Thursday, 28 July 2011

Wednesday, 27 July 2011


I'm hitting the big time.

Last night in Cecconi's, Bill Nighy. Very lean. Very well tailored. Trademark thick glasses.

This morning in the lift at mint, the Hairy Bikers. Not very lean. Not at all tailored. Trademark hairiness.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011


This breathing business!

Where will it get you?

Friday, 22 July 2011


When I was a boy, my cousin, who was in the Merchant Navy, was a romantic figure. He occasionally appeared in my young life, newly returned from some exotic place. Always he brought some new thing. Once, gold trinkets from Surinam. Another time, unheard of brands of sweets from the far east. Once, even, a wife, from Guyana.

Once, he brought me a pencil case from Montreal. It's lid was made of sealskin. On it, the word Montreal in gold letters on a leather plaque in the middle of the sealskin lid.

The sealskin was mesmeric and lives still - incongruously - in my memory. It was impossible not to touch it. It was much hairier than one would expect. But the grain went only one way. Stroke it one way and it felt smooth. Move your hand the other way, and it was bristly and harsh.

Culture shifting is like stroking the sealskin. The elements, the levers of culture - the people, the systems, the rewards, the ways of working, the myths, legends and narratives, and the goals can all be aligned. Then the feeling is as smooth as the grain of the sealskin.

Or they can be misaligned, and create an abrasive, disfunctional result.

It is the job of the culture shifters to sensitize themselves with the grain, and attune it to goals, gently stroking it the right way, adjusting it more and more to the required direction, attuning it always with and never against that grain.


When it comes to facilitation, the fool in Lear has it wrong.
The most important thing you can do as a facilitator is..... nothing.
In either coaching or facilitation settings you are dealing with the paradox that the less you do the greater the effect, and the more you intervene, the less empowerment, ownership, and effectiveness.
With this awareness, the aesthetics of intervention change, and process work becomes like writing poetry. Every word needs to be scrutinised and pared. Few are called. Many are spared.
I truly believe that if everything you say is beautiful, the result will be beautiful too. And what you are then doing is artistry.

Sunday, 17 July 2011


Thats ma boy!!!


Here's how you tell if your coach is any good.

Ask him / her if they are in the change business.

If they answer yes, then you know you are in the presence of a numbskull, liar or both.

Coaching is in the awareness business. Nothing more.

Coaching can produce awareness. It cannot produce change. That is in the hands of the client, fate, karma, chance, you name it.

Worse, though, if a coach is aiming at change he or she will always miss it, since the paradox of personal change is that pressure towards it very rarely produces it. Full acceptance and understanding, on the other hand, producing awareness, empowers the client to do whatever changing they are going to do, on their own initiative.

Saturday, 16 July 2011


CLIENT: I have a decision to make. I want your view.

ME: OK what's the decision?

CLIENT: I've been offered two jobs. One is full time in England. It pays £40,000 more than the second. The second is in Paris. It pays as I said less. But it's only four days a week. I can't decide which to take.

ME: You've already decided.


ME: Oh yes. If the English job was on the terms and conditions of the Parisian job there would be no contest. You'd take the Parisian job. You've already decided that, otherwise we wouldn't be having this discussion. Living and working in Paris is more attractive to you. Why not? All you need to ask yourself is if you prefer that experience enough to offset the £40000.


ME: I thought so.

CLIENT: Why has no one else looked at it in this way?

ME: I don't know.


I find myself pondering command and control cultures vs. engagement cultures for service organizations.

Here are some recently written thoughts.

Ask yourself this simple question.
If someone sits and talks at me with no regard for my input to the conversation, what do I think of them and how will it affect my cooperation with them?
Answering this alone will tell you much about the value of engagement.

When you engage:

You develop understanding
You build trust
You generate ideas
You encourage imagination and innovation
You develop a shared vision
You promote ingenuity
You head towards agreement
You spot and solve problems
You capture people’s hearts as well as their minds
You get the engagement of others

In short, you gain COMMITMENT.

When you use command and control, rather than engagement:

You insist only on your own understanding, ignoring that of others
You isolate your own view and position
You erode trust
You miss potentially valuable ideas
You discourage imagination and innovation
You impose your own vision
You fail to inspire ingenuity
You head towards division
You ignore potential problems and inhibit problem solving
You lose emotional engagement

In short, you gain COMPLIANCE