… and …

I thought I’d update my Linkedin profile. I haven’t paid it any attention for months, but I thought it might be worth improving if only on the grounds that it is another public representation of … me.\r\n\r\nIt was harder than I expected.\r\n\r\nMy friend Rob Hook from the Business Copilot asked\r\n\r\n”What’s your headline? The one thing you want to say about yourself? To put up front?”\r\n\r\nWell I don’t have one thing.\r\n\r\nPriest … AND … Painter … AND … Preacher …\r\n\r\nAND … Designer … AND … Vision Caster … AND … Administrator …\r\n\r\nAND … Counsellor … AND … manager AND … writer …\r\n\r\nAND … so on … AND … so on.\r\n\r\nTo be honest, it’s wearing trying to define each point of focus without loosing the other. It’s like having a target with multiple bullseyes.\r\n\r\nStill, it has to be done, because at the moment I’m floating somewhere between targets, let alone bullseyes, and I’m liable to hit nothing.\r\n\r\nMy Linkedin profile … here

The Work Project – Effective Transformation of the Workplace

About two years ago I floated the idea of a seminar/group coaching session focused on transforming the workplace. It’s where many of us spend most of our time and where we feel most in need of support, affirmation and assistance.\r\n\r\nLast year the idea was developed in more detail when I was thinking about a mission strategy for Bradley Stoke, an area on the Bristol North Fringe. It was one of five big ideas to help the church become more outward looking and more effective in improving the day to day lives of ordinary working people. The broader context can be seen in the book Mapping Mission Opportunities.\r\n\r\nThis year it’s moved on again. Working with Rob Hook of the Business CoPilot, we have zeroed in on some practical details. We have sent out a survey to 50 people we know in the workplace to ask what are the the real issues they face. Being practically minded we are also asking what is the ideal format for coaching/teaching/talking about our individual performance in the workplace so that each of in turn may transform the workplace for every person around us.\r\n\r\nThe summary sent out with our survey is here The Work Project – effective transformation of the workplace or click on the image below. It can also be found at our website TheWorkProject.0rg.uk.\r\n\r\nIf you are in work and we haven’t asked for your opinion, and you would like to complete our questionnaire, please email me at thestudio@3zonline.co.uk or Rob at robh@businesscopilot.co.uk.\r\n\r\n

Give time to creative thinking

Paul Olley said:\r\n\r\n“I made an international reputation by thinking twice each week,”\r\n\r\nHe outlined the components of successful generative (creative) thinking as these\r\n


  1. Time – give time to think
  2. \r\n

  3. Think – once or twice a week or month – not once a year
  4. \r\n

  5. Space – find space to think: go to a hotel for 2 hours each week
  6. \r\n

  7. Relax – it helps
  8. \r\n

  9. Topic – don’t pick a low grade or minor issue. Pick a big one. “if we had to do ‘X’ how would we do it?”
  10. \r\n

  11. Be focused – but not on anything. Be focused on opportunities and solutions. The object is not just to think but to decide
  12. \r\n

  13. Tools – find tools that work for you , well known ones perhaps, such as from Tony Buzan or Edward de Bono.
  14. \r\n

  15. Strategrams – draw strategic diagrams to summarise your thinking
  16. \r\n

  17. Intuition – use intuition rather than hard data
  18. \r\n

\r\nPS if you didn’t link to the Edward de Bono video above … do it here! Edward de Bono

Common Sense – the missing ingredient in leadership?

An interview with Theo Paphitis in The Market magazine is instructive:\r\n\r\n‘His consistent ability to read a business, identify key issues, and then take successful action surely must rely on a methodology or set of processes?\r\n\r\n”No, not at all,” he rebuffs. “I’m not a financial engineer … I’m a people person. I never go into a company saying “I’m going to turn this around”.\r\n\r\n”Instead I listen to the people who know the business best – the staff. Not the board or the senior management, but the people on the shop floor, at the sharp end. Normally they know all the reasons why a business is struggling. My talent is listening to people around me and then implementing the right changes in detail. At’s about the application of common sense.\r\n\r\n”I see everyday in my business life, that common sense isn’t very common.”\r\n\r\nIt makes sense …. the flip side of Front Line Staff\r\n\r\n 

Plenty of Persons – Few Personalities

It’s never happened before, but this week I stopped to read the words of the Czech President  Milos Zeman.


He said:


“In European politics there are plenty of ‘persons’ but few ‘personalities’ “


In other words, interpreted the commentator, there are functionaries, but not leaders.


It turns out that President Zeman backed up his reflection by appointing as prime minister a close ally with uncomfortable credentials in the Czech secret intelligence service who was not representative of the caretaker government in power. Zeman went for a potentially radical leader rather than one that more closely represented the balance of parliament.


Not being in any way acquainted with Czech politics didn’t stop me wondering about an interesting parallel.


In an interregnum in a parish church of the Church of England (the irony of comparing a parish church in the Church of England with the government of one of the most unchurched nations in Europe is not lost on me) the diocese often helps establish a measured, balanced transitional leadership team made up of members of the congregation. This team usually represents the current (and more problematically the historical) position of the particular church.

Does this then result in: a) the appointment of a middle of the road, balanced, competent, ‘person’; and b) the exclusion of the more radical, alternative, creative ‘personalities’ the church needs to grow?


Or in the words used by the Czech president, does this approach put functionaries but not leaders in charge of churches?


Model Sports Leadership

An article on management in the FT last week recalled the comment of Howard Wilkinson (former manager of Leeds United) on management:\r\n\r\n“No offence to captains of industry, but even a FTSE100 chairman can postpone a board meeting. A football manager can’t postpone a football match and every match is a shareholder meeting, [sometimes] in front of 80,000 people”.\r\n\r\nSounds good, but Andrew Hill, the FT correspondent on management, made a compelling counter argument. Yes, football managers rarely have second chances and are often granted a short tenure, but he points out that  “there is a purity and focus to the football manager’s role that is rarely found in business”.\r\n\r\nSo while it’s perfectly reasonable for Harvard Business School to carry out a study on Alex Ferguson (who by the way has access to the boardroom that is atypical in football), we should not be seduced into thinking that the axioms of sports leadership can be readily transferred to other organisations, where leaders often have a far more nuanced task in front of them involving more complex data and more significant unknowns.\r\n\r\nSo before adopting someone else’s leadership idea the shrewd leader should think deeply about this:\r\n

‘What stream feeds the well you are drawing from?’

\r\nThat said … ‘Fergusons Formula’ is still worth a read on the Harvard Business Review site here.

The 7 Principles of Public Life

I’m trying to work out whether to loan some pieces of my sculpture to a gallery and in the course of my research I read the webpage on the Board of Trustees at the…

I’m trying to work out whether to loan out some pieces of my sculpture to a gallery and in the course of my research I read the webpage on the Board of Trustees at the Tate. The text outlines the purpose of the board and the role of an individual board member.\r\n\r\nIt’s strangely heart warming to see a public body spell out clearly that a trustee cannot use their position for personal gain, nor ‘seek to use the opportunity of public service to promote their private interests’.\r\n\r\nBut best of all was the list of ‘Seven Principles of Public Life’ drawn up by the Nolan Committee at the end of their short report in May 1995. They are worth serious reflection.\r\n\r\nThe seven principles are:\r\n\r\nSelflessness\r\n\r\nHolders of the public office should take decisions solely in line with the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends.\r\n\r\nIntegrity\r\n\r\nHolders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organizations that might influence them in the performance of their official duties.\r\n\r\nObjectivity\r\n\r\nIn carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.\r\n\r\nAccountability\r\n\r\nHolders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.\r\n\r\nOpenness\r\n\r\nHolders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands it.\r\n\r\nHonesty\r\n\r\nHolders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in any way that protects the public interest.\r\n\r\nLeadership\r\n\r\nHolders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.

Growing in Leadership

One of my leadership highlights this year was listening in to a telephone Q&A session between Dr Henry Cloud (also see Cloud-Townsend Resources) and Dan Rockwell of Leadership Freak Blog The call was planned a few days ahead of time and a several hundred people mainly from across the US signed on a few minutes before the session started one Wednesday afternoon ready to gain some wisdom.\r\n\r\nAfter some early introductions Henry Cloud was asked this:\r\n\r\n“If you were able to give the young Henry Cloud some practical advice on leading effectively what would it be?”\r\n\r\nThe answer was this:\r\n\r\n”There’s no magic formula that guarantees you will lead effectively, but there is a magic formula to help you get there. Work on filling up these four columns:\r\n\r\n1 get some significant relationships to model and correct and inspire and mentor. Seek out people to fill this first column\r\n\r\n2 you’ve got to know what you’re doing. In terms of whatever your endeavour is, you’ve got to do your homework – reading, workshops, training etc. It’s inconceivable that a surgeon would never read a book.\r\n\r\n3 get experiences. Again, you don’t want to be operated on by a surgeon who’s never done it. So volunteer, get on teams, get on projects, scare yourself, hold on by the bootstraps. You’re not going to figure it out unless you get on and do it, and no-one else will get you there apart from … you.\r\n\r\n4 figure out a structure for your development. Make time to develop. Make a structure. It doesn’t just happen. You don’t throw a maths book at a kid and hope they learn maths. In other words, nothing happens without planning”\r\n\r\nFood for thought …\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nWritten in the top floor cafe of John Lewis, The Mall, Cribbs Causeway