Thought Patrol Podcast
Uncommon Sense: Being Busy is Not Good

Uncommon Sense: Being Busy is Not Good

February 22, 2021

I want to challenge a cultural phenomenon; when asked how we are, especially in a work or business context, our positive response is that we’re busy. Now whilst the complete opposite of that is a problem, being busy may not be our most effective state. Being busy is not necessarily good.

 

Recently the World Health Organisation added burnout to its official list of diseases. The term was first applied as a psychological diagnosis in 1974 by Herbert Freudenberger. Which is a splendid name.

 

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Uncommon Sense: Slow Down to Speed Up

Uncommon Sense: Slow Down to Speed Up

February 15, 2021

Do you feel like you are always working working working, with little or underwhelming fruit? Does your workday leave you feeling tired, ineffective and unfulfilled? This is actually very common in leaders and their teams.

 

Sometimes we have to slow down to speed up; and build some white space into our hectic schedules. We are not wired for a sprint; we’re built for a marathon. Like all good runners we have to pace ourselves if we want to win. As the great piece of racing advice says, “to finish first, first you have to finish”.

 

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Uncommon Sense: Control is an Illusion

Uncommon Sense: Control is an Illusion

February 8, 2021

I mentor and train a lot of leaders, a number note that their teams don’t take responsibility, won’t make decisions and don’t think for themselves. Often this frustration is driven from a desire to control them?

“I love to be micro-managed,” said no one ever. Whether we like it or not, control is an illusion. Even if we think all is under control, it seldom is.

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Uncommon Sense: Your Team is a Reflection of You

Uncommon Sense: Your Team is a Reflection of You

February 1, 2021

Is your team not operating well? Do you seem to have ongoing people issues in your business? Here’s some bad news, that may turn out to be good news. Often your team is a reflection of you?

 

Leaders set the tone and a team will take their standards and even their ethics from you. The standard you walk by will become the team standard.

 

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2020 Hindsight: Learn Fast

2020 Hindsight: Learn Fast

January 25, 2021

If you have a pulse, you’ll have noticed that things changed fast in 2020. The security of the plans we had, the certainty we had assumed, all got thrown out of the window, by of all things, a tiny virus. 

One thing I teach my clients, and help their companies embrace, is to learn fast and stay agile. It's front and centre in some of the successes that I've had in my leadership past. Yet 2020 has absolutely galvanised that view as I've seen those locked in their old ways failing to respond. Leaders who learned fast were proactive and reactive. Their solutions were relevant, and they pivoted productively. The organisations that were agile we're just able to move faster. As the environment changed, the needs changed, and the opportunities were seized by those able to learn fast. As leadership guru Tom Peters says, “Test fast, fail fast, adjust fast.” So true and never so important as now. 

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2020 Hindsight: Stay Connected

2020 Hindsight: Stay Connected

January 18, 2021

One of the most profound lockdown leadership lessons I've learned, with 2020 hindsight, is the importance of staying connected. I've always known this to be true from a leadership perspective. The aloof leader, locked behind doors, not connecting and not engaging, is rarely effective. 20 years as a CEO of six different companies taught me the power and importance of connection. Yet this year it has been profoundly highlighted to me, and the leaders that I serve.

So, what do I mean by connection? I’ll leave that to the venerable Brené Brown, who said, “I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”  That is a very high bar for any commercial environment, and unfortunately not even close in most.  But I think we should all be on that journey as leaders, albeit that Brown’s definition is the ideal.

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2020 Hindsight: Stay Simple

2020 Hindsight: Stay Simple

January 11, 2021

We're continuing our series of 2020 hindsight; a look at lock down leadership lessons, I've learned over the past 12 months. One important factor in successfully navigating a crisis is the need for simplicity. I think there is a lesson for businesses and their leaders to keep it simple. 

There definitely seems to be something innate in us, that compels us to add complexity where it's not necessary. I think underlying this is the wrong assumption that complexity is a sign of competence. When I hear people being complex or giving long answers, it’s often used as a cover for incompetence or self-justification. In the many turnarounds I've been involved with, the solutions have always been very simple, even in the most complex environments.

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2020 Hindsight: Love First

2020 Hindsight: Love First

January 4, 2021

One of the things that has been a surprising outcome of meeting with groups of leaders during 2020 is a definite change in the usual priorities. Once the urgency of protecting the business and preserving the company was in place, leaders started talking about other things. The often-robust conversations of a purely commercial nature became deeper, and more personal.

 

Forced time away from work, more connection with family, and a prevailing threat helped us all to reassess our priorities. My 2020 hindsight, leadership lockdown lesson is the importance of putting ‘love’ first. Yes, this is commercial leadership content and yes, I’m talking about love.

2020 Hindsight: Build Trust

2020 Hindsight: Build Trust

December 28, 2020

We're taking a look at some of the things I've learned over 2020 with a little bit of 2020 hindsight. In this session, I'm going to cover the importance of building trust. Lincoln Chafee, the American politician said, “Trust is built with consistency.” Very true, but I would add transparency and integrity. 

 

As a leader, when you don't have trust, or haven't created an environment of trust for your team, things move slowly. With low trust, you experience low productivity and even toxic environments. Often when there is no trust, that gap is filled with fear.

 

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2020 Hindsight: Know What Comes First

2020 Hindsight: Know What Comes First

December 21, 2020

This is a continuation of a small series I'm doing on 2020 hindsight. These are leadership lessons I've learned from the lockdown. In this session, “Know what comes first”. In a year where there was a lot going on, as you may have noticed, having clarity around priorities has been paramount. “Our life is the sum total of all the decisions we make every day, and those decisions are determined by our priorities.” According to the Bahamian Clergyman, Myles Munroe. Wise words.

 

If we don't know what comes first, we will be busy, but not necessarily effective. We all have a huge amount of noise in our world. The tendency will be to become reactive rather than proactive. We will randomly respond to what's happening, rather than considering our primary most effective response. If we do have a sense of what should come first, then we have more clarity. If we cut through the clutter and the noise, we tend to make better decisions. 

 

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