If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.

Sitting in my office as I look out at a snowy scene, we’re variously trudging, finding a way through or grinding to a halt as we cope with the ‘Beast from the East’ as it has been dubbed. Resilient as the UK is, we’re not so good in extremes of weather.

The joy of snow is however unmistakable, whatever the practical implications. Leaving fresh tracks in the snow is magical and a powerful analogy for life.  Whether a new role, product, process or something that is utterly uncharted in your business or indeed the world, making new tracks is as special as it is sometimes scary. Forging a new path or following your passion can be challenging and hard, but it can also be uplifting and satisfying,  as we invariably discover hidden depths to our being.

Earlier this month, I was privileged to interview Billy Ward, global motorcycle adventurer and journalist.  The conversation was about how he forged his own path, how travel and adventure broadens and widens our perspective, and that the tricky obstacles often turn out to be the greatest catalysts to change and growth.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAUJy_nsgMA

I hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it.

And if you need some help or inspiration with finding your new path, you know where we are.

As Ralph Marston said ‘There are plenty of difficult obstacles in your path. Don’t allow yourself to become one of them.’

My warmest wishes,

Kate

Advertisements

Clarity, feedback, football ….and the lure of a V8.

‘Epic! But what was your Mum doing there?’ exclaimed a friend of my daughter’s in barely disguised shock.  ‘She knows nothing about football!’

And so it was, a few weeks backs, I was pinching myself at the UK launch of a long-awaited supercar surrounded by those at the very heart, one might say, of football, past and present and from sport, and the motor industry.  Whilst I perhaps didn’t fully appreciate this until after some stealthy googling, I was indeed in the company of greats; players, managers, coaches, fans and the inimitable Jose Mourinho himself, the new UK ambassador for Jaguar. Image

Having a discussion with the former CEO of a Premier League football club was in itself fascinating and an honour, and a conversation ensued about leadership.  That much discussed topic of leadership in sport and leadership in business. He was telling me about a football coach whose particular modus operandi was of two guiding principles; clarity & feedback. Clarity; what are our goals and aims for the next match and the season, and feedback: in the moment and definitely on the same day.
I’ll be surprised if anyone reading this doesn’t fully agree to being clear and giving clarity and focus at all times, especially when in a position of leadership.  Most recognise the power of feedback and that it works exceptionally well both in sport and business. However, only a minority of companies do this really well, where feedback is a genuine part of their culture and the results speak for themselves in the business, and on the bottom line.

Feedback is often the once a year review (incidentally that’s not feedback),  or it is feared , clumsy and ill-delivered, especially if it’s a difficult message.

With a modicum of practice, feedback can be one of the easiest, least complex and potentially game changing (forgive the pun) tools in your kit as a leader or indeed friend, partner, colleague or team mate.  In this world of complexity, changing markets and an ever-developing customer and consumer, something easy and that works, is surely a good thing.

Feedback at best is clear, honest and specific. It is also frequent.  The aforementioned CEO asked his coach why he always gave his players feedback on the bus on the way back from a game, even if it was difficult. His response, I like to start each day on a high and if that means challenging feedback at the end of the day that the action occurs, so be it.

‘Tis currently the season for company results and if this isn’t a good time for greater clarity and feedback to either grow and learn, or improve and vitalise performance, I don’t know when is.

Feedback is the breakfast of champions, as Ken Blanchard once said, and in the world of football I can see testament to that and perhaps the bridge between leadership in sport and business is closer than we think.

The V8, the stunning F-type R Coupe, metaphorically spoke for itself.  Jose Mourinho, very much his own man, said “I know what I like and I know what I don’t. I like this.”

Image

Enough said. Clear as day.

And if you’d like a little help with clarity for 2014, you know where we are. If, on the other hand it’s football advice you’re after, I know a man who can!

See you soon.

Warmest regards,

Kate