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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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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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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Lessons from Botswana – Cooperation, Creativity & Contrasts (May 2014)

BBI_bee

Hi

We had a lovely week away returning in time to vote in South Africa’s fifth democratic elections.

It had a special significance for me. In 1994 when I voted I was pregnant with my second child. And yesterday my son voted for the first time.

Our time away was spent exploring Gaberone and enjoying good food, wine and conversation, with old and new friends. On our way back from Botswana we spent two nights in The Marico.

I love experiencing new places and observing people and nature. It energises me and gets me thinking of the lessons to be learnt. I had so many thoughts that I am going to share some of them with you today.


Cooperation, Creativity & Contrasts

On our first day we visited the Three Dikgosi Monument. Our guide gave us a lesson in Botswana’s history. How I interpreted it was:
The path from British Protectorate to independent Republic was a long one. There were a number of attempts by Britain and South Africa to “take over” but the three main chiefs peacefully but determinedly worked to maintain a level of independence for the country.

They had a shared vision and they cooperated with each other. They listened and watched closely so as to pick up and act on each political shift that threatened the area’s status. And when they realised more action was needed they travelled to Britain seeking an audience with the government.

The government tried to fob them off but they had cultivated friendships in England. These friends assisted them to travel around the country drumming up support for their cause until the government was pressured into meeting with them. This began a process that would eventually lead to independence in 1966. That visit was a very well run PR campaign!

It sounds as though these three chiefs demonstrated excellent leadership.

ThreeChiefsMonumentGaberone

Even the decision as to where the capital should be seems to have been solved in a mature manner. The original main place was Lobatse but being in a small bowl between the hills it was thought to be too small for a capital so Gaberone, 70km to the north, was chosen.

 

Gaberone is a very dry city, especially at the moment after a couple of years of drought. On the edge of town is a lovely small game reserve without natural water. But someone has come up with a creative solution. The reserve is integrated with the sewerage system. Underground pipes bring the sewer water to open ponds that apart from a slight smell, are just like small dams. We saw some lovely birds there, including an African Purple Swamphen.

 

A few blocks from where my friend lives we saw a strange sight – on the dusty sidewalk, a beautifully decorated table and chairs, under an awning, set for a celebration. Gwen explained that it belongs to a local lady, an event planner, who changes the colours and themes every week. What a wonderful example of creative advertising.

StreetAdvertisingGaberone

 

We also visited the brickfields down by the river where people hand make clay bricks and bake them in a homemade, communal kiln. I am sorry I didn’t take a photo. It was like a scene out of biblical times. And yet a couple of kilometres away was the neat, clean CBD with amazing, modern buildings.

CBDBuildingGaberone

 

For me these contrasts and the different ways of doing business are part of the “colour of Africa”. Something which is hard to explain. One needs to spend time in Africa to experience it. And then as my husband says, “Africa gets under your skin and it’s very difficult to leave.”

Next month, thoughts from The Marico.

Regards

Alison

© copyright 2014 – All Rights Reserved


Quote of the Day

“The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.” ~ Bertrand Russel


My Little Black Book

Our host in Gaberone was Gwen Watkins, owner of a communications consultancy that operates across Southern Africa. Amongst her many PR talents is that of training event planners. Our holiday was like a well run event from the accommodation, to the food and beverages, to the guided tours. Gwen certainly walks the talk.

Apart from writing and editing she also offers practical, short courses that cover such fields as ‘Creating and implementing PR strategy for SMEs’, ‘Creating and managing practical & profitable events’, ‘Writing for internal & external stakeholders’, ‘Perfect PA events’ and others. www.freelancers.co.za

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Trust & Respect – Golden keys (April 2014)

BBI_bee

Hi

Here in South Africa April is the month the school children love and the business owners rue.

It is a month of public holidays, school holidays and mild, sunny autumnal days. Very challenging if you want to get a lot of work finished. However there is plenty of research to show that we are much more productive when we take regular breaks so perhaps we can make this a month of revitalising long weekends and still complete the work?

Later in the month we are off to south east Botswana returning via Herman Charles Bosman country. I have never been to Gaberone nor Groot Marico before, so any advice for what not to miss will be appreciated.


Trust & Respect – Golden keys

One day my daughter commented that she was lucky that I trusted her. My response was that I trusted her because she had never given me a reason not to do so. So it was she who had created her “luck”!

Being respected and trusted are golden keys for leader-managers to be able to help their people to achieve extraordinary results. But I think they are just as important in all our relationships.

One of the most robust discussions I have facilitated in a Conversation that Matters was between around 25 employees of a business unit discussing whether respect was automatically given or had to be earned. There were strong proponents for both extremes and then some who felt it should initially be given by default but the subsequent behaviour would determine whether or not it continued.

It is almost impossible for me to trust someone without respecting them, and vice versa, so I prefer to keep the two terms together.

On a recent programme I was facilitating with a great group of leader-managers, the talented Nikesh made some clever illustrations of the points his small group discussed as well as those from the feedback to the larger group. He was happy for me to share them with you. It is quite fun to work out the meaning of each. Like one of those puzzles in the Sunday paper.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis first one was whilst answering the question “What actions/ behaviours breakdown respect &/or trust?” Which others can you think of?

No matter how well respected or trusted you are it takes very few “poor behaviours” to shatter it. It is a gift we need to treasure.

 

 

These next two illustrate suggestions made in answer to the question “What can you as a leader-manager do to earn the respect &/or trust of your team?” Have some fun seeing if you can work them out. And which others can you think of? Then test yourself as to how personally aligned you are to these actions or behaviours.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To what degree do others at work and home respect you? And trust you? If that is already high, well done! I hope you are using that wonderful foundation to build some really effective collaboration.

If it isn’t as high as you’d like it to be, no problem. Think about what behaviours you need to change in yourself and start work on them – one at a time. Bit by bit you’ll get there. At the same time look for people you can respect and trust. It’s a two way street.

Regards

Alison

© copyright 2014 – All Rights Reserved


Quote of the Day

“Trust is the emotional glue that binds followers & leaders together. ~ Warren Bennis & Bert Nanus


My Little Black Book

This is for those of you near to Centurion. With all my family’s sport participation we have spent a lot of time at physios.

As each of the children moved away to study they reluctantly separated from our long time physio Wendy Viviers and found practitioners near to their place of study.

My daughter took ages to find anyone who could meet her high standards. Eventually she found Kobus Maree in Southdowns, Irene.  www.kobusmaree.com She appreciated his knowledge and expertise as a physiotherapist as well as his genuine concern for his client’s well being.

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