All things good

What caught our attention this month

Employer of the Year 2013

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We’re feeling pretty privileged to be working with an inspirational organisation, Richmond Housing Partnership (www.rhp.org.uk), who have been awarded Employer of the Year at the prestigious European Call Centre and Customer Service Awards. Even more impressive is that this was not housing industry specific but across all sectors with some really stiff competition.  It doesn’t really surprise us though because as soon as you walk through the doors of their building you get a sense of their creativity and energy. A huge well done to them.

Emotional highs

Through our connections with Women in Retail (www.womeninretail.com), a vibrant network of like-minded women operating across a range of roles and retail sectors we met Anna Pangbourne and her wonderful charity, the Fashion and Textiles Children’s Trust (www.ftct.org.uk). We’ve known about their work for a number of years through our pervious associations with Topman and Topshop, so it’s been great to have the opportunity to connect with Anna more directly.

The Fashion and Textile Children’s Trust is a small charity with a long history of supporting families in the UK fashion and textile industry. Founded in 1853, FTCT supports children aged 0-18 years who are coping with sickness, disability or special needs, whose families are in financial crisis, or where parents are unwell or cannot work. By providing grants for extra-curricular costs, clothing, uniforms, school extras, therapies and more, FTCT support hundreds of children every year.

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It’s also been good to see ‘emotional intelligence’ hitting the headlines again in the form of Lady Ashton and her work in brokering a deal in the Iranian nuclear issue. EI underpins so much of the personal awareness and self- development work we engage with. Daniel Goleman’s belief in the differences between how men and women operate emotionally is always an interesting one to debate; women tend to excel at sensing emotion (empathizing) while men tend to be good at managing emotion (i.e. compartmentalizing or, sometimes, ignoring it. Discuss!

Leadership as art – what’s in your skip?

The recent Reith Lectures delivered so eloquently and wittily by Grayson Perry appealed to Maier’s more arty side (it’s not just shaping organisational cultures that we love you know) His sense of values and the original take he offers on the apparently mundane or ordinary encapsulates a lot of what we aspire to in our own work. The links we naturally made between his style and words to aspects of leadership included; humility, inner confidence, bravery, risk taking and the ability to articulate and share good stories in an individual and unique way. We’re spoilt for choice with his many sound bites, but we particularly like this one;

‘A skip outside an art college is like a pot pourri of broken dreams’.  

Could be our next new leadership exercise…What’s in your skip?

Dancing to the top

Continuing to draw on leadership lessons from more unlikely sources, another hero of ours in the arts world has to be the supremely talented dancer Carlos Acosta. His autobiography ‘No Way Home’ offers enlightening parallels between the determination to succeed against all odds and the resilience we sometimes need to acquire as we dance our way through the organisations we work in.

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Sometimes as leaders we can become too narrow and trapped in a vacuum of the business press and books ‘on leadership’ when the most enlightening and enriching lessons can be drawn from more unexpected sources. Be curious, look in the hidden corners of life!

Lighting the way

Our final thought comes from one of our German clients working in a complex global business where internal competition between the separate business streams can make the ownership of shared goals challenging;

‘I see the corporate business as bringing light and soul to our smaller businesses, the core value needs to be one of competing with trust.’

We liked these words- it’s the joy of coaching when a chosen phrase and set of beliefs stay in your head for a long time after the meeting.

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