You need to compare apples with apples when looking to make decisions regarding #yourjourneyahead

Are you comparing apples when gathering information or are you getting distracted by a banana or pineapple when looking to make decisions on #yourjourneyahead ?

We’re all looking for positive news at this time. When it comes to finding a world we would like see more of, New Zealand is all too often elevated to the top of the list as an example of why can’t we be like them.

Undeniably decisions have been made that have helped the NZ story, but their situation is far different to that of say the UK. With a population around the same size as that found in the Birmingham Metro area, a land mass twice that of England and it’s location in the South Pacific far different to the travel crossroads/hub of somewhere like the UK, one might suggest that there journey has been an easier one to take than ours.

Key for individuals and leaders alike, is to look to reduce the noise around us. We need to focus on what we can control and influence and then own the decisions we make as we look to remain relevant to those we lead, influence or serve.


Half full or half empty – as a leader, how should we look at the world?

I was really interested to read the recent post by Channel 4 CEO Alex Mahon about how she and her team are looking to navigate the current lockdown Working practice changes at Channel 4

So much of what Alex and leaders like her are doing to lead their businesses through this period of more unknowns than knowns positively resonates with me. But as a leader/influencer should we be looking to lead with a little more positivity? If we are seen to be pessimistic and down then won’t this potentially negatively influence the mindset of those we lead?

Yes these are undoubtedly challenging times – one look/listen to the news drums this home on a daily basis. But as leaders/influencers, isn’t it our role to suck it up and look to be more positive to those we lead, influence and care for.

I appreciate that for some ‘working in isolation is ineffective, lonely and breeds anxiety’ and we have an obligation to support and protect their wellbeing and mental health. But on the flip side, enforced changes in the way we work have provided an opportunity and empowered many to gain back control and ownership of their lives by not having to fit in with outdated working practices (i.e. having to be in an office when there is little to no commercial reason to be there (full-time)).

Please do not think I’m being critical in any way here of Emma as a leader. For me, Channel 4’s move to no meeting Fridays and daily lunch breaks is all about positive leadership in delivering relevance in the new way of work. But using the planned changes at Channel 4 as an example, I wanted to explore how to ‘sell’ leadership decisions in a different way – i.e more positively!

‘working in isolation is ineffective, lonely and breeds anxiety’ versus ‘as a creative business we want to empower your wellbeing and creativity, so we’re looking to give you time not to schedule things. Time to think, breathe, catch-up and space to be creative.’

With many expecting the current UK lockdown to extend far beyond the mid-February review, the continued world of remote working is here to stay.

Being critical of myself, maybe I’m just naïve in looking to see the world as I do in a more half full rather than a half empty way. What do I know? What I do passionately believe is that as a leader, realistic and relevant positivity breeds positivity in those you lead on #yourjourneyahead

As you head out into the market to find food to feed your business, what drives your success?

I believe it’s all about your passion, honesty, openness and owning your story.

So what’s my story in trying to find success in what is a challenging and disruptive world, and why do I use nature and landscape images to illustrate my journey?

What I’m looking to do, is link my passions and what inspires me .

My core passion is all about what is around us.  From an early age I’ve loved being out and about exploring the world around me.  My education took me to agricultural college to study conservation and environmental management, and then I headed to university to read agricultural business studies.  My passion took me to the US where I worked for Utah State Wildlife Resources as a ranger, and then onto the Massachusetts Audubon Society where I studied Box Turtles.

Then the direction of my journey took a significant turn when I found a business card on the floor of pub and decided to call the person.  By taking ownership of my journey, I found my second passion – helping individuals and businesses to be relevant.

For the next 20 years I owned my journey which took me to nearly 90 countries on 6 of the seven continents – sadly there are not many businesses seeking support in Antarctica!

My journey allowed me to meet and visit with thousands of business leaders and the opportunity to listen to their stories.  I’m hugely grateful and fortunate for the experiences I’ve gained on my journey to date.

In April 2020 I lost control of my journey, and to some extent my story, when others decided that I was surplus to requirement.  12 months earlier I’d decided to leave a role where I’d been for over 10 years and which I’d loved, but I felt I needed a new challenge.  Do I regret my decision to leave?  Absolutely not.  I’ve learnt more about myself and the world around me since leaving, what in hindsight, was my comfort zone and look to challenge myself.  Since last April, the opportunity to learn has only increased as I’ve looked to build my own business and ‘Brand Me’.

Many talk about B2B, B2C and other derivatives of these.  My focus is on H2H.  People do business with people they know, like and trust.  By being open and honest about your passion(s) and story, can only help to connect you with others and to explore opportunities.

I hope my story resonates with many, and encourages them to reach out to explore how we might partner and share our journeys ahead.

So back to the question of why do I use nature and landscape pictures to illustrate my story and journey? 

Firstly, I want to combine my two passions.  I truly believe that we can all learn so much from both the beauty and wildness of nature, and understand how we might be impacting it in an ever increasingly negative way.  Individuals and businesses alike, need to become more sustainable to remain relevant to those they share, employ and serve and the world around them on their journey ahead.

Secondly, even if for whatever reasons you don’t agree with my views, hopefully the images I use will allow you to escape your here and now, the confines of the four walls around you and your Zoomed out/Teams filled days and encourage you to simply stop and enjoy the images that don’t normally appear in a business context on social media platforms.

Regarding the picture of the Northern Carmine Bee-eaters used on this post – if you haven’t seen it already, I strongly recommend you watch BBC’s A Perfect Planet – Weather.  Whatever your views on the relevance of our impact on the world around us, the story of the Bee-eaters is one that I believe resonates to the challenges we’re all facing in navigating our place and relevance in the world of today and tomorrow. 

We all need to change the way we live and work to deliver our long term relevance.  To achieve this we all need to own our story and journey ahead.

Does your business stand out from the crowd by having a clear purpose?

McKinsey & Company found that purpose can be an important contributor to employee experience. They found that business with clear purpose had higher levels of employee engagement, stronger organisational commitment and increased feelings of well-being.

While business leaders prioritise the commercial value of purpose, employees see purpose as a way to bring meaning to their work and understand the contributions they are making to the company, as well as society.

PwC survey found that 79% of business leaders think that purpose is central to business success. Even with this level of importance only 34% of leaders make and align decisions to their organisation’s purpose. The survey found that Millennials are over 5 times (Non-millennials over 2 times) more likely to stay when they have a strong connection to their employer’s purpose. Again only a limited number of business leaders (only 27%) of help employees connect their own purpose to the work of the company.

All too often leadership do not place enough focus and importance on purpose. This is especially the case within the professional service sector. Never has there been a better time for business’s to have a a clearly defined purpose and truly live it.