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.

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.


The art of effective leadership

Did you ever see an engineer rushing?  No, I haven’t either, from the pits in a Formula one race to the construction of an astonishing multi level skyscraper.
Someone recalled a well-worn statement, yet nevertheless true, to a colleague earlier in the week.  You can choose how you behave or what thoughts will define your day, if you really want to.  He went on to say, it’s a bit like choosing what to wear in the morning.  It’s a cognitive choice, wallowing in whatever current upset or perceived disaster that may or may not be around the corner or just taking the day in hand, what comes with it and with an open heart. 
Uh oh  – I realize, I may have just left a few readers cold.  With an open heart, at work, in my professional environment, at a tough board meeting, in a challenging sales negotiation, on an oil rig, in the desert under fire.  Yes, is the short answer.  Having had the privilege to work with individuals that run oil rigs, race teams, engineers, those the boards of Fortune 100, FTSE 250 companies and decorated servicemen amongst others, I’ve observed first hand that the most effective leaders are very aware of their people ( and of course themselves) and have an ‘open heart’ and an ‘open mind’. 
So, what do I mean by this: –
Anyone who gets to a leadership position has not made it  (yet!).  It is only the beginning.  Being a leader doesn’t make you one, however by doing the things that great leaders do and influencing and encouraging your teams behaviour you’ll be 9/10’s of the way there. 
Effective leaders establish values, model behaviour, encourage, nurture and support, reward, are firm when necessary and give feedback. Great leaders will foster self-leadership in individuals, teams and the wider organization. 
One very good way of measuring a leader’s success is by measuring the success of his or her people.  A strong leader will facilitate the self-leadership in others.  After all, the first step is self-leadership and if there’s none of that, the leadership of others is going to be mighty difficult. 
Set the vision:-
·      Face reality  – how are your thoughts going to command today
·      Focus on the future
·      See change as an opportunity
Be who you are:-
·      Live & breathe your values, lead by example
·      Create a positive self-image and believe in it
·      Display integrity and openness to learning and discovery
Build capability:-
·      Build infrastructure
·      Leverage diversity
·      Leverage skills
·      Build teams
·      Enable change to happen
·      Allow people to think, challenge and experiment
Enable individuals:-
·      Believe in people especially when you don’t agree
·      Allow emotions and listen in the moment
·      Manage attention, pay attention
·      Share power and authority
·      Build collaborative relationships
And ……..enjoy!
And as for the rushing……we all have to sometimes, even engineers I’m reliably informed(but it’s rare?!)