Been a bit quiet recently….

7.02.2014. Sorry but I’ve been a bit quiet over the last week or so.

A combination of busy at work, a major illness in the family and a laziness on my part are to blame. But I’ve given myself a kick in tonight and I will make sure that I get better. Promise!

So, what’s new?

Well, it’s a period of significant change, more of that in future posts, but in a few words, it looks like I’ll be taking on a new project soon after the client I’m working for now took on a new director to take over the function that I created.

The weather in the UK has been dreadful, very very wet and extremely windy – it really gets me down. It seems so long ago that we felt the warmth of the sun on our backs – I really miss that feeling during the winter.

I’ve signed up to cycle from Barcelona to Nice over 6 dates in the summer so should feel the sun then for certain. Can’t wait actually. Need to get back into training! Maybe tomorrow but listening to the rain and the wind howling around outside now, I may need to rethink that in the morning.

What makes us creative?

27.01.2014. Just been reading the excellent Kevin Roberts latest blog post, where he discusses Creative Competencies.

This is close to my heart at the moment, as I’m in the process of establishing an innovation culture into the organisation I’m working with. Creativity can come in many forms and I’ve found that it s often stifled as we get older. As a child we are at our most creative yet as we get older, we don’t develop this creativity or rather we let our need to conform stop us from appearing to be different.

Why is that?

We should encourage creativity at every opportunity!

Burns Night

25.01.2014. Are you off celebrating Burns night tonight?

Unfortunately, I’m not going to be at a party tonight in person but will be at one in thought. Having lived in Scotland, I appreciate the event more than I did before moving up there. I’ve had some really great Burns suppers over the years and if you’ve never been to one, I’d encourage you to put it on your bucket list.

Last years was amazing, hosted by the Caledonian club (a Private Members Club for Scots) in London when rather than just piping in the haggis and doing the usual speeches, the event went into much more detail on the background – educational but oh so funny.

It’s been a good day today. I took up photography seriously last year and started an online diploma. Today, I’ve been into Manchester Photographic for an interactive session – learned some really useful tips and certainly developed by skills further. Looking forward to attending another session in a few weeks

Big day ahead….

22.01.12. On the way to London for a series of meetings that will determine what I’m going to be doing over the next few months.

I’m been undertaking an interim role, helping an organisation to develop a new function. I’m meeting one of the Exec today to discuss my proposed strategy and agree how they want to go about implementing it. It’s highly likely that the organisation will be bringing in someone to take the plans forward and although I’d like the opportunity to do this myself, I suspect that they are looking for a more permanent solution.

So, I need to be considering my next steps. I’m clear about what I’m looking to do in my career moving forward and have some very focused goals to achieve, so I’m not unduly concerned. In fact, to have a deadline to work towards to handover the reins will be good – everyone needs clarity!

So interesting times ahead. I’ll keep you updated on progress.

Information overload…

20.01.14. Do you ever step back and consider the amount of information that you are inundated with each and every day?

Well, that is exactly what I’ve done today and I’m completely overwhelmed by the daily deluge. On average over the last few months, I have received over 250 emails each and every day, even over the weekend! I’ve compounded matters by running 5/6 email accounts – to cover off different businesses etc, but although this was originally the plan to make it easier to segment the flow of data, in reality, it has just created an even bigger problem.

Because of who I am and what I do, I’m constantly looking to develop my skills and knowledge and as such, in order to download materials, I sign up to mailing lists and therein lies the problem – as soon as you do this, you open yourself up to a potential deluge of information day after day. I’m getting emails from people that I’ve never even heard of, I certainly haven’t signed up to and in many instances these SPAM messages don’t have the option to unsubscribe.

Aaaargh!

I certainly need to spend some time, systematically unsubscribing from mailing lists and putting my inbox into some kind of order. The challenge is that as each passing day goes by, the problem gets bigger! Although we are blessed to live in a period where we have access to all kinds of information and data, literally at the touch of a button, we have also opened ourselves up to the challenge of information overload – and I’ve not even spoke about Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. Aaaargh!

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Isn’t it wonderful when the world delivers…

18.01.2014 – this morning, I’ve woken up and checked my emails, only to find one from Secret Escapes, in which it talks about things to do ( and not to do) in Venice. Perfect timing this, as we are off to Venice in three weeks.

Although we’ve been to Venice many times before and know the city reasonably well, it is such a labyrinth that there is simply loads to do, with jewels around virtually every corner. Within the article, there was a couple of things that caught my eye – a visit to one of the palaces on the Grand Canal – we stay in one of them the Gritti Palace, but it will be great to see one in its original splendour. Another recommendation is to go to the opera. We’ve been to a Vivaldi concert before but an opera sounds good so let’s mark that down.

I’m looking forward to our four days/ three nights in Venice. It’s such a special place. From the moment you get off the place and onto the water taxi, it feels that you are in the middle of a film set. I just love wandering around, sitting down in one of the many caf├ęs and simply watch the world go by.

Can’t wait!

Why am I so tired today?

17.01.2014. I woke up this morning and I felt tired! All day long, I’ve felt tired. Tonight, I’ve been nodding off throughout the evening. Now that I’ve come to bed, I feel shattered!

Why is that? I felt that I’d had a good nights sleep last night. The week hasn’t been overly taxing? The only thing that I can think of is that my body is full of toxins. Due to the weather and probably my laziness(!), I haven’t really done any real exercise over the last month or so and I can really feel my body getting bogged down. That’s not to say that I’m an health freak – hell no! But I have to say that I feel miles better when I’ve done regular exercise.

It’s also something to do with the amount of chocolate I’m eating!

But I’d rather not think about that too much!

James Cracknell life story

15.01.2014. Funny how things happen. I mentioned yesterday that a family member was undergoing a massive brain operation, which in the end lasted 11 hours. Tonight, I switched on the TV and started to watch a programme on James Cracknell, the UK Olympian who 3 years ago endured an horrific accident that caused massive brain damage.

If you get the chance to see the programme, you should do so, as it is inspirational, not just in terms of what he has achieved after the accident but for his sheer focus on goals and challenges throughout his life. It provides a real insight into the mindset of a professional athlete, something that most of us can only just imagine, much less achieve.

I have no doubt whatsoever that he is alive today and appears to be enjoying life to the full again, because of this absolute focus and belief.

A major operation…

14.01.2014 – A close family member has gone into hospital today for a major brain operation.

This will be his 7th or 8th similar operation and each time, it is a life or death situation. The problem he has is a brain tumor that is constantly growing within the crevices of his brain. The operations require the surgeon to effectively scrape back these tumors – a delicate activity requiring a very steady hand, because it is so easy to damage the brain tissue and ultimately damage one of the major faculties.

He went in at 14:15 and he is still in theatre. Over 9 hours so far!

These surgeons are just amazing!

It’s all coming together

13.01.2014. I had a lightbulb moment today, when things have all clicked into place.

Over the last few months, I’ve been undertaking an interim role, helping an organisation to set up a new function. Without any clear direction from the Exec team, I’ve been asked to develop a strategy for the function as well as an operating framework. The area in question is vast and I’ve been struggling of late to see how best to position my recommendations.

Well, during the day today, it has all become a little clearer. Why is that?

Well, I’ve given myself some time to think, not specifically about this, but just some time. I’ve also had a couple of really interesting meetings where I had to talk about how I see things developing and that ‘pressure’ of having to present a coherent view provided the platform for me to just say it out loud, and guess what, it worked.

This approach has worked for me many time before, although it is a high risk strategy as you sometimes can make yourself appear less than prepared. However, as they say, feel the fear and do it anyway and gauge the reaction. The feedback that you get can be very informing on whether you are on the right tracks.