Thursday, 27 December 2012

Leadership in 3 words (2013)

It is that time of year again when I ask people to name the three words that people think describe the leadership we are going to need in the forthcoming year. (Previous posts are here and here). My three words are:
  • inclusive
  • bold 
  • focused
I have already posted this on twitter - and here are others' contributions so far:
  • @PaddyBriggs: competent would be progress...
  • @OpenEyeComms: innovative, aware, agile
  • @DorsetRachel: Brave, transparent, inclusive
  • @StitchMitchell: Stop Fiddling Expenses
  • @CCLeicsPolice: transparent, principled, energised
  • @LabourBroomhill: Judgement, Kindness, Challenge
  • @PW0559: Caring; Consistent; Comprehensive
  • @quakerpen: Truthful, imaginative, nonconforming
  • @OfficialSaundra: Sensitive, Informed, Decisive
  • @youcanrugby: communication , direction , brave (I'm also going to add a strong team)
Thanks to all those people who have contributed so far. But what are your three words? What three words sum up the kind of leadership we need in 2013?

Please post below or tweet at me with the hashtag: #3lship13. Thanks

UPDATE: here are some more contributions from this morning. Thanks to all
  • @JohnCharlesDyer: One For All
  • @SusanPopoola: Empathetic, Convicted, Wise
  • @Alanw47: Fair, Honest, Transparent
  • @Suzze05: Fair ( not driven by influential lobbyists), informed (based on evidence not ideology), listens!
  • @tsdpete: Understanding, humility and conscience
  • @betsypud: true socialist values 
  • @IanChisnall: Bold, Consensual, Inclusive (not we're all in this together LOL) 
  • @driveukmartin: industrious virtuous hardworking
  • @puppyjohn1999: Compassionate, Flexible, Autistic 
  • @RichardJMurphy: Courageous; Compassionate; Competent

Wednesday, 19 December 2012


Later on today, I am popping into Worktree in Milton Keynes for a mince pie and seasonal cheer. Worktree is a local charity that assists school students to understand and prepare for the world of work. Schools invite Worktree in to run events that give their young people experience of being involved in a work-type project, find out more about careers beyond what their family members do and generally help to boost their confidence and skills. I am one of many business people who help them to do this by helping to facilitate these events. (For the sake of clarity: these are not paid gigs!)

So as I woke up this morning, I was mulling on this part of my day and reflecting on my post from yesterday about the need for us all to play our part in creating a more 'child-liking' world.

I am no longer young but I can imagine that if I were, this year would have troubled me lots. Whilst I hope that what fills the lives of children and young people are good or frothy or educational things, I suspect much of the bad news will have filtered through to them. As TV and Radio celebrities are accused of child abuse, as children get murdered in their primary school classrooms and as young people find it hard to get jobs and pay for higher education the world might appear to be a very unfriendly place for children and young people. If I were a young person, this year probably will not have helped me to feel great about what the future has in store for me.

As adults, we can do something about this. We can of course try to be good parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles and friends to children and young people. But perhaps there is a little bit more we can do.

With the blog post, I would like to start a small campaign to encourage every adult to commit to doing one day of voluntary work next year in support of children and young people. This could mean helping to paint a local scout hut, clearing rubbish from a local park, spending a couple of afternoons in a local children's centre reading stories, assisting a local school to rewire its wifi system, taking part in a project similar to what Worktree does in Milton Keynes or a hundred other possibilities. I am also hoping that employers would support this initiative too, in some way.

This idea may go viral (a bit like Movember) or it may not. But if you have read up to here, please pause for a moment and consider how you might spend your 'one day a year for children and young people' (#1dy4cyp) in 2013.

And if you like this campaign, please write about it too, post the link to this blog post on your Facebook page, retweet it to other people etc, etc. Or you can quietly just do it, and be a part of making the future a little bit brighter for children and young people.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Childlike: my theme for 2013

Seasonal greetings!

As always at this time of year, I spend some time reflecting on the past 12 months and thinking about the year ahead. And as I have done for several years previous, I have ‘adopted’ a new word in support of the ‘I can’ charity which helps children to communicate (

This year I have adopted ‘childlike’

It did not take me long to choose this word. And I want it to represent two connected themes for me. Firstly the meaning of the word is about engaging with the world in a trusting, playful, creative and appreciative way. In my opinion, we need to do that more, far more. Sometimes, it seems to me, that people, corporations and governments persist in using old ways to solve knotty and wicked problems, even when those old ways make no real difference. With a tad more courage and innovation, more childlike ways might perhaps be deployed to sort out the problems more effectively. What do you think?

And secondly, but more importantly, we need a world that likes children more! Recent events in Newtown, Connecticut and Nangarhar, Afghanistan, though very different, just underline how our world does not look after our children and young people nearly as well as we should do. Children are simply too often the forgotten casualties of war, economic mismanagement, bigotry and plain ordinary abuse.

So I hope that 2013 will be a year when more children and young people get to live free from harm and full of the joy of growing up into amazing adults. Let us be more childlike (and child-liking) in how we create that world, a world that would be better for us all.

May I wish you, your family, your friends and colleagues a healthy, happy and prosperous 2013.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Imagine a meeting...

Yesterday I attended a meeting which was billed as a consultation. Many people (approximately 80 I reckon) had given up their own time to be there: to listen, learn and be listened to. A good array of sandwiches was put on and then at about 12.30, the chair of the event announced the start of the event.

We were then talked at for over 80 minutes solid, leaving less than 10 minutes (within the formal allocated time) for 'Q&A'. I was not the only one who a) highlighted that this was not a consultation meeting and b) it was a real & palpable lost opportunity. (I am being oblique here as I do not wish to name the organisation in question. But essentially a way forward was being described and the very people who could help with the implementation of that strategy were in the room but were not given the chance to offer their ideas.)

I was immensely frustrated! As were many others, I believe.

How many other meetings or events or conferences are just like this one? We are in the middle of a severe economic crisis in the UK and beyond into the world. If I am being bold, I regard it as immoral that meetings can still be organised to tackle some aspect of this crisis but the process of the meeting inhibits full debate, suppresses creativity and/or fails to harness the brainpower, expertise & commitment in the room. It is quite simply wrong, dammit!

Now I do not accuse the conveners of these meetings to be so wrapped up in their power & egos that they are malevolently constructing meetings to force their views of the world on to other people.

Instead I prefer to consider that people just do not know that there are a 1000+ ways to make meetings more productive for all concerned. However, they just slip into the usual way of doing things, usually with good intent. But we all know that if you always do what you have always done you will always get what you have always got...

And so I appeal again (yes I have written about this before - here for example), please if you are convening a meeting of any kind... if you think that:
  • the world is a scary, complex and fast changing place that needs new ways of organising / allowing more of the 'right' things to happen...
  • most meetings, events and conferences set up to find those 'right' things and take them forward just don't do it very well...
  • somebody's 'platform power' often means that many others lose power and voice, but that it doesn't have to be this way..
  • there is often so much attention paid to inputs/outputs that lasting outcomes (and the imagination to take us there) hardly get a look in...
  • you would like to find out more: learn, share and support other people who think like you....
... then contact me or a 1000 other good facilitators around the world who can help you make a real difference to your meetings. Please!