Brexit and Cameron’s Leadership (June 2016)

Hi

Before I went to Cape Town I said I was going to share the story of the missing TV. I had a lovely trip watching my son graduate, hiking up Lion’s Head and just simply spending time with him. Reflecting back I thought how eating was a thread that ran through the entire week: picnics in beautiful spots, take aways in the car whilst it poured with rain, ice cream cones whilst walking along the promenade and meals in cosy tucked away little restaurants. But no writing of my story.

Yesterday I woke up with the intention to write it. Then I noticed the time and switched on Sky News to see what was the outcome of the UK-EU vote. I was surprised. Whilst I was mulling over the “why?” and the “what now?” the Prime Minister, David Cameron appeared on screen to deliver his speech.

My mind raced off analysing him as a leader in that moment. So the topic of my Bumble Bee Insight has changed. But I don’t want to keep you in suspense so I first wrote the story of the missing TV and posted it here.


Brexit and Cameron’s Leadership

Many people have been stunned by the news that the people of the United Kingdom voted to exit the European Union. This news was very shortly followed by David Cameron’s speech in which he stated he would be resigning. I don’t know if Brexit is good or bad for the UK, or for other parts of the world. Lots of people have opinions but noone really knows, only time will tell.

 

Putting aside the politics it was very interesting to listen to David Cameron’s speech and to explore what it says about his leadership in this moment, and about leading in times of change.

 

The day before the media were reporting the timeline re when the polling stations would close, when the outcome would be clear, and importantly when the Prime Minister was expected to speak. At times of change leaders must be seen and they must communicate with their followers.

 

When Cameron came out to speak he had a lectern but he was otherwise on the same level as the audience, physically reasonably close to them and he appeared comfortable to speak. His words were clear and easily understandable without talking down. His speech was short and to the point. Leadership doesn’t require the leader to stand upon high. A leader who can connect with his followers stands a better chance of being “heard” and of having influence.

 

In his speech he was candid about what he had believed was better for the UK and how he had wholeheartedly believed in remaining in the EU. And then he stood by his own beliefs and stated he wasn’t the person to lead the country into a new era of separation.

He is the elected leader of the country and he had promised the people their opportunity to state their preference, so one could argue that he should now lead them along that path. I personally think he is showing greater integrity by stepping down.

 

Even though he made his resignation clear he didn’t throw his toys out the cot. He didn’t walk out and abandon the people. He calmly explained that the country needed someone to stabilise it whilst a new person could be elected and that he would do that. I see that as being responsible.

He also said something which implied the UK would now do the best possible with this “leave” decision. This was also being responsible in trying to reassure the people as a whole, especially the 48% who voted to “remain”.

 

And lastly he gave an indication of a timeline stating that he believed a new leader should be put in place by October. Leaders need to be decisive and share their vision. He’d made a number of decisions: resigning and steadying the ship, and he shared a clear vision for the next step.

 

These are my observations and opinions of that snapshot. Yours maybe different. I’d love to engage with you. I don’t think good leadership is like a maths question with only one right answer. There are foundational basics and then there are  nuances.

The World of today is a complex system different from anything that has gone before.Both political and business leaders can no longer use past experience and best practise to assure them of what to do next. A new style of courageous, collaborative and adaptive leadership is required at every level.

 

The more we explore what we consider to be good leadership the better we will lead ourselves and those around us; and the better we will attract good leadership of companies, of our communities and of our countries.

 

Kind Regards

Alison

Alison Gitelson, Management Growth Enabler, enabling you to do business better.

© copyright 2016 – All Rights Reserved


PS:

At times of change many of us retreat into fear. A new film has just been released which talks about moving from fear to abundance. This is very opportune. Here is a link to a free screening (available until 30 June on your own PC)

 


Quote of the day

“The price of leadership is responsibility.”~Winston Churchill

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Robots work better than humans (December 2015)

Hi

 

This evening in Joburg, I can hear the frogs and insects, the rumbling of distant thunder, and the welcome pitter patter of soft rain after another super hot day. I hear it has also been unseasonably warm in England, parts of Europe and parts of North America. Wherever you are in the world I hope that you will be safe and find joy in your Christmas or Year End festivities.

For the last couple of years I have chosen a word or phrase for the year. For 2016, I am setting a more wordy intent:  My intent is to change the way business is done around the world – blending humanness back into big business; helping business leaders to reconnect with themselves, to communicate with heart and to create an environment where everyone in the company can contribute to their absolute fullest whilst being fairly rewarded – so that people thrive, business thrives and the world thrives.


Robots work better than humans

Imagine having an army of robots to work for you. They work 24 hours a day. They do exactly what they are programmed to do. There are no complaints, no questions. They work at a constant pace and they don’t make mistakes.

The input required from you is a known quantity: initial cost, regular maintenance, power supply, replacement programme.

For tasks that are repetitive, consistent and predictable robots are fabulous. They are super reliable. They are way better than humans.

 

But then a delivery of materials is late and they sit idle because they aren’t programmed to do the other useful tasks you would like doing. Or you have a VIP customer with a special requirement but the robots won’t change their speed or process to accommodate your new, once off requirements.

 

Humans have none of the predictability of robots. They work well for a maximum of 50 hours a week. They require food and comfort breaks as well as weekends and holidays. They take time to learn new tasks and they make mistakes. They are emotional and variable.

 

We aren’t designed for predictability. We are designed to think, learn and adapt. We are designed for innovation. When resilient our strength lies in adjusting to variations of input, to seeing potential problems, to averting disasters, to finding solutions to new problems, to constantly adapting to a very rapidly changing world. We have unlimited potential.

All providing the conditions, the environment, allows for our needs as humans.

 

Humans make really lousy robots so let’s stop assigning them to robot tasks. Let’s automate all that can be automated and let’s create environments where we as humans can thrive and discover our real potential. (I know that automation cuts jobs, especially for unskilled and semi skilled workers, but for that part of the population our current work solutions aren’t working very well either – the people are for a large part dissatisfied and the business owners bemoan the costs vs results. We need a different solution.)

 

Since 2014 I have been involved in the Thrivable World Quest, a process of uncovering, around the world, what it takes to have thriving people and thriving organisations on a thriving planet. Join me in 2016 on a journey of applying that knowledge to bit by bit change our organisations so that we all benefit

Kind Regards

Alison

 

Alison Gitelson, Management Growth Enabler, enabling you to do business better.

© copyright 2015 – All Rights Reserved


Quote of the Day

“The nature of human motivation is not in making money. It is in making meaning.” – Susan Fowler


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Who’s being strangled? (July 2015)

 

Hi

I had a “thinking session” arranged with a friend and fellow business owner this afternoon. However an emergency arose in her life so she had to pull out. On checking my inbox I found two emails requiring my “soon as possible” signature on some documents. So I was able to attend to that. I then realised my newsletter was late so I am using the unexpected opening in my calendar to write it.

How often do you notice that when things seemingly “go wrong” they actually help something else to fall into place? I just love it.


Who’s being strangled?

A few years ago a friend recommended her hairdresser in Illovo. So the next time I needed a haircut off I went. Grant did a great job and I’ve continued to see him regularly since. I love how my hair just feels different after a good cut and how it comes alive. However after the last two visits I didn’t really get that feeling.

I was wondering if I needed to change hairdressers but I thought let’s just see how it goes this time. Off I went feeling very bored with my hair. I sat down and Grant asked me what I wanted done this time. I replied “I don’t know. What would you like to do?” He straight away picked up that I was ready for a change and asked a couple of questions to ascertain the parameters of that change! And off he went.

The result was great. Both of us were happy.

 

The next day as I was brushing my hair I was musing over what had made the difference. Even though on previous visits I hadn’t been too directive as to what he should do, I think Grant had been feeling restricted, or he’d got into a rut. My open invitation to him to do what he pleased (within reason) released his creativity and his talent all over again.

It was a reminder to me of how easy it is to stifle a person. And how wonderful when the person is free to show how good they are.

 

One of the recruitment companies has been running a radio advert that says something like “you don’t want slackers, recruit the right people”. When I hear it I want to add on “and then give them the freedom to show you how good they are.”

 

What aspects of your work environment – structures, systems, processes, people (managers) – maybe stifling instead of enabling? How much more ability do people have that isn’t being revealed at work? Just think what releasing it could mean to the growth of the company. It could be like having a 50% greater workforce with no increase in cost.

 

Kind Regards

Alison

 

Alison Gitelson, Management Growth Enabler, enabling you to do business better.

© copyright 2015 – All Rights Reserved


Quote of the Day

“Meetings are indispensable when you don’t want to do anything.” – John Kenneth Galbraith


My Little Black Book

A past client of mine has started a business which I think is an excellent idea.

She is a very experienced financial/commercial officer, and a really smart, dynamic young woman. Through her business an SME can have access to all the knowledge and benefits of a corporate CFO for a few days per month. Which is all most SME’s require.

Enid says “we offer a solution that helps you balance the cost of quality. High level financial executives can bring meaningful and reliable business insight in a fraction of the time of a mid-level resource. As such an SME may only require a few days per month of an experienced world-class CFO in order for you to access these insights.”

To read more look for Enid Smith, founder YourCFO, on LinkedIn or contact her on enid@yourcfo.co.za


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Making winning easier (May 2015)

TableMountain

Hi

I am writing this a little earlier this month as I am off to Cape Town to visit my son and have a couple of meetings.

I am also looking forward to trying out the parkrun route at Big Bay. I’ll have the perfect excuse to keep stopping to catch my breath so I can soak up the views of the sea and that picture postcard view of Table Mountain!


Making winning easier

Chatting with a friend whose children had played water polo in high school, the conversation moved to coaches. We have both watched matches where the coach has shouted abuse at the players all match long. This seems to be very common in at least boy’s water polo. Surprisingly the teams often still do pretty well. And the boys are prepared to suck it up and accept it for the honour of playing for the team.

 

Both of my friend’s children are really strong players so they played first team pretty much throughout high school. The teams they played for were in the top rankings of SA schools’ teams. The difference is in how they get there and how they experience the sport. And in those years the girls’ team took home more big trophies than the boys’ team did.

 

My friend’s son is also an observer and a thinker. In previous years he’d watched his older sister and her team mates have a ball in and out of the pool – work hard and play hard. He saw how they knew each other, respected each other and played as a team. Their coach created an environment in which they could learn, grow, have fun and win.

He contrasted this with how his team were treated – shouted and sworn at, insulted and degraded, and he decided it was no longer worth it. He demoted himself to the second team and played his last school season for the sheer fun of it.

His sister on the other hand played for both school and province through to the end of matric. And then went on to play at university and to contribute as a coach at a local high school.

 

In our working world leader-managers create the environment and culture – from the top downwards. Many companies don’t really appreciate their staff. They consider them a rather costly and difficult resource. Communication isn’t great and systems and processes not all that enabling. But the work mostly does get done. So one might ask why things should be any different.

 

If the leader-managers create an environment of trust and respect, with great communication, a sense of belonging and systems that enable, then the work gets done better and easier. People respond to the environment with energy, show initiative, reduce wastage, care for customers and take responsibility for doing their job the very best that they can.

And more of the great players stay to be part of the team.

And the team has what it needs to win the bigger trophies.

Kind Regards

Alison

 

Alison Gitelson, Management Growth Enabler, enabling you to do business better.

© copyright 2015 – All Rights Reserved


Quote of the Day

Last Sunday another friend’s son used this quote to honour his mother. I thought it was a beautiful choice.

“She wasn’t doing a thing that I could see, except standing there leaning on the balcony railing holding the universe together” – J.D Salinger


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Give them a why (April 2015)

 

Hi

Its Friday again. Most people feel the year flies by but it’s particularly so at this time of the year in SA with all the public holidays. With a three day week at the end of the month I hear many bemoan how little work gets done. That is true in terms of working hours available but I encourage you to make the most of the long weekends for relaxation. And encourage people who work for you to do the same and even to take the three days leave so they get a lovely nine day break. There is plenty of research to show that we can all be much more productive and innovative in our working hours when we are healthy and refreshed.


Give them a why

What is the “why”? The “why” is the reason why we do something: why we do it at all, or why we do it at a particular time.

 

Two people interacted with me around the same time recently. They received very different responses from me. I found myself watching myself as though from the outside, intrigued by the difference in my responses.

 

A day before we were going camping for the Easter weekend I got a call from the supply chain department of a company I do work for. Let’s call him Jay. Jay introduced himself and asked if I would please send him my company profile. I replied that I was pretty sure I’d sent the profile when they first contracted with me a few years ago. He said yes but he thought it may have changed and they’d like an updated one. I agreed I would do so, took down his email address and continued with what I was doing which kept me busy for the rest of the day.

 

The next morning, before leaving for the weekend, we’d decided to go to one of the two pharmacies near us, where one can get the annual Vitality health screening done. At the first pharmacy we found a short but apparently slow moving queue. So my husband waited there and I went to see how it was going at the other pharmacy. I found the nursing sister had just arrived. On enquiring Sister B said she’d be about half an hour with the person before me and would then do my tests. I called my husband on his cell to see how it was going and he said he was next and things were moving quickly now. I returned to Sr B to say not to worry I’d go and join my husband as that would be quicker. She replied “Please don’t. I am behind this month and need to see more people. I won’t be long. Please wait for me.” I called my husband and said “I’m waiting here. The Sister has asked me so nicely. Join me when you are finished.”

 

After we returned from the weekend I got a reminder from Jay asking for the updated profile. I thanked him for the reminder and said I’d probably be doing it during that week. He replied, by email, “I’d hoped to have it this afternoon.” I just smiled to myself.

 

He wanted me to prioritise my day to suit his priorities. He didn’t want the profile in order to procure new work from me, he just wanted his records up to date. There was nothing in it for me right now: no reason for me to put checking, and possibly updating, the profile ahead of other tasks I had; tasks that were earning me income right now and in the following month. Neither had he connected with me in a way that might have appealed to my soft side to help him out in completing his task.

 

The Vitality health checks were something we wanted to do. The results are a confirmation to us of our health status and the Vitality points earned translate into significant cost savings during the year. And Sr B appealed to my considerate side to help her. There are three “whys” in that.

 

Jay eventually got the updated profile, when it fitted into my prioritised work tasks. I was pleased to have had a reason to update it in line with some pretty recent changes in my thinking. Its “why” had now become apparent and it had come into its appropriate timing.

 

Could Jay have influenced my response? Could he have encouraged me to get the profile to him sooner?

I think he could have. He could have given me a bigger “why”, a more urgent “why”.

 

Do you share the “why” when you ask for something? When you delegate work? It is essential.

Kind Regards

Alison

 

Alison Gitelson, Management Growth Enabler, enabling you to do business better.

© copyright 2015 – All Rights Reserved


Story of the Day

We sat together for a while after Belker’s Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ‘I know why.’

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation.

He said, ‘People are born so that they can learn how to live a good Life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?’ The six-year-old continued, ‘Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.’ – Author unknown


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In the zone (March 2015)

 

Hi

I often have lots of thoughts when I’m showering. This morning my mind jumped to things people complain about in SA and then onto the news reports that I see from elsewhere in the world. I thought about how there are problems everywhere – economic, social, political, wars, terrorism – only the details change.

I was reminded of that story about a group of people who all had pretty big problems in their lives. They were invited to swop their problem for someone else’s. Each person wrote their problem on a piece of paper and put it on a table. Then one-by-one they came to the table and picked up a piece of paper (and problem) to take home.

It turned out that all had chosen their own original problem! For the most part we learn how to live with our own problems, whether we resolve them or not.

 

We are enjoying lovely weather in Joburg at the moment and we have been invited to join friends in big 5 country for the weekend. My closing shower thought was, “there is a lot I’m prepared to put up with in exchange for our weather, wide open spaces, beautiful wildlife, natural scenery, colourful people and minimal incidence of natural disasters!”


In the zone

A few weeks ago I was watching a bit of the Cricket World Cup. AB de Villiers and Rossouw were batting against West Indies. At that moment de Villiers hit a six – slow, steady, watch, wait, hit, follow with eye. He hit the ball so smoothly, with quiet confidence, making it look effortless.

That was the day the score went from 146 for 3 to 408 for 5 with AB scoring his final 50 runs off just 12 balls.

I just love to watch any top class sportsman on a good day – it’s poetry in motion – awesome – so exciting to the maximizer in me.

And what a difference it makes to the score when a few players are in that space on the day.

 

What enables a player like AB de Villiers to play like that?

I haven’t interviewed him but from my understanding of human behaviour and performance I believe it is firstly because he is working with his talents. Then he has put in lots of practise to create the right pathways in the brain to turn his talents into strengths. He doesn’t mind putting in the practise because he is doing what he enjoys and feeling a sense of mastery. Then he feels well rewarded whether that is through money or recognition. And he has the support of a team that is collectively in the right space.

In sport it is sometimes referred to as being in the zone. The result of both physical and mental preparation.

 

Interestingly in an interview after the match de Villiers shared the role that Rossouw and the rest of the team had played in his achieving his great result.

The sheer range of shots he played on Friday was breathtaking but he admitted to feeling out of sorts when he came out to join Rilee Rossouw in the middle with his side becalmed at 146-3.

“Rilee played a big part in me getting off my feet today,” he said.

“I didn’t feel too well going out to the wicket, a bit flat. He had a lot energy about him, a lot of intensity, getting into a lot of good positions, making it look flat out there.

“We were getting a lot of momentum behind us at a really quick pace. We’re both really aggressive players, we ran a lot of twos, and all of that together helped in me having a go.”

“I really thought the guys were motivated today to play some good cricket,” he said.

“It’s great to see the team like that, hustling around. You could see their eyes were open, ready to fight. It’s a great turnaround after loss at the MCG.”

 

I am writing this just hours before the Proteas play Sri Lanka in the quarter finals. I hope the team is again in the right space and that there are enough key players in the zone.

 

Imagine if everyone working for you, or around you, was in the zone. Imagine the results (the score) that you could collectively achieve.

It can be done. If you create an environment which makes it easier for people to be self motivated, one in which they have a degree of autonomy, can experience a sense of mastery and see a purpose in what they do. If you collect people together with a variety of strengths and match those strengths appropriately to the roles needed. And if you reward fairly and show appreciation in the language (manner) in which each individual needs to receive it.

And then you help those individuals to collaborate as a team. To appreciate each other’s strengths, to accept the imperfections, to communicate, to trust and to respect each other.

 

How much more would you achieve each day? How much more profitable would you be? How much higher would the quality of goods or services be?

Kind Regards

Alison

 

Alison Gitelson, Management Growth Enabler, enabling you to do business better.

© copyright 2015 – All Rights Reserved


Quote of the Day

“Excellence can be attained if you Care more than what others think is wise, Risk more than what others think is safe, Dream more than what others think is practical and Expect more than what others think is possible.” – Unknown


My Little Black Book

This is for those in Johannesburg who enjoy theatre. Have you been to Foxwood Theatre in Houghton? We discovered it a couple of years ago. The shows range from revues to comedy to the thought provoking – mostly in English but some in Afrikaans. And there is an excellent restaurant for pre show dinners. You can sign up to their newsletter and watch out for the next show that interests you. http://www.foxwood.co.za/


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