Kindness – the essential human ingredient – what about business? Are the sands shifting?

Within the space of less than a year, two legends of the acting world have passed.  Dame Barbara Windsor in December 2020 and Una Stubbs just recently.  They have a catalogue of diverse roles they made their own over the decades which will live on for years to come – thanks to the power of TV repeats and videos.  Many will have favourite roles that resonated with them at particular points in their life.

Reflecting on their achievements and the outpouring of tributes online and in the press, something about their behaviour struck me.  The overall consensus of tributes for both spoke of their overriding kindness.  Each had time for fans, gave encouragement to upcoming talent, were kind and respectful to everyone they worked with – not just those who might benefit their careers – were always positive – even when things didn’t go as expected.

With no social media, reality tv and therefore no opportunity for ‘instant fame’ when Barbara and Una started their careers, they had to work their way up over years to the stardom they eventually reached.  This journey made them adaptable, resilient and positive enabling them to deal with knockbacks.

Can we honestly say we always: 

  • make time for everyone? 
  • we listen respectfully to all – even if we don’t agree with them? 
  • show everyone kindness? 
  • remain positive no matter what the situation?

How much better would we, our family, our friends, our community and our businesses be if we thought consciously about how we “turn up”, our behaviours and the impact they have? 

There is strong evidence how we turn up impacts others’ behaviours #EmotionalIntelligence. This is why CEO’s are terming themselves Chief Empathy Officers aware how their teams feel and behave impact their business. It’s also why switched-on businesses are starting to roll out Emotional Intelligent Assessments for all the staff.  Mapping where employees feel they are, where their peers and line management feel they are, where they fit on a global scale, identification of any gaps and development tools to close these gaps is becoming a more requested service.

Just think, where do you sit?  What impact do you make? How will you be remembered?

Every business needs emotionally intelligent people to thrive – so do humans.

It seems to me kindness is the essential ingredient full stop.

What about you? Is kindness an essential ingredient for you?

Roller Coasters come in all shapes….

19 July saw the start of the first Growing Talent hybrid for ten fantastically talented, currently unemployed people keen to work.

Selected by one of the ‘Big 4’ organisations for permanent roles in their growing virtual business support teams, they commenced step one – the orientation and holistic week – virtual of course!

So what did we cover over this week?

Mondaycommunication – a vital area to get right in all areas of our lives – no matter what our social status is nor our seniority in the workplace. But how much time do we put into making sure we get this right? Have you considered the following?

  • Speaking – what is the aim of the conversation? what content will you cover? where and how are you going to hold this conversation? what are the possible outcomes of this conversation? have you considered your tone, clarity, volume and pace?
  • Listening – do you automatically listen without judgement? do you ensure there will be no interruptions nor distractions? Do you listen with empathy or sympathy – do you know the difference?
  • Reflect back – paraphrasing is essential to ensure you have understood what you have heard – get the evidence, don’t just assume.
  • Body Language – did you know non verbal cues make up the biggest part of communication?
  • What method is appropriate for the conversation you are going to have?
  • What types of conflict might you encounter?
  • What’s your conflict style? accommodating, avoidance, collaboration, competitive, compromise
  • You statements – also known as the communication destroyer. Do you know why?

There is more to communication than most think!

Tuesday – invest in yourself. Critical – not selfish. Airline safety talks ‘state put the oxygen mask on you BEFORE helping others’ That makes sense, so why not scheduling in some self care windows throughout the day? This section covered:

  • Stop avoiding fear
  • Mantra and personal values
  • Overcoming negative thoughts
  • Control your brain – stop letting it control you
  • Self care toolkit
  • Dealing with imposter syndrome
  • Nurture your soul

Wednesday – nurturing your body – a car only runs on the right fuel. So does your body. Fuel it mindfully!

  • Food fads – the power of marketing vs facts
  • Superfoods – really
  • Understanding sugar – in all it’s forms
  • Exercise
  • Social media – good, bad and ugly

ThursdayMoney talks! Sharing basic financial tips together. 3 little bottles – waste and recycling, why is it so important. Moving on. Encompassing…..

  • Managing debt
  • How to increase savings
  • Ways to increase income
  • Considering credit cards, debit cards and cash
  • Money mantras
  • How to apply for new roles uniquely

Friday – I-act – Managing and Promoting Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing

How to look after yourself and those around you. This accredited course delivers a solid understanding of what mental health and wellbeing is, over 50 tools for self care and evaluation, robust evidence reporting – amongst a whole lot more.

So what did the fabulous 10 participants feel about the week? Below are some of the feedback – anonymous in line with GDPR:

“The content was exciting and engaging – which surprised me. I was expecting it to be a bit boring because it’s delivered by Zoom”

“The journey book which accompanied the week was clear and helped me understand the course. I can refer to it ongoing.”

“This week was so worthwhile – it’s taught me how to be more professional”

“I’ve been implementing things I learned in my personal life such as delaying my response in conversations until I understand what’s been said. It’s easy to misunderstand people if you jump in too soon.”

“The contents of the week were fantastic, very informative and engaging with loads of tools to assist me going forward”

The accompanying book was significantly relevant”

“I found everything insightful and enlightening. There were a lot of topics. I especially liked mental health and how to engage with someone who might be struggling. I feel I can now demonstrate a lot more empathy. I also really enjoyed finance considering how much I wasn’t taught much about the topic at school.”

“I’m glad to have the accompanying book as I can go back and refresh my knowledge anytime.

“This is probably the best training course I have every attended. T/he contents cover life inside and outside work”

“The book will be extremely useful going forward. On the course it enabled everyone to read at their own pace.”

What were the thoughts on the trainer?

“I loved how Jane had everyone engaged and included in all of the topic areas. She allowed us to digress within reason, which helped explore the topic further but she was also able to control anything that was not relevant to our learning.”

“Jane’s style was inclusive, warm and welcoming. Everything was clear.”

“Jane is very interactive and gives off a very positive vibe. I really felt like my opinion was relevant when she asked questions and she’s always very impartial so we didn’t feel like we were being judged. It was a pleasure doing my training with her”

“Jane’s compassionate and a very good listener”

“”Jane’s style was nice and precise, she knows what she is talking about and is a confident lady who taught us in a respectful professional manner.”

For me, the week was a mutually positive experienced. When we see each other as humans, we can learn so much together. Essential for work and life – don’t you agree?

Are our rights more important than our duty to others?

This is a thought that’s been resonating with me with growing repetition during the journey of the global pandemic here in the UK.

It seems to me humankind has become more and more inward rather than outward looking over the years.

As the restrictions enforced by the pandemic have continued, the more amplified our disregard for our duty to others seems to have grown.

By that I mean consideration of the potential consequences our actions can have on others.

Each week, local small patches of council green areas outside residential houses are scattered with litter comprising fast food wrappers but lately discarded alcohol bottles. I haven’t seen people having picnics on these areas so assume it’s household fly tipping by residents, or people returning from fun in the park with their friends.

Why? Each household in the UK has rubbish collection weekly. There is no need to spoil the environment for others through laziness and/or entitlement. If there is no public rubbish bin locally, or if there is one, it’s full – why can’t people take their rubbish home and put it in for their rubbish collection?

I don’t doubt this is happening in every part of the UK.

Clearly the thought of the right to personal enjoyment of the individuals dropping these items far outweighs any thought of their impact on others. Children play on these small greens. Pet dogs are taken for walks by their owners. Residents look at these green spaces from their windows – vital when housebound or shielding. Where is the thought for the impact on others – the anxiety and isolation caused by thoughtless, ‘my right’ attitudes?

We see this time and again on a larger scale when the sun is shining in the debris left behind in parks and at coastal spots. There is a huge cost in clearly this up.

We know the dangers to the environment of discarded rubbish which has been proven to get into our water tables and food chains. By discarding rubbish thoughtlessly instead of taking it home, those individuals are potentially affecting their health and that of the ones they love. Ironic isn’t it?

Isn’t now the time to start to think of our duty to consider the impact of our behaviours on others?

Passion Map – Do You Have One?

The global pandemic and yo yo-ing UK restrictions over the past year + has enabled a period of reflection for us all.

“Where are we?” “Are we happy and fulfilled?” “Is something missing?” “Am I on the wrong road?” “Are my relationships healthy or toxic?”

Just some of the questions we may have considered over this time.

Catching glimpses of the highlights of HRH Prince Philip’s funeral over the weekend and seeing some of the unique things he had planned – such as symbols of his love of carriage racing and land/range rovers – got me thinking about how much planning we put into living our best lives.

How many of us run on automatic pilot? Doing everything as habit almost on automatic pilot just means we are existing not living.

Having a Passion Map enables us to really examine all areas of our life and ask ourselves those difficult questions. Especially “am I where I want to be?” or “am I on the path to get where I want to be?”

Slowly, we are seeing the seeds of change – restrictions are gradually lifting. Is now the time to devise our own Passion Map?

Life is too precious to return to automatic living.

What do you think?

If our children are growing up hungry – where are businesses getting their future talent from?

Listening to the radio this morning, the above question jumped into my head. I have my solution at the end of this post. What would be your thoughts?

Time for us all to have an uncomfortable conversation maybe?

The radio feature was on free school meals and the excellent spotlight the footballer Marcus Rashford has shone on this.

Children going hungry is shamefully not a new problem for the UK. Following the end of WWII, free school meals were introduced to ensure no child went hungry. Bearing in mind this was a time when food additives, were a lot less intensive than they are now. Basic, nutritional food that ensured healthy growth for all children in the UK was the norm.

Over the following years, we seemed to lose this ‘collective’ thinking that we are all responsible for the health of the next generation.

I well remember the endeavours of chef Jamie Oliver from 2004 to address putting ‘nutrition’ back into school dinners cost effectively. This would ensure concentration in lessons resulting ultimately in social mobility. Education on an empty stomach is totally non-productive and a complete waste of money. Children can’t concentrate with their stomachs rumbling. As adults, we know when we’re hungry we can think of nothing else. Why would we think it’s different for children?

The radio feature this morning spoke about Jamie’s work and the fact two of his chefs are working in Schools in Greenwich to help feed children nutritionally during school holidays.

Marcus has re-foccused the spotlight back on the need to feed vulnerable children during school holidays as parents struggle through coronavirus.

Many parents will feed their children fast foods because they are cheap. Quantity is better than quality thinking. We know fresh food doesn’t have to be expensive. It does take effort to buy and prepare especially when trying to hold down a number of poorly paid jobs to provide a secure home.

A few of ideas spring to my mind:

  1. Tax cheap, fast food so it becomes a ‘treat’ and heavily discount fresh foods so they become the norm.
  2. I know from experience many families won’t apply for help even when they are entitled. Pride gets in the way. Radical thought here – provide free school meals for every child so not one child is ‘singled’ out as being ‘poor’. From 5-18. Schools become community hubs. Open through school holidays. This would create:

a. Employment throughout the UK

b. Community cohesion

c. Brain power amongst all our children to take advantage of education, realise their dreams, become the innovators of tomorrow, feeding our businesses making the UK a vibrant country of integrity for all.

Of course there would be a huge cost for this. But, what is the cost of not doing it?

As a business owner, I’d be in favour of increased taxes if they were going to this worthwhile cause. I wonder if very wealthy people, would be willing to make annual donations to this cause and write this off against their taxes? Some people earn telephone number salaries and are reluctant to pay HMRC. No one likes paying taxes. But if part of their taxes went to a specific cause like this, would their attitude change if they could see the good they are doing?

A minority of the UK are living in a bubble where they have so much money they will never be able to spend it. Maybe social taxation could be the answer.

Maybe it’s time to do something radical and something different.

What would be your thoughts?

Good spending?……..

Flicking through the Sunday Papers yesterday I came across ‘………..the PM puts the nation on a diet’.

 

 

The feature is about reducing obesity through bariatric surgery.  It’s long been known that people come to the point of obesity through a number of reasons all including some form of relationship with food – eating for comfort, boredom etc.

 

For some morbidly obese people, I can see this invasive surgical procedure could be a lifeline but is it right that investment for research into diseases, education, housing etc is diverted into bariatric surgery?  People have got to take responsibility for their own actions.  Very few need additional help and support – which those few rightly deserve.  A bit like some people who are really depressed will need medication to get to a point where they can change their mindset and not feel so clobbered that they can’t do anything.

 

I just wonder if we’ve become a nation where our actions are someone’s else’s fault.  We justify our behaviour due to a raft of excuses such as poor upbringing, lack of parental guidance etc.

 

Seeing the litter left on beaches after people ignored lockdown rules because the weather was so nice.  It’s one thing to ignore lockdown but is there a reason you can’t pack up your rubbish and take it home?

 

Isn’t it time we all took responsibility for our actions, thought before we acted/speak and treated ourselves and those around us with a little more kindness?  The bonus is these things don’t cost anything!

 

 

Loneliness – a crippling feeling that can ruin lives

We’ve all been lonely at some time in our lives and know the fear, isolation and hopeless feelings experienced by it.  It doesn’t matter whether we have people around us or not loneliness can creep in at any point.

 

For people who live alone or in difficult environments, loneliness can be amplified and feel very palpable.

 

I stumbled across Wavelength, a great charity in Hornchurch, Essex which has tackled loneliness for over 80 years.  Starting by giving radios to people isolated by the World War through the decades evolving to include tvs, iPads and computers to all those in need from refugees, those leaving prison, young people, adults and families anyone already experiencing difficulty in their lives without the added burden of loneliness.

 

Their research of how people felt before contact with Wavelength and how they felt afterwards shows the massive impact they make.  Working with ONS in the UK tracks the impact of loneliness and the cost in human and family lives as well as business, communities and the health service.

 

Wavelength reminded me of an interview with the inventor Trevor Bayliss who invented, amongst other things, a robust wind-up radio to be used in global, remote villages which not only tackled loneliness but also delivered information and healthcare.

 

The simplest ideas are often the most effective and enduring.

 

Long may WaveLength continue its excellent work.

 

If you know anyone who is lonely and would benefit from WaveLength’s support, don’t hesitate to signpost them Twitter @WaveLengthHelp or website: http://www.wavelength.org.uk

Lon

Holistic – Day 4 – Fitness Reigns Supreme!

After completing the 2nd half of the Art project, the Growing Talent Associates were issued with a challenge to design a wellbeing magazine using the knowledge they had learnt for features.

 

After some bewilderment, they grasped the challenge and hit the ground running – after a few lattes of course!

 

Amar and Robert decided to do a front and back cover using the front for wellbeing topics and the rear for nutrition although the chilli drawn by Amar was a strange colour due to lack of felt tips!!!!

Here they are presenting the finished ‘magazine’! helped by Shennell!

 

A close up of Natasha & Charlie-Ray’s Fitness Weekly & presenting it’s finer points….

 

Charlie-Ray show cased clap press-ups – a feature of their magazine:

 

Looking good……. but after 3 …….

 

Exhaustion hit!!! Well done Charlie for showing us though!

 

Last, but not least, Shennell and Adeyinka delivered their magazine idea….

 

A fun day, with new lessons learnt.