Unlikely and Essential Links Among Gymnastics, Travel and the Art of Planning

As a teenage gymnast I was lucky enough to be an Olympic trialist.  I was in the top 10 and that year New Zealand sent only one gymnast. Sadly it wasn’t me. My coach was John MacFarlane, who taught at the local boys high school, and I was the only girl in the gym club. John was an avid traveler and videographer and so, an important part of my training involved watching videos of the world’s greatest gymnasts – Vera Cavslavska and later the daring Natasha...

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What Do Leaders And Lemons Have In Common?

This photo is of lemons from my central city roof garden. I love lemons. From their vibrant colour to sour taste and the fact they are ripe in mid-winter when most fruits are dormant. Lemons are versatile. With this crop, I dried lemon slices for summer drinks, preserved lemons for chickpea tagines, and made cashew nut custard for deserts (recipe here). Spread it on crispbreads with pickles and it makes a great snack. What have any of these features to...

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Executive Presence: Increase Your Influence

How well do you speak the language of results? Do you want to be more influential? Do you want to inspire others to success? The SSC 2016 Leadership Insights survey revealed 44% of leaders were not strong in influencing, inspiring or motivating others. What are the secrets the 56% who are strong in this area? There are the secrets you need to know: Leaders who influence and inspire others have a particular secret. They talk results. They talk about their...

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Don’t Apologize – It’s The Wrong Approach!

Are you a habitual apologizer? Do you work with people who are? Habitual apologies are time-wasting, put you on the back foot, divert attention from the matter at hand, and make it difficult to have peer relationships where people express themselves freely and candidly with one another. Pete and I were underway with our first coaching session. I was commenting on his CV, saying “Write your CV without personal pronouns. The ‘I’ belongs in your letter of application.” He apologized,...

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The Key To A Great Relationship With Your Manager

How successful is your relationship with your manager? And how productive are your conversations?  Are your one-on-ones focused on issues? Coaching? Advice? Problem solving? Are you getting what you want from these meetings, or do you have the sense there is something more important you could be discussing? A key to having a powerful and positive relationship with your manager is to email a weekly report. This weekly report has four elements: 4 – 5 Highlights and successes of the week Risks...

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Small Shifts In Behaviour Have Powerful Impacts

As leaders take on more complex and significant assignments, they frequently notice they behave in ways that are no longer effective. While the leader has many capacities and helpful behaviours, they also have responses that are no longer fit for purpose. I call these default behaviours – reactive ways of behaving from earlier in their lives. This becomes problematic when leaders’ default behaviours are frequent and dominate. When a leader is stressed, overloaded and either loses confidence or become aggressive....

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12 Criteria For Executive Presence

As much as earlier writers would have you believe, executive presence has not much to do with skills, tools, and techniques. Executive Presence has to do with leaders’ relationships and particularly their capacity to choose their responses in stressful situations. This results in a clear flow of feelings between the leader and those around them. When your relationships remain strong the genuine you is present and you can connect easily with others. People will be drawn to you and will...

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The Executive Presence Triangle*

A tool for discovering your Executive Presence Have you ever felt completely swept up by what is going on in your organisation, and can’t think straight, let alone lead? Have you ever felt so vested in an outcome, you want to control how things happen? Or have you found yourself isolated and removed, and relating to those around you is entirely secondary. Executive Presence is the capacity to relate to those around you and lead in the current situation. This...

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Language creating connections

Recently I travelled in Morocco where I became acutely aware of cultural differences, some significant. The culture of bargaining for items was foreign and discomforting to me yet occurs in most purchasing interactions there. For the seller there is a game of wanting to make a sale and getting a good price. For me as the buyer I have little idea of the value of somethings I am buying and I didn’t want to be rude by offering a low...

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It… it… it – the leadership language of anonymity

I want to talk about it. I really do. In this article I want to discuss the pronoun ‘it’. Actually, ‘it’ is a particular type of pronoun, ‘it’ is a dummy pronouns. ‘It’ doesn’t refer to anything or anyone. Or as one of my teachers used to say ‘It! It! You can put ‘it’ in a wheel barrow and wheel it around but you still wont know what ‘it’ is!” Define it, she would say to me, define what ‘it’ is and...

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