Windows - an open or shut case?

So I have this theory.

It is something that has been with me for years and something that features a great deal in my mentoring and coaching sessions - windows.

My theory is dead simple, at the highest level I am simply saying that when we came in to this word our minds/brains had a raft of windows that were wide open, all receiving the most incredible amount of information that we could process. As we grow these windows start closing, whether through choice or through things like the education system, the work we do and so on.

In my coaching and mentoring work my job nearly always is to simply help the client to recognise that they have many more windows available to them, to help them identify windows that have been systematically closed over time, and to help them force them open again so that they achieve a more rounded and educated view on themselves, their work, family and life plan.

Think about it. We can influence a child's mind before they are born. A baby arrives and it has to learn to stand, walk, play - it has to learn a language, rights and wrongs, establish values - all by the time they are two years old!

They then start kindy then school where in the early years they are bombarded with information. Then as they progress through school we start closing some of those windows - we apply curriculum, we seek to identify those areas that appeal to the child best or the ones they find easiest, we drop from a a hundred topics to streams of ten or so. We then rationalise again to 3/4 topics and then go to Uni to study just one. Then... we go to work where for so many the system closes even more windows or forces to use windows we don't like being open.

I often find when working with individuals and teams (especially those in silos) that that tickle of dissatisfaction, frustration , is linked to a need to respond to something going on in the brain that is troubling them, they don't know what it is or what to do about it - it is a window trying desperately to be re-opened. We have the most unbelievable capacity to take on information, we just need to make sure we have the right windows open that can receive and process such.

The full discussion on this theory when applied to each individuals situation is fascinating and rarely the same.

I am thinking about writing a paper, or even a book on this subject, what do you think? - if anyone would like to have a chat about their windows - then just give me a shout. 



Hearts Souls & Minds

Hearts Souls & Minds

You can eloquently tell people as much as you like, what you want them to do - but as we all know it won't mean that they will 'do it'. You can scream and shout until you are blue in the face about why they should, but if driven this way it most likely that it will not be done with the correct attention or motivation to do it well or right.

There is (and we all know this) only one way to guarantee a job well done - to get the team, the individual to want to do it, to care about it, to deliver it to the best of their ability.

That is why we must always bring to life each and every message by putting real, relatable, uncomplicated beliefs in every communication or interaction. We must inspire, reassure, congratulate and involve every single member of the team, understanding their separate profiles, attitudes and what motivates them - whether a mature expert engineer or a young welfare operator.

Projects/organisations work best when there is an underlying sense of togetherness and team in everything they do, where there is a strong sense of unity, the understanding of the sum of the parts, the achievement of almost tribal strength. Our job is to make every individual, no matter what their role is, to know that they are an important and valuable cog in what is often seen as a faceless machine.

To achieve this, whilst appearing complex to satisfy so many different demographics, it is often simple, iconic visual styles and physical interactions and messaging that can reach out to so many delivering incredible results.

As an example of this approach, we have just recently been using simple illustration/cartooning to put across the messages in what is often an ironic/fun approach - it is a method that allows for the image to evoke what maybe a lot of people are thinking and not saying. Through this route we can reach out to so many different profiles. Give me a shout if you would like to see some examples.

At this point I always think back to Fawlty Towers and the 'answering questions on the ........ obvious'. Everyone knows and understands everything that is written above but so few implement it - why? Because it is a particular skill that is rare within so many of our leaders out there.

Apart from great visual communications the physical aspect is paramount - that is why now we are working within client organisations under the title of Networkers and Integrators. We identify the profiles, the needs, the temperature, the morale and work with leaders as to what to say to who, when and where. We produce communications of so many different forms and we assist in delivery of the physical cultural needs - all focussed on delivery and the quality of that delivery.

Are your communications just corporate messages? Do you get into the hearts, minds and souls of your team, do you really understand the value chain/consequences related to good/bad approaches. Would love to talk.






Cart - Horse, and all that

'The beauty about where I work is the immense sense of team, we are all focussed on the singular aim and our leadership keeps us informed, keeping us on brand whilst ensuring a positive and integrated culture throughout - I look forward to each day. Yes, there are tough days, however given our collective involvement in the brand we all pull together to overcome the issues'

O.K. So I have put up a typical recruitment profile clip - bullshit bingo all over again? 

The fact is we now recognise, well we should do, that if we take care of the engine, the tyres and keep putting the fuel in - our vehicle can travel for miles and miles and miles. So why do organisations under pressure rip the wheels off?

In the event that any organisation, brand or project is faltering - the fastest way to put things right is to get everyone to pull together. But no, let's play with the pennies, let's stop the methods that bring the fundamental successes, lets not sort out the pounds - heavens above, that might mean the leaders are at fault...Kill the morale, kill the purpose.

I'm ranting as again I am seeing terrific projects, companies and brands throw the baby out with the bath water, allowing cultures that can take years to form - die in minutes. Suddenly there is high churn, accidents and worse. The productivity levels drop, heads down, negative us and them attitudes ensue - before you know it you are faced with an even bigger problem where the team (once you remember) are the only ones who can pull you out of the proverbial - and the response?  'why should I give a sh..?', they would be happy to see you suffer - back to looking after number one -all that rubbish you talked about/promised in the past was total b....... etc.

My concern is that the simple, cheap, areas of communication and cultural protection/development programmes are often the first things to be cut in times of trouble. Apart from the leadership issues, perhaps if these were working better and stronger - you wouldn't be in this mess in the first place.

Yes, that is what we sell and deliver - so maybe I have a slight leaning - but really, why close the executive doors/ why not rally everyone, get them on side, keep communicating, keep delivering an environment where they want to be - it is fundamental and not that hard - really.

It will also be the basis upon which the pounds will be saved.

It's simple - look after them and they look after you. Think about the brands/projects where you know this works - you  all know of at least one - then do it yourself.

Give me a bell sometime







Leaders - of any sort, at any level - whether leading a team of two or two thousand, let's challenge ourselves, with a few simple questions.

If the balloon goes up, and a crisis ensues - how confident are you that the team around you will not only stand up to the mark but deliver, sort the problem, learn from it and make you and your brand proud?

Are you thinking about this? Can you answer this NOW? The crisis is here, the requirement is now - not in ten minutes or tomorrow - have you got the team or not?

So, I hear you...there are some that can, (sort of) and there are those that well...

Next question - whose fault is that?

Are you the leader here? Are you in charge of these people? Are you then accountable for their efforts? - yeah, but I inherited them,  they haven't come up to the promise, they are not here for that really.


Are they trained - really? Or did you make the promise that they would, but it never got delivered?

You are hanging over a cliff, hanging on by your finger tips - how many of them are going to rush over and pull you back over - how many are going to stamp on your fingers?

Old adage - YOU are only as good as your team- if the team is not behind you, if the team do not have the capability - Is that a crash and a splash I hear?

Look, I am sure you are good, very good - all of these symptoms are everywhere, but few are actually doing anything properly constructive to each and every individual that is not some form of corporate baloney that is not believable or ever fully implemented.

But how?, when? - I'm busy, under pressure - give me a break. Are you the right person to be the leader?

There are methods, tricks to overcome this. Relationships are paramount, support and communication so necessary - think of your own role, your own bosses whether now or in the past. What was good, what was bad? Are you guilty of the same? Believe me it is so the little things that make all the difference - the first little thing is to simply stop and think about it.

Sit and be honest with yourself. Create a matrix of all of the team and work on a heat map to see where they fit in terms of their value and abilities in their roles. Identify the soldiers, those that will go into battle and make them stronger, but more importantly identify those who are not there today and work on a plan to move them into that place - or move them out. You will be more respected as a leader, people need to know where they stand.

GHI can of course help if only to point out the obvious - the blog here is actually more of a rant as there are so many organisations where these questions are ignored, where the person responsible is not held to account and offices and projects all over the country are full of miserable, stressed people who have not been given the chance.

Clarity, communication, purpose, role, direction

Make a difference, today.