Blog 2017-05-19T22:35:47+00:00

Summer Observations


There is much in the press, magazines, online about mindfulness at present so I thought it might be useful to focus it down and look at how it could be useful at work.

Mindfulness is simply the ability to be in the present moment as it is without judgement or wanting it to be any different

The reason to practice it is to achieve calmness of mind, clarity of thought and clearness of thinking

In a work context it provides us with the opportunity to see the reality in any situation without pushing to either get ourselves heard, make our point or  move in to blame

The role of meditation in developing mindfulness is to practice the art of being present through sitting and watching your breath in order to sustain your attention over time as best you can.



Being mindful in meetings would allow us to listen and hear what’s being said without moving immediately to impatience, dismissal, tuning out, talking too much or simply wanting to make a point.

It would raise the quality of discussion and decision-making considerably!
Being mindful however is a much harder route than any of the above choices.

It means

Being present:

Planning beforehand: why you need to be there: what you are giving to, and what you need to get from, the meeting [5 mins is often long enough to do this]
Arriving early, taking in the mood of the room as people enter and giving you space to just sit
listening intently, keeping focused on the objective of each discussion. If you find yourself tuning out or getting impatient, simply stop, take a deep breath and ‘re-enter’ the meeting
Contributing as succinctly as possible
Identifying any decisions made
leaving the meeting clear what you and others have agreed to do


A good way to practice mindfulness at home is through listening to music
Set aside a time to do only that
2 Deepen your concentration by dimming the lights
Sit in your favourite chair
Plan your selection carefully
Breathe deeply and just listen. When you mind wanders just bring it back to the music


One of the biggest differences in approaches to style and approach I see at work is that played out by extroverts and Introverts.

Extroverts are those who like to do: they like action and talking things through as they go, usually using the maximum of words and often repeating them.

Introverts are those who like time to take things in, reflect on what they think and come out with what they want to say usually in short bursts, making the assumption people understand what they are saying.

Where these two inadvertently clash in work is.

 an extrovert often doesn’t know what they are thinking until they talk it out loud and the process of talking it out loud clarifies their thinking.

An introvert would wonder why you would say anything at all until you were sure what you were thinking.

This can cause enormous problems because an Introvert will take what an Extrovert says literally [why not they must have thought about!], and after putting into practice what the extrovert has said, will find out that the Extrovert was only thinking about it!!

Extroverts will often be at the centre of a noisy group at work – they will find it stimulating.

Introverts will soon find their brains going into overload or freezing in the middle of such a group.

This crucial difference manifests itself at meetings where an extrovert will talk a lot and an introvert very little, which results in losing the richness of an introvert’s thinking and getting lost in the wordiness of the extrovert.


If you are an introvert manager, it’s important you let your team and individual staff member, into your thinking as early as possible: introverts tend to share their thoughts when their thinking is way down the line and wonder why they meet resistance!

If you are an extrovert manager, it’s important to ask your team and individual staff members questions, if not you will simply carry on talking and they will carry on saying nothing and you will be met with resistance at some point.


If you would like to know your full MBTI profile, contact me and you will receive a questionnaire, 2 written profiles, a feedback phone call or 1:1 meeting to make sure this is your profile and how  best to make use of it at work and in your personal life.


In this case opposites attract so you may find yourself living with the opposite – you will know if that’s true by the way you both come in from work.

An extrovert will often open the door talking while an introvert will try and slide in unnoticed until they have had half hour to settle. Kids of course complicate it further………

3 Books on Women

It’s the first book that has got all the recent publicity because as the Chief Operating officer at Facebook, anything Sandberg says is likely to generate interest.

Her main point is that women need to find a job they love and go for it 100% without apology, assertively and clear about our own worth.

The criticism of the book is that it applies to only few women at the top who can afford an army of support women [at the bottom] to help care for their children and run the home and ignores the strength of a system stacked against women from the start.

Where I find it interesting is that I can see, through coaching hundreds of women that we can, in wanting a personal/family life, not see how we might balance big ambition with that desire. I do see women lean away from their careers when they don’t need to [choosing to do that is another matter] and I still see women nervous of their own ambition.

So definitely worth a read.

The XX FACTOR is unashamedly about women who are part of the highly educated elite. Wolf draws out the central assertion that it is not the gap between men and women that is widening but the gap between highly educated women and less educated women.

Wolf writes in an interestingly detailed way about what it means to be a women with the XX factor serviced by an army of women looking after their children cooking their food etc [sounds familiar!!] She attacks what she sees as a lot of myths about women and work and for that reason it can make uncomfortable as well and lively reading.

The ATHENA DOCTRINE lays out the possibility that the world of work and business may transform in a way that favours women because feminine values are in ascendant – organisations are having to become more flexible, collaborative and caring in response to the economic climate and empathy, loyalty and flexibility are seen as the [newish] cornerstones of effective leadership

All interesting, all worth a dip in and out.

Being Valued

Most people I work with, either in coaching or within their teams on away days, say that being valued is key to their motivation at work.

This is expressed most frequently in complaints that they are not valued, usually by their manager. This then translates into there is no point in working hard because ‘you get no thanks for it’

However, when I ask what being valued looks like, staff find it difficult to define. A passing thanks is not enough and I can see there are some people for whom being valued translates into pay increases, new challenges, promotion; whereas for others it means a real appreciation of the quality of work they are doing. In addition there are some who like team appreciation in the form of occasional lunches, cakes and coffee: treats bought  by the manager/organisation for the whole team.

So step one is working out which one works for you.

Step two don’t wait for it to happen, [most managers haven’t a clue on this one]be clear with your manager what works for you and what s/he can do to enable you to feel valued.

If its material benefits, ask them clearly what you need to do get that pay rise or promotion.

And if it’s being appreciated, state what form you’d like that to take. [Before you start moaning that having to be this explicit defeats the object because ‘the manager should know’: most managers don’t know and telling them can save a fair amount of bitterness when they get it wrong].

Managers in turn can easily work out for themselves what works with each of their staff and I am always surprised they don’t bother to do it because getting this right can reap fantastic benefits in terms of individual and team morale and motivation.

This goes right up the line to the ‘top’.  when something you have done has really changed things for the better and it’s been noticed, however small, definitely makes us glow.

Tips for Effectiveness

One of the things that interests me is that we can spend a long time making a decision, weighing up the pros and cons of the different options, making a neat list of both, or even making the decision intuitively. However we can’t determine the outcome and that’s the sting. We can make the best decision we possibly can at the time and it still not turn out well. This inability to make a decision  is certainly a major reason why people don’t move on in their careers. Self-help books would say that you would show your strength by  accepting that the decision hasn’t turned out well and move on.

So why bother?

I think it’s still important, for those decisions where intuition isn’t enough, to do some kind of analysis. Suzy Welchhas a useful suggestion. She says we should consider the consequences of our actions 10 minutes, 10 months and 10 years down the line-on the basis that these time frames give you a balance that you don’t get in any other way.

Most people find the 10 years too long but the 10 months very useful!

Have a look if interested, works for me!!

You can buy the book here