• Give someone a bloody good listening to…

    Give someone a bloody good listening to…

    We know that being listened to has a transformational impact. We advocate giving people a bloody good listening to – rather than a bloody good talking to – next time you notice that performance is slipping, energy is slumping or attitudes are hardening.

    In my experience of working with organisations across sectors it’s being listened to that makes the biggest difference to culture and engagement. When we truly listen to our colleagues we demonstrate that they are important to us, their views count and that the organisation is built upon their insight.

    If we want to improve our ability to listen then a coaching course can be a good idea, as well as ensuring we find environments where and when it’s easier to focus and really listen.

    I’m certain our clients get more impact from the way we listen than the way we speak (and we can be pretty eloquent when we want to be!) and that’s because listening is about creating time, attention and insight… and we all need more of those.

    Image credit – BBC – Fi Glover – The listening project

  • It’s not the trees waving that causes the wind to blow…

    It’s not the trees waving that causes the wind to blow… and it’s really important to know the difference… what has a causal effect on which…

    I often notice that people focus on behaviour when they might spend more time thinking about conditions, culture and support. When staff in a theatre aren’t always that welcoming to patrons, could it really be that they don’t know how to smile? Perhaps it’s more likely that they are frustrated and uncomfortable about some things that are happening in their environment that are more present to them that the ticket buyer in front of them.

    It’s important to know what is a result of our actions and what is a cause of them… and as leaders whether we are a tree that is being blown out of shape, or the wind that is creating the deformity.

  • Change is done BY people, not TO people

    Change is done BY people, not TO people

    When we start thinking about creating change with our clients, the conversation is invariably about how people need to change the way they work, think and behave… and most times the conversation assumes that we’re going to help our new client to change them…

    But when we think about change management, we think about creating an opportunity for everyone to explore, decide and develop how they need to change themselves… rather than hear how someone else thinks they ought to change.

    All the changes we imagine happening in an organisation (save the ones that we personally deliver) are already owned by someone and their understanding, appetite and engagement is what we need in order for them to go about changing.

    So we see change management as a social process, of enabling people to see the changes that they can make… which cumulatively will add up to an organisational change… rather than a project process where people are told what they need to do and forced to do it…

    No one can make us learn a new skill, build a new strength or feel a different way, and while leaders can inspire people to want to change, the change is still the individuals to deliver and realise.

    So we put involvement at the heart of the way we create change with clients, so that change is done by people, not to them.

  • We don’t resist change, we resist BEING changed

    We don’t resist change, we resist BEING changed.

    I’m pretty sure that being contrary is a very strong human driver… perhaps third in line after survival and procreation is the urge to disagree. We are built to be skeptical, to question and to look for alternative explanations.

    When we are creating change in an organisation it is so easy to accidentally trigger this contrary response within our colleagues, and to characterise that resistance as destructive, obstructive and personally targeted. It’s normally positively motivated, insightful and likely to have some core truths in it that might save our change… and ensure it works.

    We put involvement at the heart of our organisation development work for this reason. People have to own the changes that are needed in their organisation and they normally have the greatest insight about what those changes are – once we remember to ask them and get them involved.

    When I hear clients talk about the fact that people in their organisation don’t like change, I often think about how much novelty, innovation and change those same people are making throughout their lives outside of work… and once we’re looking at them from that perspective, we can start to identify and dismantle the barriers to change that we have created within the workplace.

  • What do I do for a living?

    What do I do for a living?

    People ask me what I do for a living. They ask me how come I’m always so energetic when I talk about my work. They ask if I’m ever bored.

    So that got me wondering, and its really clear to me that I’m never bored when I’m working with or thinking about people. I run people make it work, and as its leader I help direct programmes and support the team as they work with our clients.

    I love helping leaders understand their amazing strengths as well as the areas that will benefit from some attention and development.

    I really enjoy helping organisations and their leaders to explore and develop their ideas, expanding their sense of what is possible and turning audacious ideas into real, solid cultural businesses that are resilient and create extraordinary impact in our society.

    I believe in people make it work, and the ethos that we all embody – that human beings have infinite potential, that each of us is always on a development journey, that connecting with our values and our organisations’ mission can release huge amounts of energy, that organisations thrive when they tend relationships, support each other and grow positive cultures.

    We work in the arts because I fervently believe in the power of arts and culture to transform lives through helping each of us understand the world through other peoples eyes, connect with our wider humanity, see opportunities beyond our direct experience and have sublime experiences.

    The people in this team are a daily inspiration to me, and it’s a humbling experience to support our clients in their magnificent endeavours.

    I guess that’s what I should say when people ask me why I enjoy my work so much… or maybe I’ll just send them a link to this blog entry…