#WILY week 15

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My favourite tweet of that week.  And there was plenty more metaphor gold to take for my own learning…

I did something quite exciting – was a best man at my mate’s wedding.  Sussex County Cricket ground, and he was there with his wife, 12 year old son and immediate family and friends.  It was tremendous fun. Most moving moment was a one minute silence for the Hillsborough victims – sadly, still being investigated after all these years.  A conclusion soon, I feel – but a lovely touch on a day of celebration, to remember the people who weren’t there as well as the football fans (It was the anniversary and the obvious link was the sports stadium.  I was very moved and deeply touched – and everyone found it similar to me).  Thanks Rob and Deb (and young Luke for remembering the date of the anniversary…)

But my biggest personal learning was in the dentists chair, having some major crowning work.  Suddenly, from all going swimmingly, he asked for a burr drill.  The item was found but in a sorry state.  “That is unacceptable”  he said, quietly angry.  Steve knows what I do (I have done some work in the surgery) so continued after a reassuring pat on my shoulder and a very quiet ‘sorry’.  I nodded for him to continue, and he did.  I said in the tweet – ‘metaphor gold’.  Just see the possibilities:

  1. You need to trust everyone in the team to make sure you get the right results
  2. If it goes wrong, (and things always do) then it is easier to fess up and sort it.  It’s no use hiding things.
  3. If there is a nettle – grasp it, or they just keep growing
  4. Make sure strangers are informed if things are going wrong, so they know what you are trying to do – keep everyone in the loop
  5. Letting your emotions out when you are normally happy go lucky, can have a very powerful and almost mesmerizing effect
  6. The tools can be wrong – but the people are the ones who can fix things
  7. Staying calm and asking for what you want in the future is the easiest way to get things changed.

It was worth the £340 (lab fees) for those golden nuggets!

I had another one of those “I love my work” moments, in a follow up to a recent workshop.  It is just so gratifying seeing people grow with a little bit of a push from me.  Just so warming!

And a final quote:

“I have discovered the key to happiness.  Stay away from idiots”

I enjoyed that too…

#WILY week 13

So we are a quarter the way through. Never thought I’d still be going and still getting great ideas . I hope some of you are also doing the thinking bit at least.  It really does get your subconscious going to just keep ‘what did I learn today?”. I really does make you think about life work and where you want to be. As my mate Jay Dodson says “life begins at the edge of your comfort zone”.

Just some great celebration stuff in the family. It was so lovely being at a sigh-ful, smiley and very moving wedding.  It really is so life affirming to see people setting off on their life journey. They kept the celebration going by having an at home at the end of the week away.  We had the 411 photos as a presentation – and all the immediate family were there to witness it for the first time.  There were a few ‘happy hankie’ moments.  Love it!


Mnemonics.  Luckily we remembered the ‘spring forward, fall back’ bit for the change of the daylight saving time.  Otherwise, we might all have been late for the wedding!

The leaders debate was frankly not too helpful, except to prove how narrow UKIP is.  The twitter verse did explode after Farage’s HIV outburst.  Shocking stuff.  And the post debate polls proved my point – totally confused! My only political point would be that we do have a set of 7 leaders, a true multi-party situation. And we still have the non-democratic first past the post system. We are less likely to get a decisive result this way.  And sadly, I think I prefer to have weak government.  You do need leadership in all walks of life, and in organisational life (and at home) but there has to be listening, compromise, position changing and open-mindedness.  You don’t get that with autocracies.

The night could have been chaotic.  But I thought Julie Etchingham as chair was quite exceptional.  They all looked as scared of her as they used to be as young boys with Nanny! The woman on the other hand, especially when they gave Mr Farage what for, really did make me sit up and think.

Also learnt I’m getting old.  Moaned in a pub that I refused to pay £1:25 for a bag of crisps.  My dad used to do that.  Oh dear.

I am still surprised how we manage to have our museums with free entry.  Ashmolean had exhibitions too (for a price) and is well worth a visit.  Just too much to do for one hit.  And hard to do any more walking on a visit to Oxford.  Just a great day out.

Sage prioritisation advice from my wife, as I was planning a walk as well as a visit to to family, and some DIY and cleaning, and washing the windows….cut out the walk and everything was OK.  Try not to cram too much in a day.  You enjoy it more! This works for personal as well as work.  I hope I  continue to remember…

Finally – a Twitter excitement.  I managed to have a quick exchange with Raymond Blanc (chef extraordinaire). It is weird to have a quick conversation with one of your heroes. Is social media a force for good, and equalising and democratising?  I think it may be so, more than I ever thought possible.  I was madly excited, anyway…

A thought for the day

Not #WILY.  Not a straight organisational lessons blog.  Just some deep thought provocation.  There is more to life than just work – as I have found writing my daily ‘What I Learnt Yesterday’ tweets!

We were away for the weekend and dropped into Chester Cathedral on the Church’s holiest day.  We were very lucky to arrive for 10 o’clock Eucharist on Easter Sunday – Bishop presiding, all the Deans and loads of incense.  Just a lovely experience. And packed to the gun-whales.

But it was the stations of the cross that moved me,  Each had a photo from WW1  I had to go back later to photograph them.  I am sure their inclusion and what they depicted and the links made were very controversial (As it often is – 100 years ago, no veterans now, but living on through commemoration.  But the poppies at The Tower were a bit controversial. (I wrote a blog about it last year – click ).  And ‘Lions led by Donkeys’ – created a storm from which Michael Gove as Education minister didn’t survive, I seem to remember?)

Stations 9 to 14

Stations 9 to 14 

But it was these ones that hit me very deeply. In order, they are:

Station 6 – Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.

Station 5 Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry his Cross

Station 13 – Jesus is taken down from the Cross

Station 1 – Jesus is condemned to death.

I hope the pictures do indeed paint a thousand words.

The Kitchener poster as Station one is proudly controversial.  We do need to think big and bad sometimes, just to get nearer to the truth.  (I am just as moved now, writing this and sharing. Proud?  Profoundly sad? Or just glad to be reminded and to remember the sacrifices?)

Station 6

Station 6

Station 5

Station 5

Station 13

Station 13

Station 1

Station 1 – Condemned to Death

WILY – weeks 11 &12

Missed a week – sorry!  And can’t find hashtag on my old MacBook here…

There has been a lot of family stuff.  A first birthday.  A Mothers Day Roast. A wine tasting and food evening.  All very smiley. Hectic, but fun.  The one year old was Finley in Kidderminster.  2 hours in a soft play place.  Great fun – and hard work for the kids who really only lasted 90 minutes before getting a bit grizzly…Wine and food was Sue, newly on committee of local Village.  We are so good at this in the UK, I think.  Community spirit and volunteering.  Not a bad thing to have, and it just sort of happens, doesn’t it?  Easy to support.

I do like the photography too.  Great to send stuff after the parties, and feel the warm glow as the thank you’s flood back.  Nice to do.

My nephews and great nephew

My nephews and great nephew

Couldn’t photograph the eclipse here.  Sun came out 2 hours after the event.  Even with full cloud cover though, it still felt like evening.  Birds went quiet.  And it looked lie that sort of muddy grey you get before snow.  You can see why ancient civilisations thought the portents were bad when the eclipses occurred.  A bit out of the ordinary.  I loved the school kids getting excited on TV – you can’t fake jumping up and down with pure joy, can you?

Great quote on a training course.  “It’s best to be you – everyone else is taken”.  Apparently heard on radio that morning – Chris Evans – and I use it a to already – if you are a manager or leader – you can only authentically be yourself.  And be proud of that.  This is not to say you can’t steal with pride from others.  Creative swiping is a great shortcut to betterment.  So is seeing someone in another position doing it wrong.  Learning comes as much from “I’d never do that” as much as “I like that – and will try it myself”.  Sadly, I think the stronger lessons come from the former!

A friend wanted to say good-bye at his mums funeral. She was 104. Czech.  “B” had never learnt.  Another Czech friend was able to help, via me and e mail video – and it really worked.  Proper networking at it’s best.  You only need to ask.