The view has moved!

We have moved to a new WordPress powered website. Now the View From Zero Degrees is fully integrated into our company website: http://www.meridianprime.co.uk   Shift has happened and we are up and running with a whole new look and exciting new events planned.

Please stop by and visit. Regular blogging will resume shortly.

 

Taking a LEAP – visual story of professional renewal

I have found a wonderful new way to tell my story about making shift happen in my work and in my business. Using a great app called Haiku Deck and my iPad, I have created this slideshow. I hope you enjoy it….

http://www.haikudeck.com/p/Ubn63UMPtt/leap-a-professional-development-journey

Hey, hey we’re the monkeys!

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What do monkeys and the Australian Olympic swimming team have in common?

Sounds like the beginning of a joke, doesn’t it? Sadly, it isn’t a joke. Rather a damning indictment of leadership and culture gone toxic.

There’s a perfect analogy in the organisational development literature that describes how destructive cultures form:

Begin with five monkeys in a cage. Hang a banana from a string and put a ladder or stairs beneath it. When the first monkey puts a foot on the first step, spray the other monkeys with cold water. Repeat as the same or another monkey goes for the stairs. Repeat. Soon whenever a monkey goes for the stairs, the other monkeys react to prevent it, with violent retribution. Put the hose away and take out one monkey, replacing it with a new monkey. Naturally the new one wants the banana, but when it goes for the stairs the others attack it. Repeated attempts result in further attacks. Remove another monkey, replace with another new monkey. The process repeats itself. Soon none of the original monkeys remain, and none of the new monkeys have been subjected to the cold water treatment. They just know that you don’t go on the stairs and you enthusiastically punish anyone who tries. Why? Because that’s ‘how we do things round here’. And that’s how organisational culture comes about

The publication of a review by Bluestone Edge into the leadership and culture of the peak Australian Olympic swimming body sheds damning light on how toxic a culture can become when focus is put on functional or task-based leadership and attention on individual ‘star performers’ at the cost of a more human, team-oriented and relational approach. The failure at the 2012 Olympics in London by a once triumphant, world-beating swimming programme has been laid at the feet of a complex collision of leadership focussing on the wrong things, a failure to transform groups of, and individual, athletes into a team, and inconsistent approaches to bad behaviour, bullying, hazing and other transgressions.

The review is a short but excellent dissection of how things can go terribly wrong when group dynamics are ignored. The authors offer up several recommendations to the leaders of Swimming Australia that are more widely applicable as lessons for leaders in organisations:

1. Pay attention to ethical standards of behaviour and accountabilities.
2. Design processes to deal with things openly and inclusively when performance starts to go wrong.
3. Design and implement innovative, realistic and relevant team-building strategies to deal with fragmentation.
4. Get clear about consequences.
5. Create feedback loops that involve all stakeholders from the leadership to the ‘coalface’.
6. Dire need to reorient, develop and enable leadership to the personal rather than solely functional.
7. Invest in professional leadership development, coach-the-coach and ethical decision-making processes for leaders in the organisation.

Any of us who work in organisations and with teams could learn some vital lessons from those outlined in the review by examining our assumptions, biases and the undiscussed way ‘we do things round here’.

Let’s not be monkeys!

Banish the Beige!

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It’s been a reflective start to 2013.

For some months I’ve been playing around with ideas to rebrand and relaunch my work and my company. By the end of the year I had come up with a strap line that I thought would send the right messages to sensible, middle-of-the-road potential clients. I hired a graphic designer and got new business cards printed. The more I looked at it, frankly, the more uninspired and bored I became. I put myself in potential clients’ shoes and imagined how they might feel. Oh dear.

I went on retreat to deepest Oxfordshire. I spent time with Myles Downey (http://www.enabling-genius.com/enabling-genius/) and other extraordinary coaches. Something remarkable happened.  Ideas that have been bubbling and percolating since I finished my Masters degree in 2011 come into clear focus. Shift happened.

Quite simply – I realised it is time to banish the beige.

Billy Connolly has for years talked about not wanting to be beige – the colour of mediocrity, of the masses, of the ordinary. You see it in his comedy, in his clothes, in how he negotiates his world. I love it. Always have. I used to embrace that part of myself. But then I became lost to that part of me. In my striving to be seen as credible and acceptable I became more and more beige.

Well no more!

My great insight for the beginning of 2013 is that it is time for me to reclaim that part of me that I allowed to lie dormant for a long, long time. In finding out what is at my core, I discover it is a passion for helping people make shift happen. It is owning the fact that I am a shift stirrer! My best expression of myself is when I banish the beige and own the renegade within. I am a rebel with a cause (thank you, Richard: http://21stcenturyprosperity.org/2013/01/12/wanted-rebels-with-a-cause/). I am the woman who bought the red velvet shoes in the picture (and had to learn how to walk in them!). I am the woman who is totally committed to helping people and organisations find where their potential lies, and to stirring things up so they can unleash that potential for dramatic results in the world.

These last three-four years I have been helped along the way by some very talented people. But to give myself credit, I was willing to go inside, ask and answer questions like:

What is at my core?

What really matters?

What do I want?

What am I willing to do?

What will I do?

So it is back to the drawing board with the strap lines and branding materials. I want to capture the essence of my core – it is where thought leadership will come from, it is where my very best work emerges from because there I am engaged, committed, passionate and congruent with an image of myself when I feel at my best. A new website will be in the offing, as will a different presence in cyberspace and my networks, along with new ideas for how I can help people make dramatic breakthroughs and make their own SHIFT HAPPEN!

I might even design a bumper sticker, in purple or maybe in red (the colour of luscious ripe tomatoes, and the shoes of course).

What might you need to do to make your own shift happen?

Photo credit: Chris Grieve. All Rights Reserved.