Recently I’ve let myself down by not blogging as much as i feel i need to. The benefit i get from writing a post is actually a process of reflective practice which helps me manage the variety of thoughts going on in my head and i really do need to continue my personal commitment to write regularly as i simply don’t feel effective without having that process help clarify my thoughts.
Some of the things that have been preoccupying my head space (other than the detail of the day to day work which is extremely interesting and busy and the financial challenges which face all services) is around thinking different and doing different.
It has been a personal target of mine since before Christmas, triggered from a coaching session I had that i need to make more efforts to understand the relevance of things like digital in relation to the councils services than i had previously been doing and also moving away from simply encouraging people to think differently about digital to actually doing different things with or without digital.
The last couple of weeks have really helped galvanise and challenge some of the thoughts in my head and really challenged my thinking and my approach to thinking (if that makes sense)
The week before last I was inspired by a video which was shared by Dr Andrea Siodmok at our Corporate Leadership team event – The video was Piano Stairs
Also last week I was part of a 3 day systems thinking orientation session with our Highways colleagues and gained a huge insight into the world of highways (more than i expected) but It was an interesting and fun three days.
These two things plus a range of smaller, somewhat random things have made me identify some important lessons…some are super obvious and probably everyone will say…”what you didn’t know that – duh!!
Lesson Number 1: Don’t over evangelise.
What I mean by this is don’t push stuff down peoples throats – I would probably say I used to do this and some people may say I still do – But I’ve tried hard to change that without losing the things people have said they value (energy, fun, enthusiasm) But unmanaged you can end up putting people off and disconnecting them from the potential benefits of even the most simple of steps and actions.
This is also one of the reasons I wanted to focus on relevance as opposed to simply saying “digital is awesome, we should do digital, heh, lets put some digital in and everything will be cool”…”oh and have you seen this awesome thing, it is soooo cool, you should try this, i find it really easy, you will too” I hope I don’t sound like this but appreciate and acknowledge that I may have done in the past.
Lesson Number 2: Give people space to digest change
When people see a change, it can be difficult to digest the scale of what is required, especially if the scale of change is radical. Give them space and support them, don’t force your thinking on to them as they will need to discover the new paradigm for themselves. It is more powerful and lasting this way.
Lesson Number 3 : Relevance is about conversations
You can’t see or identify relevance in isolation from what is happening. You have to talk with people, understand what is happening, where things are going, the opportunities, the challenges and then make sense of this before throwing random ideas in a conversation to seem clever.
Lesson Number 4: Influence is about conversations
Most of the influence I’ve had on the organisation has been through having conversations with the right people and the right time. When those conversations happen with more and more senior people the influence expands and grows. We should try harder to have the right conversations with the right people and we can “hope” it is the right time.
Lesson Number 5: Listening is about being silent
This is something that I’ve learned more and more as part of my leadership course and coaching sessions. The power of being silent and allow people the time and space to reflect in the moment is very powerful. It is sometimes hard to resist simply not jumping in with an idea, an answer or a solution. Allowing someone the space to find the solution/answer them self is a far richer experience.