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Weeknote: 03.02.23


  • Remote working – the gap isn’t as big as it seems, all of half a day. The question is how to bridge the gap.

  • We need to develop a common language to break down silos, a shared internal metaphor to encourage collaboration. Something easy to visualise.

  • “No one, no matter their privilege or position, is immune from the consequence of power” – we should always reflect on the dynamics in our organisations and relationships. It takes extra effort if you are swimming with the current.

  • I love talking to people about their journeys and the iterative process they are on. I’m getting more comfortable with disruption and iterations. Sometimes!

Ideas I found interesting?

Three more random but interesting points from this week.

Remote working: The gap is not as big as it seems. In a survey of employees and employers, the difference in the average desired days per week in the office was half a day (2.3 for employees and employers 2.8), with Tuesday to Thursday as the general preference. The real question is how to make it work best for everyone and stop trying to enforce rules that don’t work.

Breaking down silos: I enjoyed this article on the need to develop a common language to break down silos across departments and teams. The keys to building a common communication or a shared language. The idea of talking about challenges and priorities as different size balls struck me as really easy to visualise across cultures. Equally, the point that we all know is that leadership sets the behaviour and starts from the people we look up to. This all matters as our organisations are increasingly complex, as evidenced by the rapid growth in the number of people involved in decisions.

And AI. It's been all over the news. This article from visual capital on the potential future of Generative AI was fascinating. It made me think about the Reith Lectures on General Purpose AI and the impact this could have on our society.

What did I learn?

I always learn something from Julie Diamond. In her newsletter this month, she talked about the need to “…the willingness to struggle, push through, and learn, [which[ is the fertile proving ground we all need to grow, improve, and use our power well”. Julie talked about the “cost of not having consequences”, and how this lack of risk diminishes our achievements and limits our ability to solve problems. We need consequences to enjoy success from taking risks. Building reciprocal relationships is also an important area. The trade-offs in power when we struggle “to reconcile our needs with the needs of others and caring for the well-being of others builds empathy as well as insight into ourselves”.

Her statement that “No one, no matter their privilege or position, is immune from the consequence of power” – is so very true, and as Mary Ann Seighart has noted, when you are swimming with the current, it's often hard to see those consequences.

Building on last week, I also learned a bit about myself and my thoughts about time management. As I struggle to write Ordinary Leadership, I’m constantly learning what works and what doesn’t for my writing. This coming month, I will try writing for 30 minutes every day. This will also mean putting something down and failing in aspects of my life where I might not be comfortable. But that’s the only way I will figure it out.

What did I enjoy?

I enjoyed several conversations I had this week that focused on people's journeys. All of them, as I think my own is, is messy and complex. These conversations have made me reflect on what it means to have an entrepreneurial mindset – not something I’ve typically associated with myself. I enjoyed and thought this article on Raconteur was engaging and provocative. They suggest that there are six rule-breaking mindsets, which are: Saying “yes, we can”. Applying problem-first, not product-first, logic. Asking for cash; riding the float. Thinking narrowly, not broadly. Begging and borrowing (but not stealing). Seeking forgiveness later, not permission beforehand.

When I think about them and reflect on my MBA and the course on entrepreneurship, I reflect on the required leadership styles (See: For me, there is a real challenge and opportunity in figuring out how to apply entrepreneurial approaches in organisations, understanding when disruption is appropriate and when it isn’t. I find myself enjoying the freedom and being able to iterate and adapt outside of a structure at present. I’m not getting it all right, but I’m enjoying it.

What did I find challenging?

What identities do I need to let go of? That’s what I’m finding challenging—Oliver Burekman’s point in 4,000 weeks. We need to let go of our identities and images of ourselves if we want to be comfortable with who we are and how we want to be as a person. When I stop to think about this, I realise just how many identities I have or hold onto – almost like club cards, which I might never use by I don’t want to put down. It reminds me of a scene in How I Met Your Mother where the characters try to delete a phone number from their phone and how each number represents a possible identity. We can’t live all our possible selves and need to put some of them down – which I find challenging.

What did you achieve?

Sometimes you get to Friday and look back and think, what did I do? That was this week. I discussed how to build collaborative communication in virtual teams, sorted out collaboration challenges in a programme I’m working on, coached young civil servants and discussed potential consultancies with various people. All in all, a very interesting week – with lots of moving parts. I also applied for International Coaching Federation accreditation, which is exciting and scary.

What are you looking forward to next week?

I’m looking forward to a Board meeting with the Enable Trust; meeting people I’ve been working with in person will be nice. I’ll also develop more leadership training materials and make time for Ordinary Leadership. It should be a good week.


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