the pressures of work

The Search for Value – an intelligent response to the pressures of work

The Pressures of Work

No pressure no diamonds – is a great quote from Thomas Carlyle that epitomises a winning response towards the pressures of work…and life. I recall being told quite early in my career that a diamond was simply a dead piece of wood put under immense pressure. This insight changed my perspective towards pressure. Suddenly pressure was a potential force for good rather than a negative emotion caused by the overload of life.The Search for Value 1

Clearly, pressure is a relative term. When circumstances change for the worse some people can only see and feel negative energy. Others see the opportunity it provides. Put simply some people wilt whilst others thrive on the pressures of work. In this short piece I will explore the pressure created by an organisation being asked once again to do more with less. This is a reality for many organisations in the last few years and, I fear, for many months to come.

The initial reaction always seems to be to reach first for the ‘cost’ lever. “Sharpen the pencils at both ends”, “slash all ‘unnecessary’ expenditure”, “baton down the hatches” are the clarion calls that ring throughout the land. This sends a shiver through most people as they consider, usually not for the first time, what can be cut and what can be stopped? This ‘cut the costs’ call to arms is almost universally received with gloom, worry and despair. The more cynical managers will say ‘here we go again’ and will watch like hawks as the scarcity mind-set begins to paralyse the organisation. They fatalistically observe the consequences as under investment and short term cost cutting begin to break out.

The Search for Value

I contend a better response to ‘cut all costs’ is to start a ‘search for value’. Read more

Trojan Horse

Leadership – a Trojan horse in transforming a business?

We all know the story about the Trojan horse? Basically the Greeks had been laying siege to Troy for 10 years. The Greeks needed to bring the siege to an end, built a large wooden horse and hid troops inside it, and left it outside Troy when they pretended to sail away. The Trojans then pulled the horse inside Troy as a trophy. Overnight the Greek troops climbed out of the Trojan Horse and opened the gates, allowing the rest of the Greek forces (who had returned under cover of darkness) to enter Troy and end the stalemate.

Local and central government from Hampshire County Council to the Highland Council, and most private and third-sector organisations in between and globally are going through significant transformations Read more

reframing for resilience

Got a pile of manure? Look for the donkey!

Reframing for Resilience

I very frequently apply the insight from my donkey story to whatever life experiences I am currently facing. This is a story about research conducted with two boys. One was placed in a room full of toys and the other was placed in a room full of manure and they were left alone for the day. When the researchers returned, they went first to the boy with all the toys and as they neared his door they heard him crying, when they asked him why he replied that the toys were broken and he was bored. As they neared the boy with the manure they expected it to be even worse, but at the door they heard whistling and singing and scraping sounds, intrigued they opened the door to see him busily digging away. ‘What are you doing?’ they asked – ‘With all this manure’ the boy replied, ‘There must be a donkey close by, and I want to find him!’ The moral of this story is that life may give you a big pile of manure at times, so dig for the donkey; there always is one if you look carefully! It’s a resilience booster!

Read more

Ambidextrous Communication

Ambidextrous communication; write it right… and left!

Ambidextrous Communication

With BREXIT, a new UK Prime Minister and leadership challenges in the Labour party, leaders everywhere are aiming to influence the widest possible audience to embed their brand of change.

People say that they hate change. It can be quite brutal, be sudden and have personal impact. This kind of change is often debilitating and the consequences of it are what lead people to think that they hate it.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Even where changes, for all kinds of reasons, happen at pace, competent leadership teams are usually in a position to plan for and help people understand change and how they may adapt to it.

Read more

Acceptance

The Power of Acceptance

Acceptance and Change

According to change management theory, acceptance is the point at which things start to look up! Following, the anxiety, disbelief, anger, grief and hostility of the initial impact of change there is a time to just accept what is and get on with life. At least, that is the recommended path. What if you could get to the point of acceptance quicker? Would that help?

What if…?

One of the most powerful tools in the Change Maker Toolkit is the ability to think. And, one of the best questions to consider is, what if? Let’s ask some powerful questions about the UK following Brexit.

  • What if the UK economy does not falter in the way the experts predict? What if it does?
  • What if global trade could be re-engineered to minimise the impact of potentially higher tariffs in Europe? What if it can’t?
  • What if a fall in the number of migrant workers causes disruption in the delivery of essential services? What if the opposite is true?

Read more