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.

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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!

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.

How we learn.

7.01.2013. Following on from my post yesterday about Insights, I was intrigued by Seth Godin latest post – how to draw an owl.

Seth makes the point that in helping people to develop its not the showing that matters, it is the support that you provide afterwards that determines success. How you provide ongoing help and guidance, how you continue to educate them after they’ve started the process of learning, how you provide feedback and challenge them to do more.

In this information swamped world, I can absolutely guarantee that you can find information about what you need to do, but many people fail because they don’t have the support structure to help them achieve their desired success.

Personality profiles – how good can they be?

6.1.2014. First day back at work today and I’d scheduled a session for the team to review how they could better understand themselves and others and provide the inspiration for them to make a positive difference in everything they do. Sounds impressive!

The session was based on the Insights methodolodoly. In order to be an exceptional business with great leaders and dedicated employees, you need to work out your strengths – individually and as an organisation. Insights can help you strengthen internal and external relationships, improve teamwork and collaboration and be more innovative. Enough of their sales message!

I’ve done a number of similar activities in the past including Myers Briggs and the like. However I have to say that the outputs from Insights are the most accurate that I’ve come across. It sums me up perfectly! Very clever!

I enjoy these types of session, when you are learning what makes you tick, but more importantly what makes other people tick. Once you understand this, you can be much more effective in your communication. We all tend to communicate to other people in our language – describing things in a way that makes sense to us. However, if the other person is configured in a different way, then the message will be lost. Start to understand their configuration and adapt your language to their preferences and you’ll suddenly become far more effective.

That’s one of the challenges with a blog as a communication tool – it’s too ‘me to you’ rather than a conversation. I’d love to engage in a conversation so please do leave your comments.

Do you have a life plan?

5.1.2014. The last day of the holidays. Back to work/ school tomorrow and 2014 starts in earnest.

Today has been a funny day really. A mix of tidying up after the holidays and getting ready for the week ahead, as well as a little thinking time to ensure that my head is in the right place. I’m determined that 2014 will be my best year yet, the year that I make significant breakthroughs in my chosen fields, the year when I finally create my desired lifestyle.

I know what I need to do to achieve this. The trick will be to undertake these activities whilst living for today. I’ve been guilty in the past of living for tomorrow too much and not enjoying today. This is an interesting dilemma I think, and one I know I’ll be grappling with this year. How do you balance the delivery of your life plan yet live for today?

Most, if not all of my building blocks are now in place, so I’ve created a set of regular activities that I need to do each day/ week to ensure that I progress with my plan. However these are not onerous and should enable me to leave sufficient time to enjoy each day to the maximum.

Today has been such a day. I’ve taken some small steps required to move things forward with my plan, whilst spending time with my parents, enjoying my daughters stories of her day and chilling with the missus!

Reviewing the year…

30.12.2013. I read a very interesting article in Psychologies Magazine, Jan 2014 edition, earlier today that made me think.

The premise of the article was that we all tend to head into the New Year full of promise whilst ignoring what has been achieved during the existing year. They propose that you ask yourself 6 questions to get you ready for the New Year ahead. I won’t go into these now, but it did make me think about the year just passing and during dinner we had an interesting debate about what 2013 has meant to each of us.

What are we most proud of? What have we achieved? What have we enjoyed?

It wasn’t hard to come up with lots of good stuff, things that happened throughout the year that, if you didn’t sit back and think about, would probably be forgotten about. Places we’ve visited, things that we’ve done, major challenges that we’ve met head on and overcome, significant successes in both business and personal life.

This discussion has set us up nicely for our traditional New Years discussion about what each of us want from the New Year – what do we want to do, what do we want to achieve, how do we want to feel etc.

But, that’s for tomorrow!

I’ve had better days….

19.12.13. It’s safe to say that I’ve had better days than today!

I found out that the interim role that I’ve been undertaking has been advertised, not for a permanent replacement (which was expected) but for a more senior interim person – feels like I’ve been given a kick in the balls, if I’m honest! Especially considering that I then had to spend the day in a management meeting with a team that presumably knew about the plans but didn’t say anything.

It’s not unexpected, the challenge I suppose of coming from the wrong side of the fence – in this case from the company that has recently been acquired! Nonetheless, it certainly put a dampener on the festivities leading up to Christmas.

Onwards and upwards!

After yesterday’s storms, woke up this morning to clear blue skies – what a contrast. Went out for an early morning walk on the banks of the Thames and took some amazing photographs (even if I say so myself). I really enjoy photography and have commenced a diploma course to really get to understand what it takes to create consistently great photos. Didn’t appreciate just how complicated it all was before starting the course, but certainly getting to grips with it all now.

I’m probably more suited to landscapes that portraits at the moment but I’m just in the process of ordering proper backdrops and lighting kit so watch out the fashion world, I’m gearing up….

As my daughter informed me earlier, only six more sleeps until Santa arrives. Need a good day tomorrow to clear up a lot of things so that I can concentrate over the weekend on getting all my presents sorted and wrapped – nothing like being on the last minute.

Any ideas for the wife who has everything?

Here we go again…

18.12.13. So, it’s a bit windy and a little wet and Britain comes to a standstill!

Ok, so I may have underplayed it a little, but nevertheless, why is it that we simply do not understand how to handle weather that doesn’t fit the norm?

Oh, bloody hell, just heard the forecast for Friday and they’re saying that we might have snow! Best rush out to the shops and stock up on my daily essentials because you know what it will be like when we get a flurry of the white stuff – it must call for emergency measures.

Because of the weather, I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time today on trains – not the best use of time, especially when you consider that Virgin Trains seem to do everything in their power to reduce the 3G signals so for most of the time, I’ve been sat without any connection.

I’ve just caught myself moaning about a lack of connection. Blimey – thinking back just a few years the whole concept of the being ‘always connected’ was a pipe-dream. It is amazing what technology has enabled to do isn’t it and how it has changed the way that we live our lives.

I’m a bit of a gadget man myself – I don’t need to own the gadgets – I’m more interested in understanding what they can do and how they can help me in my day to day life.

Augmented reality is going to make a much bigger impact on 2014 I think and become much more mainstream – consider how we can support people from afar by making better use of this technology – I’ve seen examples of how we can show people to, for instance wire a plug or undertake a specific activity on a production line. Take a look at this Ted Talk, where Matt Mills demonstrates how AR is being used today and how the medium will undoubtedly develop in 2014 and beyond.