Does tackling tough topics bring you out in a cold sweat? If it does, you're far from being alone. In our recent research, 66% of managers admitted to fear getting in the way of having the conversations they need to have.
Anyone who travels regularly by train knows only too well the irritation of that tinny sound emanating from someone else’s headphones.
Today I had that pleasure.
First of all, the repetitive delights of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" followed by some kind of game that necessitated repeated meowing sounds. Delightful to the toddler listening to it; less so to me!
With adults, I usually ask them to turn down the volume. But it seemed a bit churlish to do this with a two-year-old.
In my previous blog I proposed that, in addition to death and taxes there is, in fact, one other certainty in life – and that is we all feel fear on a regular basis.
And I believe that fear in the workplace is not only time-consuming and costly but that it creates blockages in communication, stifles innovation and gets in the way of business progress.
Recently I had the pleasure of bumping into Heather Campbell, a colleague from years past whose company, CommsMasters, specialises in developing capability in having great conversations.
In our conversation about conversations we reflected that, while there are all sorts of conversations to have content-wise, there is really only one conversation to have process-wise – and that is the real conversation.
What's the link between a high-performance Formula One car and fear in the workplace?
Well, that's precisely what business leaders from around the UK are going to be exploring at our Business Leaders' Seminar this Friday.
Our guest speaker Mark Jenkins, Professor of Business Strategy and Director of Community for Strategy, People & Leadership at Cranfield School of Management, will be sharing insights from his research into teamwork, leadership and innovation in the cut-throat industry that is Formula One.
Watching Charlie Brooker's 2014 Wipe (BBC2) at the end of last year, I enjoyed this short film by Adam Curtis, the controversial documentary filmmaker.
In his film, Curtis suggests that politicians disempower voters by disseminating confusing and contradictory information.
Travelling by train today, a woman in her mid-twenties sat in the seat in front of me.
Shortly after she sat down, she began to sob loudly – enough to draw the attention of the people in the carriage around her.
Over the last few weeks I have had the good fortune to run a series of workshops in Malaysia – an enjoyable and educational experience.
Enjoyable because the people I met and worked with were consistently charming, considerate and had a great sense of humour.
Educational in that I learned about the culture in Malaysia and, as always, in doing so, learned so much about our own. It is, of course, only when we step outside our culture that we can see the subtle and not-so-subtle nuances that are normally invisible to us.
Senior leaders have to paint a compelling vision for the future while pragmatically establishing the steps to get there.
Customer Service teams must give customers personalised care and attention while still hitting strict call-time targets.
Managers are expected to be tough decision-makers and also collaborative explorers.
Head versus heart, masculine versus feminine, soft versus hard – getting the balance right between each is critical to business success.
If you, a 21st-century leader, could travel back in time around 2,500 years, and have a chat with Sophocles, he'd share with you a few lessons that are still relevant today.
If your time machine wasn't reliable enough to take you so far, you could stop in much more recent history, catching up with the Quakers in the US of the 1950s.
Or you could just cast your mind back a few years, to the start of the recent economic turmoil, to find the same message.
The lesson? That it takes tremendous courage to speak the truth to people in power.
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