The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence – it is to act with yesterday’s logic - Peter Drucker

Helping change leaders find their way through complexity


lighthouse 4

Whether responsible for leading it or involved in implementing it, planned change can be overwhelming and isolating regardless of your experience and competence as a leader. So it's a major focus for TurningTides. Our Executive Coaching Framework comprises three elements - individual, relational and systemic. It's the systemic element that I want to focus on in this post.

Leaders can lose their bearings in organisational complexity 

Work environments are complex these days. Organisational boundaries are less clearly defined as services integrate and centralise in pursuit of greater collaboration and efficiency. Leading change in this context can be pretty demanding. There's a lot to think about, not least of which is connecting with, and maintaining positive relationships with the people involved in the changes.

In reality 'planned change' is a bit of a misnomer. The complex adaptive nature of systems means that the environment within which organisations operate is constantly changing and the human response, both inside and outside the organisation, tends to be unpredictable.

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Person Centred - It's in how we write too



To let new learning in, you have to let some of the old stuff go. An unsettling experience even though the old ways may no longer be serving you well. 

This was last week. I was in Spain (Sierra de Aracena) for the second in a series of three Creative Writing for Business programmes offered by Dark Angels. My introduction to the Dark Angels' approach was the Foundation programme in Inverness-shire last October (2013).

An immersion in Aracena business life inspires a different way of looking at how we communicate through the written word. Along with two others from the group, I was privileged to spend time with a local sculptor - Alberto Germán Franco. We learned about his work and philosophy on life. Despite the recognition he receives for his sculptures, Alberto showed profound humility. It was an inspiring experience. 

Working together we processed, negotiated and captured the essence of our experiences in a written piece. Alberto was invited to a reception where we read our collective words in return for sharing his time. The experience made us deeply conscious of the writing we do in relation to our work. But of course that's the whole point.

How often do we think so deeply about how we write in a work context? I'm thinking particularly about health and social care services where most of my public service experience was based. Elspeth Murray's poem 'This is Bad Enough' captures with cringing clarity just what happens when we get it wrong.

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Leading Improvement: Words that Transform


Carpe Diem

Feeling particularly energised during a conversation with a client yesterday, the words Carpe Diem (seize the day) popped into my mind. Simple words. But put them together and they create something bold and confident. They inspire and uplift. Amazing how words can do that.  

Written almost 2000 years ago by the Latin poet, Horace, the Carpe Diem line in its full expression, includes quam minimum credula postero – ‘put little trust in tomorrow'. It's about taking action for the future today because 'the present' is all we can be sure of. Adding my own interpretation, it represents having the presence of mind to act, to 'catch the wave' because the opportunity - these set of circumstances - may never come again. Just thinking about the words evokes feelings of optimism. I literally straighten my back!

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Recent comment in this post
Guest — Neil Pettinger
Your interpretation (in your second paragraph) of Horace's meaning brings to mind Brutus in Julius Caesar (Act 4 Scene 3): There ... Read More
Sunday, 20 July 2014 11:58

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