, viewing mistakes as learning
4. Flexibility the ability to be agile and adapt to the current and future demands
5. Honesty the ability to be authentic and true to yourself and others.
The Innovative Leaders mind-set – what’s at the corner of the page? What’s just within your memory but not fully formed?

Quality thinking
When thinking about this article I became drawn to a book Time to Think: Listening to ignite the human mind by Nancy Kline ISBN-13: 978-0706377453 on my bookshelf that seemed to be summarizing many of the areas that came to mind when pondering about an innovative leadership mind-set. In particular, many of the thinking principles, for example:
1. Everything we do depends for its quality on the thinking we do first. Our thinking depends on the quality of our attention for each other
2. Thinking at its best is not just a cool act of celebration it is also a thing of the heart
3. A thinking environment is a set of ten conditions under which human beings can think for themselves with rigour and imagination, courage and grace
4. Listening of this calibre ignites the human mind
5. Between you and a wellspring of good ideas is a limiting assumption. This assumption can be removed with incisive questions
6. Incisive questions increase the functional intelligence of human beings.
Sounds like some reflective coaching is in order to help tease out what has not quite yet been discovered, so to quote Steve Jobs, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

profileVision, Mission, Ambition and Role
So, if leadership is ‘the capability to express a vision, influence others to achieve results, encourage team cooperation, and be an example’, as Robert Dilts says, then an Innovative Leader’s mind-set encourages what’s not been tried, what else is possible, and so by reviewing your biggest success and pinpointing the smallest steps that created it you can develop a model for success.

Dilts refers to these factors as:
What do you want to create in the world through you but that is beyond you? What services, benefits and contributions do you want to make to your customers, society, the environment, etc.?
What is your unique contribution to making the vision happen?
What are the special resources, capabilities and actions that you will develop, mobilize and apply to reach the vision?
What type of status and performance do you want to achieve with respect to yourself and others (stakeholders, competitors,etc.)?
What type of individual (or organization) do you need to be in order to reach the status and level of performance you want to achieve?

We can consider the mind-set aspect of the Innovative Leader’s mind-set by looking into the latest research and thinking in Neuroscience. Neuroscience is concerned with improving understanding of the brain and how it works, how we process information and the reason we make some basic cognitive mistakes (limitations), why change is so hard and how to better manage change, why we react negatively in certain situations and how emotions can be better regulated.

The brain is actually never at rest but actively processing and internalizing existing knowledge (to make sense of the world). When you stop processing external information, quality internal processing can take place. For example, daydreaming, envisioning the future, retrieving memories, and gauging others’ perspectives.

Leaders are like icebergs (learning is what lies beneath the surface and much is hidden).
What we can see (above the surface):
traditions, symbols, artifacts, behaviours, customs, and symbols.
What we can’t see (below the water line):
perceptions, world views, attitudes, motives, values, beliefs, thoughts.

With the ever evolving nature of business, leadership and the work environment that we live in, the need to be more innovative and understand how we think and improve our own thinking processes are ever present.

I hope this article has intrigued you, made you think, want to know more So if this collection of thoughts and observations has sparked your interest get in touch and  share some insight and discover how to release innovation in you.



Is cooperation collaboration?

A belated August newsletter with some further September thoughts

FCI launch 1

What is the biggest barrier to cooperation?

Old style treating people as resources, keeping people in the dark, not admitting when things go wrong, pretending that you have all the answers are all factors in a non-cooperative organisation. But the biggest single barrier to cooperation is thinking that only one person has all the answers.

Cooperation is based upon the ability of people to give and take and to understand each others points of view. Sometimes I think this simple fact gets lost in all the management speak, leadership gurus or specialist coaching systems that people use to help them to adapt and communicate with one another

Does speed equal effectiveness?

What seems to get in the way is time, we don’t have enough of it, and we need to do other things? We start to take short cuts in what we say and how we say it, hoping that the other person will magically understand what’s inside our heads.

Unfortunately this doesn’t often work.

Sometimes we need time to check out what is being said, sometimes we need to ask questions, and sometimes we need to understand the intention behind what is being said, even if it isn’t stated explicitly. This takes time. This contradicts the old adage ‘speed equals effectiveness’. Speed does not always equal effectiveness; in fact speed can be very ineffective, especially where it hinders understanding.

The more we understand and seek to understand each other the more the barrier gets lowered and the ability to cooperate increases.

Another factor in cooperation is that both sides need to have something that is useful for them; this is bit of an extension of ‘what’s in it for me’, it now becomes ‘what’s in it for us’. Getting people to cooperate creates a shared mutual benefit.

What drives and motivates us is there all the time in our language, in our emotions and in our thoughts. I have often worked with teams and individuals to bridge a divide and scale a barrier and it always starts by carefully drawing out what they really mean.

So the biggest barrier to cooperation is simple really: it’s you and me.

This is often born out by being not only being unclear about our goals but also even more unclear about our intention which sits beneath the  goal and adjusts it in our thinking.

So collaboration s much more about having aligned intentions way of thinking beliefs and values

How have you turned things around?

July 2015 newsletter
In my line of work I often meet organisations and teams where things are not working well.  Having been recommended to a senior executive from a public sector agency by a private sector manager from a local networking group, I met with him to talk about the issues he had with his team.After describing how his team was acting and reacting to one another and how some of the issues were to do with specific individuals, he then explained how difficult it was to change their behaviour. Typically, these issues were the surface reactions and through some further discussion I discovered that some team members avoided each other, some set each other up to fail and some competed over everything or simply did their own thing and generally acted very unlike a team.

Change can be liberating

I suggested it would be useful for me to meet each team member and talk through the situation and how it was affecting them. During these discussions we talked about what it was like to work for that company, what they got out of it, what they enjoyed, what frustrated them and how they saw themselves. A common problem in situations like this is that everyone sees others faults and problems and the need for change, but few are willing to make the change themselves.  This proved to be true in this situation.

To get things started, I did some individual profiles.  This allowed them to have a common language to describe how they worked with one another, what their preferences were and why they saw the world differently.  These profiles were conducted individually and privately so they could challenge and discuss freely.

Then I brought the team together to display the results (anonymously) and talk through where they were now and where they wanted to be. During this process it became apparent that the team was very used to playing ‘the away day’ game; where everyone was nice to each on the day, but once back in the office reverted to their previous behaviour.What they hadn’t realized was that other parts of the workshops would be about them having paired discussions and that these discussions would form the basis of their action plans. I think for the first time in a training session they were required to commit to change and this would be followed up by mentoring from their boss with some coaching from me.

Everyone understood that they could speak without fear of recrimination.  At times emotions and concerns were highly charged and often very vocal.  The focus was on moving forward, not reconstituting the past. It proved to be a liberating experience for them all.

At the end of the workshops (held over several days) the team created a ‘team charter’ detailing how they would work with each other, how they would behave during their group meetings and how they would be mindful of each others’ feelings. They also agreed that they would exchange information and teach each other about their diverse roles and how these interrelated.

This process released the trapped potential of the team, with team members and the team leader now being energized and committed to a common and shared future. The way they worked with one other changed dramatically. In terms of results they went from being mid-table and on a downward trajectory for their type of agency, to being in the top five in the country


What’s the common problem that you encounter?

March 2015 newsletter plus a day

Unfortunately the most common problem I’ve encountered is one where people at various levels inside the organization have given up listening to each other. Instead of trying to really understand what the problem is, people’s reaction is either to ask ‘who did that’ or ‘why was that done’, neither of which actually solves the problem but just allows for someone to be blamed.

‘Problems’, ‘issues’ and ‘concerns’

It’s interesting, but nowadays we can’t even talk about a ‘problem’ for the problem is now renamed an ‘issue’ or a ‘concern’.  I like to think of problems in a slightly different way; that problems are a puzzle for us to solve.

This changes people’s minds about the problem, as a puzzle becomes something that we all want to get involved in and try to find the answer to. This not listening disease infiltrates and closes off parts of an organisation. It is very insidious and creeps up, even in the best of organisations; those which have great things like employee surveys, engagement practices, talent management, and a whole host of very complex and very well-meaning ways of trying to get their employees to exchange their views thoughts and feelings.
The trouble is that organisations talk about everything that is complex in the company’s mission, vision and where it should be in the future. These are all great things and needed, but what is not accepted and understood is that people go to work for a huge variety of reasons. These reasons need to be acknowledged and valued even though they may not be the same reasons as a senior manager or specialist. People have the right to have their own reasons and for those reasons to be respected.

It’s the age-old problem about listening, learning and putting things into practice. It may not be as sexy, as complex or as highbrow as we might like it to be, but it is a very fundamental issue (sorry, problem) and the undercurrent behind the difficulties when people experience feeling undervalued and ignored.

One great saying I came across the other day is that if you treat your people like donkeys it’s no wonder that they say neigh.

Another date for the creative and intuitive:
Thursday 18th June
The Artist & The Engineer: coaching using harmonised approaches
See your inner Artisteer!

Integration from the world of the arts and science.  Understand how these approaches converge and flow together.

To book, please send an email to jen@craftyourlife.co.uk  or peter@petermayes.co.uk and we will invoice you directly. You will be able to pay by BACS, cheque and Paypal.

I hope this newsletter has provoked some thought. For those who want to be provoked further, I am very happy to help you along the way.  Feel free to contact me on 01793 882058 or via peter@petermayes.co.uk

Time for Christmas leadership?

December 2014 newsletter

The 7 days of Christmas leadership or how to work with everyone in everyway?

Day 1 Be a better “yourself”
So you have to start with you well I guess you always knew that but were afraid to ask yourself, well how much me and how often.People talk about authenticity buts it’s the hardest trick with the game and the organisation moving so fast. So now you are a leader and that presupposes you have followers but they only follow when they get you. Speak with passion, heart and what drive you let the followers see what they are following. Be consistent clear and even if you have a difficult follower ask what they are teaching you
Day 2 Show what your purpose is?
So what drives you and what’s your mission not just the numbers or the role but what makes you do this work. The followers come to work and want to be inspired by a sense of doing something important, something that makes a difference, something that is a part of the bigger picture, something that makes a difference. How you want people to behave when achieving the organisations mission is essential for the followers to understand its not just the results that get results but the way you get them.
Day 3 History is history great to know but not the now
We only get the present we are looking for by driving towards our vision of the future unless we want to go away from a our present because it is so difficult. Painting a picture of success that followers can but into and sign up for creates an emotional contract with each person that no matter where we are now the future drive will spur us on.
Day 4 build and recognize everyone’s strengths
Everyone has a number of strengths that they have developed grown and honed by their experience and training. The trouble is organizations are sometimes obsessed with the gaps and the filling of them, with a focus on what you can’t or won’t do. Starting from a position of weakness is not a great way to inspire or motivate anyone. Remember that continuing to high light and focus on some small weakness with people who are high achievers or stars of the future is one sure way to loose them. Working from a position of strength positions the thinking and actions in a whole new way they sets the person up for success rather than failure.
Day 5 It’s good to talk and have a real conversation
It’s all very well measuring employee engagement and having talent management systems, processes and structure but it boils down to the quality of conversations. Feedback is often oversimplified and often underused way of having a start for great conversations, how about noticing something that someone does really well and say so wouldn’t it be great if we started catching people doing things rights. Giving feedback in a rush or when it only suites your agenda is a recipe for disaster, not noticing what else is going on for the other person at that moment means that good feedback is lost and improvement feedback ends up in a stored argument for later.
DAY 6 Listening to be heard
I have worked with a coaching supervisor for a number of years and one of her key phases is “Give someone a damn good listening to.” You have to listen beyond the words into the motives and agendas, into the context, into the performance and the mood, and you have to show you understand, even if you don’t agree. You have to listen for the intention and then get their attention.
Day 7 Watch out for the signals and the signal readers
Its amazing how followers notice the little things the slight, slights the moments of indiscretion that give our true feelings away the bit that says this is really what I mean but I haven’t told you yet. You not only have to be true to yourself but also true to others
So when you are contemplating and reflection on 2014 over some turkey and Christmas pud spare a thought for how you can be a leader who really has embraced the 7 days of Christmas leadership or will you still be in bah humbug land for another year
Thanks for reading my blog over the year and the kind comments I have received
Wishing you success for the New Year

So what’s happening with leaders in the 21st century?

October Newsletter

Well for a whole host of leaders the tried and tested ways of the past work for yesterday’s paradigm at yesterday’s pace and yesterdays people. The trouble is today is today and we’ve not even reached tomorrow yet.

So what’s to be done? Let’s some new questions?

  • What do people experience of us on their first day?
  • Even before that, what do candidates we’ve interviewed think of us? Are unsuccessful candidates discarded even though they have demonstrated lots of great skills? What do we do with them?
  • What’s working exceptionally well right now and why?
  • Do we as an organization follow the herd or lead it?
  • Do all of our peoples attributes turn up and turn on for work?

The concept and practice of collective leadership being aligned top to bottom seems to be getting more air time and the comment and writing in this area is increasing

As early as 2011 Deloitte” means Deloitte Consulting LLP published a research article “Collective leadership: Getting organizations to work as one” it highlighted some key trends (I have added my own de-jargonised thoughts in italics)

Leaders are seeking new ways to drive effective action. Changing employee expectations demands different and more tailored leadership approaches than many companies have used in the past. (why is it that employee engagement surveys in the USA show a lowest scoring for 20 years)

The average CEO tenure is getting shorter. This creates two challenges. First, continuity of leadership is hard to sustain. And second, leaders feel pressure to produce quick results that stick. (Football manager syndrome, that’s the problem measure the wrong things well and you get the wrong things done even better)

Downsizing has taken its toll. Leadership ranks and organisational layers are thinning. Organisations have to take full advantage of the talent they have to drive engagement that fulfills the business strategy.(taking advantage or mobilizing their potential) I recently participated on a Human Resources Professionals discussion group that harped on about how the psychological contract was dead and moaned about people most of the time and then gave advice on how you can control them, at that point I left the group)

Risks seem riskier. Today’s competitive environment values executives who are able to find new ways to manage through continuing global challenges and workforce instability.(its called reducing fear and increasing trust)

This is just one of the reports that highlight similar needs so why is it so different for most organisations given that the three principles of collective leadership are easy to understand (but hard to do)
1. Creating a sense of belonging (we want to work here)
2. Gaining shared commitment (we want to stay hear)
3. Achieving a shared interpretation of the problem and desired solution. (we know what is going on and what part we play)

These principles should be used across the organization strategy formulation, leadership development, organization design, process design, technology strategy, and change management.
• Drawing lessons from the people closest to the customer
• Ensuring your people have a sense of being connected
• Enabling people to act together to achieve their goals
• Understanding the ways in which the organisation gets work done?

Recently after attending a series of business gatherings and specialist workshops where the key issues of energizing your people and managing your talent we explored.

I came away realizing that neither question had been addressed in any great detail or significance. Yes energy can be increased by ensuring you are properly hydrated (the key tip bit from a two hour presentation by a presenter who was anything but energetic).
The managing talent session was an introduction to using assessment and development centers how to do it and what makes them effective actually a really great session but not what it said on the tin which was talent management?

What’s significant about these examples?
These sessions in their different ways show the dilemmas leaders have in the 21st century, making the message clear and making the message appropriate. The time for jargon has gone people has become too skeptical and lost faith in many institutions banks, religion politicians easily spring to mind
• The time for meeting people you wouldn’t normally meet
• The time for trying new things
• The time for taking action in a way that’s different from the past

Taking some tips from Rosaline Torres in her recent TED Talk “What makes a great leader?” see video. http://petermayes.co.uk/wp/
She asked a series of questions to establish the leaders that we thriving what was it that they we re doing
1. Where are you looking to anticipate your next change? The companies or people who are exceptional
2. What is your diversity measure? The capacity to develop relationships with people different to you, so what would someone who has never bought your product or service say about you?
3. Are you courageous enough to abandon the past? So what’s next, what’s now and what will work tomorrow? Innovation creativity is the key. Letting people have space to think without a box let alone outside of one.
Call to action to all people developers, coaches and trainers an innovative new programme

The Artist & The Engineer: coaching using harmonised approaches      See your inner Artisteer!

Integrate from the world of the arts and science, understand how these approaches converge and flow together



Breakthrough in leadership: Is leadership thinking?

 September 2014 Newsletter

Have you taken the time to sit and have a real think about what your leadership does for others?

Perhaps this is too scary a thought to contemplate.

image-indiv-subWell, the other day, I decided to think about how I worked with others and gain some insight from them about what my interaction has done with them. This then posed some new questions, “what to ask” “who to ask” ”what will they say”

So before letting my doubts subvert my curiosity I decided to send off a reasonably short questionnaire with six main questions.

1. What golden thread is throughout Peter, what is Peter about?

2. Strengths what you have noticed Peter does well and what does he do exceptionally?

3. What does Peter need to watch out for? (Potential pitfalls weaknesses)

4. What Peter would benefit most from given your experiences of him that would stretch and develop him?

5. Any further thoughts?

6. Five words that describe Peter as a coach / mentor?

What I hoped for was some feedback; some praise (well I am human after all) and some things I need to look out for,

What it reinforced for me was:
• having a sense of ease
• knowing that I am appreciated
• getting recognition, thank yous and being thoughtful

Most of the time we underestimate the exceptional work we do. We have been brought up to look for gaps, improvement, through what’s missing rather than what we’ve achieved, what we know, and what’s been gained.

Recently I attended a group undertaking an overview of Nancy Kline’s work,Time toThink-Listening-Ignite-Human which is about creating a thinking environment and having time to think.

Some of the key principles are:

• Everything we do depends for its quality on the thinking we do first. Our thinking depends on the quality of our attention for each other
• Thinking at its best is not just a cool act of celebration it is also a thing of the heart
• A thinking environment is a set of ten conditions under which human beings can think for themselves with rigour and imagination, courage and grace

In coaching we talk about being present and having presence this is about the close attention we pay to what is being said and the gaps in between, sometimes this is referred to as being in the moment or working with whatever comes up.

Whilst I’m on the topic of thinking I wonder how much of organisation’s thinking is really fit for the 21st centaury. Previously I have talked about talent and recognition and how the talent and the talented may be two different approaches or organisatons to take

To quote Dan Pink from “the puzzle of motivation” (Ted talk) there is a mismatch between what science knows and what business does.
Autonomy, mastery and purpose are the building blocks of the new systems for business success examples of this are engineers having free time to work on blue sky ideas; this builds motivations, increases innovation and desire to achieve.
The carrot and stick approach works only with simplistic tasks however in today’s age tasks are not simple, so now what we need is motivation that expands our mind, grows our curiosity and increases our ability to solve the uncertain and mystifying.

For the individual the first step of creating autonomy, mastery and purpose is to use some of the latest lessons from our discoveries about the brain
So the latest neuroscience suggests you can literally “adjust” your memory. You choose the experiences you decide to remember and how you wish to remember them.

To emphasis the value of a human authentic and appreciative leader who has autonomy, mastery and purpose he / she is able to
1) See clearly
2) Hear correctly
3) Think clearly
4) Inquire critically
5) Show respect
6) Maintain calm
7) Consider consequences
8) Create desirable outcomes
9) Do what is right
10) Give credit and step aside

Many of my examples are about engineers which was my initial training and having worked with so many over the years I have noticed the innovation and process skills that get things done. Recently I have been working with some artists and highly creative individuals and a synergy has developed.

Our intention is to use these convergent and divergent skills to create a unique development programme for all those who act as coaches either internally, in a leadership role or an external coach.

The programmes tentative tile is “The artist and the engineer” coaching authentically in the 21st century”

Details coming soon

I hope this newsletter has sparked some reaction and provoked some thoughts about your own leadership style. For those who want to be provoked further and am very happy to help you along the way