January 19, 2018

Archives for December 2013

If you want to be in control…

Three senior managersIf you want to be in control, you’ll need to be smart.

The more you want to be in the driving seat of the relationship, the harder it’ll be for the other party to bring their thinking, their knowledge and their ideas to bear on the issue at hand.

And that means…

It’ll be down to you.

You’ll need to make the right call.

Every time.

Might be better to let go a little.

Do we make the same mistakes?

People networkingIt starts like this…

I’m not that happy with the way the meeting is going. Certain things about the way the other person talks or acts, I don’t really like. At least, I don’t feel that I want to work with them or do business with them, or certainly not yet.

So, I ask myself, what exactly is it they’re doing that’s putting me off?

Useful to understand clearly what that is. Sometimes it’s quite subtle.

That’s Part A.

Then it gets tougher and this really is the point…

Part B:

Do I make the same mistakes?

In what way do I have the same behavior, or something similar?

With whom might I be presenting the same problem?

Where does the other person’s pattern show up in my own life?

Maybe it really doesn’t, or maybe it does.

What about you? What’s someone else’s behavior telling you about your own?

Humility and influence

Nelson MandelaThere are so many lessons to draw from Nelson Mandela’s life and example. Here’s three I have…

It is possible to change the world (or something less) if it matters enough and there are no limits to the sacrifices we are prepared to make. In other words, to quote Seth Godin, whatever it is, “We can.”

Simple things done well have great power, such as honouring everyone, not just the “important” people.

Without forgiveness, we cannot be free.

But perhaps the one to highlight here is…

Equality leads to influence.

Many remark on Mandela’s humility in spite of his global reach. Of course, it’s so obviously the other way round…

He had global reach because of his humility.

Worth pondering the implications.

With thanks for his example.

An engine needs a mechanic

Maintainer examining a jet engine rotorPeople on the outside of an organization have the freedom and perspective to see and articulate what’s going on in the inside. They’re not part of the system; they’re not constrained by the responsibilities of office; they’re not invested in the status quo.

If wise, they cherish their freedom and use it wisely.

The system, and those in the system, need those on the outside to take an interest; to express what they see; and, yes, to intervene at times.

Just as an engine needs the mechanic…

The system needs the intervener.

The effect of sitting apart

Three people in a meetingHe says there’s a “me, them and us” attitude at his place of work. He sees two sides, but feels separate from both.


He sits slightly apart from the little group in our workshop and politely declines an invitation to join the main body of participants, choosing instead to maintain an extra physical separation, not quite equivalent to everyone else.

He doesn’t seem to see the parallel between one experience and the other, even when it is gently pointed out.

I am staggered, frankly, at the strength of the illustration…

Our spatial disposition with other people tends to be a reflection of our relationship with them, and vice versa. Change one and you affect the other.

And our patterns in one context show up in another.


What patterns are you repeating?

Who are you sat apart from?


Who could you do with moving closer to?

What lies between leading and following?

Informal meetingFor some time I have been puzzled about this…

When is it best to seek to lead and when is it best to follow?

That’s an important choice to make in any situation, or so it appears.

But here’s the thing…

When people are really “in the zone” together, for example in a well-performing team, leading and following are happening at the same time with essentially everyone influencing everyone else. But we don’t really have a word for that.

Or do we?

The conundrum of leading or following seems hard to solve until you realize the resolution is simply to be present and connected, without need of the situation.

So between leading and following, lies simply…

Being present.