#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…


Definitely one of the top soft skills, in my view.  Think about this as one of the central themes for ‘trust’.  In training terms we often call this ‘active listening’.  In simpler terms, we, as empathetic humans, always know when someone isn’t listening to us with all their head and heart.  I run a fun little exercise on courses to prove this.  Someone is set as the active speaker – and is told to prepare by thinking about their last holiday or what they did last weekend – because they will be talking about it for two minutes soon.  Then I take the listeners and brief them to be attentive for the first 30 seconds, start feigning lack of interest for the next 30 secs, then lose interest completely after 1 minute, but come back after 90 seconds – to try to repair the relationship!

It is always fascinating.  Some speakers just stop trying to speak.  Some get angry and say things like – Hey – I’m obviously boring you – just listen up will you?!”


I think she is listening?

I think she is listening?

And these are people at a workshop who know I have set something up…but they can’t help themselves reacting big-time!

The listeners find it very uncomfortable too.  It feels unnatural to be that impolite…

BUT – we all will do it today at some point.  Not quite being there.  Not being fully engaged.  Thinking about our response before we even have allowed the speaker a bit of their own space.  We will interrupt.  We will drift off into thinking about that report we have to write, or that meeting we need to be at.

And – do you know – it will always cost us more time to fix the conversation or even the relationship than if we had just been there, fully, in the moment and listened.  That’s the way trusting relationships are built.