Tag: choices


Reflect No Comments

I managed to see a stunning programme on the writer Jeanette Winterson this week.

The documentary was jam packed with interesting quotes and ideas – sound bites don’t do them justice…

– ‘Our enthusiasm often tells us where we are lacking’

– She talked powerfully of her ‘dark night of the soul’ when she tried suicide in 2008

– She talked of her life purpose for women writers to get ‘their share’

– She argued how we need writing to help us ‘grapple with the size of our own feelings’

– She summarised the ‘big endings in life’ (and literature) of revenge, tragedy, forgiveness

– She talked of ‘over-estimation of the object’ and the projection we make onto things as a defence

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The key moment, for a nation and national treasure

Front foot No Comments

When we work with groups in ‘scenario planning mode’, we are often looking for tipping points – issues that can have a massive knock on impact, such as the emergence of the ‘information superhighway’ that the Hemingford Scenarios in the early 90’s spotted early.

And thinking personally, does your life have a defining moment? Stephen Fry talks of a decision his whole life ‘hinged’ upon, see this from a local Norfolk paper.

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To burning ambition?

Personal productivity No Comments

You will have seen our interest in DVF as a change model

We like this video – making the case for a burning ambition (not just a burning platform) in achieving significant change.


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Fitzbillies – a metaphor – from Woe to Wow

Plan, Reflect No Comments

The restaurants are full in London (we see that in our travels, and are told so by taxi drivers too).  And even out of London, in January, town is busy.  In 2007 I recall cycling through the same streets, first week of January – deserted.

Blue Monday whether you believe in it or not, is looming.  However, some don’t seem to need many reasons to be cheerful at this time of woe it seems.

In a separate catering story, Cambridge has a much loved cake shop, Fitzbillies, that closed a year ago – it failed financially.  Now after a slight rejig to its offer of drinks and cakes (though not by making it cheaper!!), it is vibey and popular again. 

What does this tell us in these interesting economic times?

In consulting it is clearly the case that not everyone or every company is equally affected by the European recession in the same way.  And some sectors and locations, even in the UK, are booming.

Can you think of some small and/or significant changes to help you make 2012 a ‘wow’ for your business/organisation/career?

How can you change your offer – in subtle ways (eg how you run the cake shop) or significant ways (eg getting into the top end restaurant business in our capital city!)?

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A Word of Wisdom

Reflect No Comments

The TV presenter Floella Benjamin was interviewed in The Guardian Newspaper on Saturday.  She said the following about dealing with those who dislike or despise you, after arriving in the UK aged 10:

“My mother explained that some people would hate us because of the colour of our skin but to remember,  ‘It is their problem, not yours.’  It took me four years to understand.  If anyone called me a name, I’d fight them.  At 14 I realised you can’t fight the world with your fist.  You have to fight with integrity, morality, intelligence and self confidence.  I learned to smile and to know I was not going to be a victim.”

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What makes people successful?

Do, Personal productivity No Comments

We believe…the key thing with successful people is NOT what happens to them, but how they react when things DO NOT happen for them – when that job application is filed, the contract doesn’t come off, the relationship goes wrong.

The Art of Resilience is key;

  • Not being overly negative (or positive) – realism is powerful.
  • Seeing things from a range of perspectives.

How do you beef up your resilience?

Have a look at this assessment.

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Choosing what to nudge

Plan No Comments

paracetamol_smallAustralia is an interesting place with its phrases to encourage personal responsibly (eg “Slip Slap Slop”, “Stop Revive and Survive” and “Get Down Low – Go, Go, GO”) and some regulation (eg cycle helmets).

And then on certain things, the UK has the legal lead. For over a decade it hasn’t been possible to buy Paracetamol in 100 tablet boxes (to reduce inadvertent liver damage from para-suicide…there’s a story around the plot line in TV’s Casualty series if you’re interested).

In Australia, these large-size boxes are still available. Perhaps the different characters of our nations (and the campaigns that have shaped them) are subtly revealed through everyday things like cycling and headaches.

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The paradox of propulsion – or the workshop dilemma

Plan No Comments

robert fritz model

Robert Fritz, the US management author, comments on the mechanics of the creative process. His model of the tension between the actual and desired is probably his most well-known (see image).

We find a version of this is alive in many of our workshops.  We regularly start with exploring a group’s hopes for the future. The understanding this gives is then deepened by immersing ourselves in the perspectives on the present, informed by a survey and whole group discussion.

The insights from this process can sometimes be accompanied by confusion and guilt too, for example around the habits and obstacles that the group is experiencing or some of the things that had been hoped for in the past but not achieved.

The resulting tension can be fascinating, but also for some too much to bear at moments.  However, it is the resolution of this that creates the momentum to propel the group forward to planning action. 

So the tension generates the energy to go on.

Too long spent seeing deeply and sensing what is needed can lead to frustration. Too little and there is insufficient insight or commitment.  This dilemma is one that needs careful attention – and is increasingly one we mention at the start before it comes to a head at around the half way point (when the shift from divergence to convergence in the ‘diamond dynamic’ happens).

decision diamond

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Get onto the front foot: four things to try out with your team (#2 – Momentum)

Do No Comments

The second part of our Front Foot framework is about Momentum.

When we ask teams to consider how they can create momentum around what they are trying to achieve, we find the ABC method works well:

A is for accelerate – what can be sped up?

B is for brake – what needs to be stopped?

C is for create – what should be started?

This is a simple but very powerful technique  – we have a poster template you can use for this.

Tomorrow?  Co-ordination.

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University is not a business – discuss

Plan No Comments

university protest


Most charities, hospitals and university departments have a ‘business plan’ and ‘business cases’ these days.

Yes, we know that in many ‘noble purpose organisations’ these trappings of commerce can be disliked and quite a few would agree with the sentiments of the pictured Cambridge academic.

However, what it takes to be ‘business like’ is important if you think things like customer focus, efficiency, rigour, accountability, etc matter in public and charity organisations with finite budgets.

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