Navigating change: The Four Doors of Change

Table showing Four Doors of Change

Reading Time: 9 minutes Navigating change can be tricky – it brings up a lot of emotions, worries, and decisions, and we’re not always sure where we stand. One of our primary needs when facing change is to be able to understand what it will mean for us. It’s easy to get focused on negative aspects and neglect the … Read more

Why do we struggle to have great ideas?

Reading Time: 4 minutes As leaders and managers, we’re often expected to have the great ideas, brilliant insights and action plans that will help our people and organisations turn over a new leaf. But in the midst of all the busy-ness of business, it’s easy to get stuck in a “same old, same old” thinking rut. Why we struggle … Read more

Kindness: a better business strategy

Three hands clasped together

Reading Time: 3 minutes Kindness. It’s a scorned, if not outright rejected concept in business – it’s too soft, too weak. We can’t be kind, because to be in business is to be tough, competitive, strong. Logic and rationality rule the roost. We don’t do feelings or soft, fluffy stuff. We’re here to do the serious stuff of business; … Read more

Leadership toolbox: how to use change stories to transform your reality

Photo of a book with pages being blown by the wind
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Our change stories can make or break us as we navigate change. I’ve written before about how we humans are sense-making machines – essentially, we need to have a story that explains what we are experiencing. And if what is happening doesn’t come with a story that makes sense to us, we’ll make up one that does.

I think it’s fair to say that 2020 is the year of navigating change, whether or not we are willing participants in those changes! Which makes now a great time to think about the stories we are hearing, telling ourselves, and sharing with others.

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Leadership Toolbox: how to create psychological safety at work

A two by two matrix showing psychological safety (PS) on vertical and motivation/accountability (MA) on horizontal Low PS/low MA = apathy High PS/low MA = comfort Low PS/high MA = anxiety High PS/high MA = learning

Reading Time: 7 minutes Have you ever wondered why some teams thrive in difficult times? They trust one another, freely share knowledge, admit mistakes and generate creative and innovative ideas at the drop of a hat. Others spend their time covering up mistakes, concealing information from bosses and colleagues, and pretending they know everything. They are characterised by cut-throat … Read more

Leadership toolbox: how to build self-awareness

A cartoon of a person walking a dog. The person's thought-bubble is full of music, other people, cars, work etc, while the dog's thought bubble shows only the scene they are walking in.
Reading Time: 8 minutes

Self-awareness is a key life and leadership skill. At its most basic level, self-awareness is about developing your knowledge and understanding of yourself, and being able to access that knowledge and understanding in real-time to help you better navigate your life.

Its benefits include:

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Leadership Toolbox: getting to grips with empathy

Photo of two women talking while sitting on beanbags
Reading Time: 5 minutes

In my first Leadership Toolbox post, I talked about the importance of self-care for leaders. Self-care involves turning our attention inward, to manage our own wellbeing.

In this post, I’ll be talking about the tool of empathy, which helps us turn our attention outward, to understand and connect with those around us. In a future post, I’ll share tips for how to increase your levels of empathy, and how to apply empathy “in the wild”, to grow your relationships and increase your effectiveness as a communicator and leader.

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Leadership Toolbox: what we need to know for living with complexity

Abstract art - lines of blue, green and white light criss-crossing a dark background
Reading Time: 13 minutes

There’s a lot going on in the world right now. We are seeing a massive global response to the COVID-19 virus, the likes of which we don’t often see. Things are changing daily, if not hourly, as a result of both the spread of the coronavirus and national and local responses to the evolving situation.

In some ways, what is happening with coronavirus is a perfect example of the kind of complex world in which we now live, where the goalposts are constantly shifting, threats seem to be escalating on an hourly basis, and no one really knows what will happen next. This complexity can make it feel like we’re fighting battles every day, leaving us feeling exhausted and pushing us away from creativity and connection.

So, how do we make sense of the world around us, and navigate complexity while keeping ourselves mentally and physically healthy, and ready to do good work? In this article, I share some knowledge and resources that have helped me at different times – and I’m sure something here will help you too!

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Leadership Toolbox: how to create a self-care plan

Gold text on black background: "She believed she could, so she did (but first, she took a nap)"
Reading Time: 7 minutes

As leaders, we need a comprehensive toolbox to succeed in our roles. I’ll be publishing a series of posts on leadership tools in coming months, so keep an eye out! I am starting this series with self-care because I believe it is the single most important tool for our toolbox.

It may feel like an entirely “selfish” practice because we are turning our energy towards ourselves, rather than directly serving those we lead. But there’s a reason that airline safety videos tell you to put your own oxygen mask on before helping others. A good self-care practice supports our wellbeing, allowing us to live a more awesome life, doing all the great things we dream of, and enjoying ourselves for many years to come.

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Why we need to ditch certainty and embrace uncertainty

A crumpled piece of paper on a dark background. There is a large question mark on the paper.
Reading Time: 8 minutes

Certainty is highly prized; so much of what we do and say revolves around creating certainty for ourselves, or projecting an aura of certainty for others to see. We avoid and even despise uncertainty. Part of this is because our brains are wired to prefer certainty.

The problem is not uncertainty itself, but our unfamiliarity around how to navigate uncertainty, and our lack of tools to help us do so. It’s important to understand that the only way we can change and grow as individuals, teams and societies is through embracing and working with uncertainty.

I’m convinced that we need to embrace uncertainty wholeheartedly in our lives and organisations. Once we understand why we react the way we do to uncertainty, we can learn how to use it to drive growth, improvement and development, and even have fun doing so!

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