Winging it

Remember: no-one’s really ever paying much attention to what you’re doing. Most of the ones you’re bothered about are so wrapped up concentrating on their own stuff, there’s no time for them to be that fussed about you. We’re all just winging it. Cut yourself some slack!

Only the F word

There are some times when only the F word will do. It creates a release of something that helps to soothe and calm. I don’t fully understand the science of it, but I do know that it is real.

Like when you twist under your foot and rip open some ligament under the skin, when you pitch forwards, unable to save yourself, your right arm, bent up and caught in the strap of your handbag fails to save you from crashing to the pavement like a bag of wet, useless meat, the cement bricks slamming mercilessley into elbow and knee…………

When the agony swells and rushes back through the silent, efficient nerves to the spinal cord and the brain, and they seem to burn and scream and cry…….

That’s the time for the F word.

Don’t tell me to mind my language. Because you can fuck right off.

Cries for He-lp have been answered…

Penelope Pitstop has been released.

Finally, someone pointed out to her she could no longer be in this particular race.

Phew!

Penelope Pitstop

Wacky-penelope-pitstopLet me introduce Penny. Penny is in a strategic, leadership position in a large organisation. She has a six-figure salary, 2 children and a husband in advertising earning similar to her. She is a study in anti-engagement. She’s truly fascinating, but for the wrong reasons! Her staff have no time for her, she has neither their respect nor their confidence. She’s defensive, takes things personally and blames her staff when things go wrong.

Having made the effort to ask somone about their holiday, yawning all the way through the answer and then telling them all about her trip to Australia over Christmas.

Explaining that she’d brought in a cake so that “people who didn’t get a drink bought for them because they weren’t at the Christmas meal can have a slice of cake instead.”

“I’ve brought these sweets that our nanny got for my kids for you lot because they’re not good enough quality for my children”

She doesn’t think its her job to make sure the people she manages are doing theirs – and she’s even said so in a meeting with her own staff!

How long will Penny survive? We’ll see…

 

Old School

I’ve just been looking back over my old blogposts. I joined WordPress in 2006 after my old blog over at 20six had wobbled along for 3 years and the wheels had come off.

What I’ve noiced is that the way we blog and what we blog about seem to have got a whole lot more sophisticated. Probably because technology allows us to upload cool pictures with ease, these days, but also because – I think – the people who stayed blogging are a different kind of person to the ones who gave up and just went to other social media outlets.

So, back in my old-school archives I come across as chatty, but I’m sharing things I’d never share anywhere else. I discuss my health and how I feel in much more detail than I’d ever do with a real, live person. It was cathartic to me at the time, and whilst I’m not dismissing this medium for that purpose, I think I’ve grown a bit since then.

What have I learned?

My biggest lessons are:

  1. shit happens to everyone, some people just cope better and/or more quietly with it than others
  2. you have to do what’s in your heart, and not pretend to be something or someone you’re not. Compromise on your principles and you’re on a slippery slope to pain and destruction.
  3. trying to see things from someone else’s point of view really helps your decision-making.
  4. Having said (3), remember that you can’t fix everyone’s problems, and sometimes, even if you try, you can’t stop them being unhappy. Because of that, sometimes the right thing to do is (kindly) walk away.
  5. Think positively, let the past go and move on to the next thing. Positive thinking keeps you alive (quite literally – Google some survival stories if you need convincing).
  6. People will judge you. Its human nature. Get over it.
  7. Dance. No-one told me when I was young and awkward that it was OK to get on the dance floor, even if you’d never had a dance lesson. Dancing is about feeling the music and expressing yourself in a way without words. It feels good, and most of all – no-one’s looking at you, not really. They’re wrapped up in their own social awkwardness, or they’re drunk.
  8. Go your own way. Don’t be a sheep – that’s how we get lamb chops.

I probably learned more than this, but that’s my top 8. What have you learned in the last 10 years?

Talking it through

Today I met with two completely seperate individuals who wanted to be able to talk through things that were concerning them. Alice is thinking about retiring, and Bill wants to start getting some control back from an ongoing health condition that is robbing him of his sleep and happiness. Although the topics were poles apart, they had a lot in common. Both had something intensely personal to consider, both wanted to share it confidentially with me as an objective but not entirely external facilitator. Both want change but are concerned about the route to take, the lurking dangers and the ‘right’ way to communicate the plan. I really do enjoy my job, and I think I do make a difference to people. A sensible, objective ear but someone who doesn’t judge, isn’t shocked and helps you to organise your thoughts in a practical way so solutions are created, not just speculated upon. We all need someone safe to talk to, don’t we?

Question of Leadership

So, here’s a question for you.

How does a person who comes in to a senior strategic role in a large organisation, where the management and leadership of 40 people is an integral part of his remit have (a) no organisational skills (b) no people skills and (c) no self-awareness?

The second part of my question then has to be:

Why have we let this man run unchecked for 7 years, whilst we haemorrage good people like a gaping wound and see the rapid and sustained decline in customer service?

It was never going to be successful. People work for other people, not organisations. They work for people who get the best from them, show them the way, enhance their lives; who stand back and let their team take the credit, but who step forward to defend them from danger; who understand that life throws things at you when you least expect them, but helps you to roll with the punches so that you keep giving back your best.

And our strategic manager has none of this.

I really like this quote from General Colin Powell of the USA army (later Secretary of State):

Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.



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