Untangle and grow

A blog by Alison Maxwell

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Blackberry frenzy

I've just spent a very happy week running a 5 day leadership programme. It's one of my favourite programme to run and always gets great feedback. It is also one of the most full on, and delegates and tutors alike are kept pretty busy.

As with many companies the use of blackberries is rife, no sooner do we have a break then they are out and dealing with stuff back at the office/plant. Some of the tutors get most indignant about this - others wearily shake their heads saddened that our delegates can't abstract themselves from work sufficiently to get most value from what we are doing together. I am worried when I find many of the attendees will be working the weekend to catch up from a week away from work.

Organisations make huge investments in learning and it is more than a shame if attendees are distracted by work pressures. However organisations also expect the wheels to keep turning and it is the rare delegate that can free their diary completely.  How do we help participants on our programme to be fully in the 'here and now' when we have them with us, and avoid the email back log they dread on their return?

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Strangers to ourselves?

Don' t you love it when you find a really fascinating book that manages to offer some really challenging stuff in a palatable and informed way?  I've been reading 'Strangers to ourselves' by Timothy Wilson, which does exactly that.

As the title implies, Wilson makes the case that we often don't know our own minds, and that actually most of our thoughts, feelings and behaviours are the product of our unconscious rather than our conscious minds - even if we experience it differently. Startlingly he argues that others can often read us better than we can read ourselves - ever seen a friend go head over heals for someone totally unsuitable and only realise it months after everyone else?

Wilson (unlike Freud) believes that it is impossible to know our unconscious mind arguing that its a bit like the software in say a CD player -  we can hear the output (conscious thought) but we have no direct access to the processes that produced it. 

If you  buy his theory - and some of his evidence is pretty intriguing - this has huge implications for any of us working in the people development field. Discuss...

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Getting perspective - issues in coaching.

Just got back from holiday, feeling well rested and ready for the Autumn fray. I wish I could bottle it!

I've also come back with a renewed sense of perspective - what's really important and what is just 'sweating the small stuff'. I've also surprised myself with how easily solutions for some supposedly intractable problems have appeared by just giving myself a break from thinking about them. I've noticed the same in stressed out  coaching clients who finally get around to giving themselves a break.

I recently read an appalling statistic that fewer of us are taking proper breaks from work, and some of us even do as much as 3 hours a day work when we are supposedly on holiday. Apart from issues of physical and mental health and family relationships,  how are you supposed to get a real sense of perspective if you are always nose deep in the detail. If we never disconnect from the hamster wheel we never stand a chance of reinventing the hamster wheel.

So here's some tips about ways to stop working while on holiday...