Why Santa, as a boss, is authentic AND an ass.

(A parable of the workplace.)

According to the reindeer, at Christmas Santa gives out cards and bonuses and sometimes pays for a lunch full of turkeys. Dancer can’t stand it any longer; he’s looking outside the company for a new role. Prancer is learning the advanced skills of sucking up and always being positive and has achieved two undeserved promotions. Dasher is concerned that the numbers just don’t add up and that the new performance management system is doing the opposite of its intention. Whilst Comet and Cupid have yet again caused mutterings because of their closeness at this year’s office party and are already gearing up for full-bodied activity during the Christmas break.

Donner and Blitzen have intellectually left the building seeing no point to their new roles as Change and Commitment Managers, and Rudolf has now gone into Human Resources reckoning that his large red nose will be a real asset in sniffing out how to engage with employees. The elves are concerned about forthcoming automation and the impact of the new digital age. Santa ponders on just how he will achieve the ever-increasing customer needs and compete with the march of Amazon and eBay.

41% of under-35-year-olds feel organisations are falling short on their expectations that business should be a force for good. As they achieve senior leadership positions themselves, will the maturing millennial workforce affect the changes they wish to see and realize their potential? Will they make a difference or just yearn for a happier and more peaceful world when they see how their elders, though not necessarily their betters, have done on their watch?

Employees of all ages and stages want something unique. Yes, there are common themes, and yes, there are differences but by these very differences they offer organisations a vast capacity for learning, innovation and cross-generational advantage instead of the let’s all be jealous about what another generation has, or had.

Employees want a purpose, they want a chance to do something meaningful –  by the way this is what bosses want too. So, what gets in the way? Well, what we say and how we say it is not always a true reflection of our intent and ability to get it right for us, and for them. So choose your words carefully and think about how you say them.

Employees want something that they have choice over and the freedom to work in a way that is best for them. As Daniel Pink says in his best-selling book Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us; “Let people figure it out for themselves by choosing the best path to the goal rather than breathe down their necks and micromanage. “

Employees want innovation. Google announced its 20 percent creative time policy, which encourages employees to work on any innovative ideas they have that are company-related. Okay, not every company is Google but what about starting with a regular innovation half-day where encouraging creative freedom allows something else to take flight.

I’m also reminded of some executives I have coached who are so overwhelmed by the vastness of the problems and the sheer volume of issues they encounter, that they abandon thinking time. As a result, they start to make decisions that are not the best for them or their organisation but merely reduce their bursting and demanding email inbox.

With the incredible march of technology, the advancement of robots and the dumbing down of debate, for example the “tweetaverse”, it is left to humans to see where they can best use their skills for the development of organisations and the advancement of their self worth and subsequent legacy.

As the festive season approaches and a bright shinny New Year beckons, perhaps it’s time to reflect. What’s next? What now? What do you really, really want for yourself? Not in a selfish way, but in a way that enables you to give of your best, to yourself, to your colleagues/employees, to your organisation.

The skills and leadership required for the next ten years will be the ability to build relationships with groups of colleagues, create meaning and purpose for them and yourself and develop innovative/creative thinking, and truly believing that creating space and time to think is invaluable.

Dig deep this holiday period and search out your inner five-year-old, full of play and invention, so that next year may be the best you’ve ever had.


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 we really value in humans?

Humans are underrated or are they?image-indiv-sub

My passion is helping leaders develop and for this to be really taken seriously What’s happening?

Lets put these views in context

A complex digital world where ‘faster and faster’ are the buzz words, 24/7, the now mentality

Organisations are scary places full of traps and pitfalls for those who don’t know the rules of the new age

Geoff Colvin argues in his new book that ”Humans Are Underrated

  • Computers are evolving faster than we are
  • So what will the high value skills of tomorrow be?
  • Are we growing an army of experts or luddites
  • The surprising value of our deepest nature
  • Why the skills we need are withering
  • Empathy lessons from the army
  • Teams work because they are human

The future will be about what you’ve like rather than what you know

  • People are strange
  • Relationships are what matter

It’s tough out there, humans are feeling replaced

Harvard business school and Henley management centre talk about directors CEOs feeling isolated at the top trust is diminishing different layers have their own agendas unity is a pipe dream

Some questions

Was trust really there in the first place?

Who can we trust?

Can we trust ourselves?

How do we realise our potential?

What gets in the way?

What helps us?

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt says the best advice he ever got was to get a coach. Bill Gates emphatically says everyone should have a coach. Venture capitalist Fred Wilson advocates coaching too, especially for first-time CEOs.

If you’re considering coaching, here are 10 ways you might benefit:

  1. Hard results – greater productivity, faster promotions, bigger profits
  2. Deeper learning about yourself, how you’re perceived, where you can improve
  3. Faster action with greater precision
  4. Space to hear your own voice to talk something through and gain perspective
  5. Awareness of beliefs, and attitudes that may be holding you back
  6. Clarity on your values and what you stand for, the real you
  7. Ideas for ways to improve that you may not see – awareness of blind spots
  8. Emotional support, empathy, and encouragement – feels less lonely and isolated
  9. The cold truth others won’t tell you
  10. Support for improving specific skills – communication, delegation, conflict management, team building, persuasion, etc

What coaches are not?

Cheerleaders, therapists, counsellors, friends, spies, my plea to you is get a coach, try it out, to be unafraid

To thyne own self be true” ok then what is thyne own self?

What makes your heart sing?

What nags at you in the middle of the night?

What is this imposter doing inside you head?

It’s good to talk, it’s even better to talk and be really listened to, challenged and understood

A coach should have two prime skills above all else 1. How to question and 2. How to pick up what remains unsaid

A coach’s job is to

  • Notice
  • Listen
  • Challenge
  • Support
  • Create a safe place

Humans are not underrated, just human they need to grow their own self belief and with that their own self awareness

This is an extract from ‘The Hole in the Sum of my Parts’ by Matt Harvey

“Part of me is truculent: don’t look that way at me

Part of me is succulent – suck it and you’ll see

Part of me’s detestable – or so people have said

And part of me’s suggestible – or so people have said

Part of me’s competitive – it only wants to win

And part of me’s repetitive – or so people have said

Part of me’s interminable – it goes on and on and on

And on and on and on and on and on and on (and on)

This part of me’s prolific – it writes reams and reams and reams

And part of me’s terrific But most of me is dreams”

Another Poem Prelude – The Dance

What if becoming who and what we truly are happens NOT through striving and trying but by recognising and receiving?

How would this shape the choices you have to make about how to spend today?

What if you knew that the impulse to move in a way that creates beauty in the world will arise from deep within and guide you every time you simply


So executives, managers, leaders take up the challenge of having someone challenge your thinking and question your actions and reignite your dreams, get a coach

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When does innovative leadership start?

September 2015 newsletter

Innovative leadership for everyone?
When does innovative leadership start? Firstly let’s explore what it is. Having googled it a bit, asked a few leaders and experts and generally had a look around about what’s out there, what have I discovered so far?

Innovation leadership is a philosophy (thinking) and technique (acting) that combines different leadership styles to influence (leaders and followers) employees to produce creative ideas, products, and services. This leads to greater adaptability, agility and strategies for the future as well as for the now.

So where does it come from?
Having the right climate (culture, context)
Having the right drive, push / pull
Having the right people
Having some time to reflect and think.
Some of the major theories applied to innovative leadership
Innovation leadership has roots in path-goal theory and leader-member exchange theory. Wolfe (1994), Sarros, Cooper, & Santora, (2008) realized that organizational culture is crucial for success.

So, let’s focus on the practice and how to do it.
Encourage creativity
Protect the mavericks
Allow for dissent
Nurture it
Have patience and drive
Small chunks
Giant leaps

What holds it back?
Leaders being in charge; old command style
Leaders being autocratic
Leaders being obsessed with numbers
Leaders only wanting success for themselves; the self interest is the only interest syndrome

Okay, so what makes it work?
Leaders who have a long term perspective
Having the courage to fail and learn from it
Leaders who work with the team
Leaders who motivate through coaching and mentoring
Leaders who are emotionally intelligent
Leaders wanting everyone to succeed
Leaders who have a passion for innovation
Leaders who innovate with their head (thinking) heart (feelings) and hands (actions)

Innovative leaders are able to both supply the vision and create the plan that takes the organization forward. Sometimes it’s the organization itself that is the greatest barrier to innovative thinking and acting.

From the CBI publication Excellence in Service Innovation, Fujitsu moved from technological solutions to a business based outcomes orgnaisation. The company strategy and culture focused on looking at future trends to reduce costs, including its customers in its innovation quest.

Organisations have taken very different approaches to innovation. Microsoft and Google have taken an in-house approach led from within (8 Pillars of Innovation), while My Space and You Tube (prior to its takeover) had a community driven approach.

“The best organizations understand design and do not see innovation as something happening in a laboratory on its own” Joe Heapy, Co Founder and Director of Engine.

The thinking skills for innovation are much more about the abstract, multi-screen breakthrough, diversity and the ultimate goal thinking, as outlined by Valeri Souchkov in her book “Power thinking for innovative leadership.”

So, if this collection of thoughts and observations has sparked your interest get in touch or come along to the Innovative Leadership Mind-set session in Bristol on the 28th October to gain and share some insights and discover how to release innovation in you.I am attending with some of my colleagues from Smart Coaching and Training Ltd

The Innovative Mind-set
Smart Coaching and Training Ltd. – Ross Nichols

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015 from 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm

Smart Coaching & Training Ltd excel at providing bespoke business support, coaching, training, mentoring and consultancy services and resources to business leaders, entrepreneurs, organisations and individuals looking to grow and transform.  Business leaders we have supported have transformed their enterprises, grasped opportunities, identified success elements, developed an innovative mindset and achieved momentum in their business growth.

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 on 01793 882058 or via peter@petermayes.co.uk

Is cooperation collaboration?

A belated August newsletter with some further September thoughts

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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