Street Wisdom, November 4, Leeds, FREE, booking essential
Discover the wisdom of the streets
“[People] must necessarily be the active agents of their own well-being and well-doing… they themselves must in the very nature of things be their own best helpers.”
– Samuel Smiles, author of Self Help , 1859
What is the purpose of being if not to discover truths and insights that are obscured by day-to-day concerns? Street Wisdom gives participants the skills to see the urban environment in a new way, ask a question and use the answers they discover to move forwards in life with a greater sense of wellbeing.
“The concept of creativeness and the concept of the healthy, self-actualizing, fully human person seem to be coming closer and closer together and may perhaps turn out to be the same thing”
– Abraham Maslow, Psychologist
What is the purpose of being if not to be happy and inspired in our own lives? Street Wisdom is a global, not-for-profit social enterprise with a mission to bring inspiration to every street on earth.
“Recognising that you are not where you want to be is a starting point to begin changing your life”
– Deborah Day, Author of Be Happy Now, 2010
Led by Jeremy Lewis, an experienced coach and professional Street Wizard, Street Wisdom will enable you to find inspiration by wandering through the City’s streets. Why wait for escape to exotic destinations when inspiration can be found on your own doorstep? Street Wisdom shows you how.
In SMEs and charities, coaching others is probably the most cost-effective thing you can do to improve performance. It helps identify solutions to specific work-related issues. It allows fuller use of people’s talents. And it demonstrates your commitment to the individuals in your team and their personal development.
This half-day workshop will help you develop coaching skills as a management style. It is ideal for anyone interested in understanding how to use coaching or a coaching style to improve performance and help people develop in their own organisation.
Learning outcomes include:
Δ Understand what a coaching style means and how it might be used every day
Δ Review some key frameworks and tools so you can start managing people differently
Δ Practise the skills needed to coach effectively at work.
Hurol Ozcan Enterprise Centre
Leeds Trinity University
Date: 1st November 2017
Time: 09:30 – 12:45 (arrival from 09:00)
Use LS18 5HD for SatNav, free parking if attending the Leeds Trinity Business Network, otherwise pay and display charges apply
The trade-off between interpersonal tension and task tension is not that well understood in organisations. And yet it is a fundamental equation that can help improve productivity, the quality of work relationship and outcomes.
Interpersonal tension is a sad thing. It occurs when people simply don’t get along. This could be a personality clash or residual tension from previous encounters. Oftentimes, people simply avoid others they don’t get along with, and that’s fine if it doesn’t impact your work outcomes. But what if your job requires you to work with someone with whom you have interpersonal tension? I’m not talking about a saboteur who actively tries to stop you doing your job – that would require escalation to a more senior manager or the involvement of HR. no, I’m talking more about the persistent naysayer who you just don’t get along with well enough to be able to focus on the task at hand.
Task tensionis a happy thing. According to taskmanagementguide.com, task tension can be described as a positive feeling that a person or a group feels when they have an interesting work to be done. Task tension includes feelings of zeal and enthusiasm that encourage people to intensively research the task, seek for ways to complete it, build their collaboration around these aims, and overcome many interpersonal problems for the sake of common goals.
Chart: the trade-off between interpersonal tension and task tension
The chart shows that, over time, interpersonal tension decreases as interest in the task increases. The challenge is to work on techniques that overcome interpersonal tension quickly so that teams can focus on the task. This moves the interpersonal tension line from A to B, and hence saves time, increasing productivity.
And so, the workplace challenge is first to ensure there is a stream of interesting team-based collaborative work available so that task tension has a fighting chance of overcoming interpersonal tension.
And then, the workplace goal is for task tension to overcome interpersonal tension as quickly as possible.
Self-awareness of our own behaviours and how those impact others (“Knowing me…”)
The ability to ‘let it go’ and work with others as you find them (“Knowing you…”)
So that you can get on with the task at hand (“Aha!”).
Knowing me, Knowing you, Aha!
It is important to bring people together to reflect on their own behavioural style, recognise that of others with whom they work and begin to understand how to collaborate. It helps team members and their leaders play to their strengths, overcome their weaknesses and work collaboratively together for the benefit of the organisation. This is of fundamental importance in today’s complex workplace.
And so, I have three questions for you:
Do you have the reflective practice in place to be able to do this?
Do you have the right behavioural insights to facilitate the discussion?
Do you have the right facilitator to bring people together in a way that values differences, seeks common ground and builds collaboration without the session falling apart?
I can’t help you find a stream of interesting, team-based, collaborative work. But if you’re searching for your “Aha!” moment, I believe I can help with expert facilitation supported by leading edge psychometrics.
Committed to making a difference in building collaborative teams that get the job done
The public service leadership challenges of cuts, confusion and change have become the norm. The basic elements needed to lead through this ever-changing landscape are: clarityover direction; adequate supportto adopt change (preferably in the form of budgets for resources and development) and positive consequencesfor delivering the change without damaging services.
There is now a growing realisation amongst public sector leaders that each of these elements is irrevocably threatened: confusion has replaced clarity; cuts have replaced adequate support and negative consequences have replaced any semblance of positivity.
For too long, individual leaders have sought the answers unilaterally, while the pressure to retain accountability mounts daily. They have done this while struggling to have influence that the right things get done within an evolving democratic Political process.
Individual leaders cannot be expected to have all the answers. The solution requires whole system leadership. This means that learning to collaborate is essential, both within organisations and between partners in other public organisations, and in the private and third sectors.
Recent research supports the need for leaders to balance collective leadership and accountability with changes in the Political process:
In The21st Century Public Servant, the University of Birmingham asked questions around what is the range of different roles and requirements on those responsible for delivery 21st century public services and what are the support and training requirements for these roles. In a 2016 report, the Institute for Government undertook a study on the impact of elected regional mayors on ministerial and local accountability, reporting that “success of local collaboration and innovation will depend on the strength of local accountability.”
The latest leadership research, Leadership: all you need to know, (Pendleton and Furnham, Palgrave, 2012), suggests that individual leaders cannot be expected to have all the answers. Leadership requires strategic focus, operational focus and a focus on developing relationships. Leaders are probably strong in one or two of these and very rarely all three. The answer is of course to develop collective leadership where the top team has access to all these capabilities.
This evidence points to the need for public sector leaders to understand more deeply their own leadership strengths and development areas and consider how to build collective leadership to face the challenges of cuts, confusion and change.
Supporting leaders to rise to the challenge
In 2013, in association with the LGA and Skills for Government, Solace published Asking the right questions following consultation and a number of interviews with serving CXs to understand the key challenges they faced and the skills and behaviours they believed were required by their peers and those aspiring to such roles.
Working with CMdeltaConsulting, Solace have now adapted the thinking from both sets of research to suit a broader leadership population and develop collective accountability for public sector leadership – the Leading in Context Framework
The framework can be accessed by individual leaders taking a free self-assessment diagnostic questionnaire, available here. The tool works by presenting you with 30 statements relating to your experience at work. Once you have selected the responses that most closely represent your experience or usual way of working, you are immediately presented with a brief report that shows your strengths and development areas against the Leading in Context Framework
We can build the solution to the current challenges together. Using the free diagnostic questionnaire and report, individual leaders can deepen their own understanding of their leadership strengths and development areas, build a shared understanding of the leadership challenges and perhaps increase their collective accountability to develop as leadership teams and across multi-agency partnerships.
Trudy Birtwell – Head of Leadership and Organisational Development at Solace
Jeremy Lewis – MD at CMdeltaConsulting and Solace Associate
Note for editors
Solace (Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers) is the representative body for senior strategic managers working in the public sector. We are committed to public sector excellence. We provide our members with opportunities for personal and professional development and seek to influence the debate about the future of public services to ensure that policy and legislation reflect the experience and expertise of our members.
CMdeltaConsulting is a specialist consulting, coaching and facilitation firm that focuses on whole system leadership and collaborative partnering. We are committed to making a difference in helping senior leaders and the teams they lead thrive. Working directly with public sector leaders, we support and challenge them to ensure the changes they need to make stick, partner and coach them throughout their change journey and build the skills they and their teams need to face tomorrow’s challenges. We support public sector organisations in Local Government, Health and the Police.
I offer outside help to develop your organisation. I do sometimes wonder whether organisations need my help at all?!
I attended a rather excellent sales masterclass recently. Among other things, we discussed the emotional reasons people buy our services. People buy things for one of three reasons: pleasure, fear or pain.
My wife just bought a Kindle Fire. She’s delighted with it. She bought it for pleasure, and to stop her playing games on her work laptop. She can now switch that off and play Sim City or whatever with impunity. With discipline, I’m sure she could have kept her existing arrangement, but hey! What do I know about work-life balance?
A friend of mine recently bought a new child car seat, fuelled by the fear that her existing restraint is not good enough to protect her toddler, given new laws came in from March 1. I’m curious why the existing restraint was perfectly okay in February (even under the new legislation), but is no longer good enough? But hey, what do I know about wellbeing?
I realised on the masterclass (if I didn’t already know) that I am in the business of selling organisational pain relief! But are organisations in pain?
How are you experiencing organisational pain?
I’ve developed this short questionnaire to help you assess the level of your organisational pain. I suspect you’re in pretty good shape, but here goes… give yourself one point for each statement that is true.
Our corporate strategy is fully embedded into the way we operate
Our local business plans are all completely aligned to the overall corporate plan
Our customers all find it easy to do business with us
Our people are completely engaged in the vision and live our values day-to-day
There is no silo-mentality here – people work well together across organisational boundaries
The last organisational restructure we did is totally embedded and working like a dream
All our managers take full accountability for their team’s performance
In fact, we don’t have managers, we have leaders
We have a “right first time” customer-focused culture
We all support and challenge each other to role model the right behaviours
Well done, you have achieved significant organisational alignment. I told you that you didn’t need any outside help, didn’t I?
Not bad. Any slight organisational pain you might be feeling will probably go away on its own. Keep doing the things you’re doing, things are bound to improve soon.
Never mind. You’ve got used to working like this. I guess things will always be this way. You probably do not have any budget to invest in organisational development anyway, right?
But hey, what do I know about organisational development?
I had the pleasure of exploring silence with a group of fellow coaches recently, facilitated ably by my colleague Ian Smith. We concluded silence can be a gift, as it is received and understood by different people differently.
We experimented with silence to reflect on what silence meant, and then shared our thinking. For the most part, the participants in this reflective discussion viewed silence as a positive thing, as it gives others time and space to think and reflect. I was curious. I see certain instances of silence as being quite destructive; those uncomfortable silences, when something needs to be said, but no one is saying it. Like the silence that is taken as acquiescence in a meeting, but as soon as the meeting is over, people rebel and do not follow through with what was “agreed”. Like the silence that leads to Groupthink. Perhaps like the silence that ignores the ‘elephant in the room’.
Three levels of silence
This inspired me to research the current thinking out there in the blogosphere about silence. I only found positive interpretations of silence. Silence is often categorised into several levels. I found examples of up to 12 levels. This I find excessive, although I also find it excessive that the Eskimo-Aleut languages have 50 words for snow.
Sensible categorisations of silence appear to fall into three levels:
The absence of sound
A disinterest in external activity, where the mind is focused inwards
A deep inner silence brought on through meditation, in pursuit of oneness and total contentment.
There is now a Level Zero
[Children’s movie spoiler alert]
Po: Lets just start at zero; Level Zero. Shifu: Oh no. There is no such thing as Level Zero.
Thus starts the scene in Kung Fu Panda, where our hero, the overweight panda Po, begins his journey to enlightenment. After Po hits a children’s punchbag and is sent flying into moving ropes and swinging pendulums, he endures being deposited into a tilting bowl, where he hits his head several times until the bowl tips over and sets off a chain reaction that causes swinging arms to smack him in the groin and then knock him violently into a fire pit. He slumps over next to his Sensei, Shifu, burned and charred.
Po: How did I do? Shifu: There is now a Level Zero.
I propose four levels of silence for your consideration:
0. Uncomfortable silence
1. Comfortable silence
2. Reflective silence
3. Deep silence.
Level 0: uncomfortable silence
Uncomfortable silence arises through fear of being isolated because you have a different opinion from the majority. This is closely aligned to Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann’s ideas in the Spiral of Silence. People tend to remain silent for fear of social exclusion when they have a minority opinion that might challenge the group’s dominant idea. They must constantly use energy to assess the climate in a social group and may choose to remain silent or ‘lose their voice’, especially if they have been criticised in the past. This does not apply to those (at the top of Noelle-Neumann’s spiral) who are hardcore nonconformists or who represent the Avant-Garde. Such people are less likely to remain silent.
The advent of the Internet has also arguably lowered this type of silence online, where people with minority (often extremist) views are likely to seek out others of similar views and use chat rooms to find their voice. Such folk can also benefit from the anonymity of the Internet, which lowers the fear of reprisal, and has led to an uprising in airtime for controversial views.
In a workplace context, uncomfortable silence represents a denial of responsibility, allowing undiscussable topics to remain undiscussable, and ultimately degenerates into a ‘snakepit’ organisation, where people retreat into their silos and protect themselves against attack from each other.
Level 1: comfortable silence
The main problem with silence is that we do not know what it means when it happens. Is the silence uncomfortable: a denial of responsibility, or comfortable: a true agreement to what is being discussed?
Comfortable silence happens when we are happy together, perhaps lost in our own thoughts and not needing to fill the silence with words. We are comfortable with the people we are with. This is a passive silence.
I suggest this is only possible if there are no hidden assumptions. Very close friends and life partners can achieve this level of silence.
In the workplace, achieving this level of silence requires good facilitation to reveal hidden assumptions, discuss the undiscussables, explore the elephant in the room, etc. This is necessarily not a silent activity and such facilitation may well move people quickly to level 2 silence.
Level 2: Reflective silence
Reflective silence is when you have the space and time to think. As an individual, you would be well-advised to carve out time in your busy schedule to do this, or perhaps to use the services of a coach to gift you such time and space.
Level 2 silence becomes timeless, lost in your own thoughts. You become disinterested in external activity, your mind is turned inwards. You achieve a quietness inside, regardless of the external sounds. It requires stillness, and yet is an active silence.
In the workplace, a good facilitator or group coach can gift you time and space to think as a team.
Level 3: Deep silence
Deep silence has its traditions in several ancient world religions, such as Zen Practice and Monastic Silence. It is a silence that can be achieved through deep meditation. You may well practise mindful meditation already, focusing on what is happening right now. This does not require external silence. In fact, deep silence is the pursuit of total oneness, total contentment and inner silence, regardless of any external sounds. It is also possible regardless of what you are doing. Deep silence does not require stillness, and yet is a passive silence
I tentatively suggest the following framework:
In the workplace, issues arise when silence is misunderstood. When people push their own views, they demonstrate a ‘stay in control’ or ‘win, don’t lose’ mindset. When silence follows, they may incorrectly assume agreement. A more purposive mindset is to stay curious, adopt the ‘and’ stance (rather than the ‘but’ stance). This can help to surface hidden assumptions, and allow people the space and time to find their voice.
The workplace goal is to move silence from being an active pursuit of denial, towards awareness of the silence and active pursuit of renewal. This moves people’s energy from denying responsibility to surfacing hidden assumptions, to discussing the undiscussable. It requires meetings to include the space and time to think, so that people can engage in the meaningful activity aligned to the organisation’s purpose. It means people can find their voice and take more accountability.
We need your help to shape a programme of skills development for Yorkshire-based SMEs and Charities. We’re asking you to complete a short survey that will only take you a few minutes. The findings will help to build a value-for-money programme of workshops aimed at developing the leadership skills needed to grow your business.
Where do you turn when things get tough?
There is a famous story of a woodcutter who was sawing wood for several days straight. The process of cutting naturally dulled his blade and the job became tougher and tougher. He was far too busy getting the job done to realise a better solution would be to stop and sharpen his saw.
Leadership development for SMEs is a tough challenge. In terms of investment in skills development for staff, managers and leaders, there is a large and widening gap between larger businesses and SMEs. Training and development is a resource-hungry activity. It is hard for SMEs to engage their people in upgrading their skills – there is just too much to get done today, in the business, every day. Right?
Short workshops that build into a leadership development programme
CMdeltaConsulting specialises in developing leaders and building collaborative partnerships. We have sketched out a programme of short workshops. We intend to build it into a comprehensive programme of leadership skills development for SMEs and Charities. And so, we need your help to shape the content of the programme.
Please complete our brief questionnaire
What workshops would interest you and your teams? How long should they be? How frequent? What would you be willing to pay for this type of leadership development, or perhaps you think they should be free? What have we missed?
Please click here to complete the survey. It will only take you a few minutes. And there’s a chance to win a half day of consulting, coaching or facilitation if you sign up to our mailing list in March (optional).
Relevant to anyone interested in getting the most out of people at work, this one day intensive workshop will give you a working knowledge of personality and human behaviour in the workplace. A rewarding and interesting day with the added bonus of accreditation as a MiRo Practitioner into the bargain.
I thoroughly enjoyed the session,learned loads and feel optimistic about integrating MiRo into my practice – Auriel Majumdar, Creative Business Coach
I sometimes get commissioned to deliver development for managers, i.e. delivering facilitated learning for people with ‘manager’ in their job title. But I don’t consider myself to be in the business of management development. I do however accept that one area on my work might be called leadership development. So, what is the difference between management and leadership? Google this nugget and you’ll get a bundle of different answers.
At the risk of adding to the confusion, here’s my simple definition. The leadership definition might surprise you:
Management is the act of overseeing a process
Leadership is the power to organise ideas into action.
In an organisational context, the processes managers oversee are often referred to as business processes. In manufacturing, business processes turn inputs into outputs. This concept can be extended to business processes in other sectors – there will always be some form of inputs (data, designs, resources) and the process turns these into outputs that customers want (information, products, services).
Leadership is the power to organise ideas into action; the power to change. Deepak Chopra argues this power derives from a combination of creativity, the seed of an idea for the future, and the desire to enact it. The desire to enact it requires organisation. Such organisation requires you pay attention to the present to make your intention a future reality. This is the essence of organisation, the essence of leadership.
Can I be both?
Yes, you can. In fact, anybody can be a leader.
I argue that the desire to enact a future intention, coupled with the capability to make it happen is all you need to be considered a leader. You do not need a job title. In an organisational context, the future intention is called a vision.
There are only three levels of hierarchy in any organisation: strategic leaders, operational (or service) leaders and individuals. Everything else is fluff to justify job titles, pay grades and HR functions.
At the individual contribution level, you are a leader if you choose to do something that aligns to the vision, then make it happen
At the operational/service leader level, you are a leader if you organise others to deliver the activities that deliver the vision. You probably have ‘supervisor’ or ‘manager’ in your job title, or perhaps ‘head of…’
At the strategic leader level, you are a leader if you organise the whole system to deliver the vision (the whole system comprises things like strategy, operations, people, structures, planning and performance mechanisms, engagement and team culture).
Leadership development at any level is about developing the Four Cs of Leadership
The skills and experience you need at each level are different, and depend on the organisation, the nature of its business and the scale of the activities in which you are involved.
But the leadership behaviours are uncannily similar across organisations, industries and sectors. And they relate to the power to organise ideas into action. Four elements must be present:
Commitment to the idea itself – the commitment to a vision
Competence, i.e. the ability to act – the leader must be good at some aspect of the activity in which they are engaged, and must be able to organise themselves to make progress towards that vision
Communication – though not explicit in my definition, the vision and the steps needed to move towards it must be articulated to influence and mobilise others
Change orientation – whereas management is about overseeing a defined process, which is fundamentally about stability, the leader must embrace change to make the vision a reality.
These are the Four Cs of Leadership. You can build your leadership capability by considering the extent to which each of these is fundamentally embedded and working effectively within your organisation.
I need your help. I have an amazing opportunity for you to benefit from some research into personality types and behavioural preferences. But first, some context…
Developing your understanding of personality types and thinking styles is a useful way to improve your knowledge of motivation and behaviour in the workplace.
Millions of people across the world have undertaken assessments to determine their personality type. There are a plethora of behavioural and personality type psychometric instruments out there. However, the psychology of Carl Jung, as adapted and interpreted by one Isabel Briggs-Myers and one Katharine Cook Briggs (aka the Myers-Briggs thing), is one of the most recognised and commonly used.
Here comes the “science”. In a nutshell, your personality is determined by four dichotomies. Firstly, how you take in (or Perceive) information. This you can do in a detailed, sequential sort of way (Sensing) or a big picture, snapshot sort of way (iNtuition). Then, you need to consider how you make decisions (or Judgements) based on that information. This you can do objectively (Thinking) or empathetically (Feeling). One of these Perceiving or Judging dichotomies will dominate your approach to dealing with the world. Finally, you will put your energy into your dominant approach either by focusing on the external world (Extraversion) or by internalising it (Introversion). The answers to these four dichotomies yield 16 personality types, each identified by a four-letter acronym. Only it’s not “science”. Rather, it’s a metaphor for observable behaviour, just like the Native American Medicine Wheel or even Astrology.
How these four dichotomies apply most often to you determines which of 16 personality types you have, which in turn determines how you are likely to respond to stimuli.
I sort of have a problem with this. People are, well, people. We are just trying to categorise certain observable behaviours. Neuroscience now shows that our rational and emotional minds are quite able to be trained to respond in whatever way we choose to any given situation. So why straightjacket us with a “type”? And why make that type so darned complicated?
The concept of preference
What if some of these types were viewed simply as behavioural preferences? What would these preferences be? It turns out four such behavioural modes will suffice – Driving, Analysing, Organising and Energising.
What if we could recognise we already have relatively easy access to more than one behavioural mode, say two or even three of these modes?
I’m told I have an ISFP personality type. I know I extravert my perceptions and introvert my feelings. Apparently, this means I work with bursts of energy and makes me a P. Yet I am quite able to plan out my day too (J). I’m also happy taking in information in different ways (S and N) and applying both rational thinking and emotional feelings (T and F) to make decisions. I spend long periods of time focusing on others’ needs and taking in others’ perspectives (E) and I spend long periods of time on my own reflecting and making sense of that data (I).
I am all these things and more. Perhaps we need a behavioural psychometric that understands people and I believe I have found one such tool. I use it a lot in my organisation development consulting, coaching and facilitation practice. I’m so excited about I, I have become accredited to provide training to others to become MiRo Practitioners.
If you’d like to find out more about your behavioural preferences, and those of your teammates, I have something that might interest you. MiRo Psychometrics are currently undertaking some research into benchmarking their model with the Myers Briggs model.
Your help needed
That’s why we need your help. We need 25 groups of 20 people to take a MiRo Assessment and another Myers Briggs assessment so that we can benchmark one against the other.
In return we can give you 20 free bespoke reports and a team report, plus up to a free day of practitioner time. This package would normally be worth £2,500 in total.
We can take your team through the reports and help you to understand them and your team better in the context of your business or your situation. We want this to be a positive and rewarding experience for you. And we hope that when it’s over you’ll want to know more about MiRo and want to do even more with the tool. However, if you simply want the free reports and the free training and consultancy that comes with them, then it’s all yours and we’ll leave it at that.
All we ask in return is that you spend a few minutes completing a very short questionnaire.
If you’d like to be considered to take part in the research or just want to know more, I’d love to hear from you.