The Importance of Creating a Mission Statement

Yesterday I was working with a wonderful team, to develop their team mission statement. Firstly let me again say how amazing our NHS teams are, it was a pleasure working with them.

Now I am not going to talk about team mission statements (if you want to explore creating a team mission statement, you can book me to come in and work with your team). I am going to concentrate on developing personal mission statements.

I first wrote mine about 2 years ago now, and since then it has adapted as I have grown and shifted my viewpoint. If anything it has simplified. The simpler it is, the easier it is to remember it, and to make it operational.

The first thing to do is to consider what your core values are, and then consider how you use those values in your life. It is important to recognise when you have lived up to those values, what you were doing and how that made you feel. Also recognise when you have not lived up to those values, what you were doing and how that made you feel.

Once you have a couple of operational values (values that you live with everyday, not ones that you would like to have, or think you should have) then it is time to consider how you want to be remembered by your loved ones, friends and colleagues. This forms your version of success.

So now you have what you are going to do, and how you are going to measure it. The do is living within your core values. The measure is how you will be remembered, so does living within your values create that version of success.

It is also important to consider what will get in the way of you succeeding in your mission. What often gets in the way of us living up to our core values is the assumptions we make about the world around us. A useful way of exploring these emotions is to consider what we hold to be true. Now these are derived from folk stories that are passed down to us through family, school, work, media, friends etc. Now some of these truths might be true, however most are not, and can be unhelpful. For instance a common truth might be ‘what goes around comes around’. Spend some time considering what these assumptions are in you life and how they could impact you living up to your values. You truths might be assumptions you make about different people or situations.

Now you have nearly a complete mission statement:

  • You have what you are going to do
  • How you are going to measure this
  • What might get in the way
  • What you will do to recognise when stuff gets in the way
  • What you will do to make it right.

Once you have your mission statement, write it out neat, and share it with a few trusted people. Ask them if this is rings true for them. Does this mission statement represent you. This is important as a mission statement should represent you at your best, not a better version of you. This is not about changing, this statement is about maintaining you as near to your best as possible most of the time. If your statement becomes aspirational you run the risk of chasing behaviours that just are not you, and you will come across as inauthentic, you will become disheartened and abandon your mission statement very quickly.

It is also important to remember that your mission statement does not have to remain fixed as you grow to understand yourself and the world around you better, you will be able to adjust your statement to fit your view of the world and yourself. Overtime you will grow and therefore so should your mission statement.

So this exercise it will not make you better, it will however let you at your best be seen by more people more often.

If you want to spend some time perfecting you mission statement, get in touch, we can either do this online or face to face. You will not regret it, you will be far more satisfied with your life.

An Inspiring 2 days

I have spent the past 2 days facilitating a coaching skills for managers course to a group of inspiring and impressive leaders from the NHS.

Together we have explored how a coaching approach to leadership can transform the way we manage and motivate staff provide high quality care within a culture that can be both compassionate and efficient.

We have discussed that by trusting in peoples’ capacity to succeed breads success.

We have explored how difficult it can be to keep check of out righting reflex and not try to fix every problem for people, but to help them find it from within themselves. However we have also learnt that is ok when we do end trying to solve, as long as we notice it and learn to recognise the urge and think of a question to ask that would be more helpful, next time.

Most of all we have learned that sharing issues and spending some time thinking about what needs our attention is so valuable.

This is the 3rd time I have run this course and every time I enjoy it more and more. I am really looking forward to meeting up with everyone in 2 weeks for day 3.

Applying a coaching approach to leadership takes practice, but is so important in the complex world we live in.

If you want to learn more about coaching drop me an email, or send me a direct message via Twitter or Facebook.

I am now offering more online coaching

Life is busy and complicated, we have many demands on our time. We know we need time to do some thinking on issues that need our attention, but we struggle to find the time.

Coaching sounds like a good idea, but it can be time consuming and expensive. Online coaching can give you the flexibility to attend to those issues/problems that you need to do some thinking on. Whether that is improving your productivity at work, becoming more healthy, changing the way you think about and see you life, online coaching can give you the time and space to do that thinking at a time that is convenient to you.

I now offer subscriptions and one off sessions that can be tailored to your needs. I have outlined the subscriptions on my services page, these subscriptions are not fixed and can be adapted to what you need.

Coaching can help you make the decisions that are best for you. This flexible online approach allows you to get high quality coaching from an experienced qualified coach at a time and place that is convenient for you, at a price that suits your budget.

Email me or direct message me via Facebook or Twitter to arrange your first session.

Only 3 more assignments left before I complete my Level 7 Diploma

I spent most of yesterday working on the 5 assignment of the CMI Level 7 diploma in Strategic Coaching and Mentoring.

It was then I realised that I only have 2 more assignments once I have finished this one.

It has been much more enjoyable than I expected. I have also realised I knew much more about strategic performance management than I realised.

This is something I will be using in my practice, both internally within the Trust and in my private practice offering coaching in leadership development and aligning workforce to corporate objectives.

If you are interested in discussing what I could offer you from a leadership perspective, please drop me a line.

Blue Monday and other days

Last Monday was apparently blue Monday. This according to the media is something to do with it being the middle Monday of January, and with January being after Christmas and that it can be financially challenging, on top of that it is cold and dark. To me this notion that there is one day that is more miserable than any other seems slightly ridiculous and even feels quite manipulative. For many January can be a challenging month, then again so can December, February, March, April, May….. you get the drift.

The blues don’t wait for a particular day, the blues don’t just appear for certain events, or reasons. In fact sometimes the blues do not need much of a reason at all (well not that you can put your finger on anyway). To be honest that is sort of irrelevant. It is more important to accept that we will have days or moments when we feel low, fed up, or really sad. Sometimes there will be an obvious reason, sometimes that reason might not be so obvious, but you will feel like this.

What is important to remember is that emotions are not static they are constantly moving and shifting, just like the weather. One moment the sun is shining, the next it is pouring down. One thing is for certain, it will be sunny, and it will be cloudy, but it will not stay completely the same and the sun will come out again. Even when the clouds are their thickest the sun is still there behind the clouds and will breakthrough.

When we are under a cloud and experiencing negative emotion, it is really important not to deny it. Negative emotion is an important inevitable part of life, it helps us grow and learn. Therefore make space for it in your mind, pay it attention, and understand it, and try to give it a name. Understand why you might be feeling it, and what you can learn from it. When we try to deny our negative emotions, those emotions are multiplied as we feel bad about feeling bad. We often apologise for expressing our negative emotion, this is rarely helpful (that is unless your emotion has caused to be uncivil, then you really should apologise). Understanding and articulating your emotion will help, it will not make it go away but it will diminish it’s impact and help you recover and appreciate the positive emotion when that returns.

The key to happiness is not being wonderfully happy all the time, it is learning to be curious about your emotions and accepting and embracing all the good and bad. I now find it helpful thinking in terms of helpful and hindering (after spending a few days with Andy Gilbert and his GOMAD team). Some emotions whether they are positive or negative will be helpful to me and some emotions will be hindering. Having a good cry when thinking about something sad can be very helpful to me and help me sort out my thoughts about an issue, whereas staying in at home watching boxsets makes me feel happy but is hindering as I will never get anything done. They are crude examples but you get the idea. Emotions are important, however you need to decide if responding to them in a certain way is helpful or hindering.

If you are having a blue day, don’t try to avoid it, try to understand it. Pay attention to your negative emotions they might be telling you something important.

Keep being curious…..

Keep being curious…..but be curious to increase your understanding and challenge you bias, rather than to judge and confirm your bias.

I was reading a lively debate on LinkedIn (remember don’t judge) last night about white privilege and how the UK is set up in favour of the white middle class, heterosexual, able bodied man. It was fascinating watching people’s fragility and assumptions unfold, including my own, only I kept mine in my head and did not jump in to defend my previously unearthed biases, unlike some. What I noticed was one contributor who, was being curious and was genuinely engaged with the debate, but was not willing to understand the authors point of view and lived experience, and was only willing to judge from their own viewpoint. Now it is perfectly fine to have an opposing view, however when you enter into a debate with someone of the opposing view, you have to be willing to listen and understand, it may change you view completely but it will add to the view (this cannot be a bad thing). By entering into debate you are also enriching the knowledge and experience of those debating with you also.

Listening with fascination will always add to your world view even (especially) if you don’t like what you hear. We learn when we are uncomfortable and challenged, we don’t learn when we surround ourselves with people and media that confirms our biases and world view.

Up until a few years ago, I would only listen to music that I considered worthy, and music my peers enjoyed. This was predominantly guitar based rock music, with the odd guilty pleasure. With the advent of streaming services and my children’s interest in music, I started to listen to music that I would never consider worth listening to. If you are a regular reader of my blogs you will know how important music is to me. However having a more diverse music taste has encouraged me to be more curious, and mentally move away from my comfort zone, to learn. I never realised how much amazing music is out there to listen to, until I started to look. So I started to apply it to my view of the world, it is uncomfortable and exposing at times. I have not reached some nirvana where I am truly enlightened, it is a struggle sometimes and I do notice myself living within my silo of comfort. The difference is I know it exists and that there is an alternative destination if I choose to look for it.

Now this blog was an excuse to introduce a new playlist I put together to highlight my curiosity for all things that are new. There are some great tracks by some truly talented new bands. Black Midi, Celeste, and Mura Masa a few to look out for.

If you have spotify enjoy, if you don’t look a few up on you-tube or maybe just follow your own curiosity

What influences how we communicate with different people?

This has been a subject on my mind this week. It came up when I was discussing with a group how I find it difficult talking to senior managers and members of the exec, something that happens more often now I have changed my role. It was also a subject I have been considering this morning for a chapter in my book. So what causes me to feel uncomfortable communicating with senior members of staff?

When we see someone new our limbic system (the chimp from the chimp paradox) is alerted to make a threat assessment. As we know the limbic system is not just concerned with life or limb, it is also concerned in preserving status in the group and the continuation of your species. So once the risk of physical threat has been assessed, then the chimp can move on to other matters, which is status in the group and potential mates (there is clearly a lot more nuance to this than I am describing, but you get the drift). Maintaining status quo or enhancing status in the group is a very strong driver. From a primitive perspective being rejected by the group was a potential life ending event. Remember our chimps is not very subtle so invokes the same feelings whether or not you are about to die.

So lets go back to my issue, when I am confronted by people I consider to have a high status, my chimp is activated as there is a potential threat to my status. My chimp then searches for more information to before acting or not. My chimp will search my memory banks for recalled memories that may help. Now I have some rather unhelpful memories of authority figures throughout my life and especially in my adult life (as a Charge Nurse), so the advice given by my chimp is always be careful, don’t say much and get away as soon as possible, the less they know about you the better. In fact if you have not met them yet, it would probably be better if you did not meet them at all.

Not great advice! I have to speak to them in my job. Thankfully I can improve this situation and train myself and my chimp to not have this unhelpful response. This response comes about from having little data/information about the people that currently hold these senior positions (they are not the same people that gave me those unhelpful memories). When we don’t have much information our mind makes stuff up based on previous experiences and memories to complete the story.

The answer is simple get to know people more, before you make decisions about how you will communicate with people. If these people are critical to your job or any other part of your life, increase the amount of information you have about them. Now with some of the senior managers this is starting to happen and my ability and desire to communicate effectively with them is increasing. I need to work on those people I know less about, I need to start changing the stories I have in my head about people that have more senior roles than me.

Start seeing people in the round if you want to communicate effectively with people. If your opinion on someone is based on assumptions, correct that but getting to know them better.

Are you always warmhearted?

I was reading an article by The Dalai Lama this morning on mindful compassionate leadership. He says being warmhearted leads to a happy life, a fulfilled life. If you approach everything in life in a compassionate manner then you will be more peaceful in your response, whereas if you are always approaching life with anger you are more likely to have a violent response.

If we always look for what is wrong with the world, we will always find what is wrong, creating a destructive negative viewpoint of the world. If things are not working a more helpful viewpoint would be how could we possibly make things better.

A warmhearted compassionate approach to life encourages creativity. As Brene Brown would say a warmhearted view assumes everyone is doing their best, and they need compassion and support to improve their performance. What we have to remember when assuming people are always doing their best is that performance is variable. So it may appear that people are not putting the effort in. It might be that there are not putting the effort in, but what is causing them not to put effort in? Having a warmhearted view of them gives them an opportunity to improve, what can we possibly do to improve performance, or what could they possibly do that they would perform better at. If we have an angry response to their poor performance we condemn them and do not get the opportunity to discover the reasons for performance, therefore the likelihood of continued poor performance is increased. Being warmhearted in the end is more likely to get a positive result, either increased performance or the poor performing leaving and finding a role that better suites them.

Being consistent in a warmhearted approach takes practice, so practice.

Time to connect!

I have been writing a book and based my approach to coaching on the idea of connected living.

The idea is that we first need to connect and understand ourselves before effectively connecting with those around us. So if we pay attention to ourselves and treat ourselves well, we will be better able to pay attention to those around us.

Now this is nothing new, and is based on some sound research conducted by many great minds such as Brene Brown and Martin Seligman to name just 2. Connected Living is my take on these findings, basically this is how I make sense of it, therefore there will be some of you may well find it helpful too. Now I am halfway through writing the book, so it will be some time before you will be able to read it.

Don’t worry though, if you want to find out more, you can search my blog for plenty of tips. I will also give you a checklist you can use as a starter in this blog. If you live in Hull or East Yorkshire you can book a series of coaching sessions to work through the connected living process face to face, or if you live further away, you can connect with me via messenger or video messenger to go through the process. Even better news is that all my packages are half price if you book them in January 2020. If you are not sure have a free chemistry meeting on me. So here is the Connected Living Checklist to get you started:

  • Check your well-being; do you have positive emotion daily, are you engaged in activity daily, do you have positive relationships, does your life hold meaning, when did you last accomplish something?
  • Explore your view of the world
  • Practice viewing your world from a different perspective
  • Understand why you react to events the way you do
  • Practice responding rather than reacting
  • Understand why you behave the way you do
  • Understand you preference for decision making
  • Discover why you are attracted to certain people
  • Explore whether you are connecting to the right people
  • Discover why you need to connect with others
  • Appreciate that others are as complex as you
  • Commit to action

If you want to put the checklist into action get in touch have the first session on me and then take advantage of half price sessions if you book in January 2020.

Start making the most of your life now.

Don't get sucked into the rhetoric of division

Yesterday I posted a blog about inclusion at work and how embracing the diversity within our workplace will improve creativity and productivity. Today I woke up to more news of division in the world we live in. Our world seems more divided than ever. The news it appears is full of hate.

Whether you agree or disagree with the President of USA, it is so important that we do not get sucked into an us or them. You are either with us or against us. Everywhere we look at the moment there is an encouragement to take sides. Today’s news is dominated with the assassination of an Iranian General by the USA and the rights and wrongs of this decision, and that this may lead to a wider conflict. For some this will fuel hate towards Iran, USA, President Trump, Muslims, Jews, Christians, Boris Johnson, or Jeremy Corbyn. They generally seem to be popular targets of hate depending on your position. The consequences of all this hateful rhetoric is that innocent people in the middle east, the Cities of Europe, Cities of USA, or even any Cities around the world are put at real risk of harm. I read a comment from a Student who lives in Baghdad who said that he fears that the innocent and poor of Iraq will suffer again because USA and Iran hate each other.

Now here is the thing, I have heard so many anecdotal stories from people that have visited Iran, Iraq and USA, and they all describe people that are warm and friendly. I am going to hazard a guess that no matter where you go in the world you will find warm and generous people. Humans are essentially the same, we are on the whole warm and generous if given the opportunity.

Is it about time we stop buying into this rhetoric of division and hate, that is peddled by some of our leaders and media. All it is doing is playing to our fears and our innate desire to protect ourselves and others. When we respond to this bullshit we do not make ourselves safer. We make the world more dangerous. I can only guess why our press and leaders peddle this, but I imagine it has more to do with power and wealth than keeping me and you safe.

The world would be a much poorer place if we all agreed with each other. We learn through discourse and taking on differing views. Having a different view of the world is not a reason to hate someone. We all need to start listening to understand, rather than to judge. I urge you all not to let this rhetoric infect they way you behave towards your fellow humans.

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