Small is big….

 

frost

The millions of small droplets of moisture that came together to form an extraordinarily tough layer of ice on my windscreen this morning was stunning. Though thinking about the year ahead I couldn’t help but notice the analogy to never underestimate the power of lots of small things coming together to make something amazing, albeit thick ice in this case. It was early!

It is the time of year when the goals, resolutions, new targets and horizons have been envisioned and set. It’s exciting, often bold and usually big.

However hurtling towards the end of January, sometimes those goals and perhaps even dreams might appear a bit too bold, too big or too exciting. And that’s when we have to up the effort and energy to make progress.

I believe it was Vincent Van Gogh said, ‘great things are done by a series of small things brought together’. Small changes can indeed translate into the most profound successes in your single and wider endeavours – both professionally and personally.

As humans though, we aren’t terribly good at change and inevitably big, bold newness is going to require it. There is a remarkable human reluctance to change and as a great deal of psychological research attests, a monumental amount of discomfort people can tolerate before they acknowledge the need for change.

Change is invariably uncomfortable, even if it’s magnificently for the better, at least at the beginning.

So, in leading the change to follow those goals and ambitions for yourself, your team, your company, ponder the following to help you hone the effort and energy required to manifest them.

• Anchor yourself in the future. Constantly have the big picture in mind especially whilst doing the small things. It will ensure that all the small things are going in the right direction to make the big thing happen.
• Transform your narrative. Many would say that we are our story. Not so much the story of our lives but the story we tell about the role we played in the events. Does it need a re-write?
• Constantly break all your big dreams and goals into smaller more manageable and ultimately achievable actions, which you can do on a daily basis.
• And finally – be here, now. Not one single technique or inner evolution is as powerful an antidote to the past and a potential springboard to the future as the capacity to be in the present in the here and now.

Staying fresh, evolving and being current looks seamless and often effortless but like the swan there is a huge amount of drive, tenacity and hard work at play, notwithstanding, out of sight.

Jaeger faced bankruptcy three years ago and the first thing that CEO, Colin Henry tackled when he joined in 2013 was to strip the brand back to the foundations and improve quality. In early 2013 there were just 15% of the clothes made in natural fibres now it’s nearly 80%. Small, incremental and daily changes have brought the brand back to its former glory. The last reported quarterly figures state that sales are up 8.3 % and online sales up 78%. For Jaeger, 2015 is looking big, bold and exciting.

And don’t forget, as I rediscovered last night, the powerful maxim of Winnie the Pooh “ Remember, you’re braver than you believe and stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.”

Have a fabulous 2015 and if you would like some assistance with the big, the bold and the exciting, you know where we are.

small things

Kate Tojeiro is an Executive Performance Coach and Managing Director of X fusion.

Who are ‘they’ anyway?

“But they said we had no choice!”, I overheard a rather frazzled individual say to another in the reception of a rather large organization. “Turns out we did. It was an unmitigated disaster!”

My client then appeared so I know not how the dialogue continued.

‘They’ seem to be quite a powerful bunch, I couldn’t help but wonder.

When we don’t know who specifically is responsible or accountable, the collective ‘they’ tend to appear with punishing regularity and untold influence.  In the same way that when we’re perhaps anxious about a significant event, we start considering, sometimes unrealistically, what ‘they’ will think.   Do we stop to think who ‘they’ really are? Not always.

The media is currently awash with news about what ‘they’, collective politicians, company executives, did or didn’t, will or won’t do.

When ‘they’ becomes a specific individual, it is so very much easier to make progress and identify who is doing what. Useful when it’s all going swimmingly, even more so when it’s not!

I wonder if those executives at Tesco knew who ‘they’ were , the ones that were supposedly accounting for what was going on financially and should maybe have been accruing more effectively?

They (!) evidently hadn’t come across the salutary little poem ‘Who’s job is it’.

This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody.  There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.  Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.  Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job.  Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.  It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have.

Do you know specifically who is doing what for you in your organization or personally?

It seems that ‘they’ have a little too much power in the world. Is it timely to start reclaiming some of it back and redressing the accountability and responsibility balance.

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After all when people are given autonomy, generally individuals rise to the challenge and deliver……very, very well. Richard Branson knows this and has recently announced that his employees can choose exactly when and for how long they take a vacation.  Productivity will soar.

People are very able and have names with history and heritage, let’s be specific and perhaps the collective ‘they’ might just start to go away or at the very least have a little less influence.

Have a fantastic week.

Risk is the currency of progress…..

Last week I attended a business breakfast and when everyone was asked “what would you tell your younger self when you started out in your career or business?”, the resounding response was “just get out there and do it”.
So, risk  – and that intangible fine line between taking the plunge compared with convincing yourself not to do something.
Being a bit of a Jason Statham fan (we all have our guilty pleasures…), I was watching The Mechanic the other night and one quote which stuck in mind was “good judgment comes from experience and experience from bad judgment”.
And it’s these bad judgments or negative experiences that prevent so many of us from ‘just getting out there and doing it’ – whatever the ‘it’ is for you. It seems to be the standout trait that we hear about time again that separates the achievers from the also-rans; the ability to take the hits, adapt and evolve stronger.
When I wrote my last newsletter, Dakar Team GB had just set out on one of the greatest challenges known to man (in my humble opinion anyway). They’re all back safe and sound – a stupendous achievement, especially for Toby Younger who had entered the Dakar for the first time and finished, got a medal.
What an inspiration. He took the risks that others wouldn’t – not only life and limb but also that slightly more indefinable element around mindset and getting out there and going for it, come what may.
Extraordinary things can happen when we take the risk, embrace the mindset and become alert to the potentially life changing opportunities that may lie ahead.
There are no guarantees of success. But things will most definitely ‘happen’ and the world will look a little different.
So, if risk is the currency of progress, what will you spend yours on today? From working with boards and senior leaders of Fortune 500 companies, through to some of the most innovative and creative SMEs, I’ve seen first hand that risk taking pays off; new territories, products, people, ideas, experiences, luck… profits.
On a more ephemeral note, another quote from the movie – “listen to your heart, it may be homesick for somewhere you’ve never been”.
Be it a new role, product, business or speaking opportunity, the New Year always brings with it a yearning in all of us for change, progress, new experiences and new ideas – the leap of faith (listening to your heart) that takes us on a journey we never knew was out there for us (to be homesick for).
Can you get that new business, position, adventure or board seat you might crave if you don’t take a risk? Perhaps.
But what would happen if you did take that leap?