Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Speak like a Pirate Day

I was running an event on coaching and mentoring the other day for Cartrefi Cymru, a fantastic social care organisation which works across the whole of Wales. Their desire is to work towards creating a coaching culture in supervision and throughout their organisation.

Hats off to Stuart who came up with a great idea for raising awareness of coaching and of the core skill of effective questionning:

Some people will be familiar with the concept of the "talk like a pirate day", - for the whole day, e everyone in the office is expected to fill all of their usual conversations with '"ARRh"s and "Me Hearties" and "Shiver me timbers" - and what ever pirate-like phrases and accents come to mind.

The coaching variation is the "Ask open questions day." With penalty donations to charity for anyone who forgets themself and asks "Would you like a coffee?" or any other closed question.

Wonderfully silly idea, - what a great way of raising avareness of coaching behaviour and the use of open questions to promote learning and developmental conversations.

What's even better, is Cartrefi Cymru are going to give it a go!

Monday, 19 April 2010

Still no Planes!

What's happened so far?

Willie Walsh has flown his plane through the dust and survived, and several other companys have done similar.

From an industry which proclaims that safety is paramount, we are now getting "It's all a big overreaction" type statements. Decide for yourself, but it seems strange how quickly the corporate mind has changed.

Meanwhile, the UK government is sending in the Navy, a flotilla of small boats has 'rescued' travellers Dunkirk-style, European football teams are driving to fixtures and the Channel Tunnel is having a really good April!

So you can take your choice about what's most interesting and revealing about the reactions:

Airlines: "Let's pretend it's not an issue and get back to normal"

Ferry Companies: "Whoopee!! we can clean up using our existing business model"

Government: "Send in the Navy!!!"

Individuals / small operators: "We can do something new & find a different way"

I wonder if any of the emergent solutions will sustain once the crisis is over.

I wonder what the reaction will be if summer travel were to be threatened.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Volcanos, Ash and Thinking Differently!

Looking out of my window this morning I noticed an apparently clear sky. Yes, I know that actually there are a whole load of tiny volcanic ash particles with the potential to cause havoc, but I can’t see them. Nor can I see the vapour trails from aircraft that I usually don’t notice – but I notice their absence.

So how long will it be before we’re all back to normal? I’m sure we’re able to suspend this way of life for 24 hours, but 48 hours? 72 hours? How long would it be before, rather than simply closing everything down and waiting, we all decided that we needed to do something completely different? We do what we do because we’ve always done things that way. Or at least, our “doing things that way” has crept up on us over time so we didn’t notice getting into the habit.

However, the really creative thinking arrives when something happens suddenly. Whether it’s a terrorist attack or a natural disaster, a driving ban or a dreadful trauma that leaves us without the physical capabilities we had yesterday, these are the times where our
creativity and ingenuity have no bounds.

There’s an interesting exercise for any organisation facing a challenge!

“So we are faced with a 10% reduction in revenues. What would we do if we had to manage a 50% reduction?” (and giving up and going home were not an option!)

“Our prisons are bursting at the seams. How could we respond if the another 50,000 people were given a custodial sentence next week?”

“Fuel prices are rising past £1.20 a litre, what if they were not £1.20 but £12.00, or £120.00”

We have that growing realisation that the way we run our lives and our society has got to change, but we can still pretend that the moment’s not yet here. If we couldn’t keep up the pretence maybe we’d come up with something really exciting – or perhaps the obvious solution that’s been staring us in the face for ages. Well, there’s a whole load of thinkers sitting in airports and hotel rooms just now going nowhere and with nothing much to do. Which of them will be brave enough and creative enough to find a different way?